Let's remember the Legacy of Great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

ZOOM

Founding Member
Regular Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
577
Likes
11
Let's remember the Legacy of Great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

6th June, 1674 a day on which Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj was formally crowned as a Chhatrapati(Cheif or King of the Kshatriyas) at Raigad fortand given the title Kshatriya Kulavantas Sinhasanadheeshwar Chhatrapati Shīvajī Mahārāj. Pandit Gaga Bhatt, a renowned Brahmin from Varanasi, officially presided over the ceremony declaring that Shīvajī's lineage was a bonafide and recognized Kshatriya.

Great Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj require no introduction to any of you, as his regarded as one of the great Hindu Warrior defending his subjects and Kingdom only as directed by Hindu Religion. Everyone need to know much more about him then actualy what we know about him and as far as our memory is concerned. Historian, Individuals and scholers need to do more and more research to uncover many hidden prowess which makes such a King a great man in the world.

Many know him as a Warrior thinker and a Military Commander, but very few know that him bring in many revolutionery ideas in Revenue collection and Agriculture. Him always put interest of his subjects and powerless people beyond his self desire to fulfill him own dream. He keep on fighting some of the formidable enemies to whom many few dare to challange. His consistent fight for a struggle to freedom and independence serve very invluable lesson to all of us whom are highly nervous about facing huge odds.

He built a strong navy to protect coastline of his kindom, more so he introduce a use of some of the sophisticated and state of the art Vessels and fighting boats. Most importantly, he inculcate maritime culture into his Navy and all affiliates to defend his kingdom. He was not only known for his Military acumen, but also as a affectionate father and obdient son, at the same time role model for his subject to immtiate his virtues. His unflenching resolve and dedication were known as his hollmark.

So Let's come together and remember the Legacy of such a great man who played an important part in changing the history of India. As Defence enthusiastic like ours, he is a ideal symbol to all of us.
 

johnee

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
3,473
Likes
490
An excerpt from 'India' by victor surridge.....

The Baldwin Project: India by Victor Surridge

THE WONDERFUL EXPLOITS OF SIVAJI

[1] OVER two and a half centuries ago—in the year 1646 to be precise—a travel-stained band of men entered the courtyard of the royal palace of Bíjapur, a city with which the fates have dealt hardly, and which to-day is little more than a ruin. But at the time of which we are writing Bíjapur was the capital of a large and important kingdom in the southern portion of the peninsula, and was inhabited by a brave and warlike people.

The men dismounted from their shaggy mountain ponies and looked about them curiously. It was evident that they had come from afar, for their hair was long and matted, and their speech rough and uncouth; and the splendidly dressed officer of the guard, who had been eyeing them with suspicion, mentally decided that they were Maráthás, or tribesmen who lived in the wild hilly country in the far west.

[2] "Behold, we bear important tidings!" hey cried. "We must see His Majesty Muhammad Adil Shah."

When they were at length admitted, the monarch, in the presence of a brilliant court, asked them their business.

"We have come to tell Your Majesty that Sivaji, son of Shahji, has taken the fort of Torna."

A murmur of surprise and incredulity went the round of the assembled courtiers, but the king, raising his hand to command silence, bade the messengers continue their narrative.

"May it please Your Majesty," they resumed, "our lord Sivaji has been troubled in his mind since many days. Long has he considered with sorrow that the fort was not maintained in a manner befitting the safety of the country. But now, zealous of Your Majesty's glory, he has deposed the governor and vested himself with the authority of this miserable one."

"How say you?" interrupted the king. "This is Shahji's son?"

"Even so, Your Majesty. We humbly pray you to look with favour upon our master Sivaji, that by your royal approval of a patriotic deed you may strike terror into the hearts of those base ones who seek to stir up the kingdom into sedition and revolt."

The king plucked uneasily at his beard. "Shahji," he muttered to himself—"Shahji, the powerful noble and general in command of the Bíjapur army! How came his son thus to take the law into his own hands?"

[3] "Tell me," he commanded sternly, "how old is this capturer of forts?"

"Your Majesty, he is but nineteen years."

The king's brow cleared, and a broad smile passed round the Court. What manner of youth was this who seemed so anxious for his country's welfare? Certainly it was not a matter to be taken seriously. So the messengers were dismissed with the promise that their petition should receive attention at a later date, while the courtiers smiled to themselves over what they considered a very excellent joke.

This is the first glimpse we have of the renowned Sivaji. A Hindú boy, of martial spirit and keen imagination, fed from his earliest years on the wonderful exploits achieved by the legendary heroes of India, burning to follow in their steps and to do noble deeds for his country and his religion, we see him in company with a few boyish friends and a ragged band of low-caste natives capture an important fort. The tried men of war surrender in astonishment to these inexperienced youths, while the aged Governor delivers up his sword in mute dismay. Sivaji has placed his foot on the first rung of the ladder of fame.

The youthful hero lived with his guardian at Poona. The old man was very much shocked by his ward's daring actions, but his lectures and entreaties made no impression; the spirit of adventure was in Sivaji and he would not be restrained. The aged tutor took to his bed in despair, and shortly afterwards died. On his deathbed his dying eyes seemed to see something of the future in store for the boy, [4] for he called him, and bade him go on as he had begun.

"My son," he murmured with faltering accents, "I pray that you will continue your campaign for independence. Protect Brahmins, kine and cultivators; preserve the temples of the Hindús from violation; and follow the fortune which lies before you." And so saying, the old man expired.

Thus was Sivaji left his own master. His father was far away fighting in the wars. Poona, as the map will show, is some distance from Bíjapur. It is situated in the Maráthá country, a wild and mountainous region, very difficult of access. Sivaji crouched in his native hills like one of the cunning mountain tigers, and made himself stronger and stronger. By bribes and other means he got possession of several forts. Men occupying posts of honour and distinction were glad to enter his service. Little by little his power and possessions increased. Now here, now there, as the opportunity presented itself, forts were taken, districts seized, until at length Sivaji found himself ruler over a large province.

