Mumbai: Divisive Politics - A Curse to the Nation

Oct 23, 2008

For the last two days the law abiding citizens of the city of Mumbai and its suburbs, as well as other cities such as Kalyan, Pune and Solapur were held to ransom by the violent protest staged by the supporters of Raj Thackeray, the leaders of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) against his arrest. The attack and destruction of public transport buses, taxis, rickshaws and private vehicles and the inconvenience caused to common citizens due to the hooliganism of the MNS supporters have led the people to believe that the government machinery has completely failed in discharging its constitutional duty of protecting the life, property and livelihood of the people. This is the price that the people in general and the government in particular have to pay for the creation of the political Frankenstein by certain vested interests.

Raj Thackeray is not the first political prop up created by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in order to damage the electoral prospects of the Shiv Sena. The Congress was responsible for creating favourable circumstances that led to the emergence of Bal Thackeray, uncle of Raj Thackeray and founder of the Shiv Sena on the political horizon of Maharashtra in 1970s. The Congress used Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena to practically destroy the trade union movement in Mumbai industrial belt led by the Communist leaders.

Frankensteins Created by Congress - Raj and Bal Thackeray

The antipathy of Bal Thackeray towards the Communists and their militant trade union movement in Mumbai was viewed by the Congress as an opportunity to check the political influence of the Communist in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Thus, the Congress clandestinely supported the Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena without realizing that eventually Bal Thackeray and his party would develop political ambition and would oust the Congress from a number of Municipal Corporations and even at the state level. The industrialists too supported Bal Thackeray with a view of breaking the trade union movement.

By taking up the cause of the Maharashtrians against the South Indians and the Karnataka-Maharashtra boundary dispute, the Shiv Sena gained popularity and support from the 'sons of the soil'.  The Shiv Sena adopted violent agitation against the South Indian economic interests such as the Udupi Hotels which were attacked and damaged in large numbers in 1970s. As the political ambition of the Shiv Sena expanded it gave up anti-south Indian stance and aligned with Hindutva forces. It adopted anti-minority policy, especially against the Muslims which led to riots following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Bal Thackeray was a great admirer of Hitler. Like Hitler, Bal Thackeray was an artist and developed aggressive oratory like that of Hitler which kept his audience spellbound. He was quoted by 'Asiaweek' as saying, "I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so. I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a great organizer and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common…What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand.

Hitler, as many students of history know, was a dictator of Germany who rose to political power following the economic and political crisis that developed in Germany following her defeat in the First World War. He organized the Nazi Party, which took fascism to a new height. The Nazis were opposed to the democratic system, were the enemies of the socialists and Communists and persecuted the Jews who were the minority. The Jews were blamed for all the troubles that Germany had to face and were treated as the enemies of the German nation and thousands of them were eliminated.

Raj Thackeray, the nephew of Bal Thackeray, who had his baptism of politics in the Shiv Sena, hoped one day to lead the party after the patriarch. He grew up under the shadow of Bal Thackeray and developed traits similar to his such as a flair for painting and cartoons. Raj Thackeray also perfected the art of aggressive oratory convincing his audience about the issues that he propounded.

With the age catching up and a bypass surgery, Bal Thackeray decided to pass the leadership of the Shiv Sena to the next generation. Raj Thackeray considered being the most ideal heir in the mould of his uncle was hoping that he would lead the Shiv Sena after his uncle. However, the filial love and dynastic considerations prompted the ageing patriarch to anoint his own son, Udhav Thackeray as his successor. Sulking for being sidetracked in the party, Raj Thackeray left the party that had given him the identity and founded his own political outfit-the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS).

The split in the Maharashtra's premier political family and the rift between the cousins was viewed as a golden opportunity by the Congress and the NCP who tried to fish in the troubled waters. In order to minimize the political influence of the Shiv Sena, the ruling parties indirectly propped up Raj Thackeray and went soft on him and his party men when they went on rampage against the Biharis and UPites.

Raj Thackeray adopted similar issues and tactics as those of the Shiv Sena to increase his popularity. His provocative speeches and the violent agitation by his party men against the North Indians was ignored by the Congress and NCP government of Maharashtra as long as these developments served their purpose of weakening the Shiv Sena. However, the pressure from the central government following the attack by the MNS men on Bihari candidates who had come to Mumbai to appear for the Railway Recruitment Board exams on Sunday October 19 finally prompted the state government to take action against Raj Thackeray and his party men by arresting them, which led to violent agitation.

Even after his arrest Raj Thackeray has hogged the limelight through media coverage of his arrest and the fear that his party men have instilled in the common citizens. He had dared the government to arrest him. Unwittingly, the Congress and NCP have created a political Frankenstein in the person of Raj Thackeray whom they could not control and the situation has reached to such a flashpoint that the central government had to intervene.

The Shiv Sena is on the horns of dilemma. It does not know how to react to these developments. Raj Thackeray has practically hijacked the Shiv Sena programme of the cause of the Marathi Manoos and the tactics adopted by Bal Thackeray.

