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Shivaji (Part 2 & 3)

SHIVAJI ( Part 2 )

THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF THE THREE PART ARTICLE SERIES ON CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ. THIS ARTICLE ON SHIVAJI (PART 1,2,3) IS IN CONTINUATION OF THE MAIN ARTICLE ‘MARATHAS’ AND ITS SUBSEQUENT ARTICLE ‘ANCESTORS OF SHIVAJI’.




Encounter with Shaista Khan
Shaista Khan (Mirza Abu Talib), the experienced mughal subhedar of Bengal, was deputed by Aurangzeb to bring Shivaji to book. He had earlier helped Aurangzeb against Dara Shaikoh. Shaista Khan for his services was made the Viceroy of Deccan and sent to subdue Shivaji.

Note: Shaista khan was the brother of Mumtaz Mahal (wife of Shah Jehan) and nephew of Nur Jehan (wife of Jehangir). He had also been a part of the Deccan mission sent by ShahJehan to subdue Shahajiraje Bhosale (father of Shivaji).
While Shivaji was resisting Siddi Jauhar of Bijapur, Shaista Khan was approaching Deccan, with his huge army. He reached Aurangabad in January 1660. He marched further to Ahmednagar, encamped at a deserted mudfort in Supa(25th February) , then left for another dilapidated fort at Baramati (5 th April), then Nira (all the while deputing officers to administer those areas) , and finally arrived at Shirwal (18 th April). His lieutenants wrecked havoc on the villages near Shirval. The Marathas tried to attack the mughal camp, but were repelled.
Shaista Khan then advanced to Puna or present day Pune (9th May). He lodged inside the ‘Lal Mahal’ , where Shivaji had spent his childhood. He further instructed his men to lay siege at Chakan near Puna.Large artillery was used in this siege. An large force of twenty thousand men were used by the mughals in this seige. Inspite of the odd numbers, this fort of Chakan was heroically defended by Firangoji Narsala with a small force of three hundred odd men for fifty six days, before it fell to the Mughal cannon fire (15th August 1660).
It has to be remembered that vide the treaty of August 1657, Bijapur had surendered Konkan to the mughals. But Shivaji had captured and held on to those domains from Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Chaul.Shaista khan wished those regions back from Shivaji. He despatched several of the mughal officers( to wrest Konkan. Kalyan, Bhiwandi and some regions in northern Konkan fell to the mughals.




PIC: SHAISTA KHAN

Kartalab khan, at the end of 1660, equipped with a considerable (apprx 20,000) force, descended down the Ghats near Lonavala. Shivaji who was already waiting there with his thousand odd men, allowed him to enter the thick forest through the pass was known as ‘Umber khind’ (named after the near by village of Umber). Inspite of the disproportionate numbers, the Marathas led by Shivaji ambushed the Mughals at this strategic point.Kartalab Khan felt trapped with his twenty thousand men. Kartalab Khan begged Shivaji for a safe passage, which he was given , but only after securing a large ransom from him.
Now, Shivaji divided his forces into two. One force led by Netaji Palkar was to engage the Mughals. Other led by Shivaji marched south to the Konkan territory of Adilshah. Shivaji’s advance was spectacular. Dabhol, Pali, Sangameshwar, Chiplun, Rajapur fell into his hands & yielded considerable wealth. Shirngarpur fell on 29th April 1661. Shivaji spent summer of 1661 on Wardhangad in Konkan.
In 1661,Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur and Jaffar Khan of Malwa were also instructed to come down to Deccan to assist Shaista khan in his campaign against Shivaji.In 1662, the Mughals didn’t have much success in capturing any Maratha forts.The Marathas had avoided pitched battles with the Mughals, so Shaista khan followed a policy of scorching the villages below the forts. A mughal officer, Namdarkhan and others attacked villages between Lohagad, Visapur, and Tung and Tikona. They set alight seventy eighty villages,looting and destroying grain , property.He harassed the villagers to no end, killing several and taking many as prisoners. This took place for two long years. Shivaji relocated many of his villagers, often transferring families to the security of his forts.
Meanwhile ,Shaista Khan, after three years of campaign had become a little complacent. He had retired with his harem to his base in Puna.
On 5 th April 1663, Shivaji did the unthinkable. Shivaji along with a band of selected men, personally launched an commando like operation right in the heart of the enemy camp. He attacked the very residence in Puna where Shaista khan was put up with his family and men. Shaistakhan barely managed to escape with his life (the unconscious Shaista Khan was taken away to safety by his maids), losing in the process, his thumb and two fingers, which Shivaji himself severed from the flighty khan. Shaista khans son Abul Fateh was killed and so were several people from his entourage. The wounded Shaista Khan retreated to the mughal base of Aurangabad.
This sent shock waves right upto Delhi. The fuming emperor Aurangzeb , asked the embarrassed Shaista khan, not to bother coming back to Delhi. He was asked to proceed directly back to Bengal.
Note: To his credit Shaista Khan did a good job in Bengal, building a formidable navy, wresting Sandwip island , Chittagong from the Arakanese(an Burmese kingdom) and later reasserting Mughal control over Kamarup (Assam) and Cooch Behar.He also added greatly to the development of Dhaka (in present day Bangladesh). It is also to be remembered that ShaistaKhan was a part of the army Shah Jehan had sent to subdue Shivajis father Shahaji raje, when he was acting as the regent of the Nizamshahi sultanate.
The ignominy suffered by Shaista Khan created a dampening of spirits in the Mughal ranks. Maharaja Jaswant singh who was left in place of Shaista Khan ,tried to elevate the mood in the Mughal camp through an siege on fort Sinhagad (Kondana). But it too turned out to be an abortive attempt.
Shivaji further added salt to the mughal wounds, when he sacked Surat, a rich and prosperous Mughal port (5th January 1664), in order to compensate for his losses. Its governor, Inayat Khan, proved so incompetent, that he hid in his fort , while Shivaji and his men looted Surat in glee abandon for three whole weeks.
Shivaji captures Kudal of Adilshahi sultanate
In 1663, Shivaji had already embarked on his Konkan campaign. Bu May 1663, Shivaji had captured Kudal administered by the Desai, Lakham Sawant of Sawantwadi.
Note: Shahaji raje , the father of Shivaji raje, had died on 23 January 1664 in Karnatak, after a fall from his horse.
Adil Shah then sent Aziz Khan to counter Shivaji at Kudal. Shivajis resident, Raoji Pandit had to retreat to Rajapur (May 1664). But an unexpected death of Aziz Khan in July, made Adil Shah send a replacement in the form of Khawas Khan (son of the ex wazir Khan Muhammed, and also the son in law of Rustam e Zaman).
Shivajis kin Baji Ghorpade of Mudhol was also asked to assist Khawas Khan. But before he could join the Khan, Shivaji attacked him at Mudhol. Baji Ghorpade was fatally wounded in that battle and succumbed to his injuries.
Seeing all help cut off, Khawas Khan fled away in December. His other commanders like Lakhm Sawant, Desai Keshav Naik and Keshav Prabhu of Pedhne and Khalu Shenvi of Dicholi also fled into the Portuguese territory of Goa.
Construction of Sindhudurg Fort
On 5 th December 1664 , Shivaji laid the foundation of Fort Sindhudurg in the Malwan region along the Konkan coast. He also streangthened his other naval forts of Vijaydurg (Gheria) and Suvarnadurg.
Shivaji added to his navy several commanders like Darya Sarang,Daulat Khan, Ibrahim Khan (all of whom were incidently muslim.*) and Mainak Bhandari.
*Note: There were many muslims amongst Shivajis forces like Siddi Hillal(cavalry head),Siddi Wahawaha(cavalry),Noorkhan Baig(first sarnobat),Madari Mehtar(bodyguard, especially during Shivajis Agra visit),Kazi Haider(secretary),Shama khan(sardar),Siddi Ambar Wahad,Hussain Faan Miyana(officer), Darya sarang/Ibrahim khan/Siddi Sambal (who was previously a part of the Siddis of Janjira but later shifted loyalties to Shivaji/Siddi Misri (the nephew of Siddi sambal)/Sultan khan/Daud khan(navy officer),Daulat khan(admiral),7 cavalry regiments,700 Pathans,besides many muslims in the maratha navy.This should prove that Shivaji wasn’t just a leader of Hindus only but had followers from all religions and regions (including Abyssinians like the Siddis, the Portuguese and the English).
While Shivajis troops were raiding the Bijapur towns of Hubli and Khanapur, Shivaji launched a naval expedition to the prosperous town of Basrur (Bidnur province of Kanara coast) in Feb 1665. He plundered the rich town and carried off a large booty.
Thus whatever losses Shivaji suffered during the Bijapur and Mughal onslaughts, he compensated for them from the booty he recovered from Surat and Basrur.




