Shivaji Jayanti: Will the Marathas regain their lost glory overcoming selfish short-sightedness
Yesterday was the Jayanti of great Maratha ruler Shivaji Bhonsale . We should have written this blog yesterday but wanted to give more time to write about the same. Undoubtedly Chatrapati Shivaji was a gifted warrior besides strategist. More importantly he was a statesman far sighted and unlike many other kings was not a prisoner of selfishness or parochial kingly luxuries and facilities. He was devoted to his mother Jijabai who instilled in him Indian culture and religious beliefs.
The Valour of Shivaji and his bravery is known to everyone.He succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune, Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia of Gwalior. At its peak, the empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km2. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. The Marathas defeated the Mughals and conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent.
It is therefore necessary that we learn and take lessons from this Maratha Supremo as not only the Marathas but the country needs his messages more than ever. Let us take a look on what all is happening and what all need to be done.
One of the most significant attribute of the Maratha kingdom and Maharashtra state has been the position of Brahmins in the society who all occupied high seat of power and commensurate respect. They were also advisors and priests to the many Maratha rulers including and after Shivaji though at times were at loggerheads with the royal families and other Samants. But these culturally rich Brahmins were also inheritors of the great DNA lineages that encompasses and carries generation after generation 5000 years of evolved genes.
The output of such genetic evolution was seen in some of the excellent leaders that the state produced and no surprise then that the state has given great leaders like Tilak , Ranade, Gokhale and many others. One must also note the contribution of Dr Hedgewar in this context whose biggest contribution to the nation was the foundation of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that was far ahead in his thoughts and actions. The strength of RSS is a direct testimony to what a good organization can do both at the individual and national level. However as we will see the RSS has also been constrained after her excellent growth over the decades and needs to chalk out long term vision versus short term gains.
However the biggest fall out of post independence was the continuous downfall of this community. As the political, economical and social fabric of the nation changed new bonds were established between communities and political masters giving rise to a new equations which were absent so far. All though from a social and political point of view this new rising groups were important and necessary. We are not Brahmins but based on the experience of past 50- 55 years we can say that this is one of the most evolved community that India has. If the Sikhs, Marathas and Rajputs are known for their bravery , Agrawals, Marwaris and Gujaratis for their business acumen , Bengalis for their literally skills, and similarly other groups and castes then we must certainly give Brahmins their due place in the society.
But then the rapidly changing social fabric has also taken its toll. The changing equations and dynamics in the country certainly brought a new order but also failed to keep her eyes high. The new power houses were unable to maintain the same standards that could have strengthened the citizens or the state though it helped a few and people with power. The transformation of Maharashtra has been phenomenal with sugar barons and education institutes booming across the state. Yet the state has failed to uplift the common man or the facilities available for smooth business or industrial infrastructure. Mumbai which should have jostled with countries like Singapore is now where near the competition. Pune the other major city of the state is perpetually under Don’t care status, It could have easily become the worlds smartest and largest hub for industrial activities. Despite having worlds major auto centers it is no where on the world map.
Nagpur, Jalgaon, Aurangabad and some other cities could have also become strong regional hubs of growth but have failed after some half hearted haphazard growth and development. The drought hit areas of the state and the suicides of farmers still catch national mindset and is a source of depression for the country.
We are of the opinion that India needs to regroup and form some new equations to strengthen herself. The role of Marathas and her citizens will be supreme here. They have to shun short sightedness and go for long term vision. The Thackerays and Pawars of the state have been instrumental but have failed to lift the state as a whole and at best has given piecemeal gains to some. Role of Sangh and Brahmins is really important not only for the state but also for the nation. The principles and vision of Dr Hedgewar must inspire and challenge the intellectual capacity of the people associated . We would like to see the state coming up with leaders who can see pan India and not just regional aspirations.
Without the active role of Marathas and Brahmins the country cannot stand tall as much as it should be and it can. These are some well known bottlenecks that has to be addressed. India has some very strong and typical genetical distribution that need to be harnessed in a much positive manner. We have failed to come up with a national plan or national vision. There is still too much politics along regionalism chauvinism and caste orientation. To overcome all these negativities, role of Sangh and Brahmins – Maratha combination need to be explored and tested.
The biggest legacy of Chatrapati Shivaji will be then to inspire some leader or organisation to fulfil this gap that has been lying idle for decades now.