|Shivaji Maharaj (1630 - 1680)|
- Swami Vivekananda
He inspired and united the masses to fight the tyranny of unjust rulers, by inculcating a sense of pride and nationality in them. Shivaji Maharaj successfully built, led and marshalled his forces to cope and overcome several major enemy invasions of his territories.
He fought to set free the Maratha people from the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire and established a ‘Hindavi Swarajya’ ("self-rule of Hindu people").
In words of Bhushan, a poet and a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj:
Kashiki Kala Jati, Mathura Masid Hoti lWho can better describe him than his own Guru. This is an excerpt of an unexpected letter from Ramdas Swami to Shivaji Maharaj praising him and giving him advice when it was needed most.
Agar Shivaji Na Hote, To Sunati Hot Sabaki ll
“Kashi would have lost its splendour, Mathura would have become a mosque; if it had not been for Shivaji, all would have been circumcised (converted).”
निश्चयाचा महामेरु, बहुत जनांस अधारु |Shivaji created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and was crowned Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign") of the Marathas in 1674.
अखंड स्थितीचा निर्धारु, श्रीमंत योगी ||
या भूमंडळाचे ठायी, धर्म रक्षी ऐसा नाही |
महाराष्ट्रधर्म राहिला काही, तुम्हा करीता ||
The pinnacle of determination, protector of people,resolute in intent, wealthy yet detached from his opulence…
..There is no other on this earth, who has protected any people; It is because of you that the culture of Maharashtra survived
-Samarth Ramdas Swami
He raised a strong army and navy, constructed and repaired forts(more than 300 forts that stretched across the Western Ghats), made popular the ‘ganimi kava’- guerrilla warfare tactics, developed a strong intelligence network and functioned like a seasoned statesman and general. Shivaji Maharaj introduced systems in revenue collection and warned the officials against harassment of subjects.
In his private life, his moral virtues were exceptionally high. His thoughts and deeds were inspired by the teachings of his mother Jijabai, and great Saints like Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram and the valiancy and ideals of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. Shivaji Maharaj was blessed and guided by his Guru, Samarth Ramdas Swami. He was an ardent devotee of Goddess Bhavani and Lord Shiva.
BirthShivaji was born at Shivneri, Maharashtra on February 19, 1630. He was named after the goddess Shivai. Shivaji was the son of Shahaji Raje Bhosale and Jijabai. Shahaji worked for the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur at that time.
In the absence of his father, who was the Jagirdar of the Bangalore region in Karnataka, the young Shivaji was brought up under the watchful eye and tutelage of his mother. She told him stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat and kindled the flame of freedom in the young Shivba.
She taught him politics and religion, at the same time trained him in the art of fighting by wielding the stick and dandpatta (a kind of sword with protective armour for the arm). Shivba became a skilled swordsman and a horse rider too. In this way, young Shivaji was well-prepared and groomed for the mission ahead.
The Oath of SwarajyaIn 1646, Shivaji turned 16. He completed his training in warfare as well as administrative matters. He started managing administrative matters of the jagir along with Dadoji Konddev from Pune.
One day, Shivaji and his friends went to Raireshwar temple of Lord Shiva near Pune. Here Shivaji and his friends slit their thumbs and poured the blood oozing from it on the Shiva Linga They took the oath of Independence in this temple and decided till each of them are alive, they will stand by Shivaji and fight for the ultimate goal...Swarajya!
First win: Torna fortShivaji knew that "He who has control of fort, has control of territory" and he decided to capture the Torna fort.
Shivaji and his friends made a plan and attacked Torna in late night hours. Even before Adilshahi forces on Torna could realize that the fort has been attacked, Shivaji had captured it.(1646) Shivaji was just 16!
Initial GainsAfter Torna, many other forts were captured:
- Rajgad fort
- Chakan fort
- Kondhana fort(1648)
- Purandar fort(1648)
Shahaji (Shivaji’s father) imprisoned, then releasedIn 1648, Shivaji's early attempts were challenged by arrest of Shahaji by Bijapuri officer.
The enemy of your enemy is your friend; by following this rule, Shivaji proved his mettle as an able politician and strategist and used his friendship with the Badshah of Delhi to pressurize Adilshah to secure his father’s release.
Javli, Raigad and other fortsThe State of Javli, by its position, barred the path of Shivaji's expansion in the south and south-west. Chandra Rao, the then ruler of Javli, tried to form in that locality an anti-Shivaji coalition in concert with the neighbouring Adil Shahi governor. However he was defeated(Jan 1946).
