Saturday, 6 February 2016

Shivaji Maharaj and Peshwa Connection

Peshwas - The uncrowned Rulers of Maratha Empire

The Peshwas were a team of Maratha Chieftains who served as Prime Ministers to the Chatrapati or the Maratha King. They were invincible in their own way and earned laurels and battles for the mighty Maratha dynasty. The esteemed Shivaji maharaj  was a great warrior and leader. And the Peshwas were like a daunting feather to the glorious crown of this Maratha ruler.

The Era of the Peshwas

The era of the Peshwas started from 1713 and continued till 1818. However, this span is debatable. In this article we shall take a closer look at the golden time period when the Marathas owing to the Peshwas gave a befitting reply to the Mughal stronghold. Before delving deeper into the Peshwas it must be known that the word ‘Peshwa’ is of Persian origin meaning, the prime or the foremost.

Shivaji was not merely a great ruler, but he was also a visionary per se. He soon realised after assuming the helmthat the Mughals were a tough opponent to beat. Might can never be the sole weapon to put them down, rather it is important to have a strong base that could protect the Maratha Empire from all possible ends. This needed impeccable administration, and here came the need of the Peshwas.

Shivaji’s Golden Years

Shivaji assumed to power and gained several forts and places in Maharashtra back under the domain of the Marathas from the Mughal capture. During the rule of Shivaji most of Deccan was under the Marathas and he left the kingdom at the hands of the son before dying as a martyr. Under him Shivaji appointed Moropant Trimbak Pingle as the first ever Peshwa. And in the later years there was an elaborate rule of the Peshwa Dynasty. This has been discussed elaborately in the succeeding paragraphs.

The Peshwa Timeline - a brief

Moropant Trimbak Pingale (served from 1657-1683)

This noted Peshwa was the first officially appointed Peshwa who served Shivaji as a member of the Ashtapradhan Mandal. He was an able man of Shivaji’s troop and helped him win several battles. His role in defeating Bijapu’s Adil Shah is the most celebrated achievement. Apart from this he also aided in constructing and reconstructing several forts in Maharashtra. Trimbakeshwar Fort at Nashik was heroically captured by him. He also was one of the first persons to help Shivaji in establishing Maratha rule in Surat.

Note: Sonpant Dabir and Shyampant Kulkarni Ranzekar preceded Pingale as Peshwas. However, their roles and achievement as Peshwas were short stints. 

Moreshwar Pingale was the successor of Trimbak Pingale and served Sambhaji from 1683-89. Like his father he too achieved great feat. He built Shukravarpeth and Ravivarpeth in Pune which have great significance even to this day.

Ramchandrapant Bawdekar (1689-1708)

This skilled man was the next in line of the Peshwas. His time saw tough times including that of famine and scarcity of other valuable resources. However, with great administration he could improve situations. He was the man who helped Tarabai in setting her foothold at Kolhapur.

Bahirojipant Pingale (1708-11)

Younger son of Morepant Pingale, Bahirojipant Pingale served as a Peshwa under Shahuji I.

Parshuram Trimbak Kulkarni (1711-13)

He served as the Pratinidhi during the ruke of Chhatrapati Rajaram and Tarabai. His contribution as a warrior is considered vital.

Balaji Vishwanath Bhatt (1713-19)

He was the appointed Peshwa of Shahu. He belonged to Bhatt family of Chitpawan Brahmins. He strengthened the foothold of the Marathas not just by winning battles for the dynasty but also by starting many reforms and signing several treaties. He started the tradition of Peshwas for the Bhatt family and the legacy continued thereafter.

Note: It is said that from Vishwanath Bhatt’s tenure the control shifted from the Chhatrapati to the Peshwas, though they were never the officially declared kings. 

The successors of Vishwanath Bhatt were the Peshwas till the very end of the Maratha dynasty. Let’s go through the course of events during the Peshwas.

Peshwa Bajirao (1700-1740)

A born leader, Bajirao I put his feet into his father’s shoes (Balaji Vishwanath Rao) and sworn in as the next Peshwa of the Maratha dynasty. His life is a perfect example of valour, chivalry, skills. Not just this, he is known to be a big time strategist who sailed against the tide and attained victory.

