Mumbai: Today (February 19) is the 368th birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Shivaji’s heroic efforts of defeating the might of the Mughals and creating a Maratha empire that endured for centuries after his time make him one of the greatest rulers in the history of India.
Here are a few facts about him:
- Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is celebrated with traditional fervour in Maharashtraon.
- Shiv Sena celebrates 'Shiv Jayanti' as per the "tithi" - on Falgun Vadya Tritiya.
- Shivaji was born in Shivneri Fort, Junnar, about 100 kilometres east of Mumbai. He was named Shiva after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother Jijabai had prayed for a son.
- Shivaji Maharaj was extremely secular. There was a sizeable amount of Muslim soldiers in Shivaji's army.
- His dream was to expel Mughals and build a Maratha empire, not a Hindu empire. He fought those rulers, not religions, who posed as a threat to his kingdom.
- "Torna" (Tornagad) or "Prachandgad" was the first fort captured by the 16-year-old Shivaji Maharaj. This was the first move towards his journey to build the Maratha empire.
- Shivaji Maharaj was a very strategic military commander. He also established a navy to protect the coastline.
- Afzal Khan, a seasoned commander, was sent by Bijapur to confront Shivaji. The Maratha king was sure that Khan would attack him. When the duo met in a hut under the garb of negotiations, Shivaji wore an armour underneath which stopped Khan's dagger.
- Unlike many other rulers, Shivaji Maharaj ensured that women of captured territories were left unharmed.
- Shivaji Maharaj also defeated the famous general and governor of Shayista Khan, sent by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
- When Aurangzeb imposed Jizya tax on Hindus, Shivaji was the only Hindu ruler who protested against it.