Chhatrapati Shivaji

 

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a devout Hindu. He had great respect for Warkari saints like Tukaram and Sufi Muslim pir Shaikh Yacub Baba Avaliya of Konkan. He was a true king, who had respect for all religions.

Shivaji was a great Hindu king that India had produced within the last thousand years; one who was the very incarnation of Siva, about whom prophecies were given out long before he was born; and his advent was eagerly expected by all the great souls and saints of Maharashtra. He succeeded in the establishment of Dharma which had been trampled by the depredations of the devastating hordes of the Moghals.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji loved his mother tongue Marathi and Sanskrit and made elaborate preparations for effective use of Marathi language. He wrote Rajvyavharkosh dictionary and Encyclopedia of Marathi words to be used for all administration work of his kingdom. He was of the view that if our language is slave, then our thoughts too become slave. The house of Shivaji Maharaj was one of the Indian royal families who were well acquainted with Sanskrit and promoted it. Shivaji continued this tradition and developed it further. He named his forts as Sindhudurg, Prachandgarh, Suvarndurg etc. He named the Ashta Pradhan (council of ministers) as per Sanskrit nomenclature viz. Nyayadhish, Senapati etc. He got Rajya Vyavahar Kosh (a political treatise) prepared. His Rajpurohit Keshav Pandit was himself a Sanskrit scholar and poet. Shivaji Maharaj allowed his subjects freedom of religion and he strongly opposed conversion. He brought back several converts like Netaji Palkar and Bajaji in to Hinduism. He prohibited slavery in his kingdom. Shiva ji was a powerful king & Mughal empire was scared of him. After seeing kesariya flag of the Army of Shiva ji, even the mighty Mughal empire would retreat. Shiva ji never tolerated any attack on Hindism.
Shiva ji had a very high Moral Character & he ruled his kingdom with the rule of dharma.
Shivaji was once offered a very beautiful young lady as a war booty, by an uninformed Maratha captain. She was the daughter-in-law of a defeated Muslim Amir (local ruler) of Kalyan, Maharashtra. Shivaji was reported to have told the lady that her beauty was mesmerizing and that if his mother was as beautiful as her, he would have been as handsome as well. He told her to go back to her family in peace, unmolested and under his protection. His behaviour & high moral calibre was respected by every body.
Sivaji was the very embodiment of a born ruler of men. He was the real son of India representing the true consciousness of the nation. It was he who shaped future of India.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maha Raja was a great hero, a great saint and a great shiv bhakt.

Upbringing

Shivaji was extremely devoted to his mother Jijabai, who was deeply religious. This religious environment had a great impact on Shivaji, and he carefully studied the two great Hindu epics,    Ramayana & Mahabharata, these were to influence 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.

Shahaji, meanwhile had married a second wife, Tuka Bhai Mohite, and moved to take an assignment in Karnataka, leaving Shivaji and his mother in Pune. Shahaji entrusted the two to his friend Dado ji kondadev Kulkarni , who provided them a mansion to live in, profitably administered the Pune jagir, and mentored the young Shivaji. The boy was a keen outdoorsman, but had little formal education, and was likely illiterate. Shivaji drew his earliest trusted comrades and a large number of his soldiers from theMaval  region,including Yesa ji kanik , Suryaji Kakade, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Prsbhu Deshpande and Tanaji malusare in the company of his Maval comrades, Shivaji wandered over the hills and forests of the sahyadri  range, hardening himself and acquiring first-hand knowledge of the land, which was to later prove applicable to his military endeavours. At the age of 12, Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji and his stepbrother Ekoji  were further formally trained. He married Saibai, a member of the prominent Nimbalkar  family in 1640. Around 1645-6, the teenage Shivaji first expressed his concept for Hindavi swarajya, in a letter to  Dadji Naras Prabhu

Conflict with Adilshahi sultanate

In 1645, the 16 year old Shivaji bribed or persuaded the Bijapuri commander of the Torna Fort , Inayat Khan, to hand over the possession of the fort to him. Firnigoji Narsala, who held the Chakan  fort professed his loyalty to Shivaji and the fort of Kondana was acquired by bribing the Adilshahi governor,  On 25 July 1648, Shahaji was imprisoned by Baji Ghorpade under the orders of the current Adilshah,Mohammad Adil shah, in a bid to contain Shivaji. Accounts vary, with some saying Shahaji was conditionally released in 1649 after Shivaji and Sambhaji surrendered the forts of Kondhana, Bangalore and Kandarpi others saying he was imprisoned until 1653 or 1655; during this period Shivaji maintained a low profile. After his release, Shahaji retired from public life, and died around 1664–1665 during a hunting accident. Following his father’s death, Shivaji resumed raiding, seizing the kingdom of  Javali from a neighbouring Maratha chieftain in 1656.

