The bravest, most progressive and sensible, Shivaji was born a natural leader. He has a royal name for himself in the page of history which is eternal. He upheld the Maratha heritage and Swaraj. He was the greatest Maratha ruler that ever lived.
An innumerable amount of victories, greatness and a misconception. Unlike what some people say, he wasn’t a cruel dictator. Most of it is fiction, here are the facts!
1. Though Shivaji was extremely secular, he never compromised his own religious roots.
It was a time when every kingdom was strictly imposing their religious beliefs. However, Shivaji respected all religions. He married his own daughter to a converted Hindu.
2. Shivaji had Muslims in his military. He had even offered his assistance to Aurangzeb in conquering Bijapur.
He didn’t fight Muslims, as the common belief suggests. He just fought rulers who threatened his kingdom. And yes, he did offer his assistance to Aurangzeb but it backfired when some of his officers raided a Mughal territory.
3. Shivaji was the pioneer of Indian navy.
He was the first to establish a naval force when most of the kings had thought of it. His navy was stationed to protect the Konkan side.
4. The Chhatrapati honored women and stood for them.
This probably was due to his love and respect for his mother. He instructed his army to not harm any women. Those who were captured were sent back with honour. Anyone who violated women rights faced severe consequences.
5. Guerrilla warfare was a specialty of Shivaji.
He knew geography like none other. Hence, he employed Guerilla tactics like ambushing and surprise attacks. He used to be called ‘Mountain Rat’.
6. A merciful monarch, Chhatrapati Shivaji.
He was a merciful ruler, not harming the opponents who surrendered to him. He even offered a place to them in his army.
7. The ‘India first’ king.
He wished to establish a free kingdom in the country. His troops used to fight for India, not for any ruler.
8. The Chhatrapati was known to be an ‘escape artist’.
He escaped the house arrest he was put under in Agra. He used to send boxes of sweets and fruits to temples in Agra. In one of the boxes, he fled with his son.
9. Afzal Khan, superior in size and strength, was defeated by Shivaji.
It was a legendary face-off. After a meeting with Afzal Khan, he suspected a foul play. Under his body clock, he wore a body armour. Hiding a tiger’s claw his sleeve, he defeated Afzal Khan.
10. From 2,000 to 10,000, he established a dedicated army.
He inherited an army of 2000 soldiers from his father. However, he was successful in making an army that was paid, trained throughout the year, and was 10,000 strong.