Swararaj Srikanth Thackeray, better known as Raj Thackeray, was born on 22 August 1969 to Srikanth Thackarey, Bal Thackarey's younger brother. Since childhood, he was inclined to music, with his father teaching him the violin. Under the tutelage of his uncle, Bal Thackeray, Raj started making cartoons for Marmik, the weekly magazine.
Raj joined Bal Thackarey's political outfit, the Shiv Sena, and started his political career. However, in 2006, he resigned from the Shiv Sena following a spat with cousin Uddhav and formed his own party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. From the outset, however, he has maintained that there were no hard feelings between him and his uncle, his mentor. His party works along similar lines as the Shiv Sena.
Raj Thackeray has been involved in active politics but is not a member of any House of Parliament. His political outfit has been known as being pro-Maratha and he has been very vocal about the rights of the people of Maharashtra. From time to time, MNS has staged protests and dharnas in support of the Marathi manoos. When Bal Thackeray passed away in 2012, the MNS stood along with the Shiv Sena in solidarity.
In 2008, he campaigned for Marathi signboards on shops across Mumbai. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had issued an order for the same. After the date of order compliance expired, the MNS workers started blackening the boards that were not in Marathi. Six MNS workers were arrested and later released on bail. On several occasions, Raj Thackeray and the MNS have protested against Bollywood movies for hurting the Maratha and national sentiments. Raj has also been vocal against Pakistani artists working in India.
Raj Thackeray supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat for his policies and development. However, Thackeray has openly criticised Modi and his government since it has assumed power at the Centre.