The great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder and king of Maratha Kingdom in Maharashtra state of western India. He was one of the greatest and bravest warriors ever born in India. He is popularly known as “People’s King”. Even today people respect and honour him more than anything. He was indeed very smart, disciplined and progressive ruler. He built his massive empire within his short lifespan of 50 years (19th February 1630 to 3rd April 1680). He was a great king of India in the 17th century. He had conquered about 80% of the Indian subcontinent under his rule in the 17th century.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
He developed an independent Maratha kingdom having “Raigad” as its capital.He was the chief person in his administration. There were also other 8 persons and cabinets known as “Ashtapradhan Mandal” composed of eight ministers to help him. He never collected taxes forcefully from people. He also gave freedom to choose any religion& took care of his people like a father. They were only a few kings like him who were loved by people more than anything.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Details
NAME: Shri. Shivaji Shahaji Bhosale
BIRTH: 19 February 1630
PLACE OF BIRTH: Shivneri Fort, Pune district, Maharashtra, India.
DEATH: 3 April 1680
PLACE OF DEATH: Raigad Fort.
FATHER & MOTHER: Shahaji Bhosale & Jijabai Bhosale.
SIZE OF EMPIRE: Just give one glance at this map with respect to current India map. You will automatically realise the greatness of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his huge kingdom.
Shivaji Maharaj’s father Shahaji raje was a Mercenary of Bijapur sultan. He served alongside Malik Ambar who defended the Deccan region. He always wanted to throw Mughal out of India and to establish a Hindavi Swarajya-an empire which will be ruled by Hindu king and not by the Muslim king.
His mother Jijabai was a visionary and intelligent lady. She was a religious person and Shivaji Maharaj was extremely devoted to his mother.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born on 19th February 1630 (date as per government of Maharashtra)on Shivneri Fort, near Junnar region of Pune district. He was given name ‘Shivaji’ by his mother in honour of the Goddess Shivai to whom she had prayed for a healthy child.
-From childhood itself, he was a brave boy and showed the qualities of a great ruler. Due to religious environment, Shivaji Maharaj carefully studied the two great Hindu epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata. Study of these two epic books gave him great impression regarding religious & moral messages.
– Many events from his childhood showed he was a born ruler. At the age of 12, he was sent to Banglore along with his elder brother Sambhaji and his stepbrother Ekoji. They were further formally trained there. He had the dream of building his own empire at the young age of only 14.
-He was trained in martial arts by Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar who were the military commanders. His training in swordsmanship was given by Gomaji Naik Pansambal.
-Shahaji meanwhile had married a 2nd wife-TukaBai and moved to Karnataka to lead a military campaign on behalf of Adilshahi.
-Shahaji left little Shivaji and Jijabai in his Pune holdings in the care of his administrator: Dadaji Kond Deo
–Dadoji Kond Deo was a teacher of little Shivaji and he greatly helped Shivaji in fighting techniques (like Sword riding, horse riding, archery and marksmanship, patta etc.), king’s tactics and others.
– In 1640, He married Saibai, who was a member of the prominent Nimbalkar family in 1640.
-In 1645–46, he first expressed his will & concept for Hindavi swarajya, in a letter to Dadaji Naras Prabhu.
-He used to wander fearlessly in the hills and forests of the great Sahyadri mountain range. It helped in hardening himself and acquiring basic knowledge of the surrounding region, which was to later proved applicable to his military endeavors.
At the age of 16, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj managed to gather his friends & soldiers and set the target of conquering nearby lands as well as forts. He then decided to attack Torna Fort of the Bijapur Kingdom. He easily captured Torna fort at the age of 16 only.
BUILDING OF MARATHA EMPIRE STARTED:
-After capturing Torna fort, Shivaji Maharaj captured forts of Kondana and Rajgad in 1647. By capturing these forts he had gained the power over the Pune region.
-Due to rising power of Shivaji, Bijapur sultan arrested his father. Shivaji Maharaj then rescued his father from the Bijapur sultan’s prison.
-Later he captured the forts of Purander and Javeli, he was unstoppable then!
– With the time, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj gained the control over the forts in the Western Ghats and along the Konkan coast. He fought against the army of Adilshah at Purandhar.
-In November 1659, he fought the battle of Pratapgad and defeated Afzal Khan. After this success, Maratha empire occupied the region stretching up to the Panhala fort.
-In his entire career of about 35 years, he had captured 360 forts. Some of the important and famous forts are Raigad, Torna, Pratapgad, Sinhgad(Kondana), Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg, Murambdev(Rajgad), Devgiri, Panhala, Murud-Janjira, Lohgad-Visapur, Rajmachi, Tikona, Korigad, Gavilgad, etc.
– All forts were stretched over a thousand kilometers across the rugged terrain of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri’s). Each was placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers namely sabnis, havaldar and sarnobat acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.
–Meanwhile, he also starts capturing coastal forts by taking considerations of coastal defence. Shivaji Maharaj had a military force of 1,00,000 soldiers to protect the kingdom.He had more than 32,000 horses and 300 elephants.
-Shivaji Maharaj also constructed some new land as well as naval forts. He built a strong army & introduced the guerrilla warfare tactics. He also built a strong Navy known as “Father of Indian Navy”.
–Maharaj was formally crowned as Chhatrapati which means King of Kshatriyas in June 1674 at the Raigad fort. He was given the title of “Kshatriya Kulavantas Simhasanadheeshwar Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj”.
-He commenced attacks in the southern parts of India at the end of 1676.
-Shivaji Maharaj died on 3 April 1680. People have said different reasons for his death. Some people said he died due to “VISHAMJWAR” which is Typhoid fever, some said that Maharaj was suffering from Arthritis due to constant campaigns did on horse, some said stress in saving his empire & no proper care of himself due to serving his land is the prime importance to him & no proper medicines at that time.
-Some of the researchers even criticize that his wife Soyarabai poisoned him so that she could install her son Rajaram on the throne. The final conclusion drawn by historians was he died due to Typhoid fever& Blood Dysentery.
-Though Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj died in 1680 but is still alive in the heart of millions of people. Every year people celebrates his birth anniversary very happily & enthusiastically in all cities, villages & forts all across Maharashtra!