In a recent address marking the 350th anniversary of the coronation of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Dattatreya Hosabale expressed concern over the historical marginalisation of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s significance. According to him, the importance of many of India’s great leaders, including Shivaji, has been unfairly diminished by associating them primarily with their region and language.
Hosabale asserted that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a symbol of resistance against foreign invaders, was not defeated by anti-religious and anti-national forces but rather by historians and narrow-minded perspectives. He criticised the tendency to link national heroes with their regional and linguistic identities, emphasizing the need for a shift in such mindsets.
“Sitting on the throne was never a goal of life for Shivaji Maharaj. He took a vow for ‘Hindavi Swaraj’ (self-rule) at a young age and remained steadfast throughout his life,” remarked Hosabale. He highlighted Shivaji’s unwavering commitment to his vow and leadership qualities, making him the greatest among all kings.
The RSS leader acknowledged a pattern in Indian history where the contributions of national heroes, who worked for the country’s religion and nationalism, were diminished by associating them solely with their regional and linguistic backgrounds. He attributed this flaw to factors such as the education system, deliberate actions by historians, or societal ignorance.
“People think associating great men like Shivaji with their region, language, and caste would increase his importance. Shivaji Maharaj is a victim of such kinds of things to some extent,” Hosabale lamented, pointing out the petty-mindedness of those responsible for giving a narrow identity to historical figures.
Hosabale called for an end to the longstanding tradition of viewing India’s nationalism, religion-based system, social structure, and tradition with hatred and distortion. He urged the need for presenting new ideas that are accurate, realistic, and based on facts. Emphasising the importance of changing discussions and narratives, Hosabale stressed that merely praising Shivaji Maharaj was not enough. He encouraged a proactive approach in completing the work left by Shivaji Maharaj for future generations.
Hosable’s remarks resonated with the audience at the event, prompting reflection on the state of historical narratives in India. He suggested that a reevaluation of the country’s history was imperative to correct the distortions that have persisted for years.
As the nation commemorates the 350th anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s coronation, Hosabale’s address serves as a call to action, urging a revision of historical perspectives and a more comprehensive understanding of India’s national heroes. The discourse surrounding these figures, he believes, should transcend narrow regional and linguistic boundaries to highlight their contributions to the broader fabric of Indian culture and nationalism.