French writer to curate exhibition on Shivaji

11 10 2007

French writer to curate exhibition on Shivaji
Will Highlight Unknown Facts About Warrior King
Anuradha Mane TNN

10th Oct 2007 PUNE

Pune: Much has been said and written about Maratha warrior-king Chattrapati Shivaji, but considering the far-reaching reign of Shivaji and his life as a warrior, much is yet to meet the public eye. That’s what Delhi-based French writerjournalist Francois Gautier hopes to bring to Indians. In a yet-to-be titled exhibition on the warrior king, Gautier is getting together rare sketches, paintings and scriptures that depict the vision of Shivaji. “As a journalist, I have been covering India for 25 years now. Shivaji, of all historical icons, impresses me because of his nationmaking vision. He was an idealist and India really needs that spirit today,” said Gautier, who is currently the editor of French newspaper ‘La Revue L’Inde’. Explaining why the exhibition will start in Pune, Gautier states that Pune is where Shivaji grew up and where his legacy runs strongest. The exhibition will begin in Pune in February 2008 and return to Pune after travelling to other places in the country. Speaking about the aspects that will be highlighted, Gautier says, “On numerous occasions, he set before others examples of courage and resourcefulness, such as in his night attack on Shaista Khan in Pune (1663) and in manoeuvring his escape from Agra (1666). He also personified self-respect with his proud and dignified conduct at Agra- the proudest court of that time.” Shivaji’s vision in building a chain of mountain and sea forts and his humility when in the company of saints like Tukaram and Samarth Swami Ram Das will also be depicted in the exhibition. But the main reason why Gautier feels he can undertake such an exhibition, in spite of being a foreigner is because he has a fresh view of Shivaji. “Not having political alliances would help me in this case. And there have been controversies about Shivaji, but I really do not want to get into it. That apart, I have the courage and forthrightness to do justice to this topic,” he said. In Pune, Gautier is taking help from historians Ninad Bedekar, Babasaheb Purandare and Gajanan Mehendale. While Gautier himself has been reading extensively on the topic, he also has a team of researchers in the University of Rajasthan and painters who will help document the life of Shivaji. Gautier is already involved in setting up a Rs 200 crore project on Indian history in Pune named the India Memory Foundation (IMF).

A sketch depicting Shivaji leading his troops that will be exhibited

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