The Maratha organisation, Sambhaji Brigade, has raked up another controversy.
After running a campaign for removal of Dadoji Konddeo’s statue from Lal Mahal in Pune last year, it wants the state government to remove a monument installed in the memory of Shivaji’s dog Waghya at Raigad.
The organisation claims that there is no historical reference to Shivaji’s pet. It says that its presence belittles the Maratha warrior king and has threatened to break the statue if the state government fails to remove it by June 6. “There is no historical proof that the dog existed. We want the government to remove the statue by June 6 or else we will break it,” said Praveen Gaikwad, spokesperson of the Sambhaji Brigade.
Waghya was Shivaji’s pet dog and legend has it that after Shivaji’s death in 1680, the grieving dog too leaped into his pyre.
However, the monument for the dog was built in 1930. “We are just trying to fix the errors in history committed long ago. Anyone who is concerned about the dog’s statue is welcome to take him home,” added Gaikwad.
The Sambhaji Brigade has a strong base in western Maharashtra and is trying to make its impact felt on the political scene by raking up issues related to Shivaji’s life.
The organisation claims that history of Shivaji written by Brahmin historians is flawed; it was written in such a way so as to assert their superiority over the Maratha community.
The brigade, which many say acts as a front of the Maratha-dominated Nationalist Congress Party, had in December last year run a successful campaign for the removal of Dadoji Konddeo’s statue from Lal Mahal in Pune.
Konddeo, a Brahmin warrior referred to as Shivaji’s guardian and guru, was instrumental in shaping the Maratha warrior’s ideology and political views.
Maratha groups say Konddeo didn’t play a vital role in Shivaji’s life and wanted his statue, which had Shivaji, Jijabai and Dadaji Konddeo together, be removed.