Sambhaji Brigade

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Sambhaji Brigade is a right-wing extremist anti Brahmin [1][2][3] organization based in Maharashtra, India. The organization is named after Sambhaji, son of the first Maratha king Shivaji[4] and gained exposure after they attacked and vandalised the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune. Currently the head of this organisation is Pravin Gaikwad. Sambhaji Brigade demands reservation for Maratha community and wants inclusion of Marathas in Other Backward Caste (OBC) category. They also demand free education for Maratha children and registered marriages instead of religious ceremonies.[5][6]

Purushottam Khedekar[edit]

Purushottam Khedekar is one of the founder of this organisation, also prominent in the Maratha Seva Sangh, a related organisation. Purushottam Khedekar also wrote many anti-Brahmin books like Bhatta Cha Kardhankal (this book was written for termination of Brahmins) and Maharaj Mala Maaf Kara (this book abused Hindu saint Samarth Ramdas). The police had issued an arrest warrant against Khedekar for spreading anti-Brahmin issues and causing cast discrimination.[7][8] He is also the founder of Shivdharma along with Pravin Gaikwad.

History[edit]

Sambhaji Brigade is known for aggressive agitations. Their first violent protest was an attack on Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. This was followed by uprooting of Dadu Kondev's Statue from Lal Mahal, then by attacks on Waghya dog's statue on Raigarh fort and then by attacks on R. R. Patil.

Attack on Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute[edit]

A group of brigade members[4] attacked and vandalised the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in January 2004. The attack was prompted by the controversy over James Laine's book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India (OUP, 2003); scholars from the institute had collaborated with Laine on information by for his the book about the founder of the Maratha Empire, Shivaji, which the group had viewed as being insulting to Shivaji.[9] After the riot 72 members of the group were arrested,[10] and the director-general of police announced that a legal block on the organization was being investigated.[11]

Other agitations by Sambhaji Brigade[edit]

Statue of Dadu Kondev at Lal Mahal

Sambhaji Brigade was also involved in a protest to remove the statue of Dadu Kondev from Lal Mahal in Pune claiming that he was just introduced as teacher of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Brahmin historians. About 30 to 40 people entered Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and attacked Mayor's office.[12] This led to a state wide protest by Political parties such as BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS.[13] Many people also say that this was done because Dadu Kondev was a Brahmin and Sambhaji Brigade are anti-Brahmin.

Attack on R. R. Patil

In 2010 the group attempted to attack R. R. Patil, a day after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on Laine's book.[14]

Attack on Waghya's Statue on Raigarh Fort

The group was also responsible for a protest and attack against a dog's (Waghya) statue located on Raigad Fort next to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's memorial. According to legend the dog (named Waghya) was Shivaji's dog. The group claimed that the dog was not real and there shouldn't be a memorial for it. This act was strongly opposed by local Dhangar community for they believe that the dog was real.[15] In fact many people say that Waghya was Chhatrapati Shivaji's dog and the reason for why the memorial was constructed over there.

Shivdharma[edit]

Sambhaji Brigade advocates creation of a new religion, different from established Hinduism, called Shivdharma with Shivaji, who himself was a Hindu, as its central figure. Purushottam Khedekar and Pravin Gaekwad are one of the prominent leaders of this New Religious Movement. This religion will be have all benefits of Indian cast system such as reservation, discount in fees for colleges etc. But this also means that Marathas will be included in Other Backward Cast (OBC). Maratha community today has status of warrior cast which is a higher cast. Due to formation of Shivdharma Maratha status will be relegated. Lots of Marathas have opposed this movement due to this reason.

According to Shivdharma men should add such as Shivshri before their name. However Sambhaji Brigade people never accept the real motive of Shivdharma and say that this is done to form new religion safe from Hinduism. Some people also say that Sambhaji Brigade people are pro-Muslim and do all these things for their own benefit and have got no attachment with Maratha well-fare. There are however some true marathas in this organisation such as the Pasalkar clan.

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The rise of India's EQ
  2. ^ Shivaji is vote bank sabre, rattled in the face of history
  3. ^ Siddharth, Kelkar (22 November 2008). "Rift widens: Sambhaji Brigade flays Shiv Sangram chief - Indian Express". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Nussbaum, Martha C. (2008). The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future. Harvard UP. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-674-03059-6. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Sambhaji Brigade Wants Marathas in OBC Category
  6. ^ Sambhaji Brigade seeks inclusion of Marathas as OBC community
  7. ^ Case registered against Sambhaji Brigade leader Purshottam Khedekar (The Hindu)
  8. ^ BJP demands ban on book on Shivaji
  9. ^ "The Hindu : Politics and the cult of the Chhatrapati". The Hindu. 1 April 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Front demands destroying copies of Laine’s book - Times Of India". Indiatimes. 16 January 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ban on Sambhaji Brigade likely: DGP - Times Of India". Indiatimes. 8 January 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Sambhaji Brigade attacks Pune Mayor's office
  13. ^ dadu’s statue in Pune sparks statewide protests
  14. ^ Balakrishnan, S. (11 July 2010). "Sambhaji Brigade targets home min - The Times of India". Indiatimes. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Maratha outfit declares war on Shivaji's dog