Shivaji later constructed Raigad on Rairi, the second capital of Swarajya which witnessed coronation of Shivaji.Shivaji built one more fort "Pratapgad" in the center of Javli. Pratapgad is a result of great vision and stratagem of Shivaji. Later Shivaji selected this fort for tackling Afzalkhan.
The possession of Supa, Baramati and Indapur rounded off the southeastern corner of the Puna district, while the acquisition of Purandar, Rajgad, Kondana and Torna secured Shivaji's territory by a strong chain of hill-forts on the south. Other forts he gained include: Rohida, Tikona, Lohgarh, Rajmachi.
Combat with Afzal Khan at PratapgadIn 1659, Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, an experienced and veteran general to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what he saw as a regional revolt. Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur, hoping to draw Shivaji to the plains where the superior Bijapuri army could destroy him. Shivaji, however, sent a letter to Afzal Khan requesting a meeting to negotiate and pretending that he was afraid of the mighty general and his army and so they meet at Pratapgad foothills.
The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by a follower. Shivaji had planned everything promptly and told his Mavles (his soldiers) that 'If something goes wrong and even if I die in the event, the fight of Swarajya must go on...'
Shivaji, as a protection, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal "tiger claw") on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand. As predicted by Shivaji, the meeting turned to be a fight.
In the fight, Afzal Khan's dagger was stopped by Shivaji's armour, and Shivaji's weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general.
Shivaji then signalled his hidden troops to launch the assault on the Bijapuris who were waiting for the signal.
Battle of KolhapurTo counter the loss at Pratapgad and to defeat the newly emerging Maratha power, another army, this time numbering over 10000, was sent against Shivaji, commanded by Bijapur's Abyssinian general Rustamjaman.
With a cavalry force of 5000 Marathas, Shivaji attacked them near Kolhapur on 28 December 1659. In a swift movement, Shivaji led a full frontal attack at the center of the enemy forces while two other portions of his cavalry attacked the flanks.This battle lasted for several hours and at the end Bijapuri forces were soundly defeated and Rustamjaman fled the battlefield. Adilshahi forces lost about 2000 horses and 12 elephants to the Marathas.
Siege of PanhalaIn 1660, Adilshah sent the his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north.
At that time, Shivaji was encamped at Panhala fort near present-day Kolhapur with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. There were 15000 men surrounding the fort.
Escape from encircled Panhala fortThe rainy season had started and Shivaji decided to leave the fort in a rainy night of 13th July. The plan was devised. He took 600 brave men with him. The group was lead by Bajiprabhu Dehspande. Two Palkhi's were arranged: one for Shivaji , another for Shiva Nhavi (the barber who looked like Shivaji ). The Palkhi taking Shiva Nhavi left the fort and distracted the enemy.
The enemy started chasing the palkhi with fake Shivaji and after some distance the Palkhi was caught. During this time Shivaji and his 600 men escaped from the siege. Everybody in the enemy was happy until they realized that the man they caught is not Shivaji. The enemy was now in search of real Shivaji
Battle of Pavan KhindObserving that enemy cavalry was fast closing in on them, Shivaji sought to avoid defeat and capture. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a Maratha sardar of Bandal Deshmukh along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of the Vishalgad fort.
In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, the smaller Maratha force, dual-wielding dand patta swords, held back the larger enemy for seven hours to buy time for Shivaji to escape.The battle resulted in the death of 300 Marathas and 3,000 Adilshahi troops. Baji's bravery saved Shivaji. The pass of Gajapur, which he held for saving Shivaji became sacred place for Marathas by blood of a great patriot and his 300 followers, hence it was further named as Pavan Khind ('Pavan' means sacred and 'Khind' means Pass).
Aurangzeb sends Shaista KhanUpon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb sent his maternal uncle Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 150,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to attack Shivaji in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar.
Shaista Khan, with his better equipped and provisioned army of 300,000 seized Pune and the nearby fort of Chakan, besieging it for a month and a half until breaching the walls. Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of having a larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory, seizing the city of Pune and establishing his residence at Shivaji's palace of Lal Mahal.
Battle of UmberkhindThis is the page of Maratha history which describes one of the best executed Guerilla warfare which took place in Umberkhind.
