February 19, 2021

The great visionary leader Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a visionary leader and founder of the Maratha Empire in western India during the 17th century. He was born in 1627 in the Shivneri Fort in Pune, Maharashtra, India, and went on to become one of the most revered and respected figures in Indian history.

What is the first thing when we think about 'Marathas' Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Guerilla warfare or the war fought against the Mughals? But we often forget that in medieval India there was only one kingdom that had its own navy.

Based on this Navy Marathas didn't just maintain their dominion on the entire Konkan coast but also suppressed all other naval powers including the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the Britishers.

Maratha Navy 

One of his most significant achievements was the establishment of a navy, which helped him gain control of the Arabian Sea and maintain communication with various coastal regions. He also built a network of forts, which served as the backbone of his empire's defense and allowed his army to move swiftly throughout the region.

So how did the Maratha navy come into existence and how did they maintain their domination on the coast of Konkan for nearly 100 years?

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj | Great leader
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

The Maratha navy was a powerful naval force established by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire in western India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj recognized the importance of controlling the sea, especially for the coastal regions of his empire, and therefore, he made significant efforts to establish a navy.

So the story begins in the medical period when the Navy was called Armor in Marathi. To establish the navy, we had the raw material for the workers but the workers didn't know the technique to build a naval ship. So Shivaji Maharaj asked who knew this technique. So he asked a Portuguese by the name of Vegas to send his men and pay them handsome money to start shipbuilding. 

But Maharaj told Abaji Sondev that every man he would assign to the job should be very sharp. (Just imagine their ingenuity). Maharaj said this because he knew that the goa headquarters of the Portuguese would find out that the Marathas were building a Naval ship, and they would definitely interfere. Two months later Viegas suddenly quit his job and left. Maharaj asked Sondev if he had done as instructed. Did you assign smart men? Abaji Sondev said not to worry Maharaj we've learned everything. And they started a factory. 

While building ships Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also made sure that the designs of their ships were slightly different from European ships. European ships were in deep waters, so the portion was quite profound. But Maharaj knew that the ships would remain near the coastal areas which were not so deep. So he built his ships smaller and flat bottoms so they could stay closer to the coasts. 

By doing this Shivaji Maharaji's Navy oppugned the Britishers and the Portuguese and European Navy. Shivaji Maharaj gave Marathas a grand navy and turned it into a profitable enterprise and well-organized. The Maratha navy also played a significant role in protecting the Maratha Empire from attacks by other neighboring kingdoms, such as the Siddis of Janjira. Overall, the Maratha navy was a significant achievement of Shivaji's reign, and it served as a model for naval warfare in India for centuries to come. This is the reason why he is called the Father of the Indian Navy.

Some lesser-known facts about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

  • Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the Sixth child of Shahaji Raje and Jijabai.
  • Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an excellent Archer.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji started a native "Rajyabhishek Shak" Calendar after his coronation.
  • Around the year 1656 when he conquered the fort of Belapur, he decided to build his own navy two Portuguese men primarily assisted him in making his navy.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ordered his biography to be written while he was still ruling.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had the Rajkosh composed for promoting the Marathi language.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji offered 1,00,000 Frangipani(Chafa) flowers to Lord Someshwar after conquering the fort of Panhala.
  • The birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj gained freedom in 1757- 77 years after his death.

He knew the importance of language to the culture of the kingdom. When he came into power much of the daily duties works were performed in the adapted languages which came along with the invaders, the languages like Urdu and Persian were used for office work.  Chhatrapati Shivaji freed his motherland and insisted on the use of the language of the land "MARATHI".

Janta Raja quotes

Shivaji Maharaj was also known for his policies of religious tolerance and social justice. He believed in treating all subjects equally, regardless of their caste, creed, or religion. He is known for his respect for women and his efforts to empower them, which included establishing a women's army known as the Durga Dal.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the master of all fortifications. An expert in Ganimi kava (Guerrilla warfare)Shivneri fort lies in the Junnar region born in this fort in 1630 but even after multiple attempts could not capture the fort Shivneri. 

Today, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated as a hero and an icon of Maratha pride. His legacy continues to inspire generations of Indians, and his life and leadership serve as an example of courage, determination, and vision.

A visionary man and a great leader.

Janta raja means not only knowing the minds of our people but also knowing the mind of our opponent.

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