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Blog

Does Maharashtra have anyone 'PM Material'? asks Babasaheb Purandare

By Vijay Satokar
Jan 18, 2016
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He is master in history of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha warrior king who fought the mighty Mughals and rues the lack of interest in Maratha history.  During an interview to Aamchi  Dilli, we couldn't resist asking Shiv Shahir Babasaheb Purandare if a Maharashtrian could even become prime minister of India.

"Let them (Maharashtrians) first stop fighting among themselves", the nonagenarian historian said adding in the same breath that it was something difficult for the Marathis to achieve. The Maratha empire lost because of infighting. Their inability to come together makes it a idifficult goal. History shows how the Maratha army lost against Abdali because of trusted nobles ditched the fighting army by deserting Sadashiv Rao Bhau at crucial time. The Maharashtrians have not changed. How can any Marathi dream of becoming a Prime Minister:? Purandare asked. The most powerful Maratha leader today has handful of members of parliament in the Lok Sabha. There isn't a remote possibilty of becoming prime minister,  he said.

Asked about  lack of monuments in northern India that could depitct the conquests of the Maratha army, Purandare said that the British followed their 'divide and rule' policy and successfully ensured that the Maratha history never came to the knowledge of the non-Marathi people. The sorry state continues even today. Precious little of the rich Maratha history is seen in non-Marathi languages. 'Bajirao Mastani' by Bhansali against whom criticism was mounted for being accurate in portraying the Peshwas, is the first Hindi movie on Bajirao. Many among the young generation today may not have even heard about Bajirao. Thanks to the moviwe people at least are discussing about the Maratha general who died young and never lost a war, he said.

Purandare, whose fore fathers worked with Shivaji Maharaj and later with teh Peshwas has rich collection of documents that he has meticulously preserved. He also has collection of swords, shields and knives (jambias) dating back to the Peshwa days. 

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