Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder of the Maratha kingdom of India.
He was born on February 19, 1630, in Shivner, Poona (now Pune)and died onApril 3, 1680, after an illness in Raigad Fort.
His kingdom’s security was based on religious toleration and the functional integration of the Brahmans, Marathas, and Prabhus.
He was born when the Mughals ruled in the north and the Muslim sultans of Bijapur and Golconda in the south. Shivaji’s ancestral properties were situated in the Deccan, in the realm of the Bijapur sultans. He found the Muslim oppression and religious persecution of the Hindus intolerable.
He collected a group of followers and began to seize the weaker Bijapur outpostsin 1655. In 1659 the sultan of Bijapur sent an army of 20,000 under Afẕal Khan. Shivaji killed Afẕal Khan andovernight took control of the horses, the guns, and the ammunition of the Bijapur army.
Alarmed by Shivaji’s rising force, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb ordered his viceroy of the south to proceed against him. Shivaji raided the viceroy’s encampment at midnight, after this, the viceroy withdrew his force. Shivaji provoked the Mughals further by attacking the rich coastal town of Surat.
Aurangzeb sent his most notable general, Mirza Raja Jai Singh, with about 100,000 men, which forced Shivaji to appeal for peace.
Shivaji and his son visited Aurangzeb’s court at Agra to be formally accepted as Mughal vassals, but were put under house arrest and were threatened to be executed.
On August 17, 1666, he and his son had themselves carried past their guards in immense baskets filled with sweets. His supporters welcomed him back as their leader, and within two years he won back all the lost territory and also had expanded his kingdom.
He collected tribute from Mughal regions and raided their rich cities. He built a naval force and was the first Indian ruler of his era to use his sea power for trade as well as for defense.
In 1674, Shivaji had crowned himself as an independent sovereign. He ruled his kingdom for six years, through a cabinet of eight ministers called Ashta Pradhan.
After his crowning, his most noteworthy battle was in the south, during which he formed an alliance with the sultans and blocked the spreading of Mughals’ rule over the entire subcontinent.
The Great Shivaji died after an illness in April 1680, in Rajgarh, his capital.In an era stained by religious savagery, Shivaji was one of few rulers who practiced true religious tolerance.