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Controversy Emerges as Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal Questions Brahmin Relations with Maratha Icons

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Chhagan Bhujbal, a minister from Maharashtra who joined the coalition government alongside Ajit Pawar of the NCP, has become entangled in a controversy. During a public event in his hometown of Nashik, Bhujbal raised questions about the level of reverence Brahmins hold for Chhatrapati Shivaji and Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the legendary Maratha warriors. He asserted that the absence of admiration for these icons among Brahmins is the reason why they do not name their sons after them.

Responding vehemently, Anand Dave, the secretary of the Brahman Mahasangh, queried why Mr. Bhujbal himself had not named any of his own children after Chhatrapati Shivaji or Sambhaji. He accused the minister of practicing hypocrisy. Mr. Dave pointed out that Brahmins regard the Chhatrapatis as divine figures, and it is unjust to accuse them of lacking respect for these great leaders. He mentioned that vested interests have long attempted to distort history in order to unfairly portray Brahmins. Mr. Dave countered the claim that no Maharashtrian Brahmins agreed to conduct the “rajyabhishek” or coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

He clarified, “This notion couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that no local Brahmins were familiar with the rituals associated with the coronation. Consequently, a Brahmin named Gaga Bhatt from Kashi was brought in to officiate. Interestingly, when Gaga Bhatt performed the coronation rites for Chhatrapati Shivaji, he was accompanied by a thousand local Brahmins who sought to learn the rituals. In fact, Gaga Bhatt even authored a book explaining the coronation rituals for a king.”

Mr. Dave further noted that Gaga Bhatt’s father had origins in Sambhaji Nagar, establishing a local connection.

Ranjeet Natu, a Brahmin activist, disregarded such statements from opportunistic politicians who capitalize on caste-based voting patterns. He asserted that there is no need for anyone to define Brahmins, as they are well aware of their contributions to the nation. He emphasized that for them, the principles of Hindutva take precedence, and they consider casteism a stain on Hindutva.

Maharashtra has a history of anti-Brahmin sentiments, which escalated violently following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Naturam Godse, a Brahmin from Pune. Many Brahmin homes were attacked, and individuals were targeted in the aftermath. This backdrop has led to relatively few Brahmins entering politics, as being a Brahmin is seen as a potential political drawback.

In the past, Bal Thackeray chose to overlook accusations against Brahmins and appointed Manohar Joshi as Maharashtra’s first Brahmin chief minister. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP is also a Brahmin and frequently faces criticism due to his caste background.


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