Monday, March 7, 2011
Maratha Empire (contd-1)
Chhatrapati Shivaji: The Marathas lived in the Desh region around Pune for a long time, in the portion of the Deccan plateau, where plateau meets the eastern slopes of the Western Ghat.
Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhosale was the chieftain of a hardy band of warrior class mercenaries that served the Deccan Sultanates. His mother was Rajmata Jijabai, the daughter of Lakhujirao Jadhav of Sindkhed. During the period of Shivaji's birth, the power in Deccan was shared by three Islamic Sultanates – Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golconda. Shahaji kept changing his loyalty between the Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, Adil Shah of Bijapur and the Mughals, but always kept his jagir (fiefdom) at Pune and his small army with him. Gomaji Naik Pansambal, a trusted master of state-Craft, was deputed by Lakhuji Yadavrao (Jadhav) to look after Jijabai. He remained with Jijabai and Shivaji throughout his life. He also was a master of sword. But most importantly, he advised Shivaji in making certain crucial decisions which had far reaching effects on the character of the Maratha empire
Shivaji was born in the hill-fort of Shivneri near the city of Junnar. While Jijabai was pregnant, she had prayed to the local deity "Shivai" for blessings for her expected child. Shivaji was named after this local deity.
Under the leadership of Shivaji Marathas freed themselves from the Muslim Turkic Sultans of Bijapur to the South-east and became much more aggressive, frequently raiding Mughal territory and ransacking the Mughal port of Surat in 1664 and again in 1670. In 1674 Shivaji Maharaja's death in 1680, the Marathas had expande their territory to include some parts of central India.