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English - Social - February 19, 2021

Shivaji Maharaj – The Benefactor of the Bahujans

Jotiba Phule’s ballad on Shivaji tells us all about this great king who was known as ” Rayath cha Raja” – the king of the toiling masses.

He was pro-farmer, secular,respected women, his army had men of different castes. In short he had administration that implemented modern day Directive Principles of State Policy.

On his birth anniversary today we are publishing the ballad that the nineteenth century social revolutionary Jyotiba Phule wrote on Shivaji Maharaj.

The Ballad on Shivaji Maharaj:

“Oh (Shivaji) Maharaj, speak with us, please! Why have you stopped (given up) speaking with us? You took as your companions the simple peasants (of Maharashtra). You made the (half) naked (folk) into soldiers. You braved the scorching heat of the Sun, and were not afraid of the (pouring) rains.

You wandered high and low over the mountains (and through the caverns) and, thus, brought the Mohammedans to heel (subjugated them).

Sometimes you resorted
to plunder the (enemy’s) territory, but took care to foster and encourage your own countrymen (compatriots). You displayed extraordinary intellectual powers and thereby cast your magic spell over all in tbe country. Though the state exchequer was full, he (Shivaji) was most economical in his expenditure (he managed the state finances very prudently).

He allowed the soldiers a certain share in the state treasury (exchequer), as he never coveted wealth (for its own sake) (was never avaricious). He was eternally vigilant, and banished idleness and sloth (from his own life). He was ever mindful of (he never neglected) his cavalry units-be they ever so small or great. He was pre-eminently the first king among all the Kshatriyas, and nobody could hold a candle (up) to him (he was in a class by himself, non-pareil). He was unrivalled (deeply skilled) in subtle tricks and stratagems (of state-craft) and used to impress and persuade the common
folk to join his side (support his cause). He was intrepid and undaunted in calamities and saved himself most skilfully and dexterously (he came off unscathed through all calamities). He used to capture forts and other territories from the enemy by resorting to secret and furtive tactics. He used to fight with (and vanquish) the traitors first, and, then, would engage himself in a great battle (with the enemy).

Even when he was engulfed in (a number of) battles, he was ever mindful of his subjects, and always endeared himself to the ryots (The ryots were ever close to his heart). He was never impervious (indifferent)
to the welfare of the ryots, and always enacted new laws (which were beneficial to the common people). He used to pay attention even to the meanest of the mean (among his subjects), and everybody’s interests were safeguarded by him. (Nobody was neglected). He was of diminutive stature, and always relied more
on resourcefulness and clever stratagems than on physical might. He had a pleasant, attractive mien and it was a veritable seal (imprint) inscribed with jewel-like virtues and graces.He was so unassuming that he never took liberties with others, and was
guileless and innocent by temperament (at home).
His conversation was sweet
and pleasant.

He was thoughtful and reasonable (by temperament), and, thus, would establish his supremacy (over others). He strove ceaselessly for the welfare of (his subjects), and kept many of his relatives in his employ (as retainers and faithful followers). Sometimes he used to be wroth with those
whom he had pampered (who were very dear to him).

Having read historical records in English, I designate Chhatrapati Shivaji as a scion of the Kshatriya race, who has thoroughly exposed (made fun of, discomfited) the iniquities of the Brahma.

Jotirao Phule has sung the praises of (eulogised) the son of a Shudra (Shivaji Maharaj) who was the authentic and chief overlord of the Peshwas. l chant (recite) the ballad of Shivaji Maharaj), the darling son of Jijabai, who proved to be the scourge of the Mohammedans. I, hereby, chant (recite) the ballad (Saga) of Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhonsle who was an adornment of
(celebrated and famous among) the toiling peasants”

(Collected works of Mahatma Jotirao Phule, Volume II)

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