The decline of Mughals led to the rise of independent states in different parts of India. Among them the Marathas were prominent. Shivaji was the founder of Maratha Kingdom. In this post, we will mention about early life of the great Shivaji and his achievements in different conquests.
Early life of Shivaji
Shivaji was born at Shivaneri in 1627 CE. Some historians claim the year of birth to be 1630 CE. His parents were Shahaji Bhonsle and Jijabai. Shahaji served under the Sultan of Ahmednagar and later the Adil Shahis of Bijapur as a general in the army.
Shahaji had been granted the Jahagir of Poona. It was looked after by Jijabai, while Shahaji himself stayed at his another Jahagir in Bengaluru. Jijabai, a lady of courage and pious temperament, infused in her son heroism, spiritualism and chivalry. She narrated stories from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata which made him courageous. Shivaji’s tutor and guide was Dadaji Kondadeva. He trained Shivaji in the art of administration and warfare. Shivaji was also influenced by saints like Ramdas and Tukaram. The Mavalis living in the hilly tracts, became his friends and followers.
Achievements of Shivaji in different Conquests
Shivaji entered into military career even before attaining the age of 20. He captured the fort Toran with the help of Mavalis. He also captured many forts like Chakana, Simhagad, Kondana and Purandar from Adil Shah of Bijapura. The Sultan of Bijapura, having incurred heavy losses imprisoned Shahaji. Shivaji through his diplomatic intelligence got the release of his father. Then Shivaji tuned his attention to Konkan coast and occupied the region of Javali. Here he built the new fort of Pratapagadha.
Shivaji and Afzal Khan : 1659 CE
Shivaji’s military activities against the Adil Shah’s continued. So the Sultan of Bijapur wanted to punish Shivaji and sent Afzal Khan against him. Shivaji very tactfully (with the help of “Tiger’s” Claw) killed Afzal Khan and looted his camp. In 1661 CE, the Sultan of Bijapur made peace with Shivaji and recognized his conquests.
Shivaji and Aurangzeb
Shivaji conquered many territories and forts belonging to Aurangzeb. To check his expansion Aurangzeb appointed Shaista Khan as the new governor of Deccan. Shaista Khan succeeded in occupying a vast Maratha territory, (Konkan and Chakan forts) including Poona. The Shaista Khan stayed in the house where Shivaji had spent his childhood at Poona. In 1663, Shivaji entered the city of Poona with a few hundred soldiers, disguised as a marriage party. Finding his way into the house easily, Shivaji attacked Shaista Khan. Khan lost his fingers, but escaped with his life. This increased the fame of Shivaji.
Attack on Surat
In 1664 CE Shivaji attacked and plundered Surat, the richest port on the West coast. By this he collected one crore rupees. The English who supported the Mughals were beaten back. On hearing the arrival of the Mughal force he fled from Surat.
Aurangzeb sent Raja Jaisingh against Shivaji. Jai Singh captured many of Shivaji’s forts like Purandar, Raigadh, etc., by his lightning raids. The treaty of Purandar was signed in 1665 CE by which Shivaji surrendered 23 forts to the Mughals and retained 12 forts. He agreed to pay tribute to Aurangzeb. It was decided that Shivaji’s son Sambaji would be appointed as a Mansabdar of 5000.
Due to the compulsion of Jaisingh, Shivaji visited the Mughal court at Agra. But Aurangzeb insulted and imprisoned him (1666 CE). Shivaji pretended to be ill and sent out baskets of sweets to be donated in charity. Finding an opportunity he escaped with Sambaji by hiding in the baskets. He reached his kingdom in the guise of a saint. Afterwards Shivaji looted Surat twice. He conquered all the forts surrendered earlier to the Mughals. Aurangazeb was unable to subdue him.
Shivaji was crowned as King in 1674 C.E. His coronation took place at Raigadha with pomp and as per the Vedic rites, he took the title “Chatrapati”. Sometimes later Shivaji occupied Hubli, Jinji and Vellore. He brought under his control, his step brother Venkoji, the ruler of Tanjore. Shivaji died in the year of 1680 CE.
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