Remembering the Mighty Shivaji - 384th birth anniversary

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by parijataka, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Remembering the Mighty Shivaji, truly a world leader

    Shivaji revolutionised the art of warfare in India . His approach to the use of violence was radically different from that followed in the preceding 1,000 years. He was one of the great personalities of world history, says Colonel Anil A Athale (retd).

    February 19 is the 384th birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji, one of the great sons of India. Unfortunately, no historical figure has been so disfigured by his so-called followers and admirers as Shivaji. He has been thoroughly 'regionalised' by Marathi politicians and reduced to a Marathi icon rather than the pan Indian personality that he was.

    Shivaji did not strive for Marathi Raj, but fought for Hindavi Swarajya, or self rule by Hindustanis. Of late in a further debasement, some caste leaders have even sought to make his a leader of the Maratha; caste.

    On his birth anniversary this is an attempt to restore him to his genuine position as one of the great personalities of not just Indian, but world history.

    Islam came to India in the eighth century, but was confined to the Sindh province. In the 13th century, tribes from present day Afghanistan attacked and captured most of the northern plains. The period of Sultanates in Delhi ended when a Seljuk Turk, Babar, established a kingdom at Delhi in 1556.

    Popularly called the Mughal empire, this was to last nearly 150 years. It is often said that the Muslims ruled India for over 1,000 years. The truth is that only the northern part of India came fully under Muslim domination.

    A significant part of Assam, and most of the south, maintained a tenuous independence. Even when the invaders from Asia Minor were expanding in the north, in the South, the powerful Chola kingdom was colonising much of South East Asia. The last of the major kingdoms in the South was that of Vijaynagar that lasted till 1588.

    Shivaji, who was born in 1630, carried on the fight to preserve Indian independence. The British visualised the potential of the threat posed by the ideal of Hindavi Swarajya pursued by Shivaji. It was in British interests to play down the Marathas. In a candid comment Lord Macaulay in his Historical Essays wrote:

    'The highlands which borders on the western coast of India poured forth a yet more formidable race, a race that was long a terror of every native power and which after many desperate struggles, yielded only to the fortitude and genius of England . Soon after Aurangzeb's death, every corner of his wide empire learnt to tremble at the name of the mighty Marathas.'

    Shivaji revolutionised the art of warfare in India. His policies, strategies and tactics mark a clear break from the past. His approach to the use of violence was radically different from that followed in the preceding 1,000 years.

    The basic Indian concept of war is Dharma Yudha (war for the righteous cause). Unfortunately, over the years, wars were ritualised and were reduced to a contest for individual glory.

    Indian history before Shivaji's advent reads like a chronicle of military disasters. Shivaji changed that. For him, victory was the only morality in war.

    Shivaji's greatest success was that while he fought the misrule of the Muslim sultans and emperors, he managed to win over sizeable numbers of Muslims to his side. His chief of artillery was Gul Khan and Daulat Khan was joint chief of his navy.

    Against the fanatic Aurangzeb, he stitched an alliance with the Bahamani kingdom of Golconda. In this sense Shivaji can be rightly called the founder of the modern secular state of India.

    He ensured that in his domain Muslim shrines and people were well protected and treated equally. Kafi Khan, the Mughal court historian, rejoiced when Shivaji died. But even he admits that Shivaji treated the Quran Sharif with respect and never touched mosques. Aurangzeb had re-started the hated jizya, a tax that had to be paid by Hindus.

    Writing to him in a regretful tone, Shivaji wrote: 'In this land Muslims, Hindus, Christians and other people have stayed together without any problem. Your own great grandfather Akbar was well known for his tolerance and fairness to all faiths. Your imposing of this tax will lead to terrible hardship for poor people and your empire will not survive. The Quran is God's revelation and it does not make distinction between God's children. In the mosque the Muslims give Azzan while the Hindus ring bells in temples -- what is the difference?'

