Ghanshyam Dahane, a historian, is currently collecting data on the history of Satara. As a part of this endeavour, he visited the Swami Samartha Vagdevta temple in the village of Dhule in Satara. Dahane wanted to study the archival documents preserved in the temple. However, never did he imagine that the visit would lead him to discover a letter by the pioneer of the Maratha kingdom—Shivaji Bhosle!
Speaking to the Pune Mirror, Dahane said, “I remember that I was led to this room where all these documents are preserved, and the temperature was very high. The room was covered in dust, and I spent some time going through different documents, but the moment I laid my hand on this particular letter, I knew it was crucial.”
The 344-year-old letter, written by Shivaji, is dated 2 February 1674 and was found in a good condition, even though of no one knew about its origin or age.
“The letter is written in the Modi script (the script that was used to write Marathi) and even has a ‘Rajmudra’ (royal seal) at the top, making it genuine,” the independent researcher told PM, adding that “Historians have only found 273 letters written by Shivaji Maharaj till date, and among them only 103 are in good condition.”
Shivaji had written the letter to Nagogi Patil Kalbhor, the head of Pali village in Satara. It was written five months before Shivaji’s coronation at the Raigad fort on 6 June 1674.
The letter was a response to the complaint that Kalbhor had filed against Kharade Patil, another minister of the village.
Kalbhor had accused Patil of enforcing his rule and overstepping Kalbhor’s position in Satara.
“In the letter, Shivaji Maharaj has assured Kalbhor that he had done his research and realised that Kalbhor is correct. He further said that Kharade Patil should be warned. Shivaji has also written that Kalbhor should not worry about this issue and that the ‘Subhedar’ (chief native officer) Abbaji Moredev will ensure that Kharade Patil does not come in his way,” Dahane shared. “I translated the entire letter within minutes,” he added.
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This discovery will be verified by other historians and will be added to the archive of Shivaji’s letters, once the process is completed.
Padmakar Prabhune, a historian who is also a visiting faculty member at the Savitribai Phule Pune University, told PM, “While the language in the letter is definitely of that period, we need to see if the same has been published in any book. If the paper, ink, content and Rajmudra are found on the letter then surely it will be a valuable addition to the existing historical documents from that era.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)