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Old January 23rd, 2006, 09:38 PM
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Thumbs up Balasaheb Thackeraey Turns 79

Thackeray turns 79, D'Souza turns Desai
By: Sriram Sampath
January 24, 2006

Vijay D’Souza, a 25-year-old Shiv Sainik, converted to Hinduism and became Vijay Desai on Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s 79th birthday yesterday.

The hour-long conversion ritual was conducted at Hanuman Mandir, Panvel, and was presided over by three priests. A Sainik for the past 10 years, Vijay said he considered his conversion an apt gift for Thackeray.

Vijay’s wife Poonam said she was delighted with his decision. A Hindu by birth, the 24-year-old housewife said, “I am not biased towards any religion but I am happy that he converted to Hinduism. He always went to temples and offered prayers. I wanted this to happen but never told him so.”

An electrician, Vijay ran away from his village in Maharashtra when he was only 11.

“I was inspired by Balasaheb’s ideology from childhood. I also had many Hindu neighbours, who left a deep impact on me. I was always fascinated by Hindu customs,” said Vijay, who’s not in touch with his parents. He said he’s not sure how they will react to the news of his conversion.

Shiv Sena leader Sunit Thakkar arranged the ritual after Vijay expressed his desire to convert 20 days ago. “We’ve known him for a long time. He’s been with us for years and we’re very proud of him,” said Thakkar. He added that Vijay may get a chance to meet Thackeray soon.

“Balasaheb has been informed, and he’s overwhelmed by Vijay’s gesture. He is busy with other commitments, but he’ll meet Vijay soon,” said Thakkar.

http://web.mid-day.com/news/city/200...ary/129280.htm
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Re: Balasaheb Thackeraey Turns 79

I wish him well and wish that he sees a better and stronger Shiv Sena by his next birthday.
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