Unlike the other veterans in the Maratha Empire, Bajirao resolved to conquer the North and establish Maratha rule not just in the Deccan, but also in the north Indian states of that time period. He made Poona as the capital city instead of Raigadh.  There were many foes not just outside the Maratha dynasty but also within the strong walls of the Empire itself. Attock, Deccan, Malwa, Gujarat, all saw the Maratha flag hoisted under the skilled leadership of Bajirao. He assumed and sustained his reign for about two decades (1720-40). His rule was brought to an end quite unexpectedly due to a deadly fever that struck him at Raver. Overlooking the Narmada river, Peshwa Bajirao breathed his last, and thus came an end to an eventful life.

He was soon succeeded by his eldest son, Balaji Bajirao, also known as Nanasaheb. However, his was a short tenure, because of his death after the Third Battle of Panipat.

The next in line was Madhavrao Peshwa. He came to power in 1761. However, after the death of Nanasaheb, the downfall had already begun. His successors could barely sustain the already achieved glory and power of their predecessors, let alone marking newer heights.

End of the Peshwas

So, with the advent of the next century, the stronghold of the Peshwas was gradually diminishing. Bajirao II was then the surviving Peshwa. There were ample reasons for this downfall. Though the Maratha dynasty saw heights of success during the rule of the Peshwas, there was this constant tension building up owing to the rigid caste system. On Jauary 1st 1818, near river Bhima at Koregaon, in Pune, commenced a fight between the Pehwas and a troop of 500 odd untouchable Sepoys. This war is important because it marked the end of the Peshwas.

Apart from this, there was also strife between the Peshwas themselves. Needless to say, a divided rule could hardly carry on any further.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Shivaji and Guerrilla Warfare Tactics (गनिमी कावा )

From the land of Marathas spread the globally acclaimed style of warfare, the Guerrilla Warfare. Against the Mughals Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj waged a war such that the base of the Mughal reign in Maharashtra suffered a huge setback.

Now, what makes this war technique a talk of the town? How has this warfare typical to the Chhatrapati made such a fervour around the world. Let’s take a look.

About Guerrilla Warfare tactics

As opposed to the conventional and traditional warfare, Guerrilla Warfare promotes camouflage and deceived modes of fighting their opponents. It has to be sudden, and aggressive, targeting the areas of the opponents which are difficult to tread upon.

Hence, the idea behind it is the opponents will not be in a position to reciprocate immediately. It requires intense planning and plotting in order to take the opponents by a storm. This mode of warfare is extremely ferocious.

Whatever may be the comparison, Guerrilla Warfare has carved a niche unique to itself and has also been embraced by countries of Southeast Asia. There are some tactics that are specific to Guerrilla Warfare only. The following paragraphs aim to elaborate some of the tactics of Guerrilla Warfare.

Guerrilla Warfare is lined up with a series of objectives that lay down a unique strategy that is bound to be followed by each of the soldiers so that they can contribute to the victory. It is crucial to understand and follow these strategies.

The armament is yet another aspect that needs a mention. A thorough knowledge of using each of the armaments with dexterity helped a great deal in Guerrilla Warfare.

How Shivaji used Guerrilla Warfare tactics

The key to success in Guerrilla Warfare is to prevent the opponent’s eye. Hence, to keep oneself hidden from the opponents is mandatory. Shivaji trained each and every soldier in his troop which enabled him to stand against the grand army of the Mughals.

The Guerrilla soldiers were supposed to adapt themselves with the extreme geographical conditions and this really took a toll on the soldiers. As mentioned earlier, Guerrilla Warfare demanded that the soldiers should keep themselves under cover.

Hence, staying away from the mainstream areas was mandatory. Another tactic in this line is a Guerrilla soldier has to save himself at all times from the attacks of the opponents.

Also, it is important that the Guerrilla Warfare soldiers should undergo a continuous fighting spree such that the opponents get minimum time to recover. It is also important that the attacks must be rigorous and should occupy the opponent areas at night.

