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Chhatrapati Shivaji, Afzal Khan and a mini riot – UPDATED

Some of you may have already seen these two videos that have been doing the rounds on the internet. They show a mini riot and violence that occured in Miraj (Distt. Sangli) in Maharashtra late last week.

About 2 minutes into the first video, you can clearly see a mob that has assembled (although not clear how and from where)…

First Video (7 mins long)


The second video (3 mins long) shows what happened…

The videos raised a lot of questions in my mind – broadly around two issues:

A] What should have been the response of the District Administation in this situation? The restiveness of the crowd is clear and I think the policemen on duty must have sensed trouble…Did they not have reinforcements? Was someone from “higher up” directing them what to do? Were they under orders not to do anything?

I must say that seeing someone climb a police jeep while a uniformed officer is watching does not exactly inspire confidence …and sends all kinds of wrong signals to an assembled mob.

B] The second thought was why did this incident not get reported? When I did a Google search a few hours back, none of the the first few links on this incident came from any of the mainstream media outlet (screen shot of first few links in the search results below)…



The 2nd news link (“Threat posed by Hindu Terrorists”) is a translation of an article from Rashtriya Sahara published in Bangalore (originally in Urdu) warning of threat posed by Hindu terrorists during Ganesh Chaturthi; dateline 25 August 2009

What explains the “silence”?

Was it because no one was killed? or no one appeared injured?

Was it because there were no cameramen/women conveniently positioned?

Was it because Hindu sacred icons, temples being desecrated and vandalised is old news*?

Was it because showing rioting Muslims is no longer considered news-worthy?

What explains the “silence”? and what is the district administration doing to bring the culprits to book?


UPDATE: Courtesy IBNLive (emphasis mine)

….communal clashes…erupted over a poster during Ganesh Utsav festivities last week.

The organisers allegedly also held a “victory rally” near the arch, depicting all the followers of Chhatrapati Shivaji in saffron and Afzal Khan supporters in green.

SP (Superintendent of Police) Krishna Prakash’s version of what happened (as reported by IBNLive):

This is a historical fact (Chhatrapati Shivaji’s killing of Afzal Khan) which nobody can challenge, but despite our pleas, the organisers put it up prominently where everybody would take note of it…

…as it always happens, some miscreants exploited the situation to give it a communal twist especially in view of the recently-concluded Ganesh Utsav festival, the ongoing Ramzan month and the ensuing assembly elections

IBNLive further reported:

(SP Krishna Prakash) was addressing crowds of both communities from the bonnet of his official jeep when an unidentified youth also climbed atop the vehicle and tried to shout him down.

Suddenly, there was a hail of stones from different directions, prompting police to start caning the protesters.

Some of the stones are also said to have landed at the Ganesh idol, leading to heightened tensions.

This was followed by violent clashes between members of the two communities that afternoon in which the poster depicting Chhatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan was ripped off by some unknown persons.


I leave it to your individual judgement(s) to figure out what actually happened.

P.S. Thanks to Sh Krishen Kak for this brief excerpt to refresh the memory of the encounter between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan.

Shivaji and Afzal arranged a meeting at a large tent at the foothills of Pratapgad. It was agreed that the meeting would be unarmed, and each man was to bring ten personal bodyguards, remaining one arrow-shot distance away. Both were prepared for treachery: Afzal hid a kataar, a small and sharp dagger, in his coat. Shivaji wore armour under his clothes, and carried a weapon called wagh nakh (“tiger claws”), consisting of an iron finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his clenched fist.

As the two men entered the tent fixed for meeting, Khan pretended to greet Shivaji with a hug, and stabbed Shivaji in the back with his kataar. However Shivaji, due to the armour under his coat, was saved. Shivaji opened his fist and disemboweled Khan with his wagh nakh. [ link ]

As Sh Kak emphasises: Afzal Khan stabbed Shivaji first, but failed. Shivaji stabbed back, and succeeded. That’s history.

