Now, MNS to open library in name of Sena chief’s father

Close on the heels of the Shiv Sena's launch of a website on Bal Thackeray's father and social reformer Keshav Sitaram Thackeray alias Prabodhankar Thackeray, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is opening a Marathi book library in his name in Mumbai's suburbs. The name Prabodhankar came from the Marathi fortnightly Prabodhan (to enlighten) that he used to edit. The fortnightly used to oppose social evils like the caste system.

The Shiv Sena, which had opposed the Mandal Commission recommendations two decades ago, is invoking the philosophy of Prabodhankar Thackeray to oppose the ensuing caste-wise census.

The public library, for which MNS president Raj Thackeray has donated books of his choice, will be inaugurated on Sunday. The library is the brainchild of MNS MLA Pravin Darekar and it will be maintained by him in his constituency in Kandivali East.

Darekar said books worth Rs 5 lakh had been picked for the library, of which a majority were contributed by Raj. He stressed the need for a library to promote Marathi reading, for which even Thackeray had organised a book fest at Shivaji Park a few years ago.

Raj had visited a local bookshop after it was decided to open a library and bought several books of authors like PL Deshpande, Acharya Atre, Aroon Tikekar, Iravati Karve, Ranjit Desai. Arun Sadhu and GN Dandekar for the library. "Do not link the two things (Sena website and MNS library). We are opening the library as we recently celebrated Prabodhankar's birth anniversary. The library will be open to residents of my constituency and books will be delivered home," Darekar said.

He said he had plans to open similar libraries in all six regions of his constituency in the coming months. The library will be divided into sections for children, autobiographies, literature and fiction. He said the party was taking this step as an effort to promote language and reading.

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