June 14, 2024

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Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj who understood the real pain of India by reading Maharishi Dayanand

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BY – Vinay arya (General Secretary Arya Samaj )

It was about 110 years ago that a young man named Gangaram Kamble had opened a tea shop on Bhausinghji Road of Kolhapur. Gangaram Kamble named his shop ‘Satyasudharak’, the cleanliness of his shop and the taste of tea was excellent. But the upper caste people boycotted him, they were very angry that a Dalit was serving tea. One day suddenly this shop became a topic of discussion in entire Kolhapur. Because the person who had come to the shop to drink tea was Maharaja Chhatrapati Shahuji of Kolhapur. This was no small matter in the early years of the last century. Shahuji, born on 26 June 1874, was not an ordinary king but a descendant of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Chhatrapati Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Know About shahu maharaj Kolhapur  Maharashtra | Shahu Maharaj : यशवंतराव घाटगे ते राजर्षी शाहू महाराज... 48  वर्षांचं आयुष्य अन् अफाट काम...

Today we are talking about that India in which, 100-125 years ago, who knows how many people are sitting with the title of social reformer in their names. But if you probe deeply, you will find that his work was limited to speeches only. Whereas there was also an organization in which the people associated with it believed not in speeches but in concrete work on the ground. Maharaja Chhatrapati Shahuji, a descendant of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was associated with that organization.

Shahu Ji Maharaj’s style was very different, sometimes he would attack casteism directly, sometimes he would try to explain with love and sometimes he would express his views jokingly. At that time, most people seriously believed that touching a Dalit would corrupt their religion, and Dalits were prevented from visiting temples and many public places. But Maharaja Chhatrapati Shahuji was blowing the trumpet against it not only in his kingdom but also in his palace.

Ahead of the curve: Revisiting Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj's 1902 decision to  reserve jobs for backward castes – Firstpost

Once, near the pond inside the palace, a Maratha soldier Santaram and some upper caste people beat Gangaram Kamble badly, saying that Gangaram, a Dalit youth, had defiled the pond by touching its water. At that time Shahuji Maharaj was not in Kolhapur, when he returned, Gangaram told him his entire story while crying. Shahuji became very angry at this and beat Santaram with a horse whip and fired him from his job. After this, he hugged Gangaram and said that he is sad that such an incident happened inside my palace and slapping him on this discrimination, he gave money to Gangaram Kamble to open a tea shop on the same day. And decided to challenge this notion by drinking tea there myself. Shahuji understood very well that society changes not through orders but through messages and concrete initiatives. Shahuji Maharaj not only drank tea himself, he also made his upper caste employees drink tea there, no matter who dares to say it to the king.

You must be wondering how these changes suddenly occurred in Maharaja Chhatrapati Shahuji, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, 125 years ago? How did he understand the pain of the society? How did he set out to break the stereotypes in India?

It is said that the source of water is rain, springs are rivers and wells, books are the source of knowledge, similarly the source of ideology is necessary to fight evil practices. Casteism and untouchability were at their peak in the then Kolhapur. During that time, in the year 1902, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj was going to England, when he met King Pratap Singh Maharaj of Jodhpur. There was discussion about freedom, discussion about society, discussion about evil practices, then the King of Jodhpur told Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj about the then movement of Arya Samaj. from here He had his initial introduction to Arya Samaj. After returning to India, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj met Maharaj Shyajirao Gaekwad of Vadodara. He also told about Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati ji. And made him meet Arya Samaj’s propaganda master Atmaram Amritsari ji. The result of this introduction was that Shahuji Maharaj understood that if anyone can deal with the coming threats then it is Arya Samaj. From here Shahu Maharaj ji started the reform work in his state.

A resolution was taken in mind that Vedic religion should become a world religion. With this desire, you played the trumpet of Arya Samaj loudly in Kolhapur city. Established Shivaji Vedic School and opened a college in the name of Shahu Dayanand. Built an Arya temple named Swami Shraddhanand. Enacted law prohibiting cow slaughter. The most impressive thing about that period. He got 26000 ‘Satyarth Prakash’ books published in Kolhapur. You made the study and examination of ‘Satyarth Prakash’ mandatory for all the senior officers etc. in the state.

Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Biography - Life History, Facts, Contributions

Like other parts of the country, caste discrimination was at its peak in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Shahuji Maharaj adopted very creative ways to deal with this social evil, instead of giving speeches, he wanted to set an example through action. As we have just told his tea shop story.

Shahu Ji Maharaj did not stop here but in 1902 he implemented reservation in his state which was a revolutionary step, he decided to give reservation to fifty percent of the backward caste people in government jobs. This was a decision which later paved the way for a constitutional system of reservation. He had legally banned any kind of untouchability in public places in his area of rule. Made arrangements for education of Upanayana and Vedas for all sections. All so-called upper and lower classes were encouraged to participate in religious festivals together. Scholarships were given to the backward castes to provide them higher education. With the same scholarship, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar got the opportunity to go abroad and do his PhD. Please note that Dr. Ambedkar ji had received this scholarship with the help of Master Atmaram Amritsari ji. To whom Shahu Ji Maharaj was introduced by the King of Vadodara.

Loka Raja Shahu Maharaj: The 20th Century Ruler who Fought Against Caste

The date was March 8, the year was 1920, the council of All India Arya Sabha (Arya Samaj) was held in Bhavnagar, then Saurashtra. Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, the chief guest of this meeting, gave a speech and said, Gentlemen, let us look a little at the history of India, there is a difference of heaven and earth between the India of a thousand years ago and the India of today. Today the virtues of bravery, knowledge, piety and generosity have disappeared. It is not surprising to see India filled with thousands of bad habits and old traditions. Child marriage, polygamy, alcoholism, ban on women’s education, disorganization of Varnashram religion have made many such societies lifeless due to harmful stereotypes. At the end of his speech he said that only Vedic religion can awaken the country, this religion told by Swami Dayanand ji will become worldwide.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj - 5 Things To Know About The Great King And  Reformer

However, even before this, Shahu Maharaj had said in his speech of 14 December 1918 that “Every person should have freedom of practice and thought. Arya Samaj allowed this but the distorted Hindu religion does not allow this. Therefore, the religion of Pandey priests is creating division among the people and the Vedic religion preached by Maharishi Ji is uniting the people.

Today when people say that Shahu Maharaj accepted the idea of Hindu social justice at that time, they ignore the fact that Shahu Maharaj rejected caste dominance, male dominance and religious dominance. Which was considered caste patriarchy or the authority of any one caste. In his ideas he combined Vedic ideas with liberal modern traditions and said that this is not a revival of old Hindu ideas but an imagination of a new modern society that is concerned with ideas of citizenship.   Shahu Maharaj seemed to have invested his entire life for the democratization of all sectors of the society. Even today their role is very important in social, religious and political discussions. He was a staunch opponent of caste discrimination because he was in favor of social change. Even today in our time, there are many things that need to be learned from Shahu Maharaj, especially his commitment to social justice, values like abolition of caste, women’s liberation and religious harmony. . Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar ji had also once said that the birth anniversary of Shahu Maharaj ji should be celebrated as a big festival. Arya Naresh Shri Sahu Ji Maharaj, the unwavering disciple of Swami Dayanand and the messenger of Dalit liberation, till his last breath on 6 May 1922, did many things in his short life which no human being can do even after living a long life. On his death anniversary, the great personality Hundreds of salutes to Arya Samaj.

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