* Below are links to recent (last few weeks) incidents of desecration of Hindu icons (pl. read this post to understand why I have deliberately and consciouly used the word “icon” in place of “idol”):

Lord Krishna’s broken Murthy in Ahmedabad, 17 Aug 2009

Idol desecration triggers tension, Bangalore, 23 Aug 2009

Lord Shiva desecrated, Mangalore 17 Jul 2009

Gang desecrates Ganesha in Tamil Nadu, 25 Aug 2009

Somewhat Related Posts:

Was this a cover-up or blind omission? [ must read ]

“Are Hindus Violent?” – Excerpts


September 8th, 2009 Posted by | Hindu Festivals, Indian Media, Politics and Governance in India | 29 comments


  1. Shantanu, you ask “The second thought was why did this incident not get reported?”

    I’m a bit surprised that you have to ask this question, when it is very obvious that in mainstream media everywhere (and not just in India), Islam is given special status and reporting on unsavory acts by its adherents is for the most part, censored, as it is the religion of peace. People (non-Muslims) have learned their lessons after the Danish cartoon controversy, and obviously do not want to be at the receiving end. If you criticize Muslims or Islam, you are a bigot and an Islamophobe – that is the script.

    Comment by Kaffir | September 8, 2009

  2. The New Indian Express has reported it today (8/9/2009). “Curfew in Maharashtra town” The report starts with “Several leaders of the Shiv Sena and the BJP were detained……” One can now conclude what kind of reporting these MSM are indulging in.

    In the so called SECULAR INDIA hindus should never react even if they are beaten, maimed, killed, their temples are looted, their religious idols are broken. The government and MSM and all other secular jhollawallahs find deviant or dubious ways to twist all the facts and present them in a way which makes the hindus at fault. Sometimes I wonder whether I am living in Pakistan for one cannot even talk about such horrible characters like Aurangazeb or Afzal Khan. Shortly, the government and other secularists may confer sainthood on these horrible beasts.

    Comment by KSV SUBRAMANIAN | September 8, 2009

  3. KSV , here is Prof Vaidya’s excellent article.

    Comment by gajanan | September 8, 2009

  4. I think the only solution is to have a main stream english news channel with all commercial elements but show the true facts about how hindus are bullied in India. This channel must earn good TRP, show many bollywood programs, but making sure the message is sent through the news 24X7.
    I really want to start a channel myself, but unfortunately I have no friends or knowledge in journalism and confused how to manage the funding and politics. But this is one of my agenda and I will pursue this agenda as long as possible.

    Comment by Nanda | September 8, 2009

  5. Kaffir: Thanks…You are right…Sometimes my naivete gets the better of my cynicism.


    KSV and Gajanan: Thanks for the news-excerpt and the link.


    Nanda: A lot of people have toyed with this idea before but in the end it all boils down to resources…Any serious attempt at starting an alternative channel will need money that is beyond the pale of most individuals…that is the crux of the issue…

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 8, 2009

  6. Shantanu, but does it explain the intolerance of the truth ?
    Do the rioters feel emotionally connected to the person so much so that “some of the stones landed at the Ganesh idol” ?
    Is it not revision of history to suit one’s “tastes” ?

    If you can read hindi, than do read this:

    PS: the above is not a secular site!

    Comment by Anon | September 8, 2009

  7. Let me ask some questions here.

    QUOTE SP (Superintendent of Police) Krishna Prakash’s version of what happened (as reported by IBNLive):

    This is a historical fact (Chhatrapati Shivaji’s killing of Afzal Khan) which nobody can challenge, but despite our pleas, the organisers put it up prominently where everybody would take note of it…

    …as it always happens, some miscreants exploited the situation to give it a communal twist especially in view of the recently-concluded Ganesh Utsav festival, the ongoing Ramzan month and the ensuing assembly elections UNQUOTE

    ii) Incredible incident no doubt. That someone can (i) climb atop a police vehicle and (ii) unfurl a flag, both with impunity speaks reams of the kind of society we live in.

    iii) Clearly, the organizers were the Shiv Sena given the many images of the SS’s luminaries (incl Balasaheb’s and Uddhav’s) on the Shivaji-Afzal Khan cutout. And the Shiv Sena was just quietly celebrating Ganesha Utsav with, strangely enough, huge cut-outs of Shivaji and Afzal Khan (poor Ganapathy, where was he?) prominently displayed? And as Shantanu asks, the police were just hanging around?

    iv) Who was the videographer who took these videos? Well timed and strategically perched so as to get a bird’s eye view?

    So, as you can see any civilized debate in our country cannot take place in an atmosphere where the police (justice system) is emasculated and the worst prejudices of each side only get reinforced every day. Each side is ready to believe the worst in the other without any application of mind, so vicious is the environment. As my friend says in his yet to be published book, this country is doomed because those who can think have or will emigrate and the lumpen will take over. His prognosis is that this will happen by 2050.