News travelled slowly in those days, and the Bíjapur Court were little aware of what was really going on. They had other and more important affairs to attend to than the suppression of a mere mountain robber, and it was not until they received a taste of Sivaji's power that they condescended to notice his existence. A large treasure was being forwarded to court by the Governor of Kalian. A powerful escort was sent with it to ensure its safety, for the country abounded in thieves, and caravan robberies [5] had become very numerous. The camels, bearing the precious burden, picked their way gingerly along the rocky pathways. Before and behind rode mounted men, fingering naked swords and keeping an anxious lookout for danger. Suddenly there was a thunder of horses' feet, and Sivaji at the head of three hundred men swept like a whirlwind upon them. The escort fled in every direction, and the booty was borne with all speed to the young bandit's mountain fastness.

Bíjapur, lacking its treasure, sat up in indignation and alarm. "Treachery!" muttered the king. "Shahji must be concerned in this. He is using his son to plot against me!" And so the doughty general, who was fighting his country's battles far away, was treacherously seized and conveyed to the capital. With tears in his eyes he protested his innocence; but the king's heart was black with suspicion. The veteran soldier was thrown into a dungeon, and the door built up save for a tiny opening. "If your son does not submit within a certain period," he was told, "the aperture shall be for ever closed." The unhappy parent, face to face with death, sent an urgent appeal to his too-enterprising offspring, and the growling of the mountain tiger ceased for a time to trouble the ears of Bíjapur.

A few lines are here necessary to explain the general position of India at this period. In 1526 Babar the Lion, a fierce and warlike prince, swept down from Afghanistan to establish a throne in India. This, known to history as the Great Moghul Empire, flourished exceedingly, and was now at the zenith of [6] its power. Seated on his world-famed "peacock" throne at Delhi, Sháh Jehan, fifth and most splendid of his line, held supreme sway over the northern part of the peninsula. Never before, never since, was an Indian court so magnificent. The splendours of Delhi were the wonder and amazement of the few European travellers who found their way thither. The peacock throne alone, a mass of living light, with its tail blazing in the shifting colours of rubies, sapphires and emeralds, was a thing which, once seen, was stamped for ever on the memory. The French jeweller Tavernier turned faint and giddy when he beheld it, but his business instincts revived sufficiently to enable him to make a valuation. He estimated its worth at the enormous sum of six and a half millions sterling. The buildings of the city were lordly and magnificent. Every one has heard of the Taj Mahal, one of the glories of the world. Built by Sháh Jehan to shelter the remains of his favourite wife, and later used as his own tomb, this still remains, a marvel of architecture, to bear witness to the sumptuous splendour of those times.

In the Deccan two kingdoms still held themselves free from the Moghul yoke. The word "Deccan" means "South," and this territory comprised all that huge district south of the Narbada River. These two kingdoms were Bíjapur and Golconda (otherwise called Hyderabad). The inhabitants of India consisted of a large number of martial races, differing from each other in language, in custom and in creed, and were perpetually engaged in warfare. [7] The two southern kingdoms were wont to fly at each other's throats, or at other times to unite against their more powerful neighbour. For it was the dream of Sháh Jehan to conquer the south, and so to establish the Moghul Empire from the Himálayas to Cape Comorin. But the time was not yet ripe for action. The crafty emperor was waiting for the day when, worn out by internal quarrels, and split up into various parties, they should both fall an easy prey to the northern invaders. When the exploits of Sivaji began to be noised abroad as far as Delhi, Sháh Jehan chuckled. He foresaw that the young Maráthá would prove very troublesome to Bíjapur. And was this not a very excellent thing? Sháh Jehan was right. Sivaji proved very troublesome indeed; so much so that Bíjapur assembled an army to destroy him.

But what had become of Shahji? That unfortunate soldier, after languishing in gaol two years for his son's misdoings, was suddenly released. Bíjapur had not so many good generals that she could afford to keep them in prison, and Shahji was sent rejoicing to the south to take up his neglected command. Meanwhile the expedition for Sivaji's suppression made ready to start, under the command of Afzool Khán, an officer of high rank, but a vain man, who declared that this little excursion was mere child's play. The insignificant rebel should be brought back captive and humiliated, and cast in chains under the footstool of the throne.

It was September of the year 1659 before the [8] expedition set out. It made quite an imposing sight, and the people cheered encouragingly as the procession wound slowly out of the huge city gate. There were swarthy cavalrymen to the number of five thousand, who jingled along merrily on their wiry horses, and cracked jokes together on the subject of their quest. Were they sent out to capture a boy bandit?" they would ask jestingly, and their bearded throats shook with merriment at the very idea. In their train marched seven thousand infantry, the choicest procurable. These, too, had their own ideas on the subject of the expedition, and would pass their hours in merry badinage at their youthful foe's expense. It tickled the fancy of the Bíjapur soldiery to think of him as a boy. Long strings of camels laden with stores, rockets, ammunition and swivels, paced majestically beside the marching troops, while a considerable train of artillery—or at least what was considered artillery in those days—rumbled and clattered in the rear.

Sivaji, nestling among his native hills, heard of the coming of the expedition, and laughed. Here was an adventure after his own heart. And was it not eminently flattering that Bíjapur should think him worthy of so mighty an army and so splendid a leader as Afzool Khán? Nevertheless he must walk warily; it would not do to let the enemy catch him tripping. So the tiger began to play a cunning game. Afzool Khán learned, rather to his relief, that Sivaji had no intention of resisting his august self. The "insignificant rebel" seemed to be quite overcome by the magnitude of his own sins. He [9] "longed only to kiss the feet of the advancing warrior, and to make his peace with Bíjapur. Would the mighty Khán use his great influence to intercede on his behalf?"

