Sangh Samachar

More Shivaji-mania in Maharashtra

Posted in free speech by ravi on July 28, 2007

This from The Hindu:

A group of students blackened the face of an English professor at the J S M College here for allegedly insulting Maratha warrior Shivaji and his mother Jijabai during a lecture, police said today.

The professor has apologised for the remarks, they said.

One of the students had protested against the remarks immediately and was not allowed to sit in the class for three days, police added.

Perhaps other factors were at work here, and the punished student simply played up the alleged insult of Shivaji as an excuse to get back at his professor — the feudal mindset of most teachers in India forecloses rational and legitimate expressions of disagreements by students — but nothing justifies such an act. This incident reminds one of the Shambaji Brigade’s vandalisation of the Bhandarkar Institute in Pune. As Frontline reported:

A 150-strong mob protesting against the institute’s alleged involvement in maligning the name of the Maratha king Shivaji barged into its premises, ransacked the library, destroyed thousands of rare books, ancient manuscripts, old photographs and priceless artefacts, and took away some invaluable historical texts … The attackers were reacting to a derogatory remark on Shivaji’s parentage, made by the American author James Laine in his book Shivaji: A Hindu King in an Islamic Kingdom. In a biographical account on the Maratha warrior, Laine writes that the repressed awareness that Shivaji had an absentee father is also revealed by the fact that Maharashtrians tell jokes naughtily suggesting that his guardian Dadoji Konddev was his biological father…

Shiv Sena activists, quick to react to any disparaging remark on Shivaji, stormed into the BORI building and blackened the face of Bahulkar.

However, as noted by Asghar Ali Engineer:

It is quite significant to note that the alleged remarks against Shivaji and his mother were made by James Laine, not by anyone associated with the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute and yet this Institute was ransacked. If the leaders of the Sambhaji Brigade really wanted to show their love for Shivaji they should have demanded ban on the books instead of ransacking of the famous Institute. But they chose to vandalise Bhandarkar Institute instead.

Thus the purpose was not so much as to protest against Bhandarkar Institute but to attack the institute considered to be the storehouse of Brahminical knowledge and controlled by the Brahmins. And that is why they raised the slogan yeh to ek jhanki hai, abhi Shaniwarwada baqi hai i.e. it is just the beginning and Shaniwarwada is yet to be attacked. The attack was not so much on the books as on the Brahminism and Brahminical culture.

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