The name Shivaji brings back a rushing memory of a gallant brave Indian king for whom ‘Swaraj’ was dearer than anything else in the world. Today, being February 19 we celebrate Shivaji Jayanti in the state of Maharashtra and the world over to commemorate the birth of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — the great warrior, brilliant administrator and founder of the Maratha empire. MMFPL brings to you the 6 lesser known facts of this great man who is a source of unending pride for his countrymen and the epitome of Maratha heritage.
- Shivajiwas the pioneer of guerilla warfare, a war technique the Marathas excelled at. Hence he was also called as the ‘Mountain Rat’ as his understanding of the topography and geography of his land was par excellence. The fact that he could withstand the strength of the Mughal Empire spoke volumes of his ability to raid, ambush and plan surprise attacks on his enemies.
- Chhatrapati Shivaji was born on 19th February 1630 at the celebrated Shivneri fort. He was one of the most progressive and prudent rulers of our country who founded the Maratha Kingdom. To this date, his birthday is vehemently celebrated in traditional style by all Maharashtrians.
- It was Shivaji who first identified the role of a naval force in winning battles against the Mughals. He tactically established a navy and forts at the coastline to defend the Konkan side of Maharashtra. The Jaigad, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and other such forts still stand tall and testify of his visionary actions. Historians believe and refer to him as the Father of Indian Navy.
- Shivaji is not an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is not God on Earth. He assumed the stature of being a demi-god due to his good deeds. Thus, contrary to popular belief, Shivaji was not named after Lord Shiva. In fact, his mom, Jijamata, named him after a regional Goddess Shivai who she prayed to for a son.
- Shivaji was an able and secular leader who weighed talent and skill over religion. He successfully grew his father’s army from 2000 soldiers to 10,000 soldiers during his reign. Interestingly, his army accommodated a secular mix of soldiers belonging to several faiths including Muslims.
- Shivaji held deep respect and admiration for women in the society. Being very close to his mom, he supported upholding the pride and honour of women. He opposed all kinds of violence, harassment and cruelty against women. Anyone under his rule caught violating woman’s rights was severely punished. In fact, women of captured territories were also released unharmed, and with integrity.
MMFPL pays heartfelt tribute to this great hero of Indian history. We hope, through the medium of this article, to ignite our reverence and learning from Chhtrapati Shivaji’s eventful and inspirational life.