Four men uprooted bust of eminent Marathi playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari in the wee hours of Tuesday claiming that the writer had wrongly portrayed Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Maratha warrior king Shivaji Maharaj, in his play. The accused then threw the bust into the nearby Mutha river.
Ironically, the bust was installed in a garden that is named after Sambhaji. The garden is located along Jangli Maharaj Road. The incident came to light after a few joggers alerted the authorities.
Hours after the incident, Sambhaji Brigade congratulated the vandals via social media. Disclosing their names, the outfit said that Gadkari had wrongly portrayed Sambhaji as an addict and a womaniser.
“We will never tolerate defamation of our historic persons,” the outfit warned, adding that it was ironical that Gadkari’s bust was installed in a garden named after the Maratha king.
Santosh Shinde of Sambhaji Brigade described the incident as ‘new year gift’ and said they were proud of the incident. Meanwhile, Harshavardhan Magdum, Pradeep Kanse, Swapnil Kale and Ganesh Karle claimed the responsibility for the act and said they will surrender before the police later in the day.
This is the second incident in the recent past in which a bust has been uprooted. Earlier, a statue of Dadoji Knodadeo was removed from Lal Mahal, where Shivaji had spent his childhood.
About the playwright
Ram Ganesh GadkarI was a 19th century playwright. Considered as an inspiration for Marathi theatre, Gadkari was also known for his humours writings and also wrote poems as Govindagraj. His famous play, Rajsanyas, is based on emotional struggle between Shivaji and Sambhaji. The Sambhaji Brigade has raised objections to play in the past.
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