Friday, 27 March 2009

33. End of Extraordinary Career

After meeting his son Sambhaji, Shivaji returned to Raigad for thread ceremony of his younger son Rajaram on 7th march 1680 & marriage on 15th march. It was decided that Sambhaji should run substantial portion of state on his own, but no final decision was taken. It was Shivaji’s desire to return to meet Sambhaji after Rajaram’s thread ceremony to finalise arrangements regarding Sambhaji. But fate had willed otherwise. Soon after Shivaji fell ill & in a short illness he died. Different sources have different reasons for death of this great human being.

Sabhasad, autobiographer of Shivaji, says – fever of type Navajwar.
British records says – Bloody Flux
Portuguess says – Abscess (Anthrax)
Mughals says – Vomiting of Blood.
The final conclusion drawn by historians was he died of Fever & Blood Dysentery.

An extra ordinary career had come to an end. He had in course of 3 decades carved out an independent state, challenged the mighty Mughals, &

"left a name which was a prove a never-ending inspiration to future generations. "
Under the influence of his sainty mother Jijamata, Shivaji’s outlook enabled him to respect all religions.

The historian Khafi khan has recorded that if any copy of Quran was discovered in the plunder, he had it returned to its owner with due respect. His treatment towards women & children is also notable. The struggle of Shivaji against Vijapur & Mughals was not the struggle between Hindus & Muslims. He had many Muslim sardars & officers in his army & navy. On other hand both Mughals & Vijapur had numerous no. of Hindus in their forces. Shivaji’s state was primarily carved out of Vijapur. Konkan & Uplands of Ghats became his main base. The last struggle ended with Vijapur losing southern states to Shivaji. For the Marathas led by Shivaji, the struggle became a struggle for survival. While the Mughals aimed at expansion, the Marathas fought for saving their homelands. It was cause worth fighting & dying for. They were led by a man of no ordinary skills & calibre.

Shivaji had the right personality required for leadership – Fair Complexion, Medium Stature, with every muscle taut with energy, a Quick & Flashing Smile; he looked a born ruler of men. Rajput who saw him in Agra in 1666, had written description about him,‘Small in built(deel so hakeer), extraordinary fair-looking(ajaib goro), looks every inch a king(aaphi rajasi deeso ji)’ Men flocked to him coz, they found a leader in him, who never hesitated to risk his own life in times of danger.

Shivaji’s meeting with Afzalkhan, night attack on Shahiste khan, escape from Panhala, visit to Agra are only a few of innumerable incidents which displays his fearlessness. His military organizations show him as a new Pathfinder. He made full use of sahyadri ranges to build up defenses. Foundation of new forts on Seacoast & on Ghats, number of forts that he repaired & strengthened with alert garrisons. Construction of pratapgad, Rajgad, Raigad, Sindhudurg, Jinji reconstruction are the best tributes of his military engineering skills. His army was raised & directly controlled by him. It was devoid of the evils paguing the Mansabdari system of Mughals under which the army was no more than a loose combination of feudal levies.

Marathas army never had pomps, women in their camps. No slow movements were noticed ever. Army – navy was paid in cash & regularly. Their movements were extremely quick. Discipline in forces was noticeable. Forces were strictly enjoined not to damage standing crops any were. The plunder of the campaigns had to be deposited in the treasury, while in the cantonment; army was to draw their own supplies for the purposes. Forces were expressly forbidden from molesting the civil population or making forcible purchases. Recruitment in service, whether civil or military, there was no discrimilation, no castism, no communilasm. The army was constituted mainly of sons of the soil. Hindus of all castes & Muslims found service in amry & navy.

Shivaji’s main strength lies in forts & rapid movements of Cavalry operations. The Mughals had woefully neglected this branch. It is indeed to the credit of Shivaji to have founded the Maratha navy in 1656. Not were he neglected intelligent services. This became an efficient wing of the Maratha forces. Shivaji was an outstanding General of his age. He was aware of his limited resources & cousious about huge resources of his enemies. So tool full advantage of every single weakness of enemy. He watched their movements & managed to corner them into difficult positions. Time & again he broke the combinations of enemies by driving a wedge between them. His campaigns in Baglana in 1670-1672 were a masterpiece of war strategy.

Shivaji;’s state corresponds to the modern concept of secular state – the head of state was king. He was assited by council of 8 ministers. Ministers were kept in charge of specific provinces. There was no interference in the functioning of the judiaciary. Customary law prevailed. He strove to make his state a welfare state. Shivaji frowned upon the alienation of land through grants. Only cash grants for services rendered were encouraged. The Deshmukh – Desais & other Jahangirdar were reduced in importance & kept under control by government officials. Lands were brought under the plough, measured & properly assessed. Illegal exactions were done away with. Widespread employment of youth in army & navy was no dought a blessing to all classes of people. Nor were trade & commerce neglected. Import & export levies were fixed & traders encouraged to settle down & devlop free fow of goods.

He was a sainty warrior. Tukaram, Ramdas, Mauni baba & Baba Yakub were few to whom he was devoted. Literature too received liberal patronage under his rule. Sanskrit peot Parmanand, Jairam, Gaga Bhatta, Kavi Bhushan were honoured by him. Creating a lexicon, giving Sanskrit synonyms to administrative terms then used in Deccani Urdu, brought forth the Rajya Vyavaharkosh’. The only Udru – Sanskrit dictionary to be compiled.

A man of faith as well as action, this extraordinary statesman and general, created a nation, gave its people a cause to fight and to die for and established a state permeated with a spirit of tolerance and justice; a truly secular and welfare state.

"Shivaji's personality and message are as relevant today as they were in the past."

32. Dakshin Digvijay … Relentless March Back… War With Mughals Continued…

Marathas broke camp from the banks of the Coladun river on 27th july 1677. on Sept. 22, Shivaji reached Vanikamwadi, 64km south of Vellore. Finally he left Tamilnadu in Oct 1677. He crossed the Ghats & passed through Carnataca, reducing Vyankoji’s possession on the way. He was now in a hurry to return home. Diler khan & Bahlolkhan got in touch with each other & decided to destroy Golkonda. They reached Gulbarga & battles were fought for about 2 months. Shivaji was watching every movement of Mughals & Vijapur. He could not tarry long in south now. Within effective span of only 6 months he eliminated Vijapur from the south & established a solid base for Marathas. It took 20 years for Mughals to oust the Marathas from south. Succinctly describing shivaji’s achievements in the south.

Martin writes,“It could be said that so sudden a revolution had never been witnessed, if we had not seen instances of greater revolutions in Europe.” On his way back, Shivaji touched Koppal, Lakshmeshwar & Belvadi in Feb 1678. He arrived on Panhala in his state in Apl 1688 to continue his war with Mughals.

Bahadur khan was no more in Deccan. Diler khan was now in charge of operations in Deccan against Marathas & Golkonda, his greatest triumph was when he seduced Sambhaji into joining Mughals. The defection of his son came as a severe shock to Shivaji. Shivaji did not take Sambhaji with him in his Dakshin Digvijay Mohim. He posted Sambhaji outside Raigad during his absence. Sambhaji probably attributed this step of Shivaji as indicative of a lack of confidence in him. His step which he took of joining Mughals on 13dec 1678 was fraught with danger. Dilerkhan hailed Sambhaji’s arrival with great joy. Aurangzeb made him Mansabdar of 7000. Also the title of Rajah. Sambhaji’s desertion must have been a severe blow to Shivaji. But that great leader did not lose his nerve. He kept up his efforts to persuade his son to return home.

He drove a wedge between Mughals & Vijapur, by offering help to Vijapur. Mean while Dilerkhan & Sambhaji attacked Maratha fort called Bhupalgad. The fort fell on 2nd Apl. 1679, mainly b’coz Commander of fort, Firangoji Narsala, was unnerved at seeing Sambhaji leading the attack. Shivaji took stern disciplinary measures & suitably punished the commandant. The lesson was duly conveyed to all the garrisons & military posts in the state. In the north, Aurangzeb was in a desperate position now. He was facing problems in south from Marathas & Golkonda, inspired Rajputs of Udaipur & Jodhpur were putting a stiff fight against Mughals now. He ordered Dilerkhan to destroy Vijapur & Golkonda. Shivaji send force of 10,000 cavalry to Vijapur in protecting the city. Also 10,000 oxen laden with grain were send to Vijapur. He himself arrived to Vijapur with more force of 10,000 & decided that Siddi Masood would defend Vijapur while Shivaji should carry devastations in Mughal provinces & force them to raise the siege of Vijapur.

Diler khan was failed completely to save his province against Marathas. He stung to the quick by his failure, ravaged the country-side, plundering towns & taking the inhabitants as prisoners. Sambhaji protested against these senseless acts. After all he was a son of iron – disciplined Shivaji. Sambhaji was now repenting the rash step of joining Mughals. At shivaji’s persuasion he escaped from the Mughal camp at Athani on 20th Nov 1679. He arrived to Panhala on 5th Dec 1679. At this time Shivaji was carrying out lighting raids in Mughals provinces all over in Berar & Khandesh. His spectacular feat was the plunder of Jalna, in last week of Nov. 1679. While he was resting on fort of Patta on his way back from Jalna, he learnt escape of Sambhaji. He hurried to the fort of Panhala to meet his son. It was a touching reunion with a repentant son falling at the feet of his father.

Marathas made all attempt of Dilerkhan failed to invade Vijapur. Dilerkhan was ordered to return back to Mughal territory. But he chooses to attack Bedar chief of Vijapur. He failed badly. Mughals lost 1700 men, dead & wounded. Finally both prince Muazzam & Dilerkhan were called back to the court by Aurangzeb. Ironically enough, once again a Mughal general had to retire in disgrace to add to the long list. Shahiste khan, Jaisingh, Daud khan, Mahabat khan, Bahadur khan, Diler khan & Prince Muazzam.

In his later life, Aurangzeb, in one of his letter, complains of the negligence & incompetence of his generals in the Deccan as a result of which he himself had to arrive in the Deccan to lay the campaign. The blame for the failure of his policy lies squarely on Aurangzeb’s shoulders only.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

31. Dakshin Digvijay … Concept of Welfare State

The French have left a good description of Shivaji’s camp suggesting wherein precisely lay the strength of this great person.

Martin says,“The camp of Shivaji was without pomp, without women. There were no heavy baggage, only tents, but of simple cloth, course & very scanty, one for him & other for his prime minister.”

