Mumbai: The iconic ‘Wagh Nakh,’ a dagger designed in the shape of tiger claws famously used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to assassinate Bijapur Sultanate’s general Afzal Khan in 1659, is set to return to India from the United Kingdom. Currently housed in London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, this historic weapon is an integral part of India’s heritage.
The ‘Wagh Nakh’ was originally in the possession of Shivaji Maharaja’s descendants within the Satara court. However, it found its way to the United Kingdom when James Grant Duff, an East India Company officer, took it with him after his service in India. Subsequently, Duff’s descendants donated this significant artefact to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Leading the effort to repatriate Shivaji’s iconic ‘Wagh Nakh’ to India is Maharashtra’s Cultural Affairs Minister, Sudhir Mungantiwar. He is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Victoria and Albert Museum to facilitate the return of this invaluable treasure.
To oversee the process, a delegation comprising the Cultural Affairs Minister, the Principal Secretary of the Department of Culture, and the Director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums will visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and other London museums from September 29 to October 4, 2023. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has allocated Rs 50 lakh for this six-day visit, recognizing the historical and cultural significance of the ‘Wagh Nakh.’
The Maharashtra government emphasized that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s ‘Wagh Nakh,’ or tiger claws, hold immense historical value and are deeply intertwined with the sentiments of the state’s people. Bringing back these tiger claws from Britain is a matter of great importance.
It is essential to handle the transfer of the tiger claws with utmost care and responsibility. Hence, the allocation of Rs 50 lakh for the delegation’s visit has been approved by the Chief Minister. The return of this priceless artefact is eagerly awaited, as it represents a cherished part of India’s rich heritage.