Re: Also sprach der Fuehrer
- Steve Farmer wrote:
> Dear Francesco,Maybe. Or maybe it is just a kind of stream-of-consciousness
> You write:
> > Did you know that Shivaji and his mother have been fully deified
> > by the recently founded Shiv Dharma sect -- a Dalit-oriented and
> > strongly anti-Brahmanical religio-political movement of
> > Maharashtra -- and that it is on this very basis that Bal
> > Thackeray's Shiv Sena, a Hindutva-oriented and chauvinistic
> > Marathi political formation, has (somewhat unnaturally) joined
> > the anti-Laine agitation led by the *anti-Brahmanical* adherents
> > to the Shiv Dharma sect?
> Look at the length of that sentence, Francesco! Possibly, a List
> record. I thought you were a playful and (occasionally) sarcastic
> Italian, not a German writer. (Apologies to Michael et al.) :^)
> Or are you possibly implying by your sentence length that Indian
> religious-political-caste issues are complex, convoluted,
> abstruse, byzantine, baroque -- or, putting it more bluntly,
> parochial, medieval, even a bit pre-Enlightenment at times?
technique I resort to when writing in English in a rush. :^)
- Quoth Bal Thackeray : "For us,Shivaji is not merely a king,but the presiding deity of Maharashtra."
Asks Francesco Brighenti : "For "us" who ? For all Marathi people ? For the Shiv Sena adherents ? For a pro-Dalit and anti-brahmanical sub-group of this political party that may be by now affiliated to the Shiv Dharma sect ?"
The answer can neither be short nor simple.Certainly,almost all Marathi-speakers are extremely proud of Shivaji,be they Konkanastha or Deshastha Brahmins,Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus ( Bal Thackeray being one), Marathas or the Dalits.It is to be noted that Shivaji's own caste,the Maratha Bhosles,falls within the Other Backward Castes category today.One can only recall how the puritan Brahmins of Pune refused to anoint him king according to the Hindu Kshatriya rites.(Therefore the Shiv Dharma ire against "Bamans" - Marathi folk-pejorative for Brahmins.)An interesting aside is that Shiv Dharma claims many Muslim adherents.
But Shivaji is popularly seen as one Hindu king who gave the Muslims ( the Mughal king Aurangzeb,to be precise ) an authentic bloody nose and a run for their kingdom.Some of his feats and exploits are,indeed,impressive for his time and circumstances.This makes him almost an avatar of his namesake deity,Shiva of the Himalayas and the Hindu (Arya) challenger to the ( Mlechchha-Yavana) Muslim invader and usurper.It is in this incarnation that he is worshipped and/or admired by crores of both Islam-hating and (even by) such Hindus as might be the votaries of "soft Hindutva","Indian nationalism" "secularism" or even perhaps "leftism".
Shivaji,thus,has an "All India" appeal and following.The entire nation is brimming over with roads,parks,hospitals, stadia,colleges,universities,buildings,institutions,suburbs,railway stations,bus terminii and airports named after him.He has been the protagonist of hundreds of feature and television films and serials and stage-plays,novels,short-stories and epic or shorter poems.But basically he rules over the Marathi-speaking heart.It is now for you,Francesco, to choose who are Thackeray's "us".
As to your second querie,Rana Pratap,the Kshatriya Rajput king of Mewar,Rajasthan,who had the temerity to question the hegemony of the great Mughal Akbar,is the only other Hindu king who rivals the glory of Shivaji.Millions of "Hindu-minded" Indians are torn between loyalty and adoration of the two.I do not know whether there are temples consecrated to him in or around Chittorgarh but any derogatory remark about him could invite a Thackeray-like lava from a Pratap-worshipper.But while Shivaji died in full panoply,Pratap passed away as a tragic hero from Sophocles or Shakespeare,though he nearly has the same quota of films,television serials,songs,novels,epics,roads,buildings,institutions etc. as Shivaji.Both Shivaji and Rana Pratap have been commemorated in hundreds of idealised statues,posters and paintings.
The Agrawal Vaishya Hindu community of northern India claim King Agrasen ( born circa 3170 BC,according to their own lore,though not yet "authenticated" by any Veda,Epic or "original" Purana ) as their progenitor and have given him an avatar-like status and there seems to be a temple in the making,if not already functioning,for his worship.There is a standardised,stylised and idealised portrait of him as well,maybe statues and icons as well.
The Hindu Jat community of the Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh area south of Delhi would perhaps accord a status of worship to King Suraj Mal ( 1707-1763 ) of Bharatpur.A contemporary portrait seems to be available.Natwar Singh,a descendent and until fairly recently a member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet who had to resign under the cloud of Iraq Food-for-Oil Volcker infamy,has written a hagiography.
The Queen Laxmi Bai ( 1830?-1858) of Jhansi,like Shivaji a Maratha,but in far-off central India,who died valiantly fighting the British,is spoken of in the same breath as Shivaji and Rana Pratap.She too has a semi-divine status now and there might a temple or two dedicated to her in Uttar Pradesh or its Bundelkhand region but she has hundreds of roads,buildings etc named after her.Of course,there are statues too.
