Shiv Sena (Devanāgarī: शिव सेना Śīv Senā, meaning Army of Shiva, referring to Shivaji) is a right-wing political party in India founded on June 19, 1966 by Bal Thackeray, who is currently the president of the party. The Sena’s ideology is based on the concepts of ‘Bhumiputra’ (Marathi for “Sons of Soil”) and Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. The ‘Bhumiputra’ ideology refers to the Shiv Sena’s belief that Maharashtrians deserve more rights in Maharashtra than those who are not from Maharashtra.[1] However, in recent times, the Sena has laid more emphasis on Hindutva. In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004), it had 15 (out of 545) members. During that period, the party was part of the government coalition at the national level. Manohar Joshi, a Shiv Sainik, was the Speaker of Lok Sabha 2002-2004.

Shiv Sena has its employment cell Shiv Udyog Sena. Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (“Indian Worker’s Army”), a labour union, is affiliated to the Shiv Sena. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (“All India Students’ Army”) is the student wing of Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena

Origins of the Shiv Sena

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Shiv Sena poster in Kolkata


Shiv Sena poster in Kolkata

After the incorporation of the Bombay presidency in the Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra, Mumbai gained the status of economic capital of India and attracted a large number of migrants from other states. Within a short period of time, non-Maharashtrians, especially people belonging to the Gujarati and Marwari communities, owned the majority of the industry and trade in the city.[2]. Moreover, a large number people from South Indian migrated to Mumbai during this period and soon filled a number of white-collar jobs. The Shiv Sena was thus born out of a feeling of resentment about the ‘marginilization’ of the native Marathi people in their own state by people who had migrated from other states.[3] The Shiv Sena especially attracted a large number of disgruntled and often unemployed Maharashtrian youth, who were pulled towards Thackeray’s charged anti-migrant oratory[1].

Shift to Hindutva and Alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party

The Sena started placing more weight on the Hindutva ideology in the 1970s as the hallmark ‘sons of the soil’ cause was weakening.[1] With the shift to Hindutva, Thackeray increasingly made some controversial moves against Muslims and neighboring Pakistan.

The party has ruled the state in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The SS-BJP did however lose the 2004 state assembly election. The Sena is now the main opposition party in the state. The BJP-SS combine governs the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Traditionally the main strongholds of SS 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.

Party Structure

As the Pramukh (Chief) of the party Bal Thackeray takes all major decisions, and has 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 grassroot work. In recent times, Thackeray does not concern himself with day-to-day activities of the party, which is run by his youngest son Uddhav Thackeray.

The recently refurbished Sena Bhavan located in the Dadar locality in Mumbai has served as the headquarters of the Sena since 1976.[4] The Sena’s shakhas (local offices) 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.[5]

Achievements of the Shiv Sena

Claims of benefits to Maharashtrians

Supporters of the Sena have claimed that the party has benefited the Marathi Manus (Marathi man) in Mumbai[6], especially in the public sector.[2] However, the Sena has allegedly done little to solve the problem of unemployment facing a large proportion of Maharashtrian youth during its tenure, in contradiction to its ideological foundation of ‘sons of the soil.’[7]

Dharavi emancipation

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. [8] 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 [2] [9].

Improvements in infrastructure

In addition, the Sena has been active in trying to improve infrastructure in Maharashtra, particularly in the financial capital of Mumbai. Nearly 40 flyovers in Mumbai and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway were constructed under the Shiv Sena administration, which led to a significant infrastructural boom in Mumbai. While successive State governments have been guilty of neglecting Mumbai’s transport problems, the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government drastically altered the course. Moreover, by initiating a range of road schemes, the Sena unequivocally opted for private, motorised transport in preference to public transport.[10]

These moves have been a crucial factor in its increasing popularity within India and the promises of further improvement have boosted the Shiv Sena’s campaigns.

