Mumbai: Ailing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's health concerns have figured prominently in the international media, television channels and news agencies, especially in neighbouring Pakistan and Nepal. Thackeray's improved health was highlighted by the BBC, The New York Times and all top Pakistani newspapers, according to a Shiv Sena report on Saturday.
In Nepal, King Gyanendra Veer Vikram Shahadev and Sena activists in that country offered special prayes at the world famous Pashupatinath Temple on Friday, according to a Nepali media person, Ashok Nepali. Former Pakistani cricket Javed Miandad has sent a message saying he would pray for his friend Thackeray's speedy recovery.
"I have met him several times in Matoshri and been accorded a warm welcome. We were like friends and religion never came in the way of our friendship," Miandad said of Thackeray, known for his shrill anti-Pakistan views. Mumbai Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, who is an ex-Sena Rajya Sabha member urged all north Indians to commence this year's Chhath Puja with special prayers for Thackeray's speedy recovery.
A resident of Daund, Pune district, Mohan S Yadav, accompanied by his sons Raj and Uddhav, is camping outside Matoshri to present a mobile phone to Thackeray. It is shaped like a car and has an exclusive ringtone, 'Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji' specially made for Thackeray. Yadav and his sons Raj and Uddhav rode on a motorcycle to present it to Thackeray after he recovers.
Thackeray's huge statue made of sand in Gujarat's coastal village Thangad is drawing large crowds of admirers. Its sand-sculptor, Rajesh Muliya, inscribed a "get well soon" message on it. A teacher from Ulhasnagar, a town in Thane, Prakash Mali, has written a letter in his own blood with a prayer for Thackeray's quick recovery. Meanwhile pujas, aartis and havans continued in temples and public places, besides special prayers in mosques, churches and gurudwaras across Maharashtra for Thackeray's speedy recovery.