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How Great is Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj?|A complete tale of Maratha Empire aginst Mughal | NEXT DIMENTION

How Great is Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj?|A complete tale of Maratha Empire aginst Mughal
The year is 1627 AD and almost all of Bharat is islamic occupation. In the North, there are the Mughals under Shah Jahan, In Bijapur, there is sultan Mohammad Adli Shah. And in Golconda, Sultan Abdulla Qutub Shah. The Deccan sultans always preferred to have Muslim officers in the army. But the Portuguese controlled ports and Mughals controlled the land routes. That’s why it was not possible to get Muslim officers from North Africa or central Asia. So the sultans of Deccan were forced to appoint Hindu officers. One such Adil Shahi  military commander was a Maratha named Shahaji Bhosale. Shahi was a top General in the Adil Shahi empire.

In 1630 AD in the fort of Shuvneri near junnar in present day Maharashtra, a son was born to Sahajo and Jijabai. The son named after the local deity Shivai would grow up to be Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji's father was always away in his childhood, so his two role models growing up were mother Jijabai and Guru Dadiji Kondev. Dadoji kondev taught him warfare and administration while Jijabai taught him Hindu religious scriptures. When Dadoji kondev died in 1647 AD, he taught that Shivaji will be a good Adil Shahi General like his father but destiny had other plans.

In India of 1646 AD for a Hindu ruler to establish an independent kingdom there had to three main conditions fulfilled. The area needed to be far away from imperial power centres, agriculturally unimportant with dense forest cover for guerlla warfare. Destiny fulfilled these conditions around 1646 AD when Shivaji formed a group of staunch supporters from local peasants called Mavlis.

Shivaji had a good idea about the importance of forts in empire building. Therefore the 15-year old Shivaji took control of the Torna, Chakan and Kondana forts by bribing the Adilshahi commanders. And then Thana, Kalyan and Bhiwandi under Mullah Ahmed was seized by Shivaji under Abaji Somdev. These events ruffled the Adil Shahi empire. To stop Sivaji they arrested his father. That is why Shivaji didn’t attack Adilshahi directly for the next seven years.

However he was getting 'Deshmukhs' and other influential people’s support and crushing rivals hook by crook. Slowly he built a huge army commander by Netaji Palkar and infantry by Yashaji Kank and had 40 forts under his dominion. To nip this in the bud, in 1659 AD Badi Sahiba of Bijapur sent Afzal Khan, an Afgan general with an army of 10,000 solders to destroy shivaji. Afzal Khan was known for his cruelty and brutal strength. To make Shivaji Maharaj fight in the open, he desecrated Hindu place of worship and killed many civilians.
But Shivaji employed guerilla tactics and Pratapgad fort covered by dense jungle. Finally Ajzal Khan called Shivaji to meet him personally for truce with a plan to kill him. When they met, Khan in the pretext of hugging shivaji tried to suffocate Shivaji with his iron grip. But wily Shivaji had hidden tiger claws and a dagger. He tore apart khan’s stomach and killed the man who was almost twice his size. After that in the ensuring battle of Pratapgad, Shivaji Maharaj's forces decisively defeyed the Bijapur empire's forces. Shocked by the defeat of the powerful Afzal khan, Bijapur's Abyssinian general Rustam Zaman was sent next.
On 28th December 1659 AD, shivaji Lee a full frontal attack at the central of the enemy forces while two other portions of his cavalry. Rustam Zaman fled the battlefield in disgrace. In 1660 AD , Adilshah sent his general Siddi jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border.
Siddi jauhar's army besieged Panhala off supply routes to the fort. Shivaji tricked siddi jauhar into meating him and convinced Adil Shah that Siddi Jauhar was a traitor. For this siddi jauhar and Adil Shah started fighting. While they were fighting internally, he escaped with about 5 thousand soldiers one night from Panhal fort.

Baji Prabhu Deshpande held rear guard with just 700 men and fought bravely to death while shivaji reached Vishalgarh safely. Baji Prabhu Deshpande is known as one of the greatest Maratha warrior to this day. After this badi Begum of Bijapur requested Aurangzeb to help her. He sent his maternal uncle Shaista khan, with 150,000 strong army.
Shaista Khan with his heavily armed Mughal army seized Pune and established his residence at Shivaji’s place of Lal Mahal. Shivaji and a troop of some 400 followers infiltrated Pune, using wedding procession as cover. In the night they launched a most audacious attack directly on Shahista Khan. Khan saved himself from Shivaji's sword by jumping out of the window but lost three fingers.
To add insult to injury in 1664 AD Shivaji ransacked the city of Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading center. Aurangzeb was enraged and sent the 60 year Rajput veteran Mirza raja Jai Singh, with a 150,000 strong army. In this war Jai Singh won and Shivaji had to give up 23 of his forts compensation of 400,000 hunas to Mughals. He also had to go to Agra in with his nine year old son Sambhaji.  
The plan was to contain Shivaji by giving him a place in the prestigious Mughals court. But Aurangzeb made the mistake of humiliating Shivaji and placing him under house arrest. But Aurangzeb made the mistake of humiliating Shivaji and placing him under house court.
Shuvaji feigned severe illness and requested to send daily shipments of sweet and gifts to saints and fakirs in Agra for his health. While that was going on, Shivaji disguised as a labourer carrying a sweet basket escaped on with Sambhaji. He took an route passing by Mathura, Kashi, Gaya and Puri and into the territory of Golconda and Bijapur reaching Raigad. By 1670 AD, shivaji launched a big offensive and in four mounth recovered a majoy portion of the territories surrendered to the Mughals. From 1671 to 1674, Aurangzeb tried everything in his power using his Generals Daud and Mahabat Khan to subdue Shivaji, but failed terribly.

Additionally Ali Adil Shah died in 1672 and Bijapur fell into disarray. Finally on 6 June 1674, Shivaji was crowned King of the Marathas in a lavish Hindu ceremony at Raigad by Gaga Bhatt. Tilak, janaiva and Vedic chanting customs which had not been followed for centuries were revived. But it wasn’t just his milatary achievements that made him great. Shivaji was a most able administrator. He never discriminated against any religious and a lot of his Generals were Muslims including his personal bodyguard. He never disrespect women or user them as a war strategy. He pioneered guerilla warfare against and had a strategic mind to build a navy and a network of forts. He started with 4 forts and 2000 men and by he time he died he commanded an army of 100,000 people and 300 forts.
In March 1680, Shivaji fell ill with fever and dysentery and died on 5th April 1680 at the relatively young age of 52. Aurangzeb thought that Maratha kingdom would be over after Shivaji's death but that did not happen. It was continued first by his son Sambhaji and Chatrapati Rajaram. Aurangzeb was drawn into a twenty five year war with the Marathas and was completely ruined by the time he died. The spark that Shivaji had lit would end up lighting the bright fire that become the Maratha Empire whose borders went from Karnataka to attack.
Men like Shivaji never die. They live forever in the hearts of people they inspire.

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