Born in Shivner on April 10, 1627 to Shahji and Jijabai, Shivaji was destined for great things. His father was a nobleman in the court of Bijapur and his mother was a religious Hindu.
One night Shahji had a dream in which
he was offered a mango and asked to share it with his wife in order to
get a son. This son was to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Shortly after
that, a son was born, and so the happy parents named him 'Shivaji' after
Move From Shivner To Pune
When Shivaji's father took another
wife, as was a common occurrence in aristocratic families, his self-respecting
mother decided to shift to Pune. She took great pains to educate her son
and groom him well, and hired a Brahmin teacher, Dada Kondevji, for this
task. Together they made him a courageous young man. He had been brought
up on Martial Arts and tales of courage and valour. By the age of 13, he
had just one dream - to build a kingdom of his own.
Attack On Toran Fort
At the age of 20 years, he launched his first military attack on Toran fort, a part of Bijapur territory. He was joined by his three best friends and a few soldiers. It was an easy victory, and made him popular amongst the Maratha youth, who joined his army. The Nawab of Bijapur put pressure on Shahji to convince his son to appear in court. But Shivaji refused to do so until his demands were met. So the Nawab imprisoned his father.
Shivaji then asked the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan to intervene on his behalf. The Emperor, who was waiting for a chance to interfere in Bijapur, at once demanded that Shahji be released. Shivaji had succeeded again. The world was impressed by his physical and mental prowess.
The Nawab, then sent a giant called
Afzal Khan to capture Shivaji. Afzal Khan carried with him an iron cage
and entered Shivaji's territory from the south, creating turmoil and plunder
along the way. He then sent him a fake message of peace to convince Shivaji
to meet him. But Shivaji was wise to his ways, and went prepared for a
battle. He had fitted a dagger in his sleeve and steel points in his left
hand, with which he tore open Afzal Khan's stomach, and stabbed him in
his back, as he was attacked. The army fled in fright and Shivaji went
home with trained animals and lots of money.
Observing Shivaji's reach, Emperor Aurangzeb wanted to protect his territory and so sent his maternal uncle Shayista Khan to teach Shivaji a lesson. The Khan was camping at Pune Fort when, Shivaji's army, dressed as a wedding procession entered and sprung a surprise attack. The Khan fled, but not before losing a thumb.
The second time Aurangzeb sent two battle-hardened veterans Diler Khan and Raja Jaswant Singh to capture Shivaji. This time Shivaji had to send them a message of peace and was presented in the Mughal Court, where he was insulted and detained.
While under capture, Shivaji feigned
illness and then asked to distribute sweets to celebrate his recovery.
Permission was granted. He took this opportunity to hide in a basket of
sweets and fruits, and escaped to his own territory, disguised as a sadhu.
Shivaji was crowned King, in the ancient Kshatriya tradition, at his capital Rajgarh. He was given a sacred thread and weighed in coins, which were distributed to the poor. His mother's dreams were fulfilled and she passed away peacefully 2 weeks later.
Shivaji ruled his kingdom well and after a prosperous few years, fell ill and died on April 3, 1680. He was the first real Maratha leader, and his name has gone down in the annals of history.
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