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Chathrapathi Shivaji Biography

Chthrapathi Shivaji Biography

Shivaji Bhonsle (19th Feb 1627 – 3 April 1680) was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati (monarch) of his realm at Raigad.
Early life
Shivaji was born in the hill-fort of Shivneri, near the city of Junnar in what is now Pune district. Scholars disagree on his date of birth. The government of Maharashtra lists 19 February as a holiday commemorating Shivaji's birth (Shivaji Jayanti).Shivaji was named after a local deity, the goddess Shivai.Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhonsle was a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates. His mother was Jijabai, the daughter of Lakhuji Jadhavrao of Sindhkhed, a Mughal-aligned sardar claiming descent from a Yadav royal family of Devagiri. At the time of Shivaji's birth, power in Deccan was shared by three Islamic sultanates: Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golkonda. Shahaji often changed his loyalty between the Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, the Adilshah of Bijapur and the Mughals, but always kept his jagir (fiefdom) at Pune and his small army with him.
Shivaji was devoted to his mother Jijabai, who was deeply religious. His studies of the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, also influenced his lifelong defence of Hindu values.Shivaji was deeply interested in religious teachings, and regularly sought the company of Hindu and Sufi saints. He moved Shivaji and Jijabai from Shivneri to Pune and left them in the care of his jagir administrator, Dadoji Konddeo. Dadoji has been credited with overseeing the education and training of young Shivaji. Shivaji traveled the hills and forests of the Sahyadri range with his Maval friends, gaining skills and familiarity with the land that would prove useful in his military career.Shivaji's independent spirit and his association with the Maval youths did not sit well with Dadoji, who complained to Shahaji to no avail.
In 1639, Shahaji was stationed at Bangalore, which was conquered from the Vijayanagara nayaks, and asked to hold and settle the area.Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji and his half brother Ekoji I were further formally trained.
Shivaji started his conquests: Chhatrapati Shivaji began his early career of conquests at the age of 19 by capturing the fort of Torna, about twenty miles from Puna. After this he conquered other forts like Chakan, Singhagarh and Purandar, situated within the territories of the Sultanate of Bijapur. In order to put pressure on Shivaji the Sultan of Bijapur imprisoned Shahaji Raje Bhosale, Shivaji’s father. After that Shivaji kept quiet for a few years. Shahaji Raje Bhosale was released by the Sultan. But Shivaji again started his activities of conquest. By 1655 Shivaji had occupied the northern part of Konkon and the fort of Javali.
These acquisitions provoked the Sultan of Bijapur who sent against Shivaji in 1659 a large army under a senior general named Afzal Khan, with instructions to bring Shivaji to the court dead or alive. In a clash between Afzal Khan and Shivaji, Afzal Khan was killed by Shivaji.
November 10, 1659,army of Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri Sultanate in the Battle of Pratapgarh. Huge quantity of weapons and war-materials were collected, which further strengthened the Maratha army. This success gained him much reputation among the Marathas. He became a Hero.
The Sultan of Bijapur again sent a large army, under the leadership of Rustam Zaman, which also failed to curb the power of Shivaji. The battle took place on December 28, 1659. The Maratha army of Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri army in the Battle of Kolhapur. A large number of horses, elephants and warfare materials were gained by the Marathas.
Shivaji and the Mughals: Emboldened by his success Chhatrapati Shivaji began raiding Mughal territories in 1657. Aurangzeb felt the necessity of chastising him and sent a big army under Shaista Khan. He occupied Puna and encamped there. One night Shivaji made a surprise attack on Puna. A large number of Mughal soldiers were killed and Shaista Khan had a narrow escape.
Thereafter, in 1661, Kartalab Khan was sent to counter Shivaji. In the Battle of Umberkhind, the large Mughal forces were defeated by relatively smaller forces of the Marathas.
After this incident in 1664, Shivaji sacked Surat and carried off a huge booty.
Treaty of Purandar: Aurangzeb then sent Raja Jai Singh of Amber and Dilir Khan to subdue Shivaji. Jai Singh captured a number of forts held by Shivaji and compelled Shivaji to close the treaty of Purandar (1665 A.D.). By the terms of the treaty Shivaji had to cede 23 forts to the Mughals, acknowledge the supremacy of the Mughal emperor and agreed to help the Mughals in their fight against Bijapur. Jai Singh also persuaded Shivaji to pay a visit to the imperial court at Agra.