An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent by Shaista Khan to attack and reduce the number of forts under Shivaji's control in the Konkan region on 3 February 1661. The 30,000 Mughal troops left Pune, marching through the back-country in an attempt to surprise the Marathas. The Marathas defeated the Mughal forces. Mughal forces consisted of 20,000 men, while there was just 3,000 light Maratha cavalry.
In the Battle of Umberkhind, Shivaji's forces ambushed and enveloped them with infantry and light cavalry in the dense forests of Umber Khind pass near present day Pen. With defeat inevitable, the Mughal commander, a Maratha woman named Raibagan, advised Kartalab to parley with Shivaji, who allowed the Mughals to surrender all their supplies and arms, and depart with safe passage.
The battle is known for the strategic manner in which Shivaji deployed his forces and rapid movement that his cavalry was able to achieve. He had a strong message for Shaista Khan to leave Pune and go back. However Shaista Khan was adamant.
Attack on Shaista KhanNow comes a masterly blow of Shivaji at Mughal Subhedar Shaista Khan.The attack on him right into to the middle of his camp. The planning and execution of this attack was so well that it created belief in Mughals that Shivaji possesses some kind of magical powers.
In April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune. Shivaji and band of some 200 followers infiltrated Pune, using a wedding procession as cover. They overcame the palace guards, breached the wall, and entered Shaista Khan's quarters, killing those they found there.
Shivaji surprised and wounded the Mughal Subhedar of the Deccan in the heart of his camp, in his very bed-chamber, within the inner ring of his body-guards and servants. Shivaji attacked him and severed his three fingeres with his sword. During the combat, the lamps in the room were put out by some wise woman of Shaista Khan which saved his life. Shivaji, finding his enemies fully awakened and arming, delayed no longer, but promptly left the harem, called his men together, and withdrew from the camp by the direct route, while the Mughals, not knowing where their enemies were, fruitlessly searched all their camp. After the attack, as per the plan, Shivaji and his people escaped the area very gracefully by disguising their enemy.
The attack of the Maratha hero were rewarded by an immense increase of his prestige. The whole country talked with astonishment and terror of the almost superhuman deed done by him. Shaista Khan took refuge with the Mughal forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.
First Sack of SuratFrom 6th to 10th January, Shivaji looted the city of Surat, the richest port of the west coast of Mughals. The plunder of Surat yielded to Shivaji, a crore of Rupees. The looting was unresisted, and extended over fully four days and nights, and Shivaji scorned to carry away anything but gold, silver, pearls, diamonds and such precious ware.
Use of intelligence network, supreme planning, finesse in execution and co-ordination among Maratha forces were all at their best in this attack. Most noteworthy thing was, even in such a rapid plunder, no Maratha troops attacked any women, kids, poor people. They fought for the only purpose, striking their enemy Mughals.
Treaty of PurandarAurangzeb was enraged and sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh with an army numbering around 150,000 to defeat Shivaji. Now this veteran of a hundred fights donned his armour at the age of fifty-six to crush a petty leader, who in less than ten years had grown great enough to baffle all the resources of Bijapur and to challenge the prestige of the empire of Delhi.
Jai Singh's forces made significant gains and captured many Maratha forts, forcing Shivaji to come to terms with Aurangzeb rather than lose more forts and men.
In the Treaty of Purandar, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on 11 June 1665, Shivaji agreed to give up 23 of his forts and pay compensation of 400,000 rupees to the Mughals.
Visit to Agra, Arrest in Agra and EscapeIn 1666, Aurangzeb invited Shivaji to Agra, along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Jai singh had to take many efforts to convince Shivaji.
Shivaji's arrangements for the administration of his kingdom during his absence, were a masterpiece of foresight and organization. He made his local representatives absolutely independent of any need for his orders during his absence. The administration of his territories and forts would go on as efficiently as before, even if he were imprisoned or killed at Agra. Shivaji made a quick tour of his kingdom, inspected many forts and instructed his officer how to work in his absence. On 5th march 1666, Shivaji started to Agra from Rajgad.
Shivaji's spies informed him that Aurangzeb planned to move Shivaji to Raja Vitthaldas' haveli and then to possibly kill him or send him to fight in the Afghan frontier, so Shivaji planned his escape. Shivaji feigned severe illness and requested to send most of his contingent back to the Deccan, thereby ensuring the safety of his army and deceiving Aurangzeb.
Thereafter, on his request, Shivaji was allowed to send daily shipments of sweets and gifts to saints, fakirs, and temples in Agra as offerings and charity. After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Shivaji and Sambhaji hid themselves in two of the boxes and escaped on 22 July 1666.
