Indian king Shivaji’s legendary ‘tiger claws’ set to visit India from UK in October
Maharashtra’s cultural affairs minister Sudhir Munganthiwar was set to visit London on October 3 and sign a MoU with the Victoria and Albert Musuem where the weapon is on display.
Indian women walk past an image of Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji painted on a school building wall in a village in Raigad district of Maharashtra. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
SEVENTEENTH century Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s legendary ‘wagh nakh’ (tiger claws), a lethal weapon that he used to injure general Afzhal Khan of the Bijapur Sultanate in 1659, is set for an India visit from the UK in November.
The development comes in the year marking the 350th year of the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj.
The ‘wagh nakh’ will be brought back from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum for a three-year exhibition in Mumbai in the western state of Maharashtra, where Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom was located, NDTV reported.
Maharashtra’s cultural affairs minister Sudhir Munganthiwar said earlier this month that the ‘wagh nakh’ will be brought to India in the first week of October. He was set to visit London on Tuesday (3) and sign a memorandum of understanding with the museum where the weapon is on display, for its return.
The state’s chief minister Eknath Shinde was also supposed to be present on the occasion but he cancelled the trip later owing to Maharashtra’s internal reasons.
“In the first phase, we are bringing the wagh nakh. It should be brought here in November, and we are signing an MoU for that. Our effort is to bring it on the day when Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj disemboweled Afzal Khan,” Mungantiwar had said earlier in September.
The ‘wagh nakh’ is likely to be kept at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum in south Mumbai.
The victory at the Battle of Pratapgad in 1659 marked a turning point in the campaign of Shuvaji Maharaj to establish the Maratha empire. Despite being outnumbered, the Marathas defeated Afzhal Khan, thanks to Shivaji’s strategic brilliance, and it went on to cement his reputation as an emphatic military strategist.
However, the authenticity of the ‘wagh nakh’ is debated in Maharashtra. According to history expert Inderjit Sawant, the Victoria and Albert Museum website states that Shivaji did not use the weapon.
Aaditya Thackeray of the opposition Shiv Sena (Udhhavsaheb Balasaheb Thackeray) has also questioned the wagh nakh’s authenticity.