Chhatrapati Shivaji - A Legend born with tremendous valour who changed the face of Indian History. The determination to establish a Sovereign Hindu State and free it from the clutches of Mughal tyranny was the sole motive of this Veer Maratha. Founder of the “Hindavi Swarajya” (self rule of Hindu people), Shivaji Raje Bhosle belonged to the Bhosle clan and as a resolute warrior displayed great courage when it came to defending his Motherland. The widespread Maratha Empire is nothing but a consummation of the will and wisdom of Chhatrapati Shivaji. His determination to uproot ill practices prevailing in the society as a whole, fearlessly, has earned him the title of “Chhatrapati” (Indian title of nobility).
Swami Vivekananda expressed his goodwill for the mighty Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj through these exemplary words
“Shivaji is one of the greatest national saviours who emancipated our society and our Dharma when they were faced with the threat of total destruction. He was a peerless hero, a pious and God-fearing king and verily a manifestation of all the virtues of a born leader of men described in our ancient scriptures. He also embodied the deathless spirit of our land and stood as the light of hope for our future.”
Chhatrapati Shivaji’s childhood:
Shivaji was born on February 19, 1630 at the Shivneri hill fort near Junnar city of Pune. Born to Jijabai and Shahaji Raje Bhosle, Chhatrapati Shivaji was named Shivaji Raje Bhosle after the Hindu God Lord Shiva of whom his mother was a steadfast devotee.
Shahaji Raje, Shivaji’s father, held a respectable post in the Adilshahi and Nizamshahi courts. But later went on to defending the Maratha Kingdom from the Mughals. Shivaji’s Mother Jijabai, his spiritual Guru, was deeply religious. Under her guidance Shivaji grew up to be a brave heart and mastered all the War forms that were taught to him. Born in a virtuous family, Shivaji perpetuated great moral values and a strong character.
Following his Mother’s footsteps, Shivaji had imbibed firm religious thinking ever since his childhood. With a pledge to establish a sovereign Hindu Kingdom, Shivaji’s bravery started surfacing at a tender age of 16.
Warfares in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Life:
Shivaji’s military comprised of trust worthy soldiers and some of his childhood comrades like Baji Prabhu Deshpande and Tanaji Malusare. They were faithful to Shivaji till their last breath. Warfare in the mountainous regions was a cakewalk for the brave Maratha’s who were well acquainted with every nook and corner of the Western Ghats. This was their greatest strength that became a pain in the neck for the enemies who were awestruck with Shivaji’s invincible warfare modus operandi. The “Guerrilla” warfare technique (attacking without the enemy’s knowledge at lightning speed) helped him defend the Maratha Kingdom and bring down the Mughal Empire. Shivaji encountered his first warfare in the attempt to capture Bijapur kingdom’s Torna fort. Torna fort seizure was of historical importance since it was the first fort to be conquered by Shivaji which is also one of the largest forts in Pune.
- Battle of Pratapgad:
In retaliation to Adilshah’s plan of containing Shivaji, a furious war was waged against the Mughals. Adilshah sent Afzal Khan (the army general) to put an end to Shivaji’s Mughal opposition. Afzal Khan’s plan backfired as he failed to match Shivaji’s intelligence. In the face-off at Pratapgad, Adilshah was badly defeated.
- Battle of Kolhapur:
Following the defeat at pratapgad, Adilshah sent a troop of ten thousand soldiers to combat Shivaji. Little did they know that the warrior king would put up such a vigorous fight and send the Adilshah army back home. With the defeat at Kolhapur the Mughals were determined to crush the rising Maratha threat. Shivaji was well prepared for battle having predicted the enemy’s next move.
- Battle of Pavan Khind:
Shivaji faced attacks from the Aurangzeb army which had joined hands with the forces of Adilshah. Combating the dual forces, Shivaji decided to shift their camp to Vishalgad from Panhala when the situation worsened. Baji Prabhu Deshpande laid his life down in the Battle of Pavan Khind when he was engaged in a fierce battle against the combined army. While Shivaji and his army reached the Vishalgad fort, Baji Prabhu fought till death to keep the enemies at bay. Despite of being badly wounded Baji Prabhu put up a tough fight, holding on to life just to hear the cannon shots from Vishalgad signaling Shivaji’s safe arrival. The battle resulted in colossal loss of life.