“It will not be out of place to mention that the cavalries of Shivaji ordinarily got for their pay 2 pagodas per month. All the horses belonged to that chief who employed some grooms to take care of them. The cavalries did not on any way meddle with him. There were ordinarily 3 horses for 2 men. This is what contribution to his usual celerity.”

“He also frequently surprised his enemies who thought him to be far off when he fell upon them. The families of these cavalries who belong to these parts were stationed in the lands of the west coast of India. This is what attached them to his service. This chief also paid his spies liberally who have given him considerable facilities for his conquest by the sure information they have supplied him.”

According to Martin - 'Quick Cavalry movements & excellent, well-paid intelligent services were the main cause of Shivaji’s success. He also mentioned about simplicity of Shivaji’s camp, absence of women, and lack of heavy baggage. He also observed that horsemen in cavalry were paid regularly & that they did not own horses. The horses were property of state. What a contrast to the slow moving, Mansabdari – ridden Mughal armies.'

Shivaji’s letter to Dutchmen about trade agreement is very important here. He says,“Under the rule of Mohammedans, you had unrestricted permission to sell & purchase men & women as slaves. But now in my territory you will not have permission for the sell & purchase men & women as slaves. Were you to try, you will be prohibited from doing so by my men. This clause must be scrupulously observed.”

This concern for his fellow human beings reveals Shivaji’s conception of a welfare–state.

Monday, 23 March 2009

30. Dakshin Digvijay … Tamilnadu

Shivaji left Hydrabad by end of March 1677. He had 20,000 cavalry & 30,000 infantry with him. He marched towards Karnool. He also visited confluence of river Krishna & Tungabhadra. He also visited famous Shiva shrine Mallikarjuna & Shri Shaillya. Passing through the present district of Cudappah, he visited shrines of Kalhasti & Tirupati.

By 1st week of May 1677, he reached Pedda polam, 11km west of Chennai. Only coastal area of few kilometers south of Chennai including Chingleput was under Golkonda. Districts like Arcot, Cuddalore & Pondicherry were under Vijapur. The Vijapur Governer of Tamilnadu named Sherkhan, was from Bahlolkhan’s party. Where as Nasir Muhammad, Commander of fort of Jinji was brother of Khavas khan, who was murdered by Bahlolkhan. Now Sherkhan was out to destroy Nasir & take possession of Jinji fort. On other hand Nasir offered fort of Jinji to Golkonda. It was a welcome offer.

It was at this time Shivaji appeared on the scene. Marathas were moving with some Golkonda contingents & hence this strong fort passed into hands of Marathas without much efforts. Nasir Muhahamad had received a sum in cash & some territories with an annual rent of 50,000/- Shivaji then moved to Vellore & laid siege to it. Noticing that, its capture may took time, he left a detachment there & he proceeded to reduce the surrounding districts. His aim was not loot & purn. He desired to do permanent conquest. Civil administration was introduced with the help of considerable number of men he had brought over from various departments of Maharashtra.

Shivaji was a great fort architect. He strengthened the defenses of the area. The fort of Jinji received his special attention. He gave orders to cut off a part & to erect new fortifications. Frenchman martin writes, “Shivaji applied all his energy of his mind & all the resources of his dominions to the fortifications of all the principal places. He constructed new ramparts around Jinji(fort), dug ditches, erected towers & executed all the work with a perfection that Europeans would be ashamed of.” At same time Sherkhan tried to mobilize his resources against Marathas. He also asked help from French. He meet martin, French commander, on 29th June 1677. Sher khan told him that Bahlolkhan has given ultimatum to King of Golkonda to break alliance with Shivaji. Freanch should help Vijapur to battle against Shivaji. But martin had a different doubt. According to martin Sherkhan was hardly qualified to fight against Marathas as considered in resources. But Sherkhan decided to attack Marathas.

By end of June in 1677, in Tiruwadi near Colhdan river. The place is about 27km from Tanjore. In this battle Sherkhan fled & took refuge in fort Bhavangiri where Marathas besieged him. Very soon on 5th July he surrendered all his territories to Marathas. He also promised to pay 2,000 pagodas in cash. Thus in one stroke Vijapur lost its Tamilnadu territories & its influence in states of Tanjore & Madurai. Now Shivaji was looking for his step-brother Vyankoji with all his territories to join Marathas. Major achievement of Vyankoji was seizure of Tanjore & setting himself as a ruler. Shivaji had toyed with idea of taking over Vyankoji’s possession’s including Tanjore completely. To achieve his purpose he formally called upon Vyankoji & they meet at Tiruwadi in July 1677. In this meeting Vyankoji sensed the working of shivaji’s mind. Taking alarm, he fled to Tanjore. Now Shivaji left only Tanjore in possession of Vyankoji & held all other his territories like Banglore, Haskot, Kolar, Jinji region. In fact all the area north of Cauvery river.

For administration of newly-won provinces, Shivaji made excellent arrangements. Raghunath Narain Hanamante was made Governer-General of Tamilnadu & part of Carnataca(Karnataka). To watch movements of Vyankoji, a strong force under his commander-in-chief Hambirrao Mohite was left. It was a very wise move. In november Vyankoji tried to seize some of newly won forts of Shivaji. But he fled in front of Marathas & as per treaty all his territories were passed on to Shivaji, except Tanjore.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

29. Dakshin Digvijay … Hydrabad

Before marching for Dakshin Digvijay, Shivaji made excellent arrangements for the administration of his state during his absence. Peshwa Moropant Pingle was in charge of the northern territory. Annaji Dutto was in charge of southern region. Central region of Panhala was under administration of Dattaji Trimbak Vaknis. Also Netaji Palkar, the X-general of Marathas, who left Shivaji in 1665 & joined Mughals, later converted to Islam & was send to province of Kabul, returned to Deccan with troops of Diler khan in 1676. He quickly made his mind & joined Shivaji. Shivaji not only welcomed him but reconverted him to Hinduism on 19th June 1676.

Shivaji moved out of Raigad on the Dussera, 6th Oct 1676 for his Dakshin Digvijay. He visited holy shrine of Parshuram at Chiplun in Konkan. He also mates saint Mauni Baba. Earlier he took blessings of Samartha Ramdas when he visited Chaphal in Satara. Hambirrao Mohite, General of Marathas, was send to engage Pathans in western districts of Vijapur. Where he came across Hasan khan Miyana & his brother Qasim khan Miyana. This battle in known as battle of Yelbarga. Happened in Jan 1677. After a desperate struggle Pathans broke & fled. Both brothers were captured by the Marathas. 19 yr old Nagoji Jedhe, grand son of Kanhoji Jedhe died fighting with great brevary. Maratha forces later joined Shivaji on the way to Hydrabad (Bhaganagar).

Shivaji arrived in Hydrabad sometime in feb 1677. Abul Hasan, King of Golkonda & his ministers gave him a magnificent reception. The city wore a festive look. The streets were sprinkled with saffron water & adorned with flower garlands. Banners & flags waved to & fro. Innumerable citizens assembled to have a glimpse of the great Chhatrapati. The women in the city performed his Arati with lighted lamps & bowed before him. Gold & silver flowers liberally showered upon him.

Shivaji agreed to help Golkonda against Mughals & Vijapur. Shivaji stayed for about a month in Hydrabad. Abul Hasan agreed to pay a subsidy of 3,000 hons per day to Marathas as long as campaign lasted.

Marathas were now ready to conquer Vijapur territories in south.

Friday, 20 March 2009

28. Territorial Expansion after Coronation ...

Immediately after coronation, on 17th June, shivaji’s mother Rajmata Jijabai passed away. She had been the greatest source of inspiration to her illustrious son in his life-long struggle. History can afford very few examples of the devotion & affection which mother & son had for each other.

On other hand Mughals decided to ignore this coronation. Shivaji repeated ceremony with some Tantric rites on 24th Sept. 1674, even this ceremony was ignored. But Shivaji’s war against Mughals continued. Now they decide to carry out raids till very walls of Burhanpur i.e. in Berar & Khandesh. During these raids, there was very little that Mughals could do to resist Marathas. Shivaji started increasing steady pressure on Siddis of Janjira. He also worn British about there help to Siddis.

Civil war in Vijapur now tempted him to seize Kolhapur uplands. Shivaji was not sure that the Mughals would not rush to assistance of Vijapur. So he assured Bahadur khan, Mughal Viceroy, that he meant to be kept in peace. With Mughals kept in negotiations, Shivaji’s army now spread itself into Kolhapur region. He himself marched to conquest of Phonda, near Goa in Apl 1675. British records says, Maratha army was 15,000 cavalry, 14,000 infantry & 1000 workers with pick axes, hatches etc. the siege of Phonda begins.

Shivaji send 40 fighting vessels to Vengurla to put more pressure on Phonda as Portugiz tries to help Vijapur commander of Phonda, Muhammad khan. He put up a stiff battle. He also called Bahlol khan & Rustum Zaman for help. Finally, fort was mined & bastions were blown up. Ibrahim khan, officer of Marathas plays a gallant part in this mission. Phonda fell on 17th Apl 1675. Commander Muhammad khan was taken prisoner.

By May 21, Marathas took Ankola & Shiweshwar. Karwar to pass into hands of Marathas easily. Vijapur now had been effectively cut off from all connections with the coast. By July Marathas were on hold of Kolhapur region. Many of inhabitants were leaving the towns but shivaji’s soldiers kept all in with promise of fair usage so that the townspeople are preserved in quite & some security.

Now Vijapur was thrown in great confusion. Khavas khan, prime minister of Vijapur decided to call Bahadur khan, Mughal Viceroy for help. They meet in Oct. 1675 near Pandharpur & decided that Mughals & Adilshahi will jointly run a campaign against Shivaji to destroy him completely. But no sooner khavas khan returned to Vijapur he was seized & thrown into prison by Bahlol khan, general of Vijapur. He was later killed on 18th Jan 1676. Khavas khan’s death was a great shock to Bahadur khan. Now he decided to invade Vijapur with orders from emperor. During all this time, Shivaji lay prostrate with a severe illness at Satara. The actual reason is not known but British records reports that he may be poisoned by his son Sambhaji. But this was a complete baseless rumour.