PIC: SHIVAJI MEETS MIRZA RAJA JAISINGH
Mirza Raje Jaisingh
This time Aurangzeb sent one of his most trusted generals, Mirza Raje Jaisingh, the Raja of Amber with a huge army to subdue the Deccan. Raje Jaisingh was an seasoned military commander. He didn’t underestimate Shivaji and devised a multi pronged approach to subdue him.he isolated Shivaji. He firstly consolidated the mughal bases in the plains, Kalyan, and Bhiwandi. Secondly he isolated Shivaji by engaging Adilshah and the Portuguese in treaties , whereby they would neither directly nor indirectly assist Shivaji or divert his attention by attacking the Mughals, nor allow safe passage for Shivaji through their territories (though Adilshah was Shivajis enemy, he could have grouped with Shivaji to ward of an mughal attack into Deccan). He bribed some of Shivajis men and induced them to switch sides. Jaisingh also invited the Siddis of Janjira to assist him in his endeavours against Shivaji.
Note:Also assisting Jaisingh was another stalwart from the Mughal camp, Diler Khan the Pathan, and seasoned warriors like Jaisinghs son Kirat Singh,Qabad Khan,Mitrasen,Indraman Bundela,Raja Raisingh Rathore, Badal Bakhtiyar,Udaibhan and Haribhan Gaur,Syed Munawarkhan Barha,Sharzakhan,Hassankhan,Jauharkhan,Jagatsingh,Ram singh,Muhammed Saleh Tarkhan,Raja Narsingh Gaur,Syed Maqbool Alam,Karan Rathore,Hussain Daudzai,Jagat singh Narwari,Rasul Beg Rozwani, Chaturbhuj Chauhan,Qutubbuddin Khan, Amarsingh Chandrawat,Syed Zainulabbuddin Bukhari,Achal singh Kachwaha,Qubadkhan,Abul Qasim,Abdullah,Ranadullah,Khwaja Abul Makrim , Raji Afzal Bijapuri,Bhai Afzal Bijapuri,Rasulbeg Rozbhani,Purdilkhan, Shubhkaran Bundela,Bhupat singh,Zabardastkhan,Atishkhan,Turkataz khan and Daud Khan (etc).
This massive mughal army swarmed down the Maratha territory capturing fort Rudramal (14th April 1665), and fort Kunwari (30th April), and simultaneously wrecking havoc on the villages below Shivajis various forts like Rajgad,Lohagad etc. Seige was also mounted at fort Purander. Murarbaji Deshpande, an Maratha commander displayed exlemprary courage during this siege, thwarting the Mughal attempts to surmount the fort.He even spurned Mughal overtures and sacrificed his life, gallantly defending the fort.
By now, Shivaji had realised this was not an enemy he can wish away, and thought it prudent to announce a surrender rather than risk further destruction to his forts and his people. He handed over fort Purander along with twenty two other forts to the mughals on 11th June 1665 as per the agreement now known as the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji was also to become mughal vassal and assist them in conquering the south starting with Bijapur.
Note: The forts ceded by Shivaji were Purandar,Rudramal or Vajragad,Kondana,Rohida,Lohagad,Visapur,Tung,Tikona,Khandkala,Mahuli, Muranjan,Kohaj,Karnala,Songad,Palasgad,Bhandargad,Khirdurg,Nardurg,Vasantgad,Nangagad,Ankola or Khaigad,Margagad and Mangad.
Shivaji was allowed to retain twelve forts namely Rajgad,Torna,Hingangad,Bhorap,Talegad,Mahagad,Ghosala,Birwadi,Pali,Rairi,Kunwarigad and Udaid.
What followed was Shivajis brief and reluctant affair with the Mughals. Shivaji had to spend almost three moths in the mughal camp, fighting alongside them against Bijapur.Shivajis general Netaji was sent to reduce Phaltan, which was under Shivajis brother in law Bajaji Nimbalkar. On 7th Dec 1665, Nimbalkar surrendered theAdilshahi fort to Netaji. Shivaji had meanwhile captured Tathawda near Phaltan.Netaji again added Mangalvedha in the mughal kitty on 19th Dec. Soon Khatav was captured.
Meanwhile a strong contingent from Bijapur was sent to repulse the Mughal attack(25th Dec 1665). It included the Wazir Abul Muhammed, Sharza Khan Mehdvi,Khawaskhan,Kalyanrao Jadhav,Yaqut Habshi,Ikhlas Khan,Bahlol Khan,Aziz,Siddi Masud (son in law of Siddi Jauhar),Abdul Aziz (son of Siddi Jauhar), Rustam Zaman (son of Ranadaullah Khan) and Vyankoji Bhosale (Shivajis step brother who was on the Adilshahi side).Also sent to assist the Bijapuris was an contingent from Golkunda . The Bijapur army was initially repulsed by Kirat singh(son of Jaisingh),Shivaji,Netaji Palkar,Sarfaraz khan,Salabat Khan and others leading the combined Mughal Maratha armies.
Netaji Palkar was awarded an mansab of 2 Hazari ( 2000 horsemen) for his bravery. But apparently Netaji Palkar wasn’t happy with this offer and when he was offered a better deal by the Bijapuris (4 lakh huns) ,he crossed over to their side.There is also a version wherein Netaji (or his brother in law) had failed to come to the assistance of Shivaji during his siege of Panhala, and for the same Shivaji had him replaced as his ‘sarlashkar’ by Prataprao Gujar (ref. J.Sarkar).
Note1: Later, Jaisingh couldn’t afford to let a valuable asset like Netaji Palkar go to the other side, so he increased his offer to 5 Hazari and once again brought Netaji Palkar to the mughal side (March 1666). Netaji converted to Islam (He was renamed Muhammed Quli Khan) and after that, Netaji was hastened off to an expedition to Afghanistan. It is alluded by many historians that Netaji Palkar switched sides as per a secret understanding with Shivaji, and this was a part of Shivajis bigger game plan.But there are many opposing this theory and have stated that Netaji deserted Shivaji after an personal fallout. Whatever maybe the fact, Netaji did cross over to the other side.
Note2:Netaji Palkar was later to be reconverted to the Hindu fold by Shivaji, after he returned back to the Maratha side in 1676.
Meanwhile, Shivaji was feeling restless and also insecure in the mughal camp. He feared a attack on his life. It is to be noted that as per the memoirs of Niccoli Mannuci who then was acting as an envoy of Jaisingh, Dilerkhan wished to murder Shivaji, but Jaisingh had strictly prohibited it. So Shivaji requested Jaisingh that he should be allowed to be detached from the Mughal contingent and sent separately to attack fort Panhala. But as stated earlier Shivajis attempts to capture Panhala failed, and Shivaji sullenly retreated to his fort Vishalgad.
Meanwhile, the Bijapuris had realized they couldn’t take on the mughal might in pitched battles.What was followed later by the Bijapuris was the scorched earth policy supplemented by gureilla tactics.They cut the supply lines of the Mughals, and also indulged in daring hit and run attacks on the Mughal camps.They frustrated the mughal designs of victory and soon forced their army to flee. Shivajis attack on Panhala fort too was repulsed(16th Jan 1666). Jaisingh finally had to accept defeat against the Bijapuris and decided to withdraw his forces. Bijapuris under Rustam Zaman later captured Phonda,Kudal,Pedne,Bhatagram and Sattar (which had earlier been in Maratha control).The Bijapuris were helped secretly by the Portuguese in these endeavours.
Note: It is interesting to note Rustam Zaman left the fort of Rangna for Shivaji, much to the annoyance of Adilshah, which only goes to prove Shivajis secret understanding with this Adilshahi commander.
Thus inspite of a victory over the Marathas, Mirza Raje Jaisingh wasn’t very successful against the Bijapuris and had to return leaving his Deccan campaign incomplete.
Note: Mirza Raje Jaisingh continued as the governor of Deccan and was successful to the extent of extracting a pledge from the Bijapur sultanate, whereby they agreed to pay an annual tribute to the mughals. After Shivajis escape from Agra, Jaisingh and his son Ramsingh fell from the graces of Aurangzeb and were penalised for the losses. Jaisingh was soon recalled from Deccan and Aurangzeb sent his son Prince Muazzam as an replacement along with Raja Jaswant singh ( as his adviser ). But before Raja Jaisingh could return to Delhi, he fell ill and died in Burhanpur.
Shivajis trip to Agra, his house arrest and subsequent escape
Jaisingh had requested Shivaji to meet Emperor Aurangzeb at Agra to discuss the modalities of his treaty of Purander and was also promised the Viceroyality of Deccan. Jaisingh even gave his personal word of honour that Shivaji will be protected during his Delhi trip and that he or his men wont be harmed in anyway. For his Agra trip he was even sanctioned a huge amount(one lakh rupees from the Aurangabad treasury) to pay for his contingents (8 elephants,500 horsemen and 500 footsoldiers. He was also accompanied by his eldest son Sambhaji) trip to Agra. Shivaji thus set off for Agra from Fort Rajgadh on 5th March 1666.
Shivaji was received in Agra by Ramsingh the son of Mirza Raje Jaisingh on 12th May 1666. He was soon granted an audience in Aurangzebs court. But the meeting with the emperor was soon to go awfully wrong. Apparently in the court Aurangzeb took no notice of Shivaji and Shivaji was made to stand in a row which was meant for the 5 hazari courtiers. This irked the self respecting Shivaji to no end. He angrily remarked to Ramsingh that Aurangzeb has insulted him by making him stand behind people whom he has made to flee in the battlefield. Saying this Shivaji and his son walked away from the durbar in a huff.
Predictably Shivaji and his men were put under house arrest by Aurangzeb. Ramsingh pleaded mercy on behalf of Shivaji, but it wasn’t heeded to. Apparently, Aurangzeb had decided to murder Shivaji for his insolence. An heavily armed unit guarded the house where Shivaji was lodged. But Shivaji was not the man who could be held in confinement for long.His sharp mind soon devised a plan to escape. Shivaji initially first feigned illness. He also spent his time in meditation, as if he had turned into a recluse.He even spread rumours that he wanted to spend his last days as a hermit. Shivaji then started sending huge baskets filled with sweets and eatables for the poor and the holy men of Agra. Initially the baskets were checked , but as days passed by, the patrols became negligent. After making sure that the men outside have become complacent, Shivaji and his son Sambhaji, seated themselves in those wooden baskets and escaped from the mansion.Then, entrusting the young Sambhaji in a house of a confidante Brahmin, Shivaji escaped in disguise from Agra. Shivajis daring escape from Agra made him an subject of folklore, to be balladised for centuries to come.
Shivaji returned back to Rajgadh on 20th November, 1666.
Shivaji maintained a low profile for the next three years. But these three years, Shivaji utilized for consolidating his position in Maharashtra. He reorganized his forces. Shivaji wanted to regain his lost territory,mainly at the expense of the Bijapuris especially around the Goa Konkan strip. He also wanted to attack the Siddi at Janjira, but the Mughals were proving to be the impediments. But what disturbed Shivaji was Aurangzebs Islamic zeal whereby he had started demolishing Hindu temples and indulging in forcible conversions (ref.Pagadi, letter of President Gary of Surat). The Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi was sacked by the Mughals. This affected Shivajis religious sensibilities. Also the Mughal empire was facing disturbances from other quarters. Aurangzeb was facing disturbances in Afghanistan and Mathura. Aurangzeb was also paranoid about the activities of his son Prince Muazzam the governor of Deccan. Also things weren’t well in the mughal camp. Muazzam and Jaswant singh had antipathy towards another mughal commander Diler khan. The mughals were in a disarray. This was an opportune time to strike at the Mughals. In January 1670, Shivaji launched his attacks on the mughal garrisons.Kondana was captured on 4th Feb 1670, Purandar on 8th March,Mahuli fell to the Marathas on16th June.Rohida, Lohagadh,Prabalgad,Karnala were also captured. Within six months Shivaji had wrested back majority of the territory that he had ceded to Mirza Jaisingh.On third October ,Shivajis men plundered Surat for the second time. The Mughal army was also badly mauled in the battle of Dindori (17th Oct 1670). About a week later Shivajis Peshwa,Moropant Pingale had captured fort Trimbak at Nasik.In Dec 1670, Shivaji himself conducted raids in the Khandesh province. He plundered Bahadurpura near Burhanpur,followed by Berar, then Karinja. Moropant Trimbak Pingale had already looted western Khandesh and Baglana.Salher had also fallen to the Marathas. The mughal power in Maharashtra was now shaken.
Note: Prince Muazzam was recalled afterwards from Deccan and Bahadurkhan was sent as his replacement.
Skirmish with the Portuguese
Shivaji had captured almost all territories near Goa and South Konkan barring Phonda and Jambavali Panchamahal. All the local chieftains (Desais) from these areas fled to Portuguese territories and were harboured by the Portuguese. This created tensions between Shivaji and the Portuguese.In retaliation, Shivaji plundered the Portuguese territory of Bardesh (22 Nov 1667). Finally the Portuguese had to enter into a treaty with Shivaji.