The vanity of Afzool Khán was gratified by these offers of submission. He despised his adversary as only a rich Muhammadan noble can despise any one, but at the same time he knew that his task was not without difficulty. To penetrate the wild and hilly country where Sivaji lay hid was like putting one's hand in a hole to draw out a badger; there was a distinct probability of being bitten in the attempt. So he posed as the representative of an outraged but still generous ruler, and decided to hear what Sivaji had to say for himself. To this end a Brahmin, high in his master's confidence, was sent to see the rebel. With him went suitable attendants, and together they arrived at Sivaji's place of residence, where a cordial welcome awaited them.

While others slept that night, a strange interview took place. The great Sivaji knelt at the Brahmin's feet and wept bitterly. India is divided into two great schools of religious thought—Hinduism and Muhammadanism. The latter was the religion of the governing classes. Sivaji was a zealous Hindú, and it was his ambition to restore his faith to its former proud position. These aims he now confided to his guest. The Brahmin was touched, for to be a Brahmin is to be a member of the Hint priesthood, and of high caste in consequence. It did not become a Brahmin, [10] said Sivaji, to fight against the true religion. If he would assist him to destroy the Bíjapur army he should receive a position of power and affluence—he should be loaded with treasure and jewels. The Brahmin was still more touched. He gave Sivaji his blessing, and swore to serve him.

By the Brahmin's aid a conference was brought about between Sivaji and the haughty Khán. Sivaji professed to be in great terror of the power and grandeur of the Bíjapur general, and it was agreed that they should meet, each accompanied by only one attendant. The trysting-place was in the middle of a dense jungle. Through a narrow pathway, cut for the occasion, Afzool Khán was borne in his palanquin. Several hundred yards in the rear was stationed his bodyguard of fifteen hundred men; they did not advance farther for fear of alarming Sivaji. Some distance back the army lay encamped. Afzool Khán got out of his palanquin and stared impatiently about him. "Where was this Sivaji, and why was he so long in coming?" he muttered querulously. To encourage the Maráthá he had laid aside all his warlike garb, and, clad in thin muslin, was armed only with his sword. Presently two figures were seen advancing in the distance. The foremost, Sivaji, was dressed like the Khán in simple white muslin, but underneath he wore a coat of chain armour, while a crooked dagger lay hidden in his sleeve. On the fingers of his left hand was fixed the treacherous and deadly "wagnuck," a sharp instrument shaped like a tiger's claw, and capable of easy concealment in a half-closed hand. In his attendant's sash were stuck [11] two swords—an ominous sign—but entirely unnoticed by the unsuspicious Khán.

By slow degrees Sivaji approached the waiting general. Every now and again he would stop, and with signs of alarm make as if to turn back. Afzool Khán watched him, impatiently contemptuous. Then, to dispel the chieftain's fears, he motioned his attendant from him and stood alone with folded arms. At length the two stood face to face. Sivaji fell on his knees and kissed the general's feet, and the Khán, pleased by his act of submission, raised him up and tenderly embraced him. A moment later, he started back with a cry of alarm, his crimson-stained robe bearing ghastly evidence of the wound inflicted by the deadly "wagnuck." "Treachery!' he gasped, and, drawing his sword, slashed fiercely at his white-robed assailant. The blow glanced harmlessly off the concealed armour. Sivaji drew his dagger with deliberation, it glittered for a moment in the air, and then, with a groan, the haughty general tottered and fell at the Maráthá's feet. His attendant rushed hastily to the rescue. "Surrender, and your life shall be spared," cried Sivaji, but the man refused to accept mercy upon such terms, and, after a few minutes' unequal struggle, he too fell dead across his master's body.

Then the blast of a horn rang out on the air. All at once the surrounding thickets became alive with Maráthá troops, who, uttering their war-cry, rushed headlong upon Afzool Khán's patiently waiting army. Leaderless and taken by surprise, the Bíjapur soldiery turned tail and fled in disorder. Many [12] surrendered and were taken into Sivaji's service; others, who attempted to escape, wandered about miserably for days in wilds from which they found it impossible to extricate themselves. Those who did not die of hunger and exhaustion fell by degrees into the hands of Sivaji's men, and were taken prisoners. The bandit himself surveyed the wreck of the once mighty army with great gladness, and offered up many prayers and thanksgivings for the horses, elephants and treasure that had fallen into his hands. Shortly after this the countrymen of Bíjapur had reason to wring their hands and groan in bitterness of spirit, while the nobles uttered many strange and curious oaths. A grim warrior mounted on a shaggy pony led an army of long-haired, fierce-faced men right up to the gates of Bíjapur city, leaving behind him a long trail of plundered towns and villages, of fields blackened by fire, and homesteads left empty and desolate by the sword. For thus did Sivaji return thanks for the complimentary attention of His Majesty Muhammad Adil Sháh.

It was the Moghul territory that next felt the benefit of Sivaji's enterprise—felt it so keenly that the Delhi Court, usually somnolent, was excited to a pitch of fury. A new emperor had come to the throne, Aurangzebe, the greatest of an illustrious line. A grim man this, silent and unemotional, concealing his feelings under the stern mask of religious piety. Yet his religion did not prevent him from deposing his aged father and shutting him up in prison. It did not move him to spare the lives of [13] his three brothers, each of whom had plotted to win the throne. Rather did it act as an incentive to spur him on, for the creed of Aurangzebe was hard and narrow, and the breast of Aurangzebe never harboured a generous emotion. He heard of the doings of Sivaji with an impassive face. He learnt how his land had been desolated and his people plundered, and remained unmoved. "Clearly," he remarked, "this mountain rat must be punished for his insolence."


Cont..in next post.
 

johnee

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
3,473
Likes
490
Contd, from prev post.
Shaista Khán, the Emperor's uncle, led a large army southwards. He had orders to carry the war into the Maráthá's country, to reduce their forts, and to exterminate their leader. The campaign opened well. Forts that Sivaji had captured were recovered, and Poona was occupied without resistance. Then the rainy season set in. Military operations being impossible, Shaista Khán resolved to make Poona his headquarters. His army was encamped around the town, while he himself built a pavilion at the foot of the fortress for the accommodation of himself and his numerous wives.

