Pune, Feb 19 (IANS) Joy and enthusiasm marked Maharashtra’s celebration of the 391st birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who had laid the foundations of the Hindavi Swaraj and the Maratha Empire.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday paid floral tributes at the equestrian statue of the great son of Maharashtra at Shivaji Park in Mumbai in the presence of Congress Minister Ashok Chavan, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Municipal Commissioner I. S. Chahal and other dignitaries.
Leading the state at the main function here, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray flew in a helicopter to the historic 1.6-kms high Shivneri Fort near Junar town of Pune, where Shivaji was born on February 19, 1630.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar attended a prayer ceremony, paid respects before the statues of Rajmata Jijabai Bhosale and her young son Shivaji at the fort, and then joined a group of women singing traditional lullabies and gently rocking a palanquin-cradle (baby-jhoola) with a doll symbolizing an infant Shivaji amidst joy and celebratory fervor, while a police team fired 3 rounds in the air to commemorate the occasion.
Shivaji spent his formative years at Shivneri Fort, later fought many battles, made his ‘great escape’ from the captivity of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and later was crowned as ‘Chhatrapati’ in 1674 at a ceremony in Raigad Fort and he reigned till his passing in 1680.
Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said that though “We don’t have to fight wars as in the time of the Maharaj”, today the face-mask is our protective ‘shield’ against the attack of Covid-19.
“Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj lives in our hearts He is worshipped today because he had the courage to wield a sword and fight against injustice. He connects us all and his glory will spread all over the world,” said Thackeray.
Pawar said that this is also the anniversary of the bravery and sacrifice of the ‘Mavals’ who fought for Swaraj and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and now they continue to be role models for millions all over.
He reiterated that there will no shortage of funds for the proposed renovation of Shivneri Fort which would be completed in a time-bound manner.
Nominated BJP MP Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje – the 13th director descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – called upon the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to conserve and beautify all the sea-forts built by his illustrious ancestor, in an effort to boost history tourism in the state.
The occasion saw the launch of a Special postage Cover ‘Shiva Yoga’ and planting of 391 saplings by the Forest Department at the venue to enhance the environment.
Present on the occasion were Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, actor-MP Amol Kolhe, local legislators Arun Benke, Vinayak Mete, Zilla Parishad President Nirmala Pansare and ZP CEO Ayush Prasad, Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, Collector Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh, Maratha Seva Sangh President Vijay Ghogre, ministers from different parties and other dignitaries.
Several other functions and cultural events were held across the state, districts and talukas, in government and private offices, with the participation of a large number of people observing full Covid-19 protocols.