Mumbai, Nov 18: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's favourite newspapers Saamna (in Marathi) and Dopahar Ka Saamna (in Hindi) were Sunday published with a full black cover jackets and full black cover pages.
Thackeray, who passed away Saturday afternoon, was the founder-editor of both the newspapers, though the day-to-day affairs were managed by hand-picked and trusted executive editors.
This is the first time in Saamna's history -- since it was launched Jan 23, 1988 -- that its two main cover pages are printed in sheer black.
On the jacket cover is a large smiling picture of Bal Thackeray, a heading in large font -- "Aaple Saheb Gele" (Our Boss Departs) -- and a small poem in Marathi below it.
The inside main cover has a flier headline: "Ishwari Avtarache Swargarohan" (A divine avatar goes to heaven), accompanied by the day's top story headlined: "Balasaheb navache vadal shaant zhale" (A storm cloud called Balasaheb is peaceful).
Dopahar Ka Saamna, which usually remained closed Sundays, brought out a special edition as a tribute to Thackeray, said executive editor Prem Shukla.
It also sports a full black cover with a silhouetted right side visage of Thackeray with the headline: "Hinduon Ke Mahadev Ka Mahaprayan", and a small poem: "Jo uthe Ram/jo uthe Krishna/Bharat ki mitti roti hai/ Kya hua hamare Saheb ko/Yeh murti na zinda hoti hai."
The remaining inside pages have thick black bands with the stories in a grey background, or other colours depending on the editorial and pictorial content.
Saamna was founded as a party organ to convey Thackeray's views to the Marathi masses directly.
Dopahar Ka Saamna was launched Feb 23, 1993, to woo north Indians settled in Maharashtra and also make Thackeray's views heard in New Delhi.
Shukla said this was probably the first time in Indian media history that two daily newspapers had published their front pages in full black as a tribute to the Shiv Sena founder and their editor Bal Thackeray.
Moreover, Thackeray's name also appeared as 'Editor' in its regular place, as it has been since the launch of both the newspapers.