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Shahu Maharaj Jayanti 2020
Shahu Bhosale ( June 26 , 1874 – May 6 , 1922 ), known as Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj , Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj , Shahu of Kolhapur and the fourth Shahu , was born in the state of Kolhapur . Between 1884-1922 he was a Chhatrapati and a social reformer . British rajasatte of black kings in the efforts Shahu or black people in general to justice, and Bahujan Samaj overall social upliftment, despite opposition from conservatives and weaknesses of the social change speed by receiving the Dalit ( untouchable) And played an important role in the development of backward communities.
He was born as Yeshwantrao in the Ghatge Maratha family, of Kagal village of the Kolhapur district as Yeshwantrao Ghatge to Jaisingrao and Radhabai in 26 June 1874. Jaisingrao Ghatge was the village chief, while his mother Radhabhai hailed from the royal family of Mudhol. Young Yeshwantrao lost his mother when he was only three. His education was supervised by his father till he was 10-year-old. In that year, he was adopted by Queen Anandibai, widow of King Shivaji IV, of the princely state of Kolhapur.
Although the adoption rules of the time dictated that the child must have Bhosale dynasty blood in his veins, Yeshwantrao’s family background presented a unique case. He completed his formal education at the Rajkumar College, Rajkot and took lessons of administrative affairs from Sir Stuart Fraser, a representative of the Indian Civil Services. He ascended the throne in 1894 after coming of age, prior to which a regency council appointed by the British Government took care of the state affairs. During his accession Yeshwantrao was renamed as Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj.
Chhatrapati Shahu was over five feet nine inches in height and displayed a regal and majestic appearance. Wrestling was one of his favourite sports and he patronised the sport throughout his rule. Wrestlers from all over the country would come to his state to participate in wrestling competitions.
He was married to Lakshmibai Khanvilkar, daughter of a nobleman from Baroda in 1891. The couple had four children – two sons and two daughters.
When Brahmin priests of the royal family refused to perform the rites of non-Brahmins in accordance with the Vedic hymns, he took the daring step of removing the priests and appointing a young Maratha as the religious teacher of the non-Brahmins, with the title of Kshatra Jagadguru (the world teacher of the Kshatriyas). This was known as the Vedokta controversy. It brought a hornet’s nest about his ears, but he was not the man to retrace his steps in the face of opposition. He soon became the leader of the non-Brahmin movement and united the Marathas under his banner.
Chhatrapati Shahu occupied the throne of Kolhapur for 28 years, from 1894 to 1922; during this period he initiated numerous social reforms in his empire. He is credited with doing much to improve conditions for the lower castes. He also ensured suitable employment for students thus educated, thereby creating one of the earliest affirmative action (50% reservation to weaker sections) programs in history. Many of these measures came in to effect in the year 1902. He started Shahu Chhatrapati Weaving and Spinning Mill in 1906 to provide employment. Rajaram college was built by Shahu Maharaj, and later was named after him.
His emphasis was on education, his aim being to make learning available to the masses. He introduced a number of educational programs to promote education among his subjects. He established hostels for different ethnicities and religions, including 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 quarantined segments of the community. Shahu introduced several scholarships for poor yet meritorious students from backward castes. He also initiated compulsory free primary education for all in his state. He established Vedic Schools which enabled students from all castes and classes to learn the scriptures, thus propagating Sanskrit education among all. He also founded special schools for village heads or ‘patils’ to make them better administrators.
In 1891, Shahu married Lakshmibai née Khanvilkar (1880–1945), daughter of a Maratha nobleman from Baroda. They were the parents of four children:
- Rajaram III, who succeeded his father as Maharaja of Kolhapur.
- Radhabai ‘Akkasaheb’ Puar, Maharani of Dewas (senior)(1894–1973) who married Raja Tukojirao III of Dewas(Senior) and had issue:
- Vikramsinhrao Puar, who became Maharaja of Dewas (Senior) in 1937 and who later succeeded to the throne of Kolhapur as Shahaji II.
- Sriman Maharajkumar Shivaji (1899–1918)
- Shrimati Rajkumari Aubai (1895); died young
Association with Ambedkar
Chhatrapati was introduced to Dr. Ambedkar by artists Dattoba Pawar and Dittoba Dalvi. The Maharaja was greatly impressed by the great intellect of young Bhimrao and his revolutionary ideas regarding untouchability. The two met a number of times during 1917-1921 and went over possible ways to abolish the negatives of caste segregation by providing “caste-based reservation” to selected people. They organised a conference for the betterment of the untouchables (thereby validating the unfortunate definition of untouchability) during 21–22 March 1920 and the Chhatrapati made Ambedkar the Chairman as he believed that Ambedkar was the leader who would work for the amelioration of the segregated segments of the society. He even donated Rs. 2,500 to Ambedkar, when the latter started his newspaper ‘Mooknayak’ on 31 January 1921, and contributed more later for the same cause. Their association lasted till the Chhatrapati’s death in 1922.
Chhatrapati Shahu died on 6 May 1922 in Bombay. He was succeeded by his eldest son Rajaram III as the Maharaja of Kolhapur. The reforms initiated by Chhatrapati Shahu gradually began to fade for the lack of able leadership to carry on the legacy.