February 22, 2020
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Whither Martyrs?

Whither Martyrs?
Shivaji was magnanimous enough to allow the burial of Muslim adversary Afzal Khan at his fort here. But 345 years later, the Maratha’s supporters in the VHP are still sulking. The tombs of Khan and bodyguard Syed Banda in Wada-Kumbhorshi have long hosted an annual Urs on Khan’s birthday—widely attended by people of all faiths. But fears of Khan being glorified as a "martyr" has resulted in the new Pratapgarh Utsav Samiti organising a Shiv Pratap Din on the November day Khan died to celebrate "Maratha resurgence". Right-wing attacks on the tomb have triggered violence in the past. In ’98, Satara’s BJP MLA Udayan Bhosale, a descendant of Shivaji, installed a sign commemorating the victory over "Khan who condemned Hindu Gods".
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