Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the King of the Indian princely state of Kolhapur between 1884 and 1922, is known for his legacy of progressive reforms.
Born in 1682 in Mangaon, he was the grandson of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire in India.
During his reign in Kolhapur, he introduced a number of reforms to promote education among the masses. He was so rooted in his vision for education for all, that parents who did not send their children to school were charged a fine of Rs 1 per month.
He was also a champion of women’s and children’s rights, and his reforms led to several changes in archaic institutions that had remained in place for years.
Moreover, he was an outspoken critic of the caste system and collaborated closely with Dr B R Ambedkar to highlight the institution’s unjust practices. He was perhaps among the first to introduce a reservation system of sorts in government jobs.
Watch this video to see how the king led monumental changes, and how his efforts changed the life of the man we now know as ‘The Father of the Indian Constitution’.
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