Raghavendra Hn honnasgadde

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,
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

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