    Comment by Sanjay | September 8, 2009

  8. maharashtra election dates just been announced and hence the rioting fun has just begun.

    Comment by nita | September 8, 2009

  9. @Sanjay (#7)

    “iv) Who was the videographer who took these videos? Well timed and strategically perched so as to get a bird’s eye view?”

    Did you ask the same question when some goons attacked some women in Mangalore? How was it that Main Stream News media Cameramen were at the right place at the right time even before the Police in a comparatively small remote town? How were they at that exact “club” location when the alleged attack happen (MSM-speak)? Did they already know about the incident beforehand? If yes, then why didn’t they inform the Police?

    If it wasn’t for the Cameraman whom you are chiding we would probably not even know about this horrible riot. He/She is not giving any Commentary unlike how main stream news entertainment media does in every report that they choose to show. He/She is showing the incident as it is, as it happens, so I don’t know how you can claim that it shows his/her prejudice?

    Comment by Satyabhashnam | September 8, 2009

  10. Thanks to trains like Patna- Kolhapur, Patna – Pune and from other parts of UP connecting Maharashtra , Some non Maharashtrain Muslims or Bhaiyya Muslims are creating problems… and poor Marathi Muslims are been targeted.

    As of now around 300000 UP/BIHARIS have migrated into these 2tier cities of Maharashtra.

    Comment by महेश पाटील | September 8, 2009

  11. @Mahesh: such incidents during Ganesh chaturthi used to happen even 10-15 years back in Kolhapur. I remember hearing fire crackers when Pakistan would beat India in criekct match. Are you saying poor “marathi muslims” had nothing to do with it?

    Grow up… we have to unite against fanatics (who happen to be belonging to two religions mostly)!

    Comment by Hemant | September 8, 2009

  12. @satyabhashnam very good repy to sanjay’s (sarcastic – IMO) comments!

    He seems to have ignored another fact that a number of people were beaten during a marathi movie on Shivaji a few months back when they clapped after the scene of afzalkhan ‘vadh‘ by Shivaji. Of cuorse the conis and oher pseudo-seculars proposed toban such scenes in the movie!

    Timeis not far away under he ruleof these pseudos and converts, when even putting a poster of Shivaji Maharaj will be labelled as ‘fanatism’ . There will also be a supreme court ruling preventing mention of Shivaji Maharaj in any of the textbooks to appease minorities…

    Comment by Hemant | September 8, 2009

  13. Lol..@Mahesh Patil

    What an opportunistic calculation of division by some politician. Now new agenda..Marathi Muslims and Bhaiyya Muslims. As if there were no riots in Maharastra before this episode, and I wonder from which corner of UP Dawood Ibrahim was from? I am sure Ratnagiri is not in UP? Right Mahesh?

    Someone correctly said its politicians we need to get rid of not the public.

    Jai Hind!

    Comment by Indian | September 8, 2009

  14. Dear Satyabhashnam, your response to my post clearly demonstrates the tit-for-tat nature of discussion, which in my view is incredibly regressive. It leads no where except downwards in an escalating spiral. Politicians and opportunists love this scenario as we demonstrate unthinking reactions.

    The reason we descend to school yard debates (“he stole my toffee so I’ll steal his”) is because the entire redressal system in our society has been emasculated & subverted. If someone alleges that someone else stole the person’s toffee, the civilised thing to do (in my view) is to have the authorities look into the matter in an impartial manner and deliver speedy recourse. A crime is a crime and should be punished as per law. In our country, because we don’t have any faith of any kind in the justice system, there’s vigilante and lumpen reactions. If anyone is serious about getting our society to the 21st century, we have to worry about restoring this most fundamental of tools.

    Comment by Sanjay | September 9, 2009

  15. @ B Shantanu and Nanda..

    Would a weekly published from an underground press and distributed at lower prices than Slimes and Chindu suffice to spread awareness among people? Surely, it would cost less than having a news channel…

    Comment by Kalidas | September 9, 2009

  16. #3 – Gajanan
    What a thoughtprovoking article from Prof Vaidyanathan indeed..I cannot believe how helpless we feel about all this.. the real majority is a very small minority when compared to the rest of this big bad world …why cannot the secular weak state see it ? vested interests….
    vote bank Politics which will one day engulf the Sanatan Dharma as we know it .. and only the ‘Utsavar’ brand of institutions under people like Sri Sri will survive? Perhaps the ‘Utsavar’ brand of Hindu institutions see this “all inclusiveness” as the only way out to the uphill battle ?

