ORIGINAL PICTURE OF CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ. While a lot is known about Shivaji Maharaj’s military conquests and battles, I feel not much focus has been laid on his administration and the …
ORIGINAL PICTURE OF CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ.
While a lot is known about Shivaji Maharaj’s military conquests and battles, I feel not much focus has been laid on his administration and the way he built up the military. Shivaji has rightly been regarded as one of the finest warriors, a great general, a brilliant strategist and a renowned exponent of guerrilla warfare. His role in raising a dynasty and and independent kingdom, during the reign of the Mughals, and the way he gave nightmares to Aurangzeb has been the stuff of heroism and legend.
Shivaji was an autocrat like any one other ruler of his time, he however ensure that he did not misuse the great power vested in him. He had a council of 8 ministers, the Ashta Pradhan who assisted and was a kind of advisory council. They comprised the following.
- Peshwa- Prime Minister, who looked after the overall welfare of the people and the state.
- Amatya- Finance Minister, who looked after all the public accounts of the kingdom and some districts.
- Mantri or Wakia Nawis- Chronicler who kept a daily account of what was happening in the court.
- Samant/Dabir- Foreign Secretary who advised the king on all matters of war and peace, and those relating to foreign states. Also receiving foreign Ambassadors and envoys.
- Sachiv- Home Secretary, who handled the king’s correspondence, ensuring all royal orders were in proper style.
- Pandit Rao- Equivalent to Muhtasib, the religious head, whose duty was to fix dates for religios ceremonies, oversee public morals and interpret religious laws,
- Nyayadish-Chief Justice reponsible for civil and military justice.
- Senapati- Commander in chief, who oversaw the recruitment and organization of the Army.
Barring Nyayadish and Senapati, all the other ministers were to lead military expeditions and command armies.
Shivaji also did away with the practice of granting Jagirs to officers, and instead all were paid in cash. Even when officials had to do revenue collection, their only responsibility was collection, and beyond that they had no control over the money. The kingdom was divided into 4 provinces, and there was a Viceroy in charge of each. These provinces in turn had a number of sub divisions, called pranths.
Shivaji did away with the existing system of taxing the farmers, through the Zamindars or Deshmukhs. The Government would deal directly with cultivators and land was surveyed using a measuring rod called the Kathi.The state’s share was initially 30% of produce, though it was increased to 40% later on. The farmer could pay the amount either in cash or kind. Similiarly for territories occupied by Shivaji, outside the Maratha region, two taxes were levied, Chauth which was 1/4th of the territory’s income, and Sardeshmukhi which was an additional 10% levy on the chauth, as a tribute to the ruler.
ORIGINAL ORNAMENTS USED BY CHATRAPATHI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ.
Till the advent of the Shivaji, the Marathas generally had an army made of irregulars, most of them essentially farmers who fought during the dry season. It was Shivaji who came up with a regular, professional army, where the soldiers were paid in cash throughout the year. The army was constituted into units, and grades were given regularly. Each unit consisting of 25 troopers reported to a Havaldar, who in turn reported a Jumladar, and there was a chain of command, Jumladar- Hazari-Sari Naubat. The infantry was divided again into regiments, brigades, divisions, and both Hindus, Muslims were recruited without any discrimination. As forts played a vital role in the defence, they were well mantained, garrisons were selected carefully, and they had the Havaldar, Sabnis overseeing them.Women, female slaves, dancing girls were not permitted into the army, to maintain discipline of ranks. Even during military campaigns, ground rules were laid down, women, children, elderly and infirm people would not be harassed. No women of the enemy would be taken as slaves, and if captured, she would be sent back with due respect. Valuables that were taken during military raid, were strictly the property of the state treasury, and should not be used for personal benefit.
Shivaji was one of the few rulers who realized the importance of a strong Navy in protecting the Konkan coast from pirates, and also not being dependent on the English, Dutch and Portugese. Naval forts were built at Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg,Jaigad etc, while docks for repair of naval vessels were set up at Ratnagiri. He had 4 different kind of war ships-Gurabs, Gallibats,Pals and Manjuhas.And also maintained a large merchant navy for trade purposes.
Shivaji is well known for his military exploits and heroism, but not really is much known about his administration, the way he built up a professional army, his role in building a navy, so yes on those aspects he is quite underrated.
Source: Shivaji’s Administrative System by Pragati Sen.
The Sage Valmiki once put the following question to Sage Narada, the chief of the hermits and the foremost in the art of expression:
“Is there any one in this world at present who is full of virtues and at the same time possessed of great prowess, who knows what is right, is well versed in Dharma (religion), who is conscious of service done (grateful), truthful, and of firm resolve?
Who is possessed of right conduct and who is friendly to all living beings. Who is a man of knowledge, who is powerful and who has a singularly lovable appearance. Who has subdued his self, who has conquered anger, who is possessed of splendour and who is above faultfinding and whom the very gods dread when his wrath has been provoked in battle?
I wish to hear this; for there is a great curiosity in my mind about it while you are capable of knowing such a man, O eminent Seer!”
Being pleased on hearing these words of Valmiki, the Sage Narada who possessed knowledge of the three worlds, and greatly delighted, addressed the following words:
“Listen! I shall duly consider and tell you of such a hero. Be please to hear from me of the man endowed with the many and rare virtues and qualities mentioned by you.
There is one born in the line of Ikshvaku and known by men by the name of Rama. He has fully controlled his mind, is very powerful, radiant and resolute and has brought his senses under control. He is intelligent, sagacious, eloquent, glorious and an exterminator of foes. He is distinguished with broad shoulders, powerful arms, a neck shaped as a conch and a stout chin.
He is marked with a broad chest, a mighty bow and a collar bone covered with flesh, Ram is capable of subduing his foes. His (unusually long) arms extend right up to his knees. He has a well formed head, a shapely forehead and a charming gait. He is of medium stature, has well proportioned limbs and of charming complexion. He is mighty. He has a well shaped chest, large eyes, is full of splendour and has auspicious marks on his body.
He knows the secret of virtues and is true to his promise. He is intent on the good of the people. He is illustrious, full of wisdom, pure in his dealings, a man of self-control and a sharp (concentrated) mind. He is like the Creator Brahma in supporting all, affluent, the slayer of his enemies, protector of all living beings and a staunch defender of faith (Dharma).
He is well principled and protects his people. He knows the truth expounded in the Vedas and Vedangas (six sciences) auxiliary to them and is a master in archery. He knows the real meaning of all the scriptures , possessed of a bright intellect and good memory. He is gentle, noble, shrewd and is loved by all.
He is always sought by the righteous (even) as the rivers seek the ocean. He is courteous to one and all and always well composed, noble and always wears a pleasing countenance. He is endowed with excellence and gladdens the heart of his mother Kausalya. He is dignified and profound like the ocean and firm (steadfast) like the Himalayas.
He is a replica of Lord Vishnu in prowess and soothing like the moon. In (show of) anger he resembles the conflagration (destructive fire) at dissolution (end of creation). He is a counterpart of Mother Earth in forbearance. He equals Kubera (the god of riches, the bestower of wealth) in liberality and steadfast in truth like Lord Dharma.”
After conquering Lankhini, the Godess of Lanka, Sri Hanuma enters Lanka and searches for Seeta. Sage Valmiki describes what Sri Hanuma saw, as follows: त्रिविष्टप निभम् दिव्यम् दिव्य नाद विनादितम् …
“India has undergone more Religious and Political revolutions than any other country in the world.But the village communities remain in full municipal vigour all over the peninsula.Scynthian,…
“India has undergone more Religious and Political revolutions than any other country in the world.But the village communities remain in full municipal vigour all over the peninsula.Scynthian,Greek,Saracen,Afghan,Mongol have come down from its mountains and Portuguese,Dutch,English,French and Danish up out of its Seas and set up their successive domination in the land.But the Religious trades and union villages have remained as little affected by their coming and going as a rock by the rising and falling of the tide”. -Sir George Birdwood.
The village communities are little republics having nearly everything they can want within themselves and allmost independent of any foreign relations.They lasted where nothing else lasts.When Dynasty after Dynasty tumbled down and Revolutions succeeded revolutions,the village community remained the same sticking to principles of Hinduism called as Sanatan Dharma or Dharma as the term is often called.The individual union of the village communities,each one forming a seperate little state itself,has contributed more to the preservation of Dharma and culture and History of the peoples of India, through all the revolutions and changes which the Nation has suffered,and remained in a high degree conducive to the Happiness and to the enjoyment of a great portion of Freedom and Independence.
The spirit of cultural unity spread through the whole of India and racial atocks of varying levels of culture became steeped in a common atmosphere.The diferences among the sects of Hindus are only on the surface,and the Hindus as such remained a distant cultural unit, with a common history,a common literature and a common civilisation.
The Intellectual and Spiritual progress and achievements of Hindu India,even under the adverse conditions of an aggressively alien rule only served to establish the fact that these were ultimately due to a system of organisation which had an independent existence and life of its own and was impenetrable to the foreign political powers who were unable to touch it for good and evil.The culture of the nation was conserved and promoted through the indigenous machinery of appropriate institutions handed down from time to time, which embraced the manifold spheres of National,Economic,Social,Educational and Religious life.Thus the Knowledge of India was never in danger of being choked and stifled,for it was never in want of the adequate means of self-expression.
As the great philosoper Shri.Radhakrishnan says “The ease with which Hinduism has steadily absorbed the customs and ideas of peoples with whom it has come into contact is as great as the difficulty we feel in finding a common feature binding together its different forms.But if there is not a unity of spirit binding its different exprssions and linking up the different periods of its history into one organic whole,it will not be possible to account for the achievements of Hinduism”.
Blind belief of Dogma is not the faith which saves.It is an unfortunate legacy of the course which christian theology has followed in Europe,that faith has come to connote a mechanical adherence to authority.
The Sage Valmiki once put the following question to Sage Narada, the chief of the hermits and the foremost in the art of expression: “Is there any one in this world at present who is full of …