Maratha king Chattraparti Shivaji and his son Sambhaji helped preserve Hindu culture and swadharma, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said at a Marathi day function held in Sanquelim in North Goa district.
Sawant also said that Goa and Maharashtra had rich relations over centuries adding that freedom fighters from Maharashtra contributed to the struggle in Goa to overthrow Portuguese colonial rule.
“Goa has had links with Maharashtra from the time of Shivaji Maharaj. He preserved religious and Hindu culture in Goa in his time. It was during his reign and that of Sambhaji that the indigenous religious practices were retained,” Sawant said.
Shivaji’s reign in the 1600s coincided with early Portuguese rule in Goa, when forced religious conversion to Christianity was rampant.
“Even in the Goa freedom struggle, Maharashtra has a big contribution. We are celebrating 60 years of freedom. Freedom fighters came from all over India, especially from the Goa Maharashtra border,” he also said, adding that as many as 20 freedom fighters from Maharashtra were shot by the Portuguese soldiers for participation in the freedom struggle in Goa.