The Story of Shivaji’s Coronation

(Apart from Jadunath Sarkar, historian Govind Sakharam Sardesai’s New History of the Marathas, too, notes the ticklish issues surrounding Shivaji’s coronation).

The Coronation …

“By the beginning of 1673 the idea of a public coronation began to materialize, and when preparations were fully completed, the event took place at fort Raigad, on Saturday 5 June 1674, the day of the sun’s entering the constellation Leo.

The orthodox Brahman opinion was not favourable to Shivaji’s claim to be recognised as a Kshatriya by blood, although he had proved this claim by action. More than a thousand years had passed since such a ceremony was last performed, and on that account men’s memories had been entirely dimmed. All ancient learning of the Deccan had migrated to Benares after the invasion of Ala–ud–din Khilji and the Muslim conquest of the Deccan.

Ancient families noted for hereditary learning like the Devs, the Dharmadhikaris, the Sheshas, the Bhattas, the Maunis, had left their hearths and homes at Paithan, with all their sacred books, and opened their new university of letters on the bank of the holy Ganges. The ignorant unthinking folks of Paithan had now no voice of authority left in them. Benares now began to dominate Hindu thought and learning. So Shivaji had to negotiate with Gaga Bhatt of Benares, a learned representative of that school of Hindu law–givers. He was invited to Raigad to arrange the details in such a way as to suit the needs of the present moment as much as to conform to ancient usage.”

(New History of The Marathas, Govind Sakharam Sardesai). 
(Archived from the October 2001 issue of Communalism Combat)



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