Like his uncle, Raj Thackeray also admires Adolf Hitler. In an exclusive interview given to Shobha De and published in 'Mumbai Mirror' recently, Raj Thackeray unhesitatingly expressed his approval of Hitler and his achievements.

The challenge posed by Raj Thackeray to the government and daring it to arrest him and the hooliganism let loose by his supporter with scant respect to law and order reminds one what the medieval historian Barani had written about the political situation in India in mid-thirteenth century. "Fear of the governing power, which is the basis of all good government and the source of glory and splendour of the state, had departed from the hearts of all men and the country had fallen into a wretched condition." The situation in the 21st century India is no better.

The divisive politics adopted by certain political outfits is causing irreparable damage to the Indian nation. Dividing the Indian society on the basis of caste, religion, region and language in order to promote narrow political ends is a dangerous attempt to damage the ethos of the Indian nation. It is ironic that the news of the 'Chandrayaan-1', India's maiden mission to the moon had to take a back-stage in the newspapers and electronic media in order to highlight the arrest of Raj Thackeray and the violence let loose by his supporters. Let us look forward to conquer the planets and stars rather than create human misery to rule over a part of the country.

Dr Eugene D`Souza - Archives:

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by Dr Eugene D'Souza
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Comment on this article

  • ronald, barkur

    Sat, Oct 25 2008

    Hilarious indeed - Bal Thackerey (note the Anglicised spelling) and his Ego Ideal, Adolf Hitler !! Would the "Fuhrer" have given this Cartoonist an audience even if the latter were to send word to his hero that he, in 'reality', belongs to the Aryan race ? Remember this Hitler had refused to shake hands even with the great Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics !!

  • Siva, usa

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Perfect article. I agree 100% with the author abt Raj and Bal. Only sentence needs a minor modification is:Sulking for being sidetracked in the party, Raj Thackeray left the party that had given him the identity and founded his own political outfit-the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS). It should say that Sulking Raj was provided direction and full support by Congress for starting MNS. I donot agree with Bhat. Bhat, he is not fighting for Marathi Manoos. He is fighting because of the breadcrumbs thrown to him by congress!! He would ditch any issue for his own benefits just like his uncle ditched many issues! Don't believe them!!


    Fri, Oct 24 2008


  • Bhagat, Mangalore/USA

    Fri, Oct 24 2008

    Good comments by Mr. Bhat. Yes this topic is again debatable. On one hand we have the idea that India is one and on the other hand we have are we dividing india into small countries. But realistically, India is made up that way, unline the USA. Do we in India decide to close house and move to another state because we like the climate there?. We are treated as outsiders if we did so. I also agree about the comment on IT and MRPL.

    I tried for a job in MRPL, fully qualified, but did not get a change and they had all 10 management positions filled by "outsiders" and non local to mangalore and this was in the year 1990. The HR chief of MRPL at the time could not do anything about it when I complained about not taking in any locals. Yes they had a whole bunch of earth movers ( human kind ) locally sourced. Regarding IT, I recently visited a company where an entire department consisting of 50 people, with a cross section of entry level to mid, were all "outsiders". Couldn't they get one from the state?.

    I asked the hiring manager and he said that only qualified candidates are admitted. So are our schools substandard?. The government touts that the economic climate is good for local talent - I say my foot. We got screwed out of our lands by the tenency act. We got screwed out of living in harmony with all religions. Now we visit our so called "homeland" as foreigners and see nothing by destruction. We had no choice but to get out of the country.

    By chance most of us are doing very well. But that is not the point, the point is in a short life we ended up living in a suitecase. There is no coming home for us anymore.

  • Arun CK, Mangalore-Dubai

    Fri, Oct 24 2008

    I do not believe in sons of the soil argument. ion for certain positions should depend on the crediblity or experience of that person in pursuing his Job. Just because IT firms are in Blore you cannot appoint any Tom Dick Or Harry for the post of CEO or something. Only Merit, Crediblity and experience should be considered . may it me a Kanadiga in Mumbai or Chennai or a Bihari in Blore or Hyderbad.

  • Nimesh, Mumbai/Dadar

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Mr. Bhat good comment you have given. Raj is fighting for the rights of sons of soil. Its a very nice way of fighting. Burning Bikes, Cars, Buses, Trucks & damaging public property. In every state if there is one Goonda like Raj fighting for the rights of sons of soil in this manner, God knows what will be the fate of our country.

  • Husain, khobar/udupi

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Mr. Bhat, If everybody think like you then India will divide into lots of COUNTRIES for the sake of son of soil rights. Then there is no more MERA BHARAT MAHAN.

