Mumbai: History writer Balwant Moreshwar Purandare was today conferred with the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award, the state’s highest honour, at a glittering function. The award ceremony was held at Raj Bhavan here amidst tight security after the BJP-led state government’s decision to honour Purandare received criticism from some sections of the Maratha community, which had protested against the move. The ceremony was attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena MPs Arvind Sawant, Sanjay Raut, state cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde, industries minister Subhash Desai and Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar among other dignitaries.
While addressing the audience after receiving the award, Purandare said that he would donate the prize money of Rs 10 lakh to the Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital located at Pune. In addition, Purandare also plans to donate Rs 15 lakh to the hospital as his own contribution. Purandare said that he would like to help farmers reeling under severe financial distress in the drought-hit Marathwada region.
Using the opportunity to take a dig at the opposition, Fadnavis said that those who have been protesting against the government’s decision have not understood Chhatrapati Shivaji. “I have to clarify that this programme was not held at the Raj Bhavan because we got scared of anybody. According to tradition, the country’s biggest awards are given by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Similarly, since this was the state’s biggest award, we decided to hold it here,” Fadnavis said.