Babasaheb Purandare, a celebrated author and theatre personality, was known for his work on the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was one of the Lifetime Achievers of “Newsmakers Achievers Awards 2021, August” at Raj Bhavan Mumbai. That was his last public appearance. At his age, he was seen as quite enthusiastic and wholehearted.
Babasaheb Purandare, eminent historian and author who was admitted to Pune’s Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital on Saturday, passed away this morning, doctors confirmed. He was 99. Purandare, a celebrated author and theatre personality, was known for his work on the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He has written several books on Shivaji, his style of administration, as well as the forts from the era. He had also directed “Jaanta Raja”, a popular play on Chhatrapati’s life and leadership.
Offering her condolences, our Editor-in-Chief Dr Vaidehi Taman said, “This news is just shocking to me, I was doing a documentary on him but in the meantime, he was unwell and admitted to hospital, this week I was supposed to go to him and discuss the project. Life is so unpredictable, it’s a huge loss to Maharashtra. Such people are born once.” She further stated that “I feel humbled; all the way he travelled from Pune to bless me in Mumbai”. He is one of his kind, my pain knows no limit.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare will live on due to his extensive works. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family and countless admirers. Om Shanti.”
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said, “Famous Shivshahir, Maharashtra Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Siddhahast writer Shri Babasaheb Purandare’s demise is great pain, the moments spent in his company are coming to the fore. As many as three generations got to hear and read Shivcharitra from him; this is the destiny of our generation! Recently, on his 100th birthday, he had the opportunity to attend the ceremony in a virtual way and he is no longer with us today. I can’t believe it.”
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in his condolence message to the Purandare family, said that the death was a great loss to the cultural world of Maharashtra. “He had a great affinity to the history of Maharashtra and its forts. He brought the history of the state alive through his writings, talks, and plays like Jaanta Raja. With his passing, an important witness in Maharashtra’s long journey has been lost. I join in grief with the family,” Pawar added.
Born on July 29, 1922, at Balwant Moreshwar Purandare in Saswad, Pune district, Purandare started writing about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from an early age, creating stories and essays about the Maratha king.
In his prolific writing career, Purandare wrote several books, including a two-volume biography of the king “Raje Shivchhatrapati”. His other prominent publications include “Maharaj”, “Shelar Khind”, “Gadkot Kille”, “Agra”, “Lal Mahal”, “Purandar”, “Rajgad”, “Panhalgad”, “Sinhagad”, “Pratapgad”, “Fulwanti”, “Purandaryanchi Daulat”, “Mujaryache Mankari”, “Savitri” and “Kalawantinicha Sajja”.
He often toured the state delivering lectures on Shivaji. In 1985, he wrote and directed the play ‘Jaanta Raja’, which involved over 200 artists, and several horses and elephants. The play was translated into several languages and was performed even outside the state in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and the US.
His wife Nirmala Purandare, an activist and educationist, had passed away in July 2019. He is survived by his two sons — Amrut and Prasad — and daughter Madhuri. In 2015, the state government had awarded the Maharashtra Bhushan award to Purandare. He was also the recipient of the country’s second-highest civilian honour — the Padma Vibhushan — in 2019.