Controversial activities of the Shiv Sena

The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

Bhumiputra campaign

During its early years, the Sena occassionally resorted to violence and threats against people belonging to other Indian communities as part of its ‘sons of the soil’ ideology. In the early years of the Sena, the party’s widely circulated Marathi language-weekly Marmik was instrumental in inflamming the anti-migrant sentiment in Mumbai’s Maharashtrians.[11] Thackeray, then a cartoonist for the Free Press journal, initially targeted the growing number of South Indians by inflammatory slogans like “lungi hatao pungi bajao” (referring to the lungi, a Marathi word for the traditional men’s dress in South India)[1], and “yendu gundu” (a derogatory description of the Dravidian languages spoken by the people from South India).[12] During this period, Shiv Sainiks launched a string of attacks on the South-Indian owned Udupi restaurants that were becoming popular in Mumbai.[13] In a similar manner, Thackeray later targeted Gujaratis, Marwaris, Biharis, and people from North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh (‘UPites’) through his speeches.[14] Moreover, Thackeray threatened a number of local industrialists and businessmen with action unless they offered preferential employment to Maharashtrian people.The Sena thus succeeded in fulfilling a critical economic need of the Maharashtrians and in return was supported by a solid socio-political vote-bank.Industrialists rarely objected to the Sena’s clout—since Sena leader Thackeray’s draconian control over the employees would ensure a peaceful work environment [2].

Shiv Sainiks burn Valentine's Day cards in Kolkata to protest 'vulgar' western influences on Hindu culture


Shiv Sainiks burn Valentine’s Day cards in Kolkata to protest ‘vulgar’ western influences on Hindu culture

Party violence

The Sena is has been accused of being involved in coordinated political violence in order to propagate its ideologies and attack opposing ideologies. For this reason, it has sometimes been described as a militant right-wing group.

In the 1970s, Shiv Sena members were accused as responsible for killing Krishna Desai, CPI MLA from the Parel neighbourhood in Central Mumbai. However, the attackers were not indicted for murder.[15] On February 8, 2006, Sena workers, led allegedly by Sena’s student wing, attacked the office of the Zee TV channel, ransacking and damaging the office. The attack came in response to a satirical skit titled ‘Kaka mala Vachva’ ( Marathi for ‘Uncle, protect me’), staged during the awards function hosted by the channel at the Bandra-Kurla complex. The skit was reportedly a comment on the power tussle within the Thackeray family, which ultimately resulted in the exit of Thackeray’s nephew Raj from the party some time ago.[16]

In addition to its campaign against non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena protests have been known to break down into violence and force in public in the name of protecting Hindutva from what it deems as corrupting western influences. The party has been involved in organized protests, pickets, market shutdowns and strikes that have been known to degenerate into violent clashes and in some instances riots. For instance, Shiv Sena activists have attacked shops in Mumbai selling gifts for Valentine’s Day as part of the party’s campaign against ‘vulgar’ western influences on youth.[17] Likewise, in 1998, Shiv Sainiks attacked movie theatres in Mumbai screening director Deepa Mehta’s Fire, a highly controversial film based on a lesbian theme on the grounds that such films violated Hindu ethos and were immoral for Hindus to watch. As a result, the screening of the movie was withdrawn. Later, members of the Sena’s Varanasi branch launched aggressive protests against the filming of Mehta’s Water, on the grounds that such films were made with the designs of intentionally defaming Hinduism by portraying Varanasi and other holy cities in an innacurate and negative light.[18] As a result of the protests, the location for shooting the film was shifted to the neighbouring Sri Lanka.[19]

Allegations of violence against Muslims

The Shiv Sena has also been accused of orchestrating violence against Muslims. The Sena is widely alleged to have played an active role in the riots in Mumbai following the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 in the north-Indian holy city of Ayodhya. On 23 January 1993, the then Congress-led Government of Maharashtra appointed Justice B.N. Srikrishna (then a sitting Judge of the Bombay High Court) to head a one-man commission with the task of investigating the riots. The Commission indicted the Sena for its direct involvement in coordinating the anti-Muslim riots, and accused Thackeray of “commanding his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims.”[20] However, Thackeray was absolved of all criminal charges in July 2000 after seven years of judicial proceedings.[21]

