Chhatrapati Shivaji was never against Muslims: Sharad Pawar

Vastavam web: Lamenting “distortion” of historical facts, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today said the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji was never against Muslims as has been “imposed upon” people.Pawar said Shivaji killed Adilshahi commander Afzal Khan not because of his religion but because he was the enemy of “swarajya”.In Maharashtra, Khan’s killing is popularly viewed as the victory of Shivaji’s diplomacy and might over a ‘yavan’ (foreigner) and is often linked with religion.

“Since childhood, it has been imposed upon us that Shivaji Maharaj killed Afzal Khan as he (Shivaji) was against Muslims. It is a fact that he had killed Khan but not because he was Muslim but because he was the enemy of Swarajya and had come here to destroy the state,” said Pawar.Shivaji Maharaj also killed Khan’s aide Krishnaji Kulkarni, who was accompanying the Adil Shahi commander, Pawar said, adding, “If he (Shivaji) was anti-Muslim, he would have spared Kulkarni. The fact is that Shivaji was against those tendencies, irrespective of their faith and affiliations, who are against Swarajya”.

Shivaji had several commanders who belonged to various castes and communities including Muslims, he said.Unlike other rulers such as Chadragupta Maurya, Kutub Shahi or Maharana Pratap, Shivaji never named his state as “Bhosales” (his title), but as “rayateche rajya”.”Over the years, history with distorted facts was imposed by a particular group of people who presented the lessons in the history as per their convenience,” the former Union minister said.Quoting eminent historian T S Shejwalkar, Pawar said it would be “un-historical” to call the Maratha king “gau brahman pratipalak”.

“Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (a 19th century social reformer) had described Shivaji mahraj as ‘kulwadibhushan’ (protectors of farmers) and that description is correct and is based on the facts and supported by historians,” Pawar said, adding that such a distortion of historical facts makes him “anxious”.