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

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

'Bird, take me flying with you too!' Being Devangana Kalita

By Ashley Tellis*  I first met Devangana Kalita in a first year English Honours classroom in which I entered to teach Charles Dickens’ Hard Times in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 2008. She was one of the smartest students in the class – Devangana smiled the most and had the brightest twinkle in her eyes of the girls in the class. A middle class girl – Kalita comes from a family in upper Assam, the Kalitas along with the Brahmins dominate Assam (the Bamon-Kolita nexus as it is called) – in an elite all women’s institution known for a feminist, rebellious history. Like all institutions, it was repressive; like all all-women institutions, particularly so. But Miranda House had met its match in Devangana. She organised, protested, all within the democratic tradition resisted. The seeds of Pinjra Tod, the group Devangana was to eventually co-found, and which now finds her jailed for as absurd a reason as inciting a ‘riot’ were already sown in that first year. By the third year, they

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.