Skip to main content

Shiv Sena isn't keeping its Hindutva politics in sealed cover, yet seeks to ‘act’ secular

Uddhav Thackeray, Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar
By Adv Masood Peshimam*
The swearing of Uddhav Thackrey as Maharashtra chief minister has signaled an end of the stalemate in the government formation in the state, but it did not arouse much of applause and excitement in certain predominant Maharashtrian areas like Kalyan and Thane. The Shiv Sena for the very first time agreed that secular values could be part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).
Thackrey’s quest to integrate secular values is not liked by certain quarters, which were equally well disposed towards the Sena. Embracing secular values has not been the cup of tea for the Thackray clan, which now faces a poignant moment with the new-found love for secular values.
Facing the implausible situation with his hardcore followers adhering to communal politics, Uddhav Thackray has, of course, tried to dilute the impact of his alliance with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine. Even as asserting his adherence to the tenets of secularism, Uddhav Thackray said, Hindutva ideology is quite indispensable to the Shiv Sena, which could not be discarded.
It is believed that the statement is dictated by political compulsions. It is more directed towards BJP rather than to the Congress-NCP combine, which would need to be prevented from appropriating the vast chunk of Hindutva votes. Uddhav Thackrey can’t keep his Hindutva in the sealed cover, since it is this alone which catapulted him into power.
Relations between the Shiv Sena with the Congress have a history. In fact, the Shiv Sena owes its existence to the Congress. In the sixties, the Congress faced increasing influence of Leftist trade unions. The growing influence of Leftist trade unions in particular and the labour movement in general had its impact on elections.
The Congress faced such a tough electoral scenario that the uncrowned king of the then Bombay, SK Patil, had to bite the dust at the hands of George Fernandes. The Congress felt it necessary to checkmate the Leftist influence in Bombay. The birth and nourishment of the Sena was promoted as a tool to combat this trade union influence.
Primarily, the Shiv Sena took up the cause of sons of the soil against south Indians with the narrative that the south Indians, well equipped with English, had occupied much of space in the realm of employment at the cost of the locals. The campaign ignited animosity against the south Indians.
The movement to protect the interests of the sons of the soil led to fascination for the Sena among the locals. With the passage of time, the Sena backed by the Congress, particularly late VP Naik, and thus struck deep roots in the state. The Shiv Sena successfully played the outsider card to enhance its strength and clout.
The ever growing clout of the Sena with the alleged softness of the police led to a situation in which migrants felt threatened. But it was communal politics which offered even greener pastures than the anti-migrant stance. Hence, given the later dynamics of the situation, the Sena joined hands with the saffron shade of politics. The Sena was transformed from an anti-migrant entity into a deeply communal entity.
Bal Thackeray with Indira Ga ndhi
The Congress not only gave birth to the Sena but gave it a kid glove treatment concerning its alleged role in the post-Babri communal violence that rocked Mumbai. The Justice Sri Krishna Commission indicted the role of the Sena and the Mumbai police. Recommendations of the Sri Krishna Commission were taken casually. The Congress ignored inconvenient facts, and the recommendations of the commission were reduced to a child’s play.
While the Congress promoted the fortunes of the Sena, and at times defended it, the Sena deemed it convenient to politically flirt with BJP and remained partners with the saffron party in the Maharashtra government. Yet, the Sena, despite remaining in government, had the cheek to criticize the BJP government for its acts of commission and omission.
The Sena continued to stone the BJP government despite living under the same political roof. Raj Thackray continued to be ruthless in attacking the BJP government. Series of his speeches focused on building a case against the BJP government at the Centre and the state. Raj Thackrey kept swinging the pendulum against BJP at the instance of Sharad Pawar. Thus, Raj Thackray remains the only cock in the farmyard.
Now the BJP-Sena imbroglio has given way to the formation of the Sena-Congress-NCP government, it is expected of the Sena to play a somewhat secular card, despite its assertiveness of the Hindutva brand of politics not to discomfort other partners, who very much depend on secular votes, though their secularism is more of opportunistic than ideological, but a lesser evil.
---
*Based in Kalyan West, Maharashtra

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Protests break out as school going children 'branded Naxalites, taken prisoners'

By Sheshu Babu* Conditions in all spheres of life is going from bad to worse. On September 13, Political Prisoners' Day was observed. On that day, Jatin Das, friend of Bhagat Singh and member of the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association, passed away after 63 days of hunger strike. He demanded 'political prisoners' status to those who have been jailed by the state.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

No space for 2 lakh waste pickers in Delhi masterplan for next two decades: Study

By Our Representative  A new survey report prepared by the NGO Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on the challenges faced by waste pickers in managing solid waste in Delhi, “Space for Waste - 2021”, has regretted that currently, there is no provision of workspace for waste workers, hence they carry out their work of segregation, repairing, and composting at different locations.