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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shivaji Maharaj - Secularism

Disclaimer: A little boy's interpretation

Secularism does not mean favouring the group you don't belong to. Secularism does not mean setting up a religion that incorporates all good things about different religions. Secularism is not when you accommodate the person who is different from you. Secularism is when you cannot see the difference at all.


Shivaji Maharaj was born during times of Mughal invasions and forceful conversions to Islam. He was the King of a fast-falling community that rose up for their rights and sovereignty.

When Shivaji became the king, never was any mosque brought down when a province was captured. Never was any forceful conversion to Hinduism carried out.

When the province of Kalyan was captured by the Maratha Army, the daughter-in-law of the Subhedar was brought to Maharaj's court. Like the 'typical' Mughal tradition went, the women of the captured family would be at the mercy of the 'triumphant king'. They would often face a life of slavery of varying kinds - religious conversion to start with upto being used for sexual pleasures of the king.

When Shivaji Maharaj saw the Muslim lady standing before him, he only said, "You are indeed beautiful lady. I wish I had a mother as beautiful as you - I would have been goodlooking too!"

Shivaji Maharaj looked at her as a lady who needed to be respected. He saw her no different from his own mother.


Several decades later, Shivaji Maharaj's son Sambhaji was kidnapped and tortured to force him to convert to Islam. Sambhaji's eyes were plucked and his tongue was pulled out in the process. He succumbed to death and not to the pressure being laid on him.


Secularism, to me in today's age and times, is in the form of this indifference to the beliefs of a person. As long as I believe the person and his/her genuineness towards me, any other belief (religious or otherwise) and opinion of his takes a backseat.

1 comment:

  1. A nice post I would say!!!
    The first para really "impresses" the reader. The conclusion drawn in the last paragraph is also correct.

    But concepts in both of these paras should go hand in hand.

    A little clarification:
    The great warrior Shivaji Maharaj DID order to demolish some of the mosques ; the reason was simple: they were built after demolishing one or more than one temples.
    No doubt he was the best king of his times and this act does support him as the best king.The reason?

    Secularism is not when you accommodate the person who is different from you. And the king has to do such things in order that no one will do such 'dadagiri' (evils) again. i.e. to set an example or to teach a lesson.

    P.S. I liked the definition in the last para more. Rather than "seeing no difference at all" !