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.

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