Shivaji

founder of Maratha Empire
States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true “hero as King” like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for the entire human race. – Jadunath Sarkar
It is, therefore, presumptuous on the part of some very small people to lay down that Shivaji shall not be overglorified. The fact is that he cannot be overglorified, such is the majesty of his character and role. The historian who will do full justice to the personality of Shivaji as well as to his role in Indian history is yet to be born. Some puny politicians pretending to be historians are trying to cut Shivaji to their own size. They are like street urchins spitting at the sun. – Sita Ram Goel

Shivaji Bhonsle (c. 1627/16303 April 1680), also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati (Monarch) of his realm at Raigad.

QuotesEdit

Letter to AurangzebEdit

Attributed to Shivaji. Appeal to Aurangzeb by a delegation of Hindus [variously ascribed either to Rana Raj Singh or to Shivaji] in protest of the imposition of the Jizya. quoted from Sarkar, Jadu Nath, History of Aurangzeb,Volume III, Calcutta, 1972. Appendix VI.
  • This firm and constant well-wisher Shivnji, after rendering thanks for the grace of God and the favours of the Emperor,—which are clearer than the Sun,—begs to inform your Majesty that, although this well-wisher was led by his adverse Fate to come nwny from your august presence without taking leave, yet he is ever ready to perform, to the fullest extent possible and proper, everything that duty as a servant and gratitude demand of him.[...]
  • It has recently come to my ears that, on the ground of the war with me having exhausted your wealth and -emptied the imperial treasury, your Majesty has ordered that money under the name of jaziya should be collected from the Hindus and the imperial needs supplied with it. .May it please your Majesty 1 That architect of the fabric of empire, [Jalaluddin] Akbar Padishah, reigned with full power for 52 [lunar] years. He adopted the admirable policy of universal harmony ( sulh-i-hul ) in relation to all the various sects, such as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Dadu’s followers, sky-worshippers { falafya ), malarias, materialists (ansaria), atheists ( daharia ), Brahman and Jain priests. The aim of his liberal heart was to cherish and protect all the people. . So, he became famous under the title of ‘the World’s spiritual guide’ ( Jagat Guru).
  • Next, the Emperor Nuruddin Jahangir for 22 years spread his gracious shade on the head of the world and its dwellers, gave his heart to his friends and his hand to his work, and gained his desires. The Emperor Shah Jahan for 32 years cast his blessed shade on the head of the world and gathered the fruit of eternal life,—... [....]
  • But In your Majesty's reign. many of the forts and provinces have gone out of your possession, and the rest will soon do so too because there will be no slackness on my part in ruining and devastating them. Your peasants are down-trodden ; the yield of every village has declined, in the place of one lakh (of Rupees) only one thousand, and in the place of n thousand only ten are collected, and that too with difficulty. When Poverty and Beggary have made their homes in the palaces of the Emperor and the Princes, the condition of the grandees and officers can be easily imagined. It is a reign in which the army is in a ferment, the merchants complain ; the Muslims cry, the Hindus are grilled ; most men lack bread at night, and in the day-time inflame their own cheeks by slagping them [in anguish]. How can the royal spirit []you to add the hardship of the jaziya to this grievous state of things ? The x .ipfamy will quickly spread from west to east and become recorded in books of history that the Emperor of Hindustan, coveting the beggars’ bowls, takes jaziya from Brahmans and Jain monks, yogis , sannyasis, bairagis, paupers^mendicants, ruined wretches, and the famine-stricken,—-that his valour is shown by attacks on the wallets of beggars,—that he dashes down [to the ground] the name and honour of the Timurids !
  • May it please your Majesty ! If you believe in the true Divine Book and Word of God ( i.e ., the Quran), you will find there [that God L styled] Rabb-ul-alamin, the Lord of all men, and not RuLb ul-musalmin, the Lord of the Muhammadans only. Verily/ -Islam and Hinduism are terms of contrast. They ar£ [diverse pigments] used by the true Divine Painter for blending the colours and filling in the outlines [of His picture of the entire human species]. If it be a mosque, the call to prayer is chanted in remembrance of Him. If it be a temple, the bell is rung in yearning for Him only. To show bigotry for any man’s creed and practices is equivalent to altering the words of the Holy Book. To draw (new) lines on a picture is to find fault with the painter. (Verses)
    Lay not thy hand in disapproval on anything you see, be it good, be it bad.
    To call the handiwork faulty is to find fault with the craftsman.
  • In strict justice the jazlya is not at all lawful. From the political point of view it can be allowed only if a beautiful woman wearing gold ornaments can pass from one country to another without fear or molestation. [But] in these days even the cities are being plundered, what shall I say of the open country? Apart from its injustice, this imposition of the jiziya is an innovation in India and inexpedient.
  • If you imagine piety to consist in oppressing the people and terrorising the Hindus, you ought first to levy the faziya from Rana Raj Singh, who is the head of the Hindus. Then it will not be so very difficult to collect it from me, as I am at your service. But to oppress ants and flies is far from displaying valour and spirit.
  • I wonder at the strange fidelity of your officers that they neglect to tell you of the true state of things, but cover a blazing fire with straw ! May the sun of your royalty continue to shine above the horizon of greatness !

