Chhatrapati Shivaji – “Hindu Hriday Samrat” (Hindu Emperor) – A Short Biography

Chhatrapati Shivaji was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an independent kingdom for himself in the mid-17th century in the face of stiff opposition from the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire. He was crowned as the Chhatrapati, or ruler of his kingdom at Raigad in 1674.

Shivaji’s military genius and his political acumen helped him to carve out a kingdom that was a haven for Hindus in the face of Muslim domination of the Indian subcontinent. His policies of religious tolerance and military prowess won him the support of both Hindus and Muslims. Shivaji’s kingdom became a model of religious harmony and a bulwark against Mughal expansion in the south. Shivaji’s legacy has been greatly celebrated in India. He is revered as a hero of the Hindu faith and is often invoked as a symbol of Indian independence and national pride.

 

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Early life and Background

Chhatrapati Shivaji was born in the hill-fort of Shivneri, near the city of Junnar in what is now the state of Maharashtra. Scholars disagree regarding the date of his birth. But the government listed it as 19 February. His father named, Shahaji Bhonsle, was a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates. His mother, Jijabai, was the daughter of Lakhujirao Jadhavrao, a Maratha chieftain. Shivaji was born into a Maratha warrior family and was raised Hindu. He was taught the importance of Hindu scriptures, including the Bhagavad Gita, by his mother. Shivaji’s childhood coincided with the last phase of the decline of the Mughal Empire. In 1627, Shahaji was imprisoned by the Bijapur Sultanate for his military activities. Shivaji’s mother took him to live with her family in Poona. In 1630, Shahaji was released from prison and resumed his military career.

 

Military Career

Shivaji’s military career began in 1636 when he led a small band of Maratha warriors to raid the nearby town of Bangalore. This was the first of many raids he would conduct against the Sultanate of Bijapur. In 1638, Shivaji captured the strategic fort of Torna. This victory helped him gain the support of the local Maratha chieftains.

 

Conflict with Bijapur Sultanate

In 1639, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on the city of Pune, which was under the control of the Bijapur Sultanate. He took Torna Fort when he was just 16 years old in 1646. He quickly took control of the city and declared it his capital. Shivaji continued to expand his territory by capturing more forts and defeating rival chieftains. In 1656, Shivaji Maharaj established the Maratha Empire by defeating the last of the Adilshahi rulers. The Maratha Empire was the first Hindu empire in India. Shivaji Maharaj is considered one of the greatest Hindu warriors of all time.

 

Siege of Panhala

By defeating the Bijapur forces sent against him, his army marched towards Konkan and Kolhapur. He seized the Panhala fort by defeating opponent forces. In 1660, Adilshah attacked the southern border of Shivaji with an alliance of Mughals. He was, at that time, encamped with his forces at Panhala. Adilshah’s army besieged the Panhala and cut the supply route to the fort. Adil,s army hired some English artillerymen to help in his bombardment of the fort. This betrayal made him angry and he in December would retaliate. He plundered the English factory at Rajapur and captured four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663. He took back Panhala in 1673.

 

Battle of Pavan Khind

He escaped from Panhala at night. Enemy cavalry was pursuing him. With 300 soldiers and Maratha Sardar Prabhu Deshpande, his army agreed to fight to hold them at Ghod Khind. To give the rest of the army and Shivaji a chance to reach Vishalgad. Prabhu Deshpande was wounded but continued to fight until he heard a sound of Canon fire from Vishalgad fort, which was a signal that Shivaji and the rest of the army had reached there safely.

 

Conflict with the Mughals

Shivaji maintained good relations with the Mughals until 1657 and aided the Aurangzeb-Mughal viceroy in conquering Bijapur. In return, he asked to recognize the Bijapur fort and its villages. Aurangzeb refused, and Shivaji got a better offer from Bijapur. He decided to raid the Mughal Deccan. His confrontation started in 1657. Mughal Empire responded to his raid by sending Nasiri Khan, who won at Ahmednagar. Due to the rainy season, Aurangzeb attacks were intercepted.

 

Treaty of Purandar

In 1665, enraged Aurangzeb sent the Rajput Mirza Raja to defeat Shivaji. He succeeded in tempting away some key commanders. The Treaty of Purandar was between Shivaji and Jai Singh and was signed on 11 June 1665. In the treat, Shivaji agreed to give his 23 forts and pay 400,000 gold hunas top the Mughal Empire. He also agreed to send his son with 5000 horse riders to fight for Mughals in the Deccan as a Mansabdar.

 

Death

Chhatrapati Shivaji was one of the most prominent and influential rulers of India. He was the founder of the Maratha Empire and is considered one of the greatest warriors in Indian history. Shivaji led a rebellion against the Mughal Empire and established an independent Maratha kingdom. He is also credited with driving out the Portuguese from India. Shivaji died in 1680 at the age of 52. The cause of his death is disputed. British recorded that he died of a bloody flux. Another scholar listed it as fever. His surviving wife committed Sati. His death was a great loss to the Maratha people and the Indian subcontinent.

 

Places dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji

Many important places in India are dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the busiest railway stations in India. It is in Mumbai and serves as the headquarters of the Central Railway. The station was built in 1887 in the Victorian Gothic style of architecture and is one of India’s finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, is another important landmark dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji. It is one of the largest museums in India and houses a collection of ancient Indian art and artifacts. The museum was built in 1905 in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Fort, also known as the Shivneri Fort, is a hill fort near the city of Junnar in the Pune district. The fort was built in the 16th century by Shivaji’s father, Shahaji. It is one of the most important forts in the Maratha Empire and served as Shivaji’s birthplace and childhood home.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the main international airport serving the city of Mumbai. It is named after Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. The airport is in the Santacruz suburb and handles domestic and international flights.

 

Summary

Chhatrapati Shivaji was an Indian warrior. He was also a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an independent kingdom for himself in the mid-17th century, which his son and grandson eventually expanded into the Maratha Empire. Shivaji was a fearless warrior and skilled general who fought against overwhelming odds to preserve his kingdom and Hinduism in the face of Muslim aggression. He was a master of guerilla warfare and employed innovative military tactics to great effect. Shivaji’s military successes against the Mughals and other Muslim rulers earned him the “Hindu Hriday Samrat” (Hindu Emperor). Maharashtra revered him as a folk hero and considered one of the greatest kings in Indian history.

 

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