Shivaji Maharaj was born on 19 February 1630 at Shivneri fort in Junnar to Jijamata and Shahaji Bhonsle. They gave him the name after the deity of Shivneri fort Shivani. Shahaji Bhonsle (father) was a military leader in the Bijapur Sultanate of Deccan who had the Jagiri of Pune. The Jagir administrator, Ddoji Konddeo gave Shivaji Maharaj training in weapons like daanpatta. Shivaji Maharaj was deeply devoted to his mother Jijamata who was deeply cultural who raised her child with the epics of Ramayana & Mahabharata which influenced his long life defenses on Hindu values, he was deeply cultural and regularly sought the company of Hindu saints. By the age of 15 young Shivaji started calling himself Raja. And also he captured his first fort of Torna fort from Adilshahi sultanate to include into Pune jagirs. Hence, the movement of Hindavi Swarajya began.
His establishment as a king
By capturing strategic forts in Deccan like Torna, Kondhana, Pratapgad, Lohagad, etc. His military leaders in the way declining Adilshahi Sultanate Shivaji Maharaj captured a vast area of Sahyadri. He built Raigad as his capital in Pune. Here Gnag Bhatt coronated him as King, on 6 June 1674 on 13th day of tryodashi. A gold vessel with the holy waters of Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Godavari, Krishna, Kavari, Narmada were poured over his head for the thread ceremony according to Kshatriya rites. He was titled as Chhatrapati, Shakakarta, Hindavi Dharmodhhaaraka. At the time of the coronation ceremony, 5-6 thousand people were present.
Shivaji Maharaj brought Sanskrit & Marathi as the official language in his court instead of Parsi language, he insisted that the language of the Parsi invaders of deckhand should not be used when the people of their land have the own cultural language
Astha Pradhan, the council of eight misters was his advisory council and his military generals were, Sar-naubat.
Shivaji Maharaj is the father of the Indian Navy. He built the first Indian navy on the Konkan coast with its navy headquarters at Sindhudurg fort in the Arabian sea built from 1657 to 1659.
Shivaji Maharaj abolished the Jagiri for military officers, also instituted a system of salary in his army and navy.
Warfare by Shivaji Maharaj
South India (Dacchin) was mountainous terrain with forts, rather than plains of North India. However, the armies of Mughals and sultanates were large and consist of heavy infantry; and to counter this Shivaji used his light infantry and fought guerrilla warfare (ganimy kava). This type of warfare usually costed the enemy loss of food water or weapon supply which caused them to surrender their large armies.
Important incidents in life of Shivaji Maharaj
Battle of Pratapgad: this was the first significant military victory against a major regional power, the battle was fought between Adil Shahi general Afzal Khan & Shivaji Maharaj in which Shivaji Maharaj slashed Afzal Khan’s (6’7” tall) stomach when he tried to strangle Maharaj during their meeting at the foothills of the fort in a highly decorated tent. In hand-to-hand combat of the two forces, the Maratha light infantry of 13000 forces defeated the Adil Shahi force of 30000 cavalry,32000 infantry,1500 musketeers, 85 elephants,1200 camels, 80-90 cannons. The casualties and losses were that 1734 Maratha force killed and 5000 Adil Shahi force killed. Also 3000 imprisoned, loss of all artillery, 65 elephants,4000 horses,1200 camels, 3 lakh rupee jewels. Apart from that Marathas got 1 lakh rupee heaps of precious clothes, grains.
Attack on Shaista khan
Aurangzeb sent Shaista Khan, his maternal uncle with the army of 150000 of which 80000 force of Shaista Khan seized Pune’s Kasba. He also established his residence at Lal Mahal with his wives, which was Shivaji Maharaj’s palace. In April 1663 Shivaji Maharaj launched a surprise attack during a wedding party with his 400 men. While Marathas killed Shaista Khan’s son in an encounter, he unaware and unprepared lost his 3 fingers in a skirmish with Shivaji.
In 1661 Shivaji Maharaj raided Bardez to stop the forceful conversion of Hindus to Christianity by the Portuguese and killed few Christian missionaries and stopped the forceful conversion.
Treaty of Purandar
Aurangzeb sent Mirza Raje Singh for this treaty with Shivaji Maharaj and got on terms to visit Mughal darbar at Agra. Here he stood behind mansubedars, due to this Shivaji Maharaj stormed out of the court by shouting. And also only Alamgir sat in the Mughal court, except everybody, while all the other courtiers stood. After this Shivaji Maharaj did a house arrest which his son from where he escaped back to his realm.
In southern expansion, Shivaji Maharaj captured Gingee fort (troy of the east) because of its fortification. He made it one of the best-fortified forts in India which helped 12 years later the Marathas as their capital. During this period the Mughals seized Gingee for 7 years but could not subjugate the Marathas.
Shivaji Maharaj died at the age of 52 on 3-5 April 1680 with possession of 240-280 forts. Kavi Bhushan a poet in the court of King Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand stated
“Had not been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would be converted to mosque & all would have been circumcised”