Five years ago, Maratha Seva Sangh president Purushottam Khedekar stirred up quite a storm over US research scholar James Laine’s book on Maratha warrior Shivaji and made the state government ban it. However, as he planned to expose what he calls the seeds of Shivaji’s defamation, he seems to have left Laine far behind as he has made some sweeping and obnoxious comments about Brahmins and their women.
In his book Shivrayanchya Badnamichi Kendre, published last month, Khedekar has even said that non-Brahmins must take revenge on Brahmins by fanning caste-based riots. His comments on Brahmin men and women and their sexual habits have caused a stir in the hornet’s nest and even liberals have been unable to digest them.
MD Ramteke, an Ambedkarite, has written a blog condemning Khedekar’s malicious writing. “We should keep a distance from Khedekar and his movement against Brahmins. Dr Babasaheb never stooped to this level. If we continue to associate with him, it will malign our image. The government should ban the book and the organisation,” he stated in his blog.
In his comment, Dr Hari Narake, a Phule-Ambedkar historian, said: “This is abusive language, not used by intellectuals. This will only help the opponents of our cause.”
Khedekar, however, does not regret his remarks and language. “What I have written is the truth. I need not produce any proof or evidence to anyone. If people have any doubts, they should first raise objections to traditional books like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in which false information has been inserted. Why don’t you ask for proofs from them? Even the Sanatan Prabhat indulges in false writing,” he said.
The state government, led mostly by Maratha politicians, has so far been silent on Khedekar. It was the organisation led by Khedekar’s son that was behind the vandalising of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune six years ago. They have also been instrumental in removing the statue of Dadoji Konddeo from Lal Mahal in Pune.