The king Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) commands the same venerable position among the Sikhs as Shivaji,Rana Pratap and Laxmi Bai elsewhere.It is blasphemous among the Sikhs to create a temple (Gurudwara) for a deity or any individual but Ranjit Singh can perhaps never be permitted by them to be critically assessed by anybody,including a Sikh himself.
Interestingly, contemporary actors like Shivaji Ganesan ( named so after the selfsame Shivaji of Maharashtra ),M G Ramachandran,Rajanikant and Amitabh Bachchan have a fanatic fan-following.There are also temples dedicated to them.Some fans commit suicide when a popular actor dies.Criticising screen-heroes,especially from Telugu and Tamil,can be as risky south of Narmada as Prof. Laine's self-aborted Maharashtra academic pilgrimages.
The formula is simple.Once a person or a place or an idea,or,for that matter,anything else,is made to attain a religious or quasi-religious, divine or near-divine, or local,regional or national patriotic apotheosis in India,there will always a group,large or small,of Savarnas or Shudras,of Hindus,Muslims and followers of all other faiths, who would try to enforce a ban on any objective,scientific,secular and modern enquiry into the phenomena.If they would fail forensically,they would succeed by fanning fascist fanaticism.
Francesco Brighenti <frabrig@...> wrote:
Dear Vishnu (and Prof. Deshpande, who recently raised this topic on
Did you know that Shivaji and his mother have been fully deified by
the recently founded Shiv Dharma sect -- a Dalit-oriented and
strongly anti-Brahmanical religio-political movement of Maharashtra -
- and that it is on this very basis that Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena,
a Hindutva-oriented and chauvinistic Marathi political formation,
has (somewhat unnaturally) joined the anti-Laine agitation led by
the *anti-Brahmanical* adherents to the Shiv Dharma sect? The latter
people, through their militant wing, called the Sambhaji Brigade,
are held responsible for January 2004's notorious vandalic assault
on the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune, which
was motivated by the claim that the Institute had helped Prof. Laine
in writing his book on Shivaji.
As an editorial published last Saturday on _Saamna_ (the Shiv Sena's
mouthpiece, whose editor is Thackeray himself) says:
"For us, Shivaji is not merely a king, but the presiding deity of
For "us" who? For all Marathi people? For the Shiv Sena adherents?
For a pro-Dalit and anti-Brahmanical sub-group of this political
party that may be by now affiliated to the Shiv Dharma sect?
I am puzzled... Moreover, are there any other known instances in
modern Hinduism of a king being deified along with his mother or
other members of his royal family?
Thanks for a welcome reply, and best regards.
--- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, Vishnu Khare
>Hardly had the ink dried on the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court
> How short-lived are the judicial jubilations of us pen-pushers !
judgements that the Shiv Sena Fuehrer Bal Thackeray,a law unto
himself, comes out with this Krystall-clear Diktat to his SS hordes
in his Marathi Daily "Saamna" : "If this book ( James Laine's
biography of Shivaji ) comes out in the market,burn it wherever you
find it.This is my order."
>published in today's ( Sunday, April 30 2007 ) Times of India,which
> Prof Laine seems to have had a premonition.In an interview
also carries the Thackeray command,he prudently says:"I am happy not
to have any charges against me ( after the judgements ),but I am not
at all sure that travel in Maharashtra would be the wise thing ( for
me ) to do."
> Vishnu Khare
- For those of us who read Tibetan, is a mercifully short, lucid, and
thoughtful sentence�concise and to the point.
> > Dear Francesco,
> > You write:
> > > Did you know that Shivaji and his mother have been fully deified
> > > by the recently founded Shiv Dharma sect -- a Dalit-oriented and
> > > strongly anti-Brahmanical religio-political movement of
> > > Maharashtra -- and that it is on this very basis that Bal
> > > Thackeray's Shiv Sena, a Hindutva-oriented and chauvinistic
> > > Marathi political formation, has (somewhat unnaturally) joined
> > > the anti-Laine agitation led by the *anti-Brahmanical* adherents
> > > to the Shiv Dharma sect?
> > Look at the length of that sentence, Francesco! Possibly, a List
> > record. I thought you were a playful and (occasionally) sarcastic
> > Italian, not a German writer. (Apologies to Michael et al.) :^)
> > Or are you possibly implying by your sentence length that Indian
> > religious-political-caste issues are complex, convoluted,
> > abstruse, byzantine, baroque -- or, putting it more bluntly,
> > parochial, medieval, even a bit pre-Enlightenment at times?
- --- Vishnu Khare <vishnukhare@...> wrote:
> The Queen Laxmi Bai ( 1830?-1858) of Jhansi, likeA very educative piecs. But my impression is that Rani Lakshmi Bai was a
> Shivaji a Maratha.
- Rajesh Kochhar wrote:
> But my impression is that Rani Lakshmi Bai was a Brahmin.She is said to be a Karhade brahmin. In 20th century, from the
same heritage, M. S. Golwalkar was one of the RSS founders.
Some of the caste live in Kerala, Karnataka, also.