Additionally, as part of their efforts to hamper any collaboration between India and the Muslim dominated Pakistan, Shiv Sainiks have resorted to damaging cricket pitchs in stadiums where the Indian and Pakistani cricket team were scheduled to play. The two most prominent instances of the Sena’s targeting pitches are the destruction of the pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in 1991 and the vandalizing of the Feroz Shah Kotla Grounds pitch in national capital Delhi in 1999.[22] The Sena orchestrated these activities in an atmosphere of growing tensions between the two nations.

Claims of tempered stance

In an interview in 1998, Thackeray claims to have tempered his stance on many issues that the Shiv Sena had with Muslims, particularly regarding the Babri Mosque or Ramjanmabhoomi issue [23], saying: “We must look after the Muslims and treat them as part of us.” In addition, some members of the Sena claim that the party does not discriminate on the basis of religion and is based on pure nationalism.[24]

Meenatai desecration protests

On July 9, 2006, after some unidentified miscreants desecrated the statue of Meenatai (the late wife of Bal Thackeray), Shiv Sainiks blocked roads at Dadar in central Mumbai and damaged a police outpost[25], and later launched statewide protests mired with isolated incidences of violence in Nagpur, Pune, Nashik and other cities in Maharashtra.[26]

Shiv Sena & MNS Clashes

On October 10, 2006 clashes erupted between supporters of Shiv Sena and Maharastra Navnirman Sena headed by Raj Thackery. It was alleged that workers of MNS had tore the posters bearing the photographs of Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackrey near the SIES college in Mumbai. Later as retaliation it was alleged that Shiv Sena workers brought down the hoardings with Raj Thackrey’s photo near the Sena Bhavan at Dadar.

As the news spread about the incident groups gathered near the Sena Bhavan and started pelting stones at each other. In this incident a policeman was injured and many supporters of both parties were injured. To restore normalcy in the situation the police fired tear gas shells at the mob.

Normalcy was eventually restored following police action and the appearance of Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin Raj Thackeray on the spot. Uddhav appealed to Sena workers to go back home [27].He said:

“The police will take necessary action. This is happening because many people are joining us from MNS. The defections have started and that is why they are resorting to such actions”[28].

The division chief of the Shiv Sena Milind Vaidya said that they had lodged a complaint with the local police against an MNS worker who was involved in the oncident. MNS general secretary Pravin Darekar, however, pinned the cause down to local elections in the SIES college. He alleges that the Sena is concerned about losing their hold over the colleges and that is why they are trying to color the issue, adding that the Sena’s allegations had no merit. Raj Thackeray asserts that MNS could not have vandalized the pictures, seeing as how he and his members revere Bal Thackeray[29].

Shiv Sena in literature

The novelist V. S. Naipaul mentioned the Shiv Sena in his book India: A Wounded Civilization: “There was one portrait. And interestingly, it was not of the leader of the Shiv Sena or of Shivaji, the Sena’s warrior god, but of the long-dead Dr. Ambedkar (…) Popular-and near-ecstatic-movements like the Shiv Sena ritualize many different needs. The Sena here, honouring an angry and (for all his eminence) defeated man, seemed quite different from the Sena the newspapers wrote about.”[30]

19 Responses to “Shiv-Sena”

  1. esha Says:

    please provide me with the email id of bal thackersay

  2. Raj Says:

    Sir ask Balasaheb thakrey to support candidature of young Sher singh parmar for post of president of india if you love jai maharashtra jai hindustan.go to for details.Sher singh parmar is as dashing as Balasaheb thakre himself.

  3. Satish Says:

    Esha, If you want some kind of communication to be done with Mr Balahasaheb Thackeray then you will have to send email to Mr sanjay Raut, excutive president of daily “saamana”, or you can use the link of shivsena’s website i.e. “”. If you need further info mail me at Thanks Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra !!

