Thursday, May 30, 2024

Is there an agenda against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj- India’s Legendary Maratha Warrior King

Robin Bhuyan 

As we celebrate the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, i.e. Shivaji Jayanti, we would also love to explore something interesting. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is considered a legendary figure in Indian history, due to his war against Mughal expansion in India. Known not just due to his military prowess and strategic brilliance, Shivaji Maharaj is also known for his defense and revival of Hindu dharma. Throughout his life, he took measures to protect Hindu temples, especially those which were under threat from Mughals.  He is also known to revive ancient Hindu political traditions and conventions, and he replaced Persian at his court with Marathi and Sanskrit. He focused on protecting the interests of the Hindu community at a time where Mughal forces were at dominance. His leadership led to a resurgence of Hindu pride and cultural identity, and he had a commitment to ensuring justice in society, which endeared him to millions of Hindus from all over the country.

Despite his immense contribution to the country and our glorious culture, why is it that educational institutions outside of Maharashtra do not teach anything about Chhatrapati Shivaji? Majority of us may have read all about the Mughals and their “contribution”, but we rarely read about our kings and warriors who laid down their lives to protect our dharma and our people from the brutal tyranny of Mughal regime.

It is to be noted that the impact of Chhatrapati Shivaji does not stay limited to Maharashtra alone. He lived at a time when the Portuguese forces also presented a threat to India. While the Mughals had an indomitable infantry, the Portuguese excelled in naval power, and it was nearly impossible to defeat them at sea. Shivaji took steps to prevent their interference in indigenous affairs and formulate strategies to challenge Portuguese dominance in Indian coastal regions.

Another reason why Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is revered by millions is his effort to protect Hindu temples, especially from the Mughal forces. He implemented various military, strategic and diplomatic tactics to ensure that Hindu sacred sites were protected from destruction.

Despite his immense contributions, there is still a significant sum of people, who consider Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to be a “local hero” of the Marathas, rather than a national hero. If we look at our NCERT textbooks of India, before 2016, there used to be hardly any mention of the legendary Maratha warrior. Eventually, a chapter was added, after a lot of protests. There are also “scholars” who seem to undermine Shivaji’s legacy by portraying him as a figure of “Hindutva politics”. This brings us to the question- Is there any agenda to erase the existence of Shivaji Maharaj, as well as those similar to him? At the same time, are there political groups that try to use his legacy for their own agenda? It is important to make sure that the contributions of our national heroes are neither forgotten nor politicized!

Keep following Enigmatic Horizon if you wish to read more about our unsung heroes such as Lachit Barphookan, Banda Singh Bahadur, Rani Kittur Chenamma, Rani Durgavati etc.

 

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