|Shivaji Raje Bhosle|
|Coronation||June 6, 1674|
|Full name||Shivaji Raje Bhosle|
|Titles||Kshatriya Kulavantas, Kulwadi Bhushan|
|Born||19 February 1630)|
|Birthplace||Shivneri Fort, near Pune, India|
|Died||April 3, 1680, Tuesday, (aged 50 or 53)|
|Place of death||Raigad Fort|
|Offspring||Sambhaji, Rajaram, and six daughters|
Shivaji Bhosle (Marathi: शिवाजी भोसले, /ʃiʋaˑɟiˑraˑɟeˑ bʱoˑs(ə)leˑ/) (February 19, 1630 – April 3, 1680), popularly known as Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (Marathi: छत्रपती शिवाजी महाराज, /cʰət̪rəpət̪i ʃiʋaˑɟiˑ məɦaˑraˑɟ/) was a Maratha warrior  who started the movement for independence from Sultanate of Bijapur and later became the King of Maratha Kingdom. . Shivaji Bhosle led a resistance to free the Marathas from the Sultanate of Bijapur and frequently raided and defended themselves from Mughal Empire... He created an independent Maratha Kingdom with Raigad as its capital  and thus is also the founder of Maratha Empire. He fought against the Deccan Sultanates and the Mughal Empire to establish an independent Maratha kingdom in 1674 with Raigad as its capital.He became the crowned king 'Chatrapati' of the Maratha Kingdom in 1674.  He is today remembered in Maharashtra and all over India as a hero and a great King who stood for freedom and for the right of Maratha independence. Even after his death his call for freedom and to fight and live like free men was an inspiration to the Marathi people which was the main reason for expansion of Maratha Kingdom into a Maratha Empire.
Shivaji's father Shahaji was a Maratha general who rendered military services to the Deccan Sultanates of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur. Shivaji espoused the ideology of Hindavi Swarajya (self-rule of the natives). The subsequent expansion of the Maratha Empire, was partly responsible for re-establishment of Maratha rule on there land after being ruled and dominated by various Muslim dynasties for few hundred years. The ideology of freedom and self rule was in part the inspiration that propelled the succeeding generation of Marathas to expand the Maratha kingdom into a Maratha empire.
Shivaji established and set up a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of well regulated and disciplined military and well structured administrative organizations. The prevalent practices of treating women as war booty, destruction of religious monuments, slavery and forceful religious conversions were firmly opposed under his administration. Shivaji was a religious Hindu, but showed respect toward other religions. He also innovated rules of military engagement of that era. He pioneered "Shiva sutra" or Ganimi Kava (guerrilla tactics), which leveraged strategic factors like demographics, speed, surprise and focused attack to defeat his bigger and more powerful enemies.
The earliest descriptions of Shivaji's birth and boyhood are found in the works composed 150 years after his death. By this time, Shivaji had become a semi-legendary figure, and several stories had developed around his legend.
Shivaji was born in the hill-fort of Shivneri near the city of Junnar. While Jijabai was pregnant, she had prayed the local deity "Shivai" for the good of her expected child. Shivaji was named after this local deity.
There are no contemporary records of Shivaji's exact birthdate and boyhood. The birthdates of Shivaji given by various records include:
Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhonsle was the chieftan of a band of mercenaries that serviced the Deccan Sultanates. His mother was Jijabai, the daughter of Lakhujirao Jadhav of Sindkhed. During the period of Shivaji's birth, the power in Deccan was shared by three Sultanates - Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golconda. Shahaji kept changing his loyalty between the Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, Adil Shah of Bijapur and the Mughals, but always kept his jagir (fiefdom) at Pune and his small force of men with him.
According to Tarikh-i-Shivaji, Shahaji placed his jagir (Land holdings / Fiefdom) in the Pune region under Dadoji Konddeo, who had shown good administrative skills as the kulkarni (land-steward) of Malthan. He asked Konddev to bring Jijabai and Shivaji from Shivneri to Pune, and appointed him as their guardian. Dadoji Konddeo trained Shivaji personally especially revenue, and also appointed an excellent teacher for him. In a short time, Shivaji became a skilled fighter and a good horseman trained rigorously by Maratha warriors like Baji Pasalkar.
At the age of 12 ,Shivaji was taken to Banglore where he was formally trained further. At age of 14, he returned to Pune with a rajmudra & council of ministers .
Shivaji was extremely devoted to his mother Jijabai. Jijabai led a deeply religious, almost ascetic life in virtual isolation. This religious environment had a profound influence on Shivaji. He studied the two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, by listening to recitations and story-tellings. The noble examples mentioned in the epics greatly impressed his young mind. He was deeply interested in religious teachings, and sought the company of Hindu and Muslim saints wherever he went.
As the administrator of Shahaji's jagir, Dadoji Konddeo established complete control over the Maval region. He won over most of the local Maval deshpande (chiefs), and subdued others. Shivaji drew his earliest trusted comrades and a large number of his soldiers from this region, including Yesaji Kank, Baji Pasalkar and Tanaji Malusare. In the company of his Maval comrades, a young Shivaji wandered over the hills and forests of the Sahyadri range, hardening himself and getting a first-hand knowledge of the land. By 1639, he was surrounded by able and loyal officers.
In 1645, at the age of 16, Shivaji carried out his first military action by attacking and capturing Torna Fort of the Bijapur kingdom. By 1647 he had captured Kondana and Rajgad forts and had control of much of the southern Pune region. By 1654 Shivaji had captured forts in the Western Ghats and along the Konkan coast. In a bid to contain Shivaji, Adilshah imprisoned Shivaji's father in 1648-49 and sent an army led by Farradkhan against Shivaji's elder brother Sambhaji at Bangalore and another army led by Fattekhan against Shivaji at Purandhar. Both Bhosle brothers defeated the invading armies. Shivaji petitioned Emperor Shahjahan's son, Dara Shikoh, who was Governor of Deccan, pledging his loyalty to the Mughals to seek his support in securing the release of his father. The Mughals recognised Shivaji as a Mughal Sardar and pressured Adilshah to release Shahaji. In return Shivaji had to cede a fort and Sambhaji had to cede Bangalore city and a fort to Adilshah.
Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, a seasoned commander and an accomplished warrior, to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what was seen by Bijapur as a regional revolt. After leaving Bijapur, Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur to draw an emotionally overwrought Shivaji to the plains to retaliate with his limited military resources and thus lead him and his budding military power to easy destruction by the numerically bigger, better-armed and more professional Bijapur army. Shivaji, upon carefully weighing his options, strategically decided to confront and surprise Afzal Khan on his home turf under the guise of diplomatic negotiations. Shivaji sent a letter to Afzal Khan stating that he was not eager for confrontation and sought some type of understanding. A meeting was arranged between Afzal Khan and Shivaji at the foothills of Fort Pratapgad.
Expecting certain skulduggery from Afzal Khan, Shivaji armed himself with the concealable weapons bichhwa (dagger) and wagh nakh (tiger claws) and wore a chilkhat (chain-mail armour) under his clothing for the meeting. What transpired during the meeting was not recorded by scribes, but folklore has it that Afzal Khan pretended to graciously embrace Shivaji as per custom and attempted to stab Shivaji in the back with a kataar(a short waist-holstered dagger). Shivaji's agility, strength and his armour in addition to being prepared helped him survive this attack. Shivaji drew his wagh nakh and counter-attacked, disemboweling Afzal Khan. Afzal Khan's bodyguard Sayyed Banda responding to this incident lunged at Shivaji but was intercepted by Jiva Mahala, Shivaji's personal bodyguard, cutting off one of Sayyed Banda's hands with a Dandpatta (Pata - a medieval weapon). Meanwhile, Afzal Khan stumbled out of the tent, clutching his wounds to get help and collapsed into a waiting palanquin, but was swiftly decapitated by Shivaji's associate Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar, before he could raise further alarm.. Krishnaji Bhaskar - a Brahmin who was legal advisor to Afzal Khan - attacked Shivaji as Afzal Khan stumbled out of the tent. He swung his sword wildly at Shivaji's head. Shivaji reacted quickly and killed Krishnaji.
In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh fought in the dense forest of Jawli on November 30, 1659, Shivaji's armies attacked Bijapur's (Afzal Khan's) forces and engaged them in swift flanking manoeuvres. Soon after the slaying of Afzal Khan, Shivaji sped up the slope towards the Pratapgarh fort with his lieutenants and ordered cannons to be fired. This was a signal to his infantry, which had been strategically placed under the cover of the densely vegetated valley, to immediately attack Afzal Khan's forces. Maratha troops under Kanhoji Jedhe attacked 1,500 musketeers and routed them at the foothills of the fort. Then in a rapid march, a section of Adilshahi forces commanded by Musekhan was attacked. Musekhan was wounded and subsequently fled, abandoning his soldiers who were subsequently decimated by the Maratha troops.
Commander Moropant Pingale led the infantry on the left flank of the Adilshahi troops. Adilshah's artillery was rendered ineffective by the sudden attack at close quarters. At the same time commander Ragho Atre swiftly attacked Adilshahi cavalry before it was fully prepared for battle and almost completely wiped it out. Shivaji's cavalry headed by Netaji Palkar rushed towards Wai in hot pursuit of retreating Adilshahi forces who were attempting to join their reserve forces stationed there. The retreating forces of Afzal Khan were engaged in battle and were routed.
This clear and unambiguous victory made Shivaji a hero of Maratha 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 Aurangzeb, 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. But things did not go as planned as Shahaji's health deteriorated and they were forced to postpone this attack. However, Netaji Palkar undertook this mission with smaller scale attacks and military harassment of the Adilshahi kingdom.
Subsequently, the Sultan of Bijapur sent an elite Pashtun army comprising mainly Afghani mercenaries to subdue and defeat Shivaji before he could substantially expand his army. In the ensuing battle, Bijapur's Pashtun army was soundly defeated by the Maratha troops. This intense and bloody battle ended in the unconditional surrender of the Bijapuri forces to Shivaji.
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 renowned Abyssinian general Rustamjaman. With a cavalry of 5,000 Marathas, Shivaji attacked them near Kolhapur on December 28, 1659. In a swift movement, Shivaji led a full frontal attack at the center of the enemy forces while other two portions of his cavalry attacked the flanks. This battle lasted for several hours and at the end Bijapuri forces were soundly defeated and Rustamjaman ignominiously fled the battlefield. Adilshahi forces lost about 2,000 horses and 12 elephants to the Marathas. This victory alarmed the mighty Mughal empire who now derisively referred to Shivaji as the "Mountain Rat". Aurangzeb the Mughal emperor was now actively preparing to bring the full might and resources of the Mughal Empire to bear down on the potential Maratha threat.
Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb sent his maternal uncle (brother of late Queen Mumtaz Mahal) Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 100,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to defeat Shivaji. Khan was accompanied by eminent commanders like Turktaj, Hussain, Haider, Naamdar Khan, Kartalab Khan, Uzbek Khan, Fateh Jung and Rajputs namely Bhau Singh, Shyam Singh, Rai Singh Sisodiya, Pradyuman and many more. Khan was an experienced commander who had defeated Shahaji in the same region in 1636.. He was ordered to attack the Maratha kingdom in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Aurangzeb ordered Shaista Khan to capture the Maratha kingdom to add to the empire (he intended to deceive the Adilshah), after Shivaji's expected defeat by Jauhar. Shivaji now prepared to face a dual attack of Mughals and Adilshahi forces.
