Shivaji Maharaj’s ‘Wagh Nakh’ to be on display at Central Museum
   Date :15-May-2024

Wagh Nakh 
By Shirish Borkar
‘WAGH Nakh’, the knuckle-duster with metallic nails resembling the tiger claws of great Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj dating back to the 17th century, will be displayed in Central Museum, Nagpur for general public. The ‘Wagh Nakh’ will be brought from Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for a period of three years and kept in museums at Satara, Kolhapur, Mumbai and Nagpur to commemorate 350 years of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had used the ‘Wagh Nakh’ to kill Afzal Khan, the cruel General in the Bijapur Adilshahi empire in 1659.
In October last year, Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London to bring back the tiger claws weapon to Maharashtra for three years. The Maharashtra Government, in April 2023, had started correspondence with the Victoria and Albert Museum during a meeting with Imogen Stone, Deputy Head of Political and Bilateral Relations of Britain and Alan Gammell, British Deputy High Commissioner for West India, Mumbai, for retrieval of the tiger claws. The tiger claw weapon was in the possession of James Grant Duff, an officer of East India Company who was allegedly a Resident agent of the Satara state in 1818. One of the descendants of Duff had gifted the remarkable antiquity to Victoria and Albert Museum.
Speaking to ‘The Hitavada’, Mayuresh Khadke, Curator, Central Museum, said, “Nagpur is also in the list of museums where the ‘Wagh Nakh’ will be displayed for the public.” The Maharashtra Government is also putting in sincere efforts to bring back ‘Jagdamba,’ the ceremonial sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from the United Kingdom. In 1875-76, Shivaji IV, the descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, had presented the sword with a set of diamonds and rubies to Albert Edward, then Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII during his visit to India. The State Government will chalk out a time-table for display of the ‘Wagh Nakh’ in various museums soon.