MUMBAI: Amid the lingering doubts over his actual intention to pen Chhatrapati Shivaji’s history, writer Babasaheb Purandare on Wednesday asserted that he was a researcher who presented the legendary Maratha King before people in a tone which would appeal to them.
Purandare was conferred the state’s highest honour, Maharashtra Bhushan, by Governor Vidyasagar Rao and CM Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday. The honour includes a `10 lakh cash prize, besides a citation.
His statement is significant against the backdrop of a statewide protest against him for depicting Shivaji in a wrong way in his tome, ‘Raja Shiv Chhatrapati’ published in 1957.
In an indirect take on his opponents, who alleged that he was not a researcher, the 94-year-old argued that he had researched Shivaji in depth but presented him in a simple form of poems so that common people could understand it. “I had written nine big articles on Shivaji Maharaj but did not get (much) response from anyone. (Then) I realised that people did not understand what was written in high-brow language. So I decided to explain (about) Shivaji in simple language which would appeal to them,” Purandare said.
He added, “We need researchers and scholars but we also need people, who can explain the research in simple language. And I can tell from my personal experience, those who write in simple language need to study more than the scholars so that they won’t commit any mistake.”
Maratha organisations as well as the NCP had opposed Purandare saying he had not researched Shivaji thoroughly. “What Purandare has written is merely a poet’s imagination. It can’t be called history,” NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said.
Purandare cited an example of his guru who had done a mistake in describing Fort Sinhgad’s history. “He was my guru but when I politely corrected him. He was very happy. He appreciated me for that. It is our duty to correct ourselves if such situations arise.”
He also indirectly tried to downplay the Maratha v/s Brahmin controversy. “This is not an honour for me alone. Everyone who worked for Shivaji irrespective of his religion and caste is a Maharashtra Bhushan,” he said.
Meanwhile, activists of Maratha organisation Sambhaji Brigade tried to agitate against Purandare outside Raj Bhavan but could not disturb the award ceremony.