PIC: TANAJI MALUSARE SAMADHI
Battle of Kondana
Kondana was a fort that lay on the outskirts of Pune.It was one of the forts ceded to the mughals as per the Purandar treaty.In February 1670, Shivaji sent his trusted commander Tanaji Malusare and his brother Suryaji Malusare to take back Kondana. Tanaji even postponed his sons wedding and gave precedence to duty towards his king. The fort was guarded by a fifteen hundred strong contingent of Rajputs under Udaybhan Rathod. Tanaji and his men climbed the steep mountain slope by hand and fell upon the mughal guards. Udaybhan offered a stiff resistance, In the fight that ensued , both Tanaji and Udaybhan succumbed . But Suryaji carried on the fight and ultimately led the Marathas to a victory. Shivaji on hearing the news of Tanajis death, is said to have exclaimed , “ Gadh aalaa pan Sinha gelaa.” (The fort was captured , but the lion died). In the memory of Tanaji Malusare, Kondana was renamed as Sinhagadh.
Shivaji meets Raja Chatrasal
Sometime in 1671-72 , Shivaji received an unexpected visitor. He was Raja Chatrasal, the young son of Champatrai Bundela, the late chieftain of Mahewa (eastern Bundelkhand). Chatrasal was greatly inspired by Shivajis exploits , and had offered Shivaji his services. Shivaji received him warmly, but told him to return back to his lands and lead his people to independence from the Mughal yoke. Shivaji also promised him all the help in his endeavour. Raja Chatrasal was later to accomplish what Shivaji had directed him to do, and would also become an prominent ally of the Marathas in the years to come.
Note 1: Abdullah Qutubshah of Golkunda died on 21 st April 1672. He was succeeded by his son in law Abul Hasan (Tana Shah).
Note 2 : Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur died on 24th Nov 1672. He was succeeded by Sikandar Adil Shah a boy of four. Khawaskhan the son of the old prime minister, Khan Muhammed Khankhanan become the regent
Note 3: Notable Activities of Marathas in 1672-74 : *Shivaji carried forward naval operations against the Siddis of Janjira and the Mughals in 1672.
* Due to Rustamzamans friendly overtures to Shivaji, Bijapur in middle of 1672 took away Rustamzamans viceroyalty of Kanara region and his areas of Raibag and Hukkeri. Rustam zaman rebelled against the sultan, but his rebellion was crushed.
* Shivaji attackes Bijapur territories again. Panhala was taken over by Shivaji from Bijapur on 6th March 1673. Maratha Sarlashkar Prataprao Gujar engages Bahlol Khan the Pathan commander of Bijapur at the Battle of Umrani in March 1673, but lets off Bahlol Khan. Shivaji is furious with his sarlaskar.But, Prataprao out to reimpose the shaken faith of his master, attacks Bijapur territories in Karnatak. Hubli is attacked.For his failure Muzzafarkhan the Governor of Kanara is sacked. He rebels against Bijapur. Miansaheb, the fauzdar of Karwar too rebels against Bijapur.
* Shivaji captures Parli inApril 1673, and Satara on 27th July 1673.
* Shivaji plunders Bankapur in Dharwar on 10th Oct 1673.
* Shivaji beats the forces of Diler Khan the mughal commander.
* Shivajis Sarlashkar Prataprao Gujar dies in the Battle of Nesari on 24th Feb 1673. Prataprao is succeeded by Hambirao Mohite as the new Sarlashkar( commander in chief) on 8th April 1674.


PIC: CORONATION OF SHIVAJI
Coronation of Shivaji
Untill the death of his father Shahaji, Shivaji had always considered Shahaji as the Raja. Since Shahaji was always a noble in the courts of the sultans, Shivaji was always viewed as a rebel , an upstart, by his enemies and contemporaries. He was never considered a king in the true sense (inspite of the huge territory he had conquered by overaweing three kings). It had become imperative now, that Shivaji should be crowned as a Chatrapati (‘Chatra’, here means the royal umbrella and ‘Pati’ is the owner. Hence Chatrapati means the owner of the royal umbrella i.e the King). The idea of Shivaji being declared an king was first mooted by Gaga Bhat an learned Brahmin from Benares (whose family had earlier migrated from Paithan).
On May 1674, Shivaji began preparations for his coronation. As per the hindu rites, he remarried his wives (30th May), performed the sacred thread ceremony (29th May), officialy appointed his own council of ministers, the Ashta Pradhans ( 8 ministers), distributed gifts to his men , the poor and the Brahmins(14th June). Thus Shivaji was officially coronated the King by the Vedic rites. Rajgadh was declared as the capital of his kingdom.
Incidently he was coronated the king for a second time by Tantrik rites (by an Tantrik priest Nischalpuri Gosavi), apparently due to some incidents and tragedies that happened just before and after his coronation.
It is to be noted that, Shivajis mother Jijabai passed away on 18th June 1674. Earlier one of Shivajis Queens , Kashibai too had expired, sometime on 16th March 1674, and also had his sarlashkar Prataprao Gujar ( 24th Feb 1674). During the performance of the rites Gaga Bhat, the Vedic priest, too had met with an minor accident. All these incidents were cited as inauspicious and hence Shivaji was advised a second coronation as per a Tantrik ceremony( ostensibly to pacify the bad omens and the spirits), which took place some time on 24th Sept 1674. Its to be remembered that these were the medieval ages.
Note 1:Notable Activities of Marathas in 1674-76 : In Oct,1674, the Marathas raided Khandesh. On 17th April 1675 Shivaji captured Phonda from Bijapuris. By mid 1675 marathas had occupied Karwar. Kolhapur fell to the Marathas in July 1675. The Marathas also have naval skirmishes with the Siddis of Janjira in Nov 1675. Early 1676, Peshwa Pingale engages Raja of Ramnagar in battle en route to Surat.Shivaji looted Athni in March 1676. By the end of 1676, Shivaji besieges Belgaum and Vayem Rayim.
Note 2: Politics in the Bijapur court intensifies between rival factions, the Deccan faction led by Khawaskhan the regent and the Pathan faction by the Bahlol Khan, leading to open battles between them. Khawaskhan is put to death by the Pathans on 18th January 1676. Now the rival faction of the pathans is led by Siddi Masud.
Note 3: Mughals led by Bahadur Khan siding the Deccan faction, clash with the Pathans in the battle of Indi,13th june 1676. The Pathans have to retreat.






PIC: RAJMUDRA, ROYAL SEAL OF SHIVAJI

Shivajis Southern campaign (1677-78)
Shivaji embarked on his southern expedition sometime in January 1677. Shivaji knew that the days of Bijapur were numbered, and he wanted to hit the final nail in their coffin , with his southern expedition. The idea was to become the immediate successor to the Bijapur sultanate in the south, before the Mughals caught up.
Shivaji concluded a treaty with the Golkunda Sultan, Abul Hasan (after being received with great pomp in the city of Hyderabad) Shivaji then proceeded to conquer Jinji ( in Tamil Nadu) which he did in May 1677. Jinji was to serve as the southern capital of the Marathas for the next twenty seven years. Lakshmishwar, Belvadi,the central and eastern regions of Mysore,Kopal,Bellary,Chitaldurg and Vellore also fell to Shivaji.
Shivaji had a brief altercation with his step brother Vyankoji (who had by now established his rule in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu). It was an dispute over Shahajis legacy and estate in Karnatak.But eventually both the brothers had an amicable settlement.
All in all, the southern expedition proved very fruitfull for Shivaji.
Shivajis son Sambhaji joins the Mughals
Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji was developing serious frictions with his step mother, Soyarabai, who wanted to install her own son Rajaram on the Maratha throne. Also to add fuel to the fire were certain incidents that took place due to Sambhajis amorous leanings and vices (this is as per some historians, but this is something that has been strongly contested by another section of historians), something which Shivaji strongly disapproved of. The differences between father and son reached a point , where Sambhaji, took off to join the Mughals (during Shivajis southern expedition), sometime in Dec,1678. But within a year the impetuous prince realized his folly and returned back to the Maratha camp.
Shivajis altercation with the English
Shivaji had an brief altercation with the English over the island of Khanderi sometime towards the end of 1679 and the start of 1680. Shivajis admiral Daulat Khan , successfully defeated the English in a few naval battles, forcing the English to accept defeat and hasten a treaty with Shivaji.
Death of Shivaji
Shivajis last two years were spent engaging the Mughals, the Siddis of Janjira and the English. (During his last years fearing an mughal invasion of Bijapur , its regent Siddi Masud made a treaty with Shivaji, whereby Shivaji delivered help to the kingdom).
Note: Diler Khan the mughal commander had laid seige on Bijapur, but was recalled by Aurangzeb after differences between him an Prince Muazzam (and Raja Jaswant singh) arose.
Shivaji was also to start an expedition against the Portuguese to sort out pending disputes, if not for an anti climax to this great Kings life.
The fatigues of constant wars had taken their toll on Shivaji. He fell ill due to heat strokes and ailment described as fever and blood dysentery. Shivaji breathed his last on 3 rd April 1680. An eventfull life was cut short at the age of fifty three.

To be concluded

Part 3 will be an analysis of Shivaji life, his men, his family , his character and his rule.

Shivaji (Part 3)

Pic: Shivajis emire, A map, extract: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.

Shivajis Character and personal attributes

An AnalysisShivaji was a person of impeccable character. This probably was something to do with the upbringing of his mother, Jijabai. She had raised him to be a man of virtuosity and instilled the values of rectitude in Shivaji. He was always conscious of the honour of the womenfolk. Shivaji was very chivalrous in his behavior towards them. He never gave a free rein to his lust and also expected the same moral high standards from his men. He had issued orders to his army, that no womenfolk were to be touched during raids in the enemy territory. There are records of him having punished even his close relatives for moral misdemeanor against women. There are stories of him returning the captive daughter in law of the muslim governor of Kalyan (who was taken a prisoner during a raid), unharmed and with due honour.Shivaji was a great judge of human character. No wonder he was able to hand pick gems amongst the people that ably supported him in his goal of swarajya. He inspired people with his personal morality and loftiness of aim, and people willingly gave their lives for his cause.Shivajis bravery is also without doubt, after all he dared to challenge the supremacy of two great powers, when his contemporaries preffered meek submission to them. But at the same time Shivaji was never reckless.When times arose, he always thought it prudent to retreat, rather than to risk lives. But after waiting patiently for the right opportunity , he struck back at the enemy with an equal vigour.His military astuteness is also very evident. Shivaji was famous for the swift movements of his army, his shock and awe attacks on the enemy camp, and his gureilla tactics while taking on a powerfull enemy. He ensured that his army always travelled light, unlike the heavy entourage accompanying the Mughals. His armymen were never allowed to take their families along with them. This ensured rapid mobility for his army. Shivaji was also a master tactician, who took into consideration the geographical locations before launching attacks , the enemies weaknesses and streangths (estimated on basis of the information of his ever vigilant spy network).Shivaji was very austere in his tastes. He never spent lavishly constructing magnificent palaces, rather he spent his wealth constructing strong and practical forts which proved a security for his kingdom. Shivaji was devoid of vices. He never indulged himself in the worldly pleasures, rather he preferred spending his time and money on his people and their welfare. He lived his life like a puritan as per the code of morality set up by his mother Jijabai and his spiritual guru Ramdas Swami.Shivajis greatness is not gauged from the territory he added , nor by the treasure he left behind, but as J.Sarkar says, from the survey of the conditions amidst which he rose to sovegreignty. His other achievement was the feeling he gave his Ryot, that the kingdom he has formed is their own kingdom, created for their well being. Shivaji was a devoted son, very respectfull towards his elders and seers, a loving husband, a doting father. Shivaji had in him all the prerequisites of an ideal man (a Maryada Purushottam like Lord Ram)No wonder Shivaji is deified as a demi God (till date) in his state .ADDENDUM
Shivajis Religious policyShivaji though a devout Hindu, had a very liberal policy towards other religions. Shivajis spiritual teacher was Swami Ramdas, whom he had had seated in the Parali fort, later named Sajjangadh. But Shivaji had tremendous reverence towards seers of other faiths as well like Pir Baba Yakut a Sufi saint. Shivajis respect for the holy book Quran is even conceded by his critic the mughal historian Khafi Khan. Shivaji had given standing instructions to his men, that in any encounter, if they came across any holy book including the Quran, it was not to be defiled, but treated with utmost respect. Also religious places belonging to other faiths were not to be desecrated.At the same time Shivaji was a proud Hindu, and was always quick to take up the Hindu cause. When Aurangzeb levied the Jaziya Tax on his non muslim subjects, Shivaji sent him a bold letter castigating him for his intolerance and bigotry. But Shivaji himself never was fanatical about his religion. He never advocated forcefull conversions to Hinduism. He allowed people of other faiths to practice their religion without the fear of persecution. No wonder he had such a large number of Muslim officers in his army, even in the highest ranks.




