Noted historian and Padma Vibhushan awardee Balwant Moreshwar Purandare, popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare, died at a Pune hospital on Monday after a brief illness. Purandare (99), an authority on the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was diagnosed with pneumonia a week ago and was admitted to the city’s Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital where he died.
He was diagnosed with pneumonia owing to advanced age and was on ventilator support in the hospital’s intensive care unit. His health deteriorated on Sunday and he had been in an extremely critical condition since then, the doctor said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a state funeral for Babasaheb Purandare.
On Sunday, the historian’s declining health sparked rumours of his death in a section of the vernacular media and a number of local news portals.
"I am pained beyond words. The demise of Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare leaves a major void in the world of history and culture. It is thanks to him that the coming generations will get further connected to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. His other works will also be remembered," he said.
PM Modi further said that Babasaheb Purandare was witty, wise and had a rich knowledge of Indian history and he had interacted with him very closely over the years.
"Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare was witty, wise and had a rich knowledge of Indian history. I had the honour of interacting with him very closely over the years. A few months back had addressed his centenary year programme," the Prime Minister wrote.
"Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare will live on due to his extensive works. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family and countless admirers. Om Shanti," PM Modi said.
Earlier this year, tributes had flown in from across the political spectrum on the occasion of the historian having completed 99 years, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeting Purandare via a video message.
“Babasaheb’s work is inspirational. I visited Pune to see Babasaheb’s play ‘Janata Raja’, based on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Even when Babasaheb used to visit Ahmedabad I used to attend his programmes,” Modi had said.
Who was Babasaheb Purandare?
Known by his moniker ‘Shiv Shahir’ (literally Shivaji’s bard), Babasaheb Purandare was considered one of the pre-eminent authorities on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Raja Shivchhatrapati, Purandare’s popular two-part, 900-page magnum opus on Shivaji Maharaj in Marathi, was first published in the late 1950s and has since been a staple in Marathi households, going through numerous reprints over decades.
Purandare had also conceived and directed the theatrical history extravaganza on Shivaji Maharaj’s life titled Jaanta Raja in the mid-1980s.
Purandare, born on July 29, 1922, was awarded with Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award in 2019. He was conferred with the Maharashtra Bhushan award in 2015. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
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