Sunday September 22, 2019

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

‘Safarnama’ App to “Capture the Way History in Delhi Actually Held within and under Stones” in Short Bursts

There are so many stories to be told and so many sounds to hear - and the app provides the medium to do this

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Safarnama, App, History
I wanted others to feel the energy of the city's fabric and heritage as I do. Pixabay

There’ve been guidebooks, bus tours, videos, pamphlets, walkabouts et al, but this ‘Safarnama’ app will “capture the way history in Delhi is actually held within and under the stones” in short bursts as you travel across the city.

“We wanted to capture the way history in Delhi is actually held within and under the stones – so much extraordinary heritage is embedded within small places and barely seen fragments,” said Dr Debs Sutton, a Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History at the Lancaster University, who developed the app with the aid of a grant from its Arts and Humanities Research Council and in association with Centre for the Study of Developing Studies (CSDS) in the national capital.

“I wanted others to feel the energy of the city’s fabric and heritage as I do. With that in mind we really thought about how technology could reanimate the city. There are so many stories to be told and so many sounds to hear – and the app provides the medium to do this. It’s a new way of seeing the past – a fantastic philosophy,” Sutton told IANS in an email interview from Lancaster.

Sutton lived in Delhi for five years and was captivated by the “energy and excitement” of the city when she studied for a PhD at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Safarnama, App, History
There’ve been guidebooks, bus tours, videos, pamphlets, walkabouts et al, but this ‘Safarnama’ app will “capture the way history in Delhi is actually held within and under the stones” in short bursts. Pixabay

The app contains images, texts, newspaper cuttings and audio recordings that tell the stories of Delhi in the years after the partition of the subcontinent that displaced millions of people and caused unparalleled violence. Delhi was transformed by this displacement.

Refugees were accommodated in monuments, mosques, temples and thousands of people opened their doors to offer shelter to those forced to leave their homes.

Refugee centres were opened to provide training and jobs to refugees and hundreds of new businesses were established across the city.

The app will enable users to hear these stories at the places they took place. As they near particular points of interest, travellers will receive a push notification. If they pass close enough – within a ‘trigger zone’ – their phone will automatically open the media associated with the place of interest.

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How did this project come about?

“The work evolved from my historical research on the ways in which Delhi heritage has been animated by and integrated into the city of Delhi in the twentieth century. Despite the best efforts of the Imperial government to set monuments apart from the everyday life of the city, monuments were always animated by all sorts of social (and often economic) occupation. This led me to think about the proliferation of physical heritage across the city. Notified monuments are only a small fraction of the extraordinarily rich and complex history of the city.

“Safarnama is an attempt to capture that variety and to allow new publics to engage with heritage. The app promotes that engagement as part of everyday mobility, rather than as occasional visits to monuments,” Sutton explained.

What did the development process involve?

Safarnama, App, History
We wanted to capture the way history in Delhi is actually held within and under the stones – so much extraordinary heritage is embedded within small places and barely seen fragments. Pixabay

“It was a long one! I was awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK to get together with others to think about the potential of digital heritage in complex and fast changing urban environments. We started out using a different software and about six months ago the software developer and I decided to start again and create a purpose-built authoring tool. This authoring tool and platform allows the creation and dissemination of different experiences.

“Other partners include INTACH Delhi, Hilal Ahmed at CSDS, the Centre for Community Knowledge at AUD (Ambedkar University Delhi) and the New Delhi-Berkley-based 1947 Partition Archive.

How were the monuments chosen?

“In all sorts of ways. I had been working on the occupation of mosques, mandirs and monuments by Partition refugees when I started thinking about the project. That is why I proposed the Partition City Delhi as the first, proof of concept digital heritage experience. Thereafter, we drew on a huge range of archives and scholarly publications,” Sutton said.

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What’s next?

An Industrial Heritage Experience for Mumbai and an app for Karachi, Sutton concluded. (IANS)