The Marathas

Shivaji (1627-80)

  • Shivaji was the son of Shahji & Jijabai & was born in the fort of Shiver.
  • Shivaji inherited the Jagir of Poona from his father in 1637.
  • His guru was Ramdas Samrath
  • After the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadev, in 1647, he assumed full charge of his Jagir.
  • He conquered many Forts viz.
  1. Singh Garh/ Kondana (1643)
  2. Rohind & Chakan (1644-45)
  3. Toran (1646)
  4. Purandhar (1648)
  5. Rajgarh/ Raigarh (1656)
  6. Supa (1656)
  7. Panhala (1659).
  • In 1657 Shivaji first confronted the Mughals, taking advantage of the Mughal invasion of Bijapur, he raided Ahamadnagar & plundered Junnar.
  • In 1659-60, Afzal Khan was deputed by Adil Shah of Bijapur to punish Shivaji; but the later Afzal Khan was murdered by Shivaji in 1659. The famous “Baghnakh” episode is related to the death of Afzal Khan.
  • In 1660, Shaista Khan, governor of Deccan, was deputed by Aurangzeb to check Marathas. Shivaji lost Poona, Kalyan & Chakan and also suffered several defeats till he made a bold attack on Shaista Khan(1663) & plundered Surat (1664) & later Ahmadnagar.
  • Raja Jai Singh of Amber & Diler Khan was then appointed by Aurangzeb to curb the rising power of Shivaji in 1665.
  • Jai Singh succeeded in besieging Shivaji in the fort of Purandhar. Consequently, the treaty of Purandhar (1665) was signed according to which Shivaji ceded some forts to the Mughals & paid a visit to the Mughal court at Agra.
  • In 1666, Shivaji visited Agra but there he was insulted
  • In 1670, Shivaji captured most of the forts lost by the treaty of Purandhar.
  • In 1674 Shivaji was coronated at the capital Raigarh & assumed the title of Haindava Dharmodharak (Protector of Hinduism).
  • After that Shivaji continued the struggle with the Mughals & Siddis (Janjira). He conquested Karnataka during 1677-80.
  • His last expedition was against Ginjee & Vellore.

Shivaji’s Administration

  • Swarajya was directly under the control of Maratha.
  • Chauth & Sardeshmukhi were taxes collected by Marathas.
  • Chauth was paid to the Marathas so as not to be subjected to Maratha raids.
  • Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10% on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Maratha claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal Empire.
  • Marathi became the official language.
  • Shivaji divided his territory under his rule (Swarajya) into three provinces, each under a viceroy. Provinces were divided into Prants which were subdivided into parganas or tarafs.
  • Shivaji was helped by the Ashtapradhan (Eight-minister) which was unlike a council of ministers, for there was no collective responsibility; each minister was directly responsible to Shivaji.

Shivaji’s Ashtapradhan

  1. Peshwa (Mukhya Pradhan): Finance & general
    administration, later he became PM & assumed great importance.
  2. Sar-i-Naubat (Senapati): Military commander. This is an honorary post with no real military powers.
    Later on, the ninth minister named Pratinidhi was added by Raja Ram a successor of Shivaji
    Most of the administrative reforms of Shivaji were based on Malik Ambar’s (Ahmadnagar) reforms.

Successors of Shivaji Shambhaji: 1680-1689

  • Sambhaji, the elder son of Shivaji, defeated Rajaram, the younger son of Shivaji, in the war of succession.
  • He provided protection & support to Akbar II, the rebellious son of Aurangzeb.
  • He was captured at Sangameswar by a Mughal noble & executed(killed).

Rajaram: 1689-1700

  • He succeeded to the throne with the help of the ministers at Rajgarh.
  • He fled from Rajgarh to Jinji in 1689 due to a Mughal invasion in which Rajgarh was captured along with Sambhaji’s wife & son (Shahu) by the Mughals.
  • Rajaram died at Satara, which had become the capital after the fall of Jinji to Mughals in 1698.
  • Rajaram created the new post of Pratinidhi, thus taking the total number of ministers to nine (Pratinidhi + Ashtapradhan).

Tarabai: 1700-1707

  • Rajaram was succeeded by his minor son Shivaji II under the guardianship of his mother Tarabai.
  • Tarabai continued the struggle with the Mughals

Shahu : 1707-1749

  • Shahu was released by the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah.
  • Tarabai’s army was defeated by Shahu at the battle of Khed (1700) & Shahu occupied Satara.
  • Shahu’s reign saw the rise of Peshwas & the transformation of the Maratha kingdom into an empire based on the principle of the confederacy.

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