Show on Shivaji to bare little-known facts

21 11 2008

Laxmi Birajdar | TNN

Pune: Lesser-known facts about Chhatrapati Shivaji will be highlighted in a painting exhibition early next month. French Indophile Francois Gautier will organise the exhibition, to be held from December 2 to 20 at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s newly-developed Art Centre on Ghole road .
Titled ‘Shivaji: a hero of modern India’, it will be organised by Gautier’s Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) and comprises over 60 miniatures in tempera, oil and acrylic on the life and times of the legendary Maratha warrior.
This is Gautier’s most ambitious historical project yet. It took him three years to get the paintings done from artists based in Rajasthan. The exhibition was inaugurated in Delhi last November, and later travelled to Mumbai and Bangalore.
“We hope to see the maximum number of visitors in
Pune because of the strong connection between Chhatrapati Shivaji and the city,” says Gautier. As for the reason behind organising the exhibition, he states, “When I first came to Pune a few years back, I was quite disappointed by the lack of information available in the city on Chhatrapati Shivaji.”
That’s when he decided to put up an exhibition that would highlight not only the Maratha warrior’s extraordinary achievements, but also lesser-known facts related to his style of governance and personality.

From Shivajis historic meeting with Bijapur army general Afzal Khan in 1659 to Baji Prabhu’s sacrifice to save his leader’s life in 1660 and Shivajis nocturnal attack on Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of the Deccan, in Pune in 1663, the exhibition covers it all.
There are several intriguing facts about Shivaji that many are unaware of. For instance, he was the first Indian king to have a full-fledged naval fleet. He even introduced a modern system of administration through his council of ministers.

The exhibition also includes maps depicting Shivajis kingdom that spread all the way to south India. The paintings will be supported by explanatory charts in Hindi and English.
The exhibition has been backed by a three-year research by VS Bhatnagar, a former professor of history at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. Valuable information was collected from historical archives in Delhi, Bikaner and Indore.
It’s Chhatrapati Shivajis relevance in today’s times that Gautier wants to focus on. “He was a secular ruler who respected every religion. His administrative style was very modern and remains evergreen. He was more than a warrior. According to me, he was the son of the soil. We are trying to show his vision of India,” explains Gautier.
Gautier will soon start writing a coffee table book on the Maratha hero. A Delhi-based publishing house has already bought the rights to this book.


4 10 2008

Jackie Pinto
Source: Deccan Herald
A miniature painting exhibition titled ‘A hero for Modern India: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’, is on till October 5 at gallery G, Lavelle Road…

Francois Gautier is a man on a mission. His Indian connection dates back to the 70s, when he came to Auroville as a young student. A writer and journalist based in India, he strongly believes that modern day leaders should learn from icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was a great administrator and warrior. “Just as the French keep Napoloean’s memory alive and celebrate his life and achievements constantly, Shivaji can be a wonderful role model for present day politicians. He respected all faiths and was a just ruler.The chief of his navy and more than 25 per cent of his armed forces were Muslims. But not all know of his greatness. In fact some think of movie stars when I refer to Shivaji,” he said speaking at a miniature painting exhibition titled ‘A hero for Modern India: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’.

The exhibition has a collection of paintings done in the Mughal miniature style illustrating the life of Shivaji, his battles,wars,conquests and sieges.Although the canvases are large the fine detailing of the features, the designs on the garments worn, the ornaments and jewellry, the flowers and the weapons are all typical of the Mughal miniature style of work. “We have commissioned artists of very high calibre mostly from Rajasthan as this school of art is very popular there. Most of them like Dr Sumahendra, Dr Dharm Singh and Sri Kanhayyalal Varma have won several awards and their work is exhibited in galleries across the country.” said Gautier.

Extensive research culled from historical archives are reflected in the beautifully reproduced drawings of ancient maps, forts, battlefields, war camps and navy warships of Shivaji. “A walk around the exhibition gives me both an unforgettable history lesson and an insight into the life of one of the greatest kings of India and these beautifully painted pictures done in natural pigments are a must see for both students of history and anyone who can appreciate what a great icon Shivaji was,”said Avinash Bhat, a Christ College history student. The exhibition is on till the October 5 at gallery G, Lavelle Road.