Combat with Afzal Khan

Death of Afzal Khan

In 1659, Adilshah sent Afjal 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 Tuljipur and Pandhar pur, 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.

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, either suspecting Afzal Khan would attack him or secretly planning to attack, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal “tiger claw”) on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand. Accounts vary on whether Shivaji or Afzal Khan struck the first blow: the Maratha chronicles accuse Afzal Khan of treachery, while the Persian-language chronicles attribute the treachery to Shivaji. 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.

Battle of Pratapgarh

Pratap garh fort

In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh fought on 10 November 1659, Shivaji’s forces decisively defeated the Bijapur Sultanate’s forces. The agile Maratha infantry and cavalry inflicted rapid strikes on Bijapuri units, attacked the Bijapuri cavalry before it was prepared for battle, and pursued retreating troops toward Wai. More than 3,000 soldiers of the Bijapur army were killed and two sons of Afzal Khan were taken as prisoners.

This unexpected and unlikely victory made Shivaji a hero of Mar atha folklore and a legendary figure among his people. The large quantities of captured weapons, horses, armour and other materials helped to strengthen the nascent and emerging Maratha army. The Mughal emperor Aurangjeb  now identified Shivaji as a major threat to the mighty Mughal Empire. Soon thereafter Shivaji, Shahaji and Netaji Palkar (the chief of the Maratha cavalry) decided to attack and defeat the Adilshahi kingdom at Bijapur.

Battle of Kolhapur

To counter the loss at Pratapgad and to defeat the newly emerging Maratha power, another army, this time numbering over 10,000, was sent against Shivaji, commanded by Bijapur’s Abyssinian general Rustamjamam. With a cavalry force of 5,000 Marathas, Shivaji attacked them near Koplhapur  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 2,000 horses and 12 elephants to the Marathas This victory alarmed Aurangazeb, who now derisively referred to Shivaji as the “Mountain Rat”, and prepared to address this rising Maratha threat.

Siege of Panhala and Battle of Pavan Khind

Plaque to commemorate the entrance to Paavankhind

In 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 Kolhapor  with his forces. Siddi Jauhar’s army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. During the bombardment of Panhala, Siddhi Jahuar had purchased grenades from the British at Rajapur to increase his efficacy, and also hired some English artillerymen to bombard the fort, conspicuously flying a flag used by the English. This perceived betrayal angered Shivaji, who in December would exact revenge by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and capturing four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663.

Accounts vary as to the end of the siege, with some accounts stating that Shivaji escaped from the encircled fort and withdrew to Ragna, following which Ali Adil Shah personally came to take charge of the siege, capturing the fort after four months besiegement. Other accounts state that after months of siege, Shivaji negotiated with Siddhi Jahuar and handed over the fort on 22 September 1600, withdrawing to Vishalgad.  Shivaji would later re-take Panhala in 1673.

There is some dispute over the circumstances of Shivaji’s withdrawal (treaty or escape) and his destination (Ragna or Vishalgad), but the popular story details his night movement to Vishalgad and a sacrificial rear-guard action to allow him to escape. Per these accounts, Shivaji withdrew from Panhala by cover of night, and as he was pursued by the enemy cavalry, so his Maratha sardar Baji Prabhu Deshpande of Bandal Deshmukh , along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind (“horse ravine”) 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 held back the larger enemy to buy time for Shivaji to escape. Baji Prabhu Deshpande was wounded but continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad, signalling Shivaji had safely reached the fort, on the evening of 13 July 1660.  Ghod Khind (khindmeaning “a narrow mountain pass”) was later renamed Paavan Khind (“sacred pass”) in honour of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, and all other soldiers who fought in there.

