Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray celebrated a quiet 84th birthday with his family here Saturday, his age making it too tiring for him to meet his supporters at home.
"He had expressed a desire that he wanted to celebrate his birthday privately with his family members. Accordingly, there are no celebrations or crowds outside his home," a party office-bearer said.
The source said that Bal Thackeray was in "good health" and would "bless" his supporters in the evening at Shanmukhanand Hall.
However, all over Maharashtra his supporters and well-wishers marked the day with social activities like torch marches and blood donation camps.
In a signed message to his supporters, Thackeray said he recalls the old days when huge crowds would turn up to wish him on his birthday at his home and he would reciprocate by meeting and interacting with them.
"Now age does not permit me to do all this. My body may have tired but not my thoughts. My son Uddhav is with you and you have faced many challenges together. You will continue to do so in future, so I am not concerned," he wrote on the front page of party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.
Thackeray added that owing to security reasons, he could not meet with them as freely as he desired.
"But my heart is always with you. After returning from hospital, I have had no major health problems, except occasional breathlessness for which treatment is continuing," Thackeray said.
He appealed to his supporters not to harbour ill-will as he could not meet them though ‘Matoshree’, his bungalow in Bandra east, is like a ‘mai-ka’ (mother’s home), and there should be no restrictions on people visiting there.
He said if people wanted to help the Shiv Sena in any manner, donation boxes have been put up at Matoshree and at the Shiv Sena Bhavan.