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Iconic 'Wagh Nakh' Used By Shivaji To Kill Afzal Khan Being Brought Back From London

The “wagh nakh” will be kept on display at a museum in Satara from July 19

Mumbai:

The ‘wagh nakh‘ or tiger claw-shaped weapon that is being brought to Maharashtra from London was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told the legislative assembly today.

He rejected the claim that the government spent several crore rupees to bring the weapon from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the state, and said that the travel and signing of the agreement cost Rs 14.08 lakh.

His remarks come days after a historian claimed the wagh nakh used by the founder of the Maratha empire to kill Bijapur Sultanate’s general Afzal Khan in 1659 was in Satara.

Mr Mungantiwar informed the House that the wagh nakh will be brought from London for three years and kept on display at a museum in Satara from July 19.

The weapon will be given a rousing welcome in Satara on July 19, the minister added.

The museum in London had initially agreed to give the weapon for a year, but the state government persuaded it to hand it over for display for three years, he said.

“The wagh nakh will be kept on display at the government museum in Satara in the presence of the descendants of the warrior king on July 19,” the Cultural Affairs Minister told the House.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an ideal ruler and is an inspiration to one and all, he said.

There were several pieces of evidence available about the wagh nakh in the museum, he said, adding they were on display between 1875 and 1896 before being given to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

There is a mention of them being used by the Maratha emperor in several newspaper clippings of the time, Mungantiwar added.

“There are indeed many wagh nakhs in the museum but this particular one was kept in a special box in 1825 which said it was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to kill Afzal Khan,” he said, adding the museum had not denied the claim.

Mr Mungantiwar said followers of Shivaji Maharaj had given photo evidence to show that the box in which the wagh nakh was kept at the London museum mentioned that it was used to kill Afzal Khan.

The government spent Rs 14.08 lakh for travel to London and the signing of an agreement with the museum there to bring the wagh nakh to India, he said. “We are not giving any rent to display the wagh nakh here,” he added.

Historian Indrajit Sawant recently said the wagh nakh being brought to Maharashtra does not belong to Shivaji Maharaj as the original one is with the descendants of the Maratha warrior king in Satara.

Mr Sawant also claimed the wagh nakh was being brought to the state on a loan agreement of Rs 30 crore for three years.