The royal general, who loved the luxury and ease of Delhi, found it rather dull at Poona, so when the anniversary of the Emperor's coronation came round, he determined to give a great feast to celebrate the event. The night arrived, and the Khán's pavilion was given up to mirth and revelry. In the court adjoining the guest-chamber a company of musicians entertained the feasters with more or less sweet strains of melody. Shortly before midnight a strange man approached the bandmaster and saluted, "What [14] would you?" gurgled the musician, who had been tasting somewhat freely of the Khán's wine-skins. "My lord commands that when midnight strikes you shall play louder than you have ever done before, so that more honour be done to the occasion." "My lord's commands shall be obeyed," was the reply. "Of a truth he shall be drowned in music." The messenger again saluted and withdrew as silently as he had come.

Meanwhile the feast went forward merrily. Wine was not spared, and the Khán and his friends were all more or less in a state of convivial intoxication. Suddenly a tremendous uproar filled the air. Trumpets blared as they had never blared before, while kettledrum vied with kettledrum in making night hideous. The bandmaster was performing his task bravely. But above all this din came the sound of piercing shrieks from the seraglio, or women's quarters. Startled and amazed the guests leapt to their feet, and at the same moment a. band of armed men, the redoubtable Sivaji at their head, broke into the room. At their heels came a string of fearful and screaming women. Instantly all was chaos and confusion. Shaista Khán, too muddled with drink to understand what was going on, tottered unsteadily to his feet. His young son, sword in hand, bravely flung himself upon the intruders. But his courage availed him little, for a Maráthá blade hissed and sang in the air, and the boy fell headless at his father's feet.

Shaista Khán was the objective of the attack, and towards him they rushed with whirling blades [15] and fierce cries. The women saw their master's danger and, sweeping the lamps to the floor, plunged the room into total darkness. Can you not imagine the confusion which followed? Friend and foe swayed and fought together in horrible disorder; random blows fell upon the women and attendants. The Moghul general staggered to a window, and tried by this means to escape from the building. For a minute or two he clung to the window-sill, swaying to and fro, and reaching for the ground with his feet—not a very dignified position for the uncle of the mightiest Emperor in the world—and then Sivaji slashed at him with his sword and cut off one of his fingers. The commander of the Imperial forces dropped to the ground with a howl of pain, and fled uphill towards the fort as fast as his legs would carry him. Baffled in this direction, the Maráthás turned their attention to the Moghul encampment. Tents were overturned and plundered, flying soldiery overtaken and cut down. It was a scene of the wildest disorder, and the northern soldiers ran hither and thither like rabbits to escape the long swords of their assailants. When the officers had got their men into something like order, Sivaji and his merry men were gone. All that could be seen of them were the torches tossing derisively in the distance, as the mountain warriors ascended exultantly to their impenetrable fastnesses.

The Emperor Aurangzebe bent his brows in black displeasure when he heard of this escapade. "It seems that this 'rat' has sharp teeth," he remarked drily; "he shall be given something to bite."
 

johnee

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
3,473
Likes
490
The Baldwin Project: India by Victor Surridge

SIVAJI IS CROWNED KING

[16] WHEN Hindú story-tellers of the present day relate to enraptured audiences the wonderful exploits of Sivaji, they will tell how it came to pass that native Indian and white-faced Englishman first fought together on the shores of Hindustan. And if the story-teller be anything of a philosopher he may go on to declare that the English, by their successful resistance of Sivaji's attack—Sivaji, who feared nobody and was feared by all (unless it be by the proud Aurangzebe, who called him a rat),—foreshadowed themselves the future masters of India. But it is necessary first to know a little of how the English came to be in India, and what they were doing there.

To the Portuguese belongs the honour of discovering the oversea route to India. The great Columbus essayed to find it, but came upon America instead, thus adding another continent to the dominions of his master, the king of Spain. His Majesty of Portugal, who had previously refused Columbus's services, was greatly chagrined by the chance he had thus let slip, and resolved on an expedition on his own account.

[17] So on the 8th of July 1497 the brave Portuguese Mariner, Vasco da Gama, set out from the Tagus with three small ships to seek the land which lay beyond the wild southern seas. They had a perilous voyage; many times it was thought that the ships would founder, so greatly were they buffeted by the huge waves which rolled around them. Night and day the men laboured at the pumps to keep their frail cockleshells afloat, until at length the terror and mystery of the great unknown seized them, and they clamoured to their leader to turn back and brave no further perils. Vasco da Gama was a man great in heart and in deed. He placed the rebellious pilots in irons, and threw overboard every chart and instrument of navigation he possessed. "God will guide us," he remarked placidly; "we require no other aid. And if so it be that that aid fails us, then neither I nor any of us will look upon our native country again."

Faint of heart and weary the sailors toiled on. Each day they saw some comrade stricken down with scurvy—a dread disease they now beheld for the first time. But at length their perseverance was rewarded, and eleven months after they had set sail from Portugal, the far-stretching coastline of Western India greeted their wondering eyes.

The vessels cast anchor off Calicut, which was then ruled by an independent native rajah called the Zamorin. Can you not imagine the feelings of curiosity and delight with which the poor worn-out sailors gazed shorewards upon a new and beautiful country? They saw a noble town containing many fine buildings, with a fertile plain rising up in the [18] background, bounded by a distant range of lofty mountains. The inhabitants flocked down to the beach to behold the strange new-comers, and marvelled greatly at the Portuguese ships. The voyagers found themselves treated kindly by the Zamorin, who was greatly struck at finding his visitors so different in manner and appearance from the foreigners who frequented his port. And so Vasco da Gama discovered India for his master; and although there were many plots laid against him by the Moors, who were jealous at finding their trade interrupted by these audacious strangers, he succeeded in winning his way back to his own country with very marvellous tales of the things he had seen and heard in the East.

