Shivshahir Hon. Babasaheb Purandare

Balwant Moreshwar Purandare, popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare is a writer and theatre personality from Maharashtra, India. He was awarded with Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award. His works are mostly based on the events related to the life of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; as a result he is termed as Shiv-Shahir.

I often try to understand the personality and the mind of our Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi. However, I think that only if one tries to read this through the mind’s eye, will one really comprehend what I am trying to express here. 

Loving everyone equally and having immense faith in people, is the hallmark of this great personality. “Sahana vat, sahanau Bhunaktu, Sahaveervam karava vahay..” 

“Let us all come together, let us all prosper together and let us all rise up to our true potential and together let us make our nation great”, this the singular thought that energises this great son of our motherland India. We are indeed fortunate that we have someone, bestowed with these qualities, leading our nation as our Prime MInister. I wish him the best. 

I will never forget that fond memory of him on Fort Raigad. Our Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi was present there admist a huge crowd of people, who were cheering and shouting slogans in praise of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I couldn’t help but notice him. (Now, I must confess I have a habit observing people keenly.) I could see that Narendrabhai was engrossed in deep contemplation with his gaze transfixed on the statue of Shivaji Maharaj. His deep regard and respect for Chatrapati Shivaji was clearly evident throughout that unwavering gaze.  

What part of the country did Shivaji maharaja belong to? What language did he speak?… such thoughts never touched his mind. In fact, he never harboured any such distinctions in his mind against anyone who had spent their lives in the service of this great nation. Whenever, I look at him there is just one thought that comes to mind and that is  

“Sahana ……… Vidvisha Vahai” 

Having enmity towards none, being envious of none and bearing contempt towards none’ this is what defines Narendrabhai. There is just one emotion present within him i.e. boundless love. He has had his own share differences with people. He clearly has even had a variance with the views of Mahatma Gandhi but nowhere was there any trace of contempt or disrespect. He always had immense affection and devotion towards every person who loved this nation, regardless of which region of this country they came from. 

He hardly lived the life of a householder. His was sole devotion was towards just one deity and that is ‘The Mother’. He has fathomless devotion towards the mother who gave birth and the Motherland who has so lovingly nurtured him. His feelings toward them is as described in Ramayan where Lord Rama praises the motherland as being far superior to heaven itself.  

It is because of this true devotion towards our nation, that we feel a deep sense of belonging and kinship towards our Prime Minister. Another reason for this deep sense of brotherhood is the immense love that he has towards everyone. 

I clearly recollect the day when he had come to watch the play Janata Raja. Modiji understands Marathi. His mother tongue is Gujrati, but despite that, the affection and reverence that he has towards Shivaji Maharaj is beyond compare. Be it Swami Vivekanand or Swami Ramkrishna Paramhans or any such person who serves this nation; Narendrabhai has the same unconditional reverence towards all of them. 

Narendrabhai, you are a colossus amongst us. However, I have just one thing to ask of you and that is; you need to become a better judge of people’s character. We endevour to understand many things however, it is often difficult to reckon a person’s character.  

I am indeed short of words today to express my feelings about Narendrabhai.  

This person never craves for any recognition, never has he hankered after any notoriety or any position of privilege and this is precisely the reason why this person is far greater than any veneration or honours that we can bestow upon him. 

As told and translated by Niranjan Paranjape.


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