Shiv Sena

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For political parties in Nepal, see Shivsena Nepal and Nepal Shivsena.
Shiv Sena
Leader Uddhav Thackeray
Chairperson Uddhav Thackeray
Founder Bal Thackeray
Founded 19 June 1966
Headquarters Shivsena Bhavan,
Ram Ganesh Gadkari Chowk,
400 028
Student wing Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS)
Youth wing Yuva Sena
Women's wing Shiv Sena Mahila Aghadi
Ideology Marathi nationalism
Political position Far-right
Colours Orange
ECI Status State Party[3]
Alliance National Democratic Alliance
Seats in Lok Sabha
18 / 545
Seats in Rajya Sabha
4 / 245
Seats in Legislative Assembly
63 / 288
Election symbol

Indian Election Symbol Bow And Arrow.png

Bow and Arrow
Politics of India
Political parties

Shiv Sena (meaning Shivaji's Army),[4] is a Marathi regionalist[5] and Hindu nationalist political organisation in India founded on 19 June 1966 by political cartoonist Bal Thackeray. The party originally emerged from a movement in Mumbai demanding preferential treatment for Maharashtrians over migrants to the city. The party has a powerful hold over the Bollywood film industry.[6] It is currently headed by Thackeray's son, Uddhav Thackeray. Members of Shiv Sena are referred to as Shiv Sainiks. The group has been seen by some as a terror group,[7][8] and has been directly linked to the 1970 communal violence in Bhiwandi, 1984 Bhiwandi riots,[9] and violence in the 1992-1993 Bombay riots.[10]

Although the party's primary base is still in Maharashtra, it has tried to expand to a pan-Indian base. In the 1970s, it gradually moved from solely advocating a pro-Marathi ideology, to one supporting a broader Hindu nationalist agenda,[11] as it aligned itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is referred to as an "extremist[12][13] and "chauvinist" party,[14][15] as well as a fascist party.[16][17] The party has taken part in numerous Maharashtra state governments at several times and was a coalition partner in the National Democratic Alliance cabinet that ruled India between 1998–2004, it is part of the incumbent NDA coalition that came to power in the 2014 general elections.



A poster from Shiv Sena campaign against Valentine's Day in Kolkata

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 community owned the majority of the industry and trade enterprises in the city.[18] 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 Bal 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.[19]

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. In its early days, the Shiv Sena followed an anti-South agenda and its slogan was "Pungi Bajao, Lungi Bhagao" ("Blow the flute, and drive the lungis or South Indians away").[20][21] Shiv Sena cadres became involved in various attacks against the South Indian communities, vandalising South Indian restaurants and pressuring employers to hire Marathis.[11]

1995 election[edit]

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.[22]

Alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party[edit]

The Sena started placing more weight on the Hindutva ideology in the 1970s as the hallmark 'sons of the soil' cause was weakening.[23]

The party ruled the state in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 1995–99. The Sena is the opposition party in the state along with the BJP since 1999. The Shiv Sena-BJP combine governs the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Traditionally the main strongholds of Shiv Sena have been Mumbai and the Konkan coastal areas. However, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections the result was reversed. The Shiv Sena made inroads in the interior parts of the state, while suffering losses in Mumbai.

Raj Thackeray split[edit]

In July 2005 Narayan Rane was expelled from the party, which sparked internal conflict in the party. In December the same year Raj Thackeray, Bal Thackeray's nephew, left the party.[24] Raj Thackeray later founded a new party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). After the split, clashes have occurred between followers of the two Senas.

