Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A fascinating article by Anand Vaidya

A subtle Alignment (via 3quarksdaily) which among other things explains the rise of Shiv Sena. Excerpts:
" It’s easy for progressives to forget that collectives exist on both the left and the right, and that the decline of left-wing collectives doesn’t necessarily result in the absence of collectives more generally. History in Mumbai and elsewhere has shown that it doesn’t take long for empty space to be occupied by other groups, often from the political right.
The Sena, which has explicitly invoked European fascist movements from the outset, describes itself in its founding documents as a “volunteer organization” rather than a political party or union; it was created to defend a Marathi claim to Maharashtra and to Mumbai. This claim was initially defended at the expense of South Indians and Communists. Later, as an ideology of Hindu nationalism became ascendant in national politics, the Marathi claim to Maharashtra and Mumbai was made at the expense of Muslim inhabitants. The Sena spread through the city’s neighborhoods, establishing shakhas(neighborhood organizations) in zopadpattis and chawls. For the Marathi-speaking people they represented, the shakhas succeeded in obtaining services from local officials that the state had never before provided: water connections, electricity, even employment. For non-Marathi speakers, the Sena was at best exclusionary; at worst, it boycotted their stores, harassed them on the street, and smashed their windows.
The failure of the 1982 strike killed both the mills and the unions, leaving the city with an even larger unemployed population and base for Thackeray’s Sena. As Mumbai’s economy shifted from manufacturing to real estate, and as mills and slums were cleared for redevelopment, the Shiv Sena emerged as the party with the strongest local organization, the one most able to both represent neighborhoods under threat and profit from their clearance."
Much more in the article, which is supposed to be on Katherine Boo's book  'Behind the Beautiful Forevers'

No comments: