Full Name: Shivaji Bhosale I
Born/Died: 1627/30 - 1680
Notable Battles: Pavan Khind 1660
Shivaji was born into a Maratha warrior clan and his father worked as a Maratha General under various Deccan Sultanates. His mother was a devoted Hindu and encouraged his love of studies of the classical Hindu texts, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. He was moved around by his father, who had married a second wife and drifted in-between the three Invading Islamic Sultanates that made up the Deccan. Shivaji did however receive extensive and formal training in a range of subjects including a range of martial ones, alongside his brothers. He was married, but even as a teenager stayed focused on the idea of Indian self rule, rather than that at the hand of the cruel Invading forces.
Cunning Beyond His Years
While most teenagers were playing, Shivaji wrote a paper on Indian self rule (Hindavi Swarajya), in that same year, 1645, he also took his first fort. He had bribed or perhaps tricked the Bijapur commander to hand over Torna Fort. Another Maratha commander fighting for Sultanate forces, was so impressed by young Shivaji that he pledged his allegiance and gave him Chakan Fort. Shivaji would than bribe Bijapur Governor to obtain Kondana Fort. All this Hindu's wanting to be free was really starting to concern Bijapur ruler Mohammed Adilshah. So on the 25th of July 1648, Adilshah had Shivaji's father arrested to put a stop to his campaign. Shivaji calmed his passion to liberate India from the Islamic Tyrants that had brought so much misery to all Dharmic faiths and consolidated his forces, but not for long...In just 6 years, Shivaji would begin his guerrilla raids again. This time he seized the valley of Javali after killing a fellow Maratha, that was working with the invaders.
The only picture ever taken of the Great Hindu King, Shivaji Maharaj
Adilshah furious that Shivaji had continued to evade him and caused significant losses to his forces retaliated by sending one of his veteran commanders, Afzal Khan. Before Afzal made his way to Shivaji, his forces destroyed local Mandir's in true Islamic style. Afzal Khan was actually known for being 'the one who slaughters rebels and Infidels' and 'smashes idols'. Shivaji was in the confounds of Pratapgad Fort, when the two forces finally met. Khans forces without siege equipment, but enough heavy cavalry to stop any escape attempts. This went on for months, until Afzal Khan sent a messenger offering a private talk, each leader being allowed a single sword and companion.
Shivaji knew Afzal Khan had a reputation for breaking sacred Parley rules and killing anyone that attended his 'peaceful negotiations' so he wore armour and concealed a Bagh Nakh weapon. This Bagh Nakh (Tiger claw) could be concealed under the hand and when the much larger Afzal Khan made his attempt on Shivaji's life. Shivaji responded in kindness and slashed at Khan's belly, the wounds killing him. Shivaji then had some cannon fire shot off as a signal for his forces to attack the now leaderless Bijapuri army. The Battle of Pratapgarh - 1659 would see losses of 3,000 Bijapur forces and a few of it's leaders. Incredibly after the war, Shivaji sent back Enemy forces to their homes with money and food, this demonstrated that Shivaji was a true Kshatriya, unlike the invading forces who committed mass genocide, rape and slavery of captured forces.
Shivaji using the Bagh Nakh 'Tiger Claw' weapon on the tyrant Afzal Khan
"Had not there been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would have been turned into a mosque and all would have been circumcised".
The Battle of Pratapgarh - 1659
Would see losses of 3,000 Bijapur forces and a few of it's leaders. Incredibly after the war, Shivaji sent back Enemy forces to their homes with money and food, this demonstrated that Shivaji was a true Kshatriya, unlike the invading forces who committed mass genocide, rape and slavery of captured forces.
Siege of Panhala - 1660
After the defeat of the Bijapur forces, Shivaji advanced towards Panhala fort and seized it, then defeating the first wave of retaliation send by Adilshah. So in 1660, Adilshah sent Siddi Jahaur to attack the Marathas from the South and made an alliance with the Mughals , who would attack from the North. Siddi's army beseiged the fort and cut off it's supply routes. He obtained some grenades and even hired some English artillery men to bombard the fort and confuse Shivaji. After some months of siege, Shivaji negotiated with Siddi and handed over the fort, which he actually retook 13 years later. Shivaji moved his forces to the fort of Vishalgad and made plans for what came next.
Battle of Pavan Khind - 1660
Shivaji knowing of the imminent threat from Adilshah forces, escaped Panhal fort with 600 of his strongest men. It is said he used a decoy dressed as him to buy himself more time. Being pursued by 10,000 men, he split his force in two and left 300 Mawal warriors under the command of Baji Prabhu Deshpande, who allowed Shivajo to make his escape to Vishalgad fort. Read more about Pavan Khind - 1660.
Shivaji and his commander Baji Prabhu Deshpande just before the legendary battle of Pavan Khind
Shivaji was not motivated out of personal greed or self preservation, his goals were long term self rule of the Hindu's by the Hindu's. During his time he reinvigorated the Hindu spirit by reintroducing native languages, Sanskrit and Marathi back into the court system. He revived Hindu Political traditions from the AtharvaVeda and replaced Persian court conventions with traditional Hindu conventions. He valued the advice of the Brahmin's and protected Cows, to the extent he even had one of his officers killed for killing one.
King For All Hindu's
Shivaji's troops would often fight far from their home town in Pune, where they could resupply their forces quickly. The Maratha forces under Shivaji fought for all Hindu's, this can be clearly seen when his army protected 200,000 non-combatant Hindu's in the Battle of Panipat - 1761. He reinforced traditional Hindu practices and it is said many Mandir's were rebuilt under his watch, often using personal funds instead of state monies.
Shivaji had accumulated wealth and lands through his conquests, but lacked an official title to rule his domain legally. He had to be crowned King to elevate him above that of his fellow Maratha leaders and finally give the people of India a Hindu King again. As with all Vedic courts, Shivaji took counsel from the Brahmins. Some Brahmins didn't want to crown the King as he was classified as a Shudra, to be King of Kings under the Vedic system, one had to have Kshatriya lineage. Shivaji was not initiated into the Kshatriya path and didn't wear the sacred thread of Kshatriya. However a Pandit from Varanasi, found a link between Shivaji and Rajput's, who were Kshatriya warriors. Shivaji completed his penance for not having being initiated as Kshatriya, was initiated and than remarried his wives as a twice born Hindu. Kshatriya's were no ordinary warriors, they had to follow a righteous path, and Shivaji had to atone for sins that he himself had committed that would sit outside the strict code of the Kshatriya.
Shivaji was crowned King on 6th of June, 1674 at Raigad Fort in front of some 50,000 Hindus. He was given the Grand Titles of:
Shivaji's Coronotation depicted by Chitrashala press, Pune
Statues and monuments of Shivaji Maharaj can be found all over India, but almost all towns and cities in Maharashtra commemorate this Hindu Hero
The Indian Navy paid tribute to the great leader by naming one of their ships the 'INS Shivaji'
Numerous postage stamps can be found adorned with an image of the great Shivaji
Airport in Mumbai was renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International and Main Mumbai Station after the Great Hindu Freedom Fighter
Proposal to build giant memorial 'Shiv Smarak' is to be built on a small island just off the coast of Mumbai, it will become the Worlds Largest Statue