Shivaji’s night attacks using Guerrilla Warfare tactics

Attacking the opponents at night ensures that due to meagre preparation, and poor vision at night, they can hardly stand against the Guerrilla fighters. It is one of the most important tactics in Guerrilla Warfare.

Another tactic that the Guerrilla soldiers practised was that, they never let the arms and ammunition remain with the dead soldiers. They rather picked it up from them at the earliest considering the circumstances.

A Guerrilla Warfare needs that once the opponent starts believing that they have won against the Guerrilla soldiers, these rustic soldiers come back more aggressively against the enemy, thus ensuring a marvellous victory.

Thanks to Chhatrapati Shivaji for manoeuvring such a form of warfare that is full proof to establish a grand win. Guerrilla warfare is thus an unbeatable tactics and therefore celebrated till date.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Shivaji Maharaj and Vietnam Connection

An epitome of valour, chivalry, and unmatched patriotism, the legendary Maratha King has etched an indelible mark not only in the Maratha history but also in Indian history at large. But what is that one thing that has made him a hero in a far off nation like Vietnam?

Well, many of you will be thrilled to know about the exceptional fame and reverence that an Indian martyr has garnered in a foreign land. We all have heard many a times about the tricky Guerilla warfare.  Shivaji Maharaj and Guirella Warfare are almost synonymous. It is this war technique that has made Shivaji Maharaj immortal even in Vietnam.

Vietnam and Guirilla Warfare

Is the mightier always the winner? Well, the obvious answer might always be a ‘yes’. However, there is this incident in history that has rendered it sheer false. Here, we are talking about the great global power, the United States of America.

After having won several wars and having established herself as the global leader, she had to face palm in front of Vietnam.  A two decade long war between Vietnam and the United States of America finally came to a halt with the former as the winning side.

What is the memoir?

Chhatrapati Shivaji adopted the Guirilla Warfare tactics and had brought the Mughals to a grave defeat. This incident has attracted world acclaim and fame. It has also provided the world a classic blueprint of fighting battles and also winning them with grandeur. The time period between 1954 and 1975 saw the savage war between Vietnam and the USA. The count of the total human loss in these twenty years is massive. Not only this, there was also irreversible damage done to economy and the overall lifestyle. However, adopting the Guerilla tactics came as the ultimate saviour and rendered Vietnam not only successful against the Americans; but also sealed its fate as the ultimate military power in the entire Southeast Asia.

The Vietnamese Bureaucrat and her Indian Encounter

It so happened once that the Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Minister visited India. Here she was taken to pay tribute to the ‘Samadhi’ of Gandhiji in Delhi. She was also taken to the Red Fort. After a while she asked about ‘Samadhi’ of the great Maratha king Shivaji. She was then to Raigadh to visit the Maratha king’s Samadhi. After she extended her heartfelt respect to the great man, the lady picked up a handful of soil from the Samadhi and pursed it up in her handbag. When asked, she respectfully said that, her entire nation holds up Shivaji in high esteem. She also said that, on her return back to her country, she would mix this pure soil from the ‘Samadhi’with that of Vietnamese soil, so that the country would beget sons like the veteran Shivaji Maharaj. She also said that had this great man been born in Vietnam, Vietnam would have been a global leader and been at the helm of fame worldwide.
Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi at Raighad

Owing to the acute respect of Vietnam towards Shivaji, they erected a statue of this Indian warrior in Ho Chi Minh City which is the Capital of Vietnam.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Shivaji Maharaj Family Tree

Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder king of the great Maratha Empire, that holds the true fame of abolishing Mughal rule from India and thus adds value to our great Indian History.

Shivaji Maharaj has been an epitome of a secular ruler that Indian history can boast of. And therefore his entire journey has been a source of inspiration and motivation for generations now.

Shahaji Bhosle, a Maratha general is the proud father of Shivaji. His mother Jijabai had been his greatest inspiration. Although, the Maharashtra State Government holds 1630 as his birth year; some say that he was born around 1627. However, his birth place - hill fort of Shivneri, located near Pune district remains unquestioned and unanimously accepted.

