Nearly 338 years ago, on this day – April 3, 1680 – Maratha warrior king Shivaji Bhonsle, better know as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, died after ill with fever and dysentery. Know for his military might and progressive rule, Shivaji's Maratha navy fought several foreign conquerors, including the Mughals.
On his 338th death anniversary, here are five things interesting facts about the warrior king:
1. Shivaji's reportedly died on the eve of Hanuman Jayanti. While scholars say that he died after falling sick, myths claim he was cursed opposing Muslims leaders of the time. Yet another rumour claims that his second wife Soyarabai poisoned him to make their 10-year old son Rajaram the successor king.
2. Several beliefs and accounts suggest that Shivaji was named after Lord Shiva. However, scholars suggest that he was named after Goddess Shivai – a local deity.
3. A skilled commander, who later became the ruler, Shivjai could neither read or write. He, however, was a keen learner with deep knowledge of religious texts including Ramayana and Mahabharta.
4. Shivaji was reportedly a pro at escaping. He once escaped with son by hiding inside sweets and fruits boxes and another time, disguised as sadhus. When trapped in Panhala Fort by Siddi Jauhar’s army, he planned his escape in palkhis.
5. A secular king, he had many Muslims in his army and office. He was a great champion of woman's rights and had passed rules that forbade dishonour women. Any crime against women were severly punished.