  4. vinita shirodkar Says:

    shri udhav Thackrey

    pl give me your email ID

    when u says that mumbai marathi mansachi & shivsena marathichi.
    then all people who fight for marathi u ” Shiv Sena” have to support that person.
    when i saw your news that marathi mansacha matter is only for shivsena. if some small people want to strugle for marathi U will not allow him to fight. it means that marathichi maktedari shivsenekadech aahe ka ?
    SIr, u have to suport Mr. Raj who is like our new SHIVAJIMAHARAJ.


  5. Yashwant Says:

    Dear Sh. Udhav Thakrey, I would like to bring one small poignant story of how a young Marathi girl is fighting a lone battle to save her father from the clutches of the Police – Mafia nexus in the North.
    Prashant Rahi, a native of Mumbai and a very senior journalist, was arrested on 17.12.2007 in Dehradun by Uttaranchal state police. He was allegedly charged of being a Maoist commander. The police illegally confined him and tortured him for five days after which he was shown arrested from the forests of Hanspur Khatta on 21st December.
    To give you a background, Prashant Rahi had been working in association with the local people’s struggles in Uttarakhand since last 17 years. He has been a fearless journalist by profession. Having started his career from Himachal Times, he moved to The Statesman and worked many years covering people’s issues. He is a Maharashtrian from Mumbai and pursued his education from Banaras Hindu University. He has been involved in people’s movements like the one for the creation of Uttaranchal state, and the agitation against Tehri Dam. The state police has picked him up because he was mobilising people against the land, liquor and builder mafia in Udhamsingh Nagar that works in tandem with the police. This incident is in continuance of the trend set by many innocent arrests in the last few months including that of Binayak Sen and some journalists in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh of targeting pro-people intellegentsia. The trend has become increasingly apparent in parts of the country where people’s movement is strong. We firmly believe that this state action is a part of efforts being carried out by the various state governments in the North India to secure hefty amount of funds from the central government in the name of combating naxalism. For this, it becomes imperative for them to prove that the state is inflicted with this insurgency.
    We call upon Mr. Udhav Thakrey to strongly condemn the arrest of Prashant Rahi and also call upon all the concerned individuals, civil society organisations, Amnesty, NHRC, journalist unions, writers’ unions, people’s movements and struggling groups to join hands in solidarity and support.
    Being the only child of Prashant Rahi, his daughter, Shikha Rahi, is fighting a lone battle to secure his release. Her website [] carries more information on the subject.

  6. Aman Says:

    Dear Mr. Bal Thakerey,
    We the students of ICSE who passed out our 10th standard board Examination are hereby asking you for a help to just sort out our problems because due to sudden and unhonest increasement of SSC result percentage we students who worked hard till 4 in the morning are not getting addmissions in good college. We are seeking for your help PLEASE HELP US!


    shri balasaheb,
    i request you to published SAMANA in gujarati language as soon as possible. so that every gujarati will know you and you thoughts.our gujarat daily no given any news for shivsena. please look in to the matter seriosly.
    jai jai maharashtra apula.

  8. Arati Kamble Says:

    Shri balasaheb,
    Mi ek marathi mulagi aahe. Pan aamhala aaj nokari sathi vanvan bhatkav lagat aahe. Mi B.Com aahe tari sudha mala nokari nahi. Mi swata MMRD cha aarj kela hota tasach SBI ekadun aamhala ek hi call letter aalele nahi aamhi kaay karu. Pan aamcha tumhala puran pane pathimbha aahe.tumhi je marathi mansa sathi je kaam hati getale aahe ,te kaam molache aahe,te kaam karat aasatana jya aatana sahan karavya lagalya tyach yatana aamhala kaam nasalya mule sahan karavya lagata aahe.hyach aapan vichar kara va.
    Aapali Ek Marathi Mulagi
    Jai Maharashtra

  9. anand Says:

    Raj Saheb,
    mi kahi varshya pasana zenith computers ltd madhe kamal ahe , paan aata ithe mala asalele south anai other state che loka far tras deatat karan mi ata ethe senior ahe paan mala mazya seniors kadun resin denyaxha sarakha dabav yeto ahe me khupch manasik tanawakhali ahe tari me tumhala vinanti karato ki , apan ya gosti kale lakshya deoon mazya sarakhya marathi manasal madat karavi.


