Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an Indian king as well as a strategist who, in 1674 AD, laid the foundation of the Maratha Empire in the western part of India. He fought the Mughal Empire of Aurangzeb for several years.
He was crowned as the “Chhatrapati” in Raigad in 1674. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj provided a qualified and progressive administration with the help of his disciplined army and well organized administrative units. He made many innovations in science and developed a new style of guerrilla warfare (Shiv Sutra).
He revived ancient Hindu political practices and courtesy etiquette and replaced Marathi as well as Sanskrit with the language of royalty. In the freedom struggle of India, many people took inspiration from the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and sacrificed their body, mind, and money for the independence of India.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born in Shivneri fort on 20 Jan 1627 AD. Shivaji Maharaj was born from the womb of Jijabai (Rajmata Jijau), wife of Shahji Bhonsle. The fort of Shivneri was near Pune towards Junnar Nagar in the north. His childhood was spent under the guidance of his mother Jijau Maa Saheb.
He was an adept child in all kinds of arts and studied politics and warfare too. Shivaji’s elder brother’s name was Sambhaji, who lived with his father Shahji Bhosle for most of the time. Shahji Raje’s second wife was Tukabai Mohite. He had a son named Ekoji Raje. His mother Jijabai Yadav was an exceptionally talented woman born in the clan and his father was a powerful feudal.
His parents had a great influence on Shivaji Maharaj’s character. From childhood, he began to understand the atmosphere and events of that era very well. He would fret over the misdeeds of the ruling class and become restless. The flame of freedom was ignited in his child’s heart. He gathered and united some faithful friends. As the situation progressed, his resolve to break the shackles of foreign rule became stronger. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was married on 14 May 1640 to Saibai Nimbalkar in Lal Mahal, Pune.
Shivaji Maharaj died on 3 April 1680 after being poisoned. At that time, Sambhaji inherited Shivaji’s succession. Shivaji had the eldest son Sambhaji and a second son by the second wife named Rajaram. At that time, Rajaram was only 10 years old. Hence the Marathas considered Shambhaji to be the king.
Seeing the demise of king Shivaji, Aurangzeb, with a desire to rule the entire country, went to conquer South India with his army of 500,000. Aurangzeb finished Adilshahi in 2 days and Qutub Shahi in a day as soon as he came south. But Marathas, under the leadership of King Sambhaji, kept their freedom while fighting for 6 years. Aurangzeb’s son Shahzada Akbar revolted against Aurangzeb. Sambhaji gave him shelter in his place. Aurangzeb now vigorously started attacking against Sambhaji. He finally made Sambhaji a prisoner by Mukarav Khan in 1689 from the mouth of Ganji Shirke, brother of Sambhaji’s wife. Aurangzeb misbehaved with Raja Sambhaji and miserably killed him.
Although the story is quite tragic, the majesty and greatness of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj live on to this day.