Month: Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated on 19th February.
Description: Shivaji Jayanti or the birthday of Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated on a majestic scale in Maharashtra. His parents Jijabai and Shahaji Bhonsle named him Shivaji after local Goddess Shivai. He was the creator of the Maratha nation and he was instrumental in uniting the Maratha chiefs of Mayal, Konkan and Desh regions. His military and civil administration was of greatest importance. Shivaji was successful in carving out a small kingdom by defeating the alien powers.
Chhatrapati Shivaji is a hero not only for the people of Maharashtra but for those of India as well.
On the occasion of Shivaji Jayanti several processions are taken out and people dress up like Shivaji and his associates. The birthday is celebrated on a huge scale and various programmes remembering the achievements of the great ruler are organised.
History of ShivajiShivaji was born on 19th Februray, 1627, in Shivneri Fort, 60 kms north of Pune. He was named after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother prayed for a son. His father Shahaji Bhosle was the chief of the Bijapur kingdom. He was however, not allowed to take charge of any fort. His mother had a great influence on him as he was introduced to Indian epics of Mahabharata, Ramayana and other holy books by her. Shivaji also gained a lot of knowledge from his father’s unsuccessful attempts to gain power. He was inspired by his father s military tactics, peacetime diplomacy and also possessed knowledge of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures.
AdministrationShivaji grew into a fearless military leader with trainings from commanders like Gomaji Naik and Baji Pasalkar. Young Shivaji was motivated, enthusiastic and energetic. In his early days he was successful in inspiring local youths to follow his idealistic pursuits. At the age of 17, he attacked and captured Torna Fort of Bijapur and by 1647 he took control of Kondana and Raigad Forts. The Western Ghats along the Konkan Coast were also under his control by 1654.
AchievementsIn order to sabotage Shivaji’s rise to power, Adilshah arrested Shahji, his father by deceitful means and had armies sent against Shivaji and his elder brother Sambaji. To suppress Shivaji’s control on the Bijapur kingdom, Afzal Khan was sent to destroy him. However, with his cunning tricks, Shivaji successfully stabbed Afzal Khan. Eventually Bijapur’s armies were routed in the famous battle of Pratapgarh in 1659 and Shivaji turned into a hero of the Marathas. Now, under the confident leadership of Shivaji, the Marthas successfully pushed back the Mughals and the sultanate kingdoms from his homeland.
Shivaji also fought with the mughals, he attacked the army which was led by Shaista Khan under the mughal emperror- Aurangazeb. However, Shivaji lost many men against a well trained and disciplined Mughal army. Shivaji felt the need of finance to maintain an army and decided to loot the Mughal city of Surat. The Mughal emperor then sent Jai Singh to defeat Shivaji. After a few skirmishes, he thought it was wise to accept the emperor’s sovereignty. But then he was soon house arrested in Agra. With his intelligence, Shivaji successfully escaped from Agra and hid in his homeland and kept a low profile for some time. But then again he gradually rebuilt his empire and within six months he recovered much of his lost ground.
Shivaji extended his empire further towards south to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In order to regain one of his forts, Kondana, he appointed his most trusted general Tanaji Malusare. The battle that followed between the Marathas and the Mughals came to be known as the Maratha war of Independence where the Marathas were successful in regaining the control of the fort.
Chhatrapati ShivajiShivaji was formally crowned as a Chhatrapati in 1674 at Raigad fort and henceforth came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji. The brave warrior died in 1680 but is still known for his courage and intelligence. He laid the foundation of a Hindu empire which lasted for over two centuries. Also, Shivaji will always be known as a source of inspiration and pride for generations for his courage and military acumen.
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