'Wagh nakh' being brought from London was used by Shivaji Maharaj: Minister Mungantiwar

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Mumbai, Jul 11 (PTI) Maharashtra minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the legislative assembly on Thursday 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 several crore 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 the wagh nakh used by the founder of the Maratha empire to kill Bijapur Sultanate's general Afzal Khan in 1659 was in Satara itself.

Mungantiwar informed the House 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 wagh nakh will be given a rousing welcome in Satara on July 19, the minister informed.

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.

There were several pieces of evidence available about the wagh nakh in the museum, he said, adding they were on display between 1875 and 1896 before being given to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

There is a mention about them being used by the Maratha emperor in several newspaper clippings of the time, Mungantiwar added.

"It is true there are many wagh nakhs in the museum but this particular wagh nakh was kept in special box in 1825 which said it was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to kill Afzal Khan," he said, adding the museum had not denied the claim.

Mungantiwar said followers of Shivaji Maharaj had given photo evidence to show that the box in which the wagh nakh was kept at the London museum mentioned that it was used to kill Afzal Khan.

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 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.

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

Mungantiwar said there demands to remove the encroachment around Afzal Khan's grave on November 5, 2022 and it was, accordingly, done on November 10, the day when the Shivaji Maharaj killed the general using a wagh nakh. PTI MR NP BNM