The recent proposal by the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena Chief , Uddhav Thackeray to rename Aurangabad to Shambhaji Nagar has led to a high scale controversy. Some scholars say that it is an endeavor by the Shiv Sena to pander to the interests of the ardent Hindu Nationalists and to secure its mass base. Some people say that the Indian National Congress is violating its own secular principle by supporting a Hindu Nationalist political party.
Whatever may be the reason for the political parties to rename Aurangabad, one thing is as clear as crystal that by renaming a city, we cannot instill a feeling of respect and admiration for the Maratha heroes, among the rank and file of India without teaching them about the great deeds of the great Maratha warriors. Most of the people and politicians celebrate the birth anniversaries of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Shambhaji Raje with great fervor and enthusiasm. After these two Chhatrapati, hardly any Maratha warrior is given any careful attention by the politicians.
Outside South India, there are a few people who are aware of the contributions and sacrifices made by the great Bhatt statesmen and generals. In general, it is known as the Peshwa Dynasty. The dynasty came into prominence when the fifth Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhatt as the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. After him, the post of Peshwa became hereditary. Peshwa Bajirao was the man behind the rise of the Maratha Empire. It was under his stwardship that the Maratha Empire became a power to be reckoned with and turned into a national empire.
I have mentioned the accomplishment of the Peshwa Bajirao to underline that the history of the Maratha Empire cannot be completed or understood without analysing and acknowledging the role of the Peshwas. It is imperative for the citizenry to be well aware of the heroic deeds of our great ancestors to understand our society in a more comprehensive manner as it creates an interest in the history of the country, which in return produces the enlightened and rational citizens.
I believe that the government of all states as well as the central government must take steps to teach the citizens of India about the role of the Peshwas in shaping the map of India during the 17th and 18th century AD. Not only about Peshwas but also about the contributions made by various other Maratha generals such as Geakwad in Gujarat, Holkar in Indore and Scindia in Gwalior. Not only their military achievements should be highlighted, but also their cultural and art developments should be the area of our focus. The government can do so by teaching about history to the students and researchers. The students should be encouraged to visit historical places like Shaniwar Wada, Pune, as it will make history look realistic and embolden the students to research more about the great unsung warriors.
The serials that depict the true life stories of our great ancestors should be broadcast on the national TV as it will have a mass appeal. Recently, many directors have taken his initiative. For Example the serial Ahilya Bai is currently being broadcast on Sony TV. Renowned historians should be encouraged to write about these heroes so that the awareness about them can increase. For my money, when the people will become aware of the history of the Peshwas, the tensions which have come to fore among various people of the Maharashtra due to the violence that occurred on the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, will subdue and the people will once again live in peace and harmony.
The awareness will also help the people to unite and to do away with the narrow prejudices concerned with the identities of North Indian and South Indian.