The pro-Maratha Sambhaji Brigade has taken objection to the Centre’s announcement to honour right-wing history scholar Babasaheb Purandare with the Padma Vibhushan.The Brigade, along with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jitendra Awhad, has strongly condemned the Narendra Modi government, alleging that the 96-year-old had falsified the history of the Maratha King Shivaji with mala fide intent.They said the work of Mr. Purandare, who is called Shiv Sahir (Shivaji’s poet), are often given a casteist and communal spin. He intentionally distorted facts about Shivaji’s life by glorying the achievements of his Brahmin guardian and mentor Dadaji Konddev and insinuating that Shivaji, his mother Jijabai and Konddev were of the same lineage. The outfit has consistently demanded the deletion of the allegedly defamatory paragraphs from Raja Shivchhatrapati, Mr. Purandare’s popular two-part magnum opus on Shivaji.“The only reason Mr. Purandare has been given the Padma Vibhushan is because he is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hack and a champion of the Brahmin supremacist cause… It is shocking that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given this honour to a person who has repeatedly defamed Shivaji and Jijabai,” said Santosh Shinde of the Sambhaji Brigade.Saying the Bharat Ratna and the Padma awards had been “utterly devalued”, Mr. Shinde said that the outfit will soon launch a statewide agitation if the award conferred on Mr. Purandare was not immediately revoked.“Going by the list of awardees, it is evident that those who have done the RSS’ bidding have been rewarded by the Sangh’s political arm, the BJP. We will be holding Shiv Samnan Jaagar Parishads at the taluk and district-level to expose Mr. Purandare,” Mr. Shinde said.Meanwhile, Mr. Awhad said that the BJP had deliberately rubbed salt on the wounds of Shivaji’s ardent followers “[We] will set Maharashtra on fire…this honour given to a falsifier is a shameful blot on the history of Shivaji’s life,” he tweeted on Friday.In August 2015, Brigade activists had vehemently opposed the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party government’s decision to honour Mr. Purandare with the prestigious Maharashtra Bhushan award. Members had even pelted stones and damaged the office of Minister Ram Shinde in Ahmednagar district.The Sambhaji Brigade was in the political limelight in 2004 after it vandalised the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune in protest against American scholar James Laine’s book on Shivaji titled Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India (2003).