Clash with the Mughals

Up until 1657, Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughal Empire. Shivaji offered his assistance to Aurangzeb in conquering Bijapur and in return, he was assured of the formal recognition of his right to the Bijapuri forts and villages under his possession. Shivaji’s confrontations with the Mughals began in March 1657, when two of Shivaji’s officers raided the Mughal territory near Ahmad nagar  This was followed by raids in Junnar , with Shivaji carrying off 300,000 hun  in cash and 200 horses. Aurangzeb responded to the raids by sending Nasiri Khan, who defeated the forces of Shivaji at Ahmednagar. However, the countermeasures were interrupted by the rainy season and the battle of succession for the Mughal throne following the illness of Shah Jahan.

Attack on Shaista Khan

Battle of Chakan

Upon 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

In April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune; accounts of the story differ in the popular imagination, but there is some agreement that 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. Shaista Khan escaped, losing his thumb in the melee, but one of his sons and other members of his household were killed. The Khan took refuge with the Moghul forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.

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. 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.  In retaliation for Shaista Khan’s attacks, and to replenish his now-depleted treasury, in 1664.  Shivaji attacked  Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading centre.

Treaty of Purandar 1665

Raja Jai Singh  of Amber receiving Shivaji a day before concluding the Treaty .
Aurangzeb was enraged and sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh, with an army numbering around 150,000 to defeat Shivaji. 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, 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. He also agreed to let his son Sambha ji become a Mughal sardar, serve the Mughal court of Aurangzeb and fight alongside the Mughals against Bijapur. He actually fought alongside Jai Singh’s against Bijapur’s for a few months. His commander Netaji Palkar joined the Mughals, was rewarded very well for his bravery, converted to Islam, changed his name to Quli Mohammed Khan in 1666 and was sent to the Afghan frontier to fight the restive tribes. He returned to Shivaji’s service in 1676 after ten years with the Mughals, and was accepted back as a Hindu on Shivaji’s advice.

Arrest in Agra and escape

A depiction of Shivaji in Aurangjeb’s  court in Agra  in 1666.

In 1666, Aurangzeb invited Shivaji to Agra , along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb’s plan was to send Shivaji to Kandhar, now in Afghanistan, to consolidate the Mughal empire’s northwestern frontier. However, in the court, on 12 May 1666, Aurangzeb made Shivaji stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offence and stormed out of court, and was promptly placed under house arrest under the watch of Faulad Khan, Kotwal of Agra. Shivaji’s spies informed him that Aurangzeb planned to move Shivaji to Raja Vitthal Das haveli  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, he was allowed to send daily shipments of sweets and gifts to saints, fakirs, and temples in Agra as offerings for his health After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Sambhaji, being a child had no restrictions and was sent out of the prison camp and Shivaji, disguised as labourer carrying sweet basket escaped on 17 August 1666, according to the Mughal documents. Shivaji and his son fled to the Deccan disguised as sadhus  (holy men). After the escape, rumours of Sambhaji’s death were intentionally spread by Shivaji himself in order to deceive the Mughals and to protect Sambhaji. Recent research has proposed that Shivaji simply disguised himself as a Brahmin priest after performance of religious rites at the haveli grounds on 22 July 1666, and escaped by mingling within the departing priestly entourage of Pandit Kavinder Parmanand. Sambhaji was removed from Agra and taken to Mathura later by Shivaji’s trusted men.

Reconquest

After 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. During this phase,tanaji Malusare  won the fort of Sinhagarh  in the battle. On 4 Feb 1670, dying in the process. 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.

Dealings with the English

In October 1670, Shivaji sent his forces to harass the British 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 British 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 British 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.

Battle of Nesari

In 1674, Prataprao Gujjar, the then commander-in chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Adilshahi general, Bahol Khan.  Prataprao’s forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle, after cutting-off their water supply by encircling a strategic lake, which prompted Bahlol Khan to sue for peace. In spite of Shivaji’s specific warnings against doing so Prataprao released Bahlol Khan, who started preparing for a fresh invasion.

Towers of the Raigarh Fort.

Shivaji sent a displeased letter to Prataprao, refusing him audience until Bahlol Khan was re-captured. In the ensuing days, Shivaji 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; he arranged for the marriage of his second son, Rajaram, to Prataprao’s daughter. Anandrao Mohite becameHambirrao Mohite , the new sarnaubat (commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces). Raigarh was newly built  by Hiroji Indulkar as a capital of nascent Maratha kingdom.

