Born: 26 July, 1874
Passed Away: 6 May, 1922
Shahu Chhatrapati was considered as a true democrat and social reformer.
He was an invaluable gem in the history of Kolhapur. Shahu was
associated with many progressive activities in the society including
education for women. He was greatly influenced by the contributions of
social reformer Jyotiba Phule. Primary education to all regardless of
caste and creed was one of the significant moves of the King.
Shahu Chhatrapati was the King of Kolhapur. He was the son of Sambhaji
and grandson of Shivaji, the great. Shahu was a staunch follower of
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Shahu devoted his life for the upliftment of
the society. He emphasized on the development and welfare of the
lower-castes. He always used to contemplate over some serious issues of
the society. He carried out efforts to provide education and employment
to all. Shahuji initiated the process of providing free education to the
children of the down-trodden class. In order to provide shelter to them
and outstation students, Shahuji established hostels.
During the rule of Shahu Chhatrapati, Child marriage was sincerely
restricted. He also voiced his support favoring inter-caste marriage and
widow remarriage. For his activities, Shahu Chhatrapati had to face
severe criticism from many corners of the society. As said above,
Shahuji was influenced by the works Jyotiba Phule, and he long
patronized the Satya Shodhak Samaj, formed by Phule. But, later he moved
towards the Arya Samaj.
Wrestling was one of the favorite sports of Chhatrapati Shahu.
Wrestlers from all over the country would come to his state of Kolhapur
to participate in the wrestling competition.
The great ruler and social thinker, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj died on
6 May, 1922. It was believed that reforms started by him also faded away
as there was nobody to lead the movement.