|Real Name:||Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj|
|Height:||173 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||February 19, 1630|
|Death Date:||3 April 1680 (aged 50)
Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maratha Empire (presently in Maharashtra)
|Birth Place:||Shivneri, India|
As per our current Database, Shivaji died on 3 April 1680 (aged 50)
Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maratha Empire (presently in Maharashtra).
In 1639, Shahaji was stationed at Bangalore, which was conquered from the Nayaks who had taken control after the demise of the Vijayanagara Empire. He was asked to hold and settle the area. Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji, and his half brother Ekoji I were further formally trained. He married Saibai from the prominent Nimbalkar family in 1640. As early as 1645, the teenage Shivaji expressed his concept for Hindavi Swarajya (Indian self-rule), in a letter.
In 1645, the 15-year-old Shivaji bribed or persuaded Inayat Khan, the Bijapuri commander of the Torna Fort, to hand over possession of the fort to him. The Maratha Firangoji Narsala, who held the Chakan fort, professed his loyalty to Shivaji, and the fort of Kondana was acquired by bribing the Bijapuri governor. On 25 July 1648, Shahaji was imprisoned by Baji Ghorpade under the orders of Bijapuri ruler Mohammed Adilshah, in a bid to contain Shivaji.
According to Sarkar, Shahaji was released in 1649 after the capture of Jinji secured Adilshah's position in Karnataka. During these developments, from 1649–1655 Shivaji paused in his conquests and quietly consolidated his gains. After his release, Shahaji retired from public life, and died around 1664–1665 in a hunting accident. Following his father's release, Shivaji resumed raiding, and in 1656, under controversial circumstances, killed Chandrarao More, a fellow Maratha feudatory of Bijapur, and seized the valley of Javali, near present-day Mahabaleshwar, from him.In addition to the Bhonsale and the More families, many others including Sawant of Sawantwadi, Ghorpade of Mudhol, Nimbalkar of Phaltan, Shirke, Mane and Mohite also served Adilshahi of Bijapur, many with Deshmukhi rights. Shivaji adopted different strategies to subdue these powerful families such as marrying their daughters, dealing directly with village Patil to bypass the Deshmukhs, or fighting them.
Adilshah was displeased at his losses to Shivaji's forces, which his vassal Shahaji disavowed. Having ended his conflict with the Mughals and having a greater ability to respond, in 1657 Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, a veteran general, to arrest Shivaji. Before engaging him, the Bijapuri forces desecrated the Tulja Bhavani Temple, holy to Shivaji's family, and the Vithoba temple at Pandharpur, a major pilgrimage site for the Hindus.
Until 1657, Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughal Empire. Shivaji offered his assistance to Aurangzeb who then, was the Mughal viceroy of the Deccan and son of the Mughal emperor, in conquering Bijapur in return for formal recognition of his right to the Bijapuri forts and villages under his possession. Dissatisfied with the Mughal response, and receiving a better offer from Bijapur, he launched a raid into the Mughal Deccan. Shivaji's confrontations with the Mughals began in March 1657, when two of Shivaji's officers raided the Mughal territory near Ahmednagar. This was followed by raids in Junnar, with Shivaji carrying off 300,000 hun in cash and 200 horses. Aurangzeb responded to the raids by sending Nasiri Khan, who defeated the forces of Shivaji at Ahmednagar. However, Aurangzeb's countermeasures against Shivaji were interrupted by the rainy season and his battle of succession with his brothers for the Mughal throne following the illness of the emperor Shah Jahan.
Aware of the need for naval power to maintain control along the Konkan coast, Shivaji began to build his navy in 1657 or 1659, with the purchase of twenty galivats from the Portuguese shipyards of Bassein. Marathi chronicles state that at its height his fleet counted some 400 warships, though contemporary English chronicles counter that the number never exceeded 160.
The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by one follower. Shivaji, either suspecting Afzal Khan would arrest or attack him, or secretly planning to attack himself, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal "tiger claw") on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand.
Accounts vary on whether Shivaji or Afzal Khan struck the first blow: Maratha chronicles accuse Afzal Khan of treachery, while Persian-language records attribute the treachery to Shivaji. In the fight, Afzal Khan's dagger was stopped by Shivaji's armour, and Shivaji's weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general; Shivaji then fired a cannon to signal his hidden troops to attack the Bijapuri army. In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh fought on 10 November 1659, Shivaji's forces decisively defeated the Bijapur Sultanate's forces. More than 3,000 soldiers of the Bijapur army were killed and one sardar of high rank, two sons of Afzal Khan and two Maratha chiefs were taken prisoner.
Having defeated the Bijapuri forces sent against him, Shivaji's army marched towards the Konkan and Kolhapur, seizing Panhala fort, and defeating Bijapuri forces sent against them under Rustam Zaman and Fazl Khan in 1659. In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was encamped at Panhala fort with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. During the bombardment of Panhala, Siddi Jauhar purchased grenades from the English at Rajapur to increase his efficacy, and also hired some English artillerymen to assist in his bombardment of the fort, conspicuously flying a flag used by the English. This perceived betrayal angered Shivaji, who in December would retaliate by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and capturing four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663.
After months of siege, Shivaji negotiated with Siddi Jauhar and handed over the fort on 22 September 1660, withdrawing to Vishalgad; Shivaji retook Panhala in 1673.
Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb, now the Mughal emperor, sent his maternal uncle Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 150,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to attack Shivaji in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Shaista Khan, with his better–equipped and –provisioned army of 80,000 seized Pune. He also took the nearby fort of Chakan, besieging it for a month and a half before breaching the walls. Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of having a larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory, seizing the city of Pune and establishing his residence at Shivaji's palace of Lal Mahal.
In April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune, along with a small group of men. After gaining access to Khan's compound, the raiders were able to kill some of his wives; Shaista Khan escaped, losing a finger in the melee. The Khan took refuge with the Mughal forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.
In retaliation for Shaista Khan's attacks, and to replenish his now-depleted treasury, in 1664 Shivaji sacked the port city of Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading centre.
In the Treaty of Purandar, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on 11 June 1665, Shivaji agreed to give up 23 of his forts, keeping 12 for himself, and pay compensation of 400,000 gold hun to the Mughals. Shivaji agreed to become a vassal of the Mughal empire, and to send his son Sambhaji, along with 5,000 horsemen, to fight for the Mughals in the Deccan as a mansabdar.
In 1666, Aurangzeb summoned Shivaji to Agra (though some sources instead state Delhi), along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar, now in Afghanistan, to consolidate the Mughal empire's northwestern frontier. However, in the court, on 12 May 1666, Aurangzeb made Shivaji stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offence and stormed out of court, and was promptly placed under house arrest under the watch of Faulad Khan, Kotwal of Agra.
In 1667, the Portuguese Christians started to forcefully convert Hindus in Bardez. Shivaji quickly raided Bardez in which three Portuguese Catholic priests and a few Christians were killed and stopped the forceful conversion of Hindus. However, during the sack of Surat in 1664, Shivaji was approached by Ambrose, a Capuchin monk who asked him to spare the city's Christians. Shivaji left the Christians untouched, saying "the Frankish Padrys are good men."
Shivaji sacked Surat for second time in 1670; the English and Dutch factories were able to repel his attack, but he managed to sack the city itself, including plundering the goods of a Muslim prince from Mawara-un-Nahr who was returning from Mecca. Angered by the renewed attacks, the Mughals resumed hostilities with the Marathas, sending a force under Daud Khan to intercept Shivaji on his return home from Surat, but were defeated in the Battle of Vani-Dindori near present-day Nashik.
In October 1670, Shivaji sent his forces to harass the English at Bombay; as they had refused to sell him war materiel, his forces blocked English woodcutting parties from leaving Bombay. In September 1671, Shivaji sent an ambassador to Bombay, again seeking materiel, this time for the fight against Danda-Rajpuri. The English had misgivings of the advantages Shivaji would gain from this conquest, but also did not want to lose any chance of receiving compensation for his looting their factories at Rajapur. The English sent Lieutenant Stephen Ustick to treat with Shivaji, but negotiations failed over the issue of the Rajapur indemnity. Numerous exchanges of envoys followed over the coming years, with some agreement as to the arms issues in 1674, but Shivaji was never to pay the Rajapur indemnity before his death, and the factory there dissolved at the end of 1682.
In 1674, Prataprao Gujar, the commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Bijapuri general, Bahlol Khan. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle, after cutting-off their water supply by encircling a strategic lake, which prompted Bahlol Khan to sue for peace. In spite of Shivaji's specific warnings against doing so, Prataprao released Bahlol Khan, who started preparing for a fresh invasion.
