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May 26, 2011 at 04:44pm IST

Maratha outfit declares war on Shivaji's dog

Mumbai: Who would have thought a dog could be a bone of contention with the Sambhaji Brigade? Not exactly implausible, if the dog happens to be or is considered to be Chhatrapati Shivaji's very own. The Sambhaji Brigade has made no bones about their dislike for the now dead and buried canine, whose statue at Raigad, Shivaji's capital, has put them in a state of botheration.

Pravin Gaikwad, state president of Sambhaji Brigade, has even threatened to pull down Waghya's statue after celebrations to mark the 338th coronation anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji or Shivrajyaabhishke on June 6. "Waghya is a fictional character and only existed in the Marathi play Rajasanyas written by Ram Ganesh Gadkari. And the memorial where the dog's statue has been installed is either of Putalabai or Soirabai. It is certainly not the place where the dog was buried," said Gaikwad.

The fiery upholders of Maratha pride said the statue installed at Raigad was an outcome of Brahminical influence. Indrajeet Sawant, a historian from Kolhapur, in his book Shivsamadhicha Shodh aani Bodh (research and outcome of Shivaji tomb on Raigad) said research scholars from the city had misled people regarding Shivaji's memorial, the restoration of which was completed in 1927.

Maratha outfit declares war on Shivaji's dog

Maratha group Sambhaji Brigade wants Waghya statue removed from memorial.

On the other hand, the dog's statue was installed only in 1936 after its mention in the Gadkari's play. He said there was no historical evidence to prove the dog existed. He said the dog's statue gave credence to the play Rajasanyas, written by a Brahmin, and which denigrated Shivaji's son Sambhajiraje.

"Gopal Chandorkar, an architect, has said the place where the dog's statue is installed is where Shivaji was cremated, which is absolutely false," Sawant said. He also blamed other historians in the city, including Prof P K Ghanekar, Ninad Bedekar and Chandrashekhar Nanivdekar, for giving misleading statements on the structure existing in Raigad.

Statue history

Under the banner of Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Samati (SSRSS) and N C Kelkar's leadership, the statue of the dog Waghya was erected on a samadhi at Shivaji's memorial in 1936. Pravin Gaikwad, the state president of Sambhaji Brigade said the SSRSS was originally established by Lokmanya Tilak. The SSRSS leadership later went to Kelkar, who is a well-known litterateur in Marathi. "We really wonder why Kelkar built the Waghya statue near Shivaji tomb," he asked.

Past battle: Dadoji konddeo statue

Municipal Corporation (PMC) on December 23, 2010 approved the shifting of Dadoji Konddeo's statue from Lal Mahal and instead install Shahaji Maharaj's statue over there. Konddeo's statue is part of a sculpture that depicts Chhatrapati Shivaji, along with Jijamata, tilling the soil of the city with a golden plough.

Within two days, the statue was hacked and shifted to a godown in Pu La Deshpande Udyan on Sinhagad Road. The PMC and the local police have been guarding the statue since then.

The case is subjudice in the court in which Pandurang Balkawade, a historian is a complainant and the PMC is the respondent. There was again a hue and cry in the PMC general body meeting on Monday from the opposition BJP members.

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