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Shivaji Raje Bhosle ( , / /) (February 19, 1627 – April 3, 1680), popularly known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ( , / /) laid the foundations of the Maratha Empire. Shivaji Maharaj was younger of the two sons of Shahaji Bhosle and Jijabai. His father, Shahaji, was a Maratha general who rendered military services at various times against the Bijapur Sultanate and the Mughals. Shivaji espoused the ideology of Hindavi Swarajya (Self rule of the natives) and took a solemn oath in a Shiva temple with his friends and soldiers to directly challenge the Muslim rule of the Bijapur Sultanate and ultimately the mighty Mughal Empire. Shivaji succeeded in establishing control of a well defended segment of the present state of Maharastra in western India, during his lifetime.

Shivaji’s ideology of Hindavi Swarajya and subsequent expansion of the Maratha Empire, was partly responsible for re-establishment of Hindu rule and its re-emergent assertiveness throughout the mainland of present day India after being ruled and dominated by various Muslim dynasties for several centuries. The ideology of Hindavi Swarajya was in part the inspiration that propelled the succeeding generation of Marathas to establish independent kingdom in India prior to their eventual defeat by the British Empire.

Shivaji established and set up a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of well regulated and disciplined military and well structured administrative organizations. The prevalent practices of treating women as war booty, destruction of religious monuments, slavery and forceful religious conversions were firmly opposed under his administration. Shivaji himself was a religious, devout and tolerant Hindu who worshipped with deep faith. Shivaji innovated rules of military engagement of that era. He pioneered Ganimi Kava (in Marathi), or guerrilla tactics, which leveraged strategic factors like demographics, speed, surprise and focused attack to defeat his enemies. In comparison to the great Mughal Empire, Shivaji had a smaller army and thereby was obliged to wage guerilla warfare to help overcome this great imbalance.

A large portion of his kingdom was a coastline and he secured it with a potent navy under his commander, Kanhoji Angre. He was very successful in keeping foreign naval ships, particularly Portuguese and British, under check. For his foresight of establishing one of the first large-scale naval presences, he is referred to as the "Father of Indian Navy". Building and securing seaside and land based forts played an important role in Shivaji’s military history. Shivaji's attention to coastal and naval defence delayed the eventual establishment of British rule and trade along India's west coast.

Early life

Shivaji Maharaj with Jijamata


Shivaji Maharaj was the son of Shahaji Raje Bhosle and Jijabai. Shivaji's birth date has been a matter of controversy but recently a consensus has been reached and is deemed to be 19 February 1630. He was born on Shivneri Fortmarker, Junnarmarker, 60 kilometres north of Punemarker and was named Shiva after Shivai, deity of the fort. Shivaji was the fifth son born to Jijabai, three of whom had died as infants and only Sambhaji survived. While Shivaji was accompanied mostly by his mother, Sambhaji lived with his father Shahaji at present day Bangaloremarker). During the period of Shivaji's birth, the power in Deccan was shared by three Sultanates - Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golconda. Most of the then Marathas forces had pledged their loyalties to one of these Sultanates and were engaged in a continuous game of mutual alliances and aggression.

Shivaji's father, Shahaji, was the elder son of Maloji Bhosale of Verul (present day Elloramarker, Maharastra). Legend has it that Maloji Bhosale was insulted by Lakhujirao Jadhav, a sardar in Nizamshahi, who refused to give his daughter Jijabai in marriage to Shahaji. This inspired Maloji to greater conquests to obtain a higher stature and an important role under Nizamshahi, something that eventually led him to achieving the title of Mansabdar (military commander and an imperial administrator). Leveraging this new found recognition and power, he was able to convince Lakhujirao Jadhav to give his daughter in marriage to his son Shahaji.

Shivaji's birthplace on Shivneri Fort

Shahaji following in the footsteps of his father, began service with the young Nizamshah of Ahmednagar and together with Malik Amber, Nizam's minister, he won back most of the districts for the Nizamshah from the Mughals who had gained it during their attack of 1600. Thereafter, Lakhujirao Jadhav, Shahaji's father-in-law, attacked Shahaji at the Mahuli fort and laid a siege. Shahaji was accompanied by Jijabai, who was four months pregnant. After seeing no relief coming from Nizam, Shahaji decided to vacate the fort and planned his escape. He sent Jijabai off to the safety of Shivneri fort, which was under his control. It was here at Shivneri that Shivaji was born. In the meanwhile, suspecting his disloyalty, Lakhujirao Jadhav and his three sons were murdered by the Nizamshah in his court when they came to join his forces. Unsettled by this incident, Shahaji Raje decided to part ways with the Nizamshahi Sultanate and raise the banner of independence and establish an independent kingdom.

After this episode Ahmednagar fell to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and shortly thereafter Shahaji responded by attacking the Mughal garrison there and regained control of this region again. In response the Mughals sent a much larger force in 1635 to recover the area back and forced Shahaji to retreat into Mahuli. The result of this was that Adilshah of Bijapur agreed to pay tribute to the Mughals in return for the authority to rule this region in 1636. Thereafter, Shahaji was inducted by Adilshah of Bijapur and was offered a distant jagir (landholding) at present-day Bangaloremarker, but he was allowed to keep his old land tenures and holdings in Pune. Shahaji thus kept changing his loyalty among Nizamshah, Adilshah and the Mughals but always kept his jagir at Pune and his small force of men with him.

Foundation of Swarajya

Shahaji appointed young Shivaji, under the care of his mother Jijabai, to manage the Punemarker holdings. A small council of ministers was appointed to assist and train Shivaji in administration. This council included Shamrao Nilkanth as Peshwa (Prime Minister), Balkrishna Pant as Muzumdar, Raghunath Ballal as Sabnis, Sonopant as Dabir and Dadoji Konddeo as a mentor. Apart from these ministers, military commanders Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar were appointed to train Shivaji in martial arts. In 1644, Shahaji had Lal Mahal built in Punemarker for his wife and his son Shivaji. A royal seal in Sanskrit which read, This is the royal seal of Shivaji, son of Shahaji. This royal seal is for the welfare of people. This seal (the rule of the seal) will grow like the new moon grows, was handed to Shivaji. Thus Shivaji started his career as an independent young prince of a small kingdom on a mission. Shivaji used the title of Raja (king) only after Shahaji's death.

His mother made an indelible impression on him with her teachings, with her love for the homeland and its people. Shivaji learned much from his father's failed attempts at political independence, his exceptional military capabilities and achievements, his knowledge of Sanskrit, Hindu ethos, patronage of the arts, his war strategies and peacetime diplomacy. He was inspired and informed by his family's vision and quest for independence and freedom. Furthermore, his mother, having lost her father and three brothers to a treacherous plot hatched by Nizamshah, was opposed to those who she considered alien rulers, due to their suspicions and callousness toward the local population. Jijabai thus instilled in Shivaji a natural love for self-determination and an aversion to external political domination.

Her piety and commitment to indigenous culture and her recounting of tales from the great Indian epics of Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagwat Gita molded Shivaji's character and helped him to be peerless (as confirmed by even otherwise inimical chroniclers, Khafi Khan) especially in his tolerant attitude towards other religions as well as in his fair and kind treatment of women and non-combatants. Shahaji's vision, and Jijabai's teachings and motivation, and the able training by statesmen and administrators like Dadoji Kondadev, military commanders such as Gomaji Naik Pansambal and Baji Pasalkar were the main influences which groomed Shivaji in achieving greatness. Shivaji along with his Mavala friends and soldiers took a blood oath to fight for the "Swarajya" at Rohideshwara temple.

Confrontation with the Regional Sultanates

In 1645, at the age of 17, Shivaji carried out his first military action by attacking and capturing Torna Fort of the Bijapur kingdom. By 1647 he had captured Kondana and Rajgad forts and had control of much of the southern Punemarker region. By 1654 Shivaji had captured forts in the Western Ghats and along the Konkan coast. In a bid to contain Shivaji, Adilshah imprisoned Shivaji's father in 1648-49 and sent an army led by Farradkhan against Shivaji's elder brother Sambhaji at Bangalore and another army led by Fattekhan against Shivaji at Purandhar. Both Bhosle brothers defeated the invading armies. Shivaji petitioned Emperor Shahjahan's son, Dara Shikoh, who was Governor of Deccan, pledging his loyalty to the Mughals to seek his support in securing the release of his father. The Mughals recognised Shivaji as a Mughal Sardar and pressurised Adilshah to release Shahaji. In return Shivaji had to cede a fort and Sambhaji had to cede Bangalore city and a fort to Adilshah.

Battle of Pratapgad

Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, a seasoned commander and an accomplished warrior, to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what was seen by Bijapur as a regional revolt. After leaving Bijapur Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur to draw an emotionally overwrought Shivaji to the plains to retaliate with his limited military resources and thus lead him and his budding military power to easy destruction by the numerically advantaged, better armed and a more professional Bijapur army. Shivaji, upon carefully weighing his options, strategically decided to stay in the hills and surprise Afzal Khan under the guise of diplomatic negotiations. Shivaji sent a letter to Afzal Khan stating that he was not eager for confrontation and sought some type of understanding. A meeting was arranged between Afzal Khan and Shivaji at the foothills of Fort Pratapgadmarker.

Wagh nakh

Expecting certain skullduggery from Afzal Khan, Shivaji armed himself with the concealable weapons bichhwa (dagger) and wagh nakh (tiger claws) and wore a chilkhat (chain-mail armour) under his clothing for the meeting. What transpired during the meeting was not recorded by scribes, but folklore has it that Afzal Khan pretended to graciously embrace Shivaji as per custom and attempted to stab Shivaji in the back with a kataar(a short waist-holstered dagger). Shivaji's agility, strength and his armour in addition to being prepared for such an occurrence helped him survive this attack. Shivaji drew his wagh nakh and counter-attacked, disemboweling Afzal Khan. Afzal Khan's bodyguard Sayyed Banda responding to this incident lunged at Shivaji but was intercepted by Jiva Mahala, Shivaji's personal bodyguard, cutting off one of Sayyed Banda's hands with a Dandpatta (Pata - a medieval weapon). Meanwhile, Afzal Khan stumbled out of the tent, clutching his wounds to get help and collapsed into a waiting palanquin, but was swiftly decapitated by Shivaji's associate Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar, before he could raise further alarm.. Krishnaji Bhaskar - a Brahmin who was legal advisor to Afzal Khan - attacked Shivaji as Afzal Khan stumbled out of the tent. He swung with his sword at Shivaji's head. Shivaji reacted quickly and killed Krishnaji.

In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh fought in the dense forest of Jawli on November 30, 1659, Shivaji's armies attacked Bijapur's (Afzal Khan's) forces and engaged them in swift flanking manoeuvers. Soon after the slaying of Afzal Khan, Shivaji sped up the slope towards the Pratapgarh fort with his lieutenants and ordered cannons to be fired. This was a signal to his infantry, which had been strategically placed under the cover of the densely vegetated valley, to immediately attack Afzal Khan's forces. Maratha troops under Kanhoji Jedhe attacked 1,500 musketeers and routed them at the foothills of the fort. Then in a rapid march, a section of Adilshahi forces commanded by Musekhan was attacked. Musekhan was wounded and subsequently fled, abandoning his hapless soldiers who were subsequently decimated by the Maratha troops.

Commander Moropant Pingale led the infantry on the left flank of the Adilshahi troops. Adilshah's artillery was rendered ineffective by the sudden attack at close quarters. At the same time commander Ragho Atre swiftly attacked Adilshahi cavalry before it was fully prepared for battle and almost completely wiped it out. Shivaji's cavalry headed by Netaji Palkar rushed towards Wai in hot pursuit of retreating Adilshahi forces who were attempting to join their reserve forces stationed there. The retreating forces of Afzal Khan were engaged in battle and were routed.

This clear and unambiguous victory made Shivaji a hero of Maratha folklore and a legendary figure among his people. The large quantities of captured weapons, horses, armour and other materials helped to strengthen the nascent and emerging Maratha army. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, now identified Shivaji as a major threat to the mighty Mughal Empire. Soon thereafter Shivaji, Shahaji and Netaji Palkar (the chief of the Maratha cavalry) decided to attack and defeat the Adilshahi kingdom at Bijapur. But things did not go as planned as Shahaji's health deteriorated and they were forced to postpone this plan. However, Netaji Palkar undertook this mission with smaller scale attacks and military harassment of the Adilshahi kingdom.

Subsequently, the Sultan of Bijapur sent an elite Pashtun army comprising mainly Afghani mercenaries to subdue and defeat Shivaji before he could substantially expand his army. In the subsequent battle, Bijapur's Pashtun army was soundly defeated by the Maratha troops. This intense and bloody battle ended in the unconditional surrender of the Bijapuri forces to Shivaji.

Battle of Kolhapur

To counter the loss at Pratapgad and to defeat the newly emerging Maratha power, another army, this time numbering over 10,000, was sent against Shivaji, commanded by Bijapur's renowned Abyssinian general Rustamjaman. With a cavalry of 5,000 Marathas, Shivaji attacked them near Kolhapurmarker on December 28, 1659. In a swift movement, Shivaji led a full frontal attack at the center of the enemy forces while other two portions of his cavalry attacked the flanks. This battle lasted for several hours and at the end Bijapuri forces were soundly defeated and Rustamjaman ignominiously fled the battlefield. Adilshahi forces lost about 2,000 horses and 12 elephants to the Marathas. This victory alarmed the mighty Mughal empire who now derisively referred to Shivaji as the "Mountain Rat". Aurangzeb the Mughal emperor was now actively preparing to bring the full might and resources of the Mughal Empire to bear down on the potential Maratha threat.

Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb sent his maternal uncle (brother of late Queen Mumtaz Mahal) Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 100,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to defeat Shivaji. Khan was accompanied by eminent commanders like Turktaj, Hussain, Haider, Naamdar Khan, Kartalab Khan, Uzbek Khan, Fateh Jung and Rajputs namely Bhau Singh, Shyam Singh, Rai Singh Sisodiya, Pradyuman and many more. Khan was an experienced commander who had defeated Shahaji in the same region in 1636.. He was ordered to attack the Maratha kingdom in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Aurangzeb ordered Shaista Khan to capture the Maratha kingdom to add to the empire (he intended to deceive the Adilshah), after Shivaji's expected defeat by Jauhar. Shivaji now prepared to face a dual attack of Mughals and Adilshahi forces.

Siege of Panhala

Dhurandhar's painting of Shivaji.
Per the terms of the Mughal-Adilshahi plan, Adil Shah in 1660 sent Siddi Jauhar, an accomplished general to attack Shivaji on his southern borders, preceeding the expected major Mughal attack from the north. He ordered his army of 40,000 north to Kolhapur to confront and defeat Shivaji as a part of their grand alliance with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. He secured the support of local chieftans such as Jasvantrao Dalvi of Palavani and Suryarao Surve of Sringarpur to defeat Shivaji. At that time, Shivaji was camped at the Panhala fortmarker near present day Kolhapurmarker with 8,000 Marathas.

Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhalamarker on March 2, 1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. Helping with siege were Baji Ghorpade and Siddi Masud from the west, Sadat khan and Bhai khan from the north, Rustam Zaman and Bade khan from the east, Siddi Jauhar and Fazal Khan from the south. Netaji Palkar, the Commander of the Maratha forces was on a mission away from Panhala harassing and attacking Adilshahi territory and was not able to come to the aid of Shivaji. At this point of time, Shaista Khan had moved from Baramatimarker to Shirwalmarker.

Panhala was a formidable fort and Adilshahi army was repulsed repeatedly by effective cannon fire and heavy rock-pelting. Siddi Jauhar approached Henry Revington, the British chief at the Rajapur port to seek long-range and more powerful cannons. Henry decided to help him in return for future favours, and began pounding Panhala fort. In spite of this Marathas continued defending Panhala and perservered in keeping Siddi Jauhar at bay.

Marathas even raided the Adilshahi camp a few times but without much success. However, in one such raid, Tryambak Bhaskar and Kondaji Farzand presented themselves as allies of the British and Adlishahi forces. They came down to the Adilshahi camp and met Henry Revington and his associates. They managed to kill one British officer and injured Henry. Thereafter, they sabotaged the cannons and made them ineffective. Jauhar, livid at this, tightened the siege further.

Jauhar did not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the siege around Panhala was unyielding, he personally took utmost care that no one in his army was complacent. He even braved the tumultuous monsoon season and continued the siege even during heaviest downpours. On hearing about the ever tightening siege of Panhala, Netaji Palkar returned from Bijapur and attacked the Adilshahi forces surrounding Panhala. He tried to break the siege but his smaller forces were pushed back by a much larger Adilshahi army.

Thereafter, Shivaji decided to escape to a nearby fort Vishalgad, where he could regroup his soldiers. He then sent misleading messages to Siddi Jauhar indicating that he was willing to negotiate and was looking for accommodation and mutual understanding. With this news, Adilshahi soldiers relaxed somewhat and Shivaji escaped under the cover of a stormy night on July 12, 1660.

Meanwhile Jauhar's soldiers captured a small group of Marathas apparently including Shivaji only to realize he was a look-alike named Shiva Kashid dressed like Shivaji and sent out to create a diversion and facilitate the real Shivaji's escape. Siddi Johar's soldiers realized that the imposter was Shivaji's barber and that Shivaji and his army were headed to Vishalgad.

Battle of Pavan Khind

Sensing that enemy cavalry was fast closing in on them Shivaji sought to avoid defeat and capture. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a Maratha sardar along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind (a mountain pass in Gajapur which is 4 miles from Vishalgad) to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of Vishalgad.

In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, Baji Prabhu Deshpande fought relentlessly. He was almost fatally wounded but he held on and continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad, signalling Shivaji had reached the fort. The result was the death of 300 Marathas and 1,286 of Adilshah's troops in this fierce battle. Shivaji reached the fort on July 13, 1660.. Thereafter a truce was made between Shivaji and Adilshah through Shahaji, acknowledging and formally recognizing the independence of Shivaji's Kingdom.

In addition, as the terms of this accord, Panhala Fortmarker was awarded to Siddi Johar.. Ghod Khind (khind = " a narrow mountain pass") was renamed Pavan Khind (Sacred Pass) in honor of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, people from Bandal community and all other soldiers who fought in Ghod Khind (People from Bandal community were specially selected by Shivaji while escaping from Panhala for their knowledge of the region, rock cimbing skills, martial qualities). A small memorial stands even today in the pass in recognition of the heroism of Bajiprabhu and his men. This remained the situation until the death of Shahaji. Henceforth the Marathas became a formal and recognized power in the Deccan.

Suspecting treachery, the loyal steadfast and brave Siddi Jauhar was reportedly poisoned to death by the Adilshah for allegedly allowing Shivaji to emerge victorious against the sultanate.

Attack on the British, Raja Jaswantrao and Raja Suryarao

Shivaji now turned his attention towards the British at Rajapur fort on the Ratnagiri coast. British chief Henry Revington had supported Siddi Jauhar, and bet heavily against the Marathas. Henry not only provided advanced artillery to Siddi Jauhar during the siege of Panhala but also provided men (Artillery observers, etc.) to operate the cannons and prior to that he had dealt with the Marathas dishonourably. And as a result Shivaji concluded that these foreigners were posing merely as traders but in reality they had ambitions of setting up and expanding their own rule.

Thus, Shivaji decided to attack the Rajapur port, which was one of the few fortified outposts British had at the time, under the pretext of trading. Shivaji himself marched to the Rajapur port. The British tried to pacify Shivaji by accepting that it was their mistake to help Jauhar and that such a thing would not happen again. Shivaji now could not trust the British and promptly arrested all the Britishers at Rajapur port and confiscated their Waakhaar- commercial property.

Shivaji then sought to bring Jaswantrao Dalvi (Raja of Palwan) and Suryarao Surve (Raja of Sringarpur), who helped Siddi Jauhar during the siege to Vishalgad and Panhala, back under his leadership. Shivaji marched to Palwan but the fearful Jaswantrao fled and took refuge at Suryarao's Sringarpur fort. Shivaji then, in gesture of magnanimity, extended the hand of friendship to Suryarao and tried to make him understand that they needed to unite to fight against the foreign powers. Suryarao agreed and assured Shivaji that he would take responsibility for providing supplies to Shivaji's army stationed near Sringarpur while Shivaji was away. However, Suryarao in an act of treachery attacked the unwary Maratha army. The Maratha army lead by Tanaji Malusare fought Suryarao's men and repulsed their attack. Furious at the treachery of Suryarao, Shivaji came back and attacked Sringarpur. However, Suryarao fled and Sringarpur was captured by Shivaji.

Clash with the Mughals

Conquest Of Konkan

An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent by Shaista Khan on a mission to attack and reduce the number of forts under Shivaji's control in the Konkan region on Feb 3, 1661. He left his camp near Punemarker with 30,000 troops. This time the Mughals did not march openly and took circuitous back country routes, as they sought to surprise Shivaji. But instead Shivaji surprised them at a pass known as 'Umber Khind'(in a dense forest, near present-day Penn), and attacked them from all sides. Marathas hidden in the dense forest executed a well co-ordinated ambush attack on the Mughal army. Shivaji himself took the forward position with an elite cavalry unit. The other three sides were flanked by Shivaji's light infantry.

In a well co-ordinated movement of light infantry and cavalry, Shivaji prevailed over them. A Maratha lady commander, Raibagan, who co-lead the Mughal forces analyzed the situation and realised that defeat was imminent and advised Kartalab Khan to accept defeat and initiate a compromise with Shivaji. Within four hours into the attack the enemy accepted defeat and surrendered all the supplies, arms and assets. The Mughal army suffered high casualties. The defeated army was allowed a safe passage. Kartalab Khan and Raibagan were released with honour in accordance with Shivaji's terms and his long standing policy towards women and unarmed civilians.

Shaista Khan

Shivaji with his comrades
Shaista Khan was ordered by Aurangzeb to attack Shivaji per the Mughal-Adilshahi accord. Shaista Khan, with his better equipped and provisioned army of 100,000 that was many times the size of the Maratha forces, seized Punemarker and the nearby fort of Chakan. At the time, Firangoji Narsala was the killedar (Commander of the fort) of fort Chakan, which was defended by 300–350 Maratha soldiers. They were able to withstand the Mughal attack on the fort for one and a half month. Then, a burj (outer wall) was blown up with explosives. This created an opening to the fort allowing hordes of Mughals to breach the exterior portion of the fort. Firangoji, himself led the Marathas against a larger Mughal army. Eventually, the fort was lost with the capture of Firangoji, who then was brought before Shaista Khan, who, appreciating his ferocious bravery, offered him a jahagir (military commission) on the condition that he join the Mughal forces, which Firangoji declined. Admiring his loyalty, Shaista Khan pardoned Firangoji and set him free. Firangoji returned home and Shivaji awarded him a fort named Bhupalgad.

Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory. Although he held Pune for almost a year, he had little further success. He had set up his residence at Lal Mahal, Shivaji's palace, in the city of Punemarker. Seeing that Shaista was not able to subdue Shivaji, Aurangzeb sent Maharaja Jaswant Singh(a Rajput- who earlier on the orders of Shah Jahan had stopped Aurangzeb at the river Tapi, when Aurangzeb was trying to ascend the throne of Delhi) to help Shaista Khan.

Shaista Khan kept a tight security in Pune. However, Shivaji planned an attack on Shaista Khan amidst tight security. In April 1663, a wedding party had obtained special permission for a procession; Shivaji planned an attack using the wedding party as cover. The Marathas disguised themselves as the bridegroom's procession and entered Pune. Shivaji, having spent much of his youth in Pune, knew his way around the city and his own palace of Lal Mahal. Chimanaji Deshpande- one of the childhood friends of Shivaji aided him in this attack offering his services as a personal bodyguard. According to Babasaheb Purandare, since Mughal army also consisted of Maratha soldiers, it was difficult for someone to distinguish between Shivaji's Maratha soldiers and the Maratha soldiers of the Mughal army. Thus, taking advantage of this situation, Shivaji, along with a few of his trusted men, infiltrated the Mughal camp.

After overpowering and slaying of the palace guards, the Marathas broke into the mansion by breaking through a wall. Chimnaji and Netaji Palkar entered first to provide cover for Shivaji. Babaji Deshpande another of Shivaji's long time loyal associates accompanied him on the attack. Observing that Lal Mahal was under attack, Shaista hid in the 'harem'(ladies' section). Shivaji then personally confronted Shaista Khan in a 'face to face' attack. Perceiving the danger, one of Shaista's wives quickly turned off the lights. Shivaji pusued Shaista Khan and severed three of his fingers with his sword (in the darkness) as he fled through an open window. Shaista Khan narrowly escaped death and lost his son and many of his guards and soldiers in the raid.

Within twenty-four hours of this attack, Shaista Khan left Pune and headed North towards Agra. An angered Aurangzeb transferred him to distant Bengal as a punishment for bringing embarrassment to the Mughals with his ignoble defeat in Pune.

The fact that Mughals the most dominant power/empire in India resorted to joining forces in close co-ordination with regional sutanate to defeat Shivaji whose army barely consisted of 20,000 men is a great testament to the superior strategic, organizational and fighting abilities of the Marathas and their great leader - Shivaji.

Surat and Mirza Raja Jai Singh

In 1664 Shivaji invaded Suratmarker, an important and wealthy Mughal trading city, and looted it to replenish his now depleted treasury and also as a revenge for the capture and looting of Maratha territory by Shaista Khan. Aurangzeb got angry as he looted one of his prosperous cities. (Surat was again sacked by Shivaji in 1670.)

Aurangzeb was enraged and sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh I with an army numbering well over 100,000 to defeat Shivaji. The Mughal forces under Raja Jai Singh proved to be unstoppable in the battles and Shivaji lost several forts and large number of men that he decided to surrender for the time-being and come to terms with Aurangzeb rather than lose more forts and men.

In the ensuing treaty of Purander, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on June 11, 1665, Shivaji agreed to give up 23 of his forts and pay 400,000 rupees to the Mughals. He also agreed to let his son Sambhaji become a Mughal Sardar, serve the Mughal court of Aurangzeb and fight with Mughals against Bijapur. He actually fought with Raja Jai Singh's Mughal forces against Bijapur's forces for a few months. His commander, Netaji Palkar, joined Mughals, was rewarded very well for his bravery, converted to Islam, changed his name to Quli Mohammed Khan in 1666 and was sent to the Afghan frontier to fight the restive tribes. He returned to Shivaji after ten years in 1676 and was accepted back in to Hinduism on Shivaji's order.

Trip To Agra and Escape

In 1666, Aurangzeb summoned Shīvajī to Agramarker, along with his nine-year-old son Sambhajī, on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandaharmarker, modern day Afghanistan to consolidate the Mughal Empire's north-western frontier. However in the court, on May 12, 1666, Aurangzeb made Shīvajī stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offense at this seeming insult and stormed out of court and was promptly placed under house arrest, under the watch of Fulād Khān, Kotwal of Agra. From his spies, Shīvajī learned that Aurangzeb planned to move his residence to Rājā Vitthaldās's Haveli and then to possibly kill him or send him to fight in the Afghan frontier. As a result Shīvajī planned his escape.

He feigned almost fatal sickness and requested to send most of his contingent back to the Deccanmarker, thereby ensuring the safety of his army and deceiving Aurangzeb. Thereafter, on his request, he was allowed to send daily shipments of sweets and gifts to saints, fakirs, and temples in Agra as offerings for getting well. After several days and weeks of sending out boxes containing sweets, Shīvajī and his nine year old son Sambhaji hid themselves in two of the boxes and managed to escape. Shīvajī and his son fled to the Deccan disguised as sadhus (holy men). After the escape, rumours of Sambhajī's death were intentionally spread by Shīvajī himself in order to deceive the Mughals and to protect Sambhajī.

Dr. Ajit Joshi in a book Agryahun Sutka, concluded that Shīvajī most likely disguised himself as a Brahmin priest after performance of religious rites at the haveli grounds and escaped by mingling in within the departing priestly entourage. However, according to Mr. Ranjit Desai, author of the Marathi book Shriman Yogi (later translated to English as Shivaji the Great), Shivaji disguised himself as one of the servants who used to carry boxes of sweets which were being sent out as gifts.

Preparing for War and Battle of Sinhagad

In the years 1667–69, Shīvajī adopted a low profile and began to actively build up his army. His army now consisted of about 40,000 cavalry, 60,000 infantry, a strong navy and a potent artillery. The Mughals had the impression that he was now a spent force and would not cause them any more trouble. But Shīvajī was on a war footing and aimed to directly take on the combined might of the Mughal empire. In January 1670, Shīvajī launched a multi-pronged assault on Mughal garrisons in the Deccan. Within six months he had regained most of his previously held territory and more. From 1670 to 1674 Shīvajī expanded his kingdom to include the major portions of modern-day Maharashtramarker and far in to the south including parts of modern-day Karnatakamarker and Tamil Nadumarker.

Bust of Tanaji on Sinhagad fort

Kondana fort, on the outskirts of Punemarker, was still under Mughal control. Uday Bhan Rathod, the fort keeper, led an army of about 1,500 Rajputs and Mughals for the protection of the fort. On February 4, 1670 Shīvajī deputed one of his most senior and trusted generals, Tanaji Malusare, to head a mission to capture Kondana. At that time, Tanhaji's son's (Raiba's) wedding plans were underway. However, putting his duty for the Maratha Kingdom over his family he said "Aadhi lagin Kondanyache, mag majhya Raibache" (First Kondana's marriage, and then my son Raiba's).

The Maratha army under Tanaji Malusare assigned to capture the fort was much smaller than the Mughal army posted at the fort. Tanaji Malusare surveyed the fort and its defenses for some days. The fort was well guarded. One very sheer cliff caught Tanaji's eye. This side was least guarded as one could not possibly imagine climbing the fort from this steep side. Tanaji decided to scale this cliff to enter the fort. The legend is that, he used a monitor lizard (known as a ghorpad in Marathi named "Yeshwanti" with a rope tied around its body for climbing this cliff on a moonless night. The lizard was made to climb to the top of the fort. As is the characteristic feature of this lizard, it braced and lodged itself in a tight corner of the fort. Then a soldier climbed to the top and threw ropes for others to climb.

Meanwhile Tanaji's brother Suryaji moved close to the gates of the fort, namely Kalyān Darwāja, with another 300 Mavalas. The gates were soon opened and once inside, all his soldiers joined Tanaji in the surprise attack. Tanaji and Uday Bhan came face to face and a fierce fight ensued. Uday Bhan broke Tanaji's shield with a single blow, Tanaji was not deterred and continued to fight by wrapping his turban around his left hand for protection, to cover up his wounds and stanch the bleeding. Tanaji being grievously wounded, staggerred back and fell. Seeing their leader mortally wounded and dying before them, the Maratha soldiers started to back-up and retreat, Suryaji and Shelar Mama stepped up and assumed leadership.

Shelar Mama, an old Sardar in his seventies, took charge and faced to challenge Uday Bhan and killed him in short order. Suryaji, then stepped in front and center to rally the troops and led them back on the offensive. Legend and folk lore has it that, after the fall of Tanaji, the mavlas panicked and made a hasty retreat. Seeing this, Suryaji commented, "Why are you running like sheep? I have cut the ropes and all the escape routes are gone. Now we either fight or die." Marathas now out of any other options, charged the Mughal defenders fiercely and succeeded in capturing the fort.

When Shīvajī reached the fort after the victory, he was deeply bereaved at the loss of his good friend Tanaji. He sadly commented "Gadh ala puhn sinha gela" (The fort was won but the lion was lost). Thereafter Kondana Fort was renamed Sinhagadmarker (Lion Fort) to honour Tanaji Malusare's sacrifice and bravery.

Coronation and Southern Expedition

Shīvajī was formally crowned Chhatrapati (Chief, or King of the Kshatriyas), on June 6, 1674 at Raigad fort, and given the title Kshatriya Kulavantas Sinhasanadheeshwar Chhatrapati Shīvajī Mahārāj. Pandit Gaga Bhatt, a renowned Brahmin from Varanasimarker, officially presided over the ceremony declaring that Shīvajī's lineage was a bonafide and recognized Kshatriya. The local priests had refused, insinuating that Shivaji was actually descended from Dhangar pastoralists (as he well might have been). He was bestowed with the Jaanva, (in Hindi- Janeu, the sacred thread), with the Vedas and was bathed in an abhisheka. Shīvajī had insisted on an Indrabhishek ritual, which had fallen into disuse since the 9th century. Shīvajī then had the title of "shakkarta" conferred upon him. He started his own calendar.

His mother Jijabai died on June 18, 1674 within a few days of the coronation. This was considered bad omen. Therefore a second coronation was carried out in September 1674, this time according to the Bengalmarker school of Tantricism and presided over by Nischal Puri.

In October 1674, the Marathas raided Khandesh. On April 17, 1675 Shivaji captured Phonda from Bijapuris. Karwar was occupied by mid 1675 and Kolhapur in July 1675. There were naval skirmishes with the Siddis of Janjira in November 1675. In early 1676, Peshwa Pingale engaged Raja of Ramnagar in battle en route to Surat. Shivaji raided Athni in March 1676. By the end of 1676, Shivaji besieged Belgaum and Vayem Rayim in current day northern Mysore.

At the end of 1676, Shivaji Maharaj launched a wave of conquests in southern India with a massive force of 50,000 (30,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry). He captured the forts at Velloremarker and Jinji that belonged to the sultanate of Bijapurmarker and are in modern-day Tamilnadumarker. In the run-up to this expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani patriotsm (that is the idea that the "Deccan" or Southern India was a homeland that should be protected from outsiders). His appeal was somewhat successful and he entered into a treaty with the Kutubshah of the Golconda sultanate that covered the eastern Deccan. Shivají's conquests in the south proved quite crucial during future wars. Jinjee served as Maratha capital for 9 years during the War of 27 years. However, his main intention was to reconcile with his stepbrother Venkoji (his father Shahaji's son from his second wife, who came from the Mohite family) who ruled Thanjavur after Shahaji. They had talks, Venkoji (Ekoji I) showed signs of uniting with Shivaji but then no concrete result was obtained. On return to Raigad, Shivaji seized most of Ejoki’s possessions in the Mysore plateau. Ekoji's wife brought reconciliation between the two brothers and, though not friendly, they were not enemies either and just ruled different kingdoms.


Statue at Raigad commemorating Shivaji's coronation
Shivaji Maharaj was an able administrator who established a government that included modern concepts such as cabinet (Ashtapradhan mandal), foreign affairs (Dabir) and internal intelligence. Shivaji established an effective civil and military administration. He also built a powerful navy and erected new forts like Sindhudurgmarker and strengthened old ones like Vijaydurg on the west coast in which Mughals were greatly unsuccessful . The Maratha navy held its own against the Britishmarker, Portuguesemarker and Dutchmarker.

Shivaji is well known for his benevolent attitude towards his subjects. He believed that there was a close bond between the state and the citizens. He encouraged all accomplished and competent individuals to participate in the ongoing political/military struggle. He is remembered as a just and welfare-minded king. He brought revolutionary changes in military organisation, fort architecture, society and politics. Shivaji successfully led and marshalled his forces to cope and overcome several major enemy invasions. He was inexorable in expanding the boundaries of his kingdom. His success was driven by his determination to establish a free and independent homeland, and in this goal he was supported by the high level of loyalty, respect and commitment he received from his soldiers, followers and citizens.

He was an innovator and an able commander, he successfully used effective tactics including hit-and-run, strategic expansion of territories and forts, formation of highly mobile light cavalry and infantry units, adaptation of strategic battle plans and formations, whereby he succeeded in out-manoeuvering, time and again, his vastly bigger and determined enemies. Towards the end of his reign he had built up the Maratha forces to be over one hundred thousand strong. He was able to effectively keep the Mughal forces in check and on the defensive while expanding his kingdom southwards to Gingee, Tamil Nadu. Shivaji Maharaj's kingdom served as a Hindu bulwark against Mughal powers within India. His brilliant strategic and tactical maneuvering on battlefields, acute management and administrative skills helped him to lay the foundations of the future Maratha empire in India.


During his long military career and various campaigns his strong religious and warrior code of ethics, exemplary character and deep seated and uncompromising spiritual values directed him to offer protection to houses of worship, non-combatants, women and children. He always showed respect, defended and protected places of worship of all denominations and religions.

A statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the Birla Mandir, Delhi

Shivaji was once offered a very beautiful young lady as a war booty, by an uninformed Maratha captain. She was the daughter-in-law of a defeated Muslim Amir (local ruler) of Kalyanmarker, Maharashtramarker. Shivaji was reported to have told the lady that her beauty was mesmerizing and that if his mother was as beautiful as her, he would have been as handsome as well. He told her to go back to her family in peace, unmolested and under his protection. His behaviour, was noted by those around him, to be always of the highest moral caliber. He unambiguously embodied the virtues and ideals of a true nobleman.

He boldly risked his life, his treasure, his personal well being and that of his family, to openly challenge his immensely larger enemies to defend and achieve freedom and independence for his country. He unflinchingly defied overwhelming odds stacked against him by the mighty Mughal Empire and the regional sultanates. He overcame and succeeded in the face of an unprecedented level of difficulties and challenges posed by his enemies. He did not spend any resources on projects designed for self-aggrandizement or vanity, instead he was propelled by his deeply held sense of Dharma (sacred duty) to his people and country.

Shivaji did not believe in being treated as royalty, in fact he mingled freely with his subjects to spend time with them to maintain a close rapport with them. It is reported that he enjoyed simple meals of crushed onion and ‘bhakris’ - a type of Indian peasant bread with his foot soldiers (mavlas). His character could be termed as 'down to earth' and while he took his mission with utmost seriousness he did not seemingly consider his own needs to be above his people's welfare or their security. As a result of this Shivaji struck a deep chord with his followers and the citizenary. And the high level of admiration and respect he earned from his followers and subjects sets him apart from most other Indian kings or chieftains in the recorded Indian history. Even today he is venerated in India and especially in the state of Maharashtra with awe and admiration and is viewed as a hero of epic proportions.

Military, Navy and Forts

Shivaji's genius is most evident in his military organisation, which lasted till the demise of the Maratha empire. He was one of the pioneers of commando actions, "Ganimi Kava" a term used for such a warfare, (though the term "commando" is modern). His Mavala army's war cry was 'Har Har Mahadev' (Hail Lord Shiva). Shivaji was responsible for many significant changes in military organization. These include -

  • A standing army belonging to the state called paga;
  • All war horses belonged to the state; responsibility for their upkeep rested on the Sovereign.
  • Creation of part time soldiers from peasants who worked for eight months in their fields and supported four months in war for which they were paid.
  • Highly mobile and light infantry and cavalry were his innovations and they excelled in commando tactics;
  • The introduction of a centralized intelligence department, (Bahirjee Naik was the foremost spy who provided Shivaji with enemy information in all of Shivaji's campaigns, Vishwas Nana Dighe played an important role during the Battle of Pratapgad, and Vishwasrao Musekar provided important intelligence during the siege of Panhala)
  • A potent and effective navy.
  • Introduction of field craft viz. Guerrilla warfare, commando actions, swift flanking attacks;
  • Innovation of weapons and firepower, innovative use of traditional weapons like tiger claw or 'Baghnakh'. 'Vita' was a weapon invented by Shivaji ;
  • Militarisation of almost the entire society, including all classes, with the entire peasant population of settlements and villages near forts actively involved in their defence.

Shivaji realized the importance of having a secure coastline and protecting the western Konkan coastline from the attacks of Siddi’s fleet. He had realized the tactical advantage of having a strong navy and decided to purse this idea. Shivaji was concerned about the growing dominance of British India naval forces over Indian waters and started building his navy forces to tackle this issue. For this very reason he is also referred to as the “Father of Indian Navy”.

Shivaji constructed a chain of 300 or more forts running over a thousand kilometres across the rugged Western Ghats. Each were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor should deliver it to the enemy. The officers (Sabnis, Havladar, Sar-i-naubat) acted jointly and provided mutual checks balance. Shivaji had control of 360 forts when he died.

Marathi Language

Chhatrapati Shivaji made preparations for effective use of Marathi language his mother tongue.For same he started Rajvyavharkosh dictionary and Encyclopedia of Marathi words to be used in administration of kingdom.He was of the view that one whose language is slave, then that person's thoughts too are slave and so is his entire life.

Promotion of Sanskrit

The house of Shivaji Maharaj was one of the Indian royal families who were well acquainted with Sanskrit and promoted it. The root can be traced from Shahaji who supported Jayram Pindye and many like him. Shivaji Maharaj's seal was prepared by him. Shivaji continued this trait and developed it further. He named his forts as Sindhudurgmarker, Prachandgarh, Suvarndurg etc. He named the Ashta Pradhan (council of ministers) as per Sanskrit nomenclature viz. Nyayadhish, Senapati etc. He got Rajya Vyavahar Kosh (a political treatise) prepared. His Rajpurohit Keshav Pandit was himself a Sanskrit scholar and poet. After his death, Sambhaji, who was himself a Sanskrit scholar (his verse - Budhbhushanam), continued it. His grandson Shahu spent his entire childhood in Mughal captivity, which affected his taste. But even he showered gifts on learned Brahmins. Serfoji II from the Thanjavurmarker branch of the Bhosale continued the tradition by printing the first book in Marathi Devnagari.

Sambhaji issued one danapatra (donation plaque), which is in Sanskrit composed by himself in which he writes about his father as:
  1. Yavanarambha gritat mlechakshaydiksha: It means - Shivaji had taken a sacred oath and was on mission to defeat invaders
  2. Dillindraman pradhvanspatu: One who has defeated the Mughal Emperor of Delhi
  3. Vijayapuradhishwar prathtarmanya bhujchachayay: One whose help was sought by Adilshahi King of Vijaypur


Shivaji Maharaj, after request made by Sant Ramdas, allowed him to stay at Parali Fort. Soon, before his own demise, but after Shivaji's death, Sant Ramdas established his permanent monastery there. The fort was subsequently renamed as "Sajjangad" (Fort of the Decent/Holy ones). It is said that Shivaji Maharaj and Sant Ramdas first met in 1674. There are many credible historical references that Samarth Ramdas Swami was the spiritual guru of Shivaji. But this is the most contradictory part of Shivaji's history, as many great historians of maharashtra found ramdas never met shivaji in his lifetime, rather sant Tukaram, resident of pune was the spiritual guru of Shivaji, and this is proved and approved by government of maharashtra also..

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a devout Hindu and he respected all religions within the region. Shivaji Maharaj had great respect for Warkari saints like Tukaram and Sufi Muslim pir Shaikh Yacub Baba Avaliya of Konkan. He also visited Mouni Maharajtemple and Samadhi at Patgaon (Bhudargad Taluka near to Gargoti) in Kolhapurmarker district. Shahaji had donated a huge piece of land to Shaha-Sharif Durgah of Ahmednagar(the names "Shahaji", the father of Shivaji, and "Sarfoji", the uncle of Shivaji, are derived in deference to this Shah Sharifji).

Shivaji Maharaj allowed his subjects freedom of religion and opposed forced conversion. The first thing Shivaji did after a conquest was to promulgate protection of mosques and Muslim tombs. Shivaji's army consisted of a noticeable number of Muslims. One of his most trusted general in all his campaigns was Haider Ali Kohari; Noor Khan Beg was once the chief of infantry; Ibrahim Khan and Daulat Khan were prominent in the navy; and Siddi Ibrahim was once the chief of artillery.

Shivaji Maharaj had respect for the Sufi tradition of Islam. Shivaji used to pray at the mausoleum of the Sufi Muslim saint Baba Sharifuddin. He also visited the abode of another Sufi saint, Shaikh Yacub of the Konkan, and sought his blessings. He called Hazrat Baba of Ratnagirimarker bahut thorwale bhau, meaning "great elder brother". He commanded the respect and fealty of the Muslims under his command by his fair treatment of his friends as well as enemies. Kafi Khan, the Mughal historian and Bernier, a Frenchmarker traveler, spoke highly of his religious policy. He also brought back converts like Netaji Palkar and Bajaji in to Hinduism. He prohibited slavery in his kingdom. Shivaji Maharaj applied a humane and liberal policy to the women of his state. There are many instances in folklore which describe Shivaji's respect for women, irrespective of their religion, nationality, or creed.

Shivaji's sentiments of inclusivity and tolerance of other religions can be seen in an admonishing letter to Aurangzeb, in which he wrote:

Death and succession

Political Map of South Asia around 1758 AD
It is said that he died due to contracting a disease Bloody Flux, Intestinal anthrax. The funeral ceremony was arranged in Raigad in presence of his son Rajaram, and wife Soyarabai. After Shivaji Maharaj's death, his elder son Sambhaji and Soyarabai, fought for control of the kingdom. After a brief struggle Sambhaji was crowned king.

A few months after Shivaji Maharaj's death, Aurangzeb's son, Prince Akbar, rebelled against his father and was sheltered by Sambhaji. Thereafter, in 1681, Aurangzeb, his army, entourage and the royal court moved in mass to the Deccan to wage an all out war for the complete destruction of Maratha power. This was the beginning of the 27 year war in which Aurangzeb failed to achieve a complete victory against the Marathas. However he was able to capture, torture and kill Sambhaji. This put the Maratha kingdom in a disarray and under the overpowering Mughal assault the endangered Maratha capital was forced to be moved and evacuated from Raigad to Jinjee in the south and for a time it seemed that Aurangzeb's objective of stamping out the Maratha threat, once and for all, would be achieved. However, in the following months and years the tide of the war began to turn.

The Marathas adapted very well to the huge but slow moving Mughal menace and fought Aurangzeb to a stalemate. And towards the end of the second decade, the Marathas gathered more strength and began to turn the tide of the war. The Mughal forces were dealt several serious body blows by able Maratha generals like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav. They effectively employed lightning fast and highly mobile attacks, tactics initially developed and effectively used by Shivaji Maharaj. Eventually a broken, defeated Aurangzeb retreated in sickness from the Deccan in 1705. The final Mughal withdrawal came two years later. He had spent most of his remaining resources and manpower trying to defeat the Marathas and ended up significantly weakening the once mighty Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb's heirs never again challenged the Marathas and about seventy years after Shivaji's death, they were themselves finally overtaken and dominated by their formerly implaccable enemy - the indominatable Maratha nation.

In 1751–52, Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Marathas and Mughals, Balaji Bajirao was the Peshwa and the ruler of the greatly expanded Maratha Kingdom. Through this treaty, virtually the whole of India came under Maratha suzerainty and Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi (Mughals remained the nominal heads of Delhi). After Balaji Bajirao, Maratha empire was further strengthened by Madhavrao Peshwa and the two Maratha sardars, namely Shinde,and Holkar.

Sir Jadunath Sarkar, a noted Indian historian and scholar, estimated that about 500,000 Mughal soldiers and 200,000 Marathas died during this decades long epic struggle for dominance of the Indian sub-continent. It would be pertinent to also quote another noted historian, Bamber Gascoigne, who wrote thus about the significance of the advent and enterprise of Shivaji Maharaj:


Because of his struggle against an imperial power, Shivaji became an icon of freedom fighters in the Indian independence struggle that followed two centuries later. He is remembered as a just and wise king and his rule is called one of the six golden ages in Indian history. School texts in India describe Shivaji Maharaj's rule as heroic, exemplary and inspiring and he is considered the founder of the modern Marathi nation; his policies were instrumental in forging a distinct Maharashtrian identity and infusing it with strong martial and moral traditions.

A regional sectarian political party, the Shiv Sena, claims to draw inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj. The World Heritage site of Victoria Terminus and Sahar International Airport in Mumbaimarker were renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Terminusmarker and Chatrapati Shivaji International Airportmarker respectively in Shivaji Maharaj's honour, as have many public buildings and spaces in recent years. The School of Naval Engineering of the Indian Navy is named as INS Shivaji.

Depiction in popular culture

Shivaji is a source of inspiration for a number of artists, directors, actors, writers, shahirs (ballad composers), poets and orators.

  • 'Raja Shivaji' (Marathi): directed by Bhalaji Pendharkar and the main role was played by Marathi actor Chandrakant Mandare.
  • 'Maratha tituka melawawa' (Marathi)
  • 'Gad ala pan sinh gela' (Marathi)
  • 'Mee Shivaji Raje Bhosle Bolto-ahe' (Marathi): launched in April 2009. The film tries to convey how Shivaji Maharaj would have responded to the problems faced by the Marathi common man in the present times in the city of Mumbai. Mahesh Manjrekar played the role of Shivaji Maharaj in the film.

  • 'Sriman yogi': novel written on Shivaji Maharaj's life by Ranjit Desai.
  • Raja Shivachhatrapati: biography authored by Babasaheb Purandare on his life, which was later brought out as Jaanata Raja (जाणता राजा), a musical tale of Shivaji Maharaj's life.

Poetry and music

  • 'Raigadala Jevha Jaag Yete' (When Raigad awakes): by Marathi playwright Vasant Kanetkar based on the complex relationship between Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji.

  • Raja ShivChhatrapati: TV serial on Star Pravah, a Marathi channel of Star India Network. The serial was launched in November 2008 and is expected to run for more than 100 one-hour episodes, in which the role of Raja Shivaji is played by Dr. Amol Kolhe


Some of Shivaji's close associates were also his primary army chieftains, and have entered folklore along with him. These include:Ajitsingh Paigude Deshmukh, Antaji Konde-Deshmukh, Baji Jedhe, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Prabhu Deshpande, Balaji Avji Chitnis, Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande, Chimanaji Deshpande, Dhanaji Jadhav, Firangoji Narsala, Fullaji Prabhu Deshpande, Gangadhar Pant, Godaji Jagtap-Patil, Gomaji Naik, Haider Ali Kohari, Hambirrao Mohite, Hiroji Farjand, Jiva Mahala, Kanhoji Jedhe Deshmukh, Kavaji Kondhalkar, Keso Narayan Deshpande, Kondaji Farjand, Laksmanrow Paigude Deshmukh, Lay Patil Koli, Murarbaji Deshpande, Neelkanthrao Surnaik, Netaji Palkar, Prataprao Gujar, Ramoji Dhmale Deshmukh, Rango Narayan Orpe Sarpotdar, Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar, Santaji Ghorpade, Suryaji Kakade, Tanaji Malusare, Yesaji Dabhade, Yesaji Kank, Balwantrao Devkate, Nimbaji Patole, Dadaji Kakade, Venkoji Khandekar, Dhanaji Shingade, Banaji Birje, Yesaji Thorat, Heroji Shelke, Bhavanrao Devkate, Mankoji Dhangar, Amdoji Pandhare, Godaji Pandhare, Indraji Gorad, Naikji Pandhare.

Under Shivaji Maharaj, many men of talent and enterprise rose into prominence. They carried forward his mission and ensured the defeat of the Mughals in the War of 27 years. These include Ramchandrapant amtya, Santaji Ghorpade, Dhanaji Jadhav, Khanderao Dabhade, Parsoji Bhosale, Harji raje Mahadik and Kanhoji Angre.

Accounts of contemporary foreign travellers

Many foreign travellers who visited Indiamarker during Shivaji Maharaj's time wrote about him.
  • Abbe Carre was a French traveller who visited India around 1670; his account was published as Voyage des Indes Orienteles mele de plusiers histories curieuses at Paris in 1699. Some quotes:

Homage to Shivaji by Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda described Shivaji as :"Shivaji was the greatest Hindu king that India had produced within the last thousand years; one who was the very incarnation of Siva, about whom prophecies were given out long before he was born; and his advent was eagerly expected by all the great souls and saints of Maharashtra as the deliverer of the Hindus from the hands of the Mlechchas and one who succeeded in the establishment of the Dharma which had been trampled under foot by the depredations of the devastating hordes of the Moghals. This may not come in your reading Indian History written by foreigners who could have no sympathy with you, nor could they have any respect for your culture, traditions, manners and customs which they could not understand.

Is there a greater hero, a greater saint, a greater bhakta and a greater king than Sivaji? Sivaji was the very embodiment of a born ruler of men as typified in your great Epics. He was the type of the real son of India representing the true consciousness of the nation. It was he who showed what the future of India is going to be sooner or later, a group of independent units under one umbrella as it were, i.e., under one supreme imperial suzerainty.”

"...But fortunately there are many independent Persian manuscripts dealing with the history of Aurangzeeb, Sivaji and the Bijapur kings. They corroborate the account of the Mahratta chroniclers so far as facts are con-cerned, though they do not share in their belief of the superhuman nature of the exploits of Sivaji. And if young men who have any patriotic feeling towards the history of their motherland were to make researches in finding out and translating these manuscripts much truer light may be thrown on the greatness of the doings of Sivaji and of many others who helped in the formation of the great Mahratta Confederacy and it will be a valuable addition to our knowledge of the real His-tory of India.”

See also


  1. Those Supermen In History,By Ramachandra Guha, A Washington Itinerary (Telegraph, K.P. NAYAR , Jun 16, 2001) retrived on 04/07/2009 from []
  2. As per R.C. Dhere, Shivaji was Hattikara-Dhangar. Yadav is Kul Gotra of Shepherds. Golla are Shepherds. Dhangars of Karnataka and Goa are also called as Gavali. In old Kannada lexicon Hattikara means Govali or Cowherd. Today Hattikara/Hatkar and Dhangar are exclusively used for Shepherd Caste of Maharashtra. Holkars are also Hatkar-Dhangar. See R. C. Dhere, Shikar Shingnapurcha ShriShambhu Mahadeo, 2001, Pune, (Marathi), Pg. 276, 277, 288, 297, 307, 312, 338, 384, 221, 143, 127, 78, 67, 45, 2
  3. note: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, at the time of his Coronation, showed that he belonged to the Gahlot(i.e. Sisodiya/Ranas of Mewar) Clan which is present in Dhangar clan system even today. The Bhonsale in the Maratha clan system of Maratha caste shows Guru: Shankkayan, and Gotra: Kaushika
  4. Gijs Kruijtzer, Xenophobia in Seventeenth-Century India (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2009), 153–190.
  5. [1]
  6. Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, pp.609,634
  7. Mughal Rule in India By Stephen Meredyth Edwardes, Herbert Leonard Offley Garrett,ISBN 8171565514, 9788171565511
  8. Zakaria, Rafique, "Communal Rage in Secular India", Popular Prakashan, Mumbai (2003)
  9. Central Chronicle Letter D. Pande. Retrieved on 2007-03-07
  10. Book Review IMC India. Retrieved on 2007-03-07
  11. Patil, Vishwas. Panipat.
  12. [2],From Aathavanitli Gani
  13. [3],From Aathavanitli Gani
  14. [4],From the Archives of The Vedanta Kesari-The Echoes of Teachings of Swami Vivekananda- BY DR. M.C. NANJUNDA ROW

Further reading

  • Shivchatrapati- Ek Magowa by Dr Jysingrao Bhausaheb Pawar.
  • Apte, B.K. (editor), Chhatrapati Shivaji: Coronation Tercentenary Commemoration Volume, Bombay: University of Bombay (1974–75)
  • Duff, Grant, History of Marhattas, Oxford University Press, Londonmarker Link -,M1.
  • V.D.Katamble, Shivaji the Great, Punemarker : Balwant Printers - English Translation of popular Marathi book "Shrimanyogi".
  • Kasar, D.B., Rigveda to Raigarh - Making of Shivaji the Great, Mumbai: Manudevi Prakashan (2005)
  • Vishwas Patil - Sambhaji, Mehta Publishing House, Pune (2006) ISBN 81-7766-651-7
  • Purandare B. M. (author), Raja Shivachhatrapati, he is the most popular and most enigmatic historian of Maratha times, especially that of Shivaji Maharaj. He is revered throughout Maharashtra as "Shivashahir".
  • Sriman Yogi
  • Joshi, Ajit, Agryahun Sutka, Marathi, Pune: Shivapratap Prakashan (1997)
  • Parulekar, Shyamrao, Yashogatha Vijaya durg, Vijay Durg (1982)
  • Jyotirao Phule, Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle Yanche Powade, Marathi, (1869)
  • Sarkar, Jadunath, Shivaji and his times, Calcuttamarker
  • Zakaria, Rafique, Communal Rage in Secular India, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai (2003)
  • Work of D. G. Godse
  • Mahesh Tendulkar, Runzunjar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade - a book on Santaji Ghorpade.
  • Vishwas Patil, Panipat - a book on the third battle of Panipat.
  • Ranjit Desai, Swami - a book on Madhavrao Peshwa

External links

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