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 … !

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