Pawar family divided over Ajit's remarks on Sambhaji Maharaj

The BJP is holding protests across Maharashtra against Ajit Pawar over his remarks on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the eldest son of the Maratha emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Published: 03rd January 2023 08:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2023 02:26 PM   |  A+A-

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar.

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that people are free to call Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj as 'Dharmaveer' (champion of religion) or 'Swaraj Rakshak' (champion of freedom). This comes after his nephew Ajit Pawar's recent remarks on the historical figure.

In the recently concluded Maharashtra state assembly’s winter session in Nagpur, during a debate, senior NCP leader and LoP Ajit Pawar said, “We always refer to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj as ‘Swaraj Rakshak’. But some people are calling him ‘Dharmaveer’ (protector of religion). It is incorrect to call him 'Dharmaveer'. Sambhaji Maharaj never championed the cause of any particular religion; his sacrifice and work were for national and inclusive welfare."

NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that after the demise of Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji Maharaj protected the state bravely when there was attacks happening all around. “Sambhaji Maharaj's contribution is immense so there should be no debate over it,” Pawar said.

Supriya Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar, defended Ajit Pawar. NCP's Lok Sabha MP Dr Amol Kholhe too defended Ajit Pawar, explaining that Sambhaji Maharaj carried forward the inclusive legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. “Sambhaji Maharaj never worked for one caste and religion but his work was for all caste and religious people. Therefore, it is wrong to frame through a particular religious prism,” the NCP leader said.

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Meanwhile, BJP activists staged protests condemning the remark in different parts of the state, including Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. They claimed Sambhaji Maharaj was called 'Dharmaveer' only because he protected and safeguarded the Hindu religion and fought against Muslims. 

Protestors raised slogans and burnt effigies of Pawar and demanded that he tender an apology or resign from his post as the leader of opposition in the state Assembly.

Sambhaji Chhatrapati, who is a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, said, "Ajit Pawar should specify in what context he made that kind of statement. I would like to tell him that no reaction to any historical event should be given without studying the topic." The statement made by Pawar was "completely wrong" and "half-truth", he said.

Interestingly, historians too seem divided over Ajit Pawar's remarks on Sambhaji Maharaj.

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was captured and tortured to death on orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1689.

India Matters


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  • Max Coutinho

    Wow! What a pressing issue they are fighting over! Kudos to all the Maharashtra politicians for taking up this very vital topic for discussion!
    4 months ago reply
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