Why we revere Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj?

By Aditya in Daily Musings
Updated 14:36 IST Feb 19, 2020

Views » 828 | 4 min read

Few years back a friend asked me this question, trust me it was a very genuine question, there was no malice in it, he asked;

“I have read history books as well, why do you Marathi folks revere Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as if he is God incarnate? I don’t see you guys following his footsteps, but you use his name to bully us, those from out of state, why?”

I will share the answer here for all my non-Marathi friends.

First the politically tricky part; Do we directly or indirectly bully non-Marathi people by leveraging his name?

First and foremost, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj isn’t just a Marathi King, he is an Indian King who represents all of us and our shared way of life. Now do you feel we bully you? Yes, if you feel so! Let me clarify, the show of strength symbolized by the excessive worship of our beloved King, which you misunderstand as bullying, is just a reminder of our tolerance. If you perceive it as bullying, then it is because deep down you know that your aggression has gone too far and you fear that it is being answered. While we welcome the dissolution of boundaries and the feeling of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, we do not welcome unwarranted aggression. As for those who carry no malice, they do not feel bullied, they celebrate the King as much as we do and live here as peacefully as we do. The reason is because in their heart, they share the same set of values that we Marathi folks hold dear. As simple as that.

The second part about following his footsteps.

We all have role models. Someone will find a role model in Mandela, another will find a hero in Bose, yet another will find his ideal character in Lenin, to each his own. Each individual finds his/her inspiration in a person who they feel best represent their idea of goodness. Does that mean we become that person? Had that been the case, the world would have been a place full of ideal people. It is not, we are a society of imperfect people and Maharashtrians are no different. Yes, we idolize our King, yes we love his stories, we attempt to walk his path, that does not mean we become perfect. We are as imperfect as anyone else. If by idolizing Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj we attempt to become even 1% of who he was, then that’s a good beginning, isn’t it?

That brings me to the easier part, why we revere Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as if he is God?

We are living in an era where we are constantly questioned about our faith, our festivals are ridiculed, our beliefs are mocked, even our Gods are dismissed as mythological nonsense. We tolerate that, because frankly we don’t care and because we know our values are timeless. How we choose to represent and celebrate them is our personal choice. Also to remind you all our way of life is far more flexible and keeps evolving. While we laugh at the chaos that surrounds us, we find Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an unshakable pillar who represents everything that we hold dear. An idol who isn’t a mythological entity, but very much a person who walked this land and graced it with his divine existence. A man who exemplified everything that is desirable in a good leader and a good human. A person who symbolizes our collective belief.

Do I really need to list down his qualities? I am sure that isn’t required. I hope I have answered your question.


Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji

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Team Kalamwali 29-Feb-2020 11:58

Hello Aditya,
can I get your instagram handle to tag you in the posts.

Aditya 02-Mar-2020 10:44

Sure, it is @adityamh15.

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