Professor James Laine wrote a biography of an Indian historical figure named Shivaji. The book was outlawed for a number of years but later the Supreme Court of India unbanned it. There are various claims floating around on the Internet that Shivaji was born out of wedlock to a Pathan Muslim (like Afzal Khan). Also, Sahaji, the popularly recognized father of Shivaji, was the follower of a famous Muslim saint.

Does Laine's biography claim that Shivaji's father was Muslim? What evidence supports this claim?

1 Answer 1


Shahaji Bhonsle is the biological father of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

There are innumerable sources for this, two are mentioned below:

  1. Shivaji and His Times by Sir Jadunath Sarkar
  2. Shivaji by Setu Madhavrao Pagadi

Without any facts and evidences, James Laine in his book claims a Hindu Brahman scholar and Shivaji's teacher, Dadoji Konddev as Chhatrapati Shivaji's biological father. Laine does not calim any Muslim as his father.

Laine cites following source for his assumption: (on page 93 of his book.)

Maharashtrians tell jokes naughtily suggesting that his guardian Dadoji Konddev was his (Shivaji's) biological father.

Now, this book does not make any such claims and James Laine has apologized for his mistakes.

There is no evidence which supports the claim that Chhatrapati Shivaji's father was some Muslim pathan. As,

  1. No Mughal records mentions such thing even though Shivaji was the main rival of the Mughals.
  2. During Shivaji's coronation (Rajyabhishek) he faced fierce opposition from Brahmans led by his own prime minister (Peshwa). The reason for this opposition was : Brahmans calimed that Maratha caste, to which Shivaji belongs, is Shudra in Varna and not Kshatriya. Hence, Shivaji cannot be coronated in Vedic traditaions. If Shivaji was child of Muslim, the opposing Brahmans would have definitely questioned his paternity to deny the rights to perform coronation in Vedic tradition. But no one made such claim. This episode of opposition by Brahmans is recorded in the poem Rajyabhisheka Kalpataru.
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    First, I do not question the paternity of Shivaji. But how does saying something about a Muslim pathan malign the great image of Shivaji?
    – Arani
    Aug 7, 2013 at 18:36
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    1) Aurangzeb is not mentioned on this page; I suspect that you're overestimating the familiarity of the average reader with the individuals under discussion. 2) Phrases like "maligning his great image", and the extensive use of bold font undermine the neutrality of the answer. Personally I think you've made a compelling case, but the tone of the answer is argumentative, rather than factual.
    – MCW
    Aug 8, 2013 at 16:39
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    In its current form I think this answer is good enough. I think that last two points greatly add to the quality of the argument.
    – Apoorv
    Aug 10, 2013 at 0:42
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    Shivaji was not a rival of mughals for most of his career ,he had fought battles on behalf of mughals too only later due to misunderstandings and alleged disrespectf shown did shivaji turned rival much like other princes
    – hist
    Nov 20, 2013 at 5:54

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