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Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders question authenticity of 'bagh-nakh' to be brought from UK

Shivaji Maharaj used a ‘bagh-nakh’ to kill Afzal Khan, the general of the Adil Shahi dynasty of the Bijapur sultanate in November 1659 at the Pratapgad Fort in Satara.
Last Updated : 01 October 2023, 11:27 IST

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Hours before the Maharashtra government inks an agreement with London’s famed Victoria and Albert Museum to bring to India the ‘bagh-nakh’ (tiger claws) used by legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a political tussle has cropped up over on the authenticity  of the exhibit. 

Shivaji Maharaj used a ‘bagh-nakh’ to kill Afzal Khan, the general of the Adil Shahi dynasty of the Bijapur sultanate in November 1659 at the Pratapgad Fort in Satara. 

The Maharashtra government has been pursuing the British government and the Victoria and Albert Museum for the Bagh Nakh Jagdamba talwar (sword).

Now the Victoria and Albert Museum has agreed to give it to the state for three years. Once it is brought back, the bagh nakh is set to be displayedat the Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum in Satara, Central Museum in Nagpur, Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Kolhapur, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai.

Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will lead a 11-member delegation  to the United Kingdom where a memorandum of understanding will be signed with Dr Tristram Hunt, the Director of Victoria and Albert Museum. 

The delegation includes Dr Vikas Kharge, Principal Secretary in-charge of the culture department and Dr Tejas Garge, Director of the Directorate of Archaeology. 

However, before the delegation leaves, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray questioned the authenticity of the exhibit and asked, “Do they really belong to Shivaji Maharaj or are they just from that era?”.

Elaborating further, he said: “The website of the Victoria and Albert Museum says that the ‘bagh-nakh' belonged to James Grant Duff (1789-1858), an officer of the East India Company who was appointed Resident of the Satara State in 1818. The officer had claimed that the weapon belonged to Shivaji Maharaj, but the museum has stated that there is no evidence to support the claim. I appeal to the government to come clean on this issue as it is linked to the emotions of millions of people. I urge the government not to play with the emotions of the people.” 

Senior NCP leader Dr Jitendra Awhad also posted a video of historian Indrajit Sawant on the issue, who felt that extensive research needs to be done to establish whether this was the same ‘bagh-nakh’ which has been used by Shivaji Maharaj. 

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Published 01 October 2023, 11:27 IST

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