Coronation

The coronation of Shivaji

Image of Shivaji released by VS Bendrevin in 1933

Shivaji had acquired extensive lands and wealth through his campaigns, but lacking a formal title was still technically a Mughal zamindar or the son of an Adilshahi jagirdar, with no legal basis to rule his de facto domain. A kingly title could address this, and also prevent any challenges by other Maratha leaders, to whom he was technically equal; it would also would provide the Hindu Marathas with a fellow Hindu sovereign in a region otherwise ruled by Muslims

Shivaji was crowned king of the Marathas in a lavish ceremony at Raigad on 6 June 1674 In the Hindu Calendar  it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight  of the month of Jyeshtha  in the year 1596 Pandit Gagaq Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers Yamuna Indus Ganges Krishana & Kaveri  over Shivaji’s head, and chanted the coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet. Nearly fifty thousand people gathered at Raigad for the ceremonies Shivaji was bestowed with the sacred thread Jaanva with the vedas and was bathed in an abhisheka. Shivaji was entitled Shakakarta (“founder of an era”) and Kshatriya Kulavantas  and Chhatrapati (“paramount sovereign”).

His mother Jijabai died on 18 June 1674, within a few days of the coronation. Considering this a bad omen, a second coronation was carried out 24 September 1674.

Shivaji founded Maratha kingdom comprising about 4.1% of the subcontinent at the time he died, but over time it was to increase in size and heterogeneity,] and by the time of the Peshwas in the early 18th century the Marathas were dominant across the northern and central regions of the Indian subcontinent.

Conquest in Southern India

Beginning 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 Athjani  in March 1676, and by years-end besieged Belgaum & Vavem Ravim 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 7 Gingee , in modern-day Tamilnadu.

In the run-up to this expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani 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.

Shivaji intended to reconcile with his stepbrother Venkoji (Ekoji I), Shahji’s son by his second wife, Tukabai of the Mohite  clan which ruled Thanjavur (Tanjore) after Shahaji. The initially promising negotiations were unsuccessful so whilst returning to Raigad Shivaji defeated his stepbrother’s army on 26 November 1677 and seized most of his possessions in the Mysore plateau. Venkoji’s wife Dipa Bai, whom Shivaji deeply respected, took up new negotiations with Shivaji, and also convinced her husband to distance himself from Muslim advisors. In the end Shivaji consented to turn over to her and her female descendants many of the properties he had seized, with Venkoji consenting to a number of conditions for the proper administration of the territories and maintenance of Shivaji’s future tomb

Death and succession

sambha Ji, Shivaji’s elder son who succeeded him.

The question of Shivaji’s heir-apparent was complicated by the misbehaviour of his eldest son Sambhaji, who was irresponsible and “addicted to sensual pleasures.” Unable to curb this, Shivaji confined his son to Panhala in 1678, only to have the prince escape with his wife and defect to the Mughals for a year. Sambhaji then returned home, unrepentant, and was again confined to Panhala.

In late March 1680, Shivaji fell ill  & died on  3–5 April 1680 at the age of 52,

After Shivaji’s death, the widowed Soyarabai made plans with various ministers of the administration to crown her son Rajaram rather than her prodigal stepson Sambhaji. On 21 April 1680, ten-year old Rajaram was installed on the throne. However, Sambhaji took possession of the Raigarh Fort  after killing the commander, and on 18 June acquired control of Raigad, and formally ascended the throne  Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, and mother Soyrabai were imprisoned, and Soyrabai executed on charges of conspiracy

Promotion of Marathi and Sanskrit

Though Persian was a common courtly language in the region, Shivaji replaced it with Marathi in his own court, and emphasised Hindu political and courtly traditions. The house of Shivaji was well acquainted with Sanskrit and promoted the language; his father Shahaji had supported scholars such as Jayaram Pindye, who prepared Shivaji’s seal. Shivaji continued this Sanskrit promotion, giving his forts names such as  Sindhudurg, Prachandgarh, and Suvarndurg. He named the Ashtha Pradhan  (council of ministers) as per Sanskrit nomenclature with terms such as nyayadhish, andsenapat, and commissioned the political treatise Rajyavyavahar Kosh. His Rajpurohit Keshav pandit was himself a Sanskrit scholar and poet.

Religious policy

sajjangarh  where Swami Ramadasa was invited by Shivaji to reside, now a pilgrimage.