  10. paavan panchal Says:

    jai maharastra
    i need shivsena’s office address where someone listen my problem. plz help me
    thanking you

    paavan panchal

  11. sandip shivajirao mohite Says:

    i would like to have the email id of Shiv Sena as i have to pass on important election trategy to my beloved party.

  12. sandip shivajirao mohite Says:

    iam a small marda marathi yodha want to be with shiv Sena with all the good & bad times which i have always done in my life. i lpve, respect Shri Balasaheb from deep of my heart & soul. I want to convey been a small man but with big vision.
    waiting in anticipication.
    Jai Maharashra.

  13. Raghuraj Pratap Singh Says:

    Shiv Sena is a national party and always fight for Hinduism

  14. लक्ष्मीकांत पेलमहाले Says:

    बाळासाहेब बाणशय्येवरील भीष्म – राज

    शिवसेनाप्रमुख बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांचे चित्र काढायचे झाले तर अजूनही मी त्यांना बाणशय्येवर पडलेल्या भीष्म पितामहांसारखेच दाखवेन… हे उद्गार आहेत मनसेचे अध्यक्ष राज ठाकरे यांचे ! बाळासाहेबांची अवस्था आज तशीच आहे. वाईट वाटते मला. पण काय करणार त्याला ? अशी खंतही त्यांनी व्यक्त केली.

    विधानसभा निवडणुकीत महाराष्ट्र नवनिर्माण सेनेला मिळालेल्या यशामुळे राज ठाकरे सध्या खुषीत आहेत. त्यांच्या ‘ कृष्णकुंज ’ या निवासस्थानी सध्या गावागावातून आलेल्या मनसैनिकांचा अखंड ओघ सुरू आहे. अशा विजयी वातावरणात ‘ मुंबई मिरर ’ या इंग्रजी दैनिकाला दिलेल्या मुलाखतीत राज ठाकरे बोलत होते.

    निवडणुकीतील यशानंतर बाळासाहेबांचा आशीर्वाद घ्यायला जाणार का, अशी विचारणा केली असता राज म्हणाले की, माझी इच्छा आहे, पण जाऊ शकत नाही. ते लीलावती हॉस्पिटलमध्ये दाखल असताना त्यांना भेटायला गेलो होतो. देवाच्या कृपेने आता त्यांची तब्येत खूपच चांगली आहे.

    राज आणि उद्धव ठाकरे एकत्र असते तर महाराष्ट्रावर राज्य करण्याची इतर कुणाची बिशाद नव्हती, असे वक्तव्य मनसेचे आमदार बाळा नांदगावकर यांनी केले आहे. त्याबाबत छेडले असता, मी काय करू शकतो ? तो आता भूतकाळ झालाय. इतर काही विषयावर बोलूया… असे राज म्हणाले. ठाकरे प्रत्यक्ष निवडणुकीला कधीच का उभे राहत नाहीत, या प्रश्नावर ते म्हणाले की, तसे काही नाही. मला व्यक्तिशः अजून तरी तशी गरज वाटत नाही. जेव्हा कधी तसे वाटेल तेव्हा नक्की निवडणूकही लढवेन, असे त्यांनी स्पष्ट केले.