Da Gama's voyages were chronicled by one Gaspar Correa, and in the light of present-day circumstances it is curious and interesting to quote a passage from the English translation of this work. It runs thus: "In this country of India they are much addicted to soothsayers and diviners. . . . According to what was known later there had been in this country of Cannanore a diviner so diabolical in whom they believed so much that they wrote down all that he said, and preserved it like prophecies that would come to pass. They held a legend from him in which it was said that the whole of India would be taken and ruled over by a very distant king, who had white people, who would do great harm to those who were not their friends; and [19] this was to happen a long time later, and he left signs of when it would be. In consequence of the great disturbance caused by the sight of these ships, the king was very desirous of knowing what they were; and he spoke to his diviners, asking them to tell him what ships were those and whence they came. The diviners conversed with their devils, and told him that the ships belonged to a great king, and came from very far, and, according to what they found written, these were the people who were to seize India by war and peace, as they had already told him many times, because the period which had been written down was concluded."

It was because the King of Cannanore thought that these pale-faced strangers were the people spoken of by the soothsayer that he welcomed them so kindly. But he was wrong. The Portuguese were not destined to rule over India; and although they monopolised its foreign trade for nearly a century, and established themselves very strongly in the towns along the coast, it was not to be expected that they would be permitted to keep their rich find all to themselves. Soon dazzling tales of the fabulous wealth and vast resources of the Orient began to reach English ears, and England resolved to strike a blow for the eastern trade. A number of wealthy merchants met together to discuss the situation. Difficulty after difficulty cropped up, until it began to look as if their project would never be realised. But at last in 1601 the famous East India Company was incorporated by royal charter, and her ships sailed the main in search of the wonderful lands [20] beyond the seas. The spirit of enterprise was abroad. The Dutch were the great maritime nation of that time, and you may be sure that they did not intend to remain idle while other nations grew rich and prosperous. So it came about that the coast of India became busy with white traders of many nationalities, and bitter was the rivalry which existed between them.

Some distance north of Bombay is situate the town of Surat. This ancient city was an exceedingly prosperous seaport belonging to the Great Moghul. Ships from many countries brought their merchandise thither, and the fame of Surat as the chief centre of Indian commerce spread far and wide. The European companies set up trading-stations here,—factories as they were called in those days,—and the shareholders at home grew rich on the gold that poured continuously into their coffers.

For some time Sivaji thought wistfully of the riches of Surat, and when Sivaji gave himself over to thought something usually happened. One day the wealthy merchants in the Moghul seaport found their town surrounded by four thousand men, all armed to the teeth, and led by the redoubtable Maráthá chieftain. The strangers did their work leisurely, but well. For four days the city permitted itself to be plundered, and then the Maráthás took their departure, bearing with them many elephants and camels richly laden with booty. It was at Surat that Sivaji discovered he was not invincible. He found the English factory barricaded and placed in readiness for a siege, for the stubborn Englishmen [21] were disposed to yield their treasure to no one. Sivaji was mildly surprised by this show of resistance, and brought his whole strength to bear upon the tiny fort; but the garrison stuck grimly to their task, and for once in his life Sivaji had to acknowledge himself beaten. He had, however, the satisfaction of capturing one Englishman, and to him he gave an object-lesson in eastern methods. The poor fellow was led before Sivaji in a great state of mind, for he fully expected to be chopped into little pieces. He found the famous outlaw seated in a tent outside the town ordering the heads and arms of prisoners to be cut off. But it must not be supposed that Sivaji was naturally cruel or vindictive. He resorted to such violence only when he suspected his prisoners were deceiving him and concealing part of their possessions. While the frightened Englishman watched, expecting his turn to come every minute, a wretched Jew was dragged into the tent.

"Come now," said Sivaji, "tell me where you have buried your hoards and you shall be released." The man obstinately refused. At a sign from their master two swarthy Maráthás flung themselves upon their captive and forced him to his knees, while another held a gleaming dagger within an inch of his throat. Still the unhappy creature refused to speak. Three times the question was repeated; three times the knife grazed his lean and scraggy neck. Then Sivaji leaned back and laughed. "Surely," he quoth, "only a Jew would set a greater value upon his goods than upon his life. Let the man go free."

To the mighty Aurangzebe at Delhi tales were [22] brought of the "Mountain Rat's" audacious exploits. To these the Emperor would listen grimly, vouchsafing little remark. But one day came news which probed even his indifference, and made the ruler of millions feel as angry as the lowest of his subjects. For the one vulnerable part of Aurangzebe was his religion, and that no man might wound with impunity. He learned that Sivaji, with a powerful fleet, was plundering the rich Muhammadan pilgrims as they journeyed to the sacred city of Mecca, and he swore that once and for all the infidel should be exterminated. Sivaji, however, did not accompany his men upon these naval excursions, except upon one occasion, when he was so violently sea-sick that he vowed never more to trust himself on the water.

Once again a large army marched southwards. Sivaji's spies were quick to bring him the news, and for the first time in his life the Maráthá leader showed some signs of fear. The Moghul army far out-numbered his, and was led by a famous general who had never known defeat. Sivaji was perplexed and, contrary to his usual custom, called a council of his principal officers to decide what should be done. Eventually negotiations were entered into. At first the Moghul general was very suspicious of Sivaji's advances, for had he not heard of the fate of the luckless Afzool Khán? He at all events was in no hurry to have any secret conference with the Maráthá, and in the meantime set about invading his territory and capturing his forts. So earnest, however, were Sivaji's protestations of good faith, [23] that the Moghul at length became convinced of his sincerity. "Tell your master," he said to the waiting messengers, "that if he submit he may rely not only on pardon, but upon favour and protection from the Emperor, and this I swear upon the honour of a Rájput."

Sivaji left his native mountains, and, with a small escort, hurried to the imperial camp. There he prostrated himself before the general, and expressed sorrow for all his past misdeeds. Many days were passed in friendly confabulation, and then an agreement was drawn up, Sivaji agreeing to surrender the forts and land he had captured from the Moghuls in return for the right of collecting revenue in certain districts. And thus was a mighty Emperor and his general hoodwinked by a crafty Maráthá who could neither read nor write. For, though they knew it not, the revenue he was allowed to collect would more than compensate him for the territory he surrendered!