Shivaji was keeping a complete watch on activities in south. Developments in south favored his ambitions. Raghunath pant Hanmante, official of Vyankoji, had come up from south to meet him. Also news from prime ministers of Golkonda, Akkanna & Madanna, about better policy against Mughal. Shivaji made his mind to conquer south India. He wrote to Bahadur khan, “I shall require one year to conquer Carnataka (Karnataka) & Tamilnadu. Do not molest my territories during this time.” He made a very secret understanding with Bahadur khan. How a seasoned general could be persuaded & lulled into inaction during Shivaji’s absence in the south is a big riddle. Later Aurangzeb pretended that he had been kept in the dark about alliance of Bahadur khan with Shivaji. He removed Bahadur khan & replaced him with Diler khan. But this came to late in 1677.

Shivaji made preparations to march to the south by the way Golkonda for the …

Great Dakshin Digvijay … !

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

27. Coronation

Shivaji’s coronation is a landmark in the history of INDIA. During the Mughal supremacy, the Mughals Empire in India was equated by Indians & foreigners alike with gov. of India. International agreements with Mughals were considered as treaties with India. ‘The Great Mughals – Emperors of India’ was the term generally used in international parlance in those days. There was direct Mughal administration on major parts of India except Vijapur. But Golkonda & other small states were only for name sake as jagirs or mandlik. Rajput states were also reduced to zamindars. They will be employed as commanders of forts, officers of military or 2nd in command after Mughal generals. Few exceptions were Mirzarajah Jaisingh & Mansingh of Orissa.

Shivaji’s coronation & setting himself as sovereign prince symbolizes the rise of Indian people in all parts of the country. It was a bid for Hindavi Swarajya. The so called proud Maratha chiefs were serving under Mughals & Vijapur & still thought of Shivaji as less in status than any other rajah. So it was important for Shivaji to legalized his position & show them that ‘who he was’ The desire to have Shivaji as Coroneted king was seems to have been widely held by all classes of people. Gaga Bhatta , having heard of this fame came from Benaras to have an interview with Shivaji. He was distressed that,“ Muslim kings set on thrones, holds royal umbrellas above them & exercised sovereignty, so why not Shivaji rajah, who had dominated four kingdoms, created an army of 75,000 horses & captures so many forts, had no throne & did not exercise the rights of a sovereign.” He told Shivaji that you should also hold royal umbrella (Chhatra) This idea must have been in his mind from well before to get Coronated. Continous war with Mughals from 1669 shows his determination.

In coronation he struck gold coins & created a 'shake', known as 'Shivshake'.(This jun we will enter in 336th year of Shivshake) Before coronation Shivaji visited Pratapgad on may 19, 1674 & paid his obeisance to goddess Bhavani. He made an offering of a golden umbrella of 3 maunds & costing 56.000/- to the goddess. He was a Kshatriya i.e. warrior caste. Due to political turmoil, certain rites (sanskars) are not to be followed by Khatriyas. Hence he sacred thread-ceremony. Then golden image of Vishnu was given away(Tulapurush dan) then the marriage ceremony with his 4 wives (for the 2nd time) was gone through. This happened on may29 & 30, 1674.

On morning of 6th june 1674, Shivaji ascended the throne. It was truly historic day. A golden throne weighing 32 maunds was made & inlaid with the choicest & most precious jewels of the nine kinds. Water from the 7 great rivers & other imp rivers of India & also from sea were brought. It was settled that 8 ministers (Ashtapradhan) will pour this water from golden jars on the day. The throne was adorned with 8 pillars decked with jewels. The expenditure of this ceremony amounted to be 1 crore & 42,000 hons. All 8 ministers received a lakh of hons, one elephant & horse, clothes & ornaments.

“The Maratha king was now 1st to become Chhatrapati. This was event of no ordinary significance.”

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

26. Vs Bahlol Khan from Vijapur

Shivaji was ready to face a swift attack from Vijapur now. Greatness of this personality is he never allowed his enemies to unite against him & decided to strike Bahlolkhan before he could join by his generals. This attack was leaded by his commander-in-chief Prataprao Gujar in mar 1673. This battle known as battle of Umrani. Marathas hemmed in Behlolkhan’s army & blocked the access to water source. The bitter fight lasted till sunset. Casualties were heavy on both sides. After sunset, Vijapur forces managed to get access to water. Next day Maratha forces withdrew from there even after Bahlolkhan surrendered completely in front of Prataprao Gujar by bending on his knees.

Shivaji blamed Prataprao for allowing khan to escape. Don’t know what happened but Prataprao must have his own reasons for allowing khan to escape. Now Maratha forces moved towards south & attacked Hubli in 2nd week of apl.1673. Bahlolkhan who was released by Prataprao again struck Maratha forces in Kalhapur region. Shivaji was very angry on Prataprao about it. He wrote a letter to his general Prataprao saying don’t show me face again till you catch Bahlolkhan again. Stung to the quick, Prataprao Gujar rashly fell upon camp of Behlolkhan of 10,000 with just 6 warriors with him. This happened at Nesari & date was 24th feb.1674.

Prataprao & all other 6 were killed in this attack. We all know a song ‘Vedat Marathe Veer Daudale Saat’ After Prataprao Gujar, Hambhirrao Mohite became commander-in-chief of Marathas. But Bahlolkhan was behind 2nd commander-in-chief Anandrao. He also asked assistance from Diler khan against Anandrao. But Anandrao took his way towards Kanara, journeying 15 leagues per day, which was impossible for Mughals & Vijapur. Knowing it is impossible to catch Anandrao, Diler khan turned towards Panhala & laid siege to it. After 5 days he returned to his base station. Bahlolkhan went to Kolhapur region.

Anandrao otherway attacked Bankapur & Pench, which were Jagirs of Bahlolkhan & plundered them completely. He killed Khizr khan, cousin of Bahlolkhan & brought 500 horses & 2 elephants. He returned to Raigad, to present booty to his king Shivaji. Soon again he was ready for more rob attacks on Bahlolkhan’s Jagir. Shivaji now had a compact territory & an efficient army & navy under him. Mughals inactive, Vijapur distracted, Golkonda friendly, British on good behaviour & some what weak Portugiz – this was picture in totality in Deccan at beginning of 1674.

It was while Aurangzeb was on his way to Hasan Abdal near Rawalpindi, he got the news that Shivaji has crowned himself as CHHATRAPATI on 6th june 1674, & set himself as sovereign prince. He was no more only a rajah, but only “Coroneted King of Medieval Indian History After 1300 Years.”

Monday, 16 March 2009

25. Nationwide Political Move ...

Shivaji’s aim was to broad base his activities against the Mughals. Vijapur was witnessing a power struggle as Ali Adil Shah died on 24th nov. 1672. His son was only 4 yrs old. This became cause among the nobles for seizure of power. The Pathans under leadership of Bahlol khan & Deccan Muslims & Abyssinians under Khawas khan were fighting with each other. Also Abdullah Qutub shah, king of Golkonda died on 21st apl 1672. He was succeeded by his son–in-law Abdul Hasan, known to be last of Golkonda king.

Shivaji made an alliance with Golkonda with 1 lakh hons. Shivaji’s meeting with Rajput chief Chatrasal Bundela is also important phase to consider about polities in north. Bundela was inspired by Shivaji & gave him training. He also advised Chatrasal to go to Bundelkhand, organize resistance against Mughals & liberate his Motheland. He tied sword to Chatrasal’s waist & give him blessings. All this situations opened new horizons for Shivaji. He was waiting for such opportunity. He prompty attacked Vijapur & captured fort Panhala. Annaji dutto & Kondaji Farjand led this attack. The date was 6 mar 1673. Sooner fort of Parli, later known as Sajjangad, fell in apl 1673. Satara fort was also captured on 27 july 1673. Now Vijapur was aiming to launch an attack on Shivaji.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

24. Battle Of Salher

Shivaji had his eyes on the capture of Salher fort which could provide immediate access to Gujarat. He had already seized forts of east to west of Nashik region. This was 1st time that he decided to occupy & hold permanently a slice of Mughal empire. The Marathas approached Burhanpur, capital of Khandesh & plundered Burhanpura. They promptly moved to Salher & laid siege to it. General of Khandesh Daud khan hurried after them. When he was at 22km from Salher, got the news that Marathas had captured the fort & commandant Fatehulla khan had lost his life fighting. The date was 5 jan 1671.

Daud khan tried to fight stiff battles with Marathas but they did not loosen their grip on Baglana area. Sooner Aurangzeb decided to appoint Mahabat khan as general for campaign against Shivaji. He was previously on the province of Kabul. In june 1671 he took charge from Daud khan. Mahabat khan showed a great unwillingness to campaign in rainy season here. With base a Parner, he was spending his days in luxury & indulgence. Every day there use to be entertainment in the camps. The emperor got the news that Mahabat khan is not exerting himself to put Marathas down. He was immediately removed from Deccan & Bahadur khan was appointed as next general. This happened in sept 1671.

Bahadur khan began his fight energetically. He also carried out many raids in Maratha territories & fought many battles. Now they laid siege to fort Salher. Its capture became point of prestige for Mughals. In this battle Mughal forces suffered a great disaster. Marathas army consists of veterans like Peshwa Moropant Pingle, commander-in-chief Prataprao Gujar & others. It was a great battle. Ikhalas khan Miyana & Muhkam singh were wounded & captured by Prataprao. The entire equipment of Mughals was captured by Marathas. This battle of Salher figures promptly in Marathi chronicles & ballads. Kavi Bushan has also devoted more than one full forceful stanza on description of this battle. Aurangzeb was facing difficult time in all around. In Deccan in Jat region & in Assam as well.

This was correct time for Shivaji to take a big nationwide political move.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

23. Again Sack Of Surat & Other Maratha Raids…

From jan to june 1670 Mughal government was partially paralyzed. On top of it shocking news came that Shivaji has again struck a deadly blow to Surat. Marching with 10,000 cavalry & 10,000 infantry with his Peshwa Moropant Pingle, General Prataprao Gujar & others, Shivaji moved from kalyan & took the same route as followed during the 1st attack on Surat. He reached Surat on 3rd oct. 1670. The garrison fled under the shelter of the castle guns. Marathas found vast treasure of gold, silver, rich plates, furniture. Shivaji departed from Surat on 3rd day carrying with him an enormous booty estimated at more than 50 lakh rupees.

He also wrote a letter to Governer of Surat, "I demand for the 3rd time, which I declare to be the last, chauth part of revenue under your government. As your emperor has forced me to keep an army for the defense of my people & country, that army must be paid by his subjects.”

The sentence provides us a clear understanding of his aims & objectives.