Ancestors of Shivaji:

Shivaji  Raje Bhosle is the progenitor of the royal Bhosle family. His earliest known ancestor is his great grandfather,  Babaji Bhosle, who was a renowned village headman of Pune District. His two sons Maloji Bhosle and Vithoji settled in Verul,  state Maharashtra and worked in the army of Lakhojirao Jadhav and excelled with every passing day. Jadhavs served the Ahmednagar Sultanate.

Maloji and his wife Umabai were blessed with Shahaji, who was then married to Jijabai - the daughter of Lakhoji Jadhav. Maloji, along with his brother, then joined the services of Ahmadnagar Sultanate, under Murtaza Shah I. After much display of his courage and valor, Maloji passed away in a battle against Bijapur Sultanate. The five year old Shahaji was then looked after his uncle Vithoji.

Shahaji inherited Jagirs under Ahmadnagar from his father. He served Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for a period of time during Mughal invasion of India. Later, he joined Adil Shah I of Bijapur. Shahaji owned a territory in Bangalore and also retained his estates in Pune and Supa.

Shahaji was a prominent ruler, not only for his leadership and bravery; but also as a man who always kept his words. He remains as an undefeated Maratha warrior and thus a true legend. At around 1665, he fell from his horse during a hunt and thereby lost his life.

Shahaji’s legacy was then carried forward by his sons. Shivaji,  being the most prominent of all.

The Royal Bhosle family and the controversial origin: 

The Bhosle lineage has been confirmed and accepted only from Babaji’s period. The ancestral history before Babaji has different beliefs but no definite proof to clarify the origin of this prominent and royal clan.

Some say that, Shahaji in his letter to Adil Shah called himself  a Sisodiya Rajput. There’s a strong belief that the Royal Bhosle lineage is somehow connected to Sisodiyas of Mewar.  But there’s no definite evidence to back it. Scholar Jadunath Sarkar, however refers this letter as a fabrication required during his period of coronation.

Some say that ancestors of Shivaji had a Kannada origin and Bhosale is just a verbal distortion of “Hoysala.” A popular name dynasty of Kannada. Again, there’s not sufficient evidence to back this belief.

The Nagpur Bhosales governed by Raghuji also claim Sisodiya origin. They are considered to have no connections with the royal Bhosale clan by some; whereas, another group proclaims a common lineage. There have been tales that the last rites after Shivaji’s death were performed by Sabaji Bhosale, who belonged to the Nagpur Bhosale clan. And therefore, Nagpur Bhosale and royal Bhosales were assumed to have connections.

Whatsoever is the lineage, the royal Bhosale have contributed a lot to ’ Swarajya’, India and therefore this legendary clan shall remain celebrated till the end of times.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

All About Babasaheb Purandare's Janta Raja Play

One very finest portrayal of the Maratha Empire, Jaanta Raja Play defines the true glory and valor of a great Indian warrior king. The hero of  Maratha Empire, Shri. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The play is considered to be one of the best works of Balwant Moreshwar Purandare or popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare. A writer, historian and theater personality; hailing from Maharashtra. Most of his works narrate real life stories and events related to the life of Shivaji Maharaj. However, it is this play that has earned him immense fame and popularity.

It was in the year 1985 that the act was first staged and thereafter it has been staged for around 1200 times approximately. Apart from reaching every nook and corner of Maharashtra and the country as a whole; this 30 years old play has enthralled many history lovers in different cities of United Kingdom and United States of America as well.

The drama that was originally written in Marathi and later translated into Hindi is generally performed during the festive season of Diwali each year. With over 200 artists and live elephants, camels and horses marching up the stage; this is a real treat to the eyes and a must watch for all!

Such a grand and spectacular representation of rich Indian history as this, required two and a half years to get recorded. And after being rehearsed for another couple of years, this play was launched with such a magnanimous look, that it still continues to be a Mega act till date.

