Raj Thackeray is the founder and president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (Maharashtra Renaissance Army), which is a regional party in the state of Maharashtra in India. He is the nephew of former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, and cousin of current Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. He was born on June 14, 1968 in a Marathi Kayastha (CKP) family to Shrikant Prabhodankar Thackeray and Kunda Thackeray, Shrikant Thackeray was the younger brother of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and his mother Kunda Thackeray is the younger sister of Balasaheb Thackeray's wife Meena Thackeray. His father Shrikant Thackeray was a musician, cartoonist and was also well versed in the language of Urdu. He also made a couple of Marathi films.
He is married to Sharmila, daughter of famous Marathi theater/films actor, producer-director Mohan Wagh. He did his schooling from Bal Mohan Vidya Mandir School in the central Mumbai suburb of Dadar, close to his residence in Shivaji Park and later on graduated from the prestigious Sir J.J College of Art. Like his father and uncle he is a gifted painter and cartoonist. He had also expressed his desire to work for Walt Disney Studios. He is also a avid photographer like his cousin Uddhav Thackeray. He has also published a photo-biography on his uncle titled 'Bal Keshav Thackeray' - a photo-biography. Political career Once seen as the future leader of Shiv Sena, he started his political career with Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena party in Maharashtra.
On 9 March 2006, he formed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) after being allegedly 'sidelined' by the Bal Thackeray�s son Uddhav. Shiv Sainiks (Shiv Sena members) who supported his leadership, in contrast to his cousin Uddhav (Bal Thackeray's son), joined the MNS. The party was founded on the ideology of being the benefactor of the local Marathi population (Marathi Manoos), an ideology that the party members felt the Shiv Sena had given up on. Since its inception, the party has been attacking the north Indians in Maharashtra politically as well as physically. This is very similar to the tactics applied by Shiv Sena for political mileage in its earlier days, although the main targets at that time were the south Indians residing in Maharashtra. During his Shiv Sena days Raj openly criticized new urban developments on Pune's various hillocks in support of environment. In 2003, he pledged to plant 76 lakh trees across Maharashtra. Maharashtra rural development In order to create industrial and rural development in Maharashtra, on 14 June 1996. He officially formed the Shiv Udyog Sena and appointed its executive committee. It was also to "give self-employment loans to jobless" Marathi youth. In the same year, he organised a Michael Jackson concert for the first time in India at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai. The objective of the concert was to raise funds for the organisation.