The plunder of Surat was a great shock for Mughals. Prince Muazzam ordered Daud khan to intercept Shivaji. On his way back Shivaji plundered town of Mulher, head quarter of Baglan dist. then he moved to south for Poona. It was while he was crossing the range at Kanchan-Manchan, Mughals came over him. The battle of Vani- Dindori (should be known as battle of kanchan-manchan) is one of few battles in which Shivaji himself fought against Mughals. 16th oct. Duadkhan meet Bakikhan. They got the news that Shivaji has crossed Kanchan pass & moving towards Nashik. Advance troops were leaded by Ikhlas khan Miyana, who rashly attacked Marathas without waiting for Daudkhan’s contingent. The attack became disaster for him. He was badly wounded with all his men. Sooner Daudkhan reached the scene. Maratha army was more than 15,000 in total. In the fight Mughals suffered a heavy loss in men. It was Bundelas who stopped Maratha attacks from developing.

Marathas kept there technique of fighting called ‘Bergigiri’ (means a continuous attack) while surrounding the enemy from all sides. Marathas again attacked Mughals in the late evening & disengaged & moved away with Surat treasure. Shivaji’s aim was to brush aside the Mughals & convey the treasure safely & swiftly, in which he succeeded. Soon afterwords Peshwa Moropant Pingle attacked strong fort of Trimbak & captured it on 25th oct 1670. he also won fort Aundha, Patta, Ravlya & Jaylya in Nashik region. Same time Shivaji attacked Karanja town in Berar. The town was plundered for 3 day & literally dug out. The havoc continous for Mughals.

Simply saying Shivaji threw the Mughals off balance. He kept them on run. The best way to defend was to carry war into Mughal territory & kept the enemy occupied. Province of Aurangabad, Berar & Nanded were completely disturbed. Occupation of these territories was not his aim.

Friday, 13 March 2009

22. War With Mughals

The cause of conflict was the suspicious nature of Aurangzeb & the latter’s bid to disarm & imprison men & officers of the Maratha contingent at Aurangabad. From 17 aug to 15 sept. 1669, Aurangzeb caused havoc in Benaras & destroyed temples. Between 14 dec to 11 jan 1670 peace between Mughals & Marathas came to end. Prataprao & Anandrao returned to Rajgad from Aurangabad with their contingents.

Aurangzeb’s policy of buttressing his rule by relying on orthodoxy was extremely short-sighted. It hurt the overwhelming majority of the people. It caused a deep anguish to the deeply religious & tolerant nature of Shivaji. During the years 1667 to 1669, Shivaji quietly devoted himself to building up his strength. The forts were strengthened through repairs. Strong garrisons were stationed in them. The army was put on a war footing. It was a national army. Comprising neither foreigners nor mercenaries. Shivaji looked far & wide for arms, ammunitions, guns & weapons. The Deccan state of Golconda was moved close to Marathas. Vijapur had given up its hold on Konkan for good. Shivaji could not have chosen a better time for the attack. Viceroy of Deccan, prince Muazzam, was a unwar-like & peace loving. Only Daudkhan Qureishi, general of Khandesh, was active & energetic.

In 1670, Shivaji burst upon the Mughals with a fury that stunned them. His 1st aim was to clear his homeland from the Mughals. 23 forts that he handed over to Mughals & territory of 4lakh hones (16 lakh rupees). He attacked Mughals wherever he found them - on the forts, in the valleys, villages & cities. The struggle was a bitter one. Forts after forts went down to Marathas. Some after great struggles. A popular stirring tale relates to capture of Sinhagad on 4th feb 1670. The assault led by noted Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare. The bitter fight ends with his death. He has become immortal in history of Marathas. Sinhagad was passed onto Marathas. Equally strong fort of Purandar fell to Marathas on 8th march 1670. Lohagad & Rohida fort were soon captured by Marathas. There was utter chaos among the Mughals. Marathas were fighting in every part of deccan. Mughal news letters were full of such reports. Some of them are- Latter dated 24th jan 1670 “Shivaji’s forces are plundering the province of berar. They have collected 20 lakh rupees from imperial territory.” Barkhurdar khan, gov. of fort of ausa( today in osmanabad dist., marathwada) wrote, ”Shivaji’s troops consisting 20,000 men have arrived in this region. They are plundering the province & collecting booty. They are camping at only 2 kos (6km) from the fort. I have no means of subsistence left. They have plundered my jagir. I may be favored with some money.”

Fort of Mahuli was defended well by Mughal commandant Manohardas Gaud. But due to lack of arms, ammunition & provisions he withdrew from his post. Daud khan asked him to change his mind, but to no effect. He appointed Allahwardi Khan as new commandant of Mahuli. As soon as Duadkhan returned to Junnar, Marathas attacked Mahuli & captured it on 15th june 1670. Allah wardi khan died fighting. Kalyan – Bhiwandi were also won soon. No. of Mughal officials were returning to Aurangabad in disgrace & in miserable condition. Soon afterwords Marathas attacked Prabhavalgad (today known as Prabalgad near Matheran) & fort Karnala & captured them on 23rd june 1670. By the end of june almost all forts were won back by Marathas in 6 months.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

21. Against Siddhi ...

Shivaji’s aim was to destroy Siddis of Janjira in konkan. They were challenge to his supremacy in konkan. Siddis were always looking for Mughals or Vijapur for support. The British & Portugiz too were at hand to support them. ‘It was only Shivaji’s continous involvement with Mughals & Vijapur, which saved them from extinction.’ After treaty with Mughals, Shivaji gained full control in Konkan again. Janjira was completely under his area of influence. He laid siege to janjira.

British factory records says about this event, “the Siddi is much straitened by Shivaji rajah, who though he cannot storm this place, only think to strave him out notwithstanding the grand Mughal command to withdrew his forces; so the Siddi resolve to hold it out to the last& then hath thoughts of delivering it up to the Mughal who hath an army about kalyan commanded by Lodhi khan.” The British were even contemplating possessing of Janjira to themselves. The Portugiz actively assisted Siddis to resist Shivaji. Under the treaty of 10th feb.1670, they even offered to mediate between Shivaji & Siddis. Shivaji couldn’t tolerate that this interference in his region. He was now convicted that the Mughals were bent upon circumscribing his activities in whatever direction they thought necessary & advisable.

It was while the siege of janjira was in progress in 1670, that the war between the Marathas & the Mughals break-out. It last for 37 years, until the death of Aurangzeb in 1707.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

20. Bardesh Mohim Against Protugiz

३ desais of konkan - lakham sawant, keshav naik & keshav prabhu were always encouraged by portugiz for making incursions into shivaji's kingdom.after returning from agra maharaj attacked bardesh - goa in nov. 1667 with reference of treaty between portugiz governer n mirzaraja jaisingh shivaji arraived at rangna on 8 nov.1667 with 5000 infantry n 1000 horsemen with him.

he camped a near by rangna fort.he made sudden incursion into bardesh territory on 20 nov.1667.he plundered 3 imp villages in the area n withn next 3 days. he overran nearly whole of bardesh before portugiz could offer any resistance. main cause of this mohim was to plunder 3 desais who were under portugiz protection. they ran away to goa. after 3 days on 23 nov. 1667 shivaji left portugiz territory n started peace negotiations. finally sighed a treaty with them on 12 dec.1667while coming back maharaj visited temple of saptakoteshwar n renowed it completely which was demolished by portugiz in 1540.

marathi n portugiz versions of treaty r kept in goa archives till now.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

19. Peace With Mughals…War With Vijapur

In Deccan war against Vijapur was losing battle for Jaisingh. Soon a face saving peace was patched up with Vijapur. Jaisingh was called back to Agra. He died on his way back at Burhanpur on 28th aug.1667. Peace loving Muazzam was appointed as viceroy of Deccan. Aurangzeb was worried about Persian invasion on Delhi same time. In north east, Assam tribes were fighting restless with Mughals. He couldn’t afford to open a new campaign against Vijapur or Marathas. Shivaji too wanted peace. With reduced territory he requires time to consolidate his position, & if possible to formulate new polities towards Vijapur & his other neighbours.

Shivaji now wrote to Muazzam, “I am a hereditary slave of the imperial court & my son Sambhaji has been created a commander of five thousand, but has received no jagir as tankhwa. I now beg that his majesty would pardon the offences of this servant, restore mansab of my son & assign a jagir to him. I am ready to render service in person whenever I am ordered.” Soon Sambhaji received Jagir in Berar & other places. He moved to Aurangabad with his Contigent to render service to Mughals. Now Shivaji secured a free hand from Mughals to seize as much as Vijapur territory as he could – the present districts of Satara, Sangli & Kolhapur. He attacked Phonda & Rangna, & captured it. Soon he recovered all his possessions excepting some parts of Phonda.

Monday, 9 March 2009

18. Escape From Agra… The Route ...

The Rajasthani letter, dated aug.23, throws light on events prior to Shivaji’s escape: “since four days prior to the flight of Shivaji there was much strictness about the guards. Once again emperor ordered that Shivaji be killed but soon after he changed to keeping him in the haveli of Rajah Vithaldas. Shivaji realized that the evil day has arrived, so he escaped.” According to Maratha chronicles Shivaji escaped from Agra on 17th aug. the Rajasthani letter suggest august 18, while Alamgirmana mensions 19th aug. as the date of departure. The Maratha chronicles are correct. The Rajputs choose to discover Shivaji’s escape on 18th while Mughals only confirmed the event on the next day, following a hurried search for Shivaji. Shivaji’s escape resulted in flurry of inquiries, charges & counter-charges. Efforts were made to involve Kumar Ramsingh in the dispute.

Shivaji must have made his plan very carefully. But the story of escape from a large fruit / sweet basket seems to have been circulated to save the police guards & their efforts from embarrassment. Following letter of 3rd sept.1666, strengthened this impression. “When the day was four gharis old, the news came that Shivaji has escaped, even when a thousand men were on guard duties. That day no one could tell when precisely he escaped & through which section of the guard (chowki). After deliberation it was concluded that Shivaji escaped through the basket.” This letter is written after 20 days of event. Aurangzeb was not the man to leave anything uninvestigated thoroughly. But still excepting Ramsingh, who was under disgrace for some time, nobody seems to have been punished. Shivaji proceeded to first to Mathura & then to Deccan, with the help of Dastak (passport) issued to the men of his retinue, he took straight path towards Deccan. The spy report says he reached Rajgad on 12sept.1666. But letter from MirzaRajah Jaisingh to Emperor on 27thsept states, Shivaji has not returned.