Per the terms of the Mughal-Adilshahi plan, Adil Shah in 1660 sent Siddi Jauhar, an accomplished general to attack Shivaji on his southern borders, preceeding the expected major Mughal attack from the north. He ordered his army of 40,000 north to Kolhapur to confront and defeat Shivaji as a part of their grand alliance with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. He secured the support of local chieftans such as Jasvantrao Dalvi of Palavani and Suryarao Surve of Sringarpur to defeat Shivaji. At that time, Shivaji was camped at the Panhala fort near present day Kolhapur with 8,000 Marathas.
Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala on March 2, 1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. Helping with siege were Baji Ghorpade and Siddi Masud from the west, Sadat khan and Bhai khan from the north, Rustam Zaman and Bade khan from the east, Siddi Jauhar and Fazal Khan from the south. Netaji Palkar, the Commander of the Maratha forces was on a mission away from Panhala harassing and attacking Adilshahi territory and was not able to come to the aid of Shivaji. At this point of time, Shaista Khan had moved from Baramati to Shirwal.
Panhala was a formidable fort and Adilshahi army was repulsed repeatedly by effective cannon fire and heavy rock-pelting. Siddi Jauhar approached Henry Revington, the British chief at the Rajapur port to seek long-range and more powerful cannons. Henry decided to help him in return for future favours, and began pounding Panhala fort. In spite of this Marathas continued defending Panhala and perservered in keeping Siddi Jauhar at bay.
Marathas even raided the Adilshahi camp a few times but without much success. However, in one such raid, Tryambak Bhaskar and Kondaji Farzand presented themselves as allies of the British and Adlishahi forces. They came down to the Adilshahi camp and met Henry Revington and his associates. They managed to kill one British officer and injured Henry. Thereafter, they sabotaged the cannons and made them ineffective. Jauhar, livid at this, tightened the siege further.
Jauhar did not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the siege around Panhala was unyielding, he personally took utmost care that no one in his army was complacent. He even braved the tumultuous monsoon season and continued the siege even during heaviest downpours. On hearing about the ever tightening siege of Panhala, Netaji Palkar returned from Bijapur and attacked the Adilshahi forces surrounding Panhala. He tried to break the siege but his smaller forces were pushed back by a much larger Adilshahi army.
Thereafter, Shivaji decided to escape to a nearby fort Vishalgad, where he could regroup his soldiers. He then sent misleading messages to Siddi Jauhar indicating that he was willing to negotiate and was looking for accommodation and mutual understanding. With this news, Adilshahi soldiers relaxed somewhat and Shivaji escaped under the cover of a stormy night on July 12, 1660.
Meanwhile Jauhar's soldiers captured a small group of Marathas apparently including Shivaji only to realize he was a look-alike named Shiva Kashid dressed like Shivaji and sent out to create a diversion and facilitate the real Shivaji's escape. Siddi Johar's soldiers realized that the imposter was Shivaji's barber and that Shivaji and his army were headed to Vishalgad.
Sensing that enemy cavalry was fast closing in on them Shivaji sought to avoid defeat and capture. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a Maratha sardar along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind (a mountain pass in Gajapur which is 4 miles from Vishalgad) to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of Vishalgad.
In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, Baji Prabhu Deshpande fought relentlessly. He was almost fatally wounded but he held on and continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad, signalling Shivaji had reached the fort. The result was the death of 300 Marathas and 1,286 of Adilshah's troops in this fierce battle. Shivaji reached the fort on July 13, 1660. . Thereafter a truce was made between Shivaji and Adilshah through Shahaji, acknowledging and formally recognizing the independence of Shivaji's Kingdom.
In addition, as the terms of this accord, Panhala Fort was awarded to Siddi Johar.. Ghod Khind (khind = " a narrow mountain pass") was renamed Pavan Khind (Sacred Pass) in honor of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, people from Bandal community and all other soldiers who fought in Ghod Khind (People from Bandal community were specially selected by Shivaji while escaping from Panhala for their knowledge of the region, rock climbing skills, martial qualities). A small memorial stands even today in the pass in recognition of the heroism of Bajiprabhu and his men. This remained the situation until the death of Shahaji. Henceforth the Marathas became a formal and recognized power in the Deccan. Suspecting treachery, the loyal, steadfast and brave Siddi Jauhar was reportedly poisoned to death by the Adilshah for allegedly allowing Shivaji to emerge victorious against the sultanate.
Shivaji now turned his attention towards the British at Rajapur fort on the Ratnagiri coast. British chief Henry Revington had supported Siddi Jauhar, and bet heavily against the Marathas. Henry not only provided advanced artillery to Siddi Jauhar during the siege of Panhala but also provided men (Artillery observers, etc.) to operate the cannons and prior to that he had dealt with the Marathas dishonourably. And as a result Shivaji concluded that these foreigners were posing merely as traders but in reality they had ambitions of setting up and expanding their own rule.
Thus, Shivaji decided to attack the Rajapur port, which was one of the few fortified outposts British had at the time, under the pretext of trading. Shivaji himself marched to the Rajapur port. The British tried to pacify Shivaji by accepting that it was their mistake to help Jauhar and that such a thing would not happen again. Shivaji now could not trust the British and promptly arrested all the Britishers at Rajapur port and confiscated their Waakhaar- commercial property.
Shivaji then sought to bring Jaswantrao Dalvi (Raja of Palwan) and Suryarao Surve (Raja of Sringarpur), who helped Siddi Jauhar during the siege to Vishalgad and Panhala, back under his leadership. Shivaji marched to Palwan but the fearful Jaswantrao fled and took refuge at Suryarao's Sringarpur fort. Shivaji then, in gesture of magnanimity, extended the hand of friendship to Suryarao and tried to make him understand that they needed to unite to fight against the foreign powers. Suryarao agreed and assured Shivaji that he would take responsibility for providing supplies to Shivaji's army stationed near Sringarpur while Shivaji was away. However, Suryarao in an act of treachery attacked the unwary Maratha army. The Maratha army, led by Tanaji Malusare, fought Suryarao's men and repulsed their attack. Furious at the treachery of Suryarao, Shivaji came back and attacked Sringarpur. However, Suryarao fled and Sringarpur was captured by Shivaji.
