Keshav Pandit

(- 1690 / Uttar Pradesh / India)

Biography of Keshav Pandit

Keshav Swami Purohit, also known as Keshav Pandit or Keshav Bhat Pandit, was Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Rajpurohit (Religious chief) and a Sanskrit scholar and poet of his times. He was also the ‘Rajpurohit’ and Danadhyaksha of Chhatrapati Sambhaji and Chhatrapati Rajaram. Sambhaji's schooling took place under his guidance.

Contribution to Coronation

Keshav Pandit accompanied Shivaji’s secretary Balaji Awji in his campaign to Uttar Pradesh and Udaipur for obtaining Shivaji’s family history which was necessary for the coronation ceremony. At the time of the ceremony on 5 and 6 June 1674, Gagabhatta sought his assistance for all the rites and rituals performed. Shivaji gifted him a sum of Rs. 24,000/- towards Dakshina which was the second largest Dakshina ever given during the ceremony.

Contribution to History

Keshav Pandit has written in Sanskrit poetical biographies of all the Chhatrapatis he had worked with. Especially, his book ‘Rajaram Charitam’ written in 1690, gives a detailed account of Rajaram’s secret flight to Gingee fort from Panhala fort through the areas occupied by the Mughal army. It is supposed to be the most reliable source of Rajaram’s escape as Keshav Pandit himself was one of the participants of this journey. The original book is kept intact in the royal library of Tanjavur. Soon after completion of this book, Keshav Pandit died at Gingee approximately at the age of 60. His heirs are staying in the villages near Devrukh in Ratnagiri district with the surname 'Purohit'.

Keshav Pandit's Works:

Shivaji’s biography in Sanskrit
Sambhaji’s biography in Sanskrit
Rajaram’s biography ‘Rajaram Charitam’ in Sanskrit
'Dandneeti'(Sanskrit)i.e. Criminal Code proposed for Maratha Empire

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