India has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, aiming to bring back Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s iconic ‘Wagh Nakh,’ or ‘tiger claw’ weapon, which he famously used to defeat Afzal Khan, the general of the Bijapur sultanate in 1659. The agreement will see the ‘Wagh Nakh’ returning to India for a three-year period, evoking great significance and excitement among history enthusiasts.
Amish Tripathi, an author and Director of The Nehru Centre in London, expressed the profound importance of this occasion. Tripathi commented, “This will lead to a series of procedures of work being carried out. The ‘Wagh Nakh’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji, which he used to kill Afzal Khan, will come back to India for a period of 3 years. I think it is a fantastic day for those who follow Indian history. It was such a special and wonderful moment. It almost felt like a divine object. It is such a special moment as we all who were present at the signing ceremony got an opportunity to come close to ‘Wagh Nakh’. It was such a special feeling.”
The Indian community warmly welcomed the Maharashtra delegates as they arrived at the Victoria and Albert Museum, joined by their colleagues from the Maharashtra Cabinet, including Uday Samant. The inscription on the box clearly indicates that this ‘Wagh Nakh’ was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to eliminate the Mughal General Afzal Khan.
Tripathi further emphasized the reverence with which they greeted the artifact, stating, “It almost felt like a divine object. We actually greeted it with Namaste, we showed our respect, we didn’t touch it.”
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji, adding greater significance to the return of this historical artifact.
Maharashtra Culture Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, while speaking to reporters, mentioned that as per the MoU, the ‘Wagh Nakh’ will not be taken to all districts of Maharashtra as initially planned, but will be kept at a specific location accessible to the public. He also stressed that ‘Wagh Nakh’ is not merely an ordinary object for the people of the state but a profound symbol of faith.
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