By Imran Inamdar
Members of the Muslim community observed Shiv Jayant, the birth anniversary of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, on 19 February and organised special events across various cities and towns in Maharashtra.
“He was a secular Maratha king. He never hurt Muslims or tried to defame Islam…in fact, nearly 30% of his soldiers including 11 personal bodyguards were Muslims,” said Haji Mateen Bagban ,president of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Muslim Brigade, Solapur.
He added that he along with others have been taking part in activities related to Shiv Jayanti for the past few years.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Muslim Brigade organised essay writing competition on the topic of “Shivaji Maharaj’s life”. About five hundred students from nearly 30 Urdu school participated in the competition. Eight students obtained 98 marks out of 100 and won first place.
In Barsi town, various Muslim NGOs conducted various activities on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti. Udan Foundation members including Zafar Shaikh ,Irfan Shaikh ,Shakil Mulani and Wasim Pathan etc visited Shivaji’s Statue to pay their tribute. Bagban Jamat and Adhar Foundation distributed sweats on the occasion.
Muslims in Sangli city also observed the occasion with great enthusiasm. “King Shivaji remains an important figure for all citizens of Maharashtra irrespective of their religious beliefs,” Sangli-based activist Suhel Sayed said.
Shyam Kadam, president Sambhaji Brigade’s Solarpur expressed happiness over involvement of Muslims in Shiv Jayanti.
“It’s a fact that Shivaji Maharaj was not at all a Muslim hater, but due to some limited fanatics, he could not be known to other religions people except Hindus,” Mr Kadam said.
There were many Muslim soldiers were there in Maharaj’s Army and Navy,who were loyal to their Master till last breath, he added.
He further praised Chhatrapati Shivaji Muslim Brigade. He said that Shivaji Maharaj is being known to the Muslim community thanks to the efforts of this groups.