Pic: Hona, courtesy: Atul Kajale
All the Kings Men
Shivaji was a great judge of human character. He was a great leader who inspired loyalty in his people. Shivajis men willingly laid down their lives for his purpose.There were many a people who rose to prominence in his kingdom and became legends in their own right.Here is a list of some of his celebrated warriors :· Kanhoji Jedhe (Shahajis trusted aide, assisted Shivaji in his early battles)· Gomaji Naik (earlier employee of Lakhuji Jadhavrao. He was sent along with Jijabai to serve the Bhosales.An early aide of Shivaji)· Baji Pasalkar (was one of the earliest aides of Shivaji.He was the deshmukh of Muse Khore. He was one of the earlist martyrs who laid down his life fighting the Adilshahi)· Yesaji Kank(was one of the early aides of Shivaji. He was the killedar of Torna fort)· Phirangoji Narsala (defended Chakan fort against Shaista Khans army)· Netaji Palkar (commander in chief of Shivajis army)· Baji Prabhu Deshpande (laid down his life at Pawan Khind and allowed Shivajis escape from Panhala)· Murar Baji Deshpande (defended fort Purander with his life against Diler Khan the Mughal commander)· Chimnaji Deshpande (was a part of Shivajis team that raided Shaistakhan at Lal Mahal, Pune)· Bapuji Mudgal Deshpande ( wrested Kondana fort by guile from the Adilshahi)· Prataprao Gujar (commander in chief of Shivajis army)· Hambirrao Mohite (commander in chief of Shivajis army)· Tanaji Malusare (laid down his life while capturing Kondana from the Mughals)· Suryaji Malusare (assisted his brother Tanaji in capturing Kondana, spearheaded the Maratha forces after Tanaji fell)· Bahirji Naik (Shivajis famous spy)· Moro Trimbak Pingale (Shivajis Peshwa)· Hiroji Farzand (replaced Shivaji at Agra.Was said to be a look alike of Shivaji)· Jiva Mahala (Shivajis bodyguard who slew Sayyid Banda, associate of Afzal khan)· Sambhaji Kavji (beheaded the escaping Afzal Khan)· Baji Bandal (assisted in the attack on Afzal Khans forces and during the battle of Pawankhind). Sonopant Dabir (He was the foreign secretary of Shivaji, especially during Shivajis early times and was a part of the initial batch of men sent by Shahajiraje to administer the estate. He was later succeeded by his son Trimbakpant).. Annaji Datto was a seasoned administrator and judge in Shivajis kingdom.· Daulat Khan(Shivajis naval Admiral)· Darya Sarang (Shivajis naval commander)· Noor Khan Beg (Shivajis first Sarnobat)· Ibrahim Khan (Shivajis naval commander)· Madari Mehtar (Shivajis bodyguard during Agra visit)· Baji Jedhe (son of Kanhoji Jedhe)· Siddi Hilal (assisted Shivaji during battle of Kolhapur)· Siddi Sambal ( was once in charge of Mughal navy, but fell out with his fellow Siddis (Qasim and Khairiyat of Janjira) and joined Shivaji)· Siddi Misri (nephew of Siddi Sambal, who switched sides to Shivaji along with Siddi Sambal and died in battle for Sambhaji fighting Siddi Qasim of Janjira)· Haider Ali Kohari (he was a warrior and also an Islamic scholar. He also served as Shivajis secretary)· Antaji Konde-Deshmukh (Antaji Konde-Deshmukh was associated with Shivaji in his initial period when Shivaji first came to Pune from Shivneri and got settled in Lal Mahal. It was 1636 when, the family met Jijabai and offered her their own house to stay. He was associated with Bapuji Mudgal deshpande at Khed)· Santaji Ghorpade (was a kinsman of the Ghorpades of Mudhol, also relatives of the royal Bhosales.Ghorpades had been sworn enemies of Shahajiraje and Shivaji, but Santajis father had laid down his life fr the Bhosales, winning their favour. Santaji later played a prominent role after Sambhajis death in battling the mughals)· Dhanaji Jadhav(son of Shambhusingh Jadhav and great grandson of Achaloji the cousin of Jijabai – Acholjis son Santaji and later his son Shambhusingh Jadhav were raised by Jijabai in the royal palace along with Shivaji and later prince Sambhaji respectively. Dhanaji later played a prominent role after Sambhajis death in battling the mughals, along with Santaji Ghorpade. Both were considered a fearsome duo by the enemies of the marathas)· Balaji Avaji Chitnis (Shivajis secretary)· Rango Narayan Orpe Sarpotdar (defeated the Adilshahi army at Vishalgad, later made the killedar of Vishalgad fort)· Kavaji Kondhalkar (First Battle of Shivaji Maharaj – Shirval khot)· Sambhaji Jadhav (laid down his life in the battle of Pawan khind)· Raghunath Ballal (Killed Hanumantrao More of Javli. played an important role during the expedition of Tale, Ghosale, where he fell ill and died).· Vyankoji Datto (played an important role during the expedition of Danda Rajapuri).· Bhimaji Wagh (early aide of Shivaji)· Sambhaji Kate (early aide of Shivaji)· Shivaji Ingle (early aide of Shivaji)· Bhikaji Chor (early aide of Shivaji)· Bhairav Chor (early aide of Shivaji)· Godaji Jagtap-Patil (early aide of Shivaji)· Ragho Atre (early aide of shivaji.Played an prominent role while routing Afzal Khans army)· Hussain Fahn miyan· Siddi Wahwaha· Siddi Ambar wahad· Sultan khan· Daud Khan· Harji Nimbalkar· Maya Naik· Fullaji Prabhu Deshpande· Gangadhar Pant· Keso Narayan Deshpande· Kondaji Farjand· Lay Patil Koli· Ajitsingh Paigude Deshmukh· Neelkanthrao Surnaik· Suryaji Kakade· Yesaji Dabhade· Laksmanrao Paigude Deshmukh· Ramoji Dhamale Deshmukh· Jaswantrao Dalvi, Palvan· Indroji Gawade· Kaldhonde· Kondaji Vadkhale· Krushnaji Bhaskar· Gunoji Darekar· Changoji Kadu· Dhavalekar· Tansavant Bhosale· Tansavant Mavale· Tanaji Tunduskar· Tukoji Kadu· Trimbak Prabhu· Dattaji Idilkar· Nagoji Pralhad· Javaji Mahanlaj· Jamaji Paye· Balajirao Darekar· Bhakaji Dalvi· Mahadji Farzand· Mal Sawant· Munbaji Benmana· Mudholji Sondeo· Yesaji Darekar· Pilaji Gole· Pilaji Sanas· Ram Dalvi· Ramaji More· Vithoji Lad· Sonn Dalve· Hiroji Bhaldar· Hiroji Marathe· Shama Khan· Anandrao Hasham Hazari· Udoji Pawar· Krishnaji Ghatage· Khandoji Jagtap· Gondaji Jagtap· Gunoji Shirke· Jetoji Katkar· Tukoji Nimbalkar· Shivajirao Telangrao sardar· Bhavanrao sardar· Baloji Katkar· Yesaji Katkar· Manaji More· Ramji Kakade· Rupaji Bhosale· Vaghoji Shirke· Venkoji Khandkar· Santaji Jagtap· Niloji Phate· Nimbaji Patole· Parsoji Bhosale· Sambhaji Hanbirao· Savaji Mohite· Amaroji Pandare· Uchale· Krushnaji Bhandade· Keroji Pawar· Chando Narayan· Chando Hirdeo· Janrao Waghmare· Trimbak Vithal· Devaji Ughade· Narsoji Shitole· Nagoji Ballal· Nemaji Shinde· Bayaji Gadadare· Balwantrao Gadkate· Bahirji Ghorpade· Bahirji Vadgare· Balaji Nilkant· Balaji Bahirav· Khemani· Khandoji Atole· Ganesh Tukdeo· Ganesh Shivdeo· Balaji Shivtare· Mahadji Narayanrao· Maloji Thorat· Mudhoji Thorat· Ragho Balal· Ramaji Janardhan· Sankaroji Mane· Hiroji ShelkeBesides these illustrious men there were many unknown soldiers who contributed to Shivajis Swarajya (The freed land) .
Shivajis Council of Ministers
In the early days of Dadoji Kondeo, the council of ministers was composed of four officers only viz. the Peshwa( Chief Minister), the Majumdar(Auditor),the Dabir(Foreign secretary) and the Sabnis(Paymaster). After the death of Dadoji, Shivaji added an Sarnaubat (Master of the horse/ Commander in chief of the army) and a second Dabir to the above four. After the conquest of Javli (1656), the council was further expanded by creating a Surnis (Suprintendent to keep the palace accounts)and a Waqnis (Chronicler) and two distinct commanders for the infantry and the cavalry. After his return from Agra, Shivaji appointed a Lord Justice( Nyayaadheesh) to try all suits in the kingdom according to the Sanskrit lawbooks.By 1674 (at the time of his coronation), the number of ministers had risen to eight, and were known as the Ashta Pradhan (council of eight ministers). The role of these ministers was more or less advisory and Shivaji kept all the strings of the administration in his own hands.[source:J.Sarkar]


Pic: Shivaji coin, courtesy Atul Kajale


Shivajis Army Organisation
Every fort and outpost was placed under three officers of equal status viz. the Havaldar (chief constable), the Sabnis and the Sarnaubat. Stores and provisions of the forts were in charge of the Karkhanis.In the state cavalry (paga),the unit was formed by 25 troopers (bargirs), over 25 men was placed one havaaldar, over 5 havaaldars was one Jumlaadaar, over 10 jumlaadaars (or 1250 men) was one Hazari. Over 5 Hazaris was the Sarnaubat.The Silahdaars or troopers, supplied their own horse and arms and acted under the Sarnaubat.In the infantry, there was one Nayak(corporal) to every nine Paiks(privates), over 5 nayaks one havaldar,over 2-3 havaldars one jumladar, and over 10 jumladars one hazari. Over 7 hazaris were one Sarnaubat of the infantry.Shivajis Revenue system and administrationEarler it was seen that the revenue collectors of the Sultanates (the Patils, Desais,Deshmukhs etc) were powerfull in their own right and at times challenged even the army of their king. They often behaved like tyrants in their fiefs, often harassing the Ryat (citizens). Shivaji therefore saw to it that the castles and armies of these revenue collectors were dismantled. Even the military fief holders were divested of any political power. Their land was subjected to assessment like the fields of the other Ryot . Also was ensured that no one was given proprietary rights over an entire village. The revenue officers were kept on a fixed salary. Thus no individual officer was made powerfull enough and was kept uder the purview of the law as any other citizen.Shivaji also ensured a fixed tax that was to be taken from the Ryat, unlike before. Shivaji provided seeds, fertilizers, soft loans to the farmers.He evenly distributed his land between his subjects. He took into consideration the rain and the harvest before levying his taxes.Shivajis FamilyIn keeping with the prevalent practice of those times, Shivaji had eight wives. His marriages were matrimonial alliances, which got with him the support of the powerfull families of Maharashtra.His first wife was Saibai from the house of Nimbalkars of Phaltan. He married her sometime in 1641(died Sept 1657). She bore him his eldest son Sambhaji and three daughters viz.Sakwarbai aka Savitribai, married to Mahadji Nimbalkar of Phaltan,Ranoobai married in the family of Jadhavraos,Ambikabai married to Harjiraje Mahadik,(later governor of Jinji)His second wife was Sagunabai, a close relative of his commander, Netaji Palkar.She became mother of Rajkunwarbai, who married Ganoji Shirke (he was in the Mughal service).Shivajis third wife was Sakwarbai from the house of Gaikwads (married 10th Jan 1657).She bore a daughter Kamlabai who married the son of Netaji Palkar. Sakwarbais brother Sakhoji was blinded by Shivaji allegedly for moral misdemeanor.Shivajis fourth wife was Kashibai (died 6th Feb 1674), from the family of Jadhavraos. She had no issues.Shivajis fifth wife was Putlabai (married 15th April 1657) from the Ingle family. Putlabai performed Sati on the death of Shivaji.Shivajis sixth wife was Soyrabai from the family of Mohites. She bore him a son Rajaram and a daughter, Dadubai aka Balubai. Soyrabai died on 27th Oct 1681, allegedly after being imprisoned by Sambhaji after she tried instating her son Rajaram on the throne after the death of Shivaji.Rajaram succeeded the throne after the death of Sambhaji.Shivaji had two more wives Laxmibai and Gunwantabai. Not many details are available about them.

* Achalgiri* Ahivantgad* Ankole-Koat* Kurudu or Mandargad* Kushtarga Koat* Kechar Koat* Kopalgad* Kondhana or Shingad* Khelna or Vishalgad* Dhangad* Chandan* Chaud or Prasanngad* Jaygad* Javalegad* Jivdhan* Mahulegad* Mangalur Koat* Yelbargigad* Rasalgad* Rangana or Parshidhagad* Rohidagad* Thakarigad* Tanvada* Trimbak or Shrigad* Noobadgad* Panalgad* Paraligad or Sajjangad* Pali or Sarasgad* Pandavgad* Purandhar* Phonda Koat* Bahadurgad* Bhorap or Sudhagad* Madgirigad* Manohargad* Masitwade or Mangad* Vandangad* Shiveshavar Koat* Satargad* Salerigad* Salobhagad* Lavadkoat* Linganagad* Lohagad* Valabhagad* Hadpsar or Parvatgad* Harushgad* HaliyalForts Shivahi built / reconstructed* Anjanveli* Kthorgad* Kankandrigad* Kapalgad* Kamargad* Kamalgad* Kalanidhigad* Kambalgad* Kangori or Mangalgad* Kanchangad* Kangorigad* Kunjargad* Kelanja* Kothalagad* Kohajgad* Kholgad* Gagangad* Gajendragad* Gadagad* Gahangad* Gandharvagad* Gambhirgad* Janjire Kulaba* Janjire Khanderi* Janjire Ratanagiri* Bhaskargad* Bhivgad* Janjire Vijayduraga* Janjire Shindhuduraga* Janjire Suvarnadurga* Dholagad* Tikona or Vitandgad* Tunggad or Kathingad* Torana or Prachandgad* Dahigad* Nargundgad or Mahadgad* Nanchanagad* Nakgad* Patgad* Patakagad* Padmagad* Pavitragad* Pargad* Pavangad* Prachitgad* Pratapgad* Prondagad* Balvantgad* Bahiravgad or saranga* Bahulgad* Baleraja* Botgiri Koat* Ramsejgad* Rudramalgad* Bhudargad* Bhushangad* Machaindragad* Madangad* Mardangad* Manranjangad* Mahindragad* Mayorgad or Navalgund* Mahipatgad* Mahipalgad* Mahimangad* Mangalgad* Mandangad* Mandargad* Manikgad* Murgod* Mohangad* Yelurkoat* Rajegad* Ravalagad* Rajkot* Rajgad* Ramdurga* Sundargad* Sevanagad* Sevakgad* Lokalgad* Loanjagad* Vardhangad* Vangad* Vasantgad* Valabhagad* Varugad* Vasota or Vyagragad* Virgad or Ghosala* Vairatgad* Venktgad* Shrigaldavagad* Shrimantgad* Shrivardangad* Sabalgad* Sargad* Sahangad* Samangad* Sarangagad* Sindhichangad* Sidhagad* Subakargad* Sumangad* Surgad* Songad*HarishachandragadOther Gadkot forts in Kingdom of Shivaji* Arkotgad* Karnatakagad* Kasturigad* Kevalgad* Krishnagiri chandi* Krushnagiri gad* Kujargad* Gagangad* Gavargad chandi* Chavi kot* chelgadchandi* Chintahar kot* Jagadevgad* Trichandikot* Trikalur* Trimalkot* Devgad* Prabalgad* Prangad* Bahiravgad* Birge Valugugad* Madgad* Mangad* Malakarajungad* Malharrajgad* Martandgad* Yeshvantgad* Ratangad* Ranjangad* Ramgad* Lavvad chandi* Vishalgad* Vetaval or kemal* Vrudhacalkot* Devanapati kot* Sarangadchandi* Sidhagad* Sudarshangad* Subhakot* NilsajitgadForts in Karanataka Region* Shrivardhangad* Ahinijadurga* Akatigad* Arajungad* Bramagad* Bhanjangad* Banturgad* Bhaskargad* Kattargad* Kailasgad* Kolar Kadim* Kolhar* Ganeshgad* Chandangad* Thamakurkoat* Durgamgad* Nandigad* Padavirgad* Palegad* Pimpala or Prakashgad* Balapur Bhor* Bindanur* Bhuravdgad* Bundikot* Bhimagad Near Kapsheri* Bhumandangad* Makarandgad* Mardangad* Mandonmattgad chandi* Mahipalgad* Mahimandangad* Mukhanegad Kotvel* Mej Kolhargad* Yelur Kot* Rajgad Chandi* Vajragad* Saragad* Soamshankargad* Hatmalgad

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THE BENGAL DYNASTIES: A CHRONOLOGY

The Hindu Kings of Bengal


Bengal in the ancient times consisted of regions of the various Mahajanpadas (great kingdoms) viz. Magadha, Pundra (west Bengal state in india),Vanga(east banga- present day country Bangladesh), Anga(parts of Bengal and present central Bihar state),Suhma(comprising of regions of both east and west Bengal).

The neighbouring present day state of Orissa were called Kalinga,Videha being parts of Nepal country,present day Assam(Ahom) was known as Pragjyotisha in Mahabharata and Kamarupa in the first millenium, present state of Tripura was known as Kirat pradesh(Twipra).

In the ancient times the first recorded king of Anga was
Karna the half brother of the Pandavas who fought on the side of the Kauravas in the great war of Kurukshetra.
Other two rulers of Vanga mentioned are
Samudrasena ,Chadrasena and Tamralipta. Also, Paundraka Vasudeva, an ally of Jarasandha and enemy of Lord Vasudeva Krishna is mentioned as king of Pundra and the Kiratas.
Probably all these rulers owned parts of Vanga. All of them were mentioned as ruling the neighbouring kingdoms of Vanga, in other passages in Mahabharata.
Bhagadatta was the ruler of Pragjyotisha Kingdom to the north of Vanga. Paundraka Vasudeva ruledPundra kingdom to the east of Vanga and Karna ruled Anga kingdom to the west of Vanga.

The origins of the Magadha empire dwell into mythology. The earlist known dynasty of Magadha was (As in Vayu Purana and Matsya Purana ) the
Brihadrata dynasty(1700-799 BC approximated hypothesis), followed by the Pradyota dynasty(799-684BC approx.),
Then the historical recorded dynasties start. With the earliest being the
Shishunagas (684-424 BC),then the Nandas(424-321 BC), followed by the Mauryas(324-184 BC),later by the Sungas(185-73 BC),and subsequently by the Kanavas(73-26 BC).
The Anno Domini period was dominated by the
Gupta dynasty (240-550 AD).


Note: The Magadhan kings need not be discussed here in detail, as Bengal was just a part of the grand Magadhan empire. The Magadhans will be covered elaborately in a separate feature.

After the Guptas, the dominion of Bengal gained its independence and was known as the Gauda kingdom.
The first historically recorded king of Gauda (as per inscriptions found in Midnapore and Egra near Kharagpur, Harshavardhana’s Banskhera and Madhuvan copper plates and the Nidhanpur copper plate of the Kamarupa king Bhaskaravarmana, besides the seal-matrix of Shri Mahasamanta Shashanka from Rohtasgarh and the contemporary literary accounts of Banabhatta and the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang and the Buddhist text Aryamanjushrimulakalpa are important sources of information.) was said to be Shashanka, who ruled around 600-625 AD. He was said to be a contemporary and adversary of King Harshavardhana of Thaneshwar. The kingdom of Bengal was then known as Gauda ( territory between the river Padma and the region of Bardhaman).
Karnasuvarna was the capital of Shashanka and the famous metropolis was situated near Chiruti railway station close to rajbadidanga (i.e the site of Raktamrttika-mahavihara or modern Rangamati) in the Murshidabad district, West Bengal.
Accounts of Banabhatta and Hsiun Tsang allude to the fact that Shashanka was responsible for the murder of Rajyavardhana the King of Thaneshwar and the elder brother of Harshavardhan.
Soon after Shashanka’s demise, his kingdom fell apart, and was captured by Harshavardhana and his ally Bhaskarvarmana.
After an turbulent hiatus, the famous dynasty of the Palas ruled Bengal.

