Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, and a host of other leaders expressed grief over the demise of Purandare and lauded his contribution in the fields of history and culture
ICONIC historian and Padma Vibhushan awardee Balwant Moreshwar Purandare, popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare, died at a Pune hospital on Monday after a brief illness, a doctor said. Purandare, 99, an authority on the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was admitted to the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital here in Maharashtra three days ago and was being treated for pneumonia. He breathed his last shortly after 5 am on Monday, a statement from the hospital said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, and a host of other leaders expressed grief over the demise of Purandare and lauded his contribution in the fields of history and culture. In the morning, the body was kept at the historian’s residence ‘Purandarewada’ in Parvati area here for people to pay their last respects. Scores of people from all walks of life bid a teary adieu to the historian. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol were among those who paid homage to Purandare here. Known by his moniker ‘Shiv Shahir’ (Shivaji’s bard), Purandare was among the pre-eminent authorities on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
‘Raja Shivchhatrapati’, Purandare’s popular two-part, 900-page magnum opus on Shivaji Maharaj in Marathi, was first published in the late 1950s and has since been a staple in Marathi households, going through numerous reprints over decades. Purandare had also conceived and directed the theatrical history extravaganza on Shivaji Maharaj’s life titled ‘Jaanta Raja’ in the mid-1980s. Born on July 29, 1922, Purandare was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, in 2019. The historian, who is survived by two sons and a daughter, was conferred with the Maharashtra Bhushan award in 2015. Though Purandare is credited with taking the life and works of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to the masses through his research, he was also criticised by some Maratha outfits which had accused him of distorting facts about the Maratha king. Some outfits like the Sambhaji brigade had protested the Government’s decision to confer the Maharashtra Bhushan award on him. Purandare’s ambitious project ‘Shivsrushti’, to depict important moments in the life of Shivaji Maharaj, was taking shape in Ambegaon area here under his guidance.
The first phase of the project was completed recently. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, “I am pained beyond words. The demise of Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare leaves a major void in the world of history and culture. It is thanks to him that the coming generations will get further connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. His other works will also be remembered.” The PM said Purandare was witty and wise and had rich knowledge of the Indian history. “I had the honour of interacting with him very closely over the years. A few months back, had addressed his centenary year programme,” he tweeted, posting a video of his address at the event. Purandare will live on due to his extensive works, Modi said, extending condolences to his family and countless admirers. Later, speaking at an event in Bhopal, Modi said the “ideals of Purandare will continue to guide us”, adding his contribution in taking the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to the common man is invaluable.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said with Purandare’s death “we have lost a Shatayu Shiv Rishi”. Since childhood, nationalism was rooted in Purandare from Sangh Shaka. He dedicated all his life in the devotion Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and through his writings, spread the story of the Maratha King to every household, Bhagwat said. Noting that Purandare had fought as a soldier in the Dadra Nagar Haveli Mukti Sangram (struggle for the liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli), he said the historian’s life will inspire the society for generations to come. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Purandare’s demise has left a void in the field of culture and he will always be remembered for his work. Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his condolence message said, “He (Purandare) has done the work of taking the glorious life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to the masses. Through his play ‘Jaanta Raja’, he instilled in the hearts of the younger generation the valour stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the protector of religion.” Shah said he had the opportunity to meet Purandare a few years ago and had a long discussion with him.
“His energy and ideas were truly inspiring. His death is the end of an era. My condolences to his family and countless followers,” he said. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in a video message said Purandare explained about Shivaji Maharaj and his works to contemporary students and youth and because of this, the feeling of patriotism got infused in people. “As a youth, I was among several such people who got inspired from Purandare and we came to know about the persona of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I will never forget him (Purandare),” he said. Lauding Purandare’s contribution in the field of history, Gadkari said the coming generations will not forget him. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said Purandare was a true follower of Chhatrapati Shivaji. “You will not find a true follower of Shivaji like him. Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray expressed his deepest condolences on the demise of Shivshahir Padma Vibhushan and Maharashtra Bhushan Babasaheb Purandare,” the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted. NCP chief Pawar in a tweet said, “With the demise of Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare, Maharashtra lost its luster in the field of literature and art. A heartfelt tribute to them!”
Last rites of Babasaheb Purandare held with State honours in Pune
THE last rites of historian and author Babasaheb Purandare was conducted with State honours in Pune on Monday. The historian passed away early this morning at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital of Pune around 5 am after a brief illness. Babasaheb Purandare was honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 2019. The Maharashtra Government honoured him with Maharashtra Bhushan Award in 2015 and Madhya Pradesh Government has awarded him the Kalidas award. Babasaheb Purandare was a celebrated author and historian and was known for his work on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He wrote several books on Shivaji, his administration and the forts from the king’s era. As a theatre enthusiast, Purandare had directed ‘Jaanta Raja’, a play on Shivaji’s life. Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in August, attended a function to mark Baba Saheb Purandare entering the 100th year of his life.