On December 30, 2022, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) leader Ajit Pawar while proposing that the Brave Child Award be named after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj stirred a controversy. In his speech, he claimed that Maharaj was Swarajyarakshak and not Dharamveer as some people hold him to be.
“I would like to say it again that we purposefully call Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Swarajya Rakshak. There are a few people who call him Dharmaveer. The king was never a Dharmaveer. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj never upheld Dharma anywhere in his life. Shivaji Maharaj also established a Hindavi Swarajya”, OpIndia reports quotes Pawar as saying.
The NCP leader added that even though people repeatedly refer to Shambu Raje as Dharamveer but when he was in the state government he would always ask people to call him Swarajyarakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. Pawar was insinuating Chhatrapati Shivaji’s kingdom was not based on Dharmic principles and that self-rule was the main motive behind his movement.
BJP protested against the statement of Ajit Pawar. Additionally, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis also replied to the NCP in the assembly. “Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj protected Dharma, Swadharma, and Hinduism. Why did Aurangzeb kill him? Sambhaji Maharaj was asked to convert but he did not agree. He was sacrificed for his country, his own land, and his own religion. His body was literally cut into pieces. However, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj did not give up the language of Swadharma, Swarashtra i.e. nation. So no matter how hard Ajit Pawar and people who share his thoughts try, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was not only a Swarajya Rakshak but he was also a Dharmaveer”, said an angry Fadnavis.
Pseudo-secular politicians always paint Hindu rulers as secular and where secularization isn’t possible they simply cancel the ruler. Despite evidence to the contrary in the case of the first two Maratha Chhatrapatis, there have been repeated attempts to delink them from Hindu Dharma. Earlier, Ajit Pawar’s uncle Sharad Pawar and cousin Supriya Sule indulged in new propaganda denying the role of Swami Samarth Ramdas as the Guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Historian GB Mehandale detailed the Hindu Samrajya of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who erected the Maratha empire as Hindavi Swaraj. Accounts narrated by his contemporaries and those close to him are ample proof that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a Hindutvawadi.
Sant Ramdas refers to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as ‘Dharma Rakshi’ (saviour of Dharma and saviour of “Dev, dharma, gau (cattle) and Brahman”. When cattle and brahmins have been mentioned explicitly can there be any doubt that the Dharm being referred to here is none other than Hindu Dharma? In the first part of our series on Chhatrapati Shivaji, we have mentioned how Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje seethed with anger at the sight of cow slaughter during his stay at Bijapur.
The likes of Pawar would be disappointed to read what Chhatrapati Sambhaji says about his forefathers. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj used to donate 10,000 gold coins to Namdeo Bhatt’s son whom Raje referred to as Swami. The citation of donation in Sanskrit written by Raje himself describes three generations of Bhonsales from Maloji Raje to Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje. He refers to Maloji as go-brahmana pratipalak (saviour of cows and brahmins), to Shahaji Raje as haindava dharma jeernordhara karma dritamati (one who began the restoration of Hindu Dharma), to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as mleccha shay dikshita (one who has decided to be annihilator of mlecchas i.e. foreign invaders).
When Shambhu Raje ascended the throne, he carried forward the Dharmic legacy of his father. He (Shambhu Raje) is one among the several Hindu kings who has never got his due place in history. There have either been attempts to malign his image by making baseless allegations regarding his character or secularize him (just like Chhatrapati Shivray) as Ajit Pawar did or totally ignore him as is the case with most Hindu rulers.
HinduPost earlier narrated how he laid down his life to protect Dharma. While we have detailed his Dharmic works before, it would be worthwhile to remind Ajit Pawar about Dharamveer Chhatrapati Sambhaji.
The core of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj’s reign is evident from a letter dated 22 August 1685 written by Maratha officials. It also throws light on the main objective of Maratha politics – Hindutva as a means of national integration.
Mughal Sardar Sultan Tara overran the village of Navalgunda and in this campaign extensive damage was caused to the village. Everything was razed to the ground including temples thereby forcing villagers, officials, and businessmen to flee the place. The Mughals also destroyed the Vigrahas housed in the temples.
Maratha officials wrote to Maharaj apprising him of the situation and urged him to restore the temples which were energy centres since Maharaj was the ruler the onus was upon him to ensure that Hindu holy places don’t lie in ruins.
Sambhaji Maharaj ordered the reconstruction of the temples with immediate effect. He was also aware of the fact that temple restoration is very important because these temples served as the education centres of Hindus. In addition to the restoration of temples, Shambhu Raje made arrangements for Puran Katha Vachan (narration of Puranas) the expenses of which were to be borne by the state.
When we speak of the dharmic works of Chhatrapati Shambhu Raje, it is important to mention the ban on religious conversion in addition to the ban on the trading of slaves introduced by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. In the 1684 pact with the English one of the 30 conditions laid down by Maharaj says “English can neither buy slaves from my empire nor convert my people to Christianity”.
Raje’s two Sanskrit letters to Ram Singh reflect his commitment towards rejuvenating and protecting Hindu Dharma. We shall close with Shri Keshav Pandit’s words attesting to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj’s deep Hindu pride (Jajwalya Dharmabhimaan) “Victory be to Shambhu Raje, who is Indra descended on the earth, whose fame has spread all around, and to whom dharmic people are very dear”.
It is high time politicians like Pawar, Awhad, Thackeray, Raut, and others and organizations like Sambhaji Brigade are called out for their false propaganda about Hindu rulers like Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje.
(Featured Image Source: OpIndia)