An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent by Shaista Khan on a mission to attack and reduce the number of forts under Shivaji's control in the Konkan region on Feb 3, 1661. He left his camp near Pune with 30,000 troops. This time the Mughals did not march openly and took circuitous back country routes, as they sought to surprise Shivaji. But instead Shivaji surprised them at a pass known as 'Umber Khind'(in a dense forest, near present-day Penn), and attacked them from all sides. Marathas hidden in the dense forest executed a well co-ordinated ambush attack on the Mughal army. Shivaji himself took the forward position with an elite cavalry unit. The other three sides were flanked by Shivaji's light infantry.
In a well co-ordinated movement of light infantry and cavalry, Shivaji prevailed over the attackers. A Maratha lady commander, Raibagan, who co-led the Mughal forces, analyzed the situation and realised that defeat was imminent and advised Kartalab Khan to accept defeat and initiate a compromise with Shivaji. Within four hours into the attack the enemy accepted defeat and surrendered all the supplies, arms and assets. The Mughal army suffered high casualties. The defeated army was allowed a safe passage. Kartalab Khan and Raibagan were released with honour in accordance with Shivaji's terms and his long standing policy towards women and unarmed civilians.
Shaista Khan was ordered by Aurangzeb to attack Shivaji per the Mughal-Adilshahi accord. Shaista Khan, with his better equipped and provisioned army of 100,000 that was many times the size of the Maratha forces, seized Pune and the nearby fort of Chakan. At the time, Firangoji Narsala was the killedar (Commander) of fort Chakan, which was defended by 300–350 Maratha soldiers. They were able to withstand the Mughal attack on the fort for one and a half month. Then, a burj (outer wall) was blown up with explosives. This created an opening to the fort allowing hordes of Mughals to breach the exterior portion of the fort. Firangoji, himself led the Maratha counter attack against a larger Mughal army. Eventually, the fort was lost with the capture of Firangoji, who then was brought before Shaista Khan, who, appreciating his ferocious bravery, offered him a jahagir (military commission) on the condition that he join the Mughal forces, which Firangoji declined. Admiring his loyalty, Shaista Khan pardoned Firangoji and set him free. Firangoji returned home and Shivaji awarded him a fort named Bhupalgad.
Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory. Although he held Pune for almost a year, he had little further success. He had set up his residence at Lal Mahal, Shivaji's palace, in the city of Pune.
Shaista Khan kept a tight security in Pune. However, Shivaji planned an attack on Shaista Khan amidst tight security. In April 1663, a wedding party had obtained special permission for a procession; Shivaji planned an attack using the wedding party as cover. The Marathas disguised themselves as the bridegroom's procession and entered Pune. Shivaji, having spent much of his youth in Pune, knew his way around the city and his own palace of Lal Mahal. Chimanaji Deshpande- one of the childhood friends of Shivaji aided him in this attack offering his services as a personal bodyguard. According to Babasaheb Purandare, since Mughal army also consisted of Maratha soldiers, it was difficult for someone to distinguish between Shivaji's Maratha soldiers and the Maratha soldiers of the Mughal army. Thus, taking advantage of this situation, Shivaji, along with a few of his trusted men, infiltrated the Mughal camp.
After overpowering and slaying of the palace guards, the Marathas broke into the mansion by breaking through a wall. Chimnaji and Netaji Palkar entered first to provide cover for Shivaji. Babaji Deshpande another of Shivaji's long time loyal associates accompanied him on the attack. Shivaji then personally confronted Shaista Khan in a 'face to face' attack. Perceiving the danger, one of Shaista's wives quickly turned off the lights. Shivaji pusued Shaista Khan and severed three of his fingers with his sword (in the darkness) as he fled through an open window. Shaista Khan narrowly escaped death and lost his son and many of his guards and soldiers in the raid.
Within twenty-four hours of this attack, Shaista Khan left Pune and headed North towards Agra. An angered Aurangzeb transferred him to distant Bengal as a punishment for bringing embarrassment to the Mughals with his ignoble defeat in Pune.
The fact that Mughals, the most dominant power/empire in India resorted to joining forces in close co-ordination with regional sutanate in a failed attempt to defeat Shivaji whose army barely consisted of 20,000 men is a great testament to the superior strategic, organizational and fighting abilities of the Marathas and their great leader - Shivaji.
In 1664 Shivaji invaded Surat, an important and wealthy Mughal trading city, and looted it to replenish his now depleted treasury and also as a revenge for the capture and looting of Maratha territory by Shaista Khan. (Surat was again sacked by Shivaji in 1670.)
Aurangzeb was enraged and sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh I with an army numbering well over 100,000 to defeat Shivaji. Mirza planned and executed his battle stratergies so well with his vast army that the Mughal forces under him made significant gains and captured many Maratha forts. Shivaji thus, decided to surrender for the time-being and come to terms with Aurangzeb rather than lose more forts and men.
In the ensuing treaty of Purander, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on June 11, 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 Sambhaji become a Mughal Sardar, serve the Mughal court of Aurangzeb and fight with Mughals against Bijapur. He actually fought along side Raja Jai Singh's Mughal forces against Bijapur's forces for a few months. His commander, Netaji Palkar, joined 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 after ten years in 1676 and was accepted back in to Hinduism on Shivaji's order.