Other Listings Deccan Herald

An inspiring historical journey
Jyothi Raghuram
First Published : 02 Oct 2008 05:42:00 AM IST Source: Express buzz
Titled ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: A Hero for Modern India’, the pictorial representation of Shivaji’s heroics, is a f a c t u a l a n d u n b i a s e d representation of the life and times of Shivaji, drawing its source of information from the archives, whose authenticity is thus undisputed. Perhaps it is not without reason that the title of the exhibition talks of Shivaji as the hero ‘for’, and not ‘of ’ modern India. Consigned to a mere mention in history text books, Shivaji was one historical figure who was fiercely patriotic, yet truly secular, and a pioneering spirit in the fight for swarajya, centuries before it made its entry into the collective consciousness of a people.

Got up by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), of which well-known French journalist and writer Francois Gautier is the trustee, the exhibition defies categorisation- paintings, line drawings and etchings are not only juxtaposed, but buttressed with contemporary documents to not only establish the unique role that Shivaji played in the history of India, but also in the preservation of her culture and spirituality. The exhibition does demand a degree of patience to go through the detailed texts, which are succinct, and as communicative as the paintings. Shivaji’s lofty ideals, his endearing traits, sense of justice, clarity of vision, and above all, his attempts to rouse the sleeping conscience of Indians against foreign domination, are depicted in flowing style. The exhibition gives much food for thought, and it is unapologetic about portraying Shivaji as one who fearlessly fought against the humiliation and oppression of Hindus.

Sumahendra, Dharm Singh, Bhanwarlal Kemawat, Kanhayyalal Varma and Jitender Singh Chandel are the artists, whose detailed work has lent artistic appeal to the theme. Gautier, considered an authority on religio-political history of the Indian subcontinet, has been a resident of India for three decades, dedicating his life to “restoring the lost glory of ancient Indian civilization”. Shivaji embodied all the qualities that an Indian leader needs today. The exhibition is also an attempt to create awareness among the youth regarding their country’s true heroes, he says. FACT has been organising exhibitions, conferences and dialogues on crucial public issues “that have been ignored by human rights agencies for whatever reasons”, and these exhibitions are a blend of history and art, and try to create human rights awareness, Veeren Chawdury, FACT all-India representative, told Expresso.

FACT has also created online exhibitions, some of which are , www.naxalism. info, www.bangladeshiminorities. info, and The current exhibition is on till October 5, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Media coverage FACT SHIVAJI Exhibition Bangalore

28 09 2008

Gallery » PictureChief Minister B S Yeddyurappa (centre), FACT Trustee Namrita Gautier and founder Maini Sadan S K Maini take a look at the paintings displayed at an exhibition of ‘A Hero for Modern India: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’ at Gallery G in Bangalore on Saturday. DH Photo
Courtesy: Deccan Herald

Press release Shivaji Exhibition

27 09 2008

Sri B S Yeddyurappa, Karnataka C.M will Inaugurate the Exhibition titled “A Hero for Modern India : Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj” today 27th September 2008 at 4.30 PM, Gallery G, 7th lavelle cross road, Bangalore. The much famous and successful Shivaji Exhibition was unvieled first in Mumbai by Mr Narendra Modi along with H H Sri Sri Ravishankar in March this year. The exhibition portrays the qualities of Chatrpati Shivaji and tries to bring the forgotten and rare moments of his life back in to public memory.

The exhibition will be screened in Bangalore from 27th sept to 5th october by FACT INDIA. FACT – India is committed to highlighting the magnificence of India and the threats to its sovereignty.

The Exhibition is blending Art and History. Art by the Rajastani miniature artists in water colours based on Archival records from the GOI Department of museums. History comes to life with the copies of original letters and court documents from Rajastani and Moghul courts.Why Shivaji? Shivaji, was endowed with talents of the highest order and a clear vision, the only one who stood-up to the injustice. He had also an inspiring and endearing personality which spontaneously commanded respect, loyalty and the highest sacrifices from his devoted soldiery and peasants.Shivaji is relevant today because, He embodied all the qualities that politicians should possess, but do not always have: he was just, firm and stood for the weak; he was an honest and able administrator; he confronted the enemy and was not cowed into submission; he was devoted to Mother India, who appeared to him as Bhavani; he was ruthless with his enemies, but spared women, children; he had respect for all religions.

Other FACT INDIA initiatives include Sikhs: the defenders of Indian Dharma, Aurangzeb as he was according to the Moghul records, ASRU: Exhibition on persecution of Minorities in Bangladesh, Pathetic state of Kashmiri Pandits, Ahilyabai Holkar, the Warrior Queen, Naxalism, a threat to the Unified Nation of India.

For more information please write to or
visit us at
Gallery g
38 maini sadan
7th lavelle cross road
Tel: 080-22219275
Here is an online exhibition of the same.

A Hero for Modern India : Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

The Shivaji Exhibition draws Schools and youngsters alike.

