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."


  1. ultimate one yar!!!!!!!!!! thanks you lot for putting such great stories on net to read ...

  2. classic.......gr8 job!!!!!!!!!!

  3. i feel u hv done a gr8 deal of study on d life of shivaji maharaj.i had some doubts which arised after reading d english version of shriman yogi... the days b4 shivaji maharaj's death he had met ganga shastri.ganga shastri said maharaj tat till date none of his medicine had gone he asked maharaj whether he had ate something which he shudnt tat moment maharaj said him tat if he promised him tat he wont raise d point outside maharaj said shastribuwa tat he had similar experience earlier pointing to d episode of his poisoning whose blame was falsely put on sambhaji do u think tat there was a possibility tat shivaji raje was poisoned??

    Also since i read d book 4rm mirjaraje's episode i cudnt come 2 know whether manohari was one of shivaji raje's wife??

  4. Siddheart ... Pls do not mix Novels with ref. books .. All that has been written in Shrimaan yogi is from the author & not anywhere present in the ref. books sofar...

    manohari is shown just as a caretaker to raje... she was not wife of him .. also vert imp point to note here shivrai never had kept any women apart from their married wifes.

    Abt poissning issue ... we do nt any evidence abt that.. As far as papers it was a natural death i hv given all details ab that in the blog ...

    thnx for a brief comment on d blog ... !!!

  5. Rohan,

    Can you suggest some good marathi reference books about Shivaji Maharaj's life ?


  6. pls chk these titles -

    (1) ShriShivabharat - kavindra parmanand - sampadak - sadashiv mahadev divekar (shabdavedh prakashan, pune)
    (2) jedhey shakavali - karina - sampadak - dr a.r. kulkarni (diamond publications, pune)
    (3) krishnaji anant sabhasad virachit ShivaChhatrapatichey charitra - sabhasad bakhar - sampadak - r.v herwadkar (venus prakashan, pune)
    (4) malhar ramrao chitnis virachit - Shri ShivaChhatrapatinchey saptaprakarnatmak charitra - sampadak - r.v herwadkar (venus prakashan, pune)
    (5) Shri ShivaChhatrapatinchi 91 kalami bakhar aani bhosaley gharanyachi charitavali - sampadak - v.s. vakaskar (venus prakashan, pune)
    (6) malhar ramrao chitnis virachit - Shrimant Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj aani thoaraley Rajaram Maharaj yanchi charitrey - sampadak - r.v herwadkar (venus prakashan, pune)
    (7) ShriShivadigvijay - sampadak - dr ramchandra chintaman dherey (anmol prakashan, pune)
    (8) aadnyaapatra - ramchandrapant amatyapranit swarajyaniti - sampadak - ramchandra chintaman dherey (padmagandha prakashan, pune)
    (9) jayram(pindyey) kavi virachit parnalparvatgrahanakhyan - sampadak - sadashiv mahadev divekar
    (10) aitihasik farsi sahitya - sahava khand - aurangzebachya darbarachey akhabar - sampadak - ganesh hari kharey
    (11) swarajyatil teen durg - ganesh hari kharey
    (12) gad-koat-durg aani tyanchi vaastu - v.s. bendrey
    (13) rana jaising aani Shivaji - rajkarani chadhaoadh - v.s. bendrey
    (14) Shri Raja ShivaChhatrapati - gajanan bhaskar mehendale
    (15) Shivaji's visit to aurangzib at agra - rajasthani records - jadunath sarkar & raghubir singh
    (16) Shivakalin maharashtra - dr a.r. kulkarni
    (17) Raigad ek abhyas - part 1,2 & 3 - gopal chandorkar
    (18) khagoliya Shivakal - prof mohan apte

  7. Please tell me where will I get historical documents and evidences about the travel and escape of MAHARAJ from Agra.
    Its urgently needed for my doctoral work

  8. Try In Bharat Itihas Samshidhak mandal or bhandarkar institute in pune... or else you can try n meet up some of well known historians. they should have some... all d best.

  9. I want to buy the book Shree Shivbharat. Can I get the postal address or Ph. no. of Shabdavedh Prakashan.

  10. I want to buy the book Shree Shivbharat. Regarding the same can you give me the postal address or Ph. no. of Shabdavedh Prakashan

  11. I like your posts as they are extremely informative and yet appealing. I really appreciate this skill.

    When I started reading, and came across this sentence “ An extra ordinary career had come to an end.” I felt very lost. The last sentence is very inspiring - “Shivaji's personality and message are as relevant today as they were in the past."

    I revere Shivaji Maharaj as a god and every human being should as his values and ethics were the greatest in the world. His aim and whole career was built up on a sacred purpose which was totally intended for the welfare of human beings. This was not observed in any historical entity.

    I know words are not enough to describe this divine personality, but I must say you have done this difficult task, really like your blog very much.

    I have written a poem to express my gratefulness to our incredible king Shivaji Maharaj.

    I would want you to take a look at it and give your thoughts on it:

    शब्दातीत युगपुरुष तू
    शौर्य, सुमेधा अन् मांगल्याचा सूर्य
    या पावन भूमीचा राजा की आत्म्याचा ईश्वर

    समरांगणी पेटल्या सहस्त्र वीर तलवारी
    हर एक सूर्यशक्तीसम तुझ्या प्रज्ञेने तेजाळलेली

    वैराण भूमीवर अनमोल सृष्टी चे व्रत
    अखिल जगी तुझे उदात्त राज्य
    साक्ष आहे शुक्ल पक्षीचा चन्द्र

    आजही गहीवरे प्रत्येक माता
    कधी लाभेल मुक्तीचे पुण्य
    अन् पुत्र तुजसम त्राता

    निश्चल मृतप्राय आज पुन:श्च ही भूमी
    अर्जुन रक्तास हवी तुझ्या प्रेरणेची नवसंजीवनी

  12. Dear Rohan

    I arrived on this blog via Kanchan's Mogara Fulala a couple of weeks ago.