    पहिल्याच झटक्यात मनसेचे १३ आमदार निवडून आले. समाधानी आहात का, असे विचारले असता राज म्हणाले की, आणखी काही विजयी झाले असते तर मला आवडले असते. विलेपार्ल्यातून शिरीष पारकर. ठाणे आणि विदर्भातून एखादी सीट. पण १३ काही वाईट आकडा नाही. अगदी प्रामाणिकपणे काम करणारा एक आमदारही पुरेसा आहे. छगन भुजबळांना आठवा… १९८५ ला ते शिवसेनेचे एकुलते एक आमदार असताना त्यांनी विधानसभा गाजवली होती. माझे आमदार तसेच आक्रमक असतील…

    केवळ मराठी माणसाचा मुद्दा घेऊन सत्ता मिळवता येईल का, या प्रश्नावर राज उत्तरले की, का नाही ? महाराष्ट्रातील ११ कोटी जनतेपैकी साडे आठ ते नऊ कोटी जनता मराठी आहे. मी त्यांची मते मागणारच. आणि सत्ता प्राप्ती एवढेच काही आमचे अंतिम ध्येय नाही. तर सत्ता तुम्ही कशी राबवता, हे जास्त महत्त्वाचे आहे.

    शिवसेनेला सत्ता मिळवण्यासाठी हिंदुत्वाचा आधार घ्यावा लागला होता. तुम्ही मराठीच्या मुद्यावर कायम राहणार का, असे विचारले असता राज ठाकरे म्हणाले की, अर्थातच. मी मराठी माणसांची मते मागतोय, याचा अर्थ मी अमराठी माणसांचा द्वेष करतो असे नाही. माझे अनेक मित्र आहेत. वागीश सारस्वत आमचा उपाध्यक्ष आहे. अखिलेश चौबे माझे वकिल आहेत. सुरेंद्र गुप्ता माझा मित्र आहे… ते मराठी भाषेचा, मराठी संस्कृतीचा आदर करतात. मी अमिताभ बच्चनबद्दल जेव्हा बोलतो तेव्हा गैरसमज पसरवले जातात. मी त्यांचा मोठा फॅन आहे. ब्लॅकमध्ये तिकिटे घेऊन त्यांचे सिनेमा पाहिलेत. मी अमिताभना कधीच यूपीवाला समजत नाही. त्यांनी स्वतःला तसे का समजून घ्यावे ? मी छटपूजेलाही कधी विरोध केला नाही. तो एक धार्मिक सण आहे, मी त्याविरोधात नाही. पण त्यानिमित्ताने जे राजकारण होते ना, त्याला माझा विरोध आहे. बिहार सोडला तर जगाच्या पाठीवर कुठेही छटपूजा होत नाही. मुंबईतले तीन समुद्रकिनारे सोडले तर महाराष्ट्रातही कुठे छटपूजा होत नाही… माझे हे म्हणणे आता लोकांना पटू लागले आहे. परप्रांतियांनीही म्हणे मुंबई घडवली. मला हे लॉजिक समजत नाही. मग त्यांनी आपापल्या राज्यात मुंबई का घडवली नाही ? इथे रोजीरोटी आहे म्हणूनच लोक इथे येतात ना… मुंबई भारताची आर्थिक राजधानी आहे, हे मला मान्य नाही. ती महाराष्ट्राची राजधानी आहे…

  15. madhav kale Says:

    I think we need fight for corruption not only Shivsena but MNVS also in future

  16. Prabhat Chauhan Says:

    maine hamesha se suna hai ki mumbai behad advance city hai vaha ke log kafi advance soch rakhte hai lekin kuch dino se jo Raj ki trf se kaha ja raha hai usse mujhe kafi dukh hua kuki vo to 1 behad hi choti soch vali baat kah rahe hai aur mumbai ke log use pasand kar rahe hai. isse to bilkul saf hai ki vaha ke log behad chote soch ke log hai.I am very Sad.

  17. V.C. Says:

    Reblogged this on The Gnostic Watchtower and commented:
    Shiv Sena (Army of Shiva, i.e. Shivaji the founded of the Marathi monarchy) is a social nationalist party devoted to protecting the rights of locals against foreign economic and religious discrimination.

  18. harshvardhanverma Says:

    very valuable read.

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