The Wagh Nakh is a dagger shaped like tiger claws – which Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to kill the general of Bijapur Sultanate Afzal Khan in 1659. The wagh nakh is made of steel and has four claws placed on top of bar with two rings for the first and fourth fingers.
State Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will visit London later this month to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Victoria and Albert Museum after the UK authorities agreed to return the ‘Wagh Nakh’ used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to kill Bijapur sultanate general.
The artifact might be coming home this year itself if everything goes as per plan. According to media reports, Mungantiwar said, “We have got a letter from the UK authorities saying that they have agreed to give us back Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Wagh Nakh. We might get it back for the anniversary of the day when Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, based on the Hindu calendar. Some other dates are also being considered and the modalities of transporting the wagh nakh back are also being worked.”
He said that other objects – Shivaji’s Jagadamba sword – will also be looked at in the UK where they are on display. He said that steps will be taken to bring the other artifacts belonging to India as well.
“The fact that the tiger claws are on the way back is a big step for Maharashtra and its people. The date of Afzal Khan’s killing is November 10 based on the Gregorian calendar but we are working out dates based on the Hindu tithi calendar,” added Mungantiwar.
The wagh nakh is a priceless mark of history, a treasure for the country and the sentiments of the people are attached to it. The transfer must be undertaken with care and responsibility.
Reportedly, for the safe transfer of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s wagh nakh and looking at other objects, Mungantiwar, principal secretary culture Dr. Vikas Kharge, and Dr. Tejas Garge, director of the state’s directorate of archeology and museums, all visit the Victoria & Albert, and other museums in London. This three-member team will make a six-day visit to London from September 29 to October 4.