Shivaji controversy in Bombay


It is really ironic that in the cosmopolitan city of Bombay, we are witnessing an instance of bigotry in which not only the rabidly communal outfit of the Shiv Sena but also the state administration, which is at the moment under the secular dispensation of the Congress and the NCP, are playing a role to encourage a casteist and prejudicial view of our history. Maharashtra, which has been in the forefront of social reform movements in India, can boast of savants like Mahatma Phule, M.G. Ranade, Pandita Ramabai and several others. One would, therefore, expect that any rational view of the national hero of Maharashtra, Shivaji, shorn of the upper-caste, communal view that has been given currency by the Shiv Sena, would be welcome. Sadly, the Maharashtra administration is demonstrating its ideological predilections by joining the Shiv Sena in intimidating Don Bosco School, Borivili. The prestigious institution was threatened by the local unit of the Shiv Sena on September 19 in which


the Deputy Police Commissioner S.S. Khemka was also an active party. The issue was the introduction, on a trial basis, of a handbook on history for teachers. Despite the management’s and the author’s willingness for a dialogue and the offer to refer the ‘controversial chapter’ to an expert committee, the intimidation continues.

It is well established by historical research that Shivaji was from the Shudra caste; he rose to fame, glory and popularity because he represented the toiling peasants. This truth is unpalatable to the undemocratic forces since the Shiv Sena mindset cannot accept a Shudra ruling Maharashtra.

We appeal to the Maharashtra government to deal firmly with the intimidating tactics of the Shiv Sena and take exemplary action against erring police officials. The Maharashtra government should provide full security to the author and the Don Bosco School, Borivili.