Quotes about ShivajiEdit

  • It is sheer mischief to suggest that Shivaji is glorified in Maharashtra alone. The fortunate fact is that he is honoured by every Hindu worth his name, wherever that Hindu may reside in the length and breadth of India. Rabindranath Tagore, who was not a Maharashtrian, paid his homage to Shivaji in a long poem pulsating with the great poet’s image of a Hindu hero. Many more poems and dramas and novels about Shivaji’s chivalry and heroism are to be found in all Indian languages. It is, therefore, presumptuous on the part of some very small people to lay down that Shivaji shall not be overglorified. The fact is that he cannot be overglorified, such is the majesty of his character and role. The historian who will do full justice to the personality of Shivaji as well as to his role in Indian history is yet to be born. Some puny politicians pretending to be historians are trying to cut Shivaji to their own size. They are like street urchins spitting at the sun.
    • Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. Chapter 2.
  • In spite of the character of a crusade which Ramdas's blessings gave to Shivaji's long struggle, it is remarkable how little religious animosity or intolerance Shivaji displayed. His kindness to Catholic priests is an agreeable contrast to the proscriptions of the Hindu priesthood in the Indian and Maratha territories of the Portuguese. Even his enemies remarked on his extreme respect for Mussulman priests, for mosques and for the koran. The Muslim historian Khafi Khan, who cannot mention Shivaji in his cronicle without adding epithets of vulgar abuse, nevertheless acknowledges that Shivaji never entered a conquered town without taking measures to safeguard the mosques from damage. Whenever a koran came to his possession, he treated it with the same respect as if it had been one of the sacred works of his own faith. Whenever his men captured Mussulman ladies, they were brought to Shivaji, who looked after them as if they were his wards till he could return them to their relations.
    • Dennis Kincaid, The grand rebel; an impression of Shivaji, founder of the Maratha empire., 1937, p. 94
  • Shivaji proved, by his example, that the Hindu race could build a nation, found a State, defeat its enemies; they could conduct their own defence; they could protect and promote literature and art, commerce and industry; they could maintain navies and ocean going fleets of their own, and conduct naval battles on equal terms with foreigners. He taught the modern Hindus to rise to the full stature of their growth. He demonstrated that the tree of Hinduism was not dead, and that it could put forth new leaves and branches and once again rise up its head to the skies.
  • The Historian of Shivaji at the end of a careful study of all the records about him in eight different languages, is bound to admit that Shivaji was not only the maker of the Maratha nation, but also the greatest constructive genius of medieval India . States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true “hero as King” like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for the entire human race. – The pillar of people’s hope. The center of a world’s desire, to animate the heart, to kindle the imagination, and to inspire the brain of succeeding ages to the highest endeavors.
  • Before marching to confront Shivaji himself, however, the Bijapur general [Afzal Khan] first proceeded to Tuljapur and desecrated a temple dedicated to the goddess Bhavani, to which Shivaji and his family had been personally devoted.
    • Richard Eaton: “Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states”, Essays on Islam and Indian History.

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