The story goes back to the period of 1630, when Shivaji Maharaj was born. And then continues to depict different events reflecting his journey of becoming a great Hindu ruler and his coronation as Chhatrapati in the year 1674. This 3 hour 10 minutes drama creates a natural feel of various historically significant forts in and around Pune District.

Some say that this act is more about Jijabai, mother of Shivaji and her role in molding one of the finest emperors in Indian history. A lady of substance, patriotism and courage, successfully instilled the love of country in her little son; who then worked to fulfill her dreams of ‘Swarajya’ and thereby became a great ruler and a God like figure for the entire Marathi clan.

Shivaji emerged as a notable ruler, who had moved beyond caste, creed and religious discrimination. And this very representation of his rule in the play is another engrossing ingredient for the audience. People who have been associated with this act for years, say that the real yet simple portrayal of a perfect ruler such as Shivaji is something that inspires people and thus binds them to the play.

Well, weather it is the story, performance, artists or the fat budget it involves, Jaanta Raja is definitely an eternal epic drama very relevant to all times. And in this period of electronic entertainment with TV shows and Internet sources; a theater play that still reigns, definitely has to be the King of all Entertainment and thus a must watch for all!

Jai Bhavani!! Jai Shivaji!! Jai Jijau!!

Monday, 13 April 2015

About Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare

The blog about Shivcharitra By Babasaheb Purandare is incomplete without proper introduction of Babasaheb Purandare. Here I gathered basic information about Babasaheb Purandare and going to present in a simple manner.

The full name of Babasaheb Purandare is Balwant Moreshwar Purandare, and he was born in Pune on July 29, 1922. The first glance of introduction about him is a historian, writer and theater person. He has probably known for work related to history of Shivaji Maharaj and that’s why people offered him an appellation as Shiv-Shahir.

He is mostly popular with his play/drama called Jaanta Raja, which is historical presentation of phases of life of great Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj. This play is not only popular in Maharastra but also in Goa and Madhya Paradesh. Apart from great Shiavaji Maharaj’s history he also has considerable study about history of Peshwas. He was part of Shivsena in early 70’s along with Madhav Deshpande, Madhav Mehere and one and only Balasaheb Thackeray.

Babasaheb started story writing at very young age, which is mentioned in his book named ‘Thingya’, it means ‘Sparks’. His famous books among all are ‘Raja Shiva-Chatrapati’ and ‘Kesari, which are on the life of great Shivaji Maharaj and  Narayanrao Peshwa respectively. We can say that Babasaheb Purandare made his identity in the year 1985 by launching Jaanta Raja to the world. Since the 1985 it has been 864 times staged all over the world including United States of America. The Jaanta Raja play includes more than 200 artists and numbers of elephants, camels and horses. This larger than life experience always makes drama live on stage.

Personal Life/Family

Babasaheb purandare’s wife Nirmala Purandare is a social worker; she works for rural women and children's development project, and runs her own organization named 'Vanasthali' at Pune city. Babasaheb has two sons and one daughter. His daughter is a writer, painter and good singer.  His son’s names are Amrut Purandare and Prasad Purandare. Prasad is a Marathi theater and film personality, with several Hindi films to his credit.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Shivcharitra in Marathi PDF

This is second post on my blog Shivcharitra by Babasaheb Purandare, and it took very extended time because the PDF format of Shivcharitra in Marathi was gathered after long time investigation.

This is not my original creation it was founded by me on the Internet, and I have tried it to make it available for my visitors in ready PDF downloadable format. This Shiv Charitra book having almost four hundred plus pages, and it was a very difficult task for me to manage and sort it so that it will be easy available in the readable form for normal user.

This Shivcharitra by Babasaheb Purandare in Marathi PDF is available at free of cost. It’s my loyal try to present history of great Shivaji Maharaj. I know this is the beginning, and I promise my readers that I will study more and more about Raje Chatrapati and let the world know who was Shivajiraje Bhosale? Until then read this great Shivcharitra in PDF format and suggest every friend of yours about this blog.

Find here the link of Shivcharitra in Marathi PDF format. 

                                                          Jai Jijau!! Jai Shivray!!