  • Ophelia D'souza Patrao, Miyar/karkala

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Thank you Dr Eugene.very good article.hope by now at least Indians will open their eyes and mind.if every Indian becomes patriotic than greedy we can still move forward than going back to stone age.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    The politicians are not concerned with the destruction of property, but the tax payer's money is burned by the unemployed political followers. There must have strict laws to impose heavy fines and painful jail life for the culprits, so that they will not dare to destroy public property. If they want to show their protest, let them do without causing damage to the public life and public property. Indian politics is turning like a terror movie, and the instigators are like traffic controllers sitting in a safe tower high above the ground.

  • Smitha , Karnataka

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Why should it matter which State one belongs to? Aren't we all Indians? Shouldn't be all work towards the development of the country as a whole?

  • Shantharam, Udupi/Bangalore

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Very sensible writing by M. Bhat. We have a similar situtation in Karnataka too. There are so many software giants in Bengalooru and in how many of those companies do you see a Kannadiga taking top post? When they start a company they say it will create jobs for locals but later you will see loads of people from other states 7 taking those jobs.

    Look at what is happening at MRPL in Mangalore. And these people have no respect towards the local language/traditions. Recently I happened to read an email from a software employee that said Ulsoor (in place in Bengalooru)belongs to Tamil Nadu. should we take this type of comments? Also, as for railways jobs, everybody is aware how a certain Indian railway hero ensured that all jobs Konkan railway go to only people of certain state

  • A joshi, Mumbai

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Lets' accept for ever that all kinds of divisive politics is bad. The problem is that the label of divisiveness is used slectiively. Its' OK to divide Hindu votes on the basis of caste. Taking a cue from that now Hindu groups are coming out with new divisive agendas. Lets' all unite and oppose honestly all kind of divisive agendas.

  • M.Bhat, Mumbai

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    I am Kannadiga living in Mumbai for many years and proud to say Mr.Raj is right in fighting for the rights of sons of soil. Infact every organisation in thier respective state has to fight for the rights of son of soil. We have seen for many years that local people are treated & exploited like second class citizens in Mumbai as milching cow by many unscrupulous people for thier selfish gain.

    You may see all top posts in Maharashtra government held by outsiders, why local people donot have intellegence and brain? Why step motherly treatment in thier own land? Do Bhayyas and Biharis tolerate this if happens to them in their own land? I have travelled widely all over India and seen Marathis and kannadigas are more tolerent and enterprising people than anybody else. What surprised me is people inspite of living in Mumbai for many years still donot consider themselves as Maharastrians and critisize Mr.Raj for his just and right cause for local people. I find many people justifing Mr.Raj's arrest as selfish because the cheap labour comes from Bihar/UP for thier selfish motive.

    Why not the disgusting leaders like laloo, Ram vilas paswan do something for the upliftment of Biharis in thier land? Laloo the clown even eaten fodder meant for poor animals in Bihar. All petty politicians like Laloo, Ram Vilas paswan, Amar Singh, Mulayam singh, who instigate people and creat hatred in the minds of people and support terrorsim for the sake of votes should be thrown into jail for life. These chors have looted the government treasury and stasted away the money in Swiss banks.

    They should be tried for treason as well. These politicians are so insensitve to their own peoples plight but quick to condemn others as their incompetency would be exposed by unemployed youth of Bihar/UP.

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves , Bannur, Puttur/Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Very disheartening to note destruction of public/private property ultimately the citizens have to bear the brunt. The judicial system is very liberal similar to our free-democracy.

    Anything and everything is O.K. There is no punishment for crimes from law enforcement. We have several laws obviously no country will have such laws in the world. But implementing through law enforcement is very lethargic perhaps corruptive. 200 Rupees robbed and found hard evidence. The judge imposed rigorous imprisonment plus fine.

    200 crores robbed from government exchequer (tax payer’s money) no evidence was found hence acquitted and the accused repeating same. Those political leaders with selfish motives capture power, fill their pockets and bags at the brim and accomplish nothing to poor/country. This Raj Thackeray with young blood is only a show-man and naïve in laws and thinks he is above law. Supposedly his movements and tong-slips are not curbed now (already late) he will be similar to Hitler.

  • Clive, Kuwait

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Our beloved country will not survive if all political parties play this game of divide and rule. I sincerely believe that we need a dictator at this time who can put all politicians behind bars, hang a few of them and their supporters so that the fear of law is instilled in them. Democracy has been taken for granted and raped on every occasion by these two penny politicians. Sorry for my militant views but I love my country more than these.....

  • anwar jamal, bhopal

    Thu, Oct 23 2008


  • Milind, Pune

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Dont you think Marathi people are closing their own Avenues By doing such activities. See I guess media need to write something favioring Marathis and telling them drawbacks of such activites. There a no Marathis behind this :. Actually these all are some unsatisfied, frustrated, illitarate youth, who dont have the courage to fight with the compititive world.

  • Suhail Ahmed, Mlore/Blore

    Thu, Oct 23 2008

    Nice Articlel by Dr Eugene D'Souza ...Thanks for sharing the facts.

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Title: Mumbai: Divisive Politics - A Curse to the Nation

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