In 1666, Aurangzeb summoned Shīvajī to Agra, along with his nine-year-old son Sambhajī, on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar, modern day Afghanistan to consolidate the Mughal Empire's north-western frontier. However in the court, on May 12, 1666, Aurangzeb made Shīvajī stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offense at this seeming insult and stormed out of court and was promptly placed under house arrest, under the watch of Fulād Khān, Kotwal of Agra. From his spies, Shīvajī learned that Aurangzeb planned to move his residence to Rājā Vitthaldās's Haveli and then to possibly kill him or send him to fight in the Afghan frontier. As a result Shīvajī planned his escape.
He feigned almost fatal sickness 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 getting well. After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Shīvajī and his nine year old son Sambhaji hid themselves in two of the boxes and managed to escape. Shīvajī and his son fled to the Deccan disguised as sadhus (holy men). After the escape, rumours of Sambhajī's death were intentionally spread by Shīvajī himself in order to deceive the Mughals and to protect Sambhajī.
Dr. Ajit Joshi in a book Agryahun Sutka, concluded that Shīvajī most likely disguised himself as a Brahmin priest after performance of religious rites at the haveli grounds and escaped by mingling in within the departing priestly entourage. However, according to Mr. Ranjit Desai, author of the Marathi book Shriman Yogi (later translated to English as Shivaji the Great), Shivaji disguised himself as one of the servants who used to carry boxes of sweets which were being sent out as gifts.
The method Shivaji used to escape is still not clear, to this day.
In the years 1667–69, Shīvajī adopted a low profile and began to actively build up his army. His army now consisted of about 40,000 cavalry, 60,000 infantry, a strong navy and a potent artillery. The Mughals had the impression that he was now a spent force and would not cause them any more trouble. But Shīvajī was on a war footing and aimed to directly take on the combined might of the Mughal empire. In January 1670, Shīvajī launched a multi-pronged assault on Mughal garrisons in the Deccan. Within six months he had regained most of his previously held territory and more. From 1670 to 1674 Shīvajī expanded his kingdom to include the major portions of modern-day Maharashtra and far in to the south including parts of modern-day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Kondana fort, on the outskirts of Pune, was still under Mughal control. Uday Bhan Rathod, the fort keeper, led an army of about 1,500 Rajputs and Mughals for the protection of the fort. On February 4, 1670 Shīvajī deputed one of his most senior and trusted generals, Tanaji Malusare, to head a mission to capture Kondana. At that time, Tanhaji's son's (Raiba's) wedding plans were underway. However, putting his duty for the Maratha Kingdom over his family he said "Aadhi lagin Kondanyache, mag majhya Raibache" (First Kondana's marriage, and then my son Raiba's).
The Maratha army under Tanaji Malusare assigned to capture the fort was much smaller than the Mughal army posted at the fort. Tanaji Malusare surveyed the fort and its defenses for some days. The fort was well guarded. One very sheer cliff caught Tanaji's eye. This side was least guarded as one could not possibly imagine climbing the fort from this steep side. Tanaji decided to scale this cliff to enter the fort. The legend is that, he used a monitor lizard (known as a ghorpad in Marathi named "Yeshwanti" with a rope tied around its body for climbing this cliff on a moonless night. The lizard was made to climb to the top of the fort. As is the characteristic feature of this lizard, it braced and lodged itself in a tight corner of the fort. Then a soldier climbed to the top and threw ropes for others to climb.
Meanwhile Tanaji's brother Suryaji moved close to the gates of the fort, namely Kalyān Darwāja, with another 300 Mavalas. The gates were soon opened and once inside, all his soldiers joined Tanaji in the surprise attack. Tanaji and Uday Bhan came face to face and a fierce fight ensued. Uday Bhan broke Tanaji's shield with a single blow, Tanaji was not deterred and continued to fight by wrapping his turban around his left hand for protection, to cover up his wounds and stanch the bleeding. Tanaji being grievously wounded, staggerred back and fell. Seeing their leader mortally wounded and dying before them, the Maratha soldiers started to back-up and retreat, Suryaji and Shelar Mama stepped up and assumed leadership.
Shelar Mama, an old Sardar in his seventies, took charge and faced to challenge Uday Bhan and killed him in short order. Suryaji, then stepped in front and center to rally the troops and led them back on the offensive. Legend and folk lore has it that, after the fall of Tanaji, the mavlas panicked and made a hasty retreat. Seeing this, Suryaji commented, "Why are you running like sheep? I have cut the ropes and all the escape routes are gone. Now we either fight or die." Marathas now out of any other options, charged the Mughal defenders fiercely and succeeded in capturing the fort.
When Shīvajī reached the fort after the victory, he was deeply bereaved at the loss of his good friend Tanaji. He sadly commented "Gadh ala puhn sinha gela" (The fort was won but the lion was lost). Thereafter Kondana Fort was renamed Sinhagad (Lion Fort) to honour Tanaji Malusare's sacrifice and bravery.
In 1674, Prataprao Gujar, the then Commander-in chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Adil Shahi general, Bahlol Khan. Shivaji had directed Prataprao to finish off Bahlol Khan, who had proved to be treacherous in the past. The Maratha army surrounded the camp of Bahlol Khan at the village of Naesari. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle after cutting-off their water supply by encircling a strategically located lake. Lack of water forced Bahlol khan to sue for peace. In spite of specific warnings against doing so by Shivaji, Prataprao released Bahlol Khan. Days after his release, Bahlol Khan started preparing for a fresh invasion.
When Shivaji heard of Prataprao's decision, he was incensed and sent an angry letter to Prataprao refusing him audience until such time, that Bahlol Khan was re-captured. Prataprao realised the full extend of his strategic error and was so upset about it, that he now desperately wanted to capture Bahlol Khan at any cost. In the ensuing days, he learnt of Bahlol Khan having camped nearby. Prataprao decided to confront Balol Khan at Naesari near Kolhapur.