    Shivaji believed in the doctrine of &'total war' and never shirked from achieving annihilation of the enemy. If he had to make compromises and truces, these were clearly due to the exigencies of the situation and not as matter of choice.

    Shivaji was also the first Indian ruler to discard war elephants. His strategic doctrine relied on swift movement and mobile defence.

    He believed in battles of annihilation by placing his army in an advantageous position. Above all, he believed in relentless offensive action and never permitted the enemy time to re-group.

    Shivaji did not place any value on the mere possession of the battlefield; rather, he made the enemy army his target. Thus, on finding himself in a disadvantageous position, he had no hesitation whatsoever in abandoning the battle and the battlefield.

    He placed great value on forts. Yet his defensive strategy was not based on any kind of static defence. Forts for him were secure firm bases from which to launch counter-offensives.

    In March 1665, when a powerful Mughal army under Jaisingh of Jaipur , descended on Maharashtra , Shivaji had no hesitation in giving up most of his forts as well as territory and on June 13, 1665 he signed a treaty with the Mughals.

    But in less than five months he ensured the defeat of the Mughal army in its battles against the Bijapur sultan.

    In 1666, after his successful escape from Agra , in less than two years, Shivaji recaptured the entire territory lost to the Mughals by the earlier treaty. Portuguese chronicles of the period show amazement at the ease with which Shivaji recaptured 26 forts.

    The Portuguese viceroy, writing to his king on January 28, 1666 compared him to Alexander and Caesar.

    Writing in December 1666, the Portuguese historian Cosme De Guarda mentions that when the news of Shivaji's successful escape from Agra was received, the entire population in Maharashtra rejoiced. He felt that the main reason for Shivaji's popularity was that he was just to all.

    Shivaji was one of a handful of Indian rulers to realise the importance of sea power. In November 1664, he laid the foundations of the fort at Sindhudurg. This was to be the headquarters of the Maratha navy.

    He took an active interest in ship-building and by February 1665 decided to test the preparedness of his fledgling navy. With 88 ships, including three large ones, he embarked with 4,000 infantry and raided the seaport of Basrur.

    Most interestingly, that is just about the capability of the Indian Navy in the 21st century in terms of amphibian operations.

    Shivaji's strategic doctrine can be summed up thus:

    War is a means to achieve political ends;
    The only morality in war is victory and everything is fair in war;
    The main target in conflict is the enemy's armed force and not the battlefield;
    Surprise can win battles even with inferior strength;
    There can be no compromise on security and a sound intelligence-gathering agency is essential for a ruler;
    The importance of morale to one's troops and the need to demoralise the enemy through rumour, fear and stratagem;
    Control of the sea is vital for the defence of coastal areas.

    'The English are no ordinary traders and money-lenders, behind them stands the power of a mighty State. They are also so clever that they will steal from right under your nose without you knowing it. Be very cautious while dealing with them,' Shivaji wrote to one of his officers.

    Interestingly, the last battle Shivaji fought was against the English. He occupied and fortified the island of Khanderi, 16 kms south of Mumbai , in order to keep the British under check.

    He was amongst the few Indians who understood the long-term threat posed by the British.

    In the global context, the tide of Islam, which rose in the first millennium, had swept everything before it. In Europe it was Charles Martel of France who checked it, while in Asia the Muslim armies conquests swept aside the ancient civilisation of Persia and the Zorastrian faith.

    A handful of Zorastrians found refuge in India and the faith survived. Buddhist Afghanistan and most of north India also fell prey to these invasions.

    While many Muslim rulers were quite content to let the ancient Indian faith survive, some like Aurangzeb made a determined bid to Islamise India. India escaped the fate of Persia due to the resistance offered by the Marathas to the Mughals from 1682 to 1707.

    Shivaji was dead, but his example and ideals survived and were the main source for inspiration for the Marathas in their desperate struggle with the mighty Mughal empire.

    Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) studied Maratha history as the First General Palit Military History Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. He is the author of Maratha Struggle for Empire.
     
