Short Story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Short Story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Guru Mantra
Ram Das, Shivaji's spiritual guide, whispers into Shivaji's ears, "Mother and mother country are more dear than heaven. Gods and cows, Brahmins and faith, they have to be protected, therefore, God elevated you Is; when faith; is dead; death is better than life; why live when religion is destroyed. Therefore, the Marathas together revive religion otherwise Otherwise our ancestors will laugh from heaven.
      Chhatrapati Shivaji was the founder of an independent Maratha Kingdom of India. This kingdom's security was based on religious toleration and on the functional integration of Brahmans, Marathas and Prabhus. From nothing he built a regular army and defeated the Mughals repeatedly. It goes without saying that Shivaji possessed a creative genius of a very high order. From the son of a petty Jagirdar in a Muslim state he rose to the position of a Chatrapati. The Marathas regarded him as a 'Superman', a divine agency to free them from the yoke of Muslims.

Shivaji was born on April 10, 1627, in Poona in Maharashtra. Shahaji Bhonsle's second son, a kingmaker in the Muslim kingdom of Ahmednagar and Shivaji in Bijapur, Deccan, was brought up by his mother, Jijabai and tutor, Dadaji Kondadeva, who provided him with a love and basic skills for freedom and Hinduism. Under military and administrative leadership. Shivaji began his career by gathering round him bands of hard peasantry called the Mavales and waging guerrilla wars against the kingdom of Bijapur. He overran a number of hillforts near Poona.

In 1664 Shivaji ransacked the pre-eminent port city of Surat on the Western Coast, which brought retaliation from Aurangzeb in the form of a vast army led by the Rajput general Jai Singh. Shivaji could not withstand this offensive and signed the Treaty of Purandar in 1665, by which the surrendered 23 forts and agreed to enroll in the Mughal imperial service as a faithful retainer. In 1666, he visited Aurangzeb's court in Agra, where he was virtually kept in confinement, but escaped through a clever stratagem. In fact he had the born leader's personal magnetism and cast a spell over all who knew him, drawing the best elements of the country to his side and winning the most devoted service from his officers. His dazzling victories and eveready smile made him the idol of soldiery.

Though the son of a powerful man Shivaji began his life as a daring and artful captain of banditri, turned into a skillful General, and left a character which has never since been equalled or approached by any of his countrymen. The territories and treasures, he acquired was not as formidable as the Mughals as the example he had set, the system and habits he had introduced and the spirit he had infused into a large proportion of the Maratha people.

In 1674 Shivaji crowned himself formally at Rajgarh and was honored with the title of Chatrapati (King of Kings). He was a man with a grand vision for the liberation of the Hindus from Mughal rule and the creation of a government inspired by principles of unity, independence and justice. His charisma united the caste ridden people of Maharashtra. He laid the foundation of a sound system of administration which was borrowed from the administrative practices of the Deccan states. He designated eight ministers called Ashtapradhan to manage administration. They were Peshwa, Sari-i-naubat (Senapati), Majumdar, Waqenavis, Chitnis, Dabir, Nyayadhish and Panditrao. He also appreciated the growing importance of naval power in the politics of 17th century India and began to create a navy of his own, one of the few rulers of India to do so.

Shivaji's reign lasted only for six years. After the coronation, his most notable campaign was in the south, during which he aligned with the sultans and thereby blocked the grand design of the Mughals to spread rule over the entire subcontinent.

Shivaji's had several wives and two sons. His last years were shadowed by the apostasy of his elder son, who at one stage, defected to the Mughals and was brought back only with utmost difficulty. The strain of guarding his kingdom from its enemmies in the face of bitter domestic strife, and discord among his ministers hastened his end. Shivaji died in April 1680 in the hill fort of Rajgarh, which he made his capital.
Shivaji breathed new life into a moral race that for centuries resigned myself to grave humiliation and led him against a powerful Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. Above all, in a place and age stained by religious savagery, he stands almost along as one who practiced true religious tolerance.

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