As yet another row over Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj erupts among politicians, a look back at one of the most famous stories surrounding the Maratha icon
GS I- History
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Chhatrapati Shivaji
- Shivaji and the Mughals
About Chhatrapati Shivaji
- Born on February 19, 1630, at Shivneri Fort in Pune.
- He was born to Shahaji Bhonsle, a Maratha general who ruled the Bijapur Sultanate’s jagirs of Pune and Supe. Shivaji’s mother was Jijabai, a devout woman who had a strong religious influence on him.
- Shivaji’s name was derived from the name of a provincial deity, Goddess Shivai.
- He created the Maratha Empire by carving out an enclave from the crumbling Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur.
- He was formally crowned Chhatrapati (Monarch) of his dominion in Raigad in 1674.
- Religious tolerance and functional integration of the Brahmans, Marathas, and Prabhus ensured the kingdom’s security.
- With the support of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations, he constructed a competent and progressive civil rule.
- He had a ministerial council (Asht Pradhan) to advise him on state problems, but he was not bound by it. He had the authority to appoint or fire them.
- He pioneered non-conventional methods (guerrilla warfare) and used strategic elements such as terrain, speed, and surprise to innovate military tactics.
- To defeat his larger and more powerful opponents, he concentrated on pinpoint attacks.
- Although the courageous warrior died in 1680, he is remembered for his bravery and intelligence.
Shivaji and the Mughals
- Shivaji’s meteoric rise posed challenges to the suzerainty of the Mughals.
- His first direct encounter with the Mughals was during Aurangzeb’s Deccan campaigns of the 1650s.
- As Aurangzeb went North to fight for the Mughal throne, Shivaji was able to seize further territory.
- His tactics against the Mughals were adapted to the specific nature of his force and the flabby Mughal armies. Using swift cavalry attacks, he would raid and pillage Mughal strongholds.
- While on the rare occasion he would engage in battle to actually capture and hold Mughal positions, most often, he would simply cause much menace, raid the treasury, and leave with the Mughals in terror and disarray.
- Famously, in 1664, he attacked the port of Surat (now in Gujarat) and plundered one of the richest and busiest commercial towns of Mughal India while the local governor hid in a nearby fort.
- As the legend of Shivaji and the physical sphere of his influence grew, Aurangzeb sent a 100,000-strong, well-equipped army under Raja Jai Singh I to subdue him in 1665.
- After putting up a valiant fight, Shivaji was besieged in the Purandar hill fort.
-Source: Indian Express