18 03 2008

The Shivaji Exhibition has caught the attention of Mumbai schools. School students have been flowing in all through with their teachers guiding them through the rare manuscripts and paintings, explaining them stories from the Folklore as well as History and showing them around the various forts. The forts and the rare documents are catching the childrens’ attention for a while.
Apart from the schools there have been nature clubs and hikers and trekkers with cameras comming in to shoot the panels of rare documents. A trekker I have been talking to has been vowed by the variety of the exhibition while the Nature lover wants us to do an exhibition on Environment Terrorism. There are the teachers who wnt the exhibition to stay in Mumbai and travel to their schools so that the children especially 4th class and above get a chance to see and travel through History.

So by the time we are closed on 18th evening 6:30 pm the Visitors count is 4,900 and counting.

See you soon Mumbai (June 20th at the King George School, now called the Indian Education Society’s Raja Shivaji High School.) and thankyou for the support.

Press clippings Shivaji

15 03 2008
Press clippings Shivaji

Click on the clip to read

Slide show of press coverge Shivaji Exhibition

shivaji exhibition inauguration

Photos of inauguration programme.

When history and geography mingled

14 03 2008

When history and geography mingled
14 Mar 2008, 0000 hrs IST,TNN

Vinod Khanna (TOI Photo)

Take a deeper look, and one could also see geographical boundaries being blurred, as a wide range of guests from a spectrum of professional fields made their presence felt here.

It was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who, along with Narendra Modi, stole the show. The religious and political heads greeted one another cordially, after which each spent some time observing the works individually. The two then inaugurated the show along with Gopinath Munde and Vinod Khanna.

Also present at this unique exhibition were Varsha Usgaonkar and Chhaya Momaya, who was all set to leave for a holiday to South Africa that night.

Poverty-stricken war hero gets award

A Correspondent in Mumbai
March 12, 2008 20:20 IST

Naik Subedar Bana Singh, who won the Param Vir Chakra for his bravery in preventing a Siachen post from falling into Pakistan Army’s hands in 1987, was on Wednesday awarded the inaugural Sivaji-FACT award for courage.

Singh, who was feted by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images], was also given Rs 1 lakh with the award.

“For all the services this great hero did for the country, the government sees it fit to give him a pension of Rs 100-odd. Hence we decided to give him a cheque of Rs 1 lakh,” said Francois Gautier, the trustee of the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism, a non-profit organisation, said while presenting the cheque to Singh.

Earlier in the day, in New Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj appealed to the government to do whatever it can including changing the rules to ensure that some dignity is restored to people like Singh.

“I hung my head in shame when I learnt the conditions in which Singh lives in Jammu. The man who gave the best years of his life to the country is now being forced to run from pillar to post to make ends meet. He gets a meagre sum of Rs 100 as pension,” she said.

She wondered how a person like Singh, who has two daughters of marriageable age, will carry out his duties towards his family.

At the function in Mumbai, chants of Jai Gurudev and Gujarat ka sher ayaa overlapped as Ravi Shankar and Modi stepped on to the stage together. The two charismatic leaders, who inaugurated an exhibition on Chatrapati Sivaji, spoke about the greatness of the Marathi leader.

Gautier threw the rule book out of the window and surprised the dignitaries by inviting them out of turn and asking them to speak extempore.

Ravi Shankar, who was asked to speak of Sivaji and his spiritual side, said: “One day, Sivaji who was tired of all the problems he faced as a ruler, went to Samarta Ramdas and laid down his crown in front of the swami. Sivaji said he found the burden of ruling was too much for him to handle. The swami accepted it and when Sivaji was just about to leave, he called him and placed a proposition in front of him. The swami said he would take the mantle of the ruler under one condition: that Sivaji work for him.

“Sivaji gladly accepted and returned to rule the country with great prudence. All he needed was the burden of responsibility taken off him.”

Modi, who was asked to speak on Sivaji as an inspiration for those in public life, said: “The brand of secularism that Sivaji followed was the real deal. He wrote to the Mughal rulers, who levied a tax on Hindus, asking them to revoke the tax.

“I do not know why the government in Delhi is so uneasy when the subject of terrorism is broached. They should also learn from Sivaji. He was the person who engaged in guerilla warfare against those who invaded the country, which is a form of terrorism so to speak.

“And third, Sivaji was one of the first persons to protect the cow. Will the centre again learn a lesson from Sivaji, and if not him at least Mahatma Gandhi [Images], who also fought for the protection of the cow, and pass a law to protect the cow across the nation?” he said.

With inputs from Onkar Singh in Delhi