A statue of noted social reformer and educationist Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was on Tuesday unveiled in the Parliament House complex by President Pratibha Patil.
The eight-foot statue was unveiled at a function attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition LK Advani, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Maharashtra Governor SC Jamir, virtually the entire state cabinet and a host of Union Ministers and MPs.
Patil honoured veteran sculptor Ram Sutar, who built the statue, by presenting a shawl.
Shahu Maharaj ruled the princely state of Kolhapur for 28 years from 1894 to 1922. His reign is remembered for initiatives for eradication of poverty, ignorance, superstitions and backwardness prevalent in the society.
In order to give fillip to the removal of untouchability, Shahu Maharaj, through a Proclamation, had declared all public wells, buildings, dharamshalas, state houses and water resources open to all without any discrimination.
He had also introduced a reservation policy for backward classes in 1902 reserving 50 per cent of jobs in government offices for them.
Shahu Maharaj was conferred upon the title of 'Rajarshi' by the Kurmi Samaj at their annual session at Kanpur in 1920.