October 26, 2008

life in general: goondaism recycled

Exactly a week back, fanatic followers of Raj Thackeray (Raj T), the founder of the split faction of Shiv Sena (SS), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), brutally attacked some Railways-exams' giving students who had come from outside Bombay for giving the exams. Shocking though it was to see it happen, it was not the first time Raj T was stage managing such attacks against north Indians. This has been happening since about two years now. But this time the hue and cry was so much that next day, Raj T was arrested by the police and kept in the police lock-up for 24 hours. This was a simple implementation of the rule of the law and MNS hooligans went on a rampage holding Bombay, Thane, Nasik, Nagpur and Pune cities to ransom.
My heart goes out to the ones who, in the past many months, have been injured—or whose shops/property have been damaged—by MNS goons. But I don't get much shocked anymore by such violence. This is India's—and in this particular case—Bombay's and Maharashtra's ugly truth.
Raj T and his MNS have now replaced SS in such violent and extortionist techniques. Shiv Sena, under an ailing and aged Bal Thackeray is more or less dead now. The rowdyism of SS is now the rowdyism of MNS. Raj T is the son of Shrikant Thackeray (Bal T's brother) and Kunda (sister of Bal T's wife Meena).
During 1966-7, Bal Thackeray, and his newly-formed Shiv Sena, rose in prominence due to their violent agitation against south Indians. Just like Raj T is now building his political capital with the huge Maharashtrian voter base using the loss of jobs for locals due to north Indians, so had Bal Thackeray used the same excuse (but against south Indians) to build his fledgling SS into a larger political party. Subtle, yet shameless, encouragement and handing out respect to such goon parties is given by Congress party to Bal T in the 1960s and 70s and now Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance to Raj T. The Bombay police, and Maharasthra police, are, as always, puppets in the hands of the ruling parties (be it Congress-NCP, or SS-BJP, or in the future a potential MNS-BJP alliance).
The south/north Indians issue is just a ploy to gain political capital and Bal T never meant it to be permanent nor does Raj T mean it to be now. Sooner or later, these goons come back to Hindu identity politics. Two decades after his first agitation, Bal T, turned his violence against Muslims (the horrendous SS violence on Muslims in January 1993). I do not rule out Raj T doing the same 5-10-15-20 years from now. Such is one of India's ugly faces. The mindless violent reaction that one is currently seeing in Bihar and Jharkhand to MNS is another one. In fact, it is not just Bombay and Maharashtra where one such sees dirty political games. Go to Madras, Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Pune etc and one gets to see the non-locals being treated unpleasantly.

(An update on the above is in my 2 Nov '08 post)

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