Just like modern day actors, sportsmen, business icons who are revered for building their careers from scratch, say for example Rajnikanth (Shivaji Gaekwad), there was another great man approximately 4 centuries back, coincidentally was also Shivaji, albeit Shivaji Bhosale, who built his career from scratch. His father was Jagirdar who worked in Mysore region and was always away from home, the kid didn’t have his father with him for his upbringing. He was brought up under the watchful eye and tutelage of his mother, learning the lessons of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
He was intelligent, smart, and learnt the art of politics at a very young age. As he grew up, he became a warrior. At the very young age of 19, he started his heroics, and there was not stopping.
He was surrounded by enemies, despotic and intolerant rulers, yet it didn’t take out even an iota of courage from him, he was fearless as ever, till the time he lived. He inspired and united masses to fight the tyranny of unjust rulers, by inculcating a sense of nationality in them.
He took an oath of establishing “Hindavi Swarajya” and succeeded in doing so.
The legendary Swami Vivekananda called him a peerless hero.
A poet by name Bhushan in his poem describes.
“Kashi ki Kala jaati, Mathura Masjid hoti.
Agar Shivaji Na hote, toh sabki sunati hoti.”
“Kashi would have lost its glory; Mathura would have turned a mosque.
If it wasn’t for him, everybody would have been converted”
Such was the despotism of the then ruler Aurangzeb who was extremely intolerant and was on conversion spree and on destruction of temples. Against all the odds, he raised his own kingdom and protected the culture of India and Hindu Dharma then. That didn’t mean he was all Hindu supportive, he was secular in his approach, even many Muslim poets, artists were under his patronage in the court.
His relevance didn’t end even after his death, the unity he had brought in people continued to fight against the mighty Aurangzeb. Nor did his relevance end during the freedom struggle, he became the symbol of unity once again, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a well known freedom fighter started Shivaji festival and Ganesh festivals and it acted as the instant event to bring about the unity in people and instill the sense of nationalism in Indians which lacked in many. And the Shivaji festival proved to be an important weapon to strategize against British and scare them.
Even after 67 years of Independence, his relevance doesn’t end a tiny bit, he still is a great hero, inspirer, to the people of Maharashtra and India alike.
The recent announcement by Govt of building a larger than life-sized statue of him is merely a token gesture when you compare the great contribution his life and his name has been for our country. Yet people make a controversy of it too. Looks like they need some history lessons.
And no wonder people who know of his greatness call him no just “Shivaji” but Shivaji Maharaj…Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Happy Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti
“Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti chya hardik shubhechha.”