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Shahu Maharaj letter among 4 in Modi script, unveiled

All these letters have now been translated from the Modi script to Marathi and have been authenticated and cross-checked by historian Mandar Lawate and Shivram Karlekar, both of the Bharat Itihas Sanshodan mandal.

pune Updated: Oct 09, 2018 16:21 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Shahu Maharaj,Modi Script
Historian Ghanshyam Dhane displays the letter attributed to Shahu Maharaj, dating back to between 1744 and 1761 in Pune, on Monday, October 8.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Four letters in the Modi script from the period 1744 to 1761 were unveiled by the Vasant charitable foundation on Monday. One of the four letters is being attributed to Chhatrapti Shahu Maharaj, a descendant off the great Maratha king, Shivaji.

Rajani Indulkar of the foundation says, “Vasant charitable foundation began working in the area of history to discover, preserve and create a data base a year ago. The foundation struck gold three months ago when it found an original letter attributed to Shivaji, 342-years old, in Dhule. Thus encouraged, the foundation, along with historian Ghanshyam Dhane began enquiring with various families whose hereditary lineage dated back to the era, for personal letters from the Shivaji and Shahu Maharaj era.”

“We found four letters from years 1744 – 1761. These were found with the heirs of Mahadji Salunke, Khaderao Naik Nimbalkar, Hemantrao Naik Nimbalkar and Amrutrao Nimbalkar,” says Ghanshaym Dhane.

All these letters have now been translated from the Modi script to Marathi and have been authenticated and cross-checked by historian Mandar Lawate and Shivram Karlekar, both of the Bharat Itihas Sanshodan mandal.

The first letter is described as a ‘Mahajar’ - in which Shahu Maharaj has awarded land (Gardi village) to Maharji Salunke. It also talks about how land taxation should be incurred in the village. This letter, written in the scroll format, is nine feet long and has Nanasahib Peshwe or Balaji Bajirao’s stamp on the right side of the letter, while the left side of the letter sports a stamp of Shrinivas Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi. There are 70 signatories on the letter.

The second letter is of Rajendra Singh Naik Nimbalkar, dated December 14, 1744. The third letter is dated January 14, 1761 and speaks about the Panipat battle. Nimbalkar died in the war and this letter talks about Chhatrapati Ram Raje taking care of the family in the village Mauje Koregaon. It also speaks about Nimbalkar’s sincerity and devotion.

The fourth letter is kind of a diary which shows the movement between war zones from 1754 to 1755. There is also a mention of the fact that when the Maratha infantry moved ahead towards Delhi, Ahmad Shah Abdali, the opposing king they were fighting, ran away. This letter is written by Jayaji Shinde to Amrutrao Nimbalkar describing the events during the war.

“Ever since awareness has been created by the media, several people have come forward with personal letters of the era which we plan to digitise and exhibit,” Indulkar says.

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 15:53 IST