Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated on the 19th of February every year. Shivaji was born on that day in the year 1627 at Shivneri fort in the state of Maharashtra.
He was born to Jijabai and Shahji Bhonsle. Jijabai prayed for a baby boy from local goddess Shivai Devi and hence when her wish was fulfilled, she named her son after the goddess.
Shivaji had a very fabulous childhood with his brother Sambaji. His mother was instrumental in making him a warrior.
He played a vital role in setting up the Maratha kingdom and it was under his rule and administration that they captured many forts and set up the Maratha Empire.
The Konkan, Mayal and Desh regions were captured by Shivaji and he in this way built a big Maratha empire. Shivaji is a very big and renowned personality in the entire region of Maharashtra.
Not only this, the rest of the country also celebrates him as a big emperor and people are fond of his intelligence, warrior skills, military leadership and the most able leader of the Maratha empire.
On this famous day, all over Maharashtra, people remember the great leader who brought glory to the Maratha state and his achievements are talked about and a procession taken out in various regions to commemorate the big day.
During the processions, the streets are decorated and the image of Shivaji is carried and flowers and garlands are used in many to mark the occasion.
Table of Contents
A Warrior’s Life
Shivaji’s life was one of its kinds. His mother taught him from religious books – the Mahabharata and Ramayana and the knowledge he gained thus made him an able leader.
His mother also read from Sanskrit and Hindi scriptures and thus he came to learn a lot from his mother. His father was an able military ruler but all his efforts to become more powerful as emperor turned futile due to the resisting efforts of the Mughals.
Hence, Shivaji turned against the Mughals and fought many a battles with them. He was successful in conquering the Torna fort in the Bijapur region of Karnataka in the year 1647 and by the end of 1654, the entire region of Western Ghats and Konkan area came under his siege.
Thus he was able to extend his empire into a vast area. He was so ambitious that he even prevailed upon the south territories and conquered many major zones.
In the year, Shivaji fought the Battle of Pratapgadh with Afzal Khan and conquered the powerful land of Bijapur, which had earlier become a stronghold of the Mughals.
While trying to conquer Surat, Shivaji was held captive by Aurangzeb’s men and as a result, he was taken far off to Jaipur.
With his intelligence and unhindering courage, he managed to escape from there and came to his homeland. But he had to spend a few days in hiding as he used his military tactics to rise back at the right occasion.
In 1674, he made a fearless comeback to the battlefield and strongly conquered the Raigadh fort. After conquering this fort, he was given the title of Chhatrapati. Thus he came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji after this.
The Great Leader of the Masses
People even now remember and call him with the title he earned – Chhatrapati Shivaji. People remember him as a brave warrior who was fearless and conquered enemy’s territory with his special tactics.
His military intelligence gave even the Mughals many sleepless nights and they too had failed to conquer him on many attempts.
At that time, Mughal army was considered to be one of the most well organized armies in the entire region with far flung fame and appreciation. But even the strongest army couldn’t do anything to the powerful Martha Empire.
The establishment of the Maratha stronghold empire was brought about by the efforts of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Shivaji had sympathy with local people and its surprising to know that his army consisted of both Hindu and Muslim people. Shivaji was the most secular leaders of his time.
He not only included local Hindu people but also formed his most willing Maratha Empire with many Muslim locals.
His main aim was not to build a Hindu empire, but a secular one that was mainly a Maratha empire that consisted of both Hindu and Muslim community people.
The western coastline was very vulnerable from invaders and it was only Shivaji who had the wisdom to build an efficient military system to strengthen the coastline and avoid invasions through the coastline waters.
In short, if we see its relevance in today’s times, Shivaji had the ability and foresightedness to build strong navy network in those early times.
His efforts brought him fame along the coastline and people praised him for his excellent efforts and steps taken to build a strengthened military power.
Creator of Maratha Empire
The greatest attribute of the creator of the Maratha nation was his undying support and respect towards women. The biggest influence in his life was his mother and he loved his first wife very dearly.
He had the greatest respect for women and would advise people in his empire to look up to women as being equally strong and not undermine their capabilities.
He did not believe in restricting women to just household work, instead he sought his mother’s influence in creating a strong image for women too.
He knew women could be very instrumental in creating and shaping a man’s mind and thus could alter or benefit from their words and value systems.
Women were looked up high with a lot of respect and their efforts were also praised and appreciated in the big Maratha Empire.
Shivaji personally treated all of the women in his life with lot of love and gentleness, yet strengthened them from within and brought significant changes in their lives.
Shivaji was a great follower of Sant Samarth Ramadas. This shows Shivaji’s respect for noble saints in his region.
Highly renowned and inspirational saints were respected for their greatness in his kingdom and he has even given away many forts to these religious saints, for their larger than life image and the influence they had in his life.
Sant Ramadas thus wrote Shivastuthi, purely in the honor of Shivaji. Shivaji had a very high place for religious preaching and teachings by these great saints. He knew their spiritual worth and knew their guiding force.
Shivaji used other military techniques such as guerilla warfare techniques. He brought in an angle of modernism to his military handling techniques and trained his army in new methodologies to keep up with unexpected and brisk war encounters.
Even the mighty Mughals couldn’t deter the Maratha army at some point and it was due to the efforts of Maratha army that a strong Maratha wave was created in the region.
Unique and Strong Qualities
He created such a legacy that people celebrate his image even today and recognize their favorite warrior for his bravery. His courage led him to expand his empires with great ambition.
This kind of ambition could only be seen in a person who knew what he was doing and his farsighted goals were something to be proud of.
A man who was proud of his customs and rich culture inherited a rich tradition of values from his mother and that kept him grounded as a person.
He was so focused and determined in his conquests that even the strongest of rulers dare not questioned his conquests.
He was dear ruler for his local people who did everything to follow their king’s orders and they believed in his supremacy.
He gave them a life to be proud of; an identity of being part of a proud Maratha nation, the strengths and beliefs that they drew from him can hardly be described.
The whole of India remembers this great warrior on his Jayanti and in many parts of India people carry out procession in masses to bring about awareness among the youth to build intelligence and a strong image of themselves.
Strong rulers ruled India in ancient times and many like Shivaji are remembered solely because of their courage and determination. Their ambition knew no bounds and makes our country proud to this moment.
Our rich heritage speaks volumes about such rulers who fought selflessly for the motherland and gave little thought about personal lives.
A rich patronage of such kings and queens exists in every part of our country and those associated with them; know the sacrifices and hardships these rulers went through in their days of struggle, for the sake of their motherland.