Shiv Sena

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After the Independence of India in 1947, regional administrative divisions from the colonial era were gradually changed and states following linguistic borders were created. Within the Bombay Presidency a massive popular struggle was launched for the creation of a state for the Marathi-speaking people. In 1960 the presidency was divided into two linguistic states, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Moreover, Marathi-speaking areas of the erstwhile Hyderabad state were joined with Maharashtra. Mumbai, in many ways the economic capital of India, became the state capital of Maharashtra. On one hand, people belonging to the Gujarati and Marwari communities owned the majority of the industry and trade enterprises in the city.[1] On the other, there was a steady flow of South Indian migrants to the city, and who came to take over many white-collar employments.

In 1960 Balasaheb Thackeray, a Mumbai-based cartoonist, began publishing the satirical cartoon weekly Marmik. Through this publication he started disseminating anti-migrant sentiments. On 19 June 1966, Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena as a political organisation. At the time of its foundation, the Shiv Sena was not a political party as such.[2]

Early years

The political approach of the Shiv Sena was centred around the concept of bhumiputr (sons of the soil), the idea that Maharashtra inherently belonged to the Marathi community. The Shiv Sena was thus born out of a feeling of resentment about the relative marginization of the native Marathi people in their own state by people whom they perceived as outsiders.[3]

The Shiv Sena especially attracted a large number of disgruntled and often unemployed Marathi youth, who were attracted by Thackeray's charged anti-migrant oratory. Shiv Sena cadres became involved in various attacks against the South Indian communities, vandalising South Indian restaurants and pressuring employers to hire Marathis.[4]

Another main characteristic of the early years of the Shiv Sena was the frequent struggles against communist trade unions. Prior to the formation of the Shiv Sena, the Communist Party of India played a dominant role in labour politics in Mumbai. The Shiv Sena was supported by elements inside the Indian National Congress, who hoped that the new organization would be capable of weakening the communist trade union influence. Soon Shiv Sena cadres were involved in a series of violent conflicts with the communist trade union activists. In 1970 the CPI MLA of Dadar, Krishna Desai, was assassinated. CPI charged the Shiv Sena for the murder, and held Thackeray as responsible for the act.

1995 election

The Shiv Sena-BJP combine won the 1995 Maharasthra state elections. After assuming state government power, Shiv Sena began to redress its organisation. A 'Shivsena Rajyapramukh Parishad' convention was held in Mumbai six months after the election. At the meeting a large number of local party leaders and representatives of various wings of the party participated. The meeting filled the function of reorienting the party organisation to adapt to the new tasks of being a party in government.It renamed Bombay as Mumbai.[5]

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