Shailesh Suresh Varkhade is a mechanical engineer by profession and a well-known History Researcher who has delivered speeches all over India and in London too. He is a companion of an eminent historian of Maharashtra’s late Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare.
While speaking to Afternoon Voice’s trainee journalist, Sahil Ghawali, Mr Varkhede spoke about the need for history to be re-introduced in young finds. In an interview with Shailesh Varkhade, we’ll understand how Maharashtra has got the status of Swarajya.
What does it mean when you say, “Swarajya was earned by shedding ‘Blood, Toil, Sweat, and Tears’?”
I consider myself a student studying the life of Shiv Chhatrapati Maharaj. These warrior legends like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap, Rana Sangha, and Prithviraj Chauhan had to go through enormous challenges and the freedom struggle was very difficult. They could earn freedom “Swarajya” by shedding blood and sweat’.
In the present political scenario, do you think the sweat shed by commoners on various fronts has any value?
The state we are living in today had got the status of sovereignty after 1947, but what we should build after independence is what we have to work on. Let it be the Industrial structure, infrastructure, fundamental rights, or the right to profess religion or the formation of the state. People have contributed to it on various occasions and that has definitely been of added value. There are generations in the history of freedom struggle where our great freedom fighters laid down their lives so that we can breathe in an independent nation.
How important is the determination and will of people in better nation-building?
Let me give an example: After the First World War, America detonated two of the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not a single human was alive, and it burned lakhs of people in ashes. Although, after the attack, this is aspiring to watch how the people gathered their will to make their nation where it is now. Their economy has more leverage than any of the nations. Its citizens slogged their whole life to rebuild their nation. The hard work and dedication of the people can restore lost countries. Why can’t we work hard to protect our sovereign nation?
What is the power of the common man and how can they be compensated in power politics?
One has to keep in mind that it takes everyone to be part of the nation and its government. Then the biggest power of the common citizen is the right to vote and choose a government. They are the power makers. Voters decide the fate of the government and this brings revolution. This power of the commoner forces the government to stop the anarchy and corruption towards a better nation.
These days Shivaji Maharaj is being politicised in Maharashtra? How do you look at it?
Recently, I attended coronation ceremonies at Lalitpur. To my surprise, well-studied people who attended the event were proficient in the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji was the pioneer of guerrilla warfare, using which he trained his Maratha army to fight the grand army of Mughals. Unfortunately, today’s generation drifted away from history and they hardly know who has contributed what to the freedom struggle of our nation.
You are a staunch follower and student of Babasaheb Purandare. What has influenced your life the most?
It’s been 22 years since I’ve been listening, practising and believing in Babasaheb. I lived each moment with him. I’ve learned two things: “word-of-mouth and time can’t reverse back once gone”. If we can’t comply with what we have said, what we have promised, better to remain silent than to speak about what we cannot accomplish. And the second lesson is ‘Be the Shivaji of your battlefield’. That means, conquering what you aimed for and fighting your battles wisely. Love your nation and its people. Contribute to nation-building in your own capacities.
What is your advice to my generation of students?
Your generation has advanced with technology. Your generation is much more privileged in terms of education and infrastructure. Make the best use of it, create awareness, and voice your opinion. You are the pillar of the fourth estate. Bring change and build a nation.
Note: This interview has been edited by a senior editor at Afternoon Voice.