Vrindavan, 2019.02.20 (VT): Commemorating the 389th birth anniversary of the Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Braj Culture Research Institute came out with a research brochure on the ‘Swatantrata Mudra’ (Freedom coinage) issued by the great warrior in AD 1674.
When the entire nation was plunged in grief during the Islamic invasion of India, Shivaji Maharaj issued two coins – ‘Swatantrata Mudra’ – to uplift people’s spirit and infuse courage in them.
He was the only ruler to issue independent currency during the Islamic rule in India. Minted inside the Raigarh Fort, the Gold coin was called ‘Hon’ and ‘Shivrai’ was the name given to the one made of copper.
This rare copper coin, the ‘Shivrai’, has been preserved for years at the Braj Culture Research Institute in Godavihar, Vrindavan. The words ‘Chhatrapati’ and ‘Shri Raja Shiv’ are inscribed on its front and rear, respectively.
The fact that these inscriptions are in Hindi and Nagari script, as opposed to Arabic which was the norm then, also underpins Shivaji’s commitment to his ideal of ‘Swarajya’.
Commenting on the brochure launch, Shri Laxmi Narayan Tiwari – Founder Secretary, Braj Culture Research Institute and senior numismatist Paramanand Gupta said that it will be of interest to both academicians and people with general interest in history.
The manuscript was prepared by Ashutosh Sunil Patil, a young numismatist from Aurnagabad, Maharashtra.
Shri Swami Vrindavan Acharya unveiled the brochure along with Pandit Shri Udayan Sharma (chief guest), Rajesh Sen (numismatist), and other intellectuals.
At the event, senior writer and journalist Shri Brajgopal Rai (‘Chanchal’) from Lucknow was assigned the responsibility of managing the institute’s projects and initiatives going further. This would include publication of books on Braj culture and history, talks, and other events.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Mathura
According to Dr. Ashok Bansal (senior journalist and professor) and R.K. Chaturvedi (president – ‘Jan Sanskriti Manch’, Mathura) Shivaji Maharaj stayed in Mathura for 47 days during his escape from Agra to Maharashtra.
This information, not found in history books, was dug out from Shivaji’s hand-written letters (around 252 of them) conserved at Kolhapur’s archaeological department by a history buff, Indrajeet Sawant.
Sawant found proof of Shivaji’s 47-day-long stay in Mathura in one of the letters dated Oct 3, 1666.
It is generally known that on May 12, 1666, Shivaji and his 9-yr-old son Sambhaji went to meet Mughal King Aurangzeb in Agra. He took umbrage to the insults that were heaped on him there, and this gave Aurangzeb a chance to take him and Sambhaji captive.
Shivaji fled from confinement on August 17, 1666. Hiding his son in a fruit basket and himself under disguise, he took the route from Agra to Mathura via road.
The consensus is that Shivaji escaped to Maharashtra without taking a stop at Mathura. However, based on Sawant’s research and Dr. Bansal’s meeting (2015) with a member of Mathura’s Chaturvedi Family which is now settled in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon, it is believed that he did in fact stay in Mathura for 47 days with a Chaturvedi Brahmin Family of Chaubiyapada’s Haathi Wali Gali.
Shaving his head and beard, Shivaji took on the guise of a Sadhu to outwit the Mughal army. The family not only gave him refuge, but also assisted him on his way back. Felicitated and rewarded by Shivaji, they settled in Jalgaon.
It is also believed that Shivaji spent some time at the Ganesh Teela Temple near Mathura-Vrindavan Akashvani. After reaching Maharashtra, he had the temple rebuilt in its present form.
Dr. Bansal also speculates that perhaps Mathura’s Mandi Ram Das is named after Shivaji Maharaj’s Guru, Shri Samarth Ramdas.