    Since then I have gone through most of the 33 articles you have posted on this blog.

    I found the writeup very good. The treatment is to the point and crisp. Your policy to follow only the historical events and to keep the anecdotes at bay has improved the credibility of the blog and made it a good reference material.

    Many a times I engage into a discussion on Shivaji and Maratha history with my non-Maharashtrian friends. This blog is now a great resource with me to offer to my debating friends. I would certainly refer it to those interested in Maratha history.

    You have provided an extensive list of resources in the comment. I would like to add the following:

    1. शिवचरित्राची प्रस्तावना: An extremely critical preface by Shejwalkar to his proposed शिवचरित्र which he could not write. Going by the standards of his पानिपत, Shejwalkar's inability to write शिवचरित्र was a huge loss for Maharashtra.

    2. शिवचरित्र: Setu Madhavrao Pagdi. This is a National Book Trust publication and available in Marathi, English, and Punjabi.

    Setu Madhavrao Pagdi has also written a number of excellent books on Maratha History. His style of writing was very decent and balanced.

    I have a suggestion.

    Shivaji's legacy did not end with his death, rather it inspired the common Maratha to join hands to fight the powerful Mughals in the years to come. The next 27 years (1680-1707) was an equally inspiring period in the Maratha history, that ultimately saw the end of Aurangzeb in the Marathi soil.

    Why don't you write in the same crisp style about that period on this blog itself? When complete, this set of articles will become a treasure. Kindly think over this.

    Sorry for a prolonged comment.

    - Vivek.


    P.S. Anuja's poem (above) is equally fascinating. Kindly convey my regards to her for writing this great poem.

  13. dear rohan,

    thanks a lot for giving such valuable information in a compact and short manner....blessings to you...looking forward for more about Sambhaji Raje and the period of Peshwa empire....

  14. Shivaji Maharaj is truly a God to us all...
    I find that Guru Teg Bahadur who lived at around the same time and was executed by Aurangzeb, or Guru Gobind Singh who rose in revolt to make the Sikhs a great band of warriors are both reverred - and rightly so - by all Sikhs as Gods would be.

    Is Shivaji Maharaj not a God by any standards ? What more would God himself do, or has done ? :)

    May regard him a king - which he was - and compare him with rulers and emperors of his time... few know that he was the greatest freedom fighter in history, only then the greatest king :)

  15. can you prove Yakub Baba was the Guru of Maharaj?

  16. ashish ... Can you point out where the blogpost says that Yakut baba was guru to maharaj???

    the sentence says 'Tukaram, Ramdas, Mauni baba & Baba Yakub were few to whom he was devoted.'

    This doesn't mean they were 'guru'.

    also before heading to dakshin digvijay raje himself went to yakut baba & took blessings from him.

  17. Vivek ..

    really sorry to reply after so long time..

    This posts are itself based on setu madhavrao pagadi's book. i have mensioned that in very 1st post.

    I am currently writing about maratha history on my marathi blog & will try to put it here in english has well.

    thnx for such a nice comment..

  18. Thanks for the clarifications, Rohan.

    Can you tell us who was the real guru of Maharaj?
    Perhaps, i have been told again and again that his Mother Jijabai was the real guru.

    Rohan, i was just curious to know if Chattrapati has donated 653 acre of land for the yakub baba dargah?

  19. ashsih .. I want to correct myself.. raje didnt meet yakut baba but mauni baba on d way to dakshin digvijay..

    I will try to revent back on yakut baba details...

    but meaning still remains same they were not guru..

    MAsaheb Jijamata has played biggest role in his life & we can certainly call her as his 'guru'

    from where you got infor abt the no 653?? pls reply back with ref...


  20. Rohan, actually the question about 653 acres raised in recent attack on RSS Shakha in Ratnagiri by some muslim fanatics.

    Muslim are saying that this land belongs to them because its the property of Yakut baba dargah which is donated by Maharaj.

    Hindus are saying that the land belongs to them because they are residing right now and there are no historical facts supporting the donation.

    I too asked for a link of that info, but that person is yet to come up with that. Lets see.

    What's your opinion?

  21. Please someone answer my question.

  22. Ashish... I dont know about this issue. but i dont have any proof regarding this. Do anyone there have any written proof abt the land??? on what they are claiming on the land?

  23. You can purchase History books online at A very good web site to purchase books releted to history

  24. jay shivaji jay bhavani ,aasach sarvani maharajavarti prem dhakva

  25. dear

    if shivjai lived for 10 years more, he would have establish his rule in delhi



  26. Raja Shivchatrapati- Babasaheb Purandare is also a very informative book about great King Shivaji

  27. Personally I think Shivaji must be a god sent to protect dharma.

  28. शिवप्रतिष्ठान म्हणजे शिवाजी महाराज आणि संभाजी महाराज जगण्या मरण्याचे मंत्र आहे ह्याच भावनेने जगणारे धारकरी.....

    ॥जय भवानी॥॥जय शिवराय॥
    !! राष्ट्रात निर्मू अवघ्या शिवसूर्यजाळ!!

    करी शस्त्र घ्या देश रक्षावयाला |
    यशस्वी करा दिव्य भगव्या ध्वजाला ||
    उठा फडकवा दिल्लीवरती निशाण |
    स्मरा अंतरी नित्य शिवसुर्य आण ||

    || पुण्य श्लोक छत्रपती श्री शिवाजी महाराज की जय ||
    || धर्मवीर छत्रपती श्री संभाजी महाराज की जय ||
    || भारत माता की जय ||
    || हिंदू धर्म की जय ||