The Jedhe Shakavli states that Shivaji reached Rajgad along with Sambhaji on 20th nov. 1666. It states that, “Rajashree Swami came to Rajgad on Margashirsh Shuddha Panchami(20th nov 1666). Rajashree Shambhu Raje had been kept at Mathura with the Brahmin Vishwasrao. Vishwasrao brought him as well.” The first reaction of Aurangzeb to Shivaji’s escape was to order the arrest of Netaji Palkar, who had accepted service under the Mughals. This step must have been dictated by anger at Shivaji’s escape as well as anxiety to forestall any possibility of Netaji rejoining Shivaji. Netaji was brought to Agra, converted to Islam with name – Muhammad Kuli khan, granted a mansab of 3000 & was attached to province of Kabul immediately.

Mughals launched a vigorous search for Shivaji. Shivaji must have took the earstern route, as far as away from Mughal outposts as possible. Both Maratha chronicles n Bhimsen Saxena suggests Allahabad – Banaras – Gaya – Gondwana – Golconda as the route taken by Shivaji. From Banaras he must have moved to Sarguza dist. of present Madhya Pradesh. So Ambikapur – Amarkantak – Ratanpur – Bilaspur – Raipur – Bastar – Golconda seems to have been route taken by him. His journey was fraught with danger. More than once he escaped being captured by Mughals. Shivaji’s safe arrival on Rajgad was celebrated by Marathas. Soon Sambhaji joined his father. Once they both reached Rajgad, there was little that Aurangzeb could do to rectify the mistake.

50 years later, when Aurangzeb lay dying at Ahmadnagar, he still remembered Shivaji’s escape with regret. He has recorded in his will that - ‘A moment’s carelessness on his part in allowing Shivaji to escape had led to no end of distractions.’

Saturday, 7 March 2009

17. Visit To Agra – Threat To Life ...

Shivaji left for Agra on 5th march 1666. He stopped at Aurangabad for a week. Aurangzeb wrote to him,"come here without delay in full confidence in my grace & perfect composure of mind. After you have obtained audience of me, you will be glorified with my royal favours & given permission to return home.”

Shivaji reached Agra on 12th may 1666. Rajasthani records says,“ he has come along with only 100 retainers. His escort number from 200 to 550 men in all. When Shivaji rides out in a Palkhi, many footmen wearing costumes like the turks, big like khadauts, go before him. His flag is orange & vermillion coloured with golden decorations stamped on it…at sight Shivaji’s body look lean & short. His appearance is wonderfully fair in complexion & even without finding out who he is, one feels instinctively that he is a ruler of men. He is very brave & high-soled man & wears a beard. His son is 9 years old & very marvelously handsome in appearance & fair in complexion.” Rajastani records provide us with an eye-withness account of Shivai’s audience with Aurangzeb.

The memorable scene in the history of Mughal – Maratha relations is described in following way. “on the day emperor had left the Diwan-i-am (public hall) & was sitting in the select audience hall Diwan-i-khas also known as Ghusalkhana. Shivaji went to the latter place. The emperor asked Asad khan Bakshi to bring Shivaji forward & present him to the emperor. Shivaji presented 1000 muhras & rs.2000/- as nazar & rs.5000/- as nisar. Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji, was then presented to the emperor & he offered 500 muhras & rs.1000/- as nazar & rs.2000/- as nisar. Shivaji was made to stand in the place of Tahir khan in front of rajah Ramsingh.”

“It was emperor’s birthday & betel leaves were distributed to the princes & the noblemen & hence Shivaji too got one. Next the khilats (robes) for the occasion were presented to the princes, Jafar khan & rajah Jaswant Singh. At this time Shivaji became sad & fretful. He flew into a rage & his eyes were filled with tears. The emperor noticed it & told Ramkumar singh (son of Jaisingh), “ask Shivaji what ails him?” then the Kumar came to Shivaji’s side & Shivaji said, “you have seeing, your father has seen, your Padishah has seen what a man I am, & yet you have deliberately kept me standing so long. I cast off your mansab. If you wanted me to stand you should have done so according to the right order of precedence.” He then & there turned his back & began to walk away violently from his place in the line for noblemen. Then the Ramkumar seized his hand. But Shivaji wrenched it away, came to one side & sat down. The Kumar followed him to that place & again tried to persuade him, bur Shivaji would not listen & cried out,“My death date has arrived. Either you will slay me or I shall kill myself. Cut of my head & take it there if you like, but I am not going (back) to the emperor’s presence.”

Ramkumar went to the emperor & reported to him. Aurangzeb ordered Multafat khan, Aqil khan & Mukhalis khan to go, console Shivaji, invest him with a khilat & then bring him to the throne. The 3 noblemen came & asked Shivaji to wear a khilat. Shivaji replied,“I refuse to accept khilat. The emperor has purposely made me stand below Jaswant singh. I am such a man & yet I am deliberately kept standing. I decline emperor’s mansab. I will not be his servant. Kill me, imprison me, if you like, but I will not wear the khilat.” “So they returned & reported to emperor, who ordered Kumar to take Shivaji with him to his own residence & try persuasions. Shivaji’s behaviour in the Diwan-i-khas gave an opportunity to the Mughal nobles, Jafar khan & others, to protest vigorously to the emperor. “Who is Shiva(ji)? That in your royal presence, he commited such contumacious & insolent acts, & yet your majesty passes over them. In this way many bhumias (land holders) will come here, & act rudely. Then how will administration will continue? The news will reach every country that such a Hindu audaciously did every kind of rudeness & all will act similarly.”
It was then Aurangzeb might have decided to kill Shivaji. Siddi Faulad was ordered to take Shivaji to Andaz khan’s haveli.

Ramsingh had been expressly chargd by his father Jai singh to see that there is no harm to Shivaji’s life in Agra. So Ramsingh took immediate steps to stop this unpleasant move. He ran to imperial Bakshi, Amin khan & said,“Emperor is thinking of killing Shivaji. But he has came here on a guarantee of safety from my father, so it is proper that the emperor should first kill me, call up my son & kill him too. Only after putting us to death, he should kill Shivaji or do whatever he likes.” The emperor enquired whether Ramsingh would stand security for Shivaji. Ramsingh immediately consulted with Shivaji & signed a bond of security. The immediate danger was averted.

Sooner emperor ordered Ramsingh to move for Kabul with Shivaji on 16th may 1666. Obiviously Shivaji refused to do so. He mean while contacted Vajir Jafar khan. It seems that Shivaji paid considareble sum to Jafar khan & other nobles to gain their support. The proposal to send Ramsingh & Shivaji to Kabul was dropped. Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was however allowed to attend the court in the company of Ramsingh. Now Shivaji submitted a petition to the emperor through Muhammad Amin khan offering to pay more 2 crores of rupees if his forts were restored to him & to serve the emperor faithfully in the Deccan. Aurangzeb’s response was cold. He said,“He has gone of his head because of my legiency towards him. How can he be given leave to depart for home? Tell him firmly that he must not visit anybody.” Next day strong patrols were posted round Shivaji’s residence. Once again Shivaji was in danger of being killed. On june 7th Aurangzeb wrote letter to Shivaji. “Hand over all your forts to me. I will restore your mansab. Call here your nephew too. I will give mansab to him also.” Shivaji replied,“ I do not want your mansab. I have no control over the forts” One day Shivaji said to Ramsingh,“I thought people listened to you. You have spoken about me to the emperor. But he did not listen. You inform him that Shivaji is no longer in my charge. He may be disposed of in the way the emperor likes.” Ramsingh said,“ How can I leave your side?”

With rumors floating in bazaars of Agra, as recorded in the Rajastani records, make amusing reading. According to them it was rumoured that,“Rajah Jaswant singh said to the emperor,‘Shivaji jumps 14 to 15 arms, height from the ground. He walks a distance of 40 to 50 kos.’ The prince Muazzam said gravely,‘I too had heard of this in Aurangabad.” Shivaji must have been thinking of getting away from Agra without involving Ramsingh in the attempt. He requested that he should not be kept in charge of Ramsingh & that a residence might be fixed for him. The request went unheeded. Ramsingh however continued his arrangements for keeping a watch to protect Shivaji from any harm.

On 7th june, Shivaji sent away all his servants, saying ,‘Go away. Let no one remain with me here. I shall stay here alone. Let me be killed if they wish to kill me.’ They were allowed by Ramsingh to stay in his camp. Shivaji sent word to emperor to issue dastak (passports) to his troops to allow them to return to the deccan. He started giving charities & gifts to soldiers & laymen. As such Shivaji ran short of money. He borrowed rs.66,000/- from Ramsingh. The money was, of course, duly returned to Jaisingh in the deccan.

Friday, 6 March 2009

16. War with Jaisingh – Treaty of Purandar

The veteran general, Jaisingh was not Shashta khan. He did not underestimated Shivaji. His plan was to carry out swift & short campaign against Shivaji. His campaign was brilliantly conceived & equally brilliantly executed. His efforts at isolating Shivaji proved successful. The small chiefs, like Ramnagar & Jawhar, survice hungry officers of Vijapur, flocked to the standard of Vijapur. Siddis of Janjira prompty joined Mughals.

Arriving in Poona, Jaisingh marched towards the fort of Purandar. Ihtishan khan & later Qutub khan were posted at Poona with a force of 4000 horses. Jaisingh left Poona on 14th march 1665. on 29th he reached Saswad. Diler khan, next in command, had already gone ahead with the troops & strong artillery. Siege of Purandar began on 30th march 1665. Inspite of strong Maratha attacks Mughals succeeded in establishing themselves between the forts of Purandar & Rudramal / Vajragad. The Marathas put up a tough fight.

Same time Netaji Palkar raided Paranda region. “They made sudden raids & carried out night attacks. They used to block roads & hold inaccessible passes. They also use to set fires to the jungles. Owing to these activities the condition of army of Islam was rendered difficult. A considerable number of animals belonging to the army perished.” In reply Daudkhan was appointed as governer of Khandesh by Jaisingh with 7000 cavalry force. They soon started attacking villages. Setting up fires, capturing men, women & cattle became the set practice of Mughal raiding – parties.

