There is a famous saying by Robert A. Heinlein, that “A generation which ignores history has no past – and no future”.
Unfortunately, this statement suits well on us, as we either remain ignorant towards our history or denigrate it under the influence of fake historians. Our history has been destroyed beyond any repair and if that was not enough, we have some foreign historians cum activists who are hell-bent on concocting the facts to brainwash the masses.
Audrey Truschke is one such so-called historian who is best known for whitewashing the evil crimes and persecution carried out by barbaric Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, who has now cooked up a story to target the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
She is brazenly targetting Shivaji Maharaj and his caste. She calls Shivaji Maharaj a Shudra and accused that Shivaji bribed a Brahmin Gagabhatta to “become” a Kshatriya. On his orders, Gagabhatta invented a fake lineage going back to Sisodiya Rajputs.
She has deliberately put this malicious and misleading thread to rake up an extremely sensitive issue. She is paddling this lie about Shivaji Maharaj to create unnecessary resentment among different castes and make an attempt to attack the self-identification of Marathas.
This indeed is a colonial-era myth about Shivaji Maharaj, that attacks his identity and portrays Brahmins/Hinduism in a bad light. Let’s dissect this propaganda and understand the truth.
Did Gagabhatta invent a fake lineage for Shivaji Maharaja in 1674? A lineage for Shivaji going back to Sisodiya Rajputs? This propaganda is based on factually incorrect information.
If we validate this information from a primary source, then we found a contrary aspect. It was Shivaji Maharaja’s father Shahaji, who wrote a letter to Adil Shah of Bijapur. In this letter, Shahaji says “We are Rajputs”.
This letter was written by Shahaji Maharaj 18 years BEFORE Gagabhatta, which clearly shows Gagabhatta didn’t fabricate the Rajput claim of Shivaji. Shivaji’s father used to call himself a Rajput from the beginning.
This primary source clearly shows that Gagabhatta did NOT invent a fake Rajput lineage for Shivaji. Rather, Shivaji & his ancestors have also considered themselves Kshatriyas and claimed descent from the house of Mewar. Audrey calls herself a historian, but she is utterly unaware of facts, certainly, she is high on propaganda.
Now see the next tweet of Audrey, which clearly shows how she wants to create a divide among Hindus.
Further, Audrey says that Rajputs viewed Shivaji Maharaj as “uncouth”. This is indeed an objectionable tweet and it clearly an attempt to undermine Hindu identity. Is this generalization true? Let us see what the primary sources have to say.
In 1666, Shivaji Maharaj visited Agra and he made a great impression on the Rajput Kings. He had won the hearts of one and all at Agra by his dignified bearing, manliness, values, principles, and courage, which he symbolized and tried his best to uphold.
A Rajput Chief Maha Singh Shekhawat said -“Shivaji is very clever, he speaks the right word on the subject. Shivaji is a good, genuine Rajput”
It has been published in a letter from 1666, Published in “House of Shivaji”(JSarkar). In his letter of Shravan Vadi 12, S. 1723 (18 July 1666), Parkaldas narrated to his master the conversation between the Amber and Thakurs.
As you see, this letter was written in 1666, which was 8 years before Gagabhatta and Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation. If Gagabhatta fabricated the Kshatriya claim of Shivaji, how did Rajputs refer to Shivaji Maharaja as a fellow Rajput? That too 8 years BEFORE Gagabhatta?
Even the Sisodiya lineage of Shivaji Maharaja was also accepted by the Bards of Rajputana. The Mewari bard folk songs were published by GH Trevor in 1894, and according to these bardic songs, Shivaji was a descendant of a Rana of Mewar.
According to this bardic song of Mewar, one of the descendants of Rana survived Khilji’s sack of Chittor. Because of the foreign yoke, this son was exiled to Deccan. He was the ancestor of Shivaji Maharaja who founded the Sattara throne, and finally “overturned Delhi”.
The historicity of this Bardic tale can well be questioned. But that’s not the concern here, the fact of the matter is that Rajputana bards accepted Shivaji Sisodiya lineage by the 18th century. Now contrast this with Audrey’s statement – “Rajputs viewed Shivaji was Uncouth”. Isn’t that a half-baked story to create unrest between different factions of Hindus?
On the other hand, Shivaji Maharaj had high regard for Rajputana. Shivaji wrote a letter to Aurangzeb protesting against the imposition of Jizya. In this letter, he dares Aurangzeb to collect Jizya from Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar. Shivaji refers to Maharana as “Head of Hindus”.
In 1828, Pratap Singh Bhosale, the last Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire, sent a Brahmin Shivanandashatri to Udaipur to enquire about their genealogy. The Rana of Udaipur received the Brahman. He also provided the genealogy tracing Shivaji Bhonsale to the Sisodiya Rajputs.
What does this tell us? This tells us that even later Maharanas of Mewar and their genealogies were in strong agreement with the Sisodiya claim of Shivaji Maharaja. This is how well the Rajput and Maratha dynamic used to be. But fake historians like Audrey do bad-mouth about us and undermine the Hindu identity.
This board is displayed at the Samadhi Sthal of Maharana Pratap at Chavand (Rajasthan). It shows the details of the Mewar genealogy according to their tradition. It clearly mentions Shivaji Maharaja in its family tree. This board can also be found in Udaipur palace.
Shivaji’s caste has been used for politics in the past. Phule wrote a book named Shetkaryaca Asud( cultivator’s whip), where he claimed that Shivaji was a Shudra and he was illiterate as well. According to Phule, Shivaji fell under the influence of the “cunning” Samarth Ramdas & considered himself Kshatriya. Well, this all was propaganda and the sole objective was to denigrate the credibility of Shivaji and create a divide among Rajputs and Marathas.
Shivaji Maharaj is one of India’s greatest kings. It really doesn’t matter what his caste was. However, an extremely false Anti-Hindu narrative based on Shivaji’s caste has been created by Phule and his followers. Such wrong propaganda create dangerous precedence and fuelled hate politics. Hence, it is essential to counter this propaganda with facts, people should also make aware of real facts about Shivaji Maharaj.