Padma Vibhushan Shivshahir Balwant Moreshwar alias Babasaheb Purandare, a living legend who took Chhatrapati Shivaji's life story to every house in Maharashtra, breathed his last today dawn around five o'clock at Pune's Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital. He was hundred years old and was pretty active till few days ago. His last rights were carried out in Pune's Vaikunth crematorium with full state honours this morning. He is survived by two sons, a daughter and grandchildren.
Babasaheb Purandare, an ardent RSS swayamsevak from his school age, took up Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's biography and Maratha history as his life cause. He made it a mission to take the biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to masses thru his lecture series throughout the Maharashtra and other states. He authored several books depicting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's biography and stories from Maratha history immortalising those in young minds. Its due to his efforts that Maharashtra's youngsters from every generations know the true life story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his dominance in Indian history and how Hindavi Swarajya was established defeating the enormous power of Mughals and other jihadi sultanates. Although an eminent historian he was, he took pride calling himself "ShivShahir" – a poet and singer of Shivaji's might.
Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare was decorated with Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, in 2019. He was honoured with "Kalidas Sanman" by Madhya Pradesh Government in 2007 and "Maharashtra Bhushan" by Maharashtra Government in 2015. He was also honoured by several other awards by various institutions in his hundred years life. Many dignitaries across the party line took pride to associate with him and his cause.
He dedicated his entire life to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's history. His lecture series were the most popular till date in Maharashtra, which attracted thousands and lakhs to the listen. His books remained on number one selling charts till date. His book "Raja Shiv Chhatrapati" remains the most popular one among every generation of Maharashtra and is still the best seller on book counters across the state with lakhs of copies being sold and read. This books has also been translated to many other languages.
He staged a legendary mega show "Jaanataa Raja" (जाणता राजा), dramatising the life story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his achievements. "Jaanataa Raja" witnessed huge response from Maharashtra's public and 1250 shows across maharashtra and other states. Actual horses running on stage and model backdrops of forts with hundreds of actors participating on stage are very unique experiments successfully presented thru "Jaanataa Raja".
Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare has a major roll in taking Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's biography to masses. He was a scholar on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj biography and Maratha Hindavi Swarajy History. He visited every place connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, however remote it be. He was an ardent trekker and trekked to every mountain fort in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Swarajya area on foot. He knew history of each of them very well. He initiated a movement for conservation of historical forts and received huge response.
He meticulously collected thousands of historical papers connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Maratha history from various places – including letters and office records of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj durbar, orders issued by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on various times, papers from Mughal durbar and other sultanaits etc. He also collected artefacts and weapons connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, trekking thru remote places. Whenever he got news about any of these papers and artefacts, he reached there by whatever mean of transport available. He once went to Mahabaleshwar from Pune on cycle (around 130 kilometers) to fetch a piece of paper surfaced in a village there. Many a times he travelled on foot.
He remains a legend himself that created awareness among youngsters of many generations about the proud history of Marathas and the legend called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.