Last 7 days Raj Thackeray reiterated in Pune that caste politics in Maharashtra has escalated just after the start of the Nationalist Congress Get together (NCP) in 1999. In Maharashtra, caste and politics have generally been inseparable considering the fact that the formation of the point out in the 1960s, even as the mother nature of the two has transformed in the earlier two many years.
If the agitation for the formation of unified Maharashtra was led by Brahmin (leftist) management in the kind of SM Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore, and SA Dange, article-1960s saw Maratha domination above the electric power battle.
The development of Sanyukta Maharashtra also gave delivery to the expression “bahujans” (greater part of people). State’s initially main minister Yashwantrao Chavan emphasised two matters: That the condition would be governed by Marathi persons instead than Marathas (a reference to the Maratha community) and it would usher in an era of Bahujan Samaj.
By invoking Bahujans, Chavan wanted to imply non-elite, oppressed, non-Brahmin castes to send out a concept that the condition will be dominated by the represented masses. This also served him get a lot more acceptability among the numerous non-Maratha communities.
So when Raj Thackeray insisted that he had examine the writings of both of those Prabodhankar Thackeray (his grandfather) and Yashwantrao Chavan, he was reminding Sharad Pawar of how the NCP has arrive to be regarded as a party of Marathas.
For Maharashtra, its social-political fabric altered write-up the attack on the Bhandarkar Oriental Exploration Institute (Bori), when a bunch of individuals ransacked the manuscripts at internationally acclaimed institute in 2004. The assault was allegedly prompted by a controversial e book from American author James Laine – “Shivaji: A Hindu King in Islamic India”.
This improved the equation between Brahmins and Marathas. The attack preceded Lok Sabha elections the place parties like NCP built tries to obtain mileage by raking up the situation to whip up Maratha sentiments, to acquire on the BJP in buy to polarise votes. The party reaped wealthy dividends all through that, and subsequent elections, until the issue subsided.
Pawar and NCP in the meantime, have attempted to challenge on their own as occasion of bahujans, nevertheless it has experienced constrained achievement increasing roots amid OBCs and Dalits. The occasion has provided prominence to leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal (an OBC) and Madhukar Pichhad (chief of nomadic tribes) to woe the respective vote banks.
Pawar himself has on a number of events experimented with to venture himself as a bahujan chief as portion of his politics to target the BJP, which had a Brahmin experience as chief minister of Maharashtra (Devendra Fadnavis in between 2014 to 2019), to consolidate the bahujan vote financial institution in get to retain its stronghold of western Maharashtra.
So inquiring partymen to shun the Puneri pagdi (turban) and as an alternative use the Phule pagdi has suited Pawar in his politics. He selected to explain his stand through the pagdi episode saying, he is a follower of Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s philosophy of equality and wanted to convey that by means of this action (of shunning the Puneri Pagdi and instead sporting the Phule Pagdi).
Even though referring to Chavan, Raj Thackeray also spoke about his grandfather – Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, who begun a periodical Prabodhan (Awakening) in 1921, and arrived to be acknowledged as Prabodhankar.
Prabodhankar was attracted to social reformer Jyotiba Phule’s writings and the main theory of Phule’s Satyashodhak Samaj organisation, to do the job for the social upliftment of customers of the least expensive castes. His biography – Majhi Jeevangatha (Tale of My Everyday living), also talked about influences in his early lifestyle.
Although belonging to the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu caste, Prabodhankar wrote against the dominance of Brahminism and advocated eradicating caste hierarchies.