Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder of the Maratha Empire in western India. He is considered to be one of the greatest warriors of his time and even today, stories of his exploits are narrated as a part of the folklore. King Shivaji used the guerrilla tactics to capture a part of, the then, dominant Mughal empire. Read this biography to get more information on the warrior and his life history:
Raje Shivaji was born on 19th February 1630, to Shahaji Raje and his wife, Jijabai saheb, in the Shivneri Fort, situated almost 60 km to the north of Pune. He was named as Shivaji, after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother Jijabai had prayed for a son. After being defeated by the combined forces of the Mughals and Adil Shah, Shahaji raje was offered a jagir near the present-day Bangalore. However, he was allowed to keep his holdings in Pune. So, Shahaji raje left his son Shivaji to manage the Pune holdings, under the care of his mother Jijabai saheb.
With a small council of ministers, Shivaji began managing his estate. His ministers included Shamrao Nilkanth as Peshwa, Balkrishna Pant as Muzumdar, Raghunath Ballal as Sabnis and Sonopant as Dabir. At the same time, Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar were appointed to look after Shivaji's training. In the year 1644, Shivaji maharaj undertook full administrative responsibilities of his estate. Thus was started his career as an independent young prince of a small kingdom. His mother, Jijabai, was instrumental in instilling in Shivaji Maharaj's mind a love for independence and distaste for external political domination.
The first aggression in the life of Shivaji Maharaj came at the age of sixteen, when he seized the Torna fort of Bijapur kingdom. By 1647, he had gained control over Kondana and Rajgad forts, with complete power of the Pune region. With time, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj secured the forts in the Western Ghats as well as those along the Konkan coast. Shivaji Maharaj also fought against the army of Adilshah at Purandhar. In November 1659, he fought the battle of Pratapgarh and defeated Afzal Khan. Immediately after this success, King Shivaji occupied the area stretching upto the Panhala fort.
The battle of Kolhapur took place in December 1659. In the battle, Shivaji Maharaj crushed the army of Bijapuri general, Rustemjaman. In 1660, Siddi Johar's huge and daunting army attacked him at Panhala fort. Shivaji Maharaj managed to escape from the fort. However, he soon launched an attack on Siddi Johar. The result was the surrender of Panhala and a truce between Shivaji Maharaj and Adilshah. After the death of Adilshah, Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur. Shivaji Maharaj used guerilla-style tactics and captured more and more of the Bijapuri and Mughal territories. However, by 1663, he had lost most of his conquests to the Mughal army.
In the next few years, Shivaji Maharaj again started seizing forts belonging to both Mughals as well as those of Bijapur. Aurangzeb sent Jai Singh, his Hindu general, to capture Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji Maharaj surrendered to Jai Singh at Purander in 1665 and agreed becoming a Mughal vassal. In 1666, he managed to escape form his house arrest in Agra and lay low for the next few years. However, in January 1670, Shivaji Maharaj launched an attack on Mughal garrisons in Maharashtra. Within a period of six months, he won back most of his lost empire. The period of 1670 to 1674 was spent by Shivaji Maharaj in expanding his empire at the cost of the Mughals.
In 1670, Shivaji Maharaj launched an assault, under his General - Tanaji Malusare, to capture Kondana fort on the outskirts of Pune. The battle was won but he lost Tanaji. In the honor of Tanaji, the Kondana fort was renamed as Sinhagad. Shivaji Maharaj was formally crowned as Chatrapati (meaning the Chief, Head or King of Kshatriyas) in June 1674 at the Raigad fort. He was given the title of Kshatriya Kulavantas Simhasanadheeshwar Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The end of 1676 saw Shivaji Maharaj commencing attacks in the southern parts of India.
Shivaji Maharaj breathed his last on 3rd April 1680 in the Raigad fort, the capital for Maratha Empire. He was succeeded by his elder son, Sambhaji Raje.
|Name||Shivaji Raje Bhosle|
|Father Name||Shahaji Maloji Bhosle|
|Born On||19 February 1630|
|Died On||3 April 1680|
|Wives||Saibai (Nimbalkar), Soyarabai (Mohite) , Putalabai (Palkar), Laxmibai (Vichare), Kashibai Jadhav, Gunwantabai (Ingle), Sagunabai (Shirke) , Sakwarbai (Gaikwad)|
|Successor||Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje Bhosle|
|Coronation||6 June 1674|