Can you support CaringBridge during our Fall giving campaign? Generous donors like you ensure that CaringBridge remains ad-free, private and protected.
The Tercentenary of Chhatrapati Shivaji ‘s Coronation is being celebrated all over the country during the year that commenced on June 2, 1974, and the present volume conceived as part of the celebrations is now brought out as signifying their concluding phase. It may be recalled that the idea of the coronation day celebration was first mooted by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1886 as a symbolic expression of the aspiration of the people for sustained freedom and in order to mark the beginning of New India’s struggle for independence from what has been described as the rule of “the Mughals of the modern era.” The celebration, as then suggested, came off in April 1896 at Rajgarh, and sought to stress the truly nationalist, revolutionary and antiimperialist direction regarded as necessary for the struggle and to provide the new movement for Swaraj with the dynamic inspiration of a popular, national hero. Lokmanya Tilak, who used to visit Sinhagad every year and stay there for sometime to imbibe the spirit of Shivaji, firmly believed and declared that “The only consciousness which we as a nation can proudly retain and foster ought to have its springs in Hindutva.” Hence he rightly saw and shared with his compatriots, the appropriateness of projecting the image of Shivaji as a symbol of the sublimest sense of patriotism and nationalism, and epresentative of the ideal of political emancipation. Directing the people, to adopt like Shivaji, every means including the use of arms, methods of warfare and military strategy in the fight against alien oppression. Tilak pointed out to them, on the occasion of Shivaji’s coronation day celebration : “If thieves enter our house and we have no strength to drive them out, we should, without hesitation, shut them and burn them alive. God has not conferred upon the foreigners the grant of the kingdom of Hindusthan.” It was an image revealed in the archives of history and re-shaped out of legend and tradition, and it served to bring Shivaji back to the modern peasant and worker as well as to convince the intelligentsia of the need for an organised fight for freedom. There is nothing incongruous in an image of Shivaji, himself a ruler, the “:Chhatrapati”, serving as a source of revolutionary and anti-imperialist inspiration for a fight against alien oppression. Shivaji had, in his own days, risen above narrow affiliations of caste and community, broken the shackles of class-consciousness and defended masses against all forms of exploitation. We have it on record that he had even to fight his own kith and kin and the Jagirdars, VIVEKANANDA KENDRA PATRIKA 2 SHIVAJI IN STORIES Patels and Deshmukhs who were thriving on the inams granted by Badshahs. It would not, therefore, be surprising to know that a revolutionary like Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, acclaimed as among the first to raise the banner of armed struggle in 1878 against British Imperialism in India, issued a manifesto in his name signing it as “Shivaji the Second.” The Tercentenary is thus a tribute of a nation to one of its most outstanding heroes for having roused it from a state of semi-slumber and infused into it the courage and dynamism needed to stand up and arrest the advancing tide of Moghul conquest and domination. It was Shivaji who made the people, the sons of the soil, re-awaken to a sense of unity forged spontaneously by bonds of a timehonoured concept of nationalism. The call for unity was in the name of “Hindvi Swaraj” , which implied free and unhampered self-determination of a people with a heritage dating back to the ancient seers of the land and a culture moulded in the light of their vision and by the power of their penance. Moghul conquest was the chief political feature about the time of the birth of Shivaji. The trail of destruction, through fire and plunder, that the Moghul armies left behind, as they advanced in conquest, the religious discrimination by the Muslim rulers and the harassment to which the natives of the land, the Hindus, were subjected, all resulted in great discontent, social and religious. Contemporary conditions grew so desperate and everyone was in such a state of helpless expectancy that all thoughts turned towards the advent of a deliverer. The man of destiny was Shivaji, born in February 1630 in the hillfort of Shivneri, where his mother Jija Bai had to be left for safety. That is the setting into which we see Shivaji the Grat ushered as an infant. The tree of Hinduism is not really dead, that it can rise from beneath the seemingly crushing load of centuries of political bondage