 

Pala dynasty
Gopala(AD750-770)
Dharmapala(AD 770-810)
Devapala(AD 810-850)
Shurapala/Mahendrapala(AD 850 – 854)
Vigrahapala(AD 854 – 855)
Narayanapala(AD 855 – 908)
Rajyapala(AD 908 – 940)
Gopala II(AD 940-960)
Vigrahapala II(AD 960 – 988)
Mahipala(AD 988 – 1038)
Nayapala(AD 1038 – 1055)
VigrahapalaIII(AD 1055 – 1070)
Mahipala II(AD 1070 – 1075)
Shurapala II(AD 1075 – 1077)
Ramapala(AD 1077 – 1130)
Kumarapala(AD 1130 – 1140)
Gopala III(AD 1140 – 1144)
Madanapala(AD 1144 – 1162)
Govindapala(AD 1162 – 1174)


Gopala I: (AD 750-770) was the first Buddhist king of Bengal. He was elected to office to create a semblance of normalcy, amidst a long period of anarchy. He was an established military commander and was elected as a king by the various chieftains of the region.
Dharmapala: (AD 770-810) was the son and successor of Gopala. Dharmapala defeated the Pratihara king Indraraja or Indrayudha of Kannauj and deposed him, and placed Chakrayudha on the throne of Kannauj.
Later, however, Dharmapala was defeated by Vatsaraja of the Pratihara dynasty, to whom he lost even his base, Gauda. But Vatsaraja himself was in turn defeated by King Dhruva of the Rashtrakutas (dynasty from western India) who later also clashed with Dharmapala and defeated him but Dhruva soon left for Deccan and thus Dharmapala did not lose much in this quick chain of events, but these events had left the Pratiharas weakened and this indirectly helped Dharmapala.
Dharmapala soon deposed the Pratiharas to establish his hegemony over northern India.
Later, Nagabhatta II of Pratihara had deposed Chakrayudha of Kanauj, a protégé of Dharmapala, which event brought Dhrampala into military conflict with Nagabhata at Monghyr. Dharmapala suffered a defeat but curiously enough, history repeated itself and Pratihara invader Nagabhata himself was soon subdued by Govinda III of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.
But this did not lessen Dharmapalas control over northern India in anyway. He remained the undisputed ruler of Bengal and Bihar. The kingdoms of Kanauj,Madra,Gandhara,Nepal,Rajputana ,Malwa remained his feudatories.
Devapala : (AD 810-850) was the son and successor of Dharmapala. He was several military conquests to his credit, and ruled a large territory in India. He subdued Pragjyotisha (Assam) where the king submitted without giving a fight and the Utkalas whose king fled from his capital city. He routed the Hunas located in south-east Punjab in Uttarapatha. His military encounter with Kamboja ( North-West Frontier /Trans-Indus territory) is also mentioned though not the result. Thereafter, Devapala defeated king Ramabhadra of the Pratiharas and later the Bhojas. Devapala also vanquished the Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha.. It is further claimed that he humbled the rulers Dravida (southern India) too.
Mahendrapala: (850 – 854) Was the son of Devapala. He succeeded his father to the throne and ruled for four years.
Vigrahapala: (854 – 855) was the successor to the Pala king Mahendrapala, and fifth ruler of the Pala line reigning for just one year. Vigrahapala was the son of Jayapala and grandson of Dharmapala’s brother Vakpala.
Narayanapala: (855-908) He succeeded Vigrahapala. He ruled almost for 53 years.
Rajyahapala: (908 – 940) was the successor to Narayanpala, and seventh ruler of the Pala line reigning for 32 years.
Gopala II : (940-960) was the successor to the Rajyapala , and eighth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 20 years.
Vigrahapala II : (960 – 988) was the successor to the Gopala II, and ninth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 22 years.
Mahipala: (AD 988 – 1038) was another famous king in the Pala line. During the reigns of Gopala II and Vigrahapala , the two immediate predecessors of Mahipala, Bengal had to face repeated invasions of the Chandellas and the Kalachuris, the new powers that arose out of the ruins of the Pratihara empire in northern India. Mahipala checked a passible disintegration of the Pala line and possibly revived the dynasty.
After his ascension to the throne, the Pala kingdom had been reduced to south Bihar only. He successfully wrested northern and western Bengal back from the Kambojas. He later regained north Bihar also. He also resisted a attack from Rajendra Chola of the south.
Nayapala : (1038 – 1055) is the name of eleventh ruler of the Pala dynasty.
Vigrahapala III: (1055 – 1070) was the successor to the Nayapala, and twelfth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 15 years.
Mahipala II: (1070 – 1075) was the successor to the Vigrahapala III, and thirteenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 5 years.
Shurapala II : (1075 – 1077) was a ruler of thePala empire in northeast India. He was the successor to the Pala king Mahipala II and fourteenth ruler of the Pala line, reigning for two years.
Ramapala: (AD 1077 – 1130) was the successor to the Shurapala, and fifteenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 53 years. He is recognised as the last great ruler of the dynasty. He restored much of the past glory of the Pala lineage. He crushed the Varendra rebellion and extended his empire farther to Kamarupa (Assam), Orissa and Northern India. He was succeeded by Kumarapala.
Kumarapala: (1130 – 1140) was the successor to the Ramapala, and sixteenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 10 years.
Gopala III : (1140 – 1144) was the successor to the Kumarapala, and seventeenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 4 years.
Madanapala: (1144 – 1162) was the successor to the Gopala III , and eighteenth ruler of Pala lineage reigning for 18 years. Madanapala, lost north Bengal to the Senas sometime after his 8th regnal year and his rule towards the closing years of his reign was confined to parts of Bihar only. Govindapala: (AD 1162 – 1174) and Palapala were reduced to small principalities. Govindapala is said to be the last ruler of the Pala dynasty. He was defeated probably by Ballala sena of the Sena dynasty.

Sena dynasty

The Senas started a feudatories (Radha region) of the Palas, but soon usurped power to start their own royal dynasty. The founder of the dynasty was Hemantasena.
During the rein of Mahipala II, Vijayasena , successor of Hemantasena ,took advantage of a regional samanta revolt in the Varendra region ( presently in Bangladesh). He gradually consolidated his position (through a matrimonial alliance with the daughter of the king of Orissa) in Western Bengal and ultimately assumed an independent position during the reign of Madanapala.
One important aspect of Sena rule in Bengal is that the whole of Bengal was brought under a single rule for the first time in its history.
The Senas originally belonged to the Karnata country (Karnatadeshatagata) in South India, the Kannada or Kanarese speaking region in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh of India, and they were Brahma-Kshatriyas (those who were Brahmanas first and became Kshatriyas afterwards).

The Sena dynasty:
Hemanta Sena (1070 AD)
Vijaya Sena (1096-1159 AD)
Ballala Sena (1159 – 1179 AD)
Lakshamana Sena (1179 – 1206 AD)
Vishvarupa Sena (1206 – 1225 AD)
Keshava Sena (1225-1230 AD)

Vijaya sena : declared independence from the Palas after defeating Madanapala (1152-53). Vijaysena established his own supremacy in the north and north western regions of Bengal. Vijaysena then extended his hold over Bihar and Vanga (south east Bengal) in the east.
By the middle of the 12 th century AD, Vijaysena had surmounted the Varmans and succeeded in establishing rule over entire Bengal. He had a long reign of 62 years (1096-1159 AD).
Ballala sena : succeeded his father Vijayasena. He struck the final blow to the Palas when he defeated Govindapala the last ruler of the Pala dynasty. Also in the lifetime of his father Ballalsena had conquered Mithila. Ballalasena was also a great scholar and credited with the work ‘Danasagara’. He ruled for almost 20 years (1159 – 1179 AD).
Lakshmana sena: had defeated the kings of Gauda and Varanasi, and led expeditions in Kamarupa(Assam) and Kalinga (Orissa), while he was still the prince. He ascended the throne at a fairly latter age.
His reign was famous for many litrerary works. He completed’Adbhusagara’, the work left incomplete by his father. He also penned several poems in Sanskrit. His court was the assembly for several poets of his time like Jyadeva and Sridhardasa. His chief minister and chief justice Halayudha Mishra wrote the work, ‘Brahmanasarvasva’. Another courtier, Umapatidhara wrote the Deopara Prashasti and also wrote many poems.
Unlike his predecessors who were Shaivaites, Lakshamanasena was a Vaishnavaite.
In 1203-1204 AD, the Turkish general Muhmd. Bakhtiyar Khilji attacked Nabadweep. Though he defeated Lakshman Sen, he failed to conquer Bengal.
Lakshamanasena died in 1206.
He was succeeded by his sons Vishwarupsena (1206 – 1225 AD)
and Keshavasena (1225-1230 AD) one after the other, before the dynasty faded into history.

Deva dynasty

Deva Dynasty ruled in Samatata region (eastern part of Bengal) with Devaparvata as their capital. The dynasty is now known in greater details from the Mainamati excavations (8th – 9th centuries AD), after coins (gold,silver,copper), terracotta clay sealings and copper plates were discovered in large quantities.
The Devas are known for their three great Buddhist establishments viz. Shalvan vihara, Ananda vihara and the Bhoja vihara

Deva dynasty:
1.Shri Shantideva
2.Shri Viradeva , son
3. Shree Anandadeva ,the latters son by wife Somadevi.
4. Shri Bhavadeva, the last known king of that dynasty..

The Devas , were the last Hindu dynasty to rule briefly in eastern Bengal. They faded by the mid-fourteenth century.


Ikhtiar ud din Muhammed Bin Bakhtiyar led the first Turkic invasion into India. He defeated the Sena king Lakshamana sena at his capital, Nabadweep in 1203 or 1204, but wasn’t able to surmount entire Bengal.
The Turkics and the Pashtuns ruled Bengal turn by turn until finally paving way for the Mughals (except for a period when Bengal was ruled by the Pashtun king Sher Shah Suri and his dynasty). Later, Bengal once again became a Mughal dominion and remained so, untill the advent of the Europeans.

To follow:
Islamic Kings of Bengal.
European Rule in Bengal.

To be concluded……..

