Marathi Culture and Festivals

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 Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur
(26th June 1874 to 6th May 1922) title.

                                        Image Source : By Unknown photographer (The British Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first Maharaja of the Indian princely state of Kolhapur between 1884 and 1922.  The most popular Maratha King with a revolutionary vision. He was a social reformer to work for rural and low-caste indigent by providing them free education along with hostel facility in Kolhapur state.

First king in India – implemented Reservation Policy ( Provided 50% Reservation in his state, on 26 July 1902) Revolutionary Legal Reforms. Appealed for caste-free India and abolition of untouchability. Pioneer of Student Hostel Movement for Bahujan Samaj. Derecognized Brahmanical supremacy and Religious bureaucracy of Brahmins. Greatest supporter and sympathizer of Dr. Ambedkar movement. The Pillar of Social Democracy.

Shahu Maharaj is credited with doing much to the lower castes, and indeed this assessment is warranted. He did much to make education and employment available to all: he not only subsidized education in his state, eventually providing free education to all, but also opened several hostels in Kolhapur for students hailing from many different non-brahmin communities

Shahu’s other initiatives included restricting Child marriage in his state and the encouragement of inter caste marriages and widow remarriages. He long patronized the Satya Shodhak Samaj. Under the influence of these social-reform movements, Shahu arranged for several non-brahmin youths to be trained to function as priests, in defiance of timeless convention which reserved the priesthood for those of the brahmin caste.

Even in today’s era, his foresight can be seen everywhere while considering development of Kolhapur, Maharashtra and India as well.

The Indian postal department has issued a stamp dedicated to Shahu. On the first-issue citation, the government of India hails Shahu as “A social revolutionary, a true democrat, a visionary, a patron of the theatre, music and sports.