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Anand Dighe

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Shiv Sena Leader

Shiv Sena

Political leader

Anand Dighe

Portrait of Anand Dighe with a tight-lipped smile, mustache, and beard while wearing an orange turban

Uddhav Thackeray , Eknath Shinde , Bal Thackeray

26 August 2001 (aged 50), Thane, Maharashtra, India

27 January 1951 (age 50), Thana, Bombay State, India

Other names
Dharmaveer (Anand Dighe Saheb)

5 feet 7 inch

75 kg

Eye Colour

Hair Colour



Aruna Gadkari

Kedar Dighe

Dharmaveer Anand Chintamani Dighe was a senior Shiv Sena party leader and Thane district Unit chief of Shiv Sena party.


Anand Dighe smiling with mustache and beard while wearing a white polo

When he died of a heart attack in August 2001, his irate supporters burned the Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital in Thane, where he died.

Anand Dighe with a tight-lipped smile, mustache, and beard while wearing a white and beige checkered polo

Dighe was a muscleman, considered powerful in Thane. He was accused in the murder of Shiv Sena party member Sridhar Khopkar, who had allegedly voted for Congress in 1989. Dighe was arrested under TADA and was out on bail. The case continued till his death.

Anand Dighe smiling with mustache and beard while wearing an orange turban and orange scarf

Career And Legacy

Anand Dighe started his political career at a young age, becoming president of the Thane Unit of Shiv Sena in 1984, when he was only 33 years old. He was mentored by the founder of Shiv Sena himself, Balasaheb Thackeray. Entertaining and connecting with his Thanekar constituents as a muscleman, Dighe’s physical and political strength grew alongside his career.

He was known for holding a daily Durbar meeting at his home in Tembhi Naka, where he would make a point to hear out Thanekar citizens and Shiv Sena party workers while trying his best to resolve their issues. His down-to-earth nature and fairness in judgment made him extremely popular with his Thanekar constituents, unfortunately painting a target on his back for his political opponents.

Anand Dighe played the role of mentor for many young politicians from India’s Thane region, including Eknath Shinde and Rajan Vichare. To this day, his political mentees speak highly of Dighe and carry his ideology and purpose in their own careers.

Controversy Around Anand Dighe’s Death

The facts around Anand Dighe’s death are clouded in mystery and controversy, with many of his followers believing that he was assassinated. His official cause of death was listed as a heart attack.

On August 25, 2001, Anand Dighe was admitted to the Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital in Thane after a car accident that resulted in a broken leg. Upon arriving at the hospital, Dighe was treated with an emergency orthopedic procedure to repair his fractured leg. It was reported that he was conscious and even entertaining guests after his leg operation.

As news spread of his hospitalization, Anand Dighe’s followers started gathering around the hospital, awaiting news of his condition. The crowd of his followers grew into a mob, and police units were deployed to attempt to keep the crowd controlled.

At 10:30 pm, Uddhav Thackeray emerged from the hospital to break the news of Anand Dighe’s death to the gathered mob of followers. Prakash Paranjape, a Thanekar Shiv Sena MP and friend of Anand Dighe, told local news that Dighe suffered from two heart attacks sometime after his operation. Paranjape also stated that the doctors did everything in their power to save his life but were not able to revive him.

The news of their beloved leader’s death sent the gathered crowd into a rage, and the police units were not able to control them. It was the perception of the crowd that foul play or medical negligence was involved in the death of Anand Dighe, and they retaliated by going on a violent rampage.

The mob made its way into the hospital, destroying everything in their path in rage and grief. Journalists and reporters were attacked by the crowd and fires were started in the Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital, with explosions possibly caused by burning LPG or oxygen tanks.

While the official cause of his death remained a heart attack, many of Dighe’s followers continue to believe that his death was the result of a conspiracy against him. Two other politicians, Nilesh Rane and Eknath Shinde, seemed to imply that they would reveal the truth about Anand Dighe’s untimely demise. To this day, the claims have yet to be revealed beyond vague statements of the impact “the truth” would have on India’s political landscape.

In 2019, Nilesh Rane’s father, Narayan Rane, categorically denied the implication from his son that Dighe’s death was planned in any way.

Anand Dighe In Popular Culture

Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb | धर्मवीर आनंद दिघे साहेब

The late Shiv Sena leader Anand Dighe : शिवसेनेचा झंझावात असलेल्या 'धर्मवीरा'ची कहाणी

Notable work/achievements

The members of Thane's Sikh community put a 'chudder' on Anand Dighe's body
  1. He was affectionately known as Dharmaveer.
  2. He was a grass-roots leader with a large fan base.
  3. He used to hold a daily Durbar to hear out/resolve issues faced by Thane citizens along with Shiv Sena party workers from his Tembhi Naka residence.

In 2022, a biographical political drama based on Anand Dighe’s life was released in India. Titled Dharmaveer, after Dighe’s nickname, the film was directed and written by Pravin Tarde and released under the banner of Zee Studios, with Mangesh Desai acting as the producer.

The movie follows TV news reporter Tanvi Mahapatra, played by Shruti Marathe, who is tasked with covering the 20th anniversary of the memorial service of Anand Dighe in Thane. Unaware at first of the legacy that Anand Dighe left behind in Thane, Tanvi meets an auto-rickshaw driver played by Gashmeer Mahajani who advises her to eschew her internet research in favor of talking to the common Thanekars, to whom Anand Dighe devoted his life and career.

As Tanvi talks to people at the memorial service, Anand Dighe is shown in flashbacks, accompanied by stories told by his past aides, mentees, and other common Thanekars who were personally helped by Dighe. Notably, two incumbent Indian politicians who were mentored by Dighe were portrayed in the film: Eknath Shinde, played by Kshitish Date, and Rajan Vichare, portrayed by Sagar Pabbale.

From the portrayal of Anand Dighe in the stories told by those he interacted with, Tanvi starts to understand that Dighe was not only a political leader but also a bastion and symbol to the Thanekar people due to his life spent in selfless service to his constituents.

Prasad Oak played the titular Dharmaveer Anand Dighe, for which he was praised in multiple reviews. The film itself was received well critically and struck a chord in the hearts of those who remembered Dighe and his legacy. It garnered an 8.1 out of 10 rating on IMDB.


Anand Dighe Wikipedia

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