- Battle of UmberKhind:
Kartalab Khan, an Uzbek general, planned for a surprise attack on Shivaji. Instead was baffled when Shivaji attacked his armed forces from all sides at the Umber Khind pass. The army was left with no other choice but to surrender. Shivaji, as a true Maratha, released them with honor since they had accepted defeat and surrendered. Shivaji’s compassionate side was exposed through this incident.
- Battle of Chakan:
Shaistakhan with his well equipped cavalry had made his way into the Maratha territory. He seized the nearby Chakan fort and held Pune under his possession for almost a year. Shivaji had planned to get into the Lal Mahal (Shivaji’s palace) where Shaistakhan had been residing, during a wedding procession. Despite of the stringent security Shivaji entered the Mahal. Shivaji chopped off Shaistakhan’s fingers when he tried to flee through the window, unable to defend Shivaji’s powerful attacks. Shivaji had freed Pune from Shaistakhan’s control who, fearing for his life, escaped to Agra.
Battle of Surat, Battle of Purandar, Battle of Sinhgad, Battle of Vani-dindori, Battle of Salher and the Battle of Nesari all speak of Shivaji’s astuteness that shook the entire Mughal Empire.
Forts under Chhatrapati Shivaji’s possession:
Shivaji Maharaj had almost 300 forts under his control like the fort of Panhala, Rajgad, Sindhudurg, Pratapgad , Salher hill fort (an artistic fort near Nashik) and Kolaba fort of which the Rajgad and Sindhudurg fort was built by him from a scratch. The forts constructed were of simple design. The layout planning was done with great care keeping in mind airtight security.
Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Coronation:
In 1674, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation enthroned him as the King of Hindavi Swarajya. The ceremony was held with grandeur at the Raigad fort. The coronation ceremony affirmed Shivaji Maharaj as the supreme Emperor of the Maratha Kingdom. Amidst a massive crowd, Shivaji was conferred the prestigious title of “Shakakarta” or era-creator. People rejoiced to see their beloved King’s crowning ceremony. A day of glory that is still alive in the pages of Indian History.
Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Ashtapradhan:
Shivaji’s administration comprised of council of eight ministers known as “Ashtapradhan”.
- Peshwa - Chief Minister of the administration.
- Amatya or Mazumdar - Minister in charge of finance.
- Sachiv or Sur Navis - Minister in charge of communication and correspondence.
- Navis or Waqia Mantri - Minister appointed to keep track of the royal family’s daily activities.
- Dabir or Sumant - Minister in charge of foreign affairs.
- Senapati or Sir nobut - responsible for training and maintenance of the Maratha Army.
- Panditrao - responsible for promoting learning and strive for moral uplifment of the people.
- Nyayadhish - Minister in charge for the propagating justice that is unbiased and equal to all.
Father: Shahaji Raje Bhonsale.
Brothers: Sambaji, Vyenkoji
Wives: Saibai, Soirabai, Kashibai, Putlabai, Sakawarbai, Sugunabai
Sons: Sambhaji Maharaj (Mother- Saibai); Rajaram (Mother- Soirabai)
Daughters – Sakhubai and two others.
Sambhaji Maharaj married Yesubai. They had a Son named Shahu Maharaj Satara and a daughter Bhavanibai.
Rajaram Maharaj married Tarabai. Their son’s name was Shivaji II Kolhapur.
Last Days of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:
On April 3rd 1680, at the age of 50, Chhatrapati Shivaji attained the heavenly abode leaving behind his two sons (Sambhaji and Rajaram) and six daughters (Sakhubai, Ranubai, Ambikabai, Mahadik, Deepabai, Rajkunvarbai, Kamlabai) born to his eight wives Saibai, Soyarabai, Putalabai, Laxmibai, Kashibai, Sagunabai, Gunvatibai and Sakavaarbai.
With a well planned administration, people under his rule enjoyed freedom and lived in peace. To lead a life devoid of fear is what this invincible King has taught humanity. His morals were of high caliber that made people look up to him as a nobleman. Though Chhatrapati Shivaji has left the material world, his reminiscences remain deeply entrenched in the hearts of his many followers even today.
With our head bent down in reverence we offer our heartfelt salutations to the valiant Warrior King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai! Jai Bhawani Jai Shivaji!