The siege of Purandar is one of the memorable sieges in history of India. Time & again the Marathas emerged from the fort to fall upon Mughal trenches. Hand to hand fights were orders of the day. In such one of the fights, Murar Baji, the gallant Maratha commandant of Purandar, laid down his life. He has become immortal in the Maratha history. Sooner Mughals captured Rudramal on 14th apl. Mughal trenches were moved to the north-east of the fort. They took possession of 5 towers of the forts. Marathas with drew to the inner walls of the fort. At end of may 1665, Shivaji thought of ending war which was proving ruinous to the country. He approached Jaisingh through more than one latter, offering his cooperation in case of a future Mughal – Vijapur conflict. But the offer was summarily rejected. Jaisingh wanted nothing short of total surrender. Shivaji tried to influence Jaisingh to turn towards Vijapur, so that he could get liberal terms. But Jaisingh refused. Vijapur did make offer to Shivaji to join in hands, but it came to late.

The terms finally agreed to were –

1. 23 of Shivaji’s fort, large & small, out of which the revenue was 4 lakh hons(about 16 lakh rupees) should be annexed to the empire.

2. 12 forts including Rajgad should be held by Shivaji with revenue of 4 lakh hons(about 4 lakh rupees) on condition of service & loyalty to the empire.

3. his son Sambhaji, would be made Mansabdar of 5,000

4. Shivaji was exempted by request from Mansab but on condition that he should serve Mughals in their Deccan wars against Vijapur.

5. Shivaji said, if Talkonkan, a territory of Vijapur, some mahals of Balaghat yielding 5 lakh hons revenue were kept in my command I agree to pay 40 lakh hons to emperor with installment of 3 lakh every year.

The forts taken away by Mughals were included strong forts like Lohagad, Visapur, Purandar, Kondana, Rohida, Mahuli. Only Rajgad & Torna of deemed importance were left with Shivaji. The plains of Poona & coastal belt of Kalyan-Bhiwandi were occupied by Mughals. The Mughals extended their sway by taking Siddis in their service. It speaks for the greatness of Shivaji that he bore this humiliation with tremendous forbearance & fortitude. he survived to fight, & fight successfully.

Shivaji took leave Jaisingh in jan 1666. He was to attack the kingdom of Vijapur from the west & capture Panhala. This was assignment given to him by Jaisingh. On other hand Diler khan wished to kill Shivaji several times & hence rajah Jaisingh leaved Shivaji for a separate assignment of Panhala. He never listened to the words of Dilerkhan. On 16th june Shivaji reached Panhala base & led assault. His general Netaji Palkar, did not made it in time. The assault failed with loss of 1000 men. Shivaji got angry on Netaji & withdrew him from post of general. Netaji Palkar sooner left Maratha forces & joined Vijapur & finally joined hands with Mughals with offer of bigger Mansab. Netaji’s defection illustrates how even officers nearest to Shivaji failed to understand the significance of the struggle which he was waging.

Vijapur campaign ended disastrously for Jaisingh without sufficient artillery. Sooner Jaisingh feared that Shivaji might join in hands with Vijapur to recapture his forts & territory. It was Jaisingh who suggested Aurangzeb that Shivaji should be called to the court. His letter to Aurangzeb illustrates this simply,” Now that Adilshah & Qutub shah have united in mischiefs, it is necessary to win Shivaji’s heart by all means & send him to northern India to have audience of your majesty.” Jaisingh must have used all his skills in persuading Shivaji to go to Agra he could not hold out any prospects of territorial benefits. Shivaji could not avoid going to the court.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

15. 1st Naval Expedition To Basrur After Foundation Of Sindhudurg ...

Soon after on 5th dec 1664, Shivaji laid the foundation of the fort of Sindhudurg near Malvan on the sea coast. The fort of Gheria(Vijaydurg), Suvarnadurg & other sea forts were strengthened. They were meant to provide protection to Maratha navy & keep in check the Siddis of Janjira, the Portuguese & other powers. Shivajis’s navy was a modest but a very useful wing of his defense forces.

According to contemporary chronicles it consisted of 400-500 ships, big & small, known as “Gurab, Tarande, Galbat, Mubar, Sihad, Pagar, Machva, Tirkathi & Pal. Like the infantry & cavalry, the navy formed an important & separate command of equal rank. To this navy were appointed Darya Sarang Daulatkhan & Mayanak Bhandari as officers, with seafaring & fighting men & kolis & soldiers – sailors to serve under them.” Shivaji’s naval activities figure in a number of Portuguese, Dutch & British records. He had constant encounters with his constant rival – Siddi of Janjira. In feb. 1665, Shivaji personally led the 1st naval expedition to Basrur. The navy consisted of 50 frigates, 3 little ships & some small craft wit 4000 soldiers. He set sail from Maland port(ratnagiri dist.) & reached Basrur probably on 13th feb 1665.

Basrur (Bareclore) on Canara coast belonged to the principality of Bidnur. The town was plundered. The Dutch estimated the value of plunder as 3 lakh guilders which might be correct. The Maratha chronicles have placed the figure at 2crore hons(8crore rupees), an incredible sum! On the way back Shivaji stayed for some time at Gokarna Mahabaleshwar & Karwar. He hurried back to his capital Rajgad by the land route in the 3rd week of march 1665. Mirzaraja Jaisingh, the veteran general of Aurangzeb, reached Poona, on 3rd march, to led the campaign against Shivaji.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

14. In Konkan 1664

Aurangzeb, was deeply mortified at Shivaji’s sack of Surat. A new campaign against Shivaji, this time under more competent general, had to be decided upon. Aurangzeb called upon Vijapur to wage was against Shivaji. He offered to excuse & waive the tribute to the extent of 30,000 hons (Rs. 1,20,000/-). Shivaji too made a conciliatory gesture to Vijapur. Bur pressure from Mughals increased. Finally Vijapur general, Aziz khan, descended into the Konkan & captured Kudal. Shivaji attacked town of Vengurla, in the possession of Vijapur, in oct. 1664.

The Marathas attacked Khavas khan. After a bloody battle the Maratha forces were repulsed. Meanwhile, Baji Ghorpade, Sardar to Vijapur, rushed to Khawas khan’s assistance. Shivaji attacked him. There was always a rivalry between Shivaji & Baji Ghorpade as Baji was involved in Shahaji Raje’s arrest in 1648 by Vijapur. In the severe fight Baji died. He was carrying a considerable money with him to make payments to Khawas khan’s army. The tresure fell into Shivaji’s hand. Khawas khan hurriedly withdrew to from Konkan in nov. 1664. Shivaji immediately marched up to Kudal & captured it. The desais, local chiefs, who had allied themselves with Vijapur fled asylum to the Portuguese territories. Shivaji chased them up to the borders. Same time he raided Vijapur. He thus reestablished rule again in the south Konkan. It was to remain under the Marathas thereafter.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

13. Sack of Surat

Shastakhan was replaced by Prince Muazzam after Lalmahal attack. While the change of charge took place that Shivaji followed up his success by yet another daring achievement – the attack & sack of the rich & bursting port of Surat. Shivaji passed through Nardurg, Mahuli, Kohoj & through Ramnagar. The Mughal officials of the Kalyan – Bhiwandi were extremely negligence.

Surat, on Tapi river, a few metres inland from the sea, has a good ground fort. The city had practically no defences. On the approach of Maratha army the governor fled to the fort leaving the city to the Marathas. The British & Dutch defended their factories. Shivaji had a force 10,000 strong. He wanted to deal with cities richest merchants, but on getting no response, his troops entered the city & plundered it. The Mughal garrison kept up a fire from the fort, the only effect being that many fires were caused in the city reducing hundreds of houses to ashes.

From 6 to 9 jan 1664, Shivaji plundered the city at leisure. The booty he carried away from the city in cash & kind must have been to the tune of about 1 crore rupees. He left on 10th jan. The Mughal forces arrived 7 days later. It was only then that the governor emerged from the castle. Shivaji returned from Surat, it was at this time that he heard of his father’s death in the south. He went to Rajgad for immediately.

Monday, 2 March 2009

12. Shivaji's letter to Mughal official's

Shivaji’s energy, determination & enthusiasm are well brought out in this celebrated letter addressed to the Mughal officials.

“Far-sighted men know that during the last three years, famous generals & experienced officials have been coming from the emperor to this region. The emperor had ordered them to capture my forts & territory. In their dispatches to the emperor they write that the territory & the forts would be captured soon. Even if imagination were horse it would be impossible for it to move in these parts. It is extremely difficult for this region to be conquered. They do not know this. They are not ashamed of sending false reports to the emperor. My country does not consist of places like Kalyani & Bidar, which are situated in plains & could be captured by assaults. It is full of hill ranges. There are sixty forts in this region. Some of them are situated on the sea coast.

Afzalkhan came with a strong army, but he was rendered helpless & destroyed. After Afzalkhan’ death, the Amir-ul-Umara-Shasta khan, marched into my land, full of high hills & deep gorges. For three years he exerted himself to the utmost. He wrote to the emperor that he would conquer my territory in a short time. The end of such a false attitude was only to be expected. He was disgraced & had to go away.

It is my duty to guard my homeland. To maintain your prestige, you send false reports to the emperor, but I am blessed with divine favour. An invader of these lands, whosoever he may be, has never succeeded.”

Sunday, 22 February 2009

11. War with Shasta Khan – A Daring Feat

While Shivaji was in siege, Shasta Khan took possession of his territory & of his Lalmahal. With plains securely held by Mughals, forts were strongly held by Shivaji. Now he turned towards a fort of Chakan., north of Poona, which was important strong hold of Shivaji. It was not a hill fort. Even as ground fort it was comparatively small. & yet the Marathas held out for more than two & half months, thanks to their valiant leader Firangoji Narsale. It was only after the Mughals had suffered the loss of 268 men, 640 wounded, & the tower in the north- eastern corner blown up by a mine explosion, that the garrison offered to surrender on 15th aug 1660. They were honourably treated & allowed to go away. The expariance of such a heavy loose in one siege must have unnerved Shasta khan. Wisely he decided to return to Poona without any more efforts.

Now Mughals tried to push Shivaji further into south after capturing Kalyan – Bhiwandi. Kartalab khan, at the end of 1660, equipped with a considerable force, descended the Ghats near Lonavala. Shivaji allowed him to enter the thick forest of 9 km in length. There is a village called 'Umber' in this area & pass known as 'Umberkhind'. The Marathas led by Shivaji ambushed Mughals. Finding himself unable either to advance or retreat, Kartalab khan begged for mercy. Shivaji took possession of entire equipment of Kartalab khan & allowed him to depart.

