I remember about twenty-two years ago on the day of Nag Panchami in the early morning, respected Shivshahir Babasaheb while coming down the stairs raised his right-hand fan and looked at me and said “Milk to Nagoba!” (Where is milk for snake cobra)
With this humorous remark, I couldn’t control my smile at that moment. Babasaheb’s presence, calm and unassuming face, the attitude of endorsing the people, the loving face with a steady soft smile, fair skin, eloquent eyes, golden hair flowing from the neck and feet constantly moving and moving in the research of Shivshahi. Babasaheb enriched countless students like me.
Take any historical event while studying, his handiwork to narrate it along with the author was something else. Even going to the root of the event and presenting it in front by referring to its various layers of historical documents. Babasaheb said, “When looking at a historical event, one can make a proper arrangement only by studying its contemporary documents, for that, treat different contemporary tools! Only then the way to get closer to the truth will be easy! It is necessary to continuously observe the culture and dialect of that time. It is only on the trinity of thought process, study and contemplation that a historian should deepen.”
I took this leap in the historical ocean of Shiv Charitra, in which Babasaheb was immersed throughout his life. I followed the Shiv Charitra and wandered around all the places where Shivaji Maharaj lived. I have experienced his mastery of the Marathi language but I have never seen anyone with a memory like him. Even during the journey, he used to have the knowledge of going to any village in every nook and corner of Maharashtra, which villages are next and from which village we visited. If a place has historical importance, the events that happened at that place, the details that complement it, and its references easily come out from the lips of the Saheb.
I was always a listener and follower of Babasaheb’s oratory, but when I experienced it in person, it created even more goosebumps. I witnessed the crowd listening to Babasaheb’s speech with full concentration and pin-drop silence, as he always used to bring people in the historic era.
I never got tired of hearing the same incident over and over again. Reverend Babasaheb used to have a very big dream, he used to tell me “Don’t eat chickpeas even in your dreams, eat almonds and pistachios! Always have a visionary approach! Have the strength to leap beyond the universe in any field!” The creation of Shivashrushti (monument of Shivaji Maharaj’s life events) in his mind has actually come down on paper after enduring numerous difficulties. The creation of Shivsrushti near Pune come into reality due to Babasaheb’s efforts, 25% of work has been completed till now. Even though respected Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare is physically not with us today, he will continue to live in us through this Shivashrushti creation.
– Shailesh Suresh Varkhade