By Mushtaque Madni
Pune: “Muslims have no reason to feel guilty. Brahmins have plenty to feel guilty about. It were Brahmins who humiliated, harassed and conspired against Shivaji and finally killed him in the most mysterious manner,” says Purushottam Khedekar, founder of Shiv Dharma and a strong Maratha revolutionary.
During the last twenty five years, Khedekar (62), a civil engineer and a law graduate, has emerged as a potential threat to the Brahminical superiority which was an accepted and established fact even among Marathas. Not only he formed a separate religion (Shiv Dharma), courageously rebelling against the old order of ‘Manu’ but also established a strong organization called ‘Maratha Seva Dal’ to counter Brahmanism in all forms and colours. He went on to challenge their superiority and even questioned their patriotism and, more importantly, exposed their malicious intents and misdeeds against Maratha King Shivaji Raje Bhonsle, popularly known as ‘Shivraya’ in Maharashtra.
It was just few years back that at the time of Shiv Jayanti in Maharashtra, Muslims used to be the most scared lot, for it was taken for granted that howsoever Police stood alert and impartial, riot against Muslims was an integral part of the procession and an inevitable necessity. The fear was so compounded that some Muslims sent their families to their relatives in neighboring cities or states. Afzal Khan and Shaista Khan were identified as the “symbols” of Muslim brutality and Shivaji as the Maratha saviour who fought against the Muslim rulers. This was nothing but a typical Brahmin ploy to mislead Marathas and trick them into fighting Muslims. It was Khedekar and his committed disciples who instilled confidence among Muslims that they have no reason to feel guilty as Muslims constituted nearly 40 percent of Shivaji’s army and that Muslims were the most trusted allies and friends of Shivaji after Marathas. On the contrary, it were Brahmins who were the committed friends of Afzal Khan and deadliest enemies of Shivaji.
Again, it was Khedekar and his Maratha brigade that enlightened Muslims about the enormous support extended at times of crisis by Usman Shaikh and his sister Fatima Bi to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitri Bai Phule, when they started educational awakening among Marathas, an unheard of thing during those days among non-Brahmins who were not supposed to get educated.
Inspired by the early visionaries of the Bahujan Samaj of the likes of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur and Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar who exposed and fought against the Brahminical tyranny in every sphere of life, Khedekar says “Muslims should confidently come forward to claim their rights on these visionaries, for they were the ones who stood firmly with these towering figures when they were harassed and marginalized by the Brahmins.”
Khedekar is critical of Muslims for not visualizing the great social change that is in the offing and that is going to benefit all including Muslims. “If Jyotiba wrote ‘Brahmananche Kasab’ (How to cut down Brahminism) and Ambedkar publically burnt Manusmiriti that preaches hatred and discrimination even within the Hindu community, it was to unite all Bahujans, irrespective of their religions, including Muslims, against Brahminical tyranny.
One of the most remarkable achievements of Khedekar was that he diagnosed and worked simultaneously on all grounds that were ailing Bahujans. He discovered that every single mischief and atrocity that culminated in attacks on Muslims was actually aimed at Bahujans, for Brahmins wanted to keep youthful Marathas constantly engaged in baseless conflicts and confrontations and consequently away from development and leading a decent life.
Khedekar realized that the only way to uplift Marathas was to instill in them an unwavering urge to get themselves decent education that would make them stand confidently in front of their peers. He worked untirelessly and, like an expert magician, transformed the hearts of Marathas who hated Muslims and made them Muslims’ best friends and well-wishers. He searched and dug deep into the old historical books written by Brahmin historians and found out how maliciously misleading they were. He wrote extensively exposing such diabolic material and toured exhaustively across Maharashtra and brought to limelight the actual facts. It was to his credit that for the first time in the history of Pune, shocking traditional Muslim leadership, massive rallies on the birth anniversaries of Shivaji, Jyotiba Phule and Dr. Ambedkar were organized by Muslims under the guidance and stewardship of P. A. Inamdar, another activist, reformer and visionary of the movement, and proudly proceeded bypassing Brahmin-dominated areas.
Now, interestingly, things have come to such a pass that every year at the time of Shivjayanti, Brahmins do not come out of their houses for fear of being attacked. Recently, following in the footsteps of Dr. Ambedkar, Manusmiriti, the deadliest weapon in Brahmin hands, was burnt in Pune, the Brahmins’ bastion, by highly educated women of Bahujan Samaj in a grand function attended by thousands.