To visit the Emperor at Delhi, to see the splendour of his Court, and to be embraced by the great ruler himself, was a long-cherished dream of Sivaji's. Aurangzebe one day received a long letter in which the Maráthá chief set out in courtly strain his desire to visit the Emperor and to kiss the royal threshold. "Bid him come," said Aurangzebe; for his crafty mind foresaw that Sivaji might be a useful ally in the forthcoming campaign against the South. So it being intimated to Sivaji that he would receive a warm welcome at Delhi, he set out in March 1666 upon his journey northwards, Five hundred choice [24] horsemen were told off to escort their loved chieftain and his eldest son, while a thousand sturdy Mawulees completed the procession.

Sivaji expected great things of the visit. He had an idea that Aurangzebe would create him Viceroy of the South, which practically meant making him absolute ruler over all the Moghul possessions in the Deccan. When he drew near the capital he looked out for some high dignitary of the Court to bid him welcome, for it was the custom that guests of distinguished rank should thus be met. But to his disgust only two officers of inferior rank came forward, and the slight rankled deeply in the Maráthá's heart.

It seemed to be Aurangzebe's purpose to do everything possible to humiliate his visitor, and to overwhelm him with the power and grandeur of the Moghul Empire. Sivaji was kept waiting three months at Delhi before the Emperor would give him audience. When at length a day had been appointed for the Maráthá to be presented at Court, Aurangzebe made great preparations to impress him with his own magnificence. It was his usual custom to dress very simply, but now he caused himself to be arrayed in his most splendid garments, strings of dazzling jewels hung round his neck, whilst diamonds and rubies of great size glistened and shone from his turban. Seated upon the radiant, gem-incrusted peacock throne he was a magnificent sight—calculated (as he thought) to strike awe into the heart of any man.

What a brilliant spectacle an audience in those splendid halls must have been! Can one not imagine the great throne, mounted on a high dais, and glitter- [25] ing with a thousand points of light—the Emperor, sparkling from head to foot with jewels, haughtily surveying the assembled courtiers,—the golden plat-form whereon the great nobles stood in all their gorgeous attire,—the other platforms of silver and marble thronged by the lesser nobles in order of their rank? It is difficult in these prosaic days to conjure up in our minds such scenes of Oriental splendour.

In the midst of all this magnificence, Sivaji held a haughty head—and nursed a burning heart. If Aurangzebe thought to tame his fiery spirit by such parade of pomp and circumstance he was mistaken. Sivaji found himself admitted to the gold platform, but he also found himself placed at the very bottom of the long row of attendant nobles, and at this fresh humiliation his anger overflowed. He saw his hopes of the Viceroyship dashed to the ground, he realised that Aurangzebe was trifling with him, and his indignation, which had been smouldering for months, broke forth tempestuously.

Out of the glittering ranks he stepped—a short, spare figure with flashing eyes and fierce gesture, and in ringing tones addressed his reproaches to the Emperor. No one dared to stem the torrent of his wrath as he voiced his bitter resentment at the manner in which he was being treated.

Aurangzebe listened in stony silence; once only, when the furious Maráthá chief accused the courtiers around him of cowardice and servile adulation, did he permit the ghost of a smile to flicker across his thin lips. The outburst was soon over, and Sivaji swung angrily out of the chamber. Aurangzebe gave orders [26] that he should be admitted to no more audiences. He further commanded that a guard should be set about his house, which he should not be allowed to quit without an escort responsible for his safe custody.

Thus did Sivaji find himself a prisoner. His faithful soldiers were allowed to return to their own country, and he and his young son were left alone in his enemy's capital. Aurangzebe was happy, for he thought he had the Maráthá completely in his power. They brought him news that his prisoner was sick—almost at the point of death. The Emperor was indifferent; sick or well the "Mountain Rat" could do little harm at Delhi. But after a while the invalid grew better. You will remember that Sivaji was a pious Hindú, so that it was only natural that he should send thank-offerings of fruit and flowers and other things to the Brahmins and nobles of his acquaintance. The most curious part of these gifts was the baskets in which they were packed. They were long and slender, and bore a remarkable resemblance to coffins; but after some weeks the guards stationed outside the house became quite accustomed to the sight of these unwieldy-looking packages.


Shivaji openly defies the Great Mogul

One evening a strange thing happened. Sivaji, who was supposed by all to be still weak and ill, jumped out of bed in surprisingly active fashion, and proceeded to tie up his son in one of the coffin-shaped baskets. This being done, he put himself into another one and was borne by his servants out of the house, through the cordon of soldiers outside, along the crowded thoroughfares, to a distant part of the city. [27] There horses were awaiting them, and the wily Maráthá—whose illness had been nothing more than a hoax—succeeded in escaping unobserved from the capital. Once outside the gates they put spurs to their horses, and set out in hot haste for the Deccan. Great was Aurangzebe's wrath the following day when a trembling officer told him the story of the ruse. But by that time pursuit was out of the question, and in December 1666, after nine months' absence at Delhi, Sivaji, in the guise of a pilgrim, once more set foot in his own dominions.
 

johnee

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
3,473
Likes
490
Contd. from previous post
t may be imagined with what joy the Maráthás welcomed home their loved chieftain, whom they had almost given up for lost. To celebrate the event was their first impulse, and this they did by recapturing most of the territory they had been obliged to give up to the Moghuls. But there was one stronghold in particular that Sivaji longed to recover. This, Singurh by name, was a well-nigh inaccessible fort, held by a strong garrison. Sheer from a deep glen in a precipitous mountain side a mighty crag rose to the height of nearly ninety feet. On its summit, two miles in circumference, Singurh was built. On one side the rock shelved gradually inward, and as it was considered utterly impossible to attempt an assault from this quarter, it was not so strongly fortified as were the others.

