Mumbai(dna): The state government's decision to confer 'Maharashtra Bhushan' award on veteran historian Babasaheb Purandare has triggered a controversy, with the NCP daring the writer to answer a slew of questions before accepting the honour.
NCP leader Jitendra Awhad, who has written a letter to Purandare raising the questions, said the historian doesn't deserve Maharashtra's highest civilian award.
"Mr Purandare has presented an account of history in his book Raja Shiv – Chatrapati Shivaji' with a Brahmanical prism. This controversial book includes malicious remarks about Shivaji, his father Shahaji, mother Jijabai and Maratha leaders. There are no substance, documentary proof or any other evidence to substantiate the defamatory remarks."
The party intends to escalate its opposition in the days to come. It says if the award is given to Purandare, it would mean that the 'misrepresented account' of history has been authenticated by the government.
"Our concern is that this falsified reference about Shivaji Maharaj will be used in future by other historians and the public, and will be perceived as authentic. This anomaly must be corrected on time."
Referring to page nos. 78 and 79 of Raja Shiv – Chatrapati Shivaji, Awhad claimed that the book talks of how Maratha warriors never hesitated to sell off their mothers to retain power. "However, in reliable history books, there are no such references. Mr Purandare has deliberately inserted some objectionable paragraphs with the sole intention of insulting Bahujan kings and warriors," says Awhad's letter.
The letter further says that research has proved that Dadoji Kondeo was not Shivaji Maharaj's guru. It says even the state has updated this fact in its official and academic history books. "But Mr Purandare never expunged this reference from his updated edition of Raja Shiv – Chatrapati," says Ahwad.
The NCP politician goes on to say: "Whether we should call this controversial book an authentic history book or figment of Purandare? Besides, it also says that Dadoji Kondeo was more happy with Shivaji's marriage than his father Shahaji. He says Shahaji was not present during his son's wedding. It is totally incorrect. Shivaji Maharaj's marriage took place at Vijapur in presence of Shahaji only."
Purandare's book, the letter points out, says Dadoji Kondeo loved Shivaji more than Shahaji. "What does Mr Purandare want to say by making such low grade comment on Shivaji?"
Ahwad said unless and until all doubts about the controversial book is not cleared, the Maharashtra Bhushan award should not be conferred on Purandare.
A senior journalist, who is a keen follower of Purandare's school of thought, said the NCP was getting personal with the historian. "NCP always indulges in caste-based politics. They claim themselves as a pro-Maratha-OBC party but, not all Marathas-OBC vote for them. It shows their credibility. By doing this such dirty politics, they won't be able win over people. And, since when NCP leaders have become experts on history of Shivaji Maharaj," said the journalist, who asked not to be named.