Research Institute Vandalized Over Controversial Book on Hindu King

January 6, 2004

Source: Mid Day

On January 6, 2004 Mid Day reported, "The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) was vandalised by about 250 members of the Sambhaji Brigade, a sister organisation of the Maratha Mahasangh, over a book written on Shivaji by James Laine. It is not known which specific passages provoked the group. It is known, however, that they ransacked BORI because Shrikant Bahulkar, a Sanskrit scholar whose help Laine sought while conducting research for the book, is associated with the institute. On December 22, Shiv Sainiks had blackened Bahulkar’s face. In protest, Gajanan Mehendale, a well-known scholar and chief editor of the Cultural Index of Mahabharata, BORI, tore up 400 unpublished pages of his biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The controversy seemed to die down resolved when Laine apologised for his statements on Shivaji. Oxford University Press, the publisher, withdrew the book from the market. Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray offered an apology, saying he did not support what the Shiv Sainiks had done. Mehendale, reciprocated, saying he, too, had committed a crime by tearing up his manuscript."