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  3. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Better than other states where they have no memories of their valiant ancestors. Punjab and Rajsthan being exceptions. Instead of being proud of Cholas, Sungas, etc. the regional parties on South are more keen on Dravidian ancestory.

    An interesting anecdote. When the German firm was renovating Mumbai Airport, they wanted to move the statue of Chatrapati from the central spot to somewhere on the side. Had it not been the common 'marathi manoos' protesting - it would have happened.

    We need another man like him today.
     
  4. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think Shivaji Maharaj and Maratha empire must be remembered for being the last large Hindu empire in India.
     
    afako likes this.
  5. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    [secular] Only communal elements celebrate the b'day of Shivaji, a known opponent of Aurangzeb whom Romilla and other Marxists hold as the highest secular man[/secular]
     
  6. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    I get the sarcasm :)

    What was the policy of Aurangzeb towards the Hindus?
     
  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Absolutely golden words valid till today. Very Chanakyasque and something the west followed themselves.

    While the role of Shivaji in Indian history so far has been given a regional look only, I find that the modern day righ wingers glorify him just because he fought the muslims which actually belittles his rule which was secular as documented as such as well and mentioned in thd article too in the OP. Aurangzeb was a zealot and quite like the Taliban of today. He killed Shias too. One of Dawoodi Bohra leader Syedna Qutubkhan Qutbuddin was beheaded on his orders.

    However for me, Yashwant Rao Holker was the greatest Maratha ruler who extended the empire to its max and brought the Brits to its knees and forced them into a treaty.
     
    Singh, parijataka and gokussj9 like this.
  8. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Shivaji BRUISED Aurangzeb's ego so badly that Aurangzeb had sworn to destroy Marathas
    completely

    So Aurangzeb spent 27 years in the Deccan in a self destructive war with the Marathas
    from 1680 to 1707 ie after Shivaji's death

    This caused a DOUBLE BLOW to the Mughals

    Aurangzeb's absence from Delhi weakened the Mughals and the Jats ; Rajputs and Sikhs
    gained Independence
    while in the Deccan the Marathas completely financially ruined the Mughals in the 27 year war

    And Aurangzeb died a sad and broken man

    Marathas could sustain such a lengthy conflict ONLY because of the inspiration that they had in Shivaji
     
  9. LordOfTheUnderworlds

    LordOfTheUnderworlds Regular Member

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    Can some knowledgeable people elaborate about the title 'Chhatrapati' ?
    Apparently he arranged coronation ceremony openly to declare sovereignty, revived this old Indian tradition which had fallen out of practice and assumed titled 'Chhatrapati'. But I never read any ancient king being called 'Chhatrapati' in school history books. From where did this title come? Did it exist in Indian texts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  10. afako

    afako Regular Member

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    People call Bal Thackeray as a Regional Leader.

    His First Aim in Life was Hindu Swarajya.

    Also Indian Navy has its Origin in Maratha Navy!
     
  11. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    Wonder who was Chcxhatarpatri Shahuji Maharaj of Mayawati.
     
  12. Ankit Purohit

    Ankit Purohit Senior Member Senior Member

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    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]



    Bol Shri Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  13. bharata

    bharata Regular Member

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    A great inspiration indeed.But unfortunately british reigned supreme
     
  14. Ash

    Ash Regular Member

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    Remember reading that the Mughal leader had captured Shivaji's son, in a bid to bring shivaji to his knees. Shivaji went to the fort gave himself up and planned and executed a daring escape with his son from the Mughal fort back to safety. Also remember reading that Afghans came on their on accord to join his army to fight against the Muhgals. Such was his reputation as a warrior King. A real hero for India.:thumb:
     
  15. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    chhatra means umbrella and chhatrapati means king who gave shadow by holding umbrella to whole kingdom , it means a king who reign for welfare of peoples
     
  16. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    he also cut fingers of shahajahana by entering in fort and shahajahan was guarded by 10 lakh soldiers and he escaped after cutting his fingers , none in the world has planned and executed such a daring step
     
  17. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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