Gujar with 1,200 troops versus Khan with 15,000. Given the uneven match, Prataprao reasoned that there was no point in leading his 1,200 cavalrymen into a suicide charge. So, in a fit of desperation and anguish and in an over-reaction to Shivaji's letter, he left by himself, without asking his cavalry to accompany him. It was his personal honour at stake, not his army's. On seeing their leader head to certain death, six other Maratha sardars joined him in the charge, they attacked the enemy camp and were slaughtered before they could reach Bahlol Khan.
Anandrao Mohite, though, stayed back. The seven Marathas were Prataprao Gujar, Visaji Ballal, Dipoji Rautrao, Vithal Pilaji Atre, Krishnaji Bhaskar, Siddi Hilal and Vithoji. It was an impulsive and seeemingly irrational decision, and the loss of Prataprao Gujar was a big loss to the Marathas. Anandrao Mohite managed to withdraw the army to safer areas.
This event was retold in the Marathi poem "Saat" (Seven). The poem was written by a well known poet, Kusumagraj and was also sung by the great songtressLata Mangeshkar.
Shivaji's army then avenged the death of their general, by defeating Bahlol Khan and capturing his jagir (fiefdom) under the leadership of Anaji and Hambirao Mohite. Shivaji was deeply grieved on hearing of Pratprao's death. He arranged for the marriage of his second son, Rajaram, to the daughter of Prataprao Gujar, who was later to be the Queen of the Maratha Empire, Maharani Tarabai. Anandrao Mohite became Hambirrao Mohite, the new Sarnaubat(Commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces).
Shīvajī was formally crowned Chhatrapati (Chief, or King of the Kshatriyas), on June 6, 1674 at Raigad fort, and given the title Kshatriya Kulavantas Sinhasanadheeshwar Chhatrapati Shīvajī Mahārāj. Pandit Gaga Bhatt, a renowned Brahmin from Varanasi, officially presided over the ceremony declaring that Shīvajī's lineage was a bonafide and recognized Kshatriya. . He was bestowed with the Jaanva, (in Hindi- Janeu, the sacred thread), with the Vedas and was bathed in an abhisheka. Shīvajī had insisted on an Indrabhishek ritual, which had fallen into disuse since the 9th century. Shivaji then had the title of "shakkarta" conferred upon him. He started his own calendar.
His mother Jijabai died on June 18, 1674 within a few days of the coronation. This was considered bad omen. Therefore a second coronation was carried out in September 1674, this time according to the Bengal school of Tantricism and presided over by Nischal Puri.
In October 1674, the Marathas raided Khandesh. On April 17, 1675 Shivaji captured Phonda from Bijapuris. Karwar was occupied by mid 1675 and Kolhapur in July 1675. There were naval skirmishes with the Siddis of Janjira in November 1675. In early 1676, Peshwa Pingale engaged Raja of Ramnagar in battle en route to Surat. Shivaji raided Athni in March 1676. By the end of 1676, Shivaji besieged Belgaum and Vayem Rayim in current day northern Mysore.
At the end of 1676, Shivaji Maharaj launched a wave of conquests in southern India with a massive force of 50,000 (30,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry). He captured the forts at Vellore and Jinji that belonged to the sultanate of Bijapur and are in modern-day Tamilnadu. In the run-up to this expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani patriotsm (that is the idea 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 Kutubshah of the Golconda sultanate that covered the eastern Deccan. Shivají's conquests in the south proved quite crucial during future wars.
Jinjee served as Maratha capital for 9 years during the War of 27 years. However, his main intention was to reconcile with his stepbrother Venkoji (his father Shahaji's son from his second wife, who came from the Mohite family) who ruled Thanjavur after Shahaji. They had talks, Venkoji (Ekoji I) showed signs of uniting with Shivaji but then no concrete result was obtained. On return to Raigad, Shivaji seized most of Ekoji’s possessions in the Mysore plateau. Ekoji's wife brought reconciliation between the two brothers and, though not friendly, they were not enemies either and just ruled different kingdoms.
Shivaji Maharaj was an able administrator who established a government that included modern concepts such as cabinet (Ashtapradhan mandal), foreign affairs (Dabir) and internal intelligence. Shivaji established an effective civil and military administration. He also built a powerful navy and erected new forts like Sindhudurg and strengthened old ones like Vijaydurg on the west coast in which Mughals were greatly unsuccessful . The Maratha navy held its own against the British, Portuguese and Dutch.
Shivaji is well known for his benevolent attitude towards his subjects. He believed that there was a close bond between the state and the citizens. He encouraged all accomplished and competent individuals to participate in the ongoing political/military struggle. He is remembered as a just and welfare-minded king. He brought revolutionary changes in military organisation, fort architecture, society and politics. Shivaji successfully led and marshalled his forces to cope and overcome several major enemy invasions. He was inexorable in expanding the boundaries of his kingdom. His success was driven by his determination to establish a free and independent homeland, and in this goal he was supported by the high level of loyalty, respect and commitment he received from his soldiers, followers and citizens.
He was an innovator and an able commander, he successfully used effective tactics including hit-and-run, strategic expansion of territories and forts, formation of highly mobile light cavalry and infantry units, adaptation of strategic battle plans and formations, whereby he succeeded in out-manoeuvering, time and again, his vastly bigger and determined enemies. Towards the end of his reign he had built up the Maratha forces to be over one hundred thousand strong. He was able to effectively keep the Mughal forces in check and on the defensive while expanding his kingdom southwards to Gingee, Tamil Nadu. Shivaji Maharaj's kingdom served as a Hindu bulwark against Mughal powers within India. His brilliant strategic and tactical maneuvering on battlefields, acute management and administrative skills helped him to lay the foundations of the future Maratha empire in India.
