“States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true ‘hero as King’ like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for an entire human race.”
One of the most progressive and sensible rulers in the history of our country was Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The tales of his valor are countless and his victory over his enemies innumerable. The Great Maratha King and also the founder of the Maratha empire was born on 3rd April 1627.A fierce warrior, he unified the Marathas against the Mughals’ and for the first time it was during his reign the flag of “Poorna Swaraj”(complete self-rule) was raised.
He was the worst enemy of the Mughals who feared the wrath of his Sword, Chhatrapati Shivaji was a valiant king and a secular ruler who respected all religions equally.He was crowned as Chatrapati of Raigad on June 6, in the year 1674.He was a master in all the fields from warfare to politics. At the age of 12, Shivaji was taken to Mysore (current Bengaluru) where he and his elder brother Sambhaji and his half-brother Ekoji I were formally trained further. Shivaji’s mother Jijabai and his guru Ramdas inspired him with the noble and patriotic ideas and infused in him love for the religion and the motherland. Shivaji got military training and learnt the art of government from Kondadev. He organized a number of Marathi hill-folk into a fighting force and began to raid neighboring territories.
Administration under Shivaji
The administrative system of Shivaji was largely borrowed from the administrative practices of the Deccan states. It was also influenced by the principles laid down in Kautilya’s Arthasastra and the Dharmasastras. In the discharge of his duties he was assisted by a council of ministers.
He stood for the honour of women and made sure none were taken prisoners.Unlike many other rulers of the land, no one under his rule was allowed to dishonour women. Women of captured territories were left unharmed and naturally rape or molestation was severely punished.He turned cruel towards those who did cruel things. The punishments were constant with the severity of the crime.
Unlike Aurangzeb who forced many people to accept his suzerainty by destroying temples and indulging in forceful conversion by sword as recorded by Shivaji’s contemporary, the poet Kavi Bhushan stated: Had not there been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would have been turned into a mosque and all would have been circumcised”. Shivaji adopted a secular approach, “Yakut Baba” a Sufi Muslim saint was one of the king’s spiritual guides.The king had ordered his Hindu soldiers, that Muslim women and children should not be maltreated, Mosques should be given a protection and if they find a copy of Koran while the mission, they should handover it to their Muslim colleagues respectfully.A practical thinker and a follower of Hinduism Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were the influence to his lifelong defence of Hindu values. Throughout his life he was deeply interested in religious teachings, and regularly sought the company of Hindu and Sufi saints. He helped people who wanted to convert back to Hinduism. In fact, he married his own daughter to a converted Hindu.
Shivaji expanded his army from 2,000 soldiers to 100,000 and established a navy to protect the Goa and Konkan coastline.He was the first to realise its importance amongst the Indian kings; naval forts were built in Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Jaigad, while docks for repair of naval vessels were set up in Ratnagiri. With the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations, Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule.
Shivaji was a born leader and a great administrator. He had a successful military career. He is known for establishing a well-managed administrative and military system. His charisma drew people around him. In him they found the leader who never hesitated to risk his own life in times of danger. Shivaji had a constructive genius of a high order. The army of Shivaji was well organized. The most significant achievement of Shivaji was the welding of the Marathas into a nation. He infused a new spirit of unity and dignity into the Maratha people consisting of 96 clans.
In recruitment to services Shivaji showed no partiality to any community. There was no discrimination, no casteism, and no communalism. He, however, laid emphasis on the recruitment of the son of the soil. Though a champion of Hinduism, he extended his liberality to the people professing other religions.
Conquests of Shivaji
Chhatrapati Shivaji began his early career of conquests at the age of nineteen by capturing the fort of Torna, about twenty miles from Puna. After this he conquered other forts like Chakan, Singhagarh and Purandar, situated within the territories of the Sultanate of Bijapur.
In order to put pressure on Shivaji the Sultan of Bijapur imprisoned Shahaji Raje Bhosale, Shivaji’s father. After that Shivaji kept quiet for a few years. Shahaji Raje Bhosale was released by the Sultan. But Shivaji again started his activities of conquest. By 1655 Shivaji had occupied the northern part of Konkon and the fort of Javali. His tactics and practicality helped him win battles where he was out-numbered as well. He devised and advanced the skill of Guerrilla warfare previously successfully utilized by another Great King”Maharana Pratap”
These acquisitions provoked the Sultan of Bijapur who sent against Shivaji in 1659 a large army under a senior general named Afzal Khan, with instructions to bring Shivaji to the court dead or alive. In a clash between Afzal Khan and Shivaji .It is said that they met in a hut that only allowed them to carry a single sword, but Shivaji was sure of the Mughals cowardliness that Afzal Khan would attack him. So, he wore an armour underneath which stopped Khan’s dagger.
