The upcoming 23rd of June, 2024 marks the completion of three centuries since the coronation of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Maharashtra, along with the entire nation, is gearing up to celebrate this momentous occasion as a grand festival.
One of the highlights of this festival is the display of Chhatrapati Shivaji's Bhaghnakha and Jagdamba Talwar. Interestingly, these two weapons are currently housed in England, with Britain expressing its intent to return them to India for a year-long showcase. These historic artifacts, having been away from Indian soil for almost 150 years, will finally be brought back. The last time such a demand was made was in 1908 by Lokmanya Tilak.
Chhatrapati Shivaji's weapons are making their way back to India after nearly 150 years. The first call for their return was made by Lokmanya Tilak in 1908. Post-independence, leaders from Maharashtra, including the first Chief Minister Y.B. Chavan to Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Antule, continued to strive for their repatriation. In this endeavor, the current Minister of Culture of the state, BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar, has succeeded, obtaining the green light from the center.
Bhau Shastri Vaze, the author of a historical account, sheds light on Shivaji Maharaj's brief sojourn to Kashi. He narrates the intriguing episode of Shivaji filling the priest's Anjali Ratnas with gems after breaking the enchantment of the Agra Fort's captivity in 1669. During this period, Shivaji, having escaped from the clutches of the Agra Fort, spent 15 to 20 days in Kashi, diligently gathering intelligence. Taking refuge in the home of a Brahmin residing at Assi Ghat, Shivaji endured hardships, spending nights in seclusion. His mornings were marked by a discreet bath in the Ganga, followed by offerings to ancestors at Panchganga Tirth.
As we approach the grand celebration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Rajyabhishek, the return of his iconic weapons adds a vibrant chapter to India's historical narrative. The saga of Shivaji Maharaj, from his strategic escapades to the cultural interludes in Kashi, resonates through the centuries. This commemoration is not just a festival for Maharashtra but a national revelry, marking the homecoming of artifacts that embody our rich heritage.