Shivaji and his son fled to the Deccan disguised as sadhus (holy men). They both separated their path back to Maharashtra. After the escape, rumours of Sambhaji's death were intentionally spread by Shivaji himself in order to deceive the Mughals and to protect Sambhaji.
After return to RaigadWhen Shivaji returned to Deccan in September 1666, the situation was entirely change. Jai singh was in no position to repeat his success against marathas. His attempt of invading Bijapur failed. The return of the weak and indolent Muazzam and the friendly Jaswant to power in the Deccan (May 1667) relieved Shivaji of all fear from the Mughal side.
For three years after his return from Agra, he lived very quietly. He wanted peace for a time to organize his Government, make a revenue settlement of his lands, repair and provision his forts, and consolidate and extend his power on the western coast.
During these three years (1667-69), he was busy framing a set of very wise regulations, which laid the foundations of his Government broad and deep, and have remained an object of admiration after ages.
Beginning — Once Again / ReconquestAfter Shivaji's escape, hostilities ebbed and a treaty lasted until the end of 1670, when Shivaji launched a major offensive against Mughals, and in a span of four months recovered a major portion of the territories surrendered to Mughals.
Battle of Sinhagad
During this phase, Tanaji Malusare won the fort of Sinhgad in the Battle of Sinhgad on 4 Feb 1670, dying in the process.
The battle was a night battle that took place on February 4, 1670 in the fort of Sinhagad, near the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was fought between Tanaji Malusare, a commander of Maratha ruler Shivaji and Udaybhan Rathod, fortkeeper under Jai Singh. Tanaji's army won the war to hand over control of the fort to the Marathas with casualties 300 from Mughal side and 50 from Marathas as well as around 4000 Mughal troops imprisoned by mere 500 Marathas. Since a lion(‘Sinh’) like Tanaji was lost in the battle, the fort was named after him.
Shivaji sacked Surat for second time in 1670; while he was returning from Surat, Mughals under Daud Khan tried to intercept him, but were defeated in the Battle of Vani-Dindori near present-day Nashik.
Shivaji opened his offensive with great vigour and immediate success. His roving troops looted Mughal territory, and he attacked several of the forts which he had ceded to Aurangzib by the Treaty of Purandar. Every day the Emperor got news of such loss of forts. Shivaji's most conspicuous success was the capture of Kondana from Udai-bhan, its Rajput qiladar, (4th Feb. 1670).
Second Sack of SuratWhenever Mughal troops entered Deccan they vandalized villages, killed people, burnt houses and crops and caused huge damage. Thats the reason Shivaji had looted Surat for the first time after Shaistekhan's attack to recover losses caused to his land and people. Yet again after Jai singh's attack the people in Shivaji's kingdom were suffering from same situation. Now it was Shivaji's duty to help them recover from these losses and to teach lesson once again to Mughals who were mercilessly destroying normal people.
By attacking Surat twice he sent a strong message to Aurangzeb: 'If you vandalize my land, I can return the favour more effectively'. Thats where the greatness of Shivaji is noteworthy. The only intention of his deeds being, safeguarding his complete nation from invaders.
Mahabat and Daud Khan Sent to Deccan, 1671The second sack of Surat and devastations in Baglana showed ground reality of Deccan to the Aurangzeb. Immediately after this realization emperor sent Mahabatkhan to spearhead expedition in Deccan in Novmber, 1670.
Maratha troops continued their strikes in December. As a result Bahadurkhan was asked to leave his position in Gujarat and head to Deccan. Dilerkhan was directed to accompany Bahadurkhan. Daud Khan was instructed to attack Shivaji wherever he was reported to be. Amar Singh Chandawat and many other Rajput officers with their clansmen were posted to the Deccan. Reinforcements, money and provisions were poured into Baglana in January, 1671.
Four mighty Mughal officers with huge Mughal army and artillary were now heading to crush small Maratha kingdom.
In 1665, when Jai Singh had came to Deccan he was single head over the Army, so he succeeded, but this time Mughal army spent lot of money and soldiers for no countable gains. One more noteworthy thing is maturity and cleverness showed by Shivaji himself as well as all his officers. Maratha troops never faced huge loss in this huge campaign of Mughals.
