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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Shivaji's Caste Durable Link to this BLOG
In our page about Shivaji, there is a line that says "Shivaji crowned himself" -- apparently this sentence is offensive to many. They often request me to change it to "People crowned Shivaji in a grandeur function" or something like that.

I haven't changed it, because Shivaji was a self-made king (he didn't inherit his kingdom from daddy) and I thought he deserved the reverence given to heroes who establish great empires.

What I didn't realize was the caste angle to the request. I had heard about how the Chitpavan Brahmins didn't want Shivaji crowned because of Shivaji's caste. They had argued that only Kshatriyas could be crowned. Shivaji had to take up penance and manipulation, and had to be initiated into the Kshatriya clan by the highest pundit of the period, a man named Gaga Bhatta.

Amma has all the details in today's entry: Shivaji's Caste. Amazingly, the Brahmins were wrong. Shivaji was indeed a Kshatriya by birth, that too of a royal lineage.

There is another surprise. Shivaji's ancestors probably spoke Kannada!

Hopefully this new found knowledge will bridge the Kannada-Marathi contentions...

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Last Modified: 11/9/2006 9:54:53 PM

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