Historian Purandare given ₹5 crore for Shivaji project

(From left) Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari with Babasaheb Purandare at a function in Pune on Saturday.  

Pune: The Centre has given a cheque for ₹5 crore to nonagenarian rightwing historian Babasaheb Purandare for his Shivshrushti project proposed to come up in the city’s Bavdhan.

Mr. Purandare, known as ‘Shivshahir’ owing to his works on the Maratha warrior-king Shivaji, was presented the cheque by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a function on Saturday. The announcement had been made by the Union government earlier this week. The project proposes a thematic exhibition on the life of Shivaji, replete with models of his forts and scenes from his life.

Hanging fire

Pegged at a cost of ₹300 crore, it has been hanging fire for nearly eight years since the general body of the Pune Municipal Corporation gave its approval in 2010. It is set to come up on a 50-acre bio-diversity park at Chandni Chowk.

The project has been embroiled in a controversy, with a number of civic officials demanding that part of the Pune Metro come up on the land slated for the Shivshrushti project.

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have opposed the project on grounds that Mr. Purandare ‘misrepresents’ history.

Meanwhile, the Sambhaji Brigade reacted to the cheque receipt, saying the Narendra Modi government has defamed Shivaji by aiding Mr. Purandare.

Past controversy

The Brigade had opposed the Maharashtra Bhushan award given to the historian in 2015 by the Fadnavis government. At the time, the Brigade demanded the deletion of allegedly objectionable paragraphs from Mr. Purandare’s book on Shivaji, Raja Shiv Chhatrapati.

The Brigade contended that Mr. Purandare’s work twisted facts about Shivaji’s life by glorifying the achievements of his Brahmin guardian and mentor Dadaji Konddev. This implies, the Brigade said, Shivaji, his mother Jijabai, and his guardian were of the same ‘gotra’ (lineage). The Brigade also alleged that Mr. Purandare’s work was communally divisive by portraying Shivaji as a predominantly Hindu king when in fact he was a people’s king.

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Printable version | Sep 12, 2021 3:35:43 PM |

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