A Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator has threatened an organiser of an exhibition-cum-auction to call off the event.
Sandeep Deshpande, councillor from Prabhadevi, has taken serious offence to a gold coin from Shivaji’s era being part of the auction, which includes 145 other antiques in the form of jewellery and coins. Deshpande has threatened the organiser Dr Dilip Rajgor of dire consequences if the show goes ahead on Sunday at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Deshpande wrote a letter to Dr Rajgor saying that the coin should be withdrawn as it belongs to the state. The letter (copy available with MiD DAY) reads, “The gold coin from Shivaji Maharaj’s era that you are planning to auction is state property. If the auction of this coin goes ahead, we will teach you a lesson, MNS-style.”
When MiD DAY approached Dr Rajgor, the organiser, he said that they had all the necessary permissions and certificates to auction the items and that they would proceed with the programme as planned. Rajgor said, “I don’t know why the MNS is opposing the sale of coin. We have all the necessary certificates and permissions to conduct the auction of the coin and so we will go ahead with the scheduled program.”
Rajgor added that in response to the MNS letter, he too penned a communication to Deshpande saying, “We have received your letter asking us to stop the sale of the gold coin of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and that if we proceed with the sale, you will teach us a lesson in your own way. We are thankful for your letter and your concern about the legacy of the great Maratha leader. I suggest that we meet personally and discuss the issue. This way I will understand your points and you will understand our arguments. What we are trying to do here is save the heritage of India from being melted down and turned into a ring or another ornament.”
The coin in question
The coin is a true rarity, as records say that only 800 versions were minted and showered on the head of Shivaji Maharaj during his coronation ceremony in 1674. It is rumoured than only about 10 gold coins are preserved till date and most of them are in museum collections. Two such coins are kept in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and another at the National Museum, New Delhi.
In the news again
In September, last year, Deshpande was in the news as he and his supporters abducted a BMC official and kept him hostage till the pothole-fixing process was not completed. He said that their complaints had gone unheeded for two months and tired of the inaction, he decided to take matters into his own hands.