During his long military career and various campaigns his strong religious and warrior code of ethics, exemplary character and deep seated and uncompromising spiritual values directed him to offer protection to houses of worship, non-combatants, women and children. He always showed respect, defended and protected places of worship of all denominations and religions.
He boldly risked his life, his treasure, his personal well being and that of his family, to openly challenge his immensely larger enemies to defend and achieve freedom and independence for his country. He unflinchingly defied overwhelming odds stacked against him by the mighty Mughal Empire and the regional sultanates. He overcame and succeeded in the face of an unprecedented level of difficulties and challenges posed by his enemies. He did not spend any resources on projects designed for self-aggrandizement or vanity, instead he was propelled by his deeply held sense of Dharma (sacred duty) to his people and country.
A Maratha folk lore tells of an event when Shivaji was presented with a beautiful Muslim princess (daughter of amir of Kalyan, Maharashtra) as war booty by one of his captains. Shivaji was reported to have told this lady that if his mother was as strikingly beautiful as she was, perhaps he would have been handsome as well. He wished her well and allowed her to return to her family unharmed and under his protection. In that instance, the true nobility of his character was plainly revealed to all that were present there.
Shivaji's genius is most evident in his military organisation, which lasted till the demise of the Maratha empire. He was one of the pioneers of commando actions, "Ganimi Kava" a term used for such a warfare, (though the term "commando" is modern). His Mavala army's war cry was 'Har Har Mahadev' (Hail Lord Shiva). Shivaji was responsible for many significant changes in military organization. These include -
Shivaji realized 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 knigdom, he was also concerned about the growing dominance of foreignBritish India naval forces in Indian waters and actively seeked to resist it. For this very reason he is also referred to as the “Father of Indian Navy”.
Shivaji constructed a chain of 300 or more forts running over a thousand kilometres across the rugged Western Ghats. Each were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed/tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers (Sabnis, Havladar, Sar-i-naubat) acted jointly and provided mutual checks balance. Shivaji had control of 360 forts when he died.
Chhatrapati Shivaji made preparations for effective use of Marathi language his mother tongue. He started Rajvyavharkosh (translation: dictionary for administration of kingdom) and Encyclopaedia of Marathi words.
The house of Shivaji Maharaj was one of the Indian royal families who were well acquainted with Sanskrit and promoted it. The root can be traced from Shahaji who supported Jayram Pindye and many like him. Shivaji Maharaj's seal was prepared by him. Shivaji continued this trait 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. After his death, Sambhaji, who was himself a Sanskrit scholar (his verse - Budhbhushanam), continued it. His grandson Shahu spent his entire childhood in Mughal captivity, which affected his taste. But even he showered gifts on learned Brahmins. Serfoji II from the Thanjavur branch of the Bhosale continued the tradition by printing the first book in Marathi Devnagari.
Sambhaji issued one danapatra (donation plaque), which is in Sanskrit composed by himself in which he writes about his father as:
Shivaji Maharaj, requested Samarth Ramdas Swami to stay at Parali Fort which was subsequently renamed as "Sajjangad" (Fort of the Decent/Holy ones). It is said that Shivaji Maharaj and Sant Ramdas first met in 1674. There are many credible historical references that Samarth Ramdas Swami was the spiritual guru of Shivaji. Though separatists claim otherwise, they have not been convincing since their claims are mainly based on caste bias. The famous letter named as "Nischayacha Mahameru" & the content in it supports the fact that Ramdas was the guru of Shivaji Maharaj. Yuvraj Sambhaji, when unfortunately came under the influence of a person named Kavi Kalash, was also made to stay at Sajjangadh in the company of Ramdas Swami.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a devout Hindu and he respected all religions within the region. Shivaji Maharaj had great respect for Warkari saints like Tukaram and Sufi Muslim pir Shaikh Yacub Baba Avaliya of Konkan. He also visited Mouni Maharajtemple and Samadhi at Patgaon (Bhudargad Taluka near to Gargoti) in Kolhapur district. Shahaji had donated a huge piece of land to Shaha-Sharif Durgah of Ahmednagar(the names "Shahaji", the father of Shivaji, and "Sarfoji", the uncle of Shivaji, are derived in deference to this Shah Sharifji).
He commanded the respect and fealty of the Muslims under his command by his fair treatment of his friends as well as enemies. Kafi Khan, the Mughal historian and Bernier, a French traveler, spoke highly of his religious policy. He also brought back converts like Netaji Palkar and Bajaji in to Hinduism. He prohibited slavery in his kingdom. Shivaji Maharaj applied a humane and liberal policy to the women of his state. There are many instances in folklore which describe Shivaji's respect for women, irrespective of their religion, nationality, or creed.
|“||Verily, Islam and Hinduism are terms of contrast. They are used by the true Divine Painter for blending the colours and filling in the outlines. If it is a mosque, the call to prayer is chanted in remembrance of Him. If it is a temple, the bells are rung in yearning for Him alone.||”|
It is said that he died due to contracting Dysentry, and Intestinal anthrax. The funeral ceremony was arranged in Raigad in presence of his son Rajaram, and wife Soyarabai. After Shivaji Maharaj's death, his elder son Sambhaji and Soyarabai, fought for control of the kingdom. After a brief struggle Sambhaji was crowned king.
A few months after Shivaji Maharaj's death, Aurangzeb's son, Prince Akbar, rebelled against his father and was sheltered by Sambhaji. Thereafter, in 1681, Aurangzeb, his army, entourage and the royal court moved in mass to the Deccan to wage an all out war for the complete destruction of Maratha power. This was the beginning of the 27 year war in which Aurangzeb failed to achieve a complete victory against the Marathas. However he was able to capture, torture and kill Sambhaji. This put the Maratha kingdom in a disarray and under the overpowering Mughal assault the endangered Maratha capital was forced to be moved and evacuated from Raigad to Jinjee in the south and for a time it seemed that Aurangzeb's objective of stamping out the Maratha threat, once and for all, would be achieved. However, in the following months and years the tide of the war began to turn.