Shivaji was crowned king of Maratha Swaraj in a lavish ceremony on 6 June 1674 at Raigad fort. In the Hindu calendar it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha in the year 1596. Gaga Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers Yamuna, Indus, Ganges, Godavari, Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri over Shivaji's head, and chanted the Vedic coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet. Nearly fifty thousand people gathered at Raigad for the ceremonies. Shivaji was entitled Shakakarta ("founder of an era") and Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign"). He also took the title of Haindava Dharmodhhaarak (protector of the Hindu faith).
Shivaji's mother Jijabai died on 18 June 1674. The Marathas summoned Bengali Tantrik goswami Nischal Puri, who declared that the original coronation had been held under inauspicious stars, and a second coronation was needed. This second coronation on 24 September 1674 had a dual use, mollifying those who still believed that Shivaji was not qualified for the Vedic rites of his first coronation, by performing a less-contestable additional ceremony.
Beginning in 1674, the Marathas undertook an aggressive campaign, raiding Khandesh (October), capturing Bijapuri Ponda (April 1675), Karwar (mid-year), and Kolhapur (July). In November the Maratha navy skirmished with the Siddis of Janjira, but failed to dislodge them. Having recovered from an illness, and taking advantage of a conflict between the Afghans and Bijapur, Shivaji raided Athani in April 1676.
In the run-up to his expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani patriotism, that Southern India was a homeland that should be protected from outsiders. His appeal was somewhat successful, and in 1677 Shivaji visited Hyderabad for a month and entered into a treaty with the Qutubshah of the Golkonda sultanate, agreeing to reject his alliance with Bijapur and jointly oppose the Mughals. In 1677 Shivaji invaded Karnataka with 30,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry, backed by Golkonda artillery and funding. Proceeding south, Shivaji seized the forts of Vellore and Gingee; the latter would later serve as a capital of the Marathas during the reign of his son Rajaram I.
Shivaji intended to reconcile with his half-brother Venkoji (Ekoji I), Shahaji's son by his second wife, Tukabai (née Mohite), who ruled Thanjavur (Tanjore) after Shahaji. The initially promising negotiations were unsuccessful, so whilst returning to Raigad Shivaji defeated his half-brother's army on 26 November 1677 and seized most of his possessions in the Mysore plateau. Venkoji's wife Dipa Bai, whom Shivaji deeply respected, took up new negotiations with Shivaji, and also convinced her husband to distance himself from Muslim advisors. In the end Shivaji consented to turn over to her and her female descendants many of the properties he had seized, with Venkoji consenting to a number of conditions for the proper administration of the territories and maintenance of Shivaji's future memorial (samadhi).
The question of Shivaji's heir-apparent was complicated by the misbehaviour of his eldest son, Sambhaji, who was irresponsible. Unable to curb this, Shivaji confined his son to Panhala in 1678, only to have the prince escape with his wife and defect to the Mughals for a year. Sambhaji then returned home, unrepentant, and was again confined to Panhala.
Though Shivaji was a proud Hindu and never compromised on his religion, he is also known for his liberal and tolerant religious policy. While Hindus were relieved to practice their religion freely under a Hindu ruler, Shivaji not only allowed Muslims to practice without harassment, but supported their ministries with endowments. When Aurangzeb imposed the Jizya tax on non-Muslims on 3 April 1679, Shivaji wrote a strict letter to Aurangzeb criticising his tax policy. He wrote:
After Shivaji's death, Soyarabai made plans with various ministers of the administration to crown her son Rajaram rather than her stepson Sambhaji. On 21 April 1680, ten-year-old Rajaram was installed on the throne. However, Sambhaji took possession of Raigad Fort after killing the commander, and on 18 June acquired control of Raigad, and formally ascended the throne on 20 July. Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, and mother Soyrabai were imprisoned, and Soyrabai executed on charges of conspiracy that October.
Shivaji left behind a state always at odds with the Mughals. Soon after his death, in 1681, Aurangzeb launched an offensive in the South to capture territories held by the Marathas, the Bijapur based Adilshahi and Qutb Shahi of Golkonda respectively. He was successful in obliterating the Sultanates but could not subdue the Marathas after spending 27 years in the Deccan.The period saw the capture, torture, and execution of Sambhaji in 1689, and the Marathas offering strong resistance under the leadership of Sambhaji's successor, Rajaram and then Rajaram's widow Tarabai. Territories changed hands repeatedly between the Mughals and the Marathas; the conflict ended in defeat for the Mughals in 1707.
Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji and son of Sambhaji, was kept prisoner by Aurangzeb during the 27-year period conflict. After the latter's death, his successor released Shahu. After a brief power struggle over succession with his aunt Tarabai, Shahu ruled the Maratha Empire from 1707 to 1749. Early in his reign, he appointed Balaji Vishwanath and later his descendants, as Peshwas (prime ministers) of the Maratha Empire. The empire expanded greatly under the leadership of Balaji's son, Peshwa Bajirao I and grandson, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao. At its peak, the Maratha empire stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in the north, and Bengal. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Ahmed Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion in northwestern India. Ten years after Panipat, Marathas regained influence in North India during the rule of Madhavrao Peshwa.
In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, Shahu and the Peshwas gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, creating the Maratha Confederacy. They became known as Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Bhonsales of Nagpur. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War. The Marathas remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat by the British in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha wars (1805–1818), which left the Company the dominant power in most of India.
In 1895, Indian nationalist leader Lokmanya Tilak organised what was to be an annual festival to mark the birthday of Shivaji. He portrayed Shivaji as the "opponent of the oppressor", with possible negative implications concerning the colonial government. Tilak denied any suggestion that his festival was anti-Muslim or disloyal to the government, but simply a celebration of a hero. These celebrations prompted a British commentator in 1906 to note: "Cannot the annals of the Hindu race point to a single hero whom even the tongue of slander will not dare call a chief of dacoits ...?"
In 1919, Sarkar published the seminal Shivaji and His Times, hailed as the most authoritative biography of the king since James Grant Duff's 1826 A History of the Mahrattas. A respected scholar, Sarkar was able to read primary sources in Persian, Marathi, and Arabic, but was challenged for his criticism of the "chauvinism" of Marathi historians' views of Shivaji. Likewise, though supporters cheered his depiction of the killing of Afzal Khan as justified, they decried Sarkar's terming as "murder" the killing of the Hindu raja Chandrao More and his clan.
As political tensions rose in India in the early 20th century, some Indian leaders came to re-work their earlier stances on Shivaji's role. Jawaharlal Nehru had in 1934 noted "Some of the Shivaji's deeds, like the treacherous killing of the Bijapur general, lower him greatly in our estimation." Following public outcry from Pune intellectuals, Congress leader T. R. Deogirikar noted that Nehru had admitted he was wrong regarding Shivaji, and now endorsed Shivaji as great nationalist.
In the late 20th century, Babasaheb Purandare became one of the most significant artists in portraying Shivaji in his writings, leading him to be declared in 1964 as the Shiv-Shahir ("Bard of Shivaji"). However, Purandare, a Brahmin, was also accused of over-emphasising the influence of Brahmin gurus on Shivaji, and his Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony in 2015 was protested by those claiming he had defamed Shivaji. Purandare has, on the other end, been accused of a communalist and anti-Muslim portrayal of Shivaji at odds with the king's own actions.
In 1966, the Shiv Sena (Army of Shivaji) party formed to promote the interests of Marathi speaking people in the face of migration to Maharashtra from other parts of India, and the accompanying loss of power for locals. His image adorns literature, propaganda and icons of the party.
In 1993, the Illustrated Weekly published an article suggesting that Shivaji was not opposed to Muslims per se, and was influenced by their form of governance. Congress Party members called for legal actions against the publisher and writer, Marathi newspapers accused them of "imperial prejudice" and Shiv Sena called for the writer's public flogging. Maharashtra brought legal action against the publisher under regulations prohibiting enmity between religious and cultural groups, but a High Court found the Illustrated Weekly had operated within the bounds of freedom of expression.
In 2003, American academic James W. Laine published his book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, which was followed by heavy criticism including threats of arrest. As a result of this publication, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune where Laine had researched was attacked by a group of Maratha activists calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade. The book was banned in Maharashtra in January 2004, but the ban was lifted by the Bombay High Court in 2007, and in July 2010 the Supreme Court of India upheld the lifting of ban. This lifting was followed by public demonstrations against the author and the decision of the Supreme Court.
A proposal to build a giant memorial called Shiv Smarak was approved in 2016 to be located near Mumbai on a small island in the Arabian Sea. It will be 210 meters tall making it the world's largest statue when completed in possibly 2021.
Currently, Shivaji is 391 years, 9 months and 9 days old. Shivaji will celebrate 392nd birthday on a Saturday 19th of February 2022.
Find out about Shivaji birthday activities in timeline view here.