Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Facts: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, also known as Shivaji or Shivaji Raje Bhosle, was born on 19 February 1630 in Pune’s Shivneri Durg to Jijabai and Shahji Bhonsle. His father Shahaji Raje Bhosale was a high official in the court of Bijapur.
At an early age, Shivaji was trained for war. In 1674, he laid the foundation of the Maratha Empire in Western India and went on to become one of the great warriors and strategists of India.
1- Shivaji was secular.
Shivaji was against the conflicts of the caste but, was not against any religion. At the time, when all other kingdoms in India were sticking to their religious beliefs, Shivaji accepted all the religions.
While Shivaji Maharaj accommodated all the religions, he never compromised on his own religious beliefs. In fact, he helped people, who wished, to convert to Hinduism.
2- Derivation of Shivaji’s name.
Shivaji’s name was not derived from Lord Shiva but from a regional deity by the name Shivai. He was given god-like stature for his deeds.
3- Father of Indian Navy.
Shivaji realized the importance of naval force in its early stages and built a powerful navy. He believed that it would help him keep foreign invaders– Dutch, Portuguese and British– and pirates at bay. Shivaji Maharaj built naval forts at Jaigarh, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and many other places and even had four different types of warships including Manjuhasm Pals, Gurabs and Gallibats. He is known as the father of the Indian Navy.
4- Shivaji was a war strategist.
Shivaji was a war strategist and despite having limited resources, he introduced raiding warfare skills when he captured the ‘Torna’ fort at a very young age and gave the first major blow to the Sultan of Bijapur. By 1655, he captured the Kondan, Jawali and Rajgarh forts one by one occupying the entire Konkan and the Western Ghats.
5- Shivaji offered help to Aurangzeb.
Shivaji reached out to Aurangzeb to help him conquer Bijapur but things backfired when two of his officials raided the Mughal area near Ahmednagar. As a result, Bijapur wasn’t conquered.
6- Shivaji formed the army of Marathas.
Shivaji formed an army of Marathas where many soldiers were paid for their services throughout the year. Prior to this, the Marathas had no army of their own. The Maratha army was divided into several units and each unit had 25 soldiers. Both Hindus and Muslims were appointed to the army without any discrimination. An army of 2,000 men was converted into 10,000 soldiers by Shivaji.
He never encouraged his soldiers to be martyred for the sake of it, instead, took a step back and regrouped. This helped him in winning the battles even if he was outnumbered.
7- Shivaji stood for the honour of women.
Shivaji was a staunch supporter of women and stood for their honour. He strongly opposed violence or harassment against women and gave strict instructions to the soldiers that no woman should be harmed while raiding. Under Shivaji’s rule, women of the captured territories were left unharmed and none were taken as prisoners. People who raped or molested women were severely punished by Shivaji Maharaj.
8- Shivaji successfully escaped from Panhala fort.
Shivaji was successful in escaping from the siege of the Panhala fort. When Shivaji Maharaj was trapped in Panhala Fort by Siddi Johar’s army, he devised a plan to escape. He arranged two palanquins in which a barber was seated who looked like Shivaji and asked him to lead him out of the fort. Thus, the soldiers went after the fake palanquin and Shivaji successfully dodged 600 soldiers and escaped from Panhala fort.
9- Shivaji was the proponent of the Guerrilla war.
Shivaji was the proponent of the Guerrilla war. He was well versed in the geography of his area, guerrilla tactics, attacking small groups with enemies, etc. and was called a rat of the hills. However, Shivaji never raided religious places or homes of the people living there. For this reason, personal horses and weapons were not provided to his troops.
10- Shivaji fought for India first, and then his kingdom.
Shivaji used to fight for his kingdom later and for India first. His goal was to establish a free state and inspire his soldiers that they fought for India and not for any king.
11- Shivaji was extremely caring and merciful.
Shivaji Maharaj was merciful and welcomed anyone in his army who surrendered. No one was judged on their backgrounds, instead, they were judged on their skills. He was extremely caring and never raided religious places and homes of the common people.