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Thursday, July 1, 2021

the Coronation of great Maratha warrior King took place this day, 347 years ago !!

First salute the majestic  statue of the great Hindu warrior King whose coronation took place this day – 347 years ago !

Sangli State was one of the 11-gun salute Maratha princely states of British India. It was under the Kolhapur-Dekkan Residency in the Bombay Presidency, and later the Deccan States Agency.  Sangli  is a city known  as the Turmeric City of Maharashtra due to its production and trade of the spice.  Sangli is situated on the banks of river Krishna and houses many sugar factories.

Veer Shivaji  was crowned king of Maratha Swaraj in a lavish ceremony on 6 June 1674 at Raigad fort. In the Hindu calendar it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha in the year 1596. Gaga Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers Yamuna, Indus, Ganges, Godavari, Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri over Shivaji's head, and chanted the Vedic coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet. Nearly fifty thousand people gathered at Raigad for the ceremonies. Shivaji was entitled Shakakarta ("founder of an era") and Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign"). He also took the title of Haindava Dharmodhhaarak (protector of the Hindu faith).

Shivaji Bhonsle, famously  Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,  Veer Shivaji - carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanateof Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire.   Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations. He innovated military tactics, pioneering the guerrilla warfare methods.  Shivaji's father Shahji belonged to the Bhonsle clan, which claimed patrilineal descent from the Sisodia Rajput royal family of Mewar. His mother Jijabai came from the aristocratic Jadhav family, which traced its lineage to the Yadavas of Devagiri.

Veer  Shivaji was a great hero and   the very embodiment of a born ruler of man as typified in our great epics. He was a real son of India, representing the true consciousness of the nation. Shivaji Maharaj was endowed with talents of the highest order and a clear vision, and one who stood up for justice. He had also inspiring and endearing personality which spontaneously commanded respect, loyalty and the highest sacrifices from his devoted soldiers and peasants.  He founded   the Maratha Empire in the Indian subcontinent.  

Shivaji was born at the hill fort of Shivneri on 1 March 1630, which corresponds to 19 February 1630 of the Julian calendar used by the contemporary English traders in India.  As a servant of Bijapur, his father Shahaji was deputed in southern Deccan after 1636, and did not see Shivaji for several years. Shivaji and his mother remained in Pune in northern Deccan, where Shahaji's subordinate Dadoji Kondadeo administered the family's jagir (feudal land grant) in Shivaji's name. As a teenager, at the age of 15 years, he took a oath at the Raireshwar temple, to establish Hindavi Swaraj. Shivaji started acting independently of the Bijapur government, against the advice of Shahaji and Dadoji. He captured several hill forts which included Torana, Rajgad etc. at the expense of other vassals of Bijapur, and by the age of 15, started calling himself a King. He also built a fort by the money he got during the construction at Torana, which was the blessing of Goddess Toranjai, which was named Pratapgad.

After Dadoji's death in 1647, Shivaji assumed full control of his father's jagir in the Pune region, and eliminated local challenges to his authority. He then invaded the northern Konkan region, making inroads into the territory of the Siddis of Janjira. He subsequently tried to form an alliance with Mughals against Bijapur, and ultimately ended up fighting both these powers to establish a kingdom that evolved into the Maratha Empire. The humble beginnings of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as he came to be known later are the source of the immense mental strength of the Maratha tiger.

Despite having died 300 years ago- on February 19, 1627, Shivaji’s name and presence are continually felt around India, and especially in Maharashtra, thanks to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station. The legacy of the warrior king has only become stronger as the very human warrior king is moulded into the image of the Hindu avenger.

The Shiv Sena, the political party which aims to hold up the rights of the local Hindu Marathas, hails Shivaji mainly for his stance against the Mughal Empire. The Maratha society was "proud-spirited and warlike" as Chinese scholar and pilgrim Xuanzang described, around 1000 years before Shivaji lived. Since much of Maharashtra lies on the rugged terrain of the western Deccan Plateau, life wasn’t exactly easy. Jijabai’s devotion to her son and her influence has become the stuff of legends, and with good reason.    

Perhaps the best-known tale about Shivaji is one which is taught to kids in schools  how he killed Afzal Khan in 1659 at a secret meeting between the two using steel 'tiger claws' and then chopping off his head. Anti-Hindu warlord Afzal Khan, who was sent from the court of Adil Shah had a hidden dagger as he meant to put an end to the young and restless Maratha. Soon, he was in open revolt against the Muslim empire and started positioning himself as the main adversary.  He humiliated a senior commander of Aurangzeb, and went on to plunder the major commercial port of Mughals and the departure point of their Hajj Surat in 1664. He returned again to fill his treasury again in 1670.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. 

Veer Shivaji visited Chennai and offered worship at the Kalikambal Temple at Thambu Chetty Street on 3rd October 1667 -  a plague commemorating this could be seen at the temple.

Maharashtra Sadan is the  “ State Guest House” mainly for VIPs/ State dignitaries/officials of the  Maharashtra State Government visiting Delhi. If you are wondering the relevance of reference to Sangli in para 2 – the  Princely State of Sangli had its Residency on the present location of old Maharashtra Sadan on the then Lytton Road, now Copernicus Marg.  Later as Sangli got merged with Maharashtra, it became its property.  The plot on Kasturba Gandhi Marg admeasuring 6.18 acres, known as Sirmur Plot which was in possession of Government of India since IInd World War and was vested with the Bombay State since 1951, came to the share of Maharashtra  A grand new building was conceptualised and built in Delhi representing the Maharashtra Govt. The statue that you saw at the start sits majestically in front of the Maharashtra sadan.

Jai Bhawani !  .. .. Veer Shivaji ! – Shivaji Maharaj ki jai !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th June 2021.

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