Shivaji was a devout Hindu, but respected all religions within the region. Shivaji had great respect for other contemporary saints, especially samarth Ramdas, to whom he gave the fort of Parali, later renamed as Sajjangarh . Among the various poems written on Shivaji, Ramdas’ Shivastuti (“Praise of King Shivaji”) is the most famous. Shivaji’s son Sambhaji later built a samadhi for Ramdas Swami on Sajjangad upon the latter’s death. Samarth Ramdas had also written a letter to Sambhaji guiding him on what to do and what not to do after death of Shivaji.]

Sivaji and Army

Shivaji demonstrated great skill in creating his military organisation, which lasted till the demise of the Maratha empire. He also built a powerful navy. Mayank Bhandari  was one of the first chiefs of the Maratha Navy under Shivaji, and helped in both building the Maratha Navy and safeguarding the coastline of the emerging Maratha Empire. He built new forts likeSindhudurg and strengthened old ones like Vijaydurg on the west coast.  The Maratha Navy  held its own against the British Prtugues 7 dutch He was one of the pioneers of commando actions, then known as ganimi kava  His Mavala army’s war cry was Har Har Mahadev ( Har and Mahadev being common names of Hindu God Shiva.  Shivaji was responsible for many significant changes in military organisation:

  • A standing army belonging to the state, called paga.
  • All war horses belonged to the state; responsibility for their upkeep rested on the Sovereign.
  • Creation of part-time soldiers from peasants who worked for eight months in their fields and supported four months in war for which they were paid.
  • Highly mobile and light infantry and cavalry excelling in commando tactics.
  • The introduction of a centralized intelligence department; Bahirjee Naik was the foremost spy who provided Shivaji with enemy information in all of Shivaji’s campaigns.
  • A potent and effective navy.
  • Introduction of field craft, such as guerrilla warfare, commando actions, and swift flanking attacks. Field-Marshal Montgomery, in his “History of Warfare”, while generally dismissive of the quality of generalship in the military history of the Indian subcontinent, makes an exception for Shivaji and BajiRao. Summarizing Shivaji’s mastery of guerilla tactics, Montgomery describes him as a military genius.
  • Innovation of weapons and firepower, innovative use of traditional weapons like the tiger claw (vaghnakh) and vita.
  • Militarisation of large swathes of society, across all classes, with the entire peasant population of settlements and villages near forts actively involved in their defence

Shivaji realised the importance of having a secure coastline and protecting the western Konkan  coastline from the attacks of Siddi’s fleet. His strategy was to build a strong navy to protect and bolster his kingdom. He was also concerned about the growing dominance of British Indian naval forces in regional waters and actively sought to resist it. For this reason Shivaji is also referred to as the “Father of Indian Navy”

Forts

Shivaji captured strategically important forts at Murambdev (Rajgad), Torana, Kondana (Sinhagad) and Purandar and laid the foundation of swaraj or self-rule. Toward the end of his career, he had a control of 360 forts to secure his growing kingdom. Shivaji himself constructed about 15–20 totally new forts (including key sea forts like Sindhudurg), but he also rebuilt or repaired many strategically placed forts] to create a chain of 300 or more, stretched over a thousand kilometres across the rugged crest of the Western Ghats. Each were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers (sabnis, havladar, sarnobhat) acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.

Navy

Sindudurd  provided anchorages for Shivaji’s Navy.

Shivaji built a strong naval presence across long coast of Konkan and Goa to protect sea trade, to protect the lands from sack of prosperity of subjects from coastal raids, plunder and destruction by Arabs, Portuguese, British, Abyssinians and pirates. Shivaji built ships in towns such as kalyan Bhivandi & goa for building fighting navy as well as trade. He also built a number of sea forts and bases for repair, storage and shelter. Shivaji fought many lengthy battles with Siddis of Janjira on coastline. The fleet grew to reportedly 160 to 700 merchant, support and fighting vessels. He started trading with foreigners on his own after possession of eight or nine ports in the Deccan. Shivaji’s admiral Kanuji Angre.

Shivaji’s role in the research and the popular conception has developed over time and place, ranging from early British and Moghul depiction of him as a bandit or a Mountain Mouse, to modern near-deification as a hero of all Indians.

At the end of the 19th century, Shivaji’s memory was leveraged by the non-Brahmin intellectuals of Bombay, who identified as his descendants and through him claimed the Kshatriya varna.  Brahmins recognised the Maratha’s role in the Indian independence movement, and endorsed this Kshatriya legacy and the significance of Shivaji 

 

Comments (1)

  • Preet dedhia
    November 4, 2017 at 8:14 am |

    I loved it it was very useful to me

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