SHIVAJI Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


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Raje Shahaji’s son, Bal Shivaji, born at the Shivneri fort on February 19, 1630. Raje Shahaji bequeathed his jagir (fiefdom) of Pune and Supa, which was practically independent, to his son, Bal Shivaji (1630-1680), who founded the Maharashtra Raj.


He united the Maratha chiefs from Maval, Konkan and Desh regions for a higher purpose - the promotion of Maharashtra Dharma - and carved out a small kingdom by defeating the alien powers. He stabilised the state with effective civil and military administration and adopted a policy of religious tolerance to accommodate all religions and sects in his state. He was the first Chhatrapati (ruler) to start the Raj Shaka (royal era) and issue the gold coin, shivarai hon - on the occasion of his coronation (1674). His premature death at the age of 50 (April 5, 1680) created a vacuum, though his place in Indian history has been summarised by a great Bengali historian in the following words:


” Chhatrapati Shivaji was not only the maker of the Maratha empire, but also the greatest constructive genius of medieval India. States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true ‘hero as King’ like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for an entire human race. The Pillar of people’s hopes. The Centre of a World’s desire to animate the heart, to kindle the imagination and to inspire the brain of succeeding ages to the highest endeavour".


Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son, Raje Sambhaji (1657-1689), during his short reign of nine years, in addition to domestic feuds, was confronted with the Siddis, the Portuguese and the Mughals. His cold-blooded murder (1689) by the Mughals inspired a wave of patriotism in the Maratha region, and the Marathas, under the leadership of his brother, Raje Rajaram (1670-1700), waged a War of Independence against the imperial army of Aurangazeb who, until his death (1707), struggled in vain to eradicate Maratha power. Rani Tarabai, Raje Rajaram’s widow, declared her son, Shivaji II (1700), Chhatrapati. But when Sambhaji’s son, Shahu was released (1707) from Mughal captivity and gained support from the Maratha elite, a civil war ensued in Maharashtra, and Rani Tarabai set up a separate gadi (throne) at Panhala (Kolhapur).


A palace revolution (1714), removed Raje Shivaji II and Rani Tarabai declared Raje Sambhaji (1698-1760), second son of Raje Rajaram, the Chhatrapati of Kolhapur, which the Shahu finally recognised by the Treaty of Warna (1731).