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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

'Jagadamba' - the talwar of Veer Shivaji

In our Puranas and in History, Swords have played major role in the battlefields .. they are portrayed strongly in Historic movies too.

Sudeep played a cameo in SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), Aslam Khan,  a weapons trader from Kabul,  tries selling a special sword to Kattappa (Sathyaraj). Kattappaputs forth that  his own sword is better than it.  In a show-off, Kattappa rips apart Khan’s sword. Khan is so impressed with Kattappa’svalour and loyalty towards the kingdom of Mahishmati that he offers him huge sum and a better position in his camp. Kattappa refuses and continues to be loyal !!

Well, it does not end there, there is another more important sword of Baahubali.  During the climax battle, Kattappacalls his horse  Siddha on whom the sword is placed;  as it comes running towards, Mahendra Bahubali leaps on air, takes possession of the sword, and beheads Bhadra. 

Collection of swords at Museum

Veer Shivaji  was crowned king of Maratha Swaraj in a lavish ceremony on 6 June 1674 at Raigad fort. In the Hindu calendar it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha in the year 1596. Gaga Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers Yamuna, Indus, Ganges, Godavari, Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri over Shivaji's head, and chanted the Vedic coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet.  He also took the title of HaindavaDharmodhhaarak (protector of the Hindu faith).

Shivaji Bhonsle, famously  Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,  Veer Shivaji - carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahisultanateof Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire.   Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations. He innovated military tactics, pioneering the guerrilla warfare methods.  Veer  Shivaji was a great hero and   the very embodiment of a born ruler of man as typified in our great epics. 

‘Jagdamba’, the ceremonial sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which is in a museum in London, is likely to arrive in Maharashtra to mark the 350th anniversary of coronation of the Maratha warrior king this year.

A meeting was held between Maharashtra’s Cultural Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and British Deputy High Commissioner Alan Gammel along with officials of the Maharashtra government in this regard recently.  Gammel gave a positive response on behalf of the British government to bring the ‘Jagdamba’ sword and tiger’s claws of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj back to India, an official said.

Mungantiwar said that the discussion with Gammel was very satisfactory and that the wish in the heart of every Maharashtrian to get back the sword of Shivaji Maharaj is going to be fulfilled.The state government is planning to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation on a grand scale, and the British government has decided to hand over the ‘Jagdamba’ sword and tiger claws of Shivaji Maharaj to the state government to mark the occasion.The meeting  was also attended by Imogen Stone, Deputy Head of the Political Department of the British High Commission.

Shivaji’s Battle swords Bhavani and Tulja are presently located at Satara and the Sindhudurg Fort, respectively. The ceremonial sword Jagdamba, which is in the purview of the British Royal Family, is kept at Saint James’s Palace.The first of these attempts were undertaken by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak when he travelled to London to defend a libel lawsuit he had brought against the writer Sir Valentine Chirol for remarks made in Chirol’s book, ‘Indian Unrest,’ that were considered disparaging. Following independence, Yashwantrao Chavan, the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra, pursued the issue. Confusion arose about the name of the sword as the sword in London was referred to as ‘Bhavani’ at the time. The Britishers countered that a sword bearing that name already exists in Maharashtra’s Satara.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who possessed at least three swords, also used the ‘Bhavani’ sword, which is presently in Satara. Nevertheless, this sword differs from the one in London that is listed as ‘Jagdamba’ in the Chhatrapati of Karveer catalogue.

Swords are important and History is more significant.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st June 2023 

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