The Arrest of Raj Thackeray


Raj Thackeray, after a fallout with the Shiv Sena chief and his uncle, Bal Thackeray, started his own political party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in March 2006. Though the party has maintained a rightist stance like that of the Shiv Sena, Thackeray has claimed that his party will be more moderate, unlike the hardliner Hindutva stand of the Shiv Sena. However, Thackeray is a staunch conservative in his views regarding the protection of the interests of the indigenous Marathi speakers in the increasingly multi-cultural city of Mumbai.

As dawn broke on Monday in the commercial capital of the country, Mumbai was ready to face yet another consequence of the FIR launched against Thackeray. The protest rallies led by the Sena became violent throughout the state, as the leader was rumored to have been arrested under Section 153 (A) of the IPC , for promoting enmity between groups on the basis of their place of birth and their residence and under Section 153 (B) of the IPC for hurting national integration and misusing the right to freedom of speech.

The MNS chief was criticized for allegedly indulging in racist remarks on the migrant population from the North Indian States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and was asked not to address any public meeting, an order Thackerey refused to accept. The attacks on the North Indian community became quite frequent in the past week when Sena workers thronged the city, resorting to various forms of violence, in support of their President.

The latest issue of The Week, which depicted Thackeray as Hitler, been burnt out in public during such rallies. However, I fail to understand whether there is any similarity between the two, or is it just a political game played by yet another politician.

If we try to delve deeper into the issue, we would find that Adolf Hitler had once stated, “By warding off Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” His anti-Semitic ideas jolted the world, forcing man to witness some of the most atrocious horrors defying humanism. The crusade started by the MNS chief has quite the same motive. Hitler wanted a Jew-free Germany and Raj Thackeray wants a North Indian-free State. The Nazis followed anti-Semitism and the Sena believes in the theory of “Sons of the Soil”.

A country like India, one that is known for setting an example of standing together as a secular state, a politician assaults this very ideology by his racist remarks. More than 70% of the development of this state has been contributed by its migrant population. By making such statements, the Sena leader is doing nothing but promote hostility between groups on the basis of their origin, thereby giving rise to regional differences.

Secondly, Hitler followed the theory of the blue blood. Researchers say that he believed that the Germans were descendents of the Aryan race and were the purest of all. Jews, on the contrary, had polluted their pure state and hence had no right to live and dilute their purity. Thackeray, on the other hand, promotes the fact that Hindus belong to the purest race and therefore have their party motto as ‘garv se kaho hum Hindu hain’. The religious politics played back then is essentially the same which is being replayed now.

In his book, ‘Mein Kampf’, Hitler wrote that ‘All at once the Jew also becomes liberal and begins to rave about the necessary progress of mankind’. The same threat haunts the Sena; they feel that once the migrants outgrow the Maharastrian population, the locals will have no place to grow. They demand a migrant free state. The MNS chief has accused Amitabh Bachchan of promoting UP rather than Maharashtra, even though he is supposed to have achieved his power and fame from this state. Lastly, the most striking similarity between the two is their methodology of promoting their propaganda.

Research says that more than promoting Raj Thackeray’s ideology, it is a political game to sabotage the attempt made by the Shiv Sena’s president, Uddhav Thackeray, to woo the North Indian votes. The jigsaw puzzle laid down by the political parties may be beneficial for different sides, but the harmful consequences are faced only by the innocent.

The arrest warrant of the leader affected the state today in many ways — the public transport was stoned, and the administration could not control the protest rallies. The result of this warrant is quite predictable and evident — more violence is in store.

Aakanksha Ahluwalia

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