A breif biography of Shivaji's life and his era. This includes every significant incident related to Shivaji's life.
Shivaji was still young but his mind was already aiming horizons. Shivaji didn't wanted to be among bondmen of Sultan of Bijapur and so an important decision was taken to set-up 'Hindavi Swaraj', Hindu Kingdom. Shivaji and his playmates took oath of Swraj with Lord Raireshwar as witness. Shivaji soon got busy with his new activities. Along with his comrades he started intensive training in swordmanship, riding, exploriing te secret paths in hills and getting familiar with the surrounding area. Shivaji was fortunate to get Maval friends who could lay down their life for him.
First Victory: Shivaji under Sultan of Bijapur, Adilshah's rule controlled the Jagir of Pune, Supa, Chakan and Indapur. All the forts were in charge of Adilshah officers. Fort Torana was decided as the first target and was captured easily. It was renamed as Rajgad and was declared as the capital of Hindavi Swaraj. With this victory he moved swiftly and captured one fort after other in Maval.
Court of Adilshah was passing anxious days due to growing exploits of Shivaji. Afzalkhan, a mighty Sardar of Adilshah took the challenge to bring Shivaji dead or alive. Shivaji cleverly shited his headquarters from Rajgad to Pratapgad which was very difficult to conquer. With a political strategy Afzalkhan asked Shivaji for a meet at the foot of Pratapgad. "Come, Shivajiraje let us embrace eachother as true friends" said Afzalkhan and grabbed Shivaji's neck in his iron grip. Shivaji took out 'bichwa', a pointed steel nails fixed to the fingers, and tore apart Afzalkhan's guts. Mighty Afzalkhan was no more.
Battle of Ghodkhind: While Bijapur was still mourning the death of Afzalkhan and rout of his army. Shivaji captured the Panhala fort from Bijapur garrison. This threw Adilshah into a feat of wild rage. Adilshah's next move was Sardar Siddi Jouhar. Siddi marched towards Panhala midst spring. Shivaji showed white flag was declared to surrender the fort soon. Siddi couldn't recognize the perceptive politics behind this. This relaxed him and his force tired by exhaustive siege. On a dark rainy night Shivaji decided to escape from Panhala to Vishalgad. On the way Siddi became alert. He soon dispatched his troop behind him. Shivaji then realized that they couldn't reach Vishalgad due to steep slope and enemy fat approaching. But the brave Maratha Sardar Baji Prabhu initiated to fight and hold back the enemy troop until Shivaji reach Vishalgad. Baji's valor was impeccable. He took swords in both hands and was lion on the battlefield. He held the enemy back for two hours until Shivaji reached the palace safely. This made Baji immortal in Indian History. This battle was named as 'The Battle of Ghodkhind'.
Debacle of Shaistekhan: In spite of repeated efforts in which he left no stone unturned, Adilshah of Bijapur couldn't force Shivaji to surrender. Ultimately he made peace with Shivaji and gave recognition to his kingdom i.e. 'Hindavi Swaraj'. Meanwhile Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb sent Shaistekhan to deal with Shivaji in Maharashtra.
Shaistekhan came to Pune and made Shivaji's residence Lal Mahal, his headquarters. Shivaji this time made intelligent plan. A marriage procession was passing by Lal Mahal. Shivaji and his handful of men joined the procession and entered the Lal Mahal deceiving 75,000 guards. Entering the Shaistekhan's room, he tried to run through window but Shivaji took the chance and in a whip Shaistekhan lost his three fingers. This was first serious blow to the Moghul power. Shivaji had successfully bearded the lion in his own den. Gunfire announced the victory and a wave of joy rolled over Maharashtra.
After this Shivaji raided Surat City which was then very rich in trade within Moghul Empire. This drove Aurangzeb into furious rage against Shivaji. He dispatched Mirza Raje Jaising to end Maratha Kingdom. Jaising though had huge army and unlimited funds couldn't give Shivaji a setback. Jaising ended up with a treaty of Purandar with Shivaji.
Slip to the Emperor: On Jaising's advice Shivaji decided to meet Aurangzeb personally in Delhi. His son Sambhaji accompanied him. Shivaji didn't expected much from the meeting but wanted to tell the Emperor the reason behind establishment of 'Hindavi Swaraj' and problems people face in Mahrashtra, but was staggered by the humiliating behavior of the Emperor. Shivaji and Sambhaji were kept in guard and were practically prisoned by the Emperor. Shivaji then decided to escape from Delhi. He sent back all his men to Pune and pretended to have severe pain in the stomach. Doctor's were called and Shivaji started sending out huge baskets of sweets to Saints and poor people for his quick recovery. These baskets were unchecked at the gate and therefore Shivaji and Sambhaji sat in two of many baskets. They slipped swiftly. The emperor was wild with rage, but couldn't do anything.
People's King: Shivaji developed Maratha Swaraj from a small Jagir. He loved his subjects as a mother loves her children. He stopped the harassment of the people and awakened them to raise against the injustice of the rulers. After Baji Prabhu laid down his life, Shivaji looked after his children. Such stories are endless describing an affectionate master. He cast away bad in the old system and set up new traditions.
Shivaji kept himself well informed of all that went on in his kingdom. He had good espionage system and well known spy Bahirji Naik. His kingdom was irrespective of class, creed and cast. All were worked with him. The Hindus, Muslims and even untouchables. He himself showed respect for all religions.
Shivaji was a torch-bearer in the dark night of slavery; a fighter who got the better of all difficult situations who slowly but surely increased his strength while giving fight to powerful enemies; who encouraged his comrades and fooled his opponents and, in the end, achieved his goal. He was a model son, a cautious leader, a clever military strategist, a terror to wicked, and a defender of good. When one sees all these brilliant facets of his personality one can't but say to oneself
"Bring to memory his wonderful image and remember his great achievements".