Escape of Shivaji: Aurangzeb did not treat him well and kept Shivaji and his son Shambhaji, imprisoned under careful watch. But Shivaji managed to escape from Agra with his son. Reaching home he started war against the Mughals with renewed vigor. At last Aurangzeb was obliged to recognize him as a Raja (king).
In 1674 Shivaji declared himself an independent ruler of Maharashtra and amid great pomp and grandeur celebrated his Rajyabhishek (coronation ceremony). He assumed the title of Chhatrapati. Then he conquered Jinji, Vellore and a large part of Tanjore. Shivaji died in 1680 A.D.
Estimate of Shivaji: Shivaji was a born leader and a great administrator. He had a successful military career. He is known for establishing a well-managed administrative and military system. His charisma drew people around him. In him they found the leader who never hesitated to risk his own life in times of danger. Shivaji had a constructive genius of a high order. The army of Shivaji was well organized. The most significant achievement of Shivaji was the welding of the Marathas into a nation. He infused a new spirit of unity and dignity into the Maratha people consisting of 96 clans.
In recruitment to services Shivaji showed no partiality to any community. There was no discrimination, no casteism, and no communalism. He, however, laid emphasis on the recruitment of the son of the soil. Though a champion of Hinduism, he extended his liberality to the people professing other religions.
Art and Culture: Shivaji was a patron of art and culture, piety and letters. Prominent among the saintly persons whom Shivaji admired were Ramdas, Tukaram, Baba Yakub, Mauni Baba, etc. Sanskrit poets like Jairam, Paramananda,  Gaga Bhatt, and some Hindi poets received his patronage.
Administrative system of Shivaji: The administrative system of Shivaji was largely borrowed from the administrative practices of the Deccan states. It was also influenced by the principles laid down in Kautilya’s Arthasastra and the Dharmasastras. In the discharge of his duties he was assisted by a council of ministers.
Provincial administration: Shivaji divided the territory under his direct rule (which he called the Swaraj territory) into a number of provinces. The ancient institution of the Panchyat was preserved in the rural areas. The head of the village, administered the village with the help of the panchyat.
Revenue system: Shivaji laid down an excellent revenue system based on the principles adopted by Todar Mal and Malik Ambar. His officers  made an elaborate survey of the land and fixed the rent at 33 per cent of the gross produce. Shivaji afterwards demanded a consolidated rent of 40 per cent. It is however, wrong to assume that Shivaji abolished the jagirdari system.
Chauth and Sardeshmukhi: Chauth and Sardeshmukhi were also the main sources of income of the state. They were levied on the territories which were not under the direct control of Shivaji. The inhabitants of these areas paid the Chauth or one fourth of the standard revenue as protection money against the plundering raids of Shivaji. The territories and principalities which paid chauth were also required to pay an additional tax called Sardeshmukhi. This was one tenth of the revenue of those areas. Those who paid Sardeshmukhi received Marathi protection against other invaders. Both the taxes together made a sizeable income for the Maratha kings.
Military system: Shivaji created and maintained an organized and disciplined armyconsisting of infantry, cavalry and navy. Shivaji recruited only able persons in his army. He had the skills to manage a huge army. His army mostly composed of light infantry and light cavalry was admirably well-adapted to guerilla warfare and hill campaign. The army movements were extremely quick.
Forts played an important role in Shivaji’s military system. Every fort was kept under three officers of equal status. They acted together but served as a check on one another.
Shivaji recognized the necessity of a strong navy. He had a navy of about 200 warships. The creation of a navy shows the foresight of Shivaji. A number of coastal fortresses kept guard over the sea. The Portuguese, the British, the Siddis and the Mughals were thus effectively kept in check.
Nor were Shivaji’s intelligence service neglected. The espionage system formed a well-paid and efficient wing of the Maratha army.
Death of Shivaji:  In late March 1680, Shivaji fell ill with fever and dysentery, died on April 3, 1680. After the death of Shivaji, his son Sambhaji Maharaj(1680-1689) succeeded him. After the death of Sambhaji , his brother, Rajaram Maharaj, assumed the leadership of Maratha Empire and continued the struggle.

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