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Things have been in flux in Maharashtra and western India off-late. I will not speak much about this region, things are happening on ground which I won't like to be spilled on english domain. Instead, I will talk of history.
Uddhav Thakré is much more than what people give him credit. Yes, he totally lacks the charisma of his father and his cousin, but the word is, he is very good at armchair politics and also considered a good "organizer" (of same "jaati" as Ahmad Patel). The rebuilding of Amar Jawan jyoti was one small gesture by Shivsena the day after, which won accolades throughout Maharashtra and beyond. Raj Thakré spoke in his rally what BJP spoke in a recent press conference - That, all rioters in the 11th August Azad maidan riots were Bangladeshis and Pakistanis living in Mumbai. Now this is a dual edged sword. This is where I will remain silent for next few years.
RT is compelled to look "secular" because Hindutva is taken. Hence he rants about "maharashtra-dharma". Ironically this term "Maharashtra-Dharma" is coined by Ramdas Swami lauding work of Shivaji Maharaj of establishing a Hindavi Swarajya (Indian/Hindu self rule). Ramdas Swami askes Shivaji Maharaj to establish "maharashtra-dharma" all over the nation. It is also a word-play of Maha-raashtra (greater nation = Indian dharma). All the previous interpretations of this term by all the scholars from any perspective (there have been commie attempts to analyze this term and give it a parochial context) leads to one and only conclusion - that it is synonymous to modern term - hindutva.
As the readers of this blog might have noticed, I like to view India in terms of river-basins. The difference in upper Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin and lower KG basin, since demise of Vijaynagar, is that upper KG basin (modern MH) is essentially much less parochial and casteist than lower KG (modern Andhra Pradesh and to some extent northern Karnataka). The ancestral clans which made up "reddy" is same as those who make up "Maratha". Both these names originate from Rathod rajput clan. But this clan-identity and caste-identity has been very loose in upper KG (in comparison to Rajputana and lower KG). Hence a brahmin could become a peshwa (there was resistance, but not that big). That brahmin peshwa in turn created alternate power centers from lower nomadic and agrarian castes (Holkars and Shindes). This Manthana although caused resentment in 96-clan Maratha power-centers, the model remained and even today remains "workable" to an extent. It is this loose caste identity, which helped them pour out of their native land and spread all over subcontinent.
The reason I am telling this is to explain the raison d'être of NCP. The loss of power to brahmin Peshwa was not accepted graciously by a section of 96-clan Maratha. However, there was and is another equally vocal and perhaps larger 96-clan Maratha section which does not care about "brahmin" background of Peshwa and cared/s only for MH-dharma of Shivaji and Ramdas. The more recent product of this ongoing manthana is emergence of neo-buddhist lobby. The idea of Shivaji links them all, but due to Phule's work they detest brahmins. The feet of Mahatma Phule are muddied about financial benefits he received from Brits. Perhaps even he figured that out and after a while, he simply stopped talking out this anger. His earlier works have been selectively used (akin to something that happened in Tamil Nadu as described by Rajiv Malhotra in his book, Breaking India) to bash brahmins and hence Hinduism.
Same goes for Babasaheb Ambedkar. Babasaheb's most vitriolic book "Riddles in hinduism" was mischievously published after his death. Perhaps it was something he did not want. I do not know whether becoming Buddhist was a good choice for MH based dalits, it would certainly have been a great move if dalits in AP and TN followed. Instead, they fell to Christian Missionaries. This convoluted logic of bashing an imaginary enemy (brahmin) began to take root in "96-clan" Maratha lobby backed by Pawar since mid 90s (when INC lost power in MH). The reason to bash brahmins is that, once one bashes Brahmin, one automatically becomes backward caste. "96-clan lobby" within NCP has been asking for reservations for 96-clan caste, because after 1992 this section of society, like 300 years ago started becoming militantly anti-muslim and hence anti-congress. One should talk to grass-root cadre of NCP, INC, RSS, Shivsena, MNS. Unless told which party they belong to, you won't know the difference.
However, the characters used for flogging are and were peshwas and other ministers of Shivaji and his successors. Add to that all the freedom fighters who happened to be brahmin. Then of course RSS. This resulted in formation of few NCP backed organizations - Maratha Seva Sangh (MSS), Sambhaji Brigade (SB) and Moolnivasi Sanghatana (MS). All their antics of desecrating and removing statues of brahmin ministers from museum in Pune, vandalizing BORI library and bashing brahmin professors who helped an Englishman James Laine to write a book on Shivaji and filty propaganda against brahmins in public forums). Overall, these guys haven't received public support on ground.
Although given birth by NCP, these orgs started becoming increasingly vocal and independent as they attracted numerous "Kancha Ilaiha" types. One thing led to another and suddenly we found these same orgs, supporting Mushrif's theory that IB-brahmins killed Karkare in 26/11, that Brahmin IB+CIA+Mossad doing all sorts of nasty things. Basically our home grown Paki conspiracy theorist - Zaid Hamid. We also find head of MSS, Lakshman Maané attending World council of Churches (WCC) conference and letting out his angst against brahminical hindus.
All the hatred towards Brahmins (either genuine arguments and pure motives like that of Phule and Ambedkar OR Paki logic like Sambhaji Brigade et al) eventually in fullness of time and inevitably results in them dancing on the tunes of Missionary or Mullah. The genuine non-brahminization of religion has been happening in upper KG and rest of Maratha controlled India for atleast past 1000 years. Curious readers may search for Varkari movement and Bhakti movement. This is a dharmik mobilization which brahmins too are integral part of. And I have never heard anything bad about any caste from people like these. It is only deracinated commies, who wish to have all changes in one-life (because rebirth is brahminical hoax), who support this blind hatred.
Shiv Sena symbolized that section of INC which was nationalist in 1960s and which could see through soviet infiltration happening in western coast. Here the word "Nationalist" needs to be read with caution. I basically mean centrist INC section which wishes to preserve the rule of Delhi based dynasty's version of Republic of India. The first thing which Shivsena did was eradication of communism which was taking root in Bengal, MH (two of the three armed revolutionary epicenters of freedom struggle, Punjab was already truncated after 47. In case of akhand bharat, HSRA et al would have sowed third seed in PN). Similar attempts were done by nationalist sections of INC in WB but in vain. In MH, however they were successful. Now, while commies maintain presence in mumbai in form of some trade unions, electorally they have been extinct for past 30 years. Once this achieved, Shivsena slowly jumped the bandwagon of Hindutva. The shift started in mid 80s after Shahbano incident and diplomacy of Pramod Mahajan. Bal Thakre is a Kaayasth by caste. His father was a staunch reformer and anti-brahminist, but from ideological school of Savarkar, not in lines of missionary influenced bashers. He played important role in creation of MH-state (and Gujarat) from Bombay presidency.
Shivsena, like earlier Marathas, is one of the few parties in India where caste is irrelevant. Promotion is given solely on clout and merit. At times here merit is determined by degree of nuisance value, but that is again regardless of caste. Hence it predominantly remained urban party. Dawood Ibrahim's one wrong move (of supporting ISI and Tiger Meman in 1993 bomb-blast) pushed him permanently in hands of ISI and associated higher forces which ensure Paki-existence. Things were relatively nice and dandy until then. There was slow rise of Hindu criminal networks which began competing with Islamic gangs (amar naik, pujari, gavli, manchekar, chhota rajan, bada rajan and many others).
Something forced the incumbent GoMH post 1993 to selectively eliminate non-Islamic criminal gangs. Many tips were openly given by Dawood to police and police obliged. What that thing was, cannot be pinpointed, only speculated - which I will desist doing. Now, Dawood is important part of legitimate businesses in city of dreams. Much like Michael Corleone slowly managed to enter and establish himself in legitimate business in Godfather trilogy. Yes, he maintains his clout in traditional businesses of smuggling, he is big player now in Bollywood, Shares, real estate, media and politics. Many accusations against Chiddu and his wife about participatory notes and BSE plunges need to be looked from this perspective as well. In short, it has now truly become multinational. This is what is really meant by the oft-repeated phrase "India is now much more integrated with global economic system, than China".
Meanwhile lets return to Indic forces in lower ranks of society and polity. They are scattered. Even NCP has now begun to abandon the monsters they created (MSS et al). The prominent dalit thinkers have started criticizing these orgs which has snatched the ideological backbone of these orgs. When dalits say, "the problem they have with brahmins is mostly ideological and not politico-socio-economical", the very basis of brahmin bashing falls apart. This happened after Shivsena pulled RPI (republican party of India) into alliance with BJP. Uddhav Thakré played a central role in this. While RPI does not win that many seats and is fragmented (like janta dal), many rural ambedkaraite dalits have become relatively more sympathetic towards RSS. Urban dalits, like others, have been in Shivsena camp for decades. In Maharashtrian urban scenario, caste does not matter at all.
With help (?) of Shivsena-BJP, Pawar has eliminated the preeminence of Delhi Sultan in MH politics. I do not know whether to thank him for this one thing OR curse him for many other things, because he did this at great cost. But he did not take MH on YSR path and kept the ties with mullah and missionary as "strictly business". So I decided to call him Nizamshah of Ahmednagar OR Adilshah of Bijapur who helped resist the Mughal juggernaut with help of Pre-Shivaji and post Shivaji Maratha chieftains respectively. Ultimately, both Nizamshah and Adilshah were enemies of Vijaynagar (the ideal Hindu promised land), but also were enemies of Mughals of Delhi. What were Maratha power centers doing then? constantly changing sides and ensuring that Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Qutubshah of Hyderabad (Golkonda), Mughal of Delhi keep fighting and none of them get to establish stable base in upper KG.
As I said, I will be silent about things happening in present and trends ahead. In hurry of being "ahead of curve" we at times forget to study the curve itself.
Instead, I will write about single greatest achievement of Shivaji as an administrator. Shivaji successfully eliminated the "mansabdari" system created by Akbar to divide Indic power. Nobody else showed this courage. It crept back largely due to pressures from Aurangzeb's Deccan invasion. But in his lifetime, he successfully implemented the model wherein officers and administrators were given salary and pension, did land reforms, eliminated feudalism. The fighting warlords which ensured the attrition of foreign ROP states, preserve the dharma in adversarial conditions, serve their purpose when "dharma" is established.
Indraaya Svaaha, Takshakaaya Svaaha....