Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti

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    • Shiv Jayanti also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti was observed on February 19th, 2023.
      • This year will mark the 393rd birth anniversary of the great leader. 

    About Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

    • About:
      • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is one of the most revered rulers in India and is credited to have founded the Maratha Empire in the 17th century
    • Early days:
      • Shivaji Maharaj was born in the hill fort of Shivneri now located in Pune city of Maharashtra. 
        • Shivaji is believed to have been named after a local deity called the goddess Shivai.
      • Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai was the daughter of Lakhuji Jadhavrao of Sindkhed. His father Shahajiraje Bhosale was a prominent Sardar in the Deccan
      • From an early age, he showed leadership qualities and a keen interest in politics.
    • Alliance & hostilities:
      • Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, the Sultanate of Golkonda, the Sultanate of Bijapur and the European colonial powers
      • Shivaji’s military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy.
        • The Maratha Navy guarded the Jaigad, Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg and other forts along the coast of Maharashtra.
    • Shivaji’s famous guerilla tactics:
      • Shivaji’s armed forces had some major limitations. 
        • He did not have the man or horsepower compared to most of his enemies, especially during the early stages of his life. 
        • This meant that in conventional battle, he would have seldom stood a chance against his foes.
        • Guerilla tactics: 
          • His men would travel in small, highly mobile and heavily armed attachments, wreak havoc in the often sluggish Mughal or Adil Shahi armies, loot supplies and treasure, and quickly retreat.
    • Significance of forts in the history of Shivaji Maharaj:
      • For a long time in history, before air power took centre stage in military tactics and strategy, forts were crucial to the defence of any country.
      • Geographical factors:
        • Unlike the plains of Northern India, suited to conventional battle with large standing armies, the terrain of the Maratha country was different. 
        • With the Arabian Sea on one side, the Konkan plains in the centre and the Western Ghats overlooking the plains, in the 17th century much of the region was covered in thick jungles.
        • Warfare in such terrain is qualitatively different, with large conventional armies prone to getting bogged down. 
      • Thus, growing up in the hills and valleys around Pune, Shivaji understood the salience of hill forts in controlling the land. 
      • Over his storied life, he captured multiple such forts, including Torna (when he was only 16), Rajgadh, Sinhagadh and Purandar.
      • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, at the time of his death, is said to have control of over 200 forts across his territories, with some estimates putting the number over 300.
    • Coronation:
      • In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati (Monarch) of his realm at Raigad.
    • Administration & civil rule:
      • Shivaji Maharaj not only constructed a well-structured administrative organisation but also made a liberal civil rule for people living in the area.
      • He assigned separate responsibilities to the ministers and each of them was made responsible for his work to him.
        • He had a council of ministers (Asht Pradhan) to advise him on the matters of the state but he was not bound by it.
      • He also believed in religious tolerance and gave equal respect to all religions.
      • He made no office hereditary.
      • In general, he did not assign jagirs to his civil and military officers.
    • Art & Culture:
      • The historical figure was not only a great warrior but also a patron of art and culture
      • He encouraged literature and music, and his court was a centre of creativity and intellectualism. 
    • Death:
      • The brave warrior died in 1680 but is still known for his courage and intelligence.
    • Contemporary accounts:
      • Shivaji was admired for his heroic exploits and clever stratagems in the contemporary accounts of English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Italian writers.

    Celebration of Shiv Jayanti during India’s independence movement

    • The celebration of Shiv Jayanti was set by Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, also known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, in 1870, and since then, people have been celebrating the day with great zeal.
    • The celebrations were carried on by the great liberation fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The freedom fighter was also given the credit for drawing attention to the Maratha King’s contributions to the public during the freedom struggle.
      •  He portrayed Shivaji as the “opponent of the oppressor”, with possible negative implications concerning the colonial government.

    Legacy

    • The Indian Navy’s INS Shivaji is named after him.
    • The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus in Mumbai is also named after him.
    • Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial National Committee -Conceptualised & pioneered in 1981 by Late Smt. Indira Gandhi.

    Source: IE