The birth anniversary of the brave heart of India- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was also one of India’s bravest, most experienced and influential leaders. He was referred as the king of the Marathas

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born at Shivneri Hill Fort near the town of Junnar in Pune. Historians disagree on his date of birth. Certain sources claim that Shivaji was born on April 6, 1627. Therefore, the official date is taken into consideration is 19 February 1630. The Maharashtra Government recognizes 19 February as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Shivaji i.e. ‘Shivaji Jayanti’.

Shivaji’s father Shahaji Bhonsle was the main general head of the Marathas, who served the Deccan Sultanates. His mother was Jijabai.  She was the daughter of Mughal-aligned Sardar, Sindhkhed Lakhuji Jadhavrao who belonged to the powerful Yadav Devagiri family.

A Look into the early life of  Shivaji.

Shivaji was profoundly dedicated solely to his mother Jijabai, who was a spiritual lady. He also studied Hindu mythology and the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. This religious literature acted as a tool of great defence and instilled the Hindu values in him for a lifetime. Shivaji had a keen interest in religious preaching and he frequently pursued the Hindu saints.

Shahaji further decided to move Shivaji and Jijabai Shivneri to Pune and left both of them under the supervision of Dadoji Konddeo.  Dadoji Konddeo was the jagir administrator of Shahji. Dadoji was accredited with the responsibility to look after the education and formal training of Shivaji.

In 1639,  Shivaji was brought to Bangalore, where he was formally educated and trained alongside his elder brother Sambhaji and his half- brother Ekoji I. In 1640, Shivaji got married to Saibai, she belonged to the prominent Nimbalkar family. In early 1645, the young Shivaji put forward his idea of Hindavi Swarajya in a letter.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Image Credits- Free Press Journal

The accomplishments of the Great Maratha- Shivaji. 

Shivaji showed his military enthusiasm for the very first time when he was able to take over the Torna Fort under Bijapur as a teenager in 1645. He also acquired the fort of Kondana. Both of these forts were under the rule of Adil Shah of Bijapur. Adli Shah then detained Shahaji in an attempt to get hold of Shivaji. Some sources report Shivaji gave up the forts back to Adil Shah to rescue his father.

Shahaji was killed in an accident between 1664 and 1665. Shivaji then intensified his operations and expanded his empire. In 1659, during the battle of Pratapgarh, the troops of Shivaji conquered the military of the Bijapur Sultanate. A significant number of guns and horses were captured by this victory which immensely added to the power of his increasing Maratha Empire. In the very same year, Shivaji fought another battle and captured the Adilshahi camp at Kolhapur. During this war, Shivaji exhibited impressive military capabilities and also alarmed Aurangzeb with his victory.

In the area near Ahmednagar, and Junnar, Shivaji tried to invade Mughal territories. The troops of Aurangzeb under Nasiri Khan defeated Shivaji at Ahmednagar in 1657. Later on, Shivaji then defeated the Shaista Khan and the Bijapur Army at Pune. In 1664 the Mughal trading port at Surat was demolished by the Shivaji.

In June 1665, Shivaji and Raja Jai Singh I signed the Treaty of Purandar addressing Aurangzeb. According to the treaty, war with Mughals will cost Shivaji both his people and resources. The treaty further said that Mughals will keep several forts with them Shivaji will meet Aurangzeb at Agra. During this year Shivaji also made a tougher decision to send his son, Sambhaji as well.

In 1666, when Shivaji met the Mughal emperor, he felt insulted and humiliated by Aurangzeb. Shivaji and his son were arrested and put in custody. Shivaji then planned his escape out of the prison in disguise with his son. The legendary escape of Shivaji from Agra remains iconic even to date.

The Mughals and Marathas had a peaceful coexistence until 1670. Soon the Jagir of Berar was taken away from Sambhaji by the Mughals. In retaliation, within four months, Shivaji invaded and reclaimed several Mughal regions. Later on in October’ 1670, insulted the English forces in Bombay for their aid and assistance to the Mughals.

Soon Shivaji gained and captured maximum land in the Deccan and Western India by using his war forces. On June 6, 1674, at Raigad Shivaji was honoured as King of the Marathas. He was further conferred with titles of Chhatrapati, Shakakarta, Kshatriya Kulavantas and Haindava Dharmodhhaarak.

The Maratha Kingdom, established by Shivaji, was about 4.1% of the Indian continents. By the early 18th Century, the Maratha Kingdom established by Shivaji Maharaj became the most powerful Indian force.

Shivaji died on 3 April 1680 in Raigad

The never-ending legacy of Shivaji

In 1895, the Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak organised an annual festival to celebrate the birthday of Shivaji. In 1919, Sarkar published the biography, ‘Seminal Shivaji and His Times’. It was considered to be one of the authoritative biographies of Shivaji since James Grant Duff’s  1826 A History of the Mahrattas.

In 1966 for the interest of Marathi Community the Shiv Sena party was formed in Maharashtra. To carry forward the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj and to adorn his literature and image all over the country.

Shivaji’s memorials are found in all parts of India, particularly in Maharashtra. Confederate statues of Shivaji are observed almost in every town and city of Maharashtra and all parts of India. The Indian Navy ship is named INS Shivaji. Various postage stamps have been released under the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The airport and railway headquarters of Mumbai is also named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

According to media reports and sources, 34 locations in Mumbai have been named after the great Maratha Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The government of Maharashtra has also named many of its schemes after Shivaji Maharaj. Some places named after Shivaji are:

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krishi Samman Yojana.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sagari Mahamarg.

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