Ground Report | New Delhi: Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was the king of the Bhosale dynasty of Marathas and the Maharaja of the Indian princely states of Kolhapur. In fact, he was considered a democratic and social reformer. Shahu Maharaj was born on 26 June 1874. His childhood name was Yashwant Rao. He played an important role in the social upliftment of Bahujan Samaj and the development of Dalits.
Chhatrapati Shahu was such a person who, despite being a king, understood the suffering of the downtrodden and the oppressed class and always kept closeness with them. Shahu Maharaj started the process of providing free education to the children of the downtrodden class. He set up umbrellas for poor students and ordered them to provide shelter to outside students.
When every thought about Shudras in India was based on hateful notions, Shahu Maharaj took an important step for the Dalits. He implemented 50 percent reservation in education and jobs for them in his princely state (The First Reservations In India).
Upliftment of Dalits
He did this experiment in the year 1902. Later on, this experiment became the inspiration for independent India and it was included in the necessary measures under the Constitution of India. This was the reason that there was a big social and economic change in the lives of millions of Dalit families of India.
Shahu Maharaj made unforgettable social reforms during his reign, especially challenging brahminical supremacy. This was a revolutionary step in itself at that time. His decision of 50 percent reservation in education and jobs in his princely state was strongly opposed by the Brahmins of Maharashtra. Thus it was the beginning of caste-based reservation in modern India.
Not only this, Shahu Ji Maharaj also ended the Balutdari system in the year 1917. Under this, a small amount of land was given to Shudras and in return, free services for the village were taken from his entire family.
Reservation for Dalits was implemented in the Constitution, but reservation for OBC castes was left to the future. Whereas Shahu had implemented reservation for both backward and Dalits in his state. Reservation to the Backward or OBC castes in India came on 16 November 1992, almost 45 years after independence. That is, 90 years after Shahu ji implemented reservation.
To bring about a change in the condition of Dalits, he ended two such special practices which proved to be epoch-making. First , in 1917 , he put an end to the ‘ balutedari system ‘, under which an untouchable was given a small amount of land in return for free services for the whole village from him and his family members.
In 1920, two years before his death, Shahu Ji Maharaj not only participated in the meeting of the ‘Akhil Bhartiya Bahishkrit Parishad’ in Nagpur, but he also made tea from a Dalit and drank it on several occasions.
The Dalit-friendly King of Kolhapur, while making a proud announcement in the huge gathering of Dalits in Manmad in 1920, said- ‘I think in Ambedkar you have found your liberator. I hope he will cut the shackles of your slavery. ” He contributed most important weapons to politics to not, but they did not complete the entire foreign education merely verbally praised the liberator of Dalits and Dalit emancipation.
End to the Vatandari system
Shahu also put an end to the Vatandari system in the year 1918 by making a law. He got the Shudras the right to become landowners by implementing land reforms. By this order, their economic slavery was removed to a great extent.
Not only this, he started the process of free education for the children of the exploited and downtrodden classes. Also started the hostel for poor students. He also gave orders to make arrangements for external students.
Shahu Ji Maharaj’s style was very different. He would attack casteism directly many times. Sometimes trying to explain with love, sometimes he used to say his point in jest.
Shahu Maharaj also made laws for women. Etc. to get out of innumerable entangled problems for thousands of years. C. In 1917, the state of Kolhapur passed a law recognizing the remarriage of widows. Also in 1919, a provision was made that the age of men should be 18 years and that of women 14 years. Maharaj did not stop there, but if anyone treats a woman cruelly, he will be imprisoned for 6 months and fined Rs 200. Passed laws like divorce and inheritance. Devdasi practice stopped. It was decided to provide free education to the girls studying in Rajaram College.