"Chatrapati Shivaji is one of the most colorful heroes of our nation. His dazzling adventures have inspired generations of young people. The strategy of mobile warfare which he adopted brought him brilliant victories and changed the course of our history. The greatest legacy he has left us is his courage, his magnamity, his sense of justice and the spirit of sturdy independence and self-reliance." - Smt. Indira Gandhi in a letter dated May 25, 1974 on the occasion of the tercentanary of Chatrapati Shivaji's Coronation.
An objective assessment of Shivaji's life leads to the conclusion that it was a life distinguished by expanding visions. No national movement created Shivaji, but Shivaji created a Nation. It was he who released forces that changed the political map of India in the eighteenth century. Within 50 years of the death of Aurangzeb, the Marathas had overrun the entire sub-continent of India and taken possession of a greater half of the country. It was only in 1803 that the sovereignity of India had passed to the British.
Shivaji's private life was marked by a high standard of morality. He was a devoted son, a loving father and an attentive husband. He was intensively religious from childhood and remained respectful to holy men throughout his lifetime. He was passionately fond of listening to scripture readings, sacred songs and stories. He remained throughout his life abstemious and free from vice.
Shivaji had the born leader's magnetism and threw a spell over all who knew him, drawing the best elements of the country to his side and winning the most devoted service from his officers. His dazzling victories and ever ready smile made him the idol of his soldiers. A royal gift of judging character was one of the main causes of his success.
His army organisation was a model of efficiency. His inborn military genius is proved by his instinctively adopting the system of warfare which was most suited to the racial character of his soldiers, the nature of the country, the weapons of the age and the internal condition of his enemies. His light cavalry, stiffened with swift-footed infantry was irresistible in the age of Aurangzeb.
The greatness of Shivaji's genius can be realized from a survey of the conditions amidst which he rose to sovereignity. He brought peace and order to his country, assured the protection of women's honour and the religion of all sects without distinction.
To Shivaji, the true nature of the struggle against the Moguls, the rise of a native power against a foreign power because it was not a struggle against a religion, but a struggle against a power-drunk and bigoted government. A power that was foreign in ideology, in personnel, a power contemptuous of the people over whom it ruled.
Shivaji's state, small as it was, was inspired by a spirit of Dharma. There was full toleration of all faiths. Shivaji's military and civil services did not consist of mercenaries and they were truly national in character. People in every walk of life found full scope for their talents. His tolerance of all faiths stands out in bold contrast to Aurangzeb's fanaticism.
Shivaji taught the people of the country to hold their heads high, develop self-confidence and face foreign invasions boldly. He emphasized on native talent, strict discipline and believed in solicitude for peasants, old women, men and children.
Shivaji died on April 3, 1680. Nearly three centuries have elapsed since this great man passed away, yet his message is still relevant to the people of India and the world. In stressing the need for toleratance of all faiths, Shivaji emerges not only as a national figure in the history of India, but also a great humanitarian.
Keeping this in mind, the very purpose of these web pages is very clear. To spread around the world the life and principles of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Vivek S. Kambli - WebJagirdar