Shivaji art draws Sambhaji Brigade ire

Artist Sachin Juvatkar (in yellow), Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut with the painting.

Artist Sachin Juvatkar (in yellow), Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut with the painting.  

Outfit files complaints against Uddhav, artist for ‘deification’ of Maratha king

The Sambhaji Brigade has filed a slew of police complaints in Pune and other districts against a local artist for “deifying” the Maratha king Shivaji.

The outfit has demanded demanded that a case of sedition be registered against artist Sachin Juvatkar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, history scholar Babasaheb Purandare and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) State president Jayant Patil, for endorsing the image of Shivaji as a “divine being”.

Mr. Juvatkar’s painting, displayed at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai on December 10, depicted Shivaji as a deity with six hands, carrying a sword, lotus, conch, bow and trident. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr. Purandare and the painting received the endorsement of Mr. Thackeray and Mr. Raut, who published a write-up on it in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana. Mr. Patil, too, had expressed his appreciation for Mr. Juvatkar’s painting.

“This deification of King Shivaji has a hidden political agenda. [Shivaji] was a mortal who did not have any divine powers. Along with other mavalas (Shivaji’s soldiers), he established the Maratha kingdom. This raising of Shivaji to the pedestal of a deity is a dangerous trend calculated to spark social tensions,” Santosh Shinde of the Sambhaji Brigade said. He said the picture was being widely circulated over social media. “Despite repeated requests, Mr. Juvatkar has not removed the picture from his Facebook page. We will intensify our agitation against such portrayals of Shivaji if Mr. Juvatkar refuses to comply,” Mr. Shinde said.

He said the Brigade had protested in 2004 too, when similar posters and pictures of the king were being circulated in Pune. “Deifying any great man is the surest way to kill the memory of his deeds as a mortal,” Mr. Shinde said.

In Pune district, complaints have been lodged at the Shivajinagar and Wakad police stations and in Baramati, while police complaints were lodged by Sambhaji Brigade activists in Latur and Buldhana districts as well, Prashant Dhumal, a Brigade leader, said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:54:02 PM |

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