The Shakha and its Neighbourhood

Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI:
The Shakha and its Neighbourhood

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This chapter describes the practices of the establishment and institutionalization of para-state Shiv Sena power through the creation of shakhas in the different localities of Mumbai. The accessibility and ‘localness’ of the shakhas—which form the party’s base and centre—create a ‘participatory modus’ conducive to short term spectacular action (instead of parliamentary politics) which is the party’s chief mode of operation. The shakhas encourage leisure activities and training in vocational skills for young people. Jobs have always been one of the main areas of attention of the Shiv Sena in general, and its shakhas in particular. The Shiv Udyog Sena—created by Raj Thakeray (nephew of Bal Thackeray) in 1997 advocating self-employment to the young—is also described. The various roles played by the shakhas and their pramukhs (e.g. mediation in local quarrels), how money is collected by a shakha, patronage through dalals and dadas, and how the party has successfully integrated itself into the institutional constellation of local governance (the Shiv Sena has ruled the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai since 1985) are also described. A discussion of how the shakha has become the provider of services—often those ignored by the civic authorities—to diverse interests in the city concludes the chapter.

Keywords: direct action; shakhas; Shakha patronage; pramukhs; dalals; Shiv Udyog Sena; Raj Thakeray; dadas; Mumbai; para-state; Shiv Sena; local governance

Chapter.  11411 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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