    Comment by Vikram | September 9, 2009

  17. @Nanda RE:I really want to start a channel myself
    I too feel the same way and wish to do whatever, in order to bring the truth to the attention of not the general public or world but at least Hindus.
    Can we collaborate and discuss about this in more detail?

    My contact
    sandeepnshelke AT gmail DOT com

    –संदीप नारायण शेळके
    जय हिंद!

    Comment by संदीप नारायण शेळके | September 9, 2009

  18. @Hemant RE:There will also be a supreme court ruling preventing mention of Shivaji Maharaj in any of the textbooks to appease minorities…

    The supreme court or govt of India dare take such decision.
    I’ll make sure that, even if not any political party, no miscreant will ever exist in this country. By promise for my nation and my people, ready to take or give my life.

    Enough is enough now. We shall be joining hands together and take some needful actions in order to make sure that no true Indian suffers.

    Come on, time has come to say ‘Bharat Chhodo’ to all India haters.

    Lets collaborate and ignite the inner fire for welfare of the country and fellow citizens. Lets rise!

    *All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing*

    जय हिंद! जय महाराष्ट्र!

    Comment by संदीप नारायण शेळके | September 9, 2009

  19. Some of the prominent Muslims Like Salman Khan Has Ganpati at their homes.

    Similarly there are ganesh Mandals which are co-managed by muslims.

    I am sure all the fingers are not the same.
    So as i said all these riots and Mumbai train blast or any other blast are linked to Muslims of a particular State and that is UP and Bihar.

    These people come from Districts Like Aligarh(UP) and come and reside in Mumbra(THane Dist) or in slums of Mumbai by cunning the Marathi Muslims and then execute hineous crimes like Mumbai Bomb blast. or some rogue UP- or non residents trigger a hindu-muslim fight and the local Maharashtrain both HINDUS n MUSLIMS jump into the fight!…

    The Maharashtrains are very forward thinking people (Maharashtrain = Hindu+Muslim and all those who love marathi culture) and dont trigger these fights.

    Its always an outsider… in this case.. UPites and Biharis.

    And it is too far fetched to say Bharat CHodo for Muslims..
    We have larger issues knocking at our borders…THE CHINESE INCURSIONS!

    Comment by महेश पाटील | September 9, 2009

  20. The guy who climbed atop the vehicle of SP (Superintendent of Police) Krishna Prakash and waved a huge green flag and the crowd cheered. Following this there were stone peltings.
    Unlike the dhimmi press which says “some stones allegedly landed on the Gnaesh iidol”, the truth is that the rioting mobs pelted stones and broke the idol.

    Still, all the fake secularists in the media cannot explain a single fact :

    Why does the mob riot over Afzal Khan? Are they the descendants of Afzal Khan? And will the followers and cheer leaders of Afzal Khan preven the display of truth as it hurts their sentiments AND pelt stones and break idols?

    Truth should not be covered to meet the “sentiments” of the rioting mobs or else, it represents the control of historical facts and that too by using the threat of violence.

    Comment by Anon | September 9, 2009

  21. All: Thanks for some very thought-provoking comments…will respond soon, hopefully later this evening.

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 9, 2009

  22. I sincerely believe that it is our responsibility NOT to blow such incidents out of proportion. Muslims are the most marginalized segment of Indian socierty and there are leaders – both Muslims and non Muslims – who exploit this fact at the expense of men on street. Lack of maturity in appreciating historical facts is an Indian trait – not restricted to Muslims alone. Remember recent episodes regarding Shivaji Maharaj’s (alleged) teacher Dadoji Konddeo. The acts of misguided youth have to be treated as a law and order situation.

    Comment by Abhay Patil | September 10, 2009

  23. ***
    Anon: Thanks for the link (#6). It is clear to me that the mainstream media (MSM) is not to be trusted with “facts” when it comes to reporting sensitive incidents.


    @ Sanjay (#7): This is the scary part:As my friend says in his yet to be published book, this country is doomed because those who can think have or will emigrate and the lumpen will take over. His prognosis is that this will happen by 2050.…And I worry about this all the time…

    The task of “fixing” governance and “politics” in India is so urgent and so humungous that it sometimes overwhelms me…Is there another way?


