Published on - November 14, 2022
Source: Hindustan Times
Why in News?
- Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has sought reports from the Maharashtra government on the demolition drive conducted around the tomb of Afzal Khan.
- The court stated that these reports should indicate the nature of the structures and whether due process was followed in removing the alleged unauthorized structures.
- The Maharashtra government stated that the demolition drive was over and illegal structures built on government and forest land were razed.
What is the Controversy over the Tomb of Afzal Khan?
Hindu groups have alleged the Hazarat Mohammad Afzal Khan Memorial Society has expanded the tomb by carrying out unauthorised constructions.
In 2004, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) application was filed by a person demanding the demolition.
The Hindu groups also claimed the Society was glorifying an “enemy of Swaraj” in “Shivaji’s own land” by hosting various activities in the slain commander’s honour.
Who was Afzal Khan?
- He was a 17th-century commander of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur.
- With Chhatrapati Shivaji’s rise and increasing control of the region, Afzal Khan was seen as the man to subdue him in the Deccan.
- Khan put together a force of 10,000 cavalry and marched from Bijapur to Wai, plundering Shivaji’s territory along the way.
- Shivaji called a council of war at the fort of Pratapgarh, where most of his advisers urged him to make peace. However, Shivaji was not eager to back down and he set up a meeting with Khan.
- During the meeting, an embrace between the two turned into an attack in which Shivaji emerged victorious. This was followed by a rout of the Adilshahi army at the hands of the Marathas.
- As per Maratha sources, Khan’s remains were buried at the fort and a tomb was constructed on Shivajij’s orders.
- In an act of grace Shivaji erected a tomb over the remains of Afzui Khan and built a tower in his honour, which is still known by the name ‘Afzul Buruj’ at Pratapgarh.
- The sword of Afzul Khan was preserved as a valued trophy in the armoury of Shivaji and his descendants.