Nobody claims that 'wagh nakh' being brought from London was used by Shivaji Maharaj: Minister

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Mumbai: Maharashtra minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the legislative assembly on Thursday that nobody has claimed that the 'wagh nakh' or tiger claw-shaped weapon being brought to the state from London was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

He also rejected the claim that the government spent crores of rupees to bring this weapon from Victoria and Albert Museum in London to Maharashtra, and said the travel expenses and signing of the agreement cost Rs 14.08 lakh.

His remarks come days after a historian claimed that the wagh nakh used by the founder of the Maratha empire to kill Bijapur Sultanate's general Afzal Khan was in Satara itself.

Mungantiwar informed the House that the wagh nakh will be brought from London for a period of three years and kept on display at a museum in Satara in the state from July 19.

The museum in London had initially agreed to give the weapon for one year, but the state government persuaded it to hand it over for display in the state for three years, he said.

"The wagh nakh will be kept on display at the government museum in Satara in the presence of the descendants of the warrior king on July 19," the Cultural Affairs Minister told the House.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an ideal ruler and is an inspiration to one and all, he said.

"Nobody claims that this wagh nakh being brought from London was used by Shivaji Maharaj...We were given photo evidence by Shivaji Maharaj's followers that a box in which the wagh nakh was kept at the London museum mentioned that it was used to kill Afzal Khan. We communicated with the prime ministers of India and the UK as well as the museum authorities. The museum never mentioned that the weapon belonged to Shivaji Maharaj and used for killing Afzal khan," he said.

"There were demands to remove the encroachment around Afzal Khan's grave on November 5, 2022. Accordingly, it was done on November 10, the day when Shivaji Maharaj killed Afzal Khan using a wagh nakh (in 1659)," he said.

Mungantiwar said the government spent Rs 14.08 lakh for travel to London and signing of the agreement with the museum there to bring the wagh nakh to India.

"We are not giving any rent to display the wagh nakh here," he said.

Historian Indrajit Sawant has recently said the wagh nakh being brought to Maharashtra from London does not belong to Shivaji Maharaj as the original one is with the descendants of the Maratha warrior king in Satara.

He also claimed that the wagh nakh was being brought to the state on a loan agreement of Rs 30 crore for three years.