Tales of his bravery are countless and stories of his victories innumerable. But where there is greatness, there is always misconception. Some people have often thought of him as a cruel dictator, while some have condemned him to be anti-secular. All this and many more things that are actually more fiction than fact.
Talking about facts, let’s set the record straight and get to know more about the greatest Maratha ruler in history. He did not give personal weapons & horses to troops. They were provided the same by the government so that they weren’t misused. All that was looted from enemy cities was properly accounted for in the treasury. If ration was short, he asked his troops to buy more rather than harassing the locals.
It is said that they met in a hut that only allowed them to carry a single sword, but Shivaji was sure that Afzal Khan would attack him. So, he wore an armor underneath which stopped Khan’s dagger. The Persian chronicles state that Shivaji attacked him first while the Maratha chronicles state the opposite.
19th February, 1630, a baby boy was born inside fort township of a place called Shivneri. That boy would grow up to be a fearless warrior and emperor whose exploits would continue to inspire millions for generations to come. The boy of course was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, one of the most popular and inspiring figures from Indian history. Chhatrapati Shivaji was born as Shivaji Bhonsale to Jijabai and Shahaji. At the young age of 15, the valiant Shivaji managed to capture three forts namely Torna Fort, Chakan Fort, and the Kondana fort. Shivaji became a thorn in the eyes of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur who held sway over the Deccan in those days.
The condition for the meeting was that it would be a one-to-one meeting and both would be unarmed except for their swords and could have only two bodyguards. Shivaji suspecting the nefarious intent of Afzal Khan and the Adil Shahi dynasty went well prepared for the meeting. He wore a protective armour under his clothes and also concealed a small dagger and a weapon known as “Tiger Claws”. He also wore a helmet under his turban. As per Shivaji’s premonition he was attacked by Afzal Khan but he was prepared and counter attacked Afzal Khan with his tiger claws. In the ensuing melee, Afzal Khan was finally killed by Shivaji’s bodyguard Sambhaji Kavji.
Shivaji Bhonsale was crowned as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Raigad fort in the year 1674. He reigned over the Maratha Empire from Raigad Fort till his death in 1680. The reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is known for its just and secular nature. Though Shivaji was a devout Hindu who promoted the use of Sanskrit and Marathi replacing Persian as a language in the courts of the region, he was just to his Muslim subjects as well. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj died after falling ill with fever and dysentery. Maharashtra and India remember the Maratha emperor and celebrate his birth anniversary on the 19th of February every year.