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Published: 17th June 2014 11:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th June 2014 11:43 AM   |  A+A-

Untitled-1.jpgChhatrapati Shivaji was sworn in as the Maratha ruler

Shivaji Bhosle, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle was the founder of Maratha Empire in western India. He crowned himself as the king in a coronation ceremony on June 6, 1674 and assumed the title of Chhatrapati.

Coronation ceremony on June 6, 1674

Shivaji’s coronation in 1674 as Chhatrapati, or “Lord of the Universe”, constitutes the next pivotal chapter in his biography. It was in part to mark his independence from the Mughals, and to repudiate his formal relation to them of a feudatory, that Shivaji had himself crowned, but the very gesture of defiance points to the fact that he recognised the overwhelming power of the Mughals. As a Shudra, Shivaji had perforce to enact some ceremony by means of which he could be raised to the status of a kshatriya or traditional ruler. He enlisted the services of Gagga Bhatta, a famous Brahmin from Benares, who did the Brahminical thing in falsely certifying that Shivaji’s ancestors were kshatriyas descended from the solar dynasty of Mewar. 50,000 men are said to have been present at the investiture ceremony, which concluded with chants of, “Shivaji Maharaj-ki-jai!”

Early Life

Shivaji Bhosle was born on April 10, 1627 at Shivneri, Pune in India. His father, Shahji, was the jagirdar of the Sultan of Ahmadnagar in Pune, but he shifted his allegiance to the Sultan of Bijapur; Shivaji’s mother was Jiji Bai.

The first aggression in Shivaji’s life came at the age of 16, when he seized the Torna fort of Bijapur kingdom. By 1647, he had gained control over Kondana and Rajgad forts, with complete power of the Pune region. With time, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj secured the forts in the Western Ghats as well as those along the Konkan coast. He also fought against the army of Adilshah at Purandhar. In November 1659, he fought the battle of Pratapgarh and defeated Afzal Khan.

Final Years

Shivaji was informed that a large amount of treasure was being sent under convoy from Delhi to Aurangabad, for the military operations of the Mogul power. He  set out and attacked the convoy and securing the whole of the treasure from the enemy, returned by forced marches to Kaigad. The violence and rapidity of these movements brought on a reaction that prostrated Shivaji. No remedies could restore the health of the king. Shivaji breathed his last on April 5, 1680 in the Raigad fort, the capital for Maratha Empire. He was succeeded by his elder son, Sambhaji.

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