Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday hailed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for rebuilding the temples destroyed during the rule of Mughals and other foreign invaders, and said the restoration work that continued after the Maratha warrior king is being taken forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also said that Chhatrapati Shivaji's life was all about revolting against the atrocities, and the fight for 'swaraj' (self-rule) started by him continues still today.
Shah was speaking after inaugurating the first phase of 'Shivsrushti', a theme park based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj at Narhe-Ambegaon in Pune, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the founder of the Maratha empire. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis were also present on the occasion.
The project, which is spread over 21 acres of land, was conceptualised by Padma Vibhushan awardee Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare, who formed the Maharaja Chhatrapati Pratishthan for its execution.
"Several temples were destroyed during the rule of Mughals and other foreign invaders. Last week, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant did the redevelopment of Saptakoteshwar temple, which was reconstructed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Similarly, the temples in south India were also redeveloped by the Maratha warrior king. Shivaji Maharaj constructed grand gates in front of the temples and tried to restore these structures," Shah said.
"After Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, this tradition of restoration of temples was continued by Bajirao Peshva, Nanasaheb Peshve, Madhavrao Peshve and lastly Punyashlok Ahilyadevi. Today, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also taking that work ahead as Ram Mandir is being built, the Kashi Vishwanath corridor has also been constructed and Somnath temple is being decorated with gold. The BJP government and PM Modi are redeveloping several temples," he said.
Shah said that Shivaji Maharaj has a big contribution in shaping the history of India.
He added that while researching on the great Maratha ruler, he came across a statement by Maharashtra's first chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan.
"Had there been no Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the entire world knows what would have been the fate of India. There would not have been a need to go very far to find the Pakistan border. Perhaps, the border could have been found outside your and my house," Shah said quoting Chavan.
"I would like to say that Shivaji Maharaj's life was not about acquiring power. His life was all about revolting against the atrocities done for more than 100 years. His life was about fighting for 'swadharma' and eulogising the 'swabhasha'. His life was all about establishing 'swaraj'," he said.
He added that by establishing swaraj, he had sent a message to the world that no one can unleash atrocities on India.
This thought of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was relevant till 1857. After him, this ideology was later taken forward by Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Chhatrapati Rajaram, Chhatrapati Shahu and later Peshvas from 1713 to 1818, he said.
"The journey of this swaraj spread from Attock to Cuttack, from Gujarat to Bengal and gave a new spark to the entire country. The fight for swaraj started by Shivaji Maharaj is still going on today. His insistence on swaraj, swa-dharma and swa-bhasha used to reflect on every aspect and that is why his rajmudra (royal seal) was made in Sanskrit," he said.
Shah added that it was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who created the first dictionary of administrative words.
Shahs said that after swaraj, Shivaji Maharaj worked towards 'suraaj' (good governance).
He introduced the concept of 'ashta-pradhan mandal' (council of eight ministers).
Shah hailed the late Babasaheb Purandare for dedicating his life to spread the glorious deeds of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj among the masses.
"Had such a person not dedicated his life to Shivaji Maharaj, the number of people knowing about Shivaji Maharaj would have been less," he said.
Talking about the Shivsrushti he said this will be Asia's largest theme park, which has a perfect blend of historical facts and technology. Work will not stop on the project. I am confident that the project will be completed on time,” he said.
-With PTI Input