The Marathas adapted very well to the huge but slow moving Mughal menace and fought Aurangzeb to a stalemate. And towards the end of the second decade, the Marathas gathered more strength and began to turn the tide of the war. The Mughal forces were dealt several serious body blows by able Maratha generals like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav. They effectively employed lightning fast and highly mobile attacks, tactics initially developed and effectively used by Shivaji Maharaj. Eventually a broken, defeated Aurangzeb retreated in sickness from the Deccan in 1705. The final Mughal withdrawal came two years later. He had spent most of his remaining resources and manpower trying to defeat the Marathas and ended up significantly weakening the once mighty Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb's heirs never again challenged the Marathas and about seventy years after Shivaji's death, they were themselves finally overtaken and dominated by their formerly implaccable enemy - the indominatable Maratha nation.
In 1751–52, Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Marathas and Mughals, Balaji Bajirao was the Peshwa and the ruler of the greatly expanded Maratha Kingdom. Through this treaty, virtually the whole of India came under Maratha suzerainty and Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi (Mughals remained the nominal heads of Delhi). After Balaji Bajirao, Maratha empire was further strengthened by Madhavrao Peshwa and the two Maratha sardars, namely Shinde,and Holkar.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar, a noted Indian historian and scholar, estimated that about 500,000 Mughal soldiers and 200,000 Marathas died during this decades long epic struggle for dominance of the Indian sub-continent. It would be pertinent to also quote another noted historian, Bamber Gascoigne, who wrote thus about the significance of the advent and enterprise of Shivaji Maharaj:
|“||"He (Shivaji) taught the modern Hindus to rise to the full stature of their growth. So, when viewed with hindsight through twentieth century prism, Aurangzeb on the one side and Shivaji on the other come to be seen as key figures in the development of India. What Shivaji began Gandhi could complete …… and what Aurangzeb stood for would lead to the establishment of the separate state of Pakistan." (The Great Moghuls, London: Constable)||”|
Because of his struggle against an imperial power, Shivaji became an icon of freedom fighters in the Indian independence struggle that followed two centuries later. He is remembered as a just and wise king and his rule is called one of the six golden ages in Indian history. School texts in India describe Shivaji Maharaj's rule as heroic, exemplary and inspiring and he is considered the founder of the modern Marathi nation; his policies were instrumental in forging a distinct Maharashtrian identity and infusing it with strong martial and moral traditions.
A regional sectarian political party, the Shiv Sena, claims to draw inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj. The World Heritage site of Victoria Terminus and Sahar International Airport in Mumbai were renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport respectively in Shivaji Maharaj's honour, as have many public buildings and spaces in recent years. The School of Naval Engineering of the Indian Navy is named as INS Shivaji.
|“||Shivaji was the greatest 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 as the deliverer of the Hindus from the hands of the Mlecchas, and as one who succeeded in the reestablishment of Dharma which had been trampled under foot by the depredations of the devastating hordes of the Moghals||”|
Shivaji is a source of inspiration for a number of artists, directors, actors, writers, shahirs (ballad composers), poets and orators.
Some of Shivaji's close associates were also his primary army chieftains, and have entered folklore along with him. These include: Ajitsingh Paigude Deshmukh, Antaji Konde-Deshmukh, Baji Jedhe, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Prabhu Deshpande, Balaji Avji Chitnis, Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande, Chimanaji Deshpande, Dhanaji Jadhav, Firangoji Narsala, Fullaji Prabhu Deshpande, Gangadhar Pant, Godaji Jagtap-Patil, Gomaji Naik, Hambirrao Mohite, Hiroji Farjand, Jiva Mahala, Kanhoji Jedhe Deshmukh, Kavaji Kondhalkar, Keso Narayan Deshpande, Kondaji Farjand, Laksmanrow Paigude Deshmukh, Lay Patil Koli, Murarbaji Deshpande, Neelkanthrao Surnaik, Netaji Palkar, Prataprao Gujar, Ramoji Dhmale Deshmukh, Rango Narayan Orpe Sarpotdar, Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar, Santaji Ghorpade, Suryaji Kakade, Tanaji Malusare, Yesaji Dabhade, Yesaji Kank, Balwantrao Devkate, Nimbaji Patole, Dadaji Kakade, Venkoji Khandekar, Dhanaji Shingade, Banaji Birje, Yesaji Thorat, Heroji Shelke, Bhavanrao Devkate, Mankoji Dhangar, Amdoji Pandhare, Godaji Pandhare, Indraji Gorad, Naikji Pandhare.
Under Shivaji Maharaj, many men of talent and enterprise rose into prominence. They carried forward his mission and ensured the defeat of the Mughals in the War of 27 years. These include Ramchandrapant amtya, Santaji Ghorpade, Dhanaji Jadhav, Khanderao Dabhade, Parsoji Bhosale, Harji raje Mahadik and Kanhoji Angre.
Many foreign travellers who visited India during Shivaji Maharaj's time wrote about him.
"Hardly had he won a battle or taken to town in one end of the kingdom than he was at the other extremity causing havoc everywhere and surprising important places. To this quickness of movement he added, like Julius Caesar, a clemency and bounty that won him the hearts of those his arms had worsted." "In his courage and rapidity he does not ill resemble the king of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus."
"I forgot to mention that during pillage of Sourate, Seva-ji, the Holy Seva-ji! Respected the habitation of the reverend father Ambrose, the Capuchin missionary. 'The Frankish Padres are good men', he said 'and shall not be attacked.' He spared also the house of a deceased Delale or Gentile broker, of the Dutch, because assured that he had been very charitable while alive."
|Chhatrapati of the
1674 – 1680