The veteran Shiv Sena leader was penning his record-breaking weekly column when he felt a sudden severe pain
Mumbai, Nov 22: Veteran Shiv Sena leader and former cultural affairs minister Pramod Navalkar died of a heart attack on Tuesday evening at his residence in Girgaum.
He was 72. He is survived by his wife Vandana and two daughters Reshma and Shilpa.
Navalkar was writing his record-breaking weekly column Bhramanti for the Marathi daily Navshakti when he suffered a massive heart attack.
His column - which has been running for 52 years in succession - has even got him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Several people from political and literary circles included Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray visited Navalkar’s home to pay tribute to him.
Known as ‘original Mumbaikar’, he had written 50 books on culture, politics and Mumbai’s lifestyle. His latest book - and the 50th - Zep (jump) was published on Saturday. He was known to be a master of disguise.
He used to roam the city during night and trace illegal activities going on in various places. His penchant for crusading against “the menace” of eunuchs, drugs and prostitution at night in south Mumbai, apart from the targeting fashion shows, earned him the epithet of a moral police.
Navalkar was a member of Maharashtra legislative council for 24 years. In 2004, he had created a sensation in the council when he produced before the house devices used for manufacturing bombs. It included gelatine sticks and a timer device.
Navalkar was Mumbai's moral policeman
Mumbai: Be it a wardrobe malfunction or a film that portrayed women in poor taste, Pramod Navalkar, who died on Tuesday, was at the forefront in fighting social ills and thus earning for himself the sobriquet of moral policeman.
A member of the cabinet in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government during 1995-99, Navalkar is described as the most famous cultural affairs minister in Maharashtra's history.
The founding member of the Sena, Navalkar was a fierce Mumbai lover and through his famous Marathi newspaper column Bhatkyachi Bhramanti (journey of a tramp) often lamented the deterioration of India's financial capital. The column ran for over 50 years, a record in journalism.
Navalkar was also instrumental in setting up the Nana Nani Park along Girgaum Chowpatty.
He spearheaded a move to give police stations a new look. "I thought of having police stations cleaned and getting them
to break away from the usual look. People are scared of going to police stations since they are intimidating," he once said.
A close friend of former Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, Navalkar was also leader of opposition in Legislative Council in 1991-92.
Someone who had intimate knowledge of Mumbai, specially its underbelly, Navalkar once produced a revolver in the House to demonstrate how easy it was to procure arms and easier still to break through the Vidhan Bhavan security cordon.
Three years ago, he had created a sensation in the Maharashtra Legislative Council when he produced before the House devices used for manufacturing bombs. "These things are easily available", he had said, adding Mumbai had become a "den of terrorists".
He had also produced a liquor permit issued in the name of Mohandas K Gandhi by the state excise department.
Death in city, party in Nagpur
Mumbai: Senior NCP leader Vasant Davkhare, who is also the deputy chairman of the state legislative council, is in the eye of a storm. Reason: he continued with a do in Nagpur on Tuesday after Shiv Sena leader Pramod Navalkar died of heart attack in the city. Davkhare said in his defence that the party was pre-scheduled and the news of Navalkar’s demise came after the party had begun.
Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, revenue minister Narayan Rane and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, along with a few Sena MLAs, attended the party. Food and music flowed in abandon. Gulabrao Gavande, Sena MLA from Akola, even sung a popular Hindi song ‘Sukh Ke Sab Sathi, Dukh Main Na Koi’ and everybody appreciated his performance.
Public works minister and former sainik Chhagan Bhujbal, however, skipped the party. He was on his way to the venue when he got the news of Navalkar’s demise, and aborted his plan.
A senior Sena leader said, “Navalkar was a member of the legislative council for 24 years. It is sad that no one, including some of his party colleagues, felt it necessary to scrap the party. The assembly and council were adjourned on Wednesday to pay tribute to Navalkar. But the leaders did not feel guilty attending the party just a day ago.”
Davkhare told DNA that the party was planned three days in advance. “We came to know about Navalkar’s death around 7:30 pm. By that time, the guests had arrived.
How could I have asked them to leave without having food?” Asked why wasn’t the music stopped even after hearing of Navalkar’s death, he said, “I did not want to disappoint the guests. If you think I have done something wrong, I offer my regrets.”
NCP state president Arun Gujrathi said, “Davkhare did not intend to hurt anybody. I myself don’t support his act, but one must understand that sometimes there are some compulsions which force you to go on. Davkhare has offered regrets, so there is no point in raking up the issue.”