Was Chhatrapati Shivaji really responsible for the rebirth of India? - letsdiskuss
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Vikas joshi

Sales Executive in ICICI Bank | Posted on | others

Was Chhatrapati Shivaji really responsible for the rebirth of India?


Teacher | Posted on

Those who claim that he was the only Indian ruler responsible for the “rebirth of India”, do so from the point of view of Hindutva Propaganda. They portray the historical figure of Shivaji as a Hindu-oriented ruler who helped India get rid of Mughals and other Islamic emperors.

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In her recent speech at Parliament, Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani condemned the way students are taught the biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji. According to her, Chhatrapati Shivaji’s biography has been misinterpreted to serve the leftist propaganda but claiming this would be just too extremist.

History, as we know by our school days, is the story of past events which now hold national, international or political importance. But is it really just that?

We have learned that history informs us about what happened in the past so that we can make sense of the present events. But is its function only limited to that?

The simple answer to this is NO.

The history is never singular. Just like truth, it has its own multiple versions, and the more versions it has, the more functions it serves.

In a country like India, which has gone through not just English colonialism, but through multiple other invasions before that, history, today, is used along with politics, to propagate particular ideologies, and so is the case with the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Why I started with this irrelevant lecture on history is because the answer to your question depends on the perspective and interpretation you are ready to embrace to study the contributions of Chhatrapati Shivaji with respect to the rebirth of India.

chhtarapati-shivaji-contribution-in-rebirth-of-india-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: Whoa)

By rebirth of India, what we mean is the end of Islamic rule in India. And yes, the Maratha emperor has his own share of important contributions in doing that.

What the other point of view says is that he was the only ruler responsible in this Indian revival, which according to this point of view is the revival of Hindutva in the nation.

We need to look at the facts very rationally here. Many narratives, like the ones which are being promoted by Smriti Imrani, portrays Shivaji as a figure who was against Islam and was committed to wiping the Mughals and Muslims from the sub-continent.

But Shivaji actually was just a warrior and a ruler who was committed to his community of Marathas and did not care what was the caste or religion of his enemies. The Hindu-Muslim angle is just added to serve a particular purpose. For example, in his war with Aurangzeb, he was also fighting against Rajput Hindus. While the army of Adilshah consisted of Deccan Hindus.

In addition, Shivaji’s army itself had many Muslim soldiers. And he was a good friend of the Nizam of Hyderabad. These are some facts which can be turned in any way in the process of politicization of history.

Why Chhatrapati Shivaji is credited with bringing the rebirth of India:

• His skills of warfare were finer than any other Indian ruler that came and ruled India before him.

• He is known as the Father of the Indian Navy, as he was the first Indian to realize the importance of naval force. And it was with a naval force that he defended the Konkan coast.

• His primary aim was to establish Maratha rule in the whole subcontinent. He did nothing to directly overthrow Muslims, but to establish his men, not as Hindus, but as Marathas.

• He was secular in his ideology and had many Islamic associations.

• He was against any kind of harassment and violence against women.

• He was well aware of the terrain and topography of his land, which made him excellent in the guerrilla warfare.