Shivaji As A Youth
Article on Shivaji's childhood. How the base of the great man was built by his mother, father and his devout teacher Dadaji Knddeo.
Birth of Shivaji: Those were very unsettled days. Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan from North India had dispatched a big army to conquer the Deccan. Adilshah of Bijapur had burned Pune, the principal town of Shahaji's Jagir, the father of Shivaji, to the ground. Shahaji Raje was in real trouble. He found himself between the devil and gulch, and was constantly on the run. Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji, was pregnant and the great question which worried Shahaji was some places where she could remain in safety and peace. Ultimately she was sent to Shivaneri fort near Junnar in Pune district.
And then the golden day dawned. On the auspicious second day of the bright half of Vaishakh, in the year 1549 of Shaka era (1627 A.D.) to the sound pipes and drums playing in the 'Nagar Khana', Jijabai gave birth to a son. On the twelfth day, with the ceremony, the child was named 'Shivaji' after goddess Shivadevi whose temple was in the fort.
Shivaji's Childhood: Shivaji passed the first six years of his life in highly unsettled conditions, Even so, Jijabai didn't neglect his education. She would tell stories of Rama and Krishna, of Bhim and Abhimanyu. On other occasions she would recite to him the devotional songs of Dnyandeo, Namdeo and Eknath, the saints of Maharashtra. Shivaji liked to listen to the stories of saintly men.
Children from poor families came to play with Shivaba. Sometimes he visited them in their huts and shared their simple meal of onion and Bhakri (a type of Roti) with great relish. They invented various games to pass the time. Shivaji joined the Mavlas in all the games and became popular with them.
On the other hand, Shahaji had a tough time. He either fought for or against the Moghuls. For nearly four years he carried on an unsuccessful battle against the Moghuls. After the end of Emperor Nizamshah's era he took service with Adishah of Bijapur. He then went to Bangalore for some time. Here he arranged for Shivaji's proper education. Shivaji started reading stories from Mahabharata, and the Bhagwat Gita. Here he also learnt and mastered the art of riding, wrestling, 'dandpatta' and swordmanship. Adilshah put Shahaji in charge of the Karnataka campaign. Before leaving for Karnataka, Shahaji sent Jijabai and Shivaji to Pune.
Pune takes on a new look: So Shivaji came to Pune. He was very pleased to see the sky scrapping Shahyadri peaks in the distance. They reminded him of Shivaneri fort on whose soil he had played as a child. Pune, now in Maharashtra state of India was very different in those days. Situated on the banks of Mutha river, it was in those days known as Punavdi. The enemies of Shahaji had ravaged this neat and handsome township. Signs of destruction were everywhere.
There were broken houses, temples and destroyed property everywhere. Peole had fled away in fear of the enemy. Fields were left uncultivated, and they were replaced by jungles where wolves roamed freely. Such was sorry town of Pune.
When people in the neighboring villages heard that Shivaji and Jijabai had made Pune their home, they heaved a sigh of relief. They gradually started returning to Pune, back to their houses. Pune once again was crowded with people and lost its deserted look.
Dadaji Knddeo: Shahaji Raje had sent Dadaji Knddeo as an escort with Jijabai and Shivaji. He was to look after the two and manage the Jagir. Dadaji was most loyal and honest in his work. He was also just, and a strict disciplinarian. He was a faithful servant of Shahaji Raje and Jijabai, and he loved Shivaji.
Shivaji's education continued under the supervision of Dadaji. In course of time he became an expert horseman. He acquired great skill in spear-throwing, archery, 'dand-patta' and wrestling. He would go around the Jagir with Dadaji and learn how it was administered. Dadaji would settle disputes and award punishments in the presence of Shivaji. Shhivaji thus learnt how to win the hearts of the people and render justice to them.
Mother's Teaching: Shivaji travelled round Maval in company of Dadaji. The people living in this area were known as mavlas. They were loyal, hard working and quick-footed. They were tired of the sultan's harassing rule. Shivaji felt that he must do something for them. He would talk about this to his mother. Jijabai would say, "Shivba, Sri Ramachandra is the ancestor of the our Bhonsale family. Rama killed Ravan and made his people happy. Krishna did same with cruel Kans. You too can destroy the wicked and make your subjects happy." These words of Jijabai were the source of inspiration to young Shivaji. He thought he should become courageous and brave like these heroes of old.
Shivaji spent his childhood under the loving care of Dadaji and jijabai. Shahaji Raje's jagir was also undergoing a transformation. The Mavlas saw there the beginning of Swaraj .
Pune Jagir now came under the rule of Shivaji. Shahaji Raje had already thought of this and made the necessary arrangements.
Shivaji's Marriage: As it used to happen in old days, when Shivaji was fourteen years old, Jijabai started thinking of his marriage. So, Jijabai started looking for a suitable wife for Shivaji and she soon found the girl she was looking for.
Saibai came from the Nimbalkar family of Phalthan near Pune. The marriage was celebrated with great splendor at their Palace.
This is the story of Young Shivaji!