The Present of the Past

by Pranjal Wagh



They say History teaches you. You can learn about so many things from the actions & the words of great men & women. These lessons from the past can  be used to solve problems of the present.

India is a treasure chest of such notable personalities. We have a rich history and heritage and this past is a huge ocean of knowledge. It is like a gold mine from which we can extract nuggets of knowledge and use them to solve the problems of our country.

But the question is, do we?

Do we even remember our great warriors? Our great leaders?

Do we remember those brave men & women, those brilliant strategists, those rulers who were like parents to their subjects? Do we remember the harshest punishments given to the anti-social elements in those days?

I do not think so.

We take pride in understanding the exploits of Alexander the great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan and other foreign rulers and warriors.

In fact we should. They were extraordinary people too.

But the only problem is that we do not recognize our own heroes. Rather our education system is such that we do not get the chance to appreciate the fact that their acts in those days have defined our future. We do not publicize our own heroes, we do not preserve the monuments which are the evidence of their existence. These monuments should serve as inspiration to the young. Instead, in India, they serve as blackboards for the people to advertise their love and to proclaim the great names that their parents have given them.

Historians from other countries, Generals from foreign nations have understood the beauty of strategies employed by Indian heroes like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Peshwa Bajirao I and have employed them in modern warfare very effectively.

Just let me give you an example.

When the Americans meddled, as they always do, in the matters of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, when he led the resistance against the USA, had only one thing hung on his bunker wall that gave him the inspiration to fight back by using Guerilla techniques.


It was the Royal Seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji.



Ho Chi Minh was so inspired by Shivaji’s Tactics that he used them to actually fight the USA and eventually to win the war!

I recently read a book called ‘ The Wisdom of Alexander the Great : Enduring leadership lessons from the man who created an empire ‘ by Lance B. Kurke. Ph.D. This book is an amazing book and it talks about how management lessons can be learnt from Alexander the Great’s campaigns and the tactics and strategies that he used to defeat his enemies.

Do we have any such book in India?

We have undefeated generals like the second Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I who fought 41 battles and never lost a single one. Bajirao’s tactics in the legendary Battle of Palkhed were so brilliant that the American soldiers have a case study on this great battle where his tactics are studied. The tactics about the mobility of Bajirao’s forces which ultimately wove a web around the Nijam and then dealt a crushing defeat to him are relevant still today!

In India, his tactics are not studied.

We attentively ignore our heroes and we ignorantly pay attention to things which are not worth the attention.

We like to be selective in praising our heroes.

Our textbooks for school children are biased. We educate them based on what we think is right for them. Moreover they hate history because the books that teach them history are boring and they have to remember long pages to write answers in meaningless exams.

The attraction towards history is automatically curbed in the childhood.

We forget Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, three great sons of Mother India, who willingly sacrificed their lives so that people would get inspired from their sacrifice and would eventually drive out the British.

They always dreamt of a secular India. We never let that dream come true.

Today, we are Secular just for the sake of saying it.

We do not remember Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on 23rd March each year. Our great free media also does not have time to focus on them. They would rather tell the people what is going to happen in a Saas-bahu drama or which phone a movie star is using or what he is posting on Twitter. Yes, that is more important for our nation!

Enough said.

I have been wanting to do this for a long time. I was going to write about something else but by the time I finished writing this article I changed my decision.

I have decided to make this into a series of articles. I will try to bring to highlight personalities from our history which have been forgotten by us.

We Indians have a great Present from the Past. A gift of culture.A gift of heritage. A gift of bravery, of valour. These presents of the past have to be used in the present to tackle the issues that the nation faces. This is what I will attempt to do.

This series of blog articles is a small and maybe insignificant attempt on my part to bring to the fore my observations on how the lessons could be learnt from the strategies of Great Sons & Daughters of this soil & how they could be applied to the present day problems that our country faces.

Watch this space.


(Part I Ends)


Disclaimer: Although this series may contain articles which may cover historical figures mostly from Maharashtra it does not imply that I do not have respect for heroes from other states. As and when possible I will update my knowledge and also write about them.


Next: The Present of the Past – II

How a dialogue from a serial Raja ShivChhatrapati which airs on Star Pravaah prompted me to think about the attitude of our great Government that needs to be changed drastically.


Pranjal Wagh

18 July 2010


Creative Commons License
This work by Pranjal A. Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License


abha deshkar July 18, 2010 - 12:38 AM


although your anger is justified, you express it very often….when you gave the picture of the royal seal..i want to know what it means…in the end i liked the fact that you have decided to write on these heros rather than just expressing your contempt against the govt.
you also wrote about the mgmt lessons to be learnt.. i would love to read your interpretations about them…
Its a big responsibility…but im sure u have the passion to complete it…

Pranjal Wagh July 18, 2010 - 3:30 AM

The message on the Royal Seal goes like this:

Pratipashchandra Lekhev Vardhishnu Vishwavandita
Shahsuno Shivasyesha Mudra Bhadray Raajte


In Marathi:
Pratipechya Chandra pramane vadhat janara, Shahajichya mulga Shivaji, hyachi hi Rajmudra Satat Raajya karel!

