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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the imaginary mosque of Raigad

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Malhar Pandey
Malhar Pandey
Malhar Pandey is an author | Political thinker | with a very tiny political accumen to understand the 'between the lines' meaning of the political happenings in and around Maharashtra.

The historians in Maharashtra have spread a lie through their books and articles that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built a mosque on Raigad (The Captial of Maratha Empire) for his Muslim followers and this claim is being used by some politicians to further their agenda of appeasement politics. This article debunks the myth about this imaginary mosque and reveals the hidden agenda of these historians.

In a nation of 135 crores with more than 100 crore Hindus, the politicians and the bureaucrats have forced us to accept the practice of appeasement of the remaining 35 crore population. 

In doing so, they have gone too far in hailing some historical figures as heroes who were the very threat to the existence of the Hindu Dharma. The activists, academicians, intellectuals have even changed some major events, while some have added fictional tales in some major events that took place in history. 

The lies that these people have fabricated are made mainstream by politicians for their agenda of appeasement and thus with time a lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth. One such lie that has got percolated to the depths of the Maharashtrian society is that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built a mosque on fort Raigad and other places for his Muslim followers.

Idea of India

This statement does not have any contemporary historical references, yet many politicians, specifically from the Congress and the NCP use this to project the non-existent secular image of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, like his forefathers, was a staunch Hindu and can be proved using contemporary historical references. But here, let us deal only with the mosque-related issue. Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom can be considered as the exact Idea of India that the so-called intellectuals claim is theirs. 

No historical evidence suggests that he was fond of appeasing his Muslim followers. Nor there also evidence that proves he tortured the followers of Islam unlike Aurangzeb who tortured Hindus (kafirs according to Islam) to spread the tentacles of his religion. 

In 1658, the political paths of son and father i.e. Shivaji Maharaj and Shahji Maharaj changed. Till then, there were some Muslim soldiers in Shivaji Maharaj’s army (assigned by his father Chhatrapati Shahji Maharaj) but after 1658, there is no record of any Muslim soldier in Maharaj’s army. 

Shivaji Maharaj’s affinity with the Hindutva can be seen through many deeds that he performed in his life of 50 years. 

The Raigad Fort

Let us first get a little information about Raigad. If we look at the structure of Raigad, we get to know through evidence that this fort has been around for about two and a half thousand years. 

The first historical record of this is fort is from the time of the Vijayanagara emperor. In 1436, this fort was conquered by Bahmani Patshah Alauddin and till 1656, Nizamshahi and Adilshahi ruled here. This fort came in the possession of Adilshahi Sardar, More of Jawali during 1656.

When Shivaji Maharaj saw this fort he understood the importance of winning it as it had immense geographical importance. He won this fort in a battle with the Mores. Hiroji Indulkar was ordered to rebuild this fort. Hiroji was instructed to build numerous things on the fort including some temples. One such temple on the fort is the temple of Jagdishwar ( Wadeshwar according to the new research). 

Historial evidence 

There’s an inscription on the walls of Jagdishwar temple which reads, “By the order of Shivchhatrapati, I ( Hiroji Indulkar) have built wells, reservoirs, lakes, orchards, markets, pillars, stables and temples”. Nowhere in all this is the mosque mentioned. 

Many historians have also claimed that the Shikhara (spire) of the Jagdishwar temple is similar to the Islamic architectural style of building a dome on the top of a religious site because Shivaji Maharaj was influenced by Sufi Saints and Islamic scholars. But this claim is as baseless as it can get. 

Henry Cousens, an archaeologist and photographer working with the Archeological Survey of India, during the British era, in his book ‘Medieval Temples of the Dakhan’ wrote that many Hindu temples have dome-like structures as Shikhara. 

He also gives the example of the temple of Shiva in Badami which is built in the 4th Century CE. Now, according to this, we can say that the Shikhara of Jagadishwar’s temple at Raigad must have been built in this manner. Many Hindu temples have the dome-like structure as Shikhara, so this claim by neo-historians saying that Shivaji Maharaj built a dome on the top of Jagdishwar temple as he was influenced by Islamic scholars is invalid. 

Till now, we have not found any reference which suggests that Shivaji Maharaj himself built a mosque on Raigad. 

Re-establishing Temples

Coming to the next point, whether Shivaji Maharaj built new mosques or not, so here’s one reference which says Shivaji Maharaj demolished a Mosque which was built over Shonchalpati Mandir and Samottir Perumal (Vishnu) temple. Shivaji Maharaj further gave funds to re-establish these Mandirs and reinstall the deities. 

It is found that Shivaji Maharaj rebuilt yet another temple that was destroyed by the Portuguese. One can find the reference to this claim in a contemporary Jesuit letter. Afzal Khan in his letter to Shivaji Maharaj says, “You captured Kalyan and Bhiwandi and demolished the mosques there and you also arrested the Muslim clerics. We will not forget that you are obstructing the path of Islam.” 

The letter is mentioned by the Kavindra Parmanand, a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj and one who wrote the biography of Shivaji Maharaj during his lifetime named “Shivbharat”. This biography is considered to be official, as it was signed by Shivaji Maharaj himself. 

Studying all the contemporary references, any historian has not been able to find a single piece of evidence that suggests that Shivaji Maharaj built a mosque in the capital of the Maratha Empire in his lifetime. There is a possibility that the mosque was built on this fort after the death of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj when it was captured by the Islamic forces. Mughals had possession of this fort for about a decade or so.

Politics over Fort 

This game of projecting Shivaji Maharaj as pro-Islam and anti-Brahmin by some neo-historians of the “PUROGAMI ( progressive) faction is getting exposed as the days pass. The distorians like Amol Mitkari, Shrimant Kokate, Comrade Pansare, Purshottam Khedekar funded by some top politicians of Maharashtra have infested the minds of commoners with false episodes in the glory of Marathas. It is high time that the true history reaches the depths of society and these historians (read distorians) become a thing of the past.

 References used to write this article

1.Shivbharat : Kavindra Paramanand

2.Shivaji His life and times : Gajanan Bhaskar Mehendale 3.Durgadurgeshwar Raigad : Pra. Ke.Ghanekar

4.Kille : Go. Ni.Dandekar

5. Temple architecture & sculpture of Maharashtra – GB Deglurkar.

6. Mediaeval temples of the Dakhan. Imperial series of ASI. By H Cousens.

7.Kumar, S Vinodh & Singh, M. & Mahajan, Anupama & Wagh, Sudhir & Mahajan, Nilesh. (2015). Scientific Conservation of Antiquities of Raigad Fort, Maharashtra – A Case Study. Heritage and Us. 4. 46-51.

9.Hisoire Detaillee Des Rois Du Carnatic by Narayanampoulle; Imprimerie Moderen, Pondichery 10.Hisotry Miscellany, P.13

About the author

Malhar Pandey is a student of mechanical engineering with a little interest in the gears and the chains that help the mechanical machines work, but deeply interested in connecting and repairing the chainlinks of history that will make Bharatvarsha great again. A history buff, a maverick and a proud Maratha, in the quest of finding the true meaning of being a Bhartiya. 

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Malhar Pandey
Malhar Pandey
Malhar Pandey is an author | Political thinker | with a very tiny political accumen to understand the 'between the lines' meaning of the political happenings in and around Maharashtra.
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