    @ Mahesh: I don’t think this is a “Bhaiyya Muslim” or Marathi vs. non-Marathi ussue).


    Sanjay (#14): “…the entire redressal system in our society has been emasculated & subverted…”

    Subverted by whom Sanjay? We all know the answer. Any attempt at fixing on the periphery (or fixing the effect rather than the cause) will at best be a temporary fix and at worst will simply not work…The “solution” is to get the current crop of dishonest thugs out of the system – regardless of which dispensation they belong to…The next challenge is to convince the “leadership” that it is in everyone’s long-term interest to have clean, upright leaders who have a sense of morality. Otherwise we are on our way to damnation as your friend suggests.


    @ Kalidas: Yes, it would be cheaper. The challenge will be distribution…Send me (and Sandeep @# 17) an email if you have any specific ideas.

    @ Abhay: Can you support your statement, “Muslims are the most marginalized segment of Indian socierty” with some facts and references? Besides does being socially disadvantaged give someone the right to riot?

    This post was not so much about lack of maturity in appreciating historical facts as about the apparent ineffectiveness of the law and order machinery and the silence of MSM re. this whole episode.

    Re. Muslims being marginalized, you may like to read these two posts: More on Sachar, OBCs, reservations etc…

    and Time to nail the Muslim backwardness myth?

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 10, 2009

  24. Compare this, though by Tamils (SL)

    This is in Sydney

    In Detroit River in Canada

    There are many more.

    Comment by Avinash | September 10, 2009

  25. =>
    Muslims are the most marginalized segment of Indian socierty (sic) and there are leaders – both Muslims and non Muslims – who exploit this fact at the expense of men on street.

    Abhay, assuming that is so, then whose responsibility is it? Should Muslims be totally exonerated from this marginalization when their religion tells them to not associate with non-Muslims? You’ll find many Indian non-Muslims commenting and discussing issues on Indian Muslim blogs, but the reverse is not that true.

    Can we also excuse the “liberals/progressives” who, while asking for positive changes and reform among non-Muslim communities, go out of their way to prevent the same reform from happening amongst Muslim communities (women’s rights is an obvious example)? Doesn’t it show a communal bent of mind, and a tendency to marginalize Muslims and not considering them as Indians first? Statements from leaders like Modi and Varun Gandhi make the progressives’ knees jerk in unison, and the media go into hyperdrive with their criticism, but there’s silence when similar communal statements are made by Indian Muslim leaders, like Bukhari, or Tasleema is attacked by goons led by Owaisi. Such double standards do nothing to decrease the marginalization you speak of.

    Frankly speaking, I do not see any change in this “marginalization” unless and until certain elements in Islamic ideology are reformed. Why do we not see such marginalization of other non-Muslim minority communities in India or elsewhere?

    Comment by Kaffir | September 10, 2009

  26. @Kaffir Re:
    Very well said. I truely agree with you.
    I’ve a experience share here about the whole idea. I’ve one of my friends from Muslim community (out of many muslim friends).
    He always says that the Islam is the greatest religion because it is the scientific way of living. He gives example of “No Tax” system in Islamic nations, but he is not able to justify the move.

    On contrary among discussion there are always more than 3-4 non-muslims(Hindu) but non of us put ahead the thoughts of Hinduism or any other religion.

    But he openly markets his religion.

    What do we call this again the sense of marginalization for muslims among every citizen?

    जय हिंद! जय महाराष्ट्र!

    ***TO your attention***
    Pak Hindus flee Taliban by train
    More Than 5,000 Have Crossed Over In 4 Yrs, Huge Spurt Since 2008

    Comment by संदीप नारायण शेळके | September 11, 2009

  27. Here’s an excerpt from “Eminent Historians” by Arun Shourie:
    (page 200)

    From personal knowledge born of his extensive travels in areas where Muslims are congregated and from his intimate acquaintance with them, in his Indian Muslims, Need for a Positive Outlook, Maulana Wahiduddin states that as a community, Muslims are much better off today than they were, say at the time of Partition. He gives telling instances in support of this fact. But, he says, to acknowledge the fact in public is regarded among Muslims as betrayal of the community.


    Comment by Kaffir | September 11, 2009

  28. Sandeep: Thanks…Vikram posted the news as well…

    Pl read this article


    Kaffir: Thanks for the excerpt

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 11, 2009

  29. This might explain the “silence” of MSM on this issue.

    Comment by B Shantanu | September 13, 2009

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