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Dear Irfan Habib, Shivjayanti should be celebrated everywhere in Bharat, not just Agra fort: Why your Marxist self fails to see the relevance

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his Hindavi Swarajya was a pivotal point in history that turned the tide against the Mughals in the century that followed.

Dear Irfan Habib,

I read your views published in an article based on your discussions with Sanjeev Shrivastav and published on the ABP News website on 16th February 2023. The note written below the article says that you are responsible for all the claims, hence this letter.

The compilation of excerpts from your discussion with Sanjeev Shrivastav is titled “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s image has been presented as communal, the decision to celebrate his birth anniversary in Agra fort is nonsensical”. My disagreements with this article start from the title itself. First, the title of the article calls the Hindu King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and not just Shivaji, I would love it if every Marxist historian makes it a habit to say so every single time in public. Secondly, the decision to celebrate his birth anniversary in Agra fort makes more sense than the said article. Let’s see how.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s birth anniversary celebration in Agra is relevant

The article says, “Historical monuments have their own importance. I wonder why the ASI gave permission because such monuments should not have public events. Even if any public event is to be held, it should have some relevance. There is no relevance here. I don’t understand why the Maharashtra government wants to do this and why it is linking Agra fort to Shivaji’s birth anniversary. They only know it.”

So, you look offended by the Archeological Survey of India giving permission to the government of Maharashtra to celebrate Shivjayanti at the Agra fort. Further, you implied that there is no relevance Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj holds with the Agra fort. It is quite natural for a person spending his whole life whitewashing tyrant Mughals to “not understand” the relevance of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with the Agra fort where he stood tall and replied to Aurangzeb in a language no one would ever dare to speak.

Keeping a few tactical letters apart, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj never showed any submissive approach while dealing with any Muslim tyrant of his era. Aurangzeb was no exception. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj went on to reclaim all the forts taken by Aurangzeb in the Purandar treaty within a short span. Aurangazeb invited Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to Agra fort on his fiftieth birthday. Both met each other in Deewan-e-Aam of the fort on 12th May 1666 where and when Aurangzeb insulted the son of Sahyadri by making him stand behind the ones who were miserably defeated at his hands.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj roared like a lion in the court of the Muslim fanatic tyrant to assert that he is an independent King and not a slave or ally of the foreign dynasty of the Mughals. It takes a lot to say this in front of someone as mighty as Aurangzeb while being accompanied by just a handpicked few soldiers and a 10-year-old son than to question the relevance of celebrating the Hindu king’s birth anniversary in the hall where he showcased his intent without fearing the consequences. Celebrating Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s birth anniversary in Agra fort is relevant in this way. So the question of relevance ends here. Any Marxist historian would “never understand” why Hindus and especially Marathi people, and their government wants to celebrate the birth anniversary there.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was not just imprisoned in the Agra fort

The article further says, “There is no doubt that you celebrate Shivaji’s bravery. It is also true that he was imprisoned there but all that is part of history. But there is no logic in celebrating the birth anniversary inside the fort just because he was imprisoned here. There was no reason to celebrate the birth anniversary.”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was not just imprisoned in Agra. There was a great probability that he would have been tortured and killed by Aurangzeb – like what he later did with Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in 1689. Any harm to the father of the Indian navy while imprisoned in Agra would result in permanent terror in people’s minds and hardly would anyone dare again to stand against all odds for the pride of the motherland and Hinduism. This is why Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj escaped from Agra – the great escape as it is renowned – and came back to Maharashtra to establish a Hindu state with all Dharmik rituals only to assert independence and the Dharmik identity of Hindus.

So, let’s not forget – rather keep this carved in mind – that he was not just imprisoned there, but he was surrounded by all the possible evil and religiously motivated intentions of Aurangzeb which were potent enough to change the course of history so much so that people like Mohammad Habib would never need to hide the historical facts while being called a historian. For more information, one may also refer to a book by Neeraj Atri and Munieshwar Saagar. That book is called, “Brainwashed Republic” – an apt term for what Marxist historians have turned this country into. I am also attaching a lecture by Gajanan Mehendale in which he has detailed the relevant things.

The problem of Marxist historians

The article says, “History has importance in our lives, but nowadays we are seeing whatever is being done about history. Today’s history is especially used in political needs. No one reads history like history. Shivaji fought many battles and became a part of history. How you see it, why you want to see it, it is today’s politics. What part of history do you want to remember and how do you want to remember it? See, everyone is looking for their own heroes.”

Marxist historians wrote about history for political needs. None of them wrote history as history. It seems that Marxist historians found their own heroes in the Mughals. How do they see them, and why do they want to see them like that? What part of history do they remember and how do they want to remember it? Answers to this could be a part of the politics of one of the darkest eras of this civilization.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj fought many battles yet did not become a part of history. His emblem – The Rajmudra, and not the union jack nor some cross, is the inspiration for Indian Navy’s flag. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj revived the maritime forces of India. I would suggest Marxist historians beware of the people who are inspired by Aurangzeb and his rule. It is not in the best interests of our country to glorify that tyrant and his followers.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Muslims, and Irfan Habib

The article says, “The communal image that has been created today was not the image of Shivaji. There were people of other religions in Shivaji’s army, especially Muslims who used to fight wars, so why does no one talk about it today? That should also be done. That too is a part of Shivaji’s life.”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was tolerant towards other faiths only up to when the faith was not the motivation of tyranny. He established Hindavi Swarajya and not a secular state. Most of the other-faith-subscribing people in his squads were sale-swords, unlike countless other Hindu Mavlas who were fighting a battle for the survival of their faith, culture, and civilization. Chhatrapati’s Muslim associates however loyal were always “part of exceptions” and they are always credited by his followers and historians who are honest and integral. Moreover, a part of one’s life cannot be painted as his whole character; especially in the case of someone like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who declared himself to be a Hindu king by undergoing Rajyabhishek rituals at the hands of Gaga Bhatt on 6th June 1674.

The same arguments can be given in the case of Maharana Pratap. The article says, “These battles were not communal at all. We made it communal. They were fighting for their empire and power. Everyone was involved in that. It was a mixed fight.” Readers, don’t buy anything of this. It was always a civilizational fight which is still going on at various levels.

We will celebrate Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s birth anniversary “Shivjayanti” everywhere in our country

There were times when Hindu icons would be demeaned by the “state apparatus”. The mood of the nation – rather most of the people in this nation – is no more generous for any such institutions. People are finding ways to vent out what they feel. They get a chance to manifest it once in five years. They are manifesting it as clearly as never before in a democratic setup. The permissions to celebrate Shivjayanti are sought, approved, and received by relevant authorized entities. Therefore, Shivjayanti will be celebrated in the Agra fort.

Moreover, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his Hindavi Swarajya was a pivotal point in history that turned the tide against the Mughals in the century that followed. Valor of warriors like Vishwanath Balaji Ballal (Bajirao Peshva) and Malharrao Holkar freed many parts of India from the clutches of colonial rulers. Ahilyadevi Holkar revived the holy shrines of Hinduism across the country. All this was possible because of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s vision. His statues inspire our soldiers who protect our borders. Therefore, his birth anniversary Shivjayanti should be celebrated everywhere in the country.

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