Thursday, October 16, 2008

I come from an anti-national family!

My family hails from a tiny village in coastal Maharashtra called Gothos गोठोस (Not to be mistaken with the Planet Gothos in Star Wars!). The village was given as an Inam (Fiefdom) by the Raja of Sawantwadi to my ancestors when they migrated here to avoid the Portuguese Inquisition in Goa. Had heard this story as a child from elders in the family. Obviously, the royal family of Sawantwadi was regarded in high esteem by our entire clan and for me as a child they were the “good guys”. The Sawantwadi Palace gates were part of our summer vacation itinerary when we went to our “native place”.

The Sawantwadi Throne

Even though, Balbharti made very boring history textbooks, history was my favourite subject in school… Thanks to Sushila Raghavan, our history teacher who made the subject lively for us. These textbooks emphasised and reemphasised that Shivaji was our “national hero”… something that I dint understand clearly then. I knew that our army jawans who protected us from the “evil” Pakistani army were “National Heros”… So Shivaji must have fought against all the “anti-national elements” to get this title!

Class 6… history lessons… about Shivaji’s fight with the Portuguese… lovely! Nice to know that Shivaji gave a “bloody nose” to these guys who had persecuted my ancestors… I started liking Shivaji even more!
The iconic image from my history book painted by Raja Ravi Verma

And then came the heart wrenching part in the history book. In the war between Shivaji and the Portuguese, the Raja of Sawantwadi allied with the later. Oh………… my……… god! The Raja of Sawantwadi was an “anti-national” and my family sustained under his tutelage for 3 centuries… I belong to an Anti-national family!

It took my dad 2 weeks of reasoning to get me out of the “shock”!


Anonymous said...

aila, Traitor :)

Father Figure said...

If Sawant-Bhonsales had not sided the firangis... Shivaji would have "ChandraraoMore"ed them!

The Lone Wanderer said...

our history is full of examples like this......East India Co. thrived on this. But back then we were a bunch of warring provinces and not a nation. Alliances were the order of the day. There is a saying in Hindi that "Dushman ka Dushman Dost hota hai". This happened everywhere. Zamindars exploited the peasants by allying with the British. There was this emphashis on own interest and provincial interest and not national interest simply because we were never a nation as such...

Vivek G said...

The fact is it happens everywhere!!! Tipu Sultan, revered as one of the greatest ruler was my ancestor's mortal enemy, and the king under whom we had our fiefdom... well he is portrayed as a traitor, cheat etc. etc. in many history excerpts... But as my family still believes... Samuthiri(known better as Zamorin) rocks!!!


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