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."