Sivaji, however, believed in doing what was least expected. One moonless night a thousand picked men set out by different paths for Singurh, uniting in a thicket a few hundred yards from the base of the rock. Tannaji, Sivaji's trusty lieutenant who [28] had charge of the expedition, motioned his men to keep silence, and crept cautiously forward, until he stood right underneath the slippery crags. Then with a dexterity born of long practice, he threw a thin line, to which was attached a leaden ball, over one of the trees which projected from beneath the battlements. By this means a knotted rope was drawn up and secured by a springed hook to the tree.

One by one the Maráthás, active as cats, noiselessly ascended the rope, climbed the projecting wall and lay down inside. No sentry ever patrolled this remote part of the stronghold, and so they were secure from interruption. But when the three hundredth man was scaling the frail ladder, he slipped, and thinking himself falling, uttered an involuntary cry of alarm. The others held their breath and strained their ears to detect if the noise had been heard. It had; for a soldier came forward carelessly, lantern in hand, to see what was the matter. His shrift was short, for a bowstring twanged and the man fell heavily to the ground with an arrow through his heart. Again all was silence, but even as they listened, a confused hubbub arose from the interior of the fort.

Tannaji, hoping still to take them by surprise, pushed forward with his three hundred men. Silently and unseen the bowmen plied their deadly arrows in the direction of the voices, until a number of blue lights and torches gleamed forth, lighting up the scene with lurid glare, and enabling the garrison to discover their assailants. A desperate fight took [29] place, and the Maráthás, with panting chests and aching limbs, strove hard to win the fort. The odds were overwhelming, but slowly and surely they forced the enemy back. Then their brave leader fell, and losing courage they began to retreat. At this moment Tannaji's brother came up with the reserve force. "The ropes are destroyed," he cried, "escape is impossible; the fort must be captured or you die. Now is the time to prove yourselves Sivaji's men!"

Above the clatter of arms and the groans of the wounded, the fierce battle-cry of the Maráthás rang out upon the air. "Hur, Hur, Madheo!" they yelled, and rushed anew to the attack. "Hur, Hur, Madheo!" and the defenders gave way before that furious charge. "Hur, Hur, Madheo!" and the invaders had gained the fort. But their loss was heavy; over a third of their number had perished in the fight. Five hundred of the garrison, together with their gallant commander, were slain, while hundreds more, trying to escape over the rocks, were dashed to pieces in the attempt. Sivaji was overjoyed when he heard of the success of this exploit, but wept bitterly when he learned of Tannaji's death. "The den is taken," he cried, "but the lion is slain; we have gained a fort, but, alas! I have lost Tannaji, my faithful friend!"

The crowning point in Sivaji's career was, figuratively as well as literally, his coronation. In his extraordinary life he had never looked back on good fortune; year by year his power and prestige had steadily increased, and now he was no mountain robber, but a ruler holding sway over a vast territory [30] and governing a mighty people. He had long struck coins in his own name, and styled himself Rajah and Maharajah. It would be a fitting climax, he thought, to declare his independence, and set up a new dynasty and a new kingdom.

And so on June 6, 1674, Sivaji was solemnly crowned. The Maráthá leader had not forgotten what he had seen at Delhi, and the function was carried out with an amazing wealth of pomp and circumstance. When at length the ceremony was over, the newly crowned "Ornament of the Khsetriyu race, Lord of the Royal Umbrella, and King of the Maráthás," was weighed against gold, as was customary on such occasions, and the gold distributed among the Brahmins. These gentlemen were very much disappointed to find how little Sivaji weighed, for he was a small, spare man, without a superfluous ounce of avoirdupois!

On the fifth day of April 1680, in the fifty-third year of his age, there passed away one of the greatest leaders of men the world has ever seen. For despite his faults, which were many, Sivaji must go down to history as a great man and a great genius. Himself an enthusiast, he had in addition that rare faculty—the quality of inspiring enthusiasm in others. When we consider how he embarked upon his adventurous career with a mere handful of half-naked Maráthás, how he had to contend with innumerable difficulties, yet never let himself be dismayed by adversity, and how finally he founded a power which was destined mightily to affect the history of India, and which actually became our own immediate predecessor in [31] conquest, we cannot withhold from him our tribute of the deepest admiration.

Aurangzebe heard of the death of his most formidable enemy with great gladness. Yet though he affected to despise Sivaji during his lifetime, in death he paid him a generous compliment. "He was," he said, "a great captain, and the only one who has had the magnanimity to raise a new kingdom, while I have been endeavouring to destroy the ancient sovereignties of India; my armies have been employed against him for nineteen years, and nevertheless his state has been always increasing."

 

ZOOM

Founding Member
Regular Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
577
Likes
11
Johnee indeed a good addition, it is quite informative as well.
 

Vinod2070

मध्यस्थ
Ambassador
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
2,557
Likes
105
A great read.

I am amazed how little is taught about Shivaji Maharaj in our history books.

I feel like kicking these communist clowns like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habeeb who have destroyed the interest of countless Indians in history. Bloody fools.
 

ZOOM

Founding Member
Regular Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
577
Likes
11
A great read.

I am amazed how little is taught about Shivaji Maharaj in our history books.

I feel like kicking these communist clowns like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habeeb who have destroyed the interest of countless Indians in history. Bloody fools.
During his days, he was simply invicible. There was simply no parrallel to his military acumen. When he observed that he cannot win the battle with Weapons and soldiers, he simply use Politics to buy some time and the moment he find right time he goes on thrashing the enemy. He is a great role model for us who don't have any right answer to meance like terrorism and China's increasing clout. He was the one who first brought the fundamentals of Democracy in his Kingdom and never dictate his term on his subject. Infact, he always respect people of different religion and conserve their assets.

Unfortunetly, not much is being studied other then some dedicated Historians. Since studying his role during Mughal era isn't a matter of few years rather I should say atleast decades will take to uncover many truths about his role in liberating oppressed people from the ruthless grip of Mughal and various other Arab invaders.
 

johnee

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
3,473
Likes
490
A great read.