Although the MNS is a break-away group from the Shiv Sena, the party is still based Bhumiputra ideology. When unveiling the party in an assembly at Shivaji Park he said, that everyone is anxious to see what will happen to Hindutva.[25] When unveiling, he also said, "I shall elaborate on the party's stance on issues like Hindutva, its agenda for development of Maharashtra and the significance of the party flag colours at the 19 March public meeting."[26]

Raj Thackeray considers himself an Indian nationalist (not just a regionalist) and claims that the Congress is two-faced.[27]

After Bal Thackeray[edit]

Uddhav Thackeray had become the party's leader in 2004, although Bal Thackeray continued to be an important figurehead. After the demise of Bal Thackeray on 17 November 2012 at 3.33 p.m, Uddhav became the sole Pramukh (party leader). However, Uddhav has refused to take the "Pramukh" title.[28]

Party structure[edit]

As the Pramukh (Chief) of the party, Bal Thackeray took all major decisions and claimed that he ran the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government of 1995 to 1999 with what he called a 'remote control.' Activists and members of the Shiv Sena call themselves Shiv Sainiks, and carry out most of the party's grassroots work. During his last days, Bal Thackeray did not concern himself with day-to-day activities of the party, which was run by his youngest son Uddhav Thackeray. Aditya Thackeray, son of Shivsena Pakshapramukh Uddhav Thackeray is working as the Youth Leader of the party.

The recently refurbished Sena Bhavan located in the Dadar locality in Mumbai has served as the headquarters of the Sena since 1976.[29] The Sena's shakhas (Branches) spread throughout the state of Maharashtra as well as in selected locations in other states decide upon most of the local issues in their particular cities or towns.[23]

Chief Ministers[edit]

Electoral performance[edit]

Election Candidates Elected Votes Source
1971 Lok Sabha 5 227,468 [30]
1980 Lok Sabha 2 129,351 [31]
1989 Lok Sabha 3 1 339,426 [32]
1989 Goa Assembly 6   4,960 [33]
1991 Uttar Pradesh Assembly 14 1 45,426 [34]
1991 Lok Sabha 22 4 2,208,712 [35]
1993 Madhya Pradesh Assembly 88 75,783 [36]
1996 Lok Sabha 132 15 4,989,994 [37]
1996 Haryana Assembly 17 6,700 [38]
1997 Punjab Assembly 3 719 [39]
1998 Lok Sabha 79 6 6,528,566 [40]
1998 Delhi Assembly 32 9,395 [41]
1998 Himachal Pradesh Assembly 6 2,827 [42]
1999 Lok Sabha 63 15 5,672,412 [43]
1999 Goa Assembly 14   5,987 [44]
2000 Orissa Assembly 16   18,794 [45]
2001 Kerala Assembly 1   279 [46]
2002 Goa Assembly 15   [47]
2004 Lok Sabha 56 12 7,056,255 [48]
2009 Lok Sabha 22 11 6,828,382 [49]
2014 Lok Sabha 20 18 10,262,981 [50]
2014 Maharashtra Assembly 63 10,235,972

Mumbai municipal corporation elections 2012[edit]

The Shiv Sena, BJP, in alliance with RPI (Athavale) retained power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, India's richest civic body with an annual budget of INR210 billion (US$3.4 billion).[51] The Shiv Sena, BJP, RPI (Athavale) alliance has won 75, 32, and 1 seat respectively, a total of 108. About 60% or 44 of the 75 SS corporators are women, the SS lost 9 seats, whereas BJP gained 4 seats as compared to 2007. One of SS corporators is Anusha Valpadasi a female student, in her early twenties, from ward no 176 Dharavi.[52][53][54]

Other activities[edit]

Slum Rehabilitation[edit]

The Sena claims to have played a central role in the emancipation of 500,000 slum dwellers in the Dharavi area of Mumbai, the largest slum in Asia.[55] However, the state's policy of giving free houses to slum dwellers has been mired in controversy ever since it was introduced by the Shiv Sena-BJP government a decade ago.[56][57]

Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti[edit]

The Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti is affiliated with the Shiv Sena.[58] It advocates for the preservation of rights of employment for Maharashtrians in Maharashtra.[58]

Cricket with Pakistan[edit]

In December 2003, Shiv Sena activists damaged the cricket pitch of the Agra Sport Stadium which was supposed to host the cricket match between Pakistan and India.[59] In April 2005, Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena, the students wing of Shiv Sena attempted to prevent the India-Pakistan one day International match being held in New Delhi. The protester's spokesman demanded:

Attack on the media[edit]

