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Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivaji
Shivaji was one of the greatest personalities in Medieval India. At the age of 10, he inherited the Poona Jagir from his father. Shivaji teacher was Dabaji konddev. Somantha Ramadas was shivaji`s religious teacher.
Shivaji was very ambitious, he created a state for Marathas by bringing many tiny provinces of western India together. He began conquering territories of Bijapur Sultans. He was successful in his attempt and conquered Kolyan, Torana, Kondana, Javoli from the Bijapur Sultans. Afzal Khan of Bijapur was assassinated.
Further, Shivaji moved towards north, where Mughals were in power. In 1660, Ahmadnagar and Junna were plundered by Shivaji. Shayista Khan, the Mughal governor of this region fought against Shivaji. Poona was occupied by Shayista Khan and Shivaji was expelled. In 1663, Shivaji recaptured Poona from Mughals through guerrilla warfare.
In 1664, Surat was plundered by Shivaji. Mughals appointed Raja Jaisingh against Shivaji. In the year 1665, Shivaji was defeated. Shivaji escaped to Purandar fort. However, he surrendered later. A treaty was confirmed at Purandar fort with the following provisions;
- Out of 35 forts of Marathas, 23 shall be surrendered to the Mughals.
- Entire territory between Konkan and Bijapur would be given to the Marathas with the power to collect taxes. In return, Marathas were supposed to pay 40 lakh Huns (silver coins) to Mughals.
- Shivaji`s son, Sambhaji shall join the Mughal Administration with 7000/7000 rank.
- Shivaji shall visit the court of Mughal.
In 1666, Shivaji visited the court of Mughal and he felt humiliated. He was treated as 7000 mansabdhar. In this regard Shivaji revolted against the Mughals. In consequence, Shivaji was arrested by the Mughals and was sent to Agra Prison. Subsequently Shivaji escaped from there and later attacked Poona in 1666 and looted huge wealth.
In 1674, Shivaji got coroneted as King of Maratha Empire and took an imperial title Chhatrapati. He claimed the status of Kshatriyas. Since then he became a ruler. In 1680, Shivaji died.
Administration of Shivaji
Shivaji administrative system was highly centralized with King as the supreme power. The administrative was coupled with feudal feature too. Eight Council of ministers were appointed to assist the King. The role of the ministers was purely advisory. The following were the eight council of ministers;
- Peshwa: Prime Minister and Finance Minister.
- Amatya: Incharge of Accounts.
- Mantri: Home Minister.
- Sumant: Foreign Minister.
- Sachiv: Incharge of Royal correspondence.
- Senapati: Incharge of the Army.
- Nyayadish: Judicial officer.
- Panditarao: Head of religious department.
Important positions at provincial administration; provinces were called as Pranthas. Mukhya deshadhi kani was the head of Pranthas. Pranthas were divided into Taraf. Tarafdar was the head in here. Village was the smallest unit of administration and Patil was the in charge with regard to tax collection. Kulkarni was the accounts officer at village level.
Revenue Administration of Shivaji
Revenue Administration of Malik Amber was followed predominantly. Concept of Kathi was introduced to measure the land. Land revenue was 30 to 40%. Chanth and Sardeshmukh were the two important sources of revenue. They were introduced by Shivaji.
Chanth: It means quarter. The rate of tax is was 25%. It was collected from the people outside the territory. Some scholars viewed this tax as a payment to protect these territories from others. Modern Historians believed and analyzed that this tax was collected to get protection from depredations of Marathas.
Sardeshmukh: It was the tax payable by peasants. It was 10%, payable by both the peasants inside the territory and outside.
Military Administration of Shivaji
Bargis and Silhadars were the two types of troops maintained by the state.
Bargis: They were regular troops. The state recruits the bargis regularly.
Silhadars: They were temporary troops. Lump sum amount was paid to them for their services. They have to carry their own arms. Pindaris, a bandit community was also a part of Silhaars.
Kolahabad was the navy station of the Marathas. This port was used to attack the rivals like Siddis and Jangira who inhabit in the small islands near to Mumbai.
Marathas always followed Guerrilla warfare methods. In 1761, first time Marathas fought a pitch battle and it was with Afghans. It was the third battle of Panipat.
Marathas maintained the Artillery. They were instructed not to attack civilians, women, scripture and places of worship and agricultural lands too.
Welfare measures of Shivaji
Shivaji was a great reformer. He banned many social evils prevailed in the society. He abolished Sati (burning of the widow wife of the deceased husband), dowry system, child marriages and forceful marriages. He legalized the widow re-marriages. He took up many infrastructure development activities also.