UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Feb 19

19 February 1630

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born.


What happened?

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, great Maratha ruler was born on 19 February 1630 at Shivneri Fort in District Pune in the present-day state of Maharashtra.

Biography

  • Some records claim Shivaji’s date of birth as 6 April 1627 but 19 February 1630 is the official version. Shivaji Jayanti is observed on this day.
  • Shivaji was born to Shahaji Bhonsle, a Maratha general who held the jagirs of Pune and Supe under the Bijapur Sultanate. Shivaji’s mother was Jijabai, a pious woman whose religious qualities had a profound influence on him. Shahaji had also served the Ahmednagar and Deccan sultanates.
  • Shivaji was given excellent training in military warfare and administration. He was married for the first time in 1640 to Saibai.
  • Shivaji displayed his military zeal for the first time in 1645, when as a teenager, he successfully got control of the Torna Fort which was under Bijapur.
  • He also acquired the Kondana Fort. Both these forts were under Adil Shah of Bijapur. Shah then got Shahaji imprisoned in a bid to contain Shivaji. Some accounts say that Shivaji surrendered these forts to get his father released. Shahaji died in 1664-65 in an accident. After this, Shivaji resumed his raids and extended his territories.
  • He achieved great name when he defeated Afzal Khan, a veteran general of Adil Shah.
  • In the Battle of Pratapgarh in 1659, Shivaji’s forces vanquished the Bijapur Sultanate’s army. From this victory, he acquired a large quantity of weapons and horses which greatly added to his growing Maratha army’s strength.
  • In the same year, another battle was fought with the Adilshahi camp at Kolhapur where Shivaji’s outnumbered army defeated the enemy force. Shivaji displayed great military prowess during this battle. This victory now alarmed Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
  • Shivaji raided Mughal territory near Ahmednagar and in Junnar. Aurangzeb’s forces under Nasiri Khan did defeat Shivaji at Ahmednagar in 1657 but the Mughal prince soon became engaged with his own battles with his brothers for the possession of the Mughal throne upon his father’s illness.
  • Shivaji defeated a large force of Shaista Khan (Aurangzeb’s maternal uncle) and the Bijapur army in Pune. In 1664, the wealthy Mughal trading port of Surat was sacked by Shivaji.
  • In June 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Shivaji and Raja Jai Singh I (representing Aurangzeb). Shivaji signed this agreement realising that a war with the Mughals would cost him men and money. As per this treaty, many forts were relinquished to the Mughals and it was agreed that Shivaji would meet Aurangzeb at Agra. Shivaji also agreed to send his son Sambhaji as a Mughal general.
  • At Agra in 1666, when Shivaji went to meet the Mughal emperor, the Maratha warrior felt he was insulted by Aurangzeb and stormed out of the court. He was arrested and kept prisoner. The clever escape of Shivaji and his son from imprisonment in disguise out of Agra is legendary today.
  • After that there was peace between the Marathas and the Mughals until 1670. After that, the jagir of Berar which was granted to Sambhaji by the Mughals was taken back from him. Shivaji in response, attacked and recovered many territories from the Mughals in a short span of four months.
  • In October 1670, he also harassed the English forces at Bombay for their support of the Mughals.
  • Through his military tactics, Shivaji now acquired large part of land in the Deccan and western India. He was crowned as the king of the Marathas on June 6, 1674 at Raigad. He took on the title of Chhatrapati, Shakakarta, Kshatriya Kulavantas and Haindava Dharmodhhaarak.
  • The Maratha Kingdom founded by Shivaji was about 4.1% of the Indian subcontinent but it grew larger over time and became the dominant Indian power in the early 18thcentury.
  • Shivaji fell ill and died of ill-health on 3 April 1680 at Raigad.
  • Shivaji laid the foundations of a great empire which played significant parts in modern Indian history. He established a strong army and a navy across the Konkan coast. His admiral Kanhoji Angre is called the ‘Father of Indian Navy’. Shivaji was also considered a master of the guerrilla warfare.
  • Shivaji is today considered a national hero in India and especially in the state of Maharashtra.
Also on this day

1915: Death of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. 1956: Death of Acharya Narendra Dev, socialist leader and independence activist. See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

Also see:

 

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