Shivaji: The Hindu King Who Challenged Mughal Power in India
Shivaji was a 17th-century ruler of the Maratha people, who established an independent kingdom in western India. He is revered as a hero and a symbol of Hindu resistance against Islamic invaders. His life and deeds have been immortalized in legends, poems, and books. Here are some of the highlights of his remarkable story.
Shivaji was born in 1627 in the fort of Shivneri, near Pune. His father, Shahji, was a general in the service of the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur. His mother, Jijabai, was a devout Hindu who instilled in him a sense of courage and devotion.
Shivaji grew up learning martial arts, horse riding, and statecraft. He also studied Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic. He was influenced by the teachings of Hindu saints and poets, such as Tukaram, Ramdas, and Eknath.
At the age of 16, Shivaji began to carve out his own territory by capturing forts and lands from the Adilshahis and the Mughals, who were the dominant powers in India at that time. He used guerrilla tactics, diplomacy, and espionage to expand his domain.
Shivaji's most famous exploit was the raid on Shaista Khan's camp in Pune in 1663. Shaista Khan was a Mughal governor who had been sent by Emperor Aurangzeb to crush Shivaji's rebellion. Shivaji and his men infiltrated the camp at night and attacked Shaista Khan's quarters. They wounded him and killed many of his soldiers before escaping.
In 1664, Shivaji sacked the port city of Surat, which was a major source of revenue for the Mughals. He plundered its wealth and freed many Hindu prisoners. He repeated this feat in 1670.
In 1666, Shivaji was invited to Agra by Aurangzeb for a peace treaty. However, he was arrested and placed under house arrest. He managed to escape by hiding in a basket of sweets and returned to his kingdom.
In 1674, Shivaji crowned himself as Chhatrapati (supreme sovereign) of the Maratha kingdom in a lavish ceremony at Raigad. He performed a Hindu ritual called rajyabhisheka (royal consecration), which asserted his independence and legitimacy as a Hindu king.
Shivaji was a benevolent ruler who respected all religions and cultures. He abolished taxes on pilgrims and non-Muslims, promoted education and trade, patronized arts and literature, and built a navy to protect the coast. He also established a well-organized administration and a loyal army.
Shivaji died in 1680 at the age of 52. He was succeeded by his son Sambhaji, who continued his father's struggle against the Mughals. Shivaji's legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of Indians, especially in Maharashtra, where he is honored as the founder of the state.
If you want to read more about Shivaji's life and achievements, you can download an ebook version of Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India by James W. Laine from [^1^]. This book traces the origin and development of the Shivaji legend from the earliest sources to the contemporary accounts of the tale. 061ffe29dd