Maharashtra in trouble over award to author

The Maharashtra government has found itself in the middle of a controversy over awarding the state’s highest honour to writer and theatre personality Babasaheb Purandare, famous for works on Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji.

In May, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government chose 93-year-old Purandare, widely known as Shiv-Sahir or bard on Shivaji, for his contributions to literature.

However, social organisations, political parties and public figures in the state have opposed Purandare’s choice for the Maharashtra Bhushan.

Despite Shiv Sena and MNS backing Purandare’s choice, Sambhaji brigade and other organisations say that the writer distorted history and defamed Shivaji, alleging that Purandare’s books Raja Shiv Chhatrapati and Lal Mahal have objectionable content on Shivaji and his mother Jijabai.

Sambhaji Brigade activists on Tuesday stoned two MSRTC busses at Pandharpur in Solapur district and Nanded.

In Ahmednagar district, miscreants targeted the office of Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde. This year's Jnanpith award-winning Marathi author Bhalchandra Nemade too is against the award being given to Purandare –also famous for his play on Shivaji called Jaanata Raja. "I feel that the portrayal of Shivaji in Purandare's work is not in keeping with history,” he said.

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