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Remembering Shivaji

Because of his struggle against an imperial power, Shivaji became an icon of freedom fighters (along with the Rani of Jhansi) in the Indian independence struggle that followed two centuries later.

Shivaji remains a prominent figure in the pantheon of Marathi nationalism. He is remembered as a just and wise king and his rule is called one of the six golden pages in Indian history. A political party, the Shiv Sena, claims to draw inspiration from him. School texts in Maharashtra glorify his period.

Devotional and political approaches to Shivaji have clashed with historical ones. The publication in 2003 of James W. Laine's Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India [3] sparked controversy in India, for including contemporary speculation derogatory of Shivaji. In December 2003 one of those thanked by Laine, historian Shrikant Bahulkar, was assaulted and had his face blackened by Shiv Sena activists. And then on 5 January 2004 a group calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra, doing considerable damage to the holdings of this significant cultural repository.

Sahar International Airport in Mumbai was renamed Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Shivaji's honour.




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