The army of Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri Sultanate in the Battle of Pratapgarh (November 10, 1659). Huge quantity of weapons and war-materials were collected, which further strengthened the Maratha army. This success gained him much reputation among the Marathas. He became a Hero.
The Sultan of Bijapur again sent a large army, under the leadership of Rustam Zaman, which also failed to curb the power of Shivaji. The battle took place on December 28, 1659. The Maratha army of Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri army in the Battle of Kolhapur. A large number of horses, elephants and warfare materials were gained by the Marathas.
Shivaji and the Mughals
Emboldened by his success Chhatrapati Shivaji began raiding Mughal territories in 1657. Aurangzeb felt the necessity of chastising him and sent a big army under Shaista Khan. He occupied Puna and encamped there. One night Shivaji made a surprise attack on Puna. A large number of Mughal soldiers were killed and Shaista Khan had a narrow escape.Thereafter, in 1661, Kartalab Khan was sent to counter Shivaji. In the Battle of Umberkhind, the large Mughal forces were defeated by relatively smaller forces of the Marathas. After this incident in 1664, Shivaji sacked Surat and carried off a huge booty.
On looking at the rise of such a great hindu patriot The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, had sent Jai Singh and Dilip Khan to stop Shivaji and accept Mughal Suzerainty. Aurangzeb later invited Shivaji to his fort to come to an agreement to allow suzeranity of 23 forts to the Mughals but instead of coming to the agreement he held him captive showing his cowardness and the fear of Maharajas growing power, Aurangzeb did not treat him well and kept Shivaji and his son Sambhaji, imprisoned under careful watch. But Shivaji managed to escape from Agra with his son. Reaching home he started war against the Mughals with renewed vigor. At last Aurangzeb was obliged to recognize him as a Raja (king). Shivaji regained all the forts that was lost and at the same time was given the title of”Chhatrapati”.Due to his independent status Coins were inscribed on his name. His goal was always to establish a free kingdom in the country and motivated his troops to fight for India and not any king in particular. Mughal Empire had reached its peak by then and had nearly 80% of the Indian subcontinent under its rule in the 17th century. Shivaji fought against the Mughal Empire and lead to their collapse in the 18th century.He was perfectly fine with the other kings and opposed the foreign rulers.
Dealings with the English
In October 1670, Shivaji sent his forces to harass the English at Bombay; as they had refused to sell him war material, his forces blocked Bombay’s woodcutting parties. In September 1671, Shivaji sent an ambassador to Bombay, again seeking material, this time for the fight against Danda-Rajpuri; the English had misgivings of the advantages Shivaji would gain from this conquest, but also did not want to lose any chance of receiving compensation for his looting their factories at Rajapur. The English sent Lieutenant Stephen Ustick to treat with Shivaji, but negotiations failed over the issue of the Rajapur indemnity. Numerous exchanges of envoys followed over the coming years, with some agreement as to the arms issues in 1674, but Shivaji was never to pay the Rajpur indemnity before his death, and the factory there dissolved at the end of 1682.
When Shivaji went to Tanjore to fight his half-brother Venkoji (Ekoji I), he met the English at Madras (then known as Madraspatnam) on 3 October 1677 as stated in a plaque in the Kalikambal temple, located on Thambu Chetty Street in George Town. The East India Company officials who looked after the fort at that time have recorded that Shivaji came up to the gates of Fort St. George and had sought the services of the English engineers but the request was politely turned down.
In late March 1680, Shivaji fell ill with fever and dysentery, dying around 3–5 April 1680 at the age of 52, on the eve of Hanuman Jayanti. Putalibai, the childless eldest of the surviving wives of Shivaji committed Sati by jumping in his funeral pyre. The other surviving spouse, Sakwarbai, was not allowed to follow suit because she had a young daughter Hence the curtains to one of the greatest son of Bharat came to an end.
Here are some famous Quotes to sum up Shivaji’s Great history