Indic Varta

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As the nationalists of the twentieth century drew courage, valour, and motivation from the heroics of Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a warrior from the seventeenth century, it becomes evident that the Baton of Dharma is passed on from one generation to the next. This reveals the nature of our duty towards the nation, which is never entirely completed but must be continually fulfilled in every Yuga, guided by the Yuga Dharma.

BAJI PRABHU DESHPANDE: HERO WHO LIVES ON DESPITE NEGLECT FROM MAINSTREAM HISTORIANS

The Maratha Warrior, a trusted companion of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, exerted pan-Indian influence on the political spectrum as late as the twentieth century.

A cursory glance at untouched annals of history penned down by regional historians in Maharashtra reveals a pantheon of unsung heroes, who akin to lions, defended the Nation with their unparalleled courage. Unfortunately, those entrusted with the duty of telling our Nation’s story to posterity cleverly concealed the valorous chapters of the country’s past. In history books designated for schools and colleges, India is often depicted as a mere stopover or “Sarai” for marauding invaders, which is why one may wish to ask from where the city of Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh, now renamed as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar, derived its name.

The accounts of the warriors who defended the Nation and protected its integrity with their own lifeblood find little or no mention in the mainstream historical discourse. Even if their names are acknowledged, they are often relegated to mere footnotes or dismissively referred to as "local chieftains" or "aggressors." The consistent and deliberate sidelining of our national heroes puts our collective identity at stake.

One such unsung hero is Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a trusted companion of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who orchestrated an audacious defence with a limited group of men, effectively blocking the advancing Bijapuri forces and ensuring the safe passage of his King to Vishalgadh, thereby protecting his Motherland. One might question the contemporary relevance of a warrior who lived and died in the seventeenth century. Yet, upon a closer study of history, one shall see, that Baji Prabhu's legacy is intrinsically relevant to our national life.  In order to safeguard the future of our Nation and to ensure that it continues to live and prosper for eternity, it is crucial to evaluate from where we derive our values, inspiration and identity. Merely memorizing the names of our warrior ancestors for the sake of academic pursuits or competitive examinations is insufficient. What ought to be understood and internalised by the youth is why exactly such personalities are venerable to us. We need to delve deeper into the values they lived by and the principles they held dearer than their own lives, principles that could not be negotiated. These values are the cornerstones of our national identity, they are the bedrock upon which the edifice of our nation stands. For India to endure in the comity of nations, it is important for it to retain and stand firmly anchored in the fundamental ethos which defines its identity.


Who was Baji Prabhu Deshpande?

Born in the early seventeenth century in Shind, located in the modern-day Pune district of Maharashtra, Baji Prabhu Deshpande played a significant role in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s campaign of vanquishing the enemies who had enslaved and subjugated major parts of central India.