 

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NIZAMSHAHI DYNASTY OF AHMEDNAGAR : A CHRONOLOGY

 

Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I (1490 – 1508) Mailk Ahmad was the son of Nizam-ul-Mulk Malik Hasan Bahri the prime minister of Ahmednagar(after whom the Nizamshahi dynasty is named, a converted Brahmin).When Nizam ul Mulk Malik was murdered, his son, Malik Ahmed was the governor of the Bahamani state of Junnar (near Pune). Malik Ahmed had earlier extended his dominion further upto Purander and was on the verge of conquering the Konkan when he heard about the assasination of his father. Malik immediately declared independence from the Bahamani kingdom(under Mahmud Shah Bahamani) and made Junnar his capital. He vanquished the generals of the Bahamani state like Sheikh Muwalid the arab and later Jehangir Khan.Convinced of having kept the Bahamanis at bay, Malik Ahmed went on and founded the city of Ahmednagar on the banks of river Sina in 1490 and transferred his capital there. Later Malik Ahmad Shah captured fort Daulatabad in 1499. He succesfully established the powerfull Nizamshahi state untill his death by illness (1508).
Burhan Shah I (1508– 1553) After the death of Malik Shah, his seven year old son Burhan was made the king .Mukkamal Khan an courtier acted as the regent till Burhan matured. Mukkamal Khan loyally warded of attacks against his infant king from within and outside the state of Ahmednagar. He subdued the king of Berar in 1510. In his youth, Burhan married a dancing girl Amina and she introduced him to a world of earthly pleasures. Unable to control the young king, his minister Mukkamal Khan resigned from his post( 1523).Later Burhan Shah contracted a marraige with Bibi Marium the daughter of Yusuf Adil Shah, the progenitor of Adilshahi dynasty of Bijapur. However the dowry(the region of Solapur) promised by Yusuf was repudiated by his son Ismail, which irked Burhan and he decided to make Aminas son his successor. Burhan shah even turned into a Shia muslim inviting a ire from his own sunni nobles and the neighbouring kingdoms. But Burhan Shah managed to thwart their attempts. Burhan Shah later conquered Sholapur and Kalyani from Bijapur with the help of Ramraya the king of Vijaynagar. Just when it seemed he would conquer Bijapur, Burhan Shah fell ill and died in 1553.
Hussain Shah I (1553 – 1565) (son of Amina) succeeded his father Burhan Shah. Hussain Shahs forces(alligned with the Golkunda sultan) lost Kalyani to the combined forces of Bijapur and Vijaynagar. Husain Shah never forgave Vijaynagar for the defeat he faced at their hands. Meanwhile, the Vijaynagar forces for their help to Bijapur, forced Ali Adil Shah to cede them the districts of Etgir and Bagrakot. The Vijaynagar king Ramraya also took Kowilconda, Pangal and Guntur from the king of Golconda.This irked the Deccan sultanates and they combined forces against Vijaynagar.Hussain Shah even gave his daughter Chandbibi in marraige to Adilshah along with Sholapur as the dowry, in order to buy peace with Bijapur. Then,Hussain Shah of Ahmednagar along with the other sultanates of Deccan destroyed the Vijaynagar kingdom in the battle of Talikota(1564). But Hussain Shah didnt live long enough to enjoy the success of Talikota. He died in a years time.

Murtaza Shah (1565 – 1588) succeded his father as a minor. He was assisted in his rule by his mother Khanzada Humayun Sultana. When Murtuza reached manhood, he annexed Berar in 1574,imprisoning and killing its ruler Burhan Imad Shah. (Meanwhile) As per a treaty Bijapur was allowed to eat into Vijaynagar. His brother Burhan Shah II also conspired against him, but after a failed plot fled to the safety of the mughals, leaving behind his children Ismail and Ibrahim. It is said during his last years Murtuza had gone insane.
Miran Hussain (1588 – 1589) his son succeeded Murtuza after murdering his father, but only for 10 months. He was imprisoned and killed by his Persian minister Mirza khan.
Ismail Shah (1589 – 1591) an cousin(son of Burhan Shah II) of Miran, succeeded him, but the real power rested with Jamal Khan (who had earler killed Mirza khan and become regent for Ismail Shah, the son of Burhan shah II) . Burhan Shah II attacked Jamal Khan along with the mughal forces.Jamal Khan was later killed in the battle of Rohankhed in 1591 . The young king, Ismail also was deposed by Burhan Shah his father who himself ascended the throne of Ahmednagar.
Burhan Shah II (1591 – 1595) brother of Murtuza Nizam Shah, who was earlier sheltered by the mughal emperor Akbar ascended the throne after deposing his son Ismail. His attempts at reviving the Ahmednagar failed. He was defeated by the Portuguese at Bewanda and later by the Bijapuris after his failed attempt to capture Sholapur. He died soon after in 1595 by Dysentry.
Ibrahim Shah (1595 – 1596)succeeded his father Burhan.He appointed his fathers former tutor Mian Manju as his minister. Soon rivalry amongst his nobles reached their zenith. Mian Manju belonged to the foreigner group while his rival Yekhlas khan formed the local Deccani group.Taking advantage of the situation, Bijapur attacked Ahmednagar. But Ibrahim died within a few months of his rule amidst a battle against the Bijapur Sultanate (allegedly in a drunken stupor).
Ahmad Shah II (1596) a son of an imposter Shah Tahir, was appointed by Mian Manju, the minister of Ibrahim shah. But this move was opposed by the Deccan courtiers led by Yekhlas Khan. Mian Manju invited help from the Mughals to counter the deccanis, but sensing the vast opposition to this move, he fled with Ahmad Shah II and the Ahmednagar noblemen invited Chandbibi to act as the new regent.
Bahadur Shah (1596 – 1600) Chand Bibi , the aunt of Ibrahim Shah, proclaimed Bahadur, the infant son Ibrahim Shah as the Sultan and she became the regent. In 1596, the Mughal attack led by Prince Murad was bravely repulsed by Chand Bibi

(Chand bibi was the daughter of Hussain Nizam Shah. she was also the widow of Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur1558-80. She was childless.
The daughter, wife and sister of kings, she united in her person the highest quaulities
of both the Bijapur and Ahmadnagar houses. When her husband was killed in 1580, his nephew Ibrahim Adil Shah was raised to the throne of Bijapur. To Chand Bibi was entrusted the care of his person. The care of the state was entrusted to a certain Kamil Khan. In no long time Kamil Khan aspired to usurp the throne, and to seduce Chand Bibi. She scornfully rejected her wooer’s suit and planned his destruction. With the aid of a certain Kishwar Khan, she overthrew the regency of Kamil Khan. But Kishwar Khan had no sooner displaced Kamil Khan than he began to follow his example. He assume the government of the state ; and when Chand Bibi opposed
his ambition, he had her driven from the royal harem and confine in the fortress of Satara, destined long afterwards to be the hereditary prison of Shivaji’s descendants. But the power
of Chand Bibi made itself felt through the stone walls of a distant stronghold. The mob rose against Kishwar Khan as the jailer of their beloved queen and drove him from the city. They
then released Chand Bibi, brought her back in triumph and once more entrusted to her care the person of the young king. In 1584, the widowed queen, disgusted at the turbulence of the
Bijapur nobles, left that city to visit her brother Murtaza Nizam Shah. For ten years she resided at Ahmadnagar and her name was now put forward to conduct the administration .
extract History of the Maratha People , Kincaid).

After the death of Chand Bibi in July, 1600, (She was killed by an irate mob of Ahmednagar soldiers when a rumour was circulated that Chandbibi was striking a deal with the Mughals to effect a surrender) ,Ahmadnagar was conquered by the Mughals and Bahadur Shah was imprisoned.
Murtaza Shah II 1600 – 1610 had made Malik Ambar his vazir and he weilded the power in Ahmednagar . Malik Ambar(Abyssinian minister) defied the Mughals and declared Murtaza Shah II a descendent of Bahadur Shah, as sultan in 1600 at a new capital Paranda. Malik Ambar became prime minister of Ahmadnagar. The capital was first shifted to Junnar and then to a new city Khadki (later known as Aurangabad, constructed by Malik Amber. Aurangabad flourished under mughal prince Aurangzeb who later came as the governor of Deccan).

Malik Ambar was born in the city of Alhura in a Habshi tribe of Maya, the capital of the ebbing Adal sultanate( eastern Ethiopia). Malik Ambar childhood name was Shan-bu. He was sold into slavery by his parents. He soon ended up in Al mukha in Yemen, where he was re sold and was taken to the slave market inBaghdad .There he was sold again to the Qadi al qudat at Mecca and again in Baghdad to Mir Qasim al-Baghdadi, who eventually took him to western India. Malik Ambar is said to be the pioneer of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. he had grown up in its hills and was well aware of its every nook and corner. He trained the Marathas in guerilla warfare, and tranformed them into excellent riders, warriors, and masters of surprise attacks on the enemy. Malik Ambar restored some credibility to the Sultans of Ahmadnagar, who had earlier been subdued by the Mughals ( when Akbar had annexed Ahmadnagar). He kept the sovereignity of the Ahmednagar throne intact, till his last breath.

Malik Ambar died (1626) an old man adroitly, resisting the mughal onslaught for several years.

Burhan Shah III 1610 – 1631 succeeded Murtaza. There was friction between him and his vazir Fatah Khan, son of Malik Amber. Fatah khan murdered Burhan Shah III, and installed Burhan Shahs infant son, Hussain Shah as the king.Fateh Khan acted as his regent. Shahaji raje Bhosale was made the commander in chief of the Ahmadnagar forces.
Hussain Shah II 1631 – 1633 was handed over to the mughals after the defeat of Fatah Khan at the hands of the Mughals. Both were taken as prisoners to the north .Some historians say Fatah Khan was bribed by the mughals and sent away.
Murtaza Shah III 1633 – 1636 Shahaji raje Bhosale (father of Shivaji) defied the mughals and installed a puppet prince Murtuza III, a infant descendent of Nizam Shah, on the Ahmednagar throne and acted as his regent until his defeat at the hands of the combined forces of the Mugals under Shah Jahan and Bijapur sultanate. Murtuza was later handed over to the mughals after the defeat.
Nizamshahi sultanate of Ahmadnagar ceased to exist after 1636.

Sources: ‘History of Maratha People’ by C.A.Kincaid,Humphrey Milford Oxford Press.

‘History of the Mahrathas’ by James Grant Duff, Bombay Press.

Acknowledgements: Atul Kajale , Rajesh Khilari.

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AFGHANISTAN HISTORY TIMELINE

ARYANS (6000-2500 BC…this is an approximation.some date arrival of aryans 10,000 BC).They crossed the Hindukush mountains and settled in the Indus valley. The inhabitants, probably Dravidians were pushed down south. The Aryans further spread into India and into Iran by 1500 BC (approximation). Kandahar then known as Gandhara finds a mention in the epic Mahabharata. The mother of the Kauravas , Gandhari was the princess of Gandhara.
SAKAS (1000-800 BC) Scythians (Sakas) spoke Eastern Iranian language of Bactria, somewhat like Pashtu/Avestian, living in eastern Iran today’s in today’s Afghanistan living among other Aryanic tribes. Their home was known as Sakastan which is today’s Nimroz province at their capital of .Saka tribe made a new turning point to Indus valley from 250 BCE-50 BCE .They are known as Indo-Scythians. (Refer to my article on the Sakas:Indo scythians, for more details).
TACCHARIDS
KUSHANS (30-220 AD) The Kushans were known as the Koshani tribe living in the Takharistan (Takhar, northern province of Afghanistan). It is not known how much the Takharis had common with Bactrians. Each village had its own leader and each lived according to its own rules until the Koshani leader succeeded in bringing all leaders under his command and thus the Kushan kingdom is born.

