Maharashtra governor Koshyari faces flak for remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj

The development comes on the eve of the Budget session of Maharashtra Legislature which commences on Thursday
Last Updated 28 February 2022, 11:09 IST

Maharashtra’s Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari landed in a major controversy over his statement about legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and saint-philosopher-poet Samarth Ramdas.

Koshyari described Samarth Ramdas as the guru of Shivaji Maharaj while pointing out how a guru is important in Indian culture.

The governor, who hails from Uttarakhand, has been criticised by politicians across party lines in Maharashtra.

The development comes on the eve of the Budget session of Maharashtra Legislature which commences on Thursday.

On Sunday, while addressing a programme in Aurangabad, Koshyari reasoned how gurus have played important roles in the lives of Chandragupta Maurya and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

In fact, Chanakya or Kautilya had a big influence in the life of Chandragupta Maurya, who laid the foundation of Maurya Empire in ancient times and built one of the largest empires of the Indian sub-continent.

“Many rajas, maharajas, chakravartis took birth on this land. But, who would have asked about Chandragupta had there not been Chanakya? Who would have asked about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had there not been Samarth (Ramdas)….I am not questioning the calibre of Chandragupta and Shivaji Maharaj. Like a mother who plays a key role in shaping her child, the role of guru has a big place in our society,” the Governor had said.

Chhatrapati UdayanRaje Bhosale of Satara, who is a direct descendent of Shivaji Maharaj and a BJP Rajya Sabha member, slammed the Governor for his statement.

“RashtraMata Jijau was the actual guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, while Ramdas was never his guru. This is the true history. Yet, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari narrated incorrect history giving reference of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Ramdas at a programme in Aurangabad,” he said.

UdayanRaje urged the Governor to take back his statement.

When his comments were sought, state BJP President Chandrakant Patil said: “No comments”.

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut asked the BJP to clarify on the issue. “There is resentment in Maharashtra over the Governor’s statement… I think the BJP needs to take a stand on this issue immediately,” he said.

NCP President Sharad Pawar’s daughter and Baramati MP Supriya Sule said that there is no historical evidence to prove that the Shivaji Maharaj and Samarth Ramdas had a guru-shishya relationship.

Sule also cited a 16 July, 2018 judgement of the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court, before which the state government had submitted that "no record was available to show that Shivaji Maharaj had occasion to meet Ramdas or Shivaji Maharaj was treating Ramdas as his guru.”

She also circulated a clip of Pawar, in which he is heard saying: “Shivaji Maharaj’s guru was never Samarth Ramdas. His guru was Rajmata Jijabai.”

Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said: “The Narendra Modi-government and its representative (Governor Koshyari) are insulting Maharashtra and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Maharashtra will never tolerate it.”

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(Published 28 February 2022, 11:09 IST)

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