|Chhatrapati Maharaja of Kolhapur|
Half-length seated portrait of Shahaji Chhatrapati, Maharaja of Kolhapur (1894)
|Born||June 26, 1874|
|Died||May 6, 1922(aged 47)|
Shahaji II (also known as Rajarshi Shahu or Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj) (26 June 1874 – 6 May 1922) of the Bhosale dynasty, was the Raja 1894-1900 and first Maharaja (1900-1922) of the Indian princely state of Kolhapur.
Shahu was born on 26 June 1874 as Yeshwantrao Ghatge, eldest son of Jaishinghrao Ghatge, chief of Kagal (senior) by his wife Radhabai, a daughter of the Raja of Mudhol. He was adopted by Anandibai, widow of Raja Shivaji IV, in March 1884. Several generations of inter-marriage had ensured that Shahu's family was connected intimately with the ruling dynasty of Kolhapur, which is apparently what rendered him a suitable candidate for adoption, despite his not being a male-line member of the Bhosale dynasty. A council of regency was appointed by the British government of India to oversee affairs of state during Shahu's minority and during that time he was tutored in administrative affairs by Sir Stuart Fraser. Shahu was invested with ruling powers upon coming of age in 1894.
When the Brahmin priests of the royal family refused to perform the rites of the non-Brahmins in accordance with the Vedic hymns, he took the daring step of removing the priests and appointment a young Maratha as the religious teacher of the non-Brahmins, with the title of `Kshatra Jagadguru' (the world teacher of the Kshatriyas). This was known as the `Vedokta' controversy. It brought a hornet's nest about his ears but he was not the man to retrace his steps in the face of opposition. He soon became the leader of the non-Brahmin movement and united the Marathas under his banner.
Shahu Maharaj is credited with doing much to further the lot of the lower castes, and indeed this assessment is warranted. He did much to make education and employment available to all: he not only subsidized education in his state, eventually providing free education to all, but also opened several hostels in Kolhapur thereby facilitating the education of the rural and low-caste indigent. His educational institutions include Victoria Maratha Boarding School, Miss Clarke Boarding School and Deccan Rayat Aanstha. He also ensured suitable employment for students thus educated, thereby creating one of the earliest Affirmative action programs in history.He started Shahu Chhatrapati Weaving and Spinning Mill in 1906 to provide employment. Many of these measures were effected in the year 1902. Rajaram college was built by Shahu Maharaja and is named after him.
- Rajaram II, who succeeded his father as Maharaja of Kolhapur.
Radhabai 'Akkasaheb' Puar, Maharani of Dewas (senior) (1894–1973) who married Raja Tukojirao III of Dewas (Senior) and had issue:
- Vikramsinhrao Puar, who became Maharaja of Dewas (Senior) in 1937 and who later succeeded to the throne of Kolhapur as Shahoji II.
- Sriman Maharajkumar Shivaji (1899–1918)
- Srimati Rajkumari Aubai (1895); died young
Chhatrapati Shahu of Kolhapur died on May 6, 1922. He was survived by his wife, his elder son Rajaram and his daughter Radhabai.
Full name and titles
During his life he acquired the following titles and honorific names:
- 1874–1884: Meherban Shrimant Yeshwantrao Sarjerao Ghatge
- 1884–1895: His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Raja of Kolhapur
- 1895–1900: His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Sir Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Raja of Kolhapur, GCSI
- 1900–1903: His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Sir Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Kolhapur, GCSI
- 1903–1911: His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Sir Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Kolhapur, GCSI, GCVO
- 1911–1915: His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Sir Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Kolhapur, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO
- 1915–1922: Colonel His Highness Kshatriya-Kulawatasana Sinhasanadhishwar, Shrimant Rajarshi Sir Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Kolhapur, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO
- Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI), 1895
- King Edward VII Coronation Medal, 1902
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), 1903
- Hon. LLD (Cantabrigian), 1903
- Delhi Durbar Gold Medal, 1903
- King George V Coronation Medal, 1911
- Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE), 1911
- Delhi Durbar Gold Medal, 1911
Once the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, "Dams are not just constructions of cement and concrete, but in fact are places of pilgrimage in the modern India." This was not the first vision towards this development as Kolhapur’s King Shahu Maharaj realized it almost 100 years before and decided to construct Radhanagari Dam, which is considered the second dam in India (next to Kallanai by Karikala Chola), on 18 February 1907. The place of the dam was decided and construction of houses for labourers and officials was started which took almost two years, so the foundation stone for the dam was laid down in 1909.
Radhanagari Dam was completed in 1935 and since 1938 has been working at full capacity. Over the years Radhanagari Dam has provided water for irrigation; after Indian independence, the nearby forest area was converted into the “Dajipur Reserve Forest” and some tourist facilities started to attract the tourists from all over India.
- "Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society" by Gail Omvedt, January, 1976
- Entry regarding Maharaja Shahu Chhatrapati on the website of Indian posts
BhosaleDynasty (Kolhapur line)Born: 26 July 1874 Died: 6 May 1922
(as Raja of Kolhapur)
Maharaja of Kolhapur
(as Raja of Kolhapur)
Raja of Kolhapur
(as Maharaja of Kolhapur)