Monday February 24, 2020

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: A warrior who helped revive Hindu culture

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By Sanket Jain

The fire which is burnt in a young child’s mind is never an outcome of the good things, rather the path of struggle and the days of darkness make one establish their mighty clan, which stands in good stead for hundreds of years leaving behind the legacy.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj one of the finest rulers who made a valiant effort to establish the Maratha clan is a perfect embodiment of vitality. Most of the people are unaware of the great ideas, which were implemented for the first time by Shivaji Maharaj and most of them exist till date.

Where students have just heard of the names of Ramayana and Mahabharatha, Shivaji studied them carefully and was inspired by them to initiate the process of a change, which would leave everyone star struck. Usually at the age of 16, students take the courage to visit a hilly fort and trek for the first time in their life. Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort of Torna, which was under the clutches of the Bijapur kingdom just at the age of 16. This is how his life began!

Shivaji Maharaj built one of the finest economic systems of that period. Rawlinson quoted,

“Like the great warriors-Napoleon is a conspicuous example-Shivaji   was also a great administrator, for the qualities which go to make a capable general are those which are required by the successful organizer and statesman.”

Economic system and revenue

At that point of time, all the officers were given Jagirs (feudal land grant). Shivaji was the first to drop that practice and he started paying all the officers in cash, which turned out to be one of the best decisions. In order to avoid the practice of corruption, he divided the kingdom into 4 parts, and each part had a Viceroy. All of these provinces had a number of sub divisions called pranths.

The Zamindars and the Deshmukhs used to levy taxes on the farmers, Shivaji gave up this practice. The Government dealt with the cultivators directly and the land was measured using a rod called the Kathi.

Tolerance to all religions

Shivaji Maharaj is considered to be a Hindu and Maratha ruler, which is quite different from the reality. There were many Muslim officers in his army and he never had any ill feeling towards any religion. On the other hand, some of his enemies were Hindus. Rustam-I- Zamani of Rajapur was a close friend of Shivaji and he punished Doroji one of his generals who captured Rajapur. He was the one who helped revive all the good things in Hindu culture and abolished most of the bad aspects.

Father of Indian Navy

Despite having some of the best kingdoms, Indian rulers never built a navy of their own. Shivaji Maharaj was the first to build a navy and owing to it, he is known as the father of Indian Navy. He established a naval force with cannons mounted on the ships. The fort of Sindhudurg is a perfect paragon of the naval intelligence that he possessed. After the possession of 8 to 9 forts in Deccan, he started trading with the foreign merchants.

Honoring women and mercy to the prisoners of war

Shivaji is one of the very few rulers who treated both men and women equally. His rule could be defined as the term of approbation for women. Maratha army captured many forts and towns, but all the women were sent back safe with honor.

The prisoners of war were treated with respect by Shivaji Maharaj. He welcomed the people who were ready to join the Maratha army and never judged anyone on the basis of their heritage and culture.

Patriotism and Nationalism

Shivaji was not an egocentric with an over inflated sense of expansion of his kingdom. Like Chanakya, Shivaji too dreamt of a united India. He was perfectly fine with the other kings and opposed the foreign rulers. Shivaji was the one who wiped away Mughals who ruled the nation for many decades. Chatrasal Bundela was inspired by Shivaji Maharaj, and Bundela created his own kingdom in Rajasthan.

Efficient governance

The governing council of Shivaji Maharaj was divided into 8 parts.

Peshwa– He looked after the welfare of all the states.

Amatya– He looked after the finance of the kingdom and was responsible for all the taxes and their proper collection.

Wakia Nawis– He used to keep a track of the events that happened in the courts and in the meetings.

Samant– He was responsible for all the foreign affairs and was responsible for taking care of the foreign guests and ambassadors.

Sachiv– He ensured that all the orders were implemented carefully and in right earnest.

Pandit Rao– He was the overall religious head and looked after the religious ceremonies in the kingdom.

Nyayadish– He was responsible for civil and military justice.

Senapati– He recruited the officers for the Maratha army and was responsible for maintaining all of them.

These are just a few points about Shivaji Maharaj.  Disguised in the shadows of a Maratha or a Hindu ruler, Shivaji Maharaj was far more than what we perceive him. He was never judgmental about any religion and always respected all the people.

His life inspired thousand of rulers, but we should ask ourselves one question:

Can we look beyond the biases and judgments we create for any particular ruler? The answer and the life of Shivaji Maharaj will drop you down in the dream below.

Next Story

PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)