Chapter

Vada Pav and Zhunka Bhakar: The Shiv Sena's Electoral Expansion and the Economic Informalization of Mumbai

Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195660449.003.0008
Vada Pav and Zhunka Bhakar: The Shiv Sena's Electoral Expansion and the Economic Informalization of Mumbai

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This chapter evaluates the context of Mumbai in which the Shiv Sena emerged, and the relationship between socio-economic developments in the city and the rise of the party. The author explores the Shiv Sena's aptness to deal with the economic de-structuring and re-structuring of Mumbai which began in the late 1980s. The consequences of the closing of textile mills (after strikes led by Datta Samant) and the relocation of the textile industry to the outskirts of Mumbai is described. Rising unemployment and the disintegration of social structures in the surrounding chawls resulted in the creation of ‘informal’ economies and ways of living (in slums like Dharavi), as well as the absence of the State. This allowed the Shiv Sena greater space to exercise its influence as a supplier of services not rendered by the State. The unemployed joined the shakhas of the Shiv Sena and were exhorted to become self-employed. The Maharashtrian male was encouraged to become the ‘self made man,’ and migrants were accused of being the ‘enemy.’ The author shows how in its serving the economic, emotional, and political needs of Mumbai’s various disenfranchised groups has led to the Sena’s electoral successes.

Keywords: expansionary electoral logic; Shiv Sena; Mumbai; disenfranchised groups; chawls; ‘self made man’; shakhas; economic motives; Dharavi; electoral successes

Chapter.  16617 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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