In English:
‘This Royal Seal of Shivaji the son of Shahaji, ever increasing in splendor like the moon on the first day of the bright half of the lunar month, shall shed auspicious beneficence and command the homage of the entire world.’

sulekh baikar July 18, 2010 - 10:36 AM

what Vietnam did with US was independent of Maratha history. They have not adopted it from us… ‘Ganimi kava’ is a style followed across globe with different implemetation and may be with different names…
I fully agree that we are not bothered about our great heros..
Sulekh Baikar

Pranjal Wagh July 18, 2010 - 12:41 PM

Hi Sulekh,
I am not saying that Vietnam adopted Ganimi Kava from us. It has been around for centuries. Even terrorists today practice it as do our security forces. Shivaji Maharaj did not develop it.

I just said that Ho Chi Minh was greatly inspired by how Shivaji Maharaj held his own against Mughals, Adilshahi, two great powers in India at that time, by using Guerilla warfare techniques.
He was in a similar situation where he had to save his country from US forces….and thats what he did!

Thanks for the comment!

TT ! July 18, 2010 - 2:36 PM

Ho Chi Minh’s example was unknown to me! But Its very proud thing to know!
Have had read much more Shivaji Raje,now would like to read more about BajiRao 1, especially about the tactics he used to win those battles, expecting illustraighted and in depth knowledge about Bajirao’s war life.
I expect all this information from you because you write it nicely and in a simplified language also because of your enthusiasm towards Maratha History!
So, all the very best! I know you will fulfill your reader’s expectations !
Just a suggestion, as you are writting on Maratha warriors,do write on, Queen Tarabai, Kanhoji Angre, Santaji-Dhanaji, Nasahebh Peshwe, Holkers etc’s life.

Pranjal Wagh July 18, 2010 - 3:58 PM

@ TT
Yes sir,
Thank you for reminding me about Kanhoji Angre. I would recommend a beautiful book written by Manohar Malgonkar on the life of Kanhoji Angre. It illsutrates his life and his work very well.
And moreover it also tells us about the work of the first Maratha Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath and his actions which kept the Empire together.

I will surely heed your advice.

Amey July 20, 2010 - 10:12 AM

Man. Too good. Amazing writeup. Echoed exactly what I feel of new-age media.

Part Ho Chi Minh was especially interesting. Didnt know this!

Kiran July 20, 2010 - 2:21 PM

We have (unfortunately) lost our sense of pride possibly because the British overpowered us. As it mostly happens, the victor is a good person but the good person may not be a victor.
Read my blog for more explanation.
Shivaji being the inspiration of Ho chi Minh is a big revelation for me!

If you like war stories, i recommend गाझलेले रणसंग्राम by Capt. Raja Limaye.

Mangesh July 21, 2010 - 7:52 AM

Nice Pranjal !!
changle lihit ahes continue kar !!

प्रौढप्रतापपुरंदर गोब्राम्हणप्रतिपालक क्षत्रियकुलावतसं हिंदवीस्वराज्यसंस्थापक सिंहासनाधीश्वर महाराजाधिराज श्री छत्रपती शिवाजीमहाराज की जय !!
जय भवानी जय शिवाजी !!!
हर हर महादेव !!!
राजांचे आशीर्वाद पाठीशी आहेतच …

aani ho amhi visarlo naahi ahot …

Pranjal Wagh July 21, 2010 - 2:33 PM

Kay visarla nahi aahes?

Mangesh July 23, 2010 - 10:41 AM

kharech kaul majhya poorna mana manat path ahe ..agdi swapnatun uthavales tari mhanu shakel mi …are aaple daivat ahe …visarnar nahi mi …

Mangesh July 23, 2010 - 10:44 AM

Do we even remember our great warriors? Our great leaders? …ya vakya sandharbh hota .. ki amhi visaralo nahi aahot he manya aaj kal chi yuva pidhi ya babbat anabhidnya aahe … tyamule tuze likhan kaam suru thev …khup changle aahe te …

Pranjal Wagh July 23, 2010 - 2:05 PM


Nilesh July 25, 2010 - 12:52 PM

Hey pranjal
Nice thoughts…and well written too…..appreciate ur knowledge abt Vietnam war tactics..
looking forward for ur articles ahead…all the best !

Dr Prakash Jadhav May 22, 2011 - 6:14 PM

Dear Pranjal,

God bless you for some patriotic writing.

Can you give me a list of books written by setumadhaorao pagadi (only historical),books on santaji,chengezkhan,kublaikhan,tarabai,
famous war battales in the world (including Indian and Japanese)?

I remember one book written on 24 famous generals in the world.Please send me the author and name of the book.Also one UK military expert wrote book on undefeated generals and rated Bajirao as the top general one.Please inform me about the book.

I want to buy all these books.

Jay bhavani, Jay shivaji

Dr Prakash Jadhav

Pranjal Wagh May 22, 2011 - 8:46 PM

@Dr Prakash Jadhav

First and foremost,
Thanks a lot for appreciating my effort!

Even I shall have to look and search for those books…Once found will inform you!

Dhai Joshi August 5, 2013 - 1:48 PM

Pranjal , interesting writing , appreciated .
I was not knowing about Ho Chi Minh. Can you pl give proof of that ? i.e. from where you have taken this reference . When I talked to some people got info that in his memorial also name of Shivaji Maharaj is mentioned . ( your ref is Bunker ) . Its very important to collect evidence of such great news . You can reply me on

ravi February 8, 2014 - 1:04 PM

hi pranjal,
iI really appriciate your writing.
keep it up.

Pranjal Wagh February 8, 2014 - 11:00 PM

Ravi ji,

Do keep reading!


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