Mumbai, June 26: Today the soul touched the land of Kolhapur- Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj who brought the revolutionary change during his reign. Born as Yeshwantrao Ghatge worked for people’s welfare despite of caste and creed- sacrificed his life as King Shahu Maharaj for his people.
Shahu Maharaj worked for the upliftment of the society; strive hard to make education accessible and free of cost for everyone. Leaving behind the discrimination between caste and creed, Shahu Maharaj worked selflessly for the upliftment of the poor and the down trodden. He tried his level best to make education and jobs available to all.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was grandson of the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of Maratha Empire in India. He was born on 18th May, 1682 at Mangaon. He ascended to the throne and became the King (Raja) of Satara on 22nd January, 1708. Shahu Chhatrapati was the Maharaja or the king of the Indian princely state of Kolhapur. Also known by the name of Rajarshi Shahu, he was known to be a great social reformer of his time.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj also known as Rajarshi Shahu was considered a true democrat and social reformer. First Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, he was an invaluable gem in the history of Maharashtra. Greatly influenced by the contributions of social reformer Jyotiba Phule, Shahu Maharaj was an ideal leader and able ruler who was associated with many progressive and path breaking activities during his rule.
Today Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis paid tributes to this great leader Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj by offering flowers and warm wishes.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaja’s dedication towards society:
Chhatrapati Shahu occupied the throne of Kolhapur for 28 years, from 1894 to 1922, and during this period he initiated numerous social reforms in his empire. His emphasis was on education and his aim was to make education available to masses. He introduced a number of educational programs to promote education among his subjects. He established hostels separately for different ethnicities and religions like Panchals, Devadnya, Nabhik, Shimpi, Dhor-Chambhar communities as well as for Muslims, Jains and Christians. He established the Miss Clarke Boarding School for the socially isolated segments of the community. He introduced several scholarships for the poor but meritorious students from backward castes. He also initiated a compulsory free primary education for all in his state. He established Vedic Schools that enabled students from all castes and classes to learn the scriptures and propagate Sanskrit education among all. He also started special schools for the village heads or ‘Patils’ to make them into better administrators.
Chhatrapati Shahu was a strong advocate of equality among all strata of the society and refused to give the Brahmins any special status. He removed Brahmins from the post of Royal Religious advisers when they refused to perform religious rites for non-Brahmins. He appointed a young Maratha scholar in the post and bestowed him the title of `Kshatra Jagadguru' (the world teacher of the Kshatriyas). This incident together with the Shahu’s encouragement of the non-Brahmins to read and recite the Vedas led to the Vedokta controversy in Maharashtra. The Vedokta controversy brought a storm of protest from the elite strata of the society; a vicious opposition of the Chhatrapati’s rule. He established the Deccan Rayat Association in Nipani during 1916. The association sought to secure political rights for non-Brahmins and invite their equal participation in politics.