During the British rule in India, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj worked tirelessly to provide justice to the common people and worked for their benefit. Shahu Bhosale, popularly known as Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj or the Shahu of Kolhapur was the Marathi social reformer and reigned from 1894-1922. He played a key role in the social upliftment of the Bahujan Samaj and for the development of Dalits.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was born on June 26, 1874, and breathed his last on May 6, 1922. On the great king and reformer’s birth anniversary, let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known facts about him:

1) Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was born to Jaisingrao Ghatge and Radhabai. His father was the village chief, and his mother was from the royal family of Mudhol. However, he was then adopted by Queen Anandibai who was the widow of King Shivaji IV of Kolhapur.

2) Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj stressed education and its relevance. Shahu Maharaj made primary education compulsory and free in Kolhapur during his reign. Parents who do not use to send their children to school were charged Rs. 1 per month as a fine.

3) While Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj worked for Dalits, he also ensured the upliftment of women and constructed schools for girls’ education. He issued a royal decree to spread women’s education and also legalised widow remarriage in 1917.

4) Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj abolished the practice of setting up separate schools for upper castes and untouchables. He also formed a law recognizing interracial marriage in his state.

5) The king was very fond of wrestling. He encouraged the same in Kolhapur and also established a huge wrestling ground like Khasbagh Maidan in 1912. Several people started to visit Kolhapur to learn wrestling.