King Kujala kadphesis for the first time crosses the Hindu Kush and captures Kabul.
Kujala Kadphises II expanded the empire by capturing northern India and there after travels up to China to capture the now famous silk road.
Kanishka, a succesor, moves his capital city from north of HinduKush to south (India).
(Refer to my article on Kushans for more details)
SASSANIDS (220 AD)the Sasanian king Ardashir I overthrew the Parthians, he marched to the east and invaded Bactria (220 AD). Under him and his son Shapur I.
The Kushans lost the western part of their empire and these provinces in Bactria and Gandhara came under the rule of Sasanian nobles called Kushanshahs. Around 320s Kushan lost almost all of her territories to the Sassanians during Shapur II’s reign.
KUSHANSHAHS:
.230
Sassanid ruler Ardashir I controls the region directly as part of his Persian empire.
c.245
In around this year, Shapur devolves direct rule in Afghanistan by creating a buffer state which is governed by the Kushanshahs.
c.245 – c.270
Peroz I
c.270 – c.295
Hormazd / Hormizd I
Sassanid ruler (272-273)?
c.270
In Gandhara, Hormazd issues coins, possibly in the names of his governors ‘Kavad’ and ‘Meze’ (if these are indeed the names of governors and not titles or something else which remains unknown). It may be that the governor of Gandhara at this time is Vasudeva IV, one of the last of the
Kushan nobility.
c.295 – c.300
Hormazd / Hormizd II
Sassanid ruler (302-309).
c.300 – c.325
Peroz II
Begins to assert independent control.
325
With Peroz II beginning to pull away from
Sassanid control, the Persian ruler Shapur II divides the realm, assuming direct control of the southern areas of Afghanistan (including Merv (in modern Turkmenistan), Herat and then Gandhara), while the Kushanshahs continue to rule in the north. With events in the east frequently being poorly documented, there is some doubt about the identity of the Shapur who carries this out. It is probably Shapur II, but it may instead be a governor, or even Shapur’s older brother, who bears the same name.
c.325 – c.350
Varhran I
In the north only.
c.350
The
Sassanids end the Kushanshah drift towards independence by reasserting their control. Kushanshah rulers remain on the throne as vassals.

c.350 – c.400
Varhran II
Vassal of the
Sassanids.
c.350 – c.400
Peroz III
In Gandhara. A rival claimant or opponent to
Sassanid rule?
c.400 – c.410
Varhran III
Vassal of the
Sassanids.
c.410 – 565
Despite being bordered by the powerful
Guptas to the east and the Sassanids to the west. Kushanshah vassal rule of the region is displaced from the north, as the Hephthalites, or White Huns, invade and conquer Bactria and Gandhara.
565 – 652
The White Huns are in turn defeated by an alliance of the
Western Kaghans and the Sassanids, and a level of Indo-Sassanid authority is re-established in the region for the next century. The Western Kaghans set up rival states in Bamiyan, Kabul, and Kapisa.
[source:www.historyfiles.co.uk]
KIDARITES :during the middle of the 4th century a Kushan tribe in northern eastern Afghanistan and NWFP, named Kidara, rose to power and overthrew the Sassanian nobles.By 410 AD Kushans were pushed into the Indian border by another Afghan tribe by the name of (Abidali) Ephthalites(Hephthalites).
HEPHTHALITES (410 AD) were Eastern Iranian people from tribe of Ephthlie (Or Abadhali), living in present-day Afghanistan speaking Eastern Iranian language (Bactrian, Scythian, Avestaian or Pashtu/Afghan). Ephthalites are one of the other biggest tribe of Afghanistan known as Abadhali.
The Hephthalites history goes back to the days of conflicts with Kushans (Hephathalites being supporters of Sassanians), (220 AD). It was around end of Kushan rule (250 AD) that first conflicts occured with Sassanians who had already captured the western parts of Kushan Empire. From 300 –390 the Ephthalite tribe changed hands with Kushanshahi’s, Kidarites, Sassanians or Kushans. They remained calm until 400 AD. From 400 AD-440 AD Hephthalite tribe took control of Eastern Iran from Kidarites driving them to Peshawar , where the Kidarites would recover (455-470 AD) and this time attacked Gupta Empire (after the death of Gupta emperor), taking control of northern India for 30 years (470-500AD).From 450-480 AD the Hephthalites further took Sogdian (Samarkand), and Bokhara to the north. The Hephthalites moved closer and closer toward Persian territory, in 484 the Hephthalite chief Akhshunwar led his army attacked the Sassanian King Peroz (459-484) and the king was defeated and killed in Khurasan having captured Tehran to the west. The Hephthalites, at the time, became the superpower of the Middle Asia. They did not only destroyed part of Sassanian Empire in Iran but also intervened in their dynastic struggles when the Sassanid royal, Kavad (488-496), was fighting for the throne with Balash, brother of Peroz. Kavad married the niece of the Hephthalites chief and the Hephthalites aided him to regain his crown in 498. The Hephthalites chose Badakshan as their summer residence. Their chiefs lived north of the Hindu Kush, migrating seasonally from Bactria where they spent the winter.

With the stabilization at the western and northern border, the Hephthalites extended their influence to the North-East inoto the Tarim Basin and border of China. From 493 to 556 A.D., they invaded Khotan, Kashgar, Kocho, and Karashahr. The relationship with Juan-juan and China were tightened. The Chinese record indicated that between 507 and 531, the Hephthalites sent thirteen embassies to Northern Wei (439-534) by the king named Ye-dai-yi-li-tuo.

From 570-500 Kidarites remained to control northern India, Hephthalites had little worry about Eastern border it was then that Hephthalites had to face the strong Gupta Empire of India who recaptured power from Kidarites. From 505-520 AD Ephthalites joined hands with Kidarites and invaded India, they are also known as Indo-Hephthalites, or Alchons. The Indo-Hephthalites remained in control of Northern India until 600 AD.
Between 557 to 561 Persian King Chosroes allied with A Turkic tribe from central Asia (Turkistan region). Chorsoes wanted to profit from the situation to take revenge over the defeat of his grandfather Peroz; he married a daughter of the nomadic chief and allied himself with them against the Hephthalite tribe. The chief Sinjibu was the strongest of the Turkic tribes and had the largest number of troops. Attacked on the two sides, from the north by Turks and from the west by Sassanians the Hephthalite Empire were completely broken and surrendered, by 565 only the small Indo-Hephthalite Independent Kingdome survived in Northern India. Some surviving groups to the Oxus did not surrender and escaped Chosroes’ grasp, and fled to the west and may have been the ancestors of the later Avars in the Danube region.

Shahi Kingdom of ZabulistanAD 565 – 962
The kingdom of Zabulistan was based at Kabul and was created by the
Western Kaghans when they aided the Sassanids in clearing out White Hun control of the region. Later a fairly extensive empire stretching east towards the Himalayas, the Hindu Shahi kingdom, as it became known, survived the Islamic Empire‘s conquest of Persia in 652, but eventually fell under the control of the Samanid emirate after 900.
652
Large areas of the territory (mostly western Afghanistan and large swathes of
Khorasan) are conquered by the Islamic empire as it takes Persia, although Kabul remains independent as part of Zabulistan.
821
The
Tahrid emirs are established in Khorasan to the north and west when the region is granted to them by the Abbasid caliph, al-Mamun.
873
The
Tahrids are ousted as emirs of Khorasan by the Saffarids.
900
Saffarid central Afghanistan is conquered by the Transoxianan Samanid emirate while the Buwayid amirs gain control of western Persia. This territory includes Zabulistan with its capital at Ghazni, and it is this area that emerges as the main focus point of the control of the entire region.
c.950 – 962
Abu Bakr Lawik
Samanid governor of Zabulistan.
962
Zabulistan is seized by a rebellious
Samanid governor and a semi-independent kingdom is formed with its capital at Ghazni.
SAFFARID EMPIRE: the Saffarids hailed from Zaranj,Nimruz province. (territory from north: Oxus, east:Indus, south:Kerman,Pars)
Saffarid kings:
Yaqub Saffur(861-870 AD)
Amir Ibn Layth (870-900 AD) Brother OF Yaqub.
After Layth’s domain of the Saffarids was limited to Sistan. The Saffarid princes were the vassals of the powerful Afghan dynasties which controlled southern Afghanistan and South-Eastern Iran for a long time.
SAMANID EMPIRE The Samanids (875-999) (in Dari: Saman-i-han) were an Afghan dynasty in Eastern Iran, and Central Asia named after its founder Saman Khodh-i-Balkhi from Afghan Samandi tribe who rosefrom Balkh. Their territory encompassed of Mashad (Iran), Kandahar, Kabul, Samarkand, Takharistan, and Balkh.
Samanid kings:
Samanid AmirsSaman Khoda (819 – 864)Nasr I (864 – 892)Ismail I (892 – 907)Ahmad II (907 – 914)Nasr II (914 – 943)Hamid Nuh I (943 – 954)Abdül-Malik I (954 – 961)Mansur I (961 – 976)Nuh II (976 – 997)Mansur II (997 – 999)
KARKHANIDS (Turkish origins) allied with Arabs/Iranians to depose the Samanid Mansur II, taking possession of Afghanistan. The last Samanid, Ismail II, after a five-year struggle against the Karakhanids from the north, was assassinated in 1005. Thats when Mahmud of Ghazni stepped in, to take power before Turks.

Afghan (Turkic) Samanid Subject KingsAD 962 – 977
The Yamanids claimed descent from the last of the
Sassanid kings, Yazdagird, whose family had fled the Islamic invasion following his death. They resettled in Turkistan, where they intermarried with the locals until one of their number, a twelve year-old named Sebuktigin, was captured by a neighbouring tribe and ended up being purchased by Alptigin, the governor of Samanid Khurasan. However, he backed the losing side in a dynastic squabble amongst his masters, so he crossed the Hindu Kush and seized Zabulistan, together with Ghazni in the south-east of modern Afghanistan, from its governor, Abu Bakr Lawik and established an independent Khorasanian Sunni Muslim kingdom. Sebuktigin was made a general and continued in that role until his own accession.
962 – 963
Alptigin
Seized the eastern Afghan region from the
Samanid governor.
962
Alptigin, Turkic for ‘brave prince’, seizes Ghazni and expels the
Samanid governor of Zabulistan, Abu Bakr Lawik. Although he establishes independent rule of Ghazni, coins from the era show that he nominally acknowledges Samanid overlordship, always a useful ruse for avoiding an attack by former masters.

963 – c.963?
Abu Ishaq Alptegin
Son.
c.963? – c.965?
Abu Bakr Lawik briefly manages to wrest back control of his emirate before he is expelled and the independent kings of Ghazni re-establish their rule.
c.963? – c.965?
Abu Bakr Lawik
Restored.
c.965 – 966
Abu Ishaq Alptegin
Restored.
966
Abu Ishaq Alptegin dies childless, so the commanders of his army select one of their number, Bilgetigin, as his successor.
966 – 975
Bilgetigin
Former army commander.
975 – 977
Piri / Pirai
A former slave of Alptigin.
977
During his reign, the cruel Piri is threatened by Abu Ali Lawik, the son of Abu Bakr Lawik. He is rescued by General Sebuktigin, who surprises the enemy army near Charkh, on the east bank of the River Lohgar, killing many of them and taking ten elephants along with his prisoners. Following Piri’s death, Sebuktigin succeeds to the throne, creating a Yamanid dynasty of kings.
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GHAZNAVID EMPIRE
In 977, Sebuktigin succeeded to the throne of Ghazni, situated south of Transoxiana (and 120 kilometres (eighty miles) to the south-west of Kabul, both in modern Afghanistan). He immediