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Detail of Biography - Shivaji
Name :
Shivaji
Date :
Views :
463
Category :
Birth Date :
10/04/1627
Birth Place :
fort Shivneri.
Death Date :
April 5, 1680
Biography - Shivaji
Not Available
Around the 14th – 15th century, the eastern part of the world, rich in culture and finance was known as Hindustan (India). To trade with Hindustan was a matter of pride for other countries. The temples studded with jewels and plated with gold was a common sight in those days. Many rulers invaded and looted these treasures. There were rulers who invaded and established their rule in Hindustan. The most lasting of all these rulers were the Mughals. The only person who fought against the Mughals was Shivaji – a staunch Hindu from Deccan.[br /]
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[b]Deccan - The Geography[/b][br /]
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Almost across the center of the Indian peninsula stretches the great natural barrier of Vindhya Mountains. Southwards of it lies a vast rocky plateau, its slopes covered with dense forests and intersected by precipitous gorges, which made it almost inaccessible to invaders. An Alexandrian merchant, who visited Broach in around 100 AD described the Deccan in his days : “Consisted of desert regions and vast mountains, swarming with wild beasts of every description – leopard, tigers, elephants, huge snakes, hyenas, and monkeys of various kinds”. The Chinese pilgrim Fa Hein, three centuries later spoke about Deccan to be precipitous and dangerous.[br /]
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The geography of this area was a strong barrier to many foreigners who invaded India. But in 1294, someone managed to cross it. It was Ala-ud-din, the Mohammedan Sultan of Delhi. He swept across the Narmada and the last Hindu monarchy of the Deccan was blotted out after a brief fruitless struggle. For the next two centuries, Deccan was ruled by the Mohammedan rulers. It was divided into two principalities of Bijapur and Ahmednagar. Bijapur was an established state but Ahmednagar had to invite Mughal interference to protect itself.[br /]
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The Mohammedan courts offered patronage to the adventurers. Mughals divided the state into smaller districts and the districts were let out in Jaghir or fief, to the Maratha nobles. Bhosle was one such Maratha family, who was provided with Jaghir.[br /]
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Lakhaji Jadavrao of Sinkhed claimed descent from the famous medieval rajas of Devgiri. Lakhaji was a feudatory in the service of the Nizamshahi government of Ahmednagar. [br /]
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[b]Shahji - Jijabai[/b][br /]
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Maloji Bhosle, a subordinate in the government of Ahmednagar was an ambitious and able man. With his capabilities he captivated his overlords, the Jadavs. Soon he and his son Shahji were admitted among the Jadav household. Maloji’s terms with his overlords can be identified with his audacity to demand the hand of his daughter for Shahji, his son. Lakhaji refused the proposed match. Maloji was not seen for a time. He suddenly reappeared one day as a man of considerable wealth. Goddess Bhavani was said to have revealed to him a great treasure of gold buried beneath an anthill. He spent much of his money in pious works – repairing temples, building tanks, and feeding Brahmins.[br /]
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He was also equipped with a considerable regiment of cavalry. Now, Maloji was no more the despised dependant as he was a few years ago. Lakhaji accepted the proposal. In April 1604, Shahji married Jijabai, daughter of Lakhaji Jadav. Maloji was raised to the rank of commander of 5,000 horses and was presented with the Jaghirs of Pune and Supe and the forts of Chakan and Shivneri.[br /]
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Maloji died in 1619, and his son Shahji returned to the service of Ahmednagar and took a leading part in the confused and varying story of intrigue, treachery, and bloodshed, which marked the last years of that state. After changing sides several times, and even trying to raise his own kingdom, he was compelled to abandon Ahmednagar to its fate till 1637 when Emperor Shah Jehan took it over. Shahji had entered the service of Bijapur by this time and when Shah Jehan made peace with the latter kingdom, it was stipulated that this turbulent leader should be given up to the Mughals.[br /]
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This however was easier said than done. Shahji, not without the connivance of Bijapur, promptly fled with his followers to the Deccan hills. He played hide-and-seek with the general sent to arrest him. Finally, Shah Jehan anxious to wind up affairs in the Deccan granted him pardon on condition that he returned to the service of Bijapur.[br /]
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[b]Birth of the Greatest Maratha Warrior[/b][br /]
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Meanwhile, the founder of Maratha kingdom was born on April 10, 1627 (the 5th of the first half of Vaishakh of the Shaka year 1549) in the fort of Shivneri. The boy was named Shivaji after the goddess Shivai. Shahji had left Jijabai at Shivneri as her pregnancy was advancing. In those days, Shahji was a fugitive and Mughal forces were following him. When amnesty of 1637 was proclaimed, Shahji was temporarily reunited with his family.[br /]
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[b]The Shaping Years[/b][br /]
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First six years of Shivaji’s life were spent in highly unsettled conditions. But Jijabai looked into it that his education should not suffer. She would tell stories from Indian scriptures and epics, of Rama and Krishna, of Bhim and Abhimanyu. She would also recite the devotional songs of Gyandeo, Namdeo and Eknath, the saints of Maharashtra. Shivaji used to play with the children of poor families and there lies the roots for his alliance with the tribal of Maval. Sometimes he visited them in their huts and shared their simple meal. Shivaji joined the Mavlis in all their games and became one with them.[br /]
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Shahji moved his family to Bangalore for some time. He arranged for his proper education there. Shivaji learnt and mastered the art of riding, wrestling and swordsmanship as well at Bangalore.[br /]
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Shahji was deputed to the province of Karnataka and the family had to separate once again. Shahji entrusted the responsibility of Shivaji to Dadaji Kondadev, an experienced and faithful Brahmin secretary. Shivaji was again under the total influence of his mother. They moved to Pune, an ancient center of Brahmin learning.[br /]
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At Pune, Dadaji took care of his education. Shivaji became an expert horseman. He even strengthened his skills of spear throwing, archery and wrestling. He also learnt the art of administration and more importantly, learnt how to win the hearts of the people and render justice to them. Another area where Dadaji served Indian history indirectly was that he introduced Shivaji to Mavlis, the tribals of the area. The mountain valleys of the Pune district are generally called Maval. The race in the Maval hills is known as Mavli. Up to the time of Shivaji they had been generally neglected and despised. These people were loyal, hard working and quick-footed. They also reflected Shivaji’s view of throwing over the reign of Mughal sultan.[br /]
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Shivaji also acquired practical knowledge of governing the province as he would accompany Dadaji and see him settle disputes and award punishments. When, at a very young age, Shivaji was seated on the throne, he remembered the lessons of fearless justice. Once, he had to give verdict on the case of the village Patel, the village head. He had dishonored a helpless widow when actually it was his duty to protect such people of the village. It was clear that the Patel had done wrong and should be punished for his deed. The young ruler announced the judgement : both the hands and the feet of the Patel were to be cut off. His verdict left everyone agape. Patel, for the unexpected decision against him from a young lad; and people in general for his firm devotion to justice. Shivaji instantly created an image of a justice-loving ruler. People found him kind and loving towards the poor, the downfallen and the wretched.[br /]
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Jijabai remained a source of inspiration throughout his growing years. On his return from the tribal land, he would talk about the sufferings of his subjects under the Mughal rule to his mother. Jijabai would say, “Shivba, …Rama killed Ravan and made his people happy. Krishna did same with cruel Kans. You too can destroy the wicked and make your subjects happy.” Her words would always reinforce his desire to do something for Mavlis. The young man would think he should become courageous and brave like those heroes.[br /]
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At Pune, he learnt about the fundamentals of his cultural heritage and turned into a staunch religious Hindu. A mission was shaping up within the mind of the young man.[br /]
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[b]The Rebel[/b][br /]
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When Shivaji was a lad of 10, he was to stay for three more years at the court of Adilshah. Shivaji in those days can be described as singularly shrewd and intelligent for his age. He used the three years at its best in studying the strength and weakness of that great but degenerated capital. Shahji was a trusted servant of Bijapur and had little time for his boy. But Jijabai had a great influence on Shivaji. Jijabai was a proud and determined woman, she never forgot that in her veins ran the blood of the rulers of that land.[br /]
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The court-men of Bijapur witnessed the glimpse of the future rebel in Shivaji. On an occasion Shahji took his son to the court of the Sultan of Bijapur. Shivaji was hardly 12 years old. Shahji, as the usual practice, saluted the Sultan. He asked Shivaji to do the same. But Shivaji stood erect with his head unbent and stepped back a little. It was very clear from his posture and dazzling eyes that he would not bow down to a foreign ruler.[br /]
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[b]Marriage[/b][br /]
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As was the common practice of the time, Shahji and Jijabai started looking for a suitable bride for their 14-year-old son. Shahji expressed his desire to bring Shivaji to Bijapur and celebrate his marriage there. To this, Shivaji replied that as Bijapur had purely Mohammedan atmosphere, he preferred to have his marriage at Pune, where the ceremonies of Hindu religion could be performed without any obstruction. As a consequence, with the consent of Shahji, Shivaji’s marriage took place at Pune in 1640 with great pomp and eclat. The bride chosen was Saibai, a daughter of the distinguished Nimbalkar family.[br /]
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After the function the family returned with their daughter-in-law at Bijapur. The king noticed Shivaji accompanying his father in the court and his humble etiquettes. Shivaji did not mind staying in Bijapur as far as his ethics were not hurt.[br /]
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But he had become aware of his cultural heritage as a Hindu and the strong religious feeling was taking hold over his heart and mind. In Bijapur, he came across the cow-slaughter issue. The cow is the most pious animal for a Hindu and slaughter of these pious creatures was intolerable for Shivaji. Rebelling against cow-slaughter was protesting against the king of Bijapur and especially when his father was one of the loyalists to the king. To avoid the controversy, Shivaji wanted to leave Bijapur. While Shahji and Jijabai were deciding on sending Shivaji out of Bijapur, a new issue came up in the court. It is said that when Shivaji accompanied Shahji to the court, the Sultan asked him whether Shivaji was married. When he came to know about Shivaji’s marriage out of Bijapur, he insisted that Shivaji’s second marriage should take place in Bijapur.[br /]
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Bigamy was prevalent and accepted in those days. With all the pomp and fair Shivaji was wedded to his second bride chosen from the select Maratha nobility. This second wife of Shivaji was named Soyarabai.[br /]
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[b]Shivaji Raising The Army[/b][br /]
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Finally Shivaji moved out of Bijapur and then onwards started the mission that was shaping up at the back of his mind and in his dreamy eyes. The young Maratha soon discovered that beneath an unprepossessing appearance of the simple Mavlis, many sterling qualities were concealed. Hardy, brave, and literally faithful Mavlis started regarding their young master with passionate admiration.[br /]
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Their manners captivated Shivaji. He accompanied them on their hunting expeditions. Above all, by wandering in their company, Shivaji learned about every inch of the Deccan hills and to find his way through the tangled maze of jungle and ravine and precipice, which led from the Ghats to the Konkan.[br /]
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During the training, some other plans were developing within him. The Pune Jaghir was divided into four natural strongholds. These were Kondana (later the famous Sinhagad), Torana, and the forts of Chakan and Purandar. They were carelessly guarded. Adilshah never gave serious concern to Deccan. The easiest thing that appeared to Shivaji was seizing the forts with the help of the Mavlis.[br /]
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With the purpose in their mind, Shivaji and his lieutenants collected a considerable army of followers and began to lay their plans.[br /]
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[b]The Warrior Striking[/b][br /]
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Shivaji struck his first blow in 1646. He persuaded the governor of the fort of Torana to throw open the gates of the stronghold. It made Shivaji the manager of these two parganas (Provinces). This victory made him well-known overnight in his tribe. Like the Zamindars of the country, he started building castles on the hills and mud forts.[br /]
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After Torana, he got a sudden opening. Adilshah of Bijapur was struck by a lingering sickness and great confusion arose in his territory. Shivaji, seeing his country in an orphan state, boldly stepped in and seized it with the possessions of other Jaghirdars. It had been a peculiarity of the Deccan that it was never free from commotions and outbreaks and so the officials and the army had become greedy and frivolous.[br /]
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Shivaji, the man of intelligence made use of the circumstances and took the reins of authority in his hands and at length became the most notorious of all the rebels. He assembled a large force of Maratha robbers and plunderers and set about recapturing fortresses.[br /]
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Now, security of Torana was his responsibility. And to his luck a hidden treasure was discovered while repairing the walls of Torana. The availability of finance squared his strength, popularity and power. With the money thus obtained, he set out to build another stronghold on the neighboring peak of Rajgad. This bold action awakened even the languid authorities at Bijapur. They wrote to Shahji to check his son’s encroachments. Shahji thereupon sent orders to Dadaji Kondadev to keep hold on Shivaji. Dadaji Kondadev, with his increasing age had no more influence on his young ward. Above all Dadaji was happy with Shivaji’s progress.[br /]
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Shivaji had started with a mission of reestablishing Hindu kingdom in Deccan and it was impossible to stop this Maratha. He won over the fortress of Sinhagad by bribery, Purandar by trick. Thus, by the end of 1647, he was undisputed master of the Pune district. [br /]
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[b]Expanding Boundaries[/b][br /]
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Shivaji could not be contended with these acquisitions. He began to cast covetous eyes on the Konkan, the fertile low country lying between Ghats and the sea. These pastures were under the control of Mohammedan governor Mulana Ahmad. These were the rich areas for trade. To capture it was as to have a never-ending flow of finance in their hands. Spies announced to the Maratha leader that some treasure was about to be shifted from Kalyan to Bijapur. It was supposed to travel through the Par pass, halting at the town of Wai. Shivaji, who had become an expert Mavli, managed to ambuscade the convoy as it climbed up the hill and captured the treasure. He had to pay the price of 10 lives for the treasure. This was the first blood spill, as Shivaji’s other captures had been done by bribery, tack or surprise.[br /]
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Shivaji had a great influence on his subjects and they were dedicated to him. They readily laid their lives for him. Shivaji equally reciprocated these favors. He liberally rewarded those who had shown gallantry on the field and made ample provision for the families of those who had fallen.[br /]
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Very soon Shivaji’s officers, Abaji Sondev attacked Kalyan and captured the governor and his family and took over the town. This was a magnificent exploit and it marked the beginning of Shivaji’s career as the champion of Hinduism in the Deccan.[br /]
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Abaji sent the daughter-in-law of Mulana Ahmad, to Shivaji as a gift. She was a young woman of striking grace and beauty. The great Maratha merely remarked with a laugh that had his mother been half so beautiful, he himself might have been a little less ugly and returned her with respect and Mulana Ahmad was also allowed a safe passage. This chivalrous deed fetched him enormous prestige.[br /]
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Capture of Kalyan and setting Mulana free made him popular even in the hearts of the subjects of even the Mohammedan rulers. The people were tired of Mohammedan maladministration and Shivaji prudently established wise revenue system in the provinces.[br /]
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Forts after forts opened their gates and the entire Konkan was soon under control of the Marathas. Other strongholds, which refused to surrender, were also taken over by simple stratagem. Shivaji was now riding the horses and leaving his mark behind. Next, the azure of Surgad turned orange when Shivaji hoisted the orange Maratha flag on the fort.[br /]
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It was however difficult to maintain his firm hold over his conquest, because the Siddi or Abyssinian ruler was a powerful chief. Shivaji erected new fortifications, and appointed a chief at Birwadi. The fortification of Kairi was also strengthened and the fort of Lingana was built thereupon. The fort was afterwards further entrenched and became famous under the name of Raigad.[br /]
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It was in this campaign that Shivaji obtained his famous sword Bhavani. He is said to have paid 300 hons (a hon was worth 3½ rupees) for it. The historic weapon seldom left his side and it is said that he regularly worshipped it at the time of the great festival of Dasara, when all the Hindus pay respect to the implements of their trade. After his death it passed in the hands of Rajas of Satara and it is still in the possession of their descendants, who pay it divine honors.[br /]
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[b]Shahji's Entrapment and Release[/b][br /]
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Mulana Ahmad, was given a safe passage by Shivaji, but the loser was disgraced by the defeat and was at Bijapur court with tears in eyes, clamoring for revenge. Kalyan was lost and so were the revenues of Konkan but still the Bijapur Darbar (court) hesitated as despotic government seldom trusts its most successful officer and so was the case of Bijapur government and Shahji. Shahji’s extraordinary success in Karnataka was by no means popular with them. The air at Bijapur was full of the rumor that Shivaji was incited to revolt by Shahji so as to divert the attention of Bijapur government while he can erect his independent monarchy in South.[br /]
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Shahji was asked to tame the rebelling Shivaji. The impossible task was assigned to the father who for long had no regular contacts with his son. Shahji in vain tried to convince that it was useless for him to stop Shivaji.[br /]
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The Bijapur government wanted to bring Shivaji under control through his father. They never wanted to take any direct challenge against Shivaji. Bijapur government thought it to be possible to pressurize Shahji and tame Shivaji and handle the issue of Mulana Ahmad diplomatically. The Bijapur authorities bribed the Maratha Chief Baji Ghorpade of Mudhol, to seize Shahji by treachery. For this act Shahji never forgave Baji.[br /]
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The treachery always pinched Shahji’s heart. He wrote to Shivaji privately, If you be a true son of mine, punish Baji Ghorpade ! For four years Shahji languished in the dungeons of Bijapur, in a tiny cell, which Sultan threatened to build it altogether if Shivaji did not surrender.[br /]
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Shivaji was in the desperate state and for a time even thought of laying his arms down for his father. But his wife Saibai stopped Shivaji. It was then that he thought of the entire episode with a different angle.[br /]
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Since the peace of 1637, the Mughals had been little heard of in Deccan. Shah Jehan, the emperor, like Adilshah was a poet and more of an art lover than a warrior. He built many architectural masterpieces like Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid and the gemlike mosque in Agra. These monuments and the Peacock Throne occupied the greater portion of the Emperor’s time and money.[br /]
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Mughal territories were extended up to Ahmednagar and of late they had done very little in the Deccan. Shivaji made an excellent counterstroke in the relation. He entered into correspondence with the Emperor and offered to support him if the Bijapur authorities did not harass his father any more. Shivaji was ready to part with all his major conquest for Shahji. As per the deal with Shah Jehan, Shivaji was to handover major part of Deccan and a goodly share of the Konkan. What was more, it would bring the Mughals within striking distance of Bijapur itself.[br /]
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The luring opportunity deceived Shah Jehan. The alliance between Shah Jehan, the Mughal Emperor and Shivaji, a chivalrous warrior belittled the courage of Bijapur. Bijapur found itself in a trap for giving refuge to Mulana Ahmad. Added to the alarming situation was the state of Karnataka. The subjects of Karnataka territory had revolted in absence of their old and trusty ruler, Shahji. Shivaji had also promised Shah Jehan to join the Mughals if his mission succeeded. All the factors – Karnataka rebels, Mughal and Maratha alliance and few trustworthy friends of Shahji in Bijapur court compelled the Bijapur State to release Shahji in 1663.[br /]
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[b]Capturing Javli[/b][br /]
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Shivaji, free at last of the anxiety of his father’s capture, was prepared to strike a fresh blow. Shivaji reigned almost on entire Deccan. He had regained all the Maratha kingdoms in the area except Javli. Chandrarao More ruled on Javli. The land of Javli had a great strategical importance as it included a large strip of the Ghat Mahta, the borderland between Deccan and Konkan. The capital lay on the Par pass between highland and lowland. For various reasons it was important for Shivaji to have Javli or to have alliance with the ruler of Javli.[br /]
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But Chandrarao More did not want to get involved in any conflicts with Bijapur. Chandrarao More was in the position to refuse Shivaji for any alliance. With his hill-forts, his Mavlis and his extensive territories, it was impossible to attack him openly. Shivaji wanted Javli by fair or foul means. His two officers, Ragho Ballal and Sambhaji Kavji arranged the actual details of the plot. They sent a secret message to their leader, who dispatched a body of troops to wait in the jungles around Javli. When the net had been drawn round the doomed town, the two conspirators, who all this while, had kept the Raja engaged by a talk of a pretended matrimonial alliance between his daughter and their master, walked up to him in open darbar and stabbed him and his brother. Before people had realized what had happened, they rushed out through the crowd cutting down all who opposed them. At the same moment the Mavlis, emerging from their hidings, rushed into the town and stormed it. The Raja’s troops made a gallant resistance, but they were caught unprepared, and were quickly routed.[br /]
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In this sanguinary manner Javli was taken over by the troops of Shivaji. Various hill-forts of the Ghat Mahta were immediately stormed and the whole territory of Chandrarao More fell into the hands of Shivaji. Fall of Javli gave enormous power to Shivaji and at the same time he became a nightmare for Bijapur and various small states around. Shivaji became the king of Deccan and he was the Maratha leader with an inaccessible height of power. The deals following the fall of Javli with other kingdoms show their acceptance of Shivaji as ‘insurmountable’. The authority of Bijapur, north of Kolhapur, was practically extinct. Even the Savants of Wadi yielded, and agreed to a treaty by which they consented to pay to Shivaji one half of their revenue to garrison the forts and to maintain a body of infantry on their behalf.[br /]
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The only exception to this was the important port of Janjira. This port was the flourishing colony of African Mohammedans, who maintained a considerable fleet. Their governor was a gallant officer, Fateh Khan, usually called the Siddi on account of his Abyssinian origin. While the dices were rolling fast, Bijapur remained a silent observer. In order to understand the Bijapur authorities and its tame look at the increasing power of Shivaji, it is necessary to have an umbrella view of the situation or rather the entire Hindustan.[br /]
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In 1850, Aurangzeb, third son of Shah Jehan was appointed the Viceroy of Deccan for the second time. Aurangzeb, an adherent Sunni, hated Shia heritage of the Deccan almost as he did the Hindus. His first aim was to add to the Mughal dominions the independent kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur. In 1655, when Shivaji made his treacherous attack on Javli, Aurangzeb marched against Golconda, and conquered it. Meanwhile Bijapur lost its King Adilshah and after his death his 19-year-old son Ali Adilshah ascended the throne. The territory under this young prince was

soon taken over by Aurangzeb in 1657. The winsome march of Aurangzeb was stopped when news arrived from Delhi that the old Emperor was quite ill and that Dara Shikoh, his eldest son had assumed the regency. Aurangzeb rushed towards Delhi and Shivaji got a handy opportunity to play his turn.
When Aurangzeb started on his invasion of Bijapur, Shivaji with his usual manner sent ambassadors to him, acknowledging him as an overlord of the Deccan. Aurangzeb equally desirous of playing the game, put the ball in Shivaji’s court. This was the move to knock down their common rival – Bijapur. The Mughal army marched southward and Shivaji withdrew from that front and captured Junnar with a sudden raid. Next was the turn of Ahmednagar, but over there he was beaten off, but managed to carry a 1,000 good cavalry mounts. He had realized that to beat the troops in the plains, cavalry were essential and the small ponies of the Deccan, however suitable for the mountain warfare, could not stand for a moment against a heavy horse. While his raids were on, Aurangzeb returned and Shivaji concentrated his efforts on him. He sent an ambassador, asking for pardon for what had occurred. Aurangzeb, master of the game, returned a gracious answer. [br /]
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[b]Shivaji V/s Afzal Khan [/b][br /]
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Meanwhile, Bijapur, recovered from Aurangzeb raid, was prepared to knock Shivaji down. Early in 1659, a well-equipped force was readied consisting of 5,000 horses, 700 infantry and a detachment of mountain guns and rockets, carried on camel backs. The command of this formidable army was given to a Pathan officer Afzal Khan who knew Deccan well.[br /]
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All these years, Shivaji was not idle. After the murder of Raja of Javli, it became evident that the Par pass must be secured at all cost. The fortification of this place was entrusted to a young Brahmin officer, Moro Trimal Pingle. By the middle of September 1659, Afzal Khan’s force was ready to move. Before leaving Bijapur Afzal Khan boasted in the Darbar that he would quickly bring the Mountain Rat (as Shivaji was know for his guerrilla warfare) and cast him in chains before the throne of the Sultan.[br /]
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Shivaji conceived a plan to fight Afzal Khan which is almost unparalleled in the history for treachery and daring. He sent emissaries with a message for peace. Afzal Khan received this gladly. It was agreed that negotiations should be formally opened and that, if they proved successful, Shivaji should be confirmed in his Jaghir as a feudatory of Bijapur and after receiving suitable rewards should be dismissed with honor.[br /]
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The next day, formal negotiations were opened. Gopinath Pant, a Brahmin employee of Bijapur was sent with other envoy to Shivaji’s camp. The embassy was received with due hospitality, and tents were pitched for them at the foot of the pass. But the Brahmin’s tent was placed at a distance from his fellows.[br /]
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Shivaji entered the tent of the Brahmin at midnight and implored him to be a Hindu, a Brahmin and a person true to his country and tried to convince him to punish the defiler of temples and the slayer of kine. Shivaji also promised him good return for his favor. When appealed in the name of

religion, Gopinath could not resist. On their return, he told Afzal Khan that Shivaji was in the state of great terror but that if a personal interview could be arranged, then amicable settlement could be derived. Afzal Khan readily gave his consent for the interview.[br /]
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Shivaji now was ready with his scheme. Moro Trimal Pingle, the engineer of the fort of Pratapgadh was asked to hide with a large force in the jungles of Javli.[br /]
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[b]Death of Afzal Khan[/b][br /]
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Nathaji Palkar, another follower of Shivaji, was waiting at the foot of the fort with the cavalry. The place for rendezvous was decided amidst the thickest jungle. A path was cut, leading to the spot, but none leading from it. The fatal morning arrived. Afzal Khan walked straight into the trap. He moved with 1,500 troopers at the foot of the hill. There he asked the escort to wait and accompanied by one officer he went to meet his destined fate in a palanquin.[br /]
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Meanwhile, Shivaji had made all possible preparations for the crowning event of his life. He spent the night in prayer of Bhavani. He dressed in white Indian robe, but underneath it he donned a shirt of fine mail (flexible armor). In his belt was a bichva, a scorpion dagger, a favorite Maratha weapon and a good Bhavani sword. Concealed in the palm of his left hand was the terrible tiger’s claw, long steel hooks fitting to the fingers used for assassination. Then, accompanied by his old and tired comrade Tanaji Malusare, he descended slowly from the gateway of the castle. Above the plateau, a sentry had been posted. “When you see me strike,” Shivaji had given orders, “Don’t think of me, sound the charge, whether I stand or fall.”[br /]
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Shivaji then descended hesitatingly and in apparent fear fell on the feet of Afzal Khan. Afzal Khan stooped to raise him up and at the same moment the Maratha chief, as if he was to embrace him, struck into his stomach with the tiger claw. Afzal Khan immediately staggered back and took out his sword to counter the assault but the edge was turned by Shivaji’s coat of mail. His officer tried to rescue his master but the efforts went in vain as it was an unprepared attack.[br /]
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In the meantime the sentry on the tower had given the signal to Moro Trimal by firing five gunshots and as per the plan Afzal Khan’s troopers were surrounded and brutally killed. The backbone of Bijapur, Afzal Khan was killed and the power of Bijapur in the central Deccan was broken forever.[br /]
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[b]Bijapur - The Target [/b][br /]
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Shivaji was not content merely with the defeat of Afzal Khan. He was determined to carry out the mission into the enemy territory. He started with the secret plan. His recent success had showed that his army was prepared to match any other on grounds. First he thought to march straight upon Bijapur, while the city was still in panic and would earn him easy victory. On second thought he decided to march southward first and capture the crucial position there and surround Bijapur. As per the second thought Shivaji divided the force.[br /]
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A force was left to guard the Pune district, another force was sent to mask any flanking movement from the Konkan on the part of the Siddi of Janjira and the Savants of Wadi. With the third, Shivaji marched southwards. He reached Kolhapur district, and, seized the great fortress of Panhala, the key to the southern Maratha country. Taking over the minor forts in the area lying between Panhala and Bijapur, the Maratha chief finally approached the gates of Bijapur.[br /]
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Bijapur government had recovered from the last attack and now was prepared for any sudden attack from Maratha. Shivaji, as expected made a sudden attack and he faced the gallant army of Bijapur. A huge army, under a distinguished Abyssinian general, Siddi Johar, took the field. Shivaji was unable to meet it; he fell back on Panhala. With their morale boosted, Bijapur’s desire to avenge the attack grew stronger.[br /]
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After being besieged throughout rainy season, in 1660, Shivaji thought that he should either surrender or either resort back to treachery. He therefore started to make amends with Bijapur. It was almost decided to surrender and so the Bijapur authority relaxed the security. One can easily depict the chagrin of the following morning. The virulent worrier needed a slight opening to escape and he managed a fine escape. He and a few followers under cover of rain and darkness rode to the north.[br /]
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Deceived Bijapur Sultan Fazl Mohammed Khan was furious and his cavalry started in hot pursuit. They caught up Marathas some six-miles from Rangana. Shivaji could be safe once he reached Rangana fort. He left a troop behind under the leadership of Baji Prabhu, his former foe and now his devoted officer, with strict orders not to retreat until a gun was fired to announce the arrival of the main force at Rangana. The Bijapur cavalry was twice repelled and then the long-expected gunshot was heard from the fort.[br /]
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After this, the campaign died out and Siddi Johar decided to stop the fatal chase and left Fateh Khan to keep the Marathas engaged before they reach Rangana.[br /]
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Shivaji managed to retire in Pratapgad, where he spent the monsoon of 1661. The Mohammedans succeeded in recapturing some of the forts in Kolhapur district. Shivaji on the other hand gained several forts in Konkan.[br /]
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In the meantime Bijapur had its own distressed position. The king suspected Siddi Johar because he had failed to defeat the Marathas. Meanwhile, Shivaji made an alliance with the Portuguese at Goa. Bijapur, seeing the vulnerability of their power, decided to come to terms with Shivaji. The details of the treaty are obscure, but it appears that Shivaji was acknowledged as the ruler of the Deccan. The territory extended as far as in Kolhapur in south and as far as Konkan and Goa – a strip some 150 miles in length and about 50 to 100 miles in width.[br /]
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It was during this time that Shivaji decided to make Raigad his capital. Raigad was more convenient for various reasons. Raigad was in the center of Konkan and conveniently close to Janjira and to Surat, the places Shivaji raided constantly.[br /]
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[b]The Campaign against the Mughals[/b][br /]
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In 1662, Shivaji was the master of the Deccan and at peace with Bijapur. But why only Deccan ? He was ambitious and that could be the reason that he tried to enter the hive of Mughal. He attacked the Mughals in 1662. The forces on the front were unequal to cope up the task, so, Aurangzeb decided to send Shayista Khan to put the affair to an end. The force left Aurangabad early in 1663 and marched towards Pune.[br /]
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Hardly it had left Aurangabad than the Maratha horsemen began to follow them. Plundering the baggage and cutting off the stragglers. “Every day and on every march,’ said Khafi Khan, ‘Shivaji’s Deccanians swarmed round the baggage, and falling suddenly upon it like Cossacks, carried off horses, camels, men and whatever they could secure, until they became aware of the approach of the troops.” Shivaji retired to the impregnable fortress of Sinhagad, to watch further movement of the enemy. Shayista Khan was chagrined and hampered by the rain; the besiegers were attacked at night by the Marathas and were driven out of their trenches. Shayista Khan challenged him, he said, “You hide away in the hills,” he taunted him, “like a monkey.” “Yes”, replied Shivaji, “But remember, it were the monkeys, which destroyed Ravan and all his host !”[br /]
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Shayista Khan was occupying Lal Mahal, the ‘Red Palace’ and Shivaji with his few men managed to penetrate it by bribing the watchman. The plan was to kill Khan but before it could be made possible, a maid saw them. To escape from the enemy camp, they cut whomsoever came in way. Shayista Khan was saved but was broken by the incident. He asked the emperor to call him back and gave the charge to Prince Muazzam with Raja Jai Singh, the greatest of the Rajput feudatories.[br /]
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Raja Jai Singh, determined to bell the cat, set on a mission. He almost seized the Raigad fort and it was for the first time that Shivaji was facing a capable commander like him. It became obvious that Shivaji had to surrender. Raja Jai Singh took every precaution against treachery and received Shivaji. As per the agreement, out of the 35 forts in the Deccan, the key of 23 forts were to be given up and Shivaji was to assume the position of a Jaghirdar of the Mughal Emperor.[br /]
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[b]The Great Escape[/b][br /]
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At the end of the campaign, on the advice of the Raja, Shivaji determined to go to Delhi to interview the Emperor and to try to obtain better terms. He was received coldly by the Emperor to whom he refused to pay the profound obeisance required as per the Persian ettiquettes. As the meet was a failure, Shivaji expressed his desire to return, but he and his son were asked to stay. The situation was getting serious. But as Jai Singh had given him the promise of his safety, he accepted the request, because a Rajput never breaks his promises. Ram Singh, who was assigned the duty of Shivaji’s security thought that Shivaji’s life was no longer safe.[br /]
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Shivaji had been in habit of sending huge baskets of sweets to be distributed among the beggars. For several days he feigned in fever and remained in bed. One day the attendant saw him apparently asleep as usual. But in reality it was Hiraji Pharjand, a faithful follower who had consented to take his place. Shivaji and his son Sambhaji had been smuggled out in the baskets of sweet and were heading towards Mathura at the moment. Here he met faithful Tanaji, and shaving off his beard and whiskers and smearing his face with ashes, he was quickly lost in the crowd. When he reached Allahabad, Sambhaji broke down. He left his son with a faithful Brahmin and traveled towards Deccan.[br /]
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[b]Shivaji Striking Back[/b][br /]
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In incredibly short time the news of Shivaji’s escape spread all over Deccan and celebrations started off. The king of Deccan had limited reign of Pune, Supe and Chakan. For the next three years, Shivaji lied low. It was not until 1670 that he felt himself ready to take to field again. First thing on the priority was to recapture the hill-forts and of these, Sinhagad was the most important to established command over entire Pune district.[br /]
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The fort was very well guarded. The single gate, studded with huge spikes and protected by flanking towers of great strength, was to be approached by a narrow passage. The undertaking was entrusted to Tanaji Malusare. Tanaji along with his brother Suryaji took 1,000 men for the mission. It was a clear moonless night, cold and still. The garrison consisted 1,000 Muslims under a Rajput, Udai Bhanu, an officer well-known for his daring and physical strength all over Deccan. Marathas started moving towards the fort. A Mavli climbed stealthily up and let down rope ladders. Tanaji and 300 of their men climbed up. But suddenly they were noticed and attacked. The men out of fear started retreating. Suryaji at that time grasped the state of affairs. “Cowards !” he cried, “Will you see your father’s body into a dung-pit by the scavengers ? The ropes are down and there is no retreat.” The required reinforcement came with the words and firing started. When the bleak winter dawn appeared over the Sahyadris both the leaders were dead. The fort was taken over, but with the heavy price. Shivaji was deeply grieved on receiving the news, “I have won the fort but lost my Lion !”[br /]
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[b]Shivaji - The Chhatrapati [/b][br /]
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The other forts held by the Mughals were recaptured one by one. Meanwhile the wretched kingdom of Bijapur was once again plunged into confusion by the death of its monarch, Ali Adilshah. Shivaji found the opportunity too tempting to pass over. He attacked Bijapur and by the end of 1674, he had penetrated Bijapur. Bijapur was reduced to impotence, Golconda was paralyzed, and the Viceroy of the Deccan looked helpless as the Marathas were marching ahead. Shivaji was determined to be crowned the lawful monarch of the lands, which he had won. The crowning ceremony was organized. Before the ceremony Shivaji went to Pratapgadh for some days to offer his prayer before the shrine of Amba Bhavani.[br /]
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On his return Shivaji had a talk with the English ambassador, who had come to Raigad to witness the ceremony. They also talked about the destruction in their factories in Surat, Karwar and Hubli. The coronation of Shivaji was a scene of great splendor. First Raja Shivaji was invested with a sacred thread and declared to be an anointed Kshatriya, the Lord of Maratha race. Then he weighed himself in gold and distributed it among the Brahmins. Lastly clad in gorgeous robe, the Raja mounted the throne. The guns of Raigad thundered volley after volley : the sound was caught and repeated from fort to fort in a series all over Sahyadri mountain range. The valleys kept on echoing the gun shots for hours together. On June 6, 1674, Shivaji became the Chhatrapati and then onwards was known as Chhatrapati Shivaji. Shivaji sat on the throne with golden image of Vishnu on his right side, with his queen and ministers holding their symbolic emblems sitting around him. [br /]
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[b]End of Chhatrapati[/b][br /]
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For the next two years the military operation was null. Shivaji, worn out with the immense exertions of his life, contented himself with some plundering raids, and with measures designed to secure his conquests. Shivaji’s last expedition was undertaken in 1676. At the end of the year, he set out with the largest Maratha force, which had ever taken to field. He was severely ill in 1676. Sensing his end, he nearly devoted himself to religious observances. He became the devotee of Swami Ramdas and spent rest of the life in contemplation.[br /]
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Meanwhile, Aurangzeb was still on throne and as per his policy, he did not want any peace over Deccan. When Shivaji returned to Deccan, he sent Diler Khan, the famous Pathan soldier to co-operate with Bijapur. Diler Khan had some conflicts with the allies and had demanded the Padshah Bibi, the Sultan’s sister as a hostage. A famous story is told of how the princess rode into the enemy’s camp, and gave herself up to save the doomed city from further slaughter. Shivaji, who had no wish to see his ancient foe fall as a victim to the Mughal, sent forces to plunder and eventually compelled Diler Khan to retreat.[br /]
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At Raigad, Shivaji was suddenly attacked by a knee disease and fever. Worn out by constant exertion the great warrior succumbed to what first had appeared to be a trifling illness and he passed away on April 5, 1680 at the age of 53.[br /]
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The courageous warrior, who lived for Dharma and country, laid his life for the cause of liberation of motherland. It is nearly three centuries since he died but the memory of this great man is still a source of inspiration to many. [br /]
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[b]Remember Shivaji and count this life as grass.[br /]

In this world and the next, rely on Fame alone.[br /]

Remember Shivaji ! His form, his noble aims;[br /]

Forget not also all his valiant deeds on earth.[/b][br /]
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These are the words of Saint Ramdas, poet of ancient India and Chhatrapati Shivaji’s guru.[br /]
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Shivaji, son of a mere Jaghirdar in the state of Bijapur dared to revolt against the mighty Mughals. Shivaji had a mission to liberate his country from the Mohammedans. To fight against the army of horses, elephants, camels and trooper of lacs was no layman’s task. He organized the local tribes and developed the pattern of flank attacks. The chivalry of the man could be seen when with his techniques and tribal support, he made the mighty Mughals retreat.[br /]
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Shivaji always led the groups rather than merely ordering the commanders from the fort. During the numerous expeditions in his life, he had many close encounters with death. His great escape from Agra under the nose of Aurangzeb was a piece of true audacity. He was a leader who set examples for his followers. One can also draw a parallel between Chhatrapati Shivaji and Napoleon of France as both had dreamt of liberating their motherlands from foreign rulers and with sheer determination and courage did so.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]April 10, 1627[/b][br /]

Shivaji was born at fort Shivneri.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1637[/b][br /]

Shivaji arrived in Pune.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1640[/b][br /]

Shivaji married Saibai. [br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1646[/b][br /]

Shivaji captured Torana.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1656[/b][br /]

Shivaji won Javli.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1659[/b][br /]

Shivaji killed Afzal Khan.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1663[/b][br /]

Shivaji attacked Shayista Khan.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1665[/b][br /]

Shivaji surrendered to Jai Singh.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]September 30, 1665[/b][br /]

Aurangzeb’s summons to Shivaji.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]1666[/b][br /]

Aurangzeb and Shivaji met face to face at Delhi.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] b]June 6, 1674[/b][br /]

Shivaji coronated as Chhatrapati Shivaji.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] [b]April 5, 1680[/b][br /]

Shivaji died of illness.[br /]
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Shivaji, was every inch a typical Maratha. He was short and slight, with long arms, small hands and aquiline nose, a pointed beard and a fair complexion. He had piercing eyes and a resolute face, handsome and intelligent but hard and feline. He was an excellent swordsman and horseman.[br /]
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As a person, he was brave and chivalrous. He fought desperate battles against enormous odds. Shivaji’s hands were not stained with blood of kindred, like Aurangzeb. He respected women, mosques and non-combatants. To stop promiscuous slaughter after a battle, to release and dismiss with honor captured officers and men were no meager virtues. Shivaji was a sincerely religious man. He believed himself constantly guided and inspired by goddess Bhavani. He was the disciple of saint Ramdas and a great admirer of saint Tukaram. His deeds have definitely become a source of never ending inspiration. Chhatrapati Shivaji is still remembered as a man of substance and has also become the synonym of it.[br /]
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[b]Shivaji – The King[/b][br /]
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Shivaji, the great warrior raised first Maratha army with a capability of a general. His army consisted of Mavli, the hill tribe, who were neither trained nor civilized. He trained them and made them the backbone of his force. Shivaji’s army included other communities also. His administrative skill is seen in the fact that he could always keep them united. Shivaji assured that in each garrison there should be mixture of castes.[br /]
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Shivaji tried to demolish the rigid caste structure of the society. He showed equal love for the so-called untouchables as well. He invited them to join his army and promoted the able ones to high positions and offices. They too reciprocated with even vigor and service. Many of them gave up their lives fighting for Swaraj. Shivaji set an example to all Hindus that belonging to the same faith they should not hate one another. He also opened the gates of temples for the Hindus who were forcibly converted to Islam but now were willing to return to the faith.[br /]
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Shivaji was also a great reformer. During his reign he did both civil and economical reforms. The Civil System introduced by Shivaji resembled the system of government, which was obtained in India since the time of the Mauryas and which continued in practice under British Government. Village and district officers managed the districts, as the system is still prevalent. The chief difference was the absence of the present day elaborate judicial system. Civil cases were decided by the local Panchayat and criminal cases by the Sastras, as interpreted by the Nyayadhish (Judge). The central government consisted of the Heads of Departments, who formed a Cabinet. It was called the Ashtapradhan or Council of Eight and they directed the policy of the State in general.[br /]
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The chief cause of unrest in India was usually economic and it was Shivaji’s economic reforms, which chiefly commended him to the people. In this he owed much to the percept and example of the just and righteous Dadaji Kondadev. Taxes were framed out, and people had to pay their dues regularly. Shivaji effected two great lasting reforms. Firstly, assessment of the tax was to be made on the state of the crop, so that in time of famine the taxes were practically nil. Cattle, grain, seed and money were advanced on liberal terms to encourage farming. Secondly, all tax-farming was peremptorily stopped and tax was collected only under the supervision of the officials of the central Government. The later Maratha rulers unfortunately did not adhere to this wise and statesman-like regulation. He had strictly instructed his soldiers : “No harm should come to the people whom you meet on the way. Their standing crops should not be touched.”[br /]
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