Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Shivaji is considered as a national hero in India, especially in the state of Maharashtra, where he remains arguably the greatest figure in the state's history. Stories of his life form an integral part of the upbringing and identity of the Marathi people. Further, he is also recognized as a warrior legend, which sowed the seeds of Indian independence.
When Indian Nationalist leader, Lokmanya Tilak organized a festival to mark the birthday celebrations of Shivaji, Vivekananda agreed to preside over the festival in Bengal in 1901.He wrote about Shivaji:
"Shivaji is one of the greatest national saviors who emancipated our society and our Hindu dharma when they were faced with the threat of total destruction. He was a peerless hero, a pious and God-fearing king and verily a manifestation of all the virtues of a born leader of men described in our ancient scriptures. He also embodied the deathless spirit of our land and stood as the light of hope for our future."