Battle of Salher, 1671-72After poor results of Daud Khan and Mahabat khan's campaign in 1671, Aurangzeb sent Bahadur Khan and Diler khan to the Deccan as soon as winter started.They entered Baglana and laid siege to Salher. Bahadurkhan and Diler divided their army in three portions. First to continue siege of Salher, second with Bahadurkhan advanced to Supa and third with Diler entered Pune.
Cruel Diler then killed every inhabitant above 9 years of age. Shivaji was in Mahad at this time, but he had very limited forces as most of Maratha troops were busy with Prataprao in Khandesh and Moropant in Konkan. Diler was expecting to repeat same result like 1666. He was sure that on hearing about the pains his people were going through, Shivaji will surrender to him as he did to Jaisingh.
To everybody's surprise Shivaji opted very unusual move. Instead of defending Pune from Diler, Shivaji asked his two great officers Moropant and Prataprao to attack Diler's base camp at Salher together.
The clever planning of Shivaji, and the finesse of execution of his officers defended their kingdom successfully against huge Mughal army. This added to another big shame for Mughals. Shivaji' s prestige and confidence in his own power were immensely increased by these successes.
From the English records we learn that Shivaji "forced the two generals (viz., Bahadur and Diler), who with their armies had entered into his country, to retreat with shame and loss."
Battle of NesariIn 1674, Prataprao Gujar, the then commander-in chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Adilshahi general, Bahlol Khan. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general. In spite of Shivaji's specific warnings against doing so Prataprao released Bahlol Khan, who started preparing for a fresh invasion.
Shivaji sent a displeased letter to Prataprao, refusing to see his face until Bahlol Khan was recaptured. In the ensuing days, Prataprao learnt of Bahlol Khan having camped with 15,000 force at Nesari near Kolhapur. Not wanting to risk losing his much smaller Maratha force entirely, Prataprao and six of his sardars attacked in a suicide mission, buying time for Anandrao Mohite to withdraw the remainder of the army to safety. The Marathas avenged the death of Prataprao by defeating Bahlol Khan and capturing his jagir (fiefdom) under the leadership of Anaji and Hambirao Mohite. Shivaji was deeply grieved on hearing of Prataprao's death
Coronation of Shivaji MaharajOn 6th June 1674, Shivaji's coronation ceremony was performed according to the shastras by Vishweshwar, also called Gaga Bhatta, of Varanasi. He was crowned Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign") of the Marathas in 1674. The coronation ceremony was an event of great significance in the history of India.
In case of all other rulers, the coronation had to be approved by the Mughal Emperor, but Shivaji did it as a bold challenge to the Mughal authority, and the title of Chhatrapati or paramount sovereign which he adopted symbolized this challenge. He could now claim devotion and loyalty of the people over whom he ruled and his treaties and promises now had greater sanctity as engagements of the head of a State and had more legal validity and assurance of permanence.
The formal assertion of his position as an independent king gratified every Hindu heart, harassed and oppressed by the Muslim governments and clerics drawing authority and sanction from the teachings and ideas alien to the culture of India.
Conquests in Southern IndiaBeginning in 1674, the Marathas undertook an aggressive campaign, raiding Khandesh (October), capturing Bijapuri Phonda (April 1675), Karwar (mid-year), and Kolhapur (July).
In November the Maratha navy skirmished with the Siddis of Janjira, and in early 1676 Peshwa Pingale, en route to Surat, engaged the Raja of Ramnagar in battle. Shivaji raided Athani in March 1676, and by years-end besieged Belgaum and Vayem Rayim in modern-day northern Karnataka.
At the end of 1676, Shivaji launched a wave of conquests in southern India, with a massive force of 30,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry. He captured the Adilshahi forts at Vellore and Gingee, in modern-day Tamil Nadu.
In the run-up to this expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccan patriotism, that the "Deccan" or Southern India was a homeland that should be protected from outsiders. His appeal was somewhat successful and he entered into a treaty with the Qutubshah of the Golconda sultanate that covered the eastern Deccan.
Shivají's conquests in the south proved quite crucial during future wars; Gingee served as Maratha capital for nine years during the Maratha War of Independence.
DeathShivaji passed away around 3–5 April 1680 at the age of 51 due to ill health.
The story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj does not end at his death. For thirty years after his death, in the absence of any single, stable leadership, the people of Maharashtra fought the Mughal even when Aurangzeb himself came to conquer this land. This was only because of the foundation of unified Swarajya laid down by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Shivaji Maharaj wallpapers