Now Shivaji divided his forces into two. One force led by Netaji Palkar was to engage the Mughals. Other led by Shivaji marched south to the Konkan territory of Adilshah. Shivaji’s advance was spectacular. Dabhol, Pali, Sangameshwar, Chiplun, Rajapur fell into his hands & yielded considerable wealth. Shirngarpur fell on 29th apl 1661. Shivaji spent summer of 1661 on Wardhangad in Konkan.

British, who foolishly supplied ammunition to Siddhi in siege of Panhala came under unfavorable notice of Shivaji. Henry Revington, Richard Taylor, Randolph Taylor, Phillip Gyfford were arrested & thrown into prison first at Vasota & later in Songad. They were released only in feb.1663.

By 1662, Mughals were in effective occupation of the plain lands. Shivaji held the forts strongly. It was a stalemate. Without touching forts Mughals indulged in fruitless raids. Namdarkhan & others attacked villages between Lohagad, Visapur, and Tung & Tikona. They set fire to 70-80 road side villages, destroyed grain & other material. Shivaji kept a relentless fight with Mughals.

Shivaji’s letter dated 23th oct.1662 to Sarjerao Jedhe - Deshmukh of Rohidkhore : “News has been brought that raids of the Mughals are likely in your region. Immediately on receipt of this letter issue warning to all the villages in tapa. Send all the rayat (people) to a strong place below the Ghats. Send them to places where enemy will not harm them. Do not delay matters. Act immediately according to the letter. If you fell in your duty & Mughals arrest people & take them away, all the blame will fall on you. Be visiting your villages night & day & send people to suitable places down the Ghats. Do not delay by even one hour in carrying out these measures. Be alert. There will be some people left who will be guarding their fields. Ask them to be at the safe places in the hills. If they see the Mughals from a distance, they should run away from the route of the raid. Be alert.”

By the time Shasta khan failed to seize the Maratha forts within this territory was a great blunder. The loyal Marathas right from Peshwa Moropant Pingle down to the humble soldier continued to serve Shivaji whole- heartedly. Shasta khan had absolutely no idea of Shivaji’s intelligence, shrewdness & plans. He remained negligent. Although Shivaji had limited resources. Yet he had kept up a fight with the Mughals. His attacks were more daring than what his resources were suggest. Shivaji obtained every possible information about Shasta khan’s camp, the camp bazaars & the roads & by roads.

Shivaji made a daring raid into Shaista khan’s camp on the night of 5th apl.1663. The raid was successful. Shaista khan barely escaped with loss of his fingers. His son Abdul Fatah was killed. His head was cut off & carried away. 50 more were dead & wounded. This daring feat created a profound impression throughout the country. Bhimsen Saxena notes in his autobiography, “Uptil now, no rajah had fought against Mughal generals in this manner, nor had shown such daring.”

Shasta khan withdrew to Aurangabad immediately. But Mughal forces remained in Poona under the command of Jaswant Singh. By the time Shivaji again descended into Konkon to push Adilshahi to further south. By jun he was back to Rajgad. After rains in 1663, Mughals under command of Jaswant Singh made an attack on Sinhagad. They had to withdraw with disgrace. Many lives also lost as a result of the explosion of ammunition. It became impossible to conquer the fort. He raised siege to Sinhagad on 28th may 1664 after 5 months & returned to Aurangabad wih forces.

By end of 1664 Alamgirnama of Aurangjeb notes, “not even a single fort could be captured. The campaign against Shivaji ran into difficulties & languished.”

10. In Siege of Panhala ...

Fleding of Vijapur army after Afzalkhan’s death made Shivaji to capture strong fort of Panhala on 28th Nov. 1659. There was a panic in court of Vijapur. Now Adilshah again assembled a force & sent it under the leadership of Rustum Zaman. Fazal khan – son of Afzalkhan, Malik Ambar, Fateh Khan, Sarjerao Ghatge were serving under him. Shivaji himself led the attack against Rustum Zaman. Battle was fought near Panhala. Vijapur forces again fled & broke badly. 12 elephants & 2000 horses were captured. After that Shivaji carried raids as far as Athani (now in Belgaun). Shivaji even advanced to lay siege to the fort of Miraz.

Mean while, Vijapur made one more effort again Shivaji. A well-equiped force under command of Vijapur noble, Siddhi Jauhar with 16000-20000 cavalry & 35000-40000 foot soldiers. The Vijapur forces besieged Panhala with Shivaji inside the fort. Shivaji’s effort to divert the enemy by sending his troops to environs of Vijapur & plundering them did not succeed. This was March 1660. The siege last for 6 months. Netali Palkar tried another diversionary attack, but he failed to achieve his purpose.

Mean while Shaista khan marched into Poona from Aurangabad & captured Shivaji’s Lalmahal on 9th may 1660. He was in full correspondence with Siddhi Jauhar. Shaista khan also took possession of Kalyan – Bhiwandi. With plains securely held by Mughals, forts were strongly held by Shivaji. Now he tried occuping Shivaji’s territory.

Siege of Panhala was a tight siege. Mughals were capturing Shivaji’s Swarajya. He decided to leave Panhala & return to Rajgad. Taking advantage of rainy season & dark nights, on 13th july 1660, Shivaji slipped out of Panhala & made for the fort of Vishalgad, 64 km away. He was accompanied by a small contingent of 600 men. Siddhi Jauhar learnt of Shivaji’s escape. The Adilshahi forces pursuit him. The plateau leading to Vishalgad was 6-9 km long. The place called Gajapur Khind or Ghod Khind was perfect to fight with enemy. Shivaji placed his sturdy men to fight with Vijapur forces & he himself pushed on towards Vishalgad. Maratha leader BajiPrabhu Deshpande earned glory in this fight. He died fighting. It was he, who stopped Vijapur forces long enough to enable Shivaji to reach Vishalgad.

The Ghod Khind is now generally known as Pavan Khind – the sacred platue.

Soon after, Shivaji returned to Rajgad. With Mughal pressure steadily increasing, he was in dire need of territory & finances for the war.

9. Afzalkhan Meet: 10th Nov. 1659

With Aurangzeb in the north & his son Muazzam holding charge of Deccan, Vijapur got despite from Mughals. They now turned towards Shivaji. Shivaji was aiming at strengthening himself into Konkan. The enemy of Vijapur was the Mughals & not Shivaji. Aurangzeb was kin to get Shivaji away from the districts annexed to the empire. Vijapur undertook to accomplish what the Mughals wanted to do. It was not really Vijapur which fought against Shivaji. The Mughals busy in the north, were fighting with Shivaji by proxy.

So Adilshah instructed Afzalkhan, ‘that in case Shivaji, being hard – pressed by the Vijapur forces, in his habitual deceptive manner offered to make a peaceful negotiations, the Khan must not listen to him but follow no other policy than that of flinging the fire of death on the harvest of his life.’

Afzalkhan was appointed as Governer of Wai. On 16th june 1659 Adilshah wrote farman to Kanhoji Jedhe saying, “Shivaji out of narrow-mindedness & evil propensities, has started troubling the Mohammedans residing in the province of Konkan belonging to the Nijamshahi. He has also plundered them. He has also captured many forts in the Padshahi province. Therefore, in order to drive him out & conquer him, we have appointed Afzalkhan.”

Shivaji fully understood the nature of this threat to his very survival. Same time, his 1st wife Saibai, mother of Sambhaji passed away in sept. 1659. This was great shock to him. Now he made Pratapgad, at a few km from Wai, as his stronghold.

The 2 letters – one from Afzalkhan to Shivaji & other from Shivaji as reply to Afzalkhan are available –

Afzalkhan wrote, “1. The territory. Which after the disappearance of the Nijamshah had been taken by Adilshah, & which had been given by him to Mughals in the interest of peace, that territory full of hill forts, has been taken by you & appropriated by you.

2. The lord of Rajpuri (Siddis) who has more than one besieged & deprived of his territory by you, is angry with you.

3. You invaded & after fighting, forcibly seized this wide kingdom of Chandrarao altogether inaccessible to the enemy.

4. You took Kalyan & Bhiwandi too and, so they say destroyed the mosques.

5. You robbed the Mohammedans of their all & insulted them.

6. Not considering your own strength you have placed under restraint the holy men of Islam & obstructed the practice of the religion of Moslems.

7. As you freely assumed emblems of sovereignty, sit unjustly on a golden throne, award favours & punishments to men on your own authority, and waywardly refuse to render obeisance to those to whom it is due, & move freely as you like, fear nobody, therefore I have been sent by the great Adilshah.

8. The army which is accompanying me is pressing me to fight. Muse Khan & others officers of mine, desiring to fight, as also the chiefs desiring to capture Jawali are pressing to march against you.

9. Sinhagad & Lohagad, great & strong forts, so also the fort of Purandar, & city of Chakan, also the territory between Bhima & Nira, surrender those to the emperor of Delhi of immeasurable power.

10. And Adilshah asks you this Jawali you seized forcibly from Chandrarao.”

It will be seen that Mughals who were waging the war through Vijapur. Shivaji was in a desperate position. Surrender would have meant a political suicide. It was only his supreme self confidence, his conviction that he has fighting for a just cause, & that providence was with him which enabled him to come out of this crisis with success.

He had the unique capacity for inspiring confidence & loyalty among his followers. Moropant Pingle – the Peshwa, Netoji Palkar – commander of the cavalry & more no. of captains with him.
Shivaji called up his army from Konkan. Cavalry operations were handed to Netoji Palkar. Prataprao Gujar surrounded the hills were Afzalkhan camped out.

Now the letter Shivaji wrote to Afzalkhan is a master piece of diplomacy. Here is the letter,

“1. That you, who annihilated all the princes of the Carnataca ( Karnataka) in war, should show even much grace to me is a great deal.

2. In comparable is the strength of your arms. Your valour is like fire. You are an ornament to the earth. There is no guile in you.

3. If you would see the splendor of these woods, come & have a nice view of Jawali.

4. It is best, I think, that you come here now. That will free me from all fear, & will promote my advancement.

5. I have nothing but contempt for the army of the haughty Mughals, also for that of Adilshah, expecting you of terrible power.

6. Come along & be comfortable in the journey. I shall give up the forts, & as you ask for it, this Jawali also.

7. Looking on you, who are terrible to look at, without fear, I shall place my sword in front of you.

8. Seeing this ancient & vast forest, your army will experience all the pleasures of the world in its depth.”

The letter, very carefully worded & full of double meaning, has desired effect on Afzalkhan.

