Los Angeles, California. Shivaji Maharaj America Parivaar (SMAP) celebrated the anniversary of Rajyabhishek (coronation) ceremony of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on June 20th, 2020. The online event was attended by nearly 500 people from over 20 countries on a video conference and on Facebook Live forum.
The event started with traditional Abhishek of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue performed by Anika and Eshan Patil from Los Angeles., California This was followed by the roar of Shivgarjana from the voice of the young and tender, Om and Aarush from Atlanta. It was mesmerizing to see the respect offered by Indian-American children from elementary and middle schools. Next, an audio-visual presentation was made to honor Indian National Heroes, Prithviraj Chauhan, Maharana Pratap Singh, Raja Krishnadevaraya, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Rani Laxmibai and many others on this occasion. “We have a duty to bring out these heroes from the pages of Indian history books and rekindle their messages” said Sujatha Padmanabham, the event moderator and then invited Vijay Patil, Founder of Shivaji Maharaj America Parivaar (SMAP Foundation Inc.) to describe the vision and mission of the organization.
“We are still inspired by the three words, ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj!’ ..and they create energy in us when we say them loud and proud”, said Mr. Patil. He described the significance of the coronation ceremony as Victory of People’s kingdom, success of a merit-based society where there was liberty, equality and justice for all. The mission of the organization is to spread ‘Unity and Leadership’ lessons learned from the Legendary Life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that can be applied in today’s world. He described four key objectives of the organization – (1) building a global network of leaders (2) promoting initiatives that unite people (3) helping others who are less fortunate to bring equality and (4) establishing a Leadership Center across the world. He then introduced the team of SMAP leaders from various parts of the world, USA, France, Canada, UK, Kenya, Malaysia, China and a dozen other countries.
Bharat Saoji then highlighted the endorsements that SMAP has received from The Governor of the State of Georgia, USA, Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra, Bollywood artists like Mahima Choudhary, Tennis Champions Anika Raina, Babasaheb Purandare and others. He also thanked supporting organizations like Vivekanand Seva Mandal, Vishwa Marathi Parishad, EachOne TeachOne, HOPE B~Lit, VHPA, NFIA,Maharashtra Mandal France and others.
Nitesh Patel, Mayor Pro Tem from City of La Palma, California introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, Mr. Francois Gautier, a world-famous author, journalist, speaker and a Community Activist. Mr. Gaurier was born and raised in Paris, France. He grew up studying the history of world-famous leader Napoleon Bonaparte but later when he visited India he studied the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and became his ardent fan. He then decided to dedicate his life to building Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum in Pune.
In his speech, Mr Gautier highlighted leadership styles of Napoleon Bonaparte and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He described his visit to Pune to learn more about the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj but was disappointed to see no museum dedicated to him. So, he decided to make his life mission to establish Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian history.
Mr. Gautier puzzled why Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is not that well-known internationally compared to other European leaders. He mentioned that it’s time for Indians to elevate his stature to the international stage. He recalled from his childhood that Napoleon’s history was included in all the textbooks that he grew up with. There were dozens of new books, movies, stories that get created each year in France and other western countries. Napoleon had tried to unite the entire Europe, but his vision seems to be realizing only after a couple centuries. Today, we see that the entire Europe is trying to unite through Euro-Zone, One Currency and other initiatives.
Mr. Gautier described Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as a “Yogi Warrior” with a tremendous sense of intuition who could foresee the future. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also united the local people to preserve the culture and stop atrocities caused by the invaders. He also shared his observation that there are plenty of statues in India, but people need to understand and spread the true values that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other leaders represented in the society.
Mr. Vijay Patil then re-emphasized the need of spreading Indian heritage internationally and reiterated SMAP’s goal of making Indian National Heroes well-known global icons. He concluded the event by thanking the audience and the rest of the event organizers.
In this age of fast paced technical advancements it is essential for these deep cultural aspects to be embedded in society and recognized globally for enriching our lives.