I am amazed how little is taught about Shivaji Maharaj in our history books.

I feel like kicking these communist clowns like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habeeb who have destroyed the interest of countless Indians in history. Bloody fools.
Vinod,
right now, the commies want to spread all the lies. They want ppl to believe that Moguls and other islamic kings were benevolent like all other Indian kings. But if we study the history of Shivaji Maharaj then their duplicity will be exposed. Indians(Hindus, Budhists, Jains, and Sikhs) will come to know how ruthless these islamic kings(including Moguls) were. We will understand that the islamic colonialism was no better than western colonialism as far as India and Indians were concerned. And these commies want to keep ppl ignorant.
 

Known_Unknown

Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,632
Likes
1,669
I am amazed how little is taught about Shivaji Maharaj in our history books.

I feel like kicking these communist clowns like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habeeb who have destroyed the interest of countless Indians in history. Bloody fools.
I don't know about CBSE, but if you study in Maharashtra, the entire 4th standard history book is basically a biography of Shivaji.
 

Known_Unknown

Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,632
Likes
1,669
The wikipedia article on Shivaji also makes a great read.

Shivaji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shivaji's genius is most evident in his military organisation which lasted till the demise of the Maratha empire. He was one of the pioneers of commando actions, "Ganimi Kava" a term used for such a warfare, (though the term "commando" is modern). Shivaji was responsible for a lot of changes in military organization. These include -

* A standing army belonging to the state called paga;
* All war horses belonged to the state; responsibility for their upkeep rested on the Soveriegn.
* Creation of part time soldiers from peasants who worked for eight months in the field and supported four
months in war.
* Highly mobile and light infantry and cavalry were his innovations and they excelled in commando tactics;
* The introduction of a centralized intelligence department, spy system, a potent navy, and regular chain
of-command;
* Introduction of field craft viz. Guerrilla warfare, commando actions, swift flanking attacks;
* Innovation of weapons and firepower, innovative use of traditional weapons like tiger claw or 'Baghnakh'.
'Vita' was a weapon invented by Shivaji ;
* Militarisation of almost the entire society, including all classes, with the entire peasant population of
settlements and villages near forts actively involved in their defence.[6]

Shivaji realized the importance of having a secure coastline and protecting the western Konkan coastline from the attacks of Siddi’s fleet. He had realized the tactical advantage of having a strong navy and decided to purse this idea. Shivaji was concerned about the growing dominance of British India naval forces over Indian waters and started building his navy forces to tackle this issue. For this very reason he is also referred to as the “Father of Indian Navy”.
 

Known_Unknown

Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,632
Likes
1,669
i always wondered why no TV serials were ever made about Shivaji?
Yeah, I wonder why too......although there were many Marathi movies about Shivaji and a serial about Madhavrao Peshwa, called "Swami".
 

F-14

Global Defence Moderator
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
1,563
Likes
25
hey guys there is a marthi movie about Shivaji playing in UAE
 

Vinod2070

मध्यस्थ
Ambassador
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
2,557
Likes
105
Vinod,
right now, the commies want to spread all the lies. They want ppl to believe that Moguls and other islamic kings were benevolent like all other Indian kings. But if we study the history of Shivaji Maharaj then their duplicity will be exposed. Indians(Hindus, Budhists, Jains, and Sikhs) will come to know how ruthless these islamic kings(including Moguls) were. We will understand that the islamic colonialism was no better than western colonialism as far as India and Indians were concerned. And these commies want to keep ppl ignorant.
These commies historians have the blessings of the Congress since the beginning. They make a hell of a noise whenever any change in history is made or even proposed.

The charitable view would be that they are doing it as its best to forget the painful past to avoid the bitterness now as we are a multi religious society and there is no getting away from that.
 

Vinod2070

मध्यस्थ
Ambassador
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
2,557
Likes
105
I don't know about CBSE, but if you study in Maharashtra, the entire 4th standard history book is basically a biography of Shivaji.
I studies CBSE and don't recall anything more than few lines throughout my history study over several years.

In fact the whole subject of history was nothing but a series of dates and names and was made so dull that I hardly had any interest in it. I thought it is a naturally boring subject.

As soon as I came out of school and saw the other history books in the market, I found what I was missing because of these commie idiots.

I guess Shivaji is a national hero and not just a Marathi hero. We all deserve to know about him.
 

Known_Unknown

Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,632
Likes
1,669
I think most state boards have their own syllabi and put emphasis on their regional icons. In Rajasthan, it might be Prithviraj Chauhan and in Kerala, it might be Krishna Deva Raya, but maybe since CBSE is a central board, it can't devote too much of its syllabi to each and every one of these regional icons. As it is, CBSE books are quite a bit thicker than most state board books.

I was under the impression that some in the south disapprove of Shivaji because of his invasions uptil Tamil Nadu.
 

F-14

Global Defence Moderator
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
1,563
Likes
25
Known in KSB the history books mainly deal with the Kings of three major States of kerala Ie Travancore , Kochin And the Malabar with bit of an empashis on the lattar kings of Travancore and kochin states as after the conquest by Tipu the Zamorins were vwiped out in the Malabar region and the Region became home to small to medium Muslim Kingdoms the Major of which was the Arrakal kingdom ruled by the Arakal biwi
 

Known_Unknown

Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,632
Likes
1,669
F-14,

I never learnt any of that in my history books in Maharashtra. Never heard of the Zamorins, or the Arrakal or the Travancore kings. Tipu and Hyder Ali were given 1 page in the 7th or 8th std history book, and that was it.

Guess Indian history is so vast that there's no way it can be covered adequately if all the details are addressed. For countries like US, Australia etc, it's such an easy job in comparison. Just 200 yrs. Wonder how they stretch it to fit 8 levels though lol.
 

F-14

Global Defence Moderator
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
1,563
Likes
25
thats the dilama that faces us as a Nation is that How is it possible to compact such a vast history and save it from revisionism at the same time thats a qustion that needs to adressed ASAP
 

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads

Articles

Top