The offices of Hindi and Marathi TV news channels IBN-7 and IBN-Lokmat in Mumbai and Pune were attacked and vandalised by Shiv Sena activists on 20 November 2009. Shivsainik slapped IBN7's senior editor Ravindra Ambekar and then attacked IBN-Lokmat's editor Nikhil Wagle.[61] Shiv Sena attributed the attacks to the criticisms of Bal Thackeray by the news channel over his remarks on Sachin Tendulkar. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut described the attacks as "spontaneous". Shiv Sena spokespersons tried to justify the attacks and refused to apologize for their acts of violence.[62][63]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Books — Marathi

  • Bhosale, Harshad (2004): 'Mumbai Mahanagarpalika Nivadnuk' in Palshikar Suhas and Nitin Birmal (eds), Maharashtrache Rajkaran Pratima, Pune.
  • Maharashtratil Sattantar, Vora Rajendra and Suhas Palshikar, Granthali, Mumbai 1996
  • Bhosale, Harshad(2006),"Mumbaichya Vikasacha Arthik, Rajakiya Ani Samajik Sandarbha",in Bi monthly APLA PARAM MITRA, Sept–October 2006,year 5,issue-3.

Books — English

  • Ethnicity and Equality: The Shiv Sena Party and Preferential Policies in Bombay, MF Katzenstein – 1979 – Cornell University Press
  • Warriors in Politics: Hindu Nationalism, Violence, and the Shiv Sena in India, S Banerjee – 2000 – Westview Press
  • The Sena Story, Purandare Vaibhav, Business Publications, Mumbai,(1999)
  • The Charisma of Direct Action: Power, Politics, and the Shiv Sena, JM Eckert – 2003 – Oxford University Press
  • Nativism in a Metropolis: The Shiv Sena in Bombay, D Gupta – 1982 – Manohar (OUP 1996)
  • Shiv Sena: An Assessment, Palshikar, Suhas, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Pune, Pune (1999)
  • Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, 'Power', chapter 3, Mumbai, Mehta, Suketu, Penguin Books(2005)


  • The Rebirth of Shiv Sena: The Symbiosis of Discursive and Organizational Power, Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, Uday Singh Mehta, Usha Thakkar, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 56, No. 2 (May 1997), pp. 371–390
  • Saffronisation of the Shiv Sena, J Lele — Bombay: Metaphor for Modern India, 1995
  • Cultural Populism: The Appeal of the Shiv Sena, G Heuzé — Bombay: Metaphor for Modern India, 1995
  • The Shiv Sena's new avatar: Marathi chauvinism and Hindu communalism, R Sardesai – Politics in Maharashtra, 1995
  • The Rhetoric of Hindu Nationalism: A Narrative of Mythic Redefinition, Robert C. Rowland, Abhik Roy; Western Journal of Communication, Vol. 67, 2003
  • Regenerating Masculinity in the Construction of Hindu Nationalist Identity: A Case Study of Shiv Sena, Abhik Roy, Communication Studies, Volume 57, Number 2 / June 2006,
  • The Feminization of Violence in Bombay: Women in the Politics of the Shiv Sena, S Banerjee – Asian Survey, 1996
  • The vernacularisation of Hindutv: The BJP and Shiv Sena in rural Maharashtra, Thomas Blom Hansen Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 30, No. 2, 177–214 (1996)
  • The Shiv Sena: A Movement in Search of Legitimacy R Joshi – Asian Survey, 1970
  • Origins of Nativism: The Emergence of Shiv Sena in Bombay MF Katzenstein – Asian Survey, 1973
  • Sardesai, Rajdeep 'Shiv Sena's New Avatar: Marathi Chauvinism and Hindu Communalism' in Usha Thakkar and Mangesh Kulkarni (eds), Politics in Maharashtra, Himalaya, Mumbai, pp 127–46 (1995)
  • " City of Mongrel Joy": Bombay and the Shiv Sena in Midnight's Children and The Moor's Last Sigh, R Trousdale – JOURNAL OF COMMONWEALTH LITERATURE, 2004


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  61. ^ In the name of their Boss, Sena goons attack IBN TV channels
  62. ^ If you target us, we will attack: Shiv Sena leader

External links[edit]