Shivaji Maharaj

Shivaji Maharaj life full history.

Shivaji Maharaj

Part - 2

Conflict with the Mughals

1657, Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughal Empire. Shivaji offered his assistance to Aurangzeb, the Mughal viceroy of the Deccan and son of the Mughal emperor, in conquering Bijapur in return for formal recognition of his right to the Bijapuri forts and villages under his possession. Dissatisfied with the Mughal response, and receiving a better offer from Bijapur, he launched a raid into the Mughal Deccan.

Shivaji's confrontations with the Mughals began in March 1657, when two of Shivaji's officers raided the Mughal territory near Ahmednagar. This was followed by raids in Junnar, with Shivaji carrying off 300,000 hun in cash and 200 horses. Aurangzeb responded to the raids by sending Nasiri Khan, who defeated the forces of Shivaji at Ahmednagar.

Attacks on Shaista Khan

Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb, now the Mughal emperor, sent his maternal uncle Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 150,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to attack Shivaji in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Shaista Khan, with his better equipped and provisioned army of 80,000 seized Pune. He also took the nearby fort of Chakan, besieging it for a month and a half before breaching the walls. Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of having a larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory, seizing the city of Pune and establishing his residence at Shivaji's palace of Lal Mahal.

Attacks on Surat

April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune, along with a small group of men. After gaining access to Khan's compound, the raiders were able to kill some of his wives; Shaista Khan escaped, losing a finger in the melee. The Khan took refuge with the Mughal forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.

In retaliation for Shaista Khan's attacks, and to replenish his now-depleted treasury, in 1664 Shivaji sacked the port city of Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading centre.

Treaty of Purandar

The attacks on Shaista Khan and Surat enraged Aurangzeb. In response he sent the Rajput Mirza Raja Jai Singh I with an army numbering around 15,000 to defeat Shivaji. Throughout 1665, Jai Singh's forces pressed Shivaji, with their cavalry razing the countryside, and their siege forces investing Shivaji's forts. The Mughal commander succeeded in luring away several of Shivaji's key commanders, and many of his cavalrymen, into Mughal service. By mid-1665, with the fortress at Purandar besieged and near capture, Shivaji was forced to come to terms with Jai Singh.

Arrest in Agra

1666, Aurangzeb summoned Shivaji to Agra (though some sources instead state Delhi), along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar, now in Afghanistan, to consolidate the Mughal empire's northwestern frontier. However, in the court, on 12 May 1666, Aurangzeb made Shivaji stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offence and stormed out of court, and was promptly placed under house arrest under the watch of Faulad Khan, Kotwal of Agra.

Arrest in Escape

Shivaji's position under house arrest was perilous, as Aurangzeb's court debated whether to kill him or continue to employ him, and Shivaji used his dwindling funds to bribe courtiers to support his case. Orders came from the emperor to station Shivaji in Kabul, which Shivaji refused. Instead he asked for his forts to be returned and to serve the Mughals as a mansabdar. Aurangzeb rebutted that he must surrender his remaining forts before returning to Mughal service. Shivaji managed to escape from Agra, likely by bribing the guards, though the emperor was never able to ascertain how he escaped despite an investigation. Popular legend says that Shivaji smuggled himself and his son out of the house in large baskets, claimed to be sweets to be gifted to religious figures in the city.

Peace with the Mughals

After Shivaji's escape, hostilities with the Mughals ebbed, with Mughal sardar Jaswant Singh acting as intermediary between Shivaji and Aurangzeb for new peace proposals. During the period between 1666 and 1668, Aurangzeb conferred the title of raja on Shivaji. Sambhaji was also restored as a Mughal mansabdar with 5,000 horses. Shivaji at that time sent Sambhaji with general Prataprao Gujar to serve with the Mughal viceroy in Aurangabad, Prince Mu'azzam. Sambhaji was also granted territory in Berar for revenue collection. Aurangzeb also permitted Shivaji to attack the decaying Adil Shahi; the weakened Sultan Ali Adil Shah II sued for peace and granted the rights of sardeshmukhi and chauthai to Shivaji.

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