They meet in a pavilion outside fort Pratapgad. There were 10 bodyguards with each one of them placed at the bow-shot. Inside pavilion there will be Krishnaji, the emissary of Afzalkhan & Pantaji, the emissary of Shivaji. Among the bodyguards of Shivaji, Sambhaji Kavji, Katoji Ingle, Siddi Ibrahim were there. Afzalkhan’s body guards were Rahimkhan, Pahilvankhan, Shankraji Mohite & other. This emphasizes the political nature of the struggle. It was not a communal one.

On 10th nov. 1659 they meet. Shivaji had a broad sword, long dagger & tiger claws (waghanakhas). Afzalkhan too had sword & dagger. Inside the tent he said to Shivaji, “with my own hand I shall take you to Vijapur, make you bend your head before the king, & by humble request to that powerful lord, procure for you still greater splendour. Don’t be bewildered. Put your hand in mine & give me an embrance.” With Shivaji in his grip Afzalkhan was tempted to kill him. But an expert wrestler, Shivaji quickly got his own neck released, & keeping head cool, immediately thrust his dagger deep into Afzalkhan. Sonner, Shivaji’s colleagues ran after Afzalkhan & cut his head. Shivaji withdrew to the fort immediately.

“Shivaji had presence of mind, while Afzalkhan paid the price of his rash over-confidence.”

With signal, Shivaji’s army fell upon army of Afzalkhan. It was a surprise attack & Afzalkhan’s army was completely destroyed. The plunder which fell into the hands of Marathas was enormous. 65 elephants, 4000 horses, 1200 camels, Rs.3,00,000/- worth jewelry, 2000 bales of garment, Rs.7,00,000/- in cash,& all cannons, guns, weapons of all kind, & other equipments were capture. It was the great boost to the morale of the Marathas. While one army ran over modern districts of Satara & Sangli to reach Panhala under leadership of Shivaji, other descended into Konkan & spread to its southern extremities. The Maratha state small but compact, was turning into a reality.

8. Father of the Indian Navy

Portuguese letter dated 6th aug 1659 says, “a son of Shahaji, rebel against Adilshah, has captured the areas near Bassein (Vasai) & Chaul. He has grown strong. He has constructed some fighting vessels in the Bhiwandi, Kalyan & Panvel ports of the Bassein region. We are therefore forced to remain alert. We have ordered the Portuguese captain not to allow these vessels to come out of the ports & see that they do not move out on the seas.”

Now Shivaji was threat to all his enemies. He was in full control of kalyan & began to hum with navy – building activities by 1657-58. The work of building 20 fighting vessels started under trained hands. According to Shivaji, ostensibly the navy was to be used against the Siddis, but in reality his aim went far beyond.

As the Konkan came increasingly under possession, Shivaji started building number of coastal fortresses such as Padmadurg, Vijaydurg, Suvarnadurg, Sindhudurg & other small to afford protection to his coastal navy & to watch & to curb the activities of the Portuguese.

Mughals & Vijapur were land based power. They always neglected building up a navy. Their pilgrim & merchant ships depended on Europeans in the sea. Under such circumstances Shivaji’s stress on naval activities reveals his far-sightedness.

He can well be acclaimed as ‘Father of the Indian Navy.’

7. Into Mughal Territory

Aurangzeb worte to Shivaji on 22nd april 1657, “In fact all the forts & mahals pertaining to Vijapur, that are in your possession now have been confirmed to you as before. I also leave to you the revenue of the fort of Dabhol & its dependencies, as desired by you. Your remaining prayers will be granted & you will be comprehended in my favour & grace more than you can imagine.”

Shivaji got alarmed by this letter. He was worried about his jagir of Poona & Chakan. To secure them he marched against Mughals, & plundered Junnar in 1657. Aurangzeb was wild with anger. This was to be the reply to his efforts of seducing Shivaji to his side?

Now he wrote to his officials - “Invade Shivaji’s territory, lay waste the villages, slay people without pity & plunder them to the extreme.”

Mughals also captured Kalyani & Bidar forts of Vijapur. Soon the treaty came between Mughals & Vijapur as Shahjahan got ill & Aurangzeb wants to go to Delhi. With this opportunity Shivaji swooped down Kalyan & Bhiwandi on 24th oct. 1657. He also captured fort of Mahuli. Shivaji purposely confined his activities to Konkan & avoided incursions into Khandesh – Mughal districts.

Aurangzeb felt deeply mortified. But he hardly could do anything in the hurry to go north.
Shivaji also deprived the Siddis of many of their strongholds on the main land on other side.

6. Entraning into Javli…

With widening borders of Swarajya in west & south Shivaji opened conflicts with Chandrarao More of Javli. Javli was strategically positioned between Konkan & Ghats. It was extremely important for communication between Ghats & Konkan for Adilshahi. Shivaji steadily & causiously, aiming at extending & consolidating his power looking for entering Javli, waiting for the right time. This was 1655. His plans were to break communication between Ghats & Konkan for Vijapur.

Shivaji wrote to Chandrarao More of Javli about his vision of Swarajya & asked him to join the venture. Chandrarao More replied; “I m the king. Shri Shambhu Mahadev has given me sovereignty. You should not in future entitle yourself as rajah. You have become a King only yesterday. Who has bestowed upon you this sovereignty? If you have any courage in you, you should meet us today & not postpone the visit till tomorrow.”

Shivaji’s campaign against Chandrarao More was sharp & swift. On jan 27th 1656, Shivaji marched into Javli & captured it. At the time Kanhoji Jedhe, the Bandals, the Silimkars & other Deshmukhs of Rohilkhand were with him. Chandrarao More ran from Javli to Rairi. In May Shivaji took Rairi as well, after 2 months siege to fort. Chandrarao More lost no of people. Even his 2 sons died in the battle. Many fled & joined Adilshahi. With annexation of Javli & capture of Rairi (later known as Raigad – 2nd capital of Swarajya) Shivaji made incursion into central Konkan with straight threat to Siddis & Vijapur. Now Shivaji started constructing a massive fort called Pratapgad (Bhorpyacha Donger) into javli.

5. Into the Konkan ...

Shivaji’s eyes thus turned towards the coastal belt of Konkan, the northern part of which had been held by Shahaji Raje during struggle with the Mughals from 1632 – 1636. The 483 km. long & 90-95 km. wide Konkan, the coastline is broken into innumerable creeks, rivers & streams. The creeks in many places reach the hill ranges. The rainfall is heavy & communications difficult. The coastline boasts of a number of ports, small & big such as Bassein (Vasai), Bombay (Mumbai), Chaul (Revdanda), Dabhol, Rajapuri, Vengurla, besides the trading places like sangameshwar, Mahad, Thane. The north Konkan area of Kalyan-Bhiwandi was under Mughals, Thane & above was under Portuguese. Centrel Konkan was under Siddis & further south was under Vijapur.

4. Poona Jagir ...

The jagir, though not big, was strategically located. The Sahyadri hill ranges, running from Khandesh in the north to the borders of Goa in the south, devide Konkan from Ghats. These hills rise at some places to 1,218 metres above sea level & provide an excellent defence to the terrain. Small offshoots from these ranges, running west to east, provided enough land to brave, hardy population – fiercely independent & assertive. Small rivers running through the villages enabled the small farmers to cultivate the lands between Junnar in the north & Mahabaleshwar in the south. The valleys known as ‘khores’ were often named after the streams flowing through them. Since they were situated in the west (Mavalati – the land of sunset), the land come to be collectively known as Maval. Each valley boasted of a high hill crowned by a fort or fortress, providing good defence to the people.

Shivaji grew up amidst the hills & valleys of Poona district. The people he administrated were sturdy & manly.
‘Great events usually develop from small beginnings.’

‘Laying the foundations for a purely native, independent & welfare state, national in every sense of the word, with vast potentialities of expansion throughout the country, is greatest achievement of Shivaji. He awakened the national feeling, He imbeded confidence in an apathetic people. He fought against in tolerance, arrogance & pride of his enemies & proved to them that no power can stand & flourish without the tactic support of the people.’

But this was to come later. The beginning reveals a young man moving step by step, defining his objectives, extremely shrewd, & charged with an admirable mixture of caution & adventure.

In 1645, he was barely 15 yrs old. The Vijapur ruler, Muhammad Adilshah, was taken ill. Little time later, Dadoji Konddev, Shivaji’s manager of Poona estate, died on 7th march 1647. His death naturally removed the restraints imposed by as older & cautious generation. Shivaji took possession of the half built fort of Murumbdev (later called Rajgad – capital of Swarajya till 1671) & fort Torna (prachandgad). However, his biggest achievement was the peaceful possession of Kondana, which come to know as Sinhagad in 1647 only. The Vijapur court was naturally alarmed. Adilshah ordered, his general Fateh khan, & Khudavant khan, to march against Shivaji. Maintaining the base at Purander, Shivaji prepared to meet the 1st danger. Mean while Shivaji heard the shocking news of his father’s arrest nr. Jinji fort. This happened on 28th july 1648. Shahaji’s jagir in Banglore was also invaded, which was defended tenaciously by Shivaji’s older brother Sambhaji.

The Vijapur forces included Maratha contigents led by the Ghatges & Nimbalkars of Phaltan. Shivaji’s wife, Maharani Saibai was the sister of Balaji Nimbalkar of Phaltan. After a fierce encounter, the Vijapur forces break & fled, leaving their leader, Muse khan, among the dead. Shivaji’s early companions like Kavji Malhar, Godaji Kamble, Bhimaji Wagh, Sambhaji Kate, Shivaji Engle, Bhikaji Chore, & Bhairav Chore. It was wide strata from which Shivaji drew his forces. While Baji Jedhe, son of kanhoji Jedhe, distinguished himself in this battle, Shivaji suffered a great loss in the death of his staunch follower, Baji Pasalkar. Shivaji corresponded with prince Murad, son of Shahjahan & Mughal governer of Deccan with latter dated 14th march 1649. Much later Shahji was released on 16th may 1649. but Shivaji pay the price of relinquishing the fort Kondana / Sinhagad back to Vijapur.

Between 1649 to 1655 it seems a slow career for Shivaji & nothing special happened. But that was silence before the thunderstorm. By 1655, Shivaji was in full possession of Poona, Chakan, Baramati & Indapur. He also secured the forts like Torna, Rajgad, Purandar, and Lohagad. The northern borders of Shivaji’s jagir were the same as southern borders for Mughal Empire. Any question of advancing in that direction was unthinkable. His eastern borders were enclosed by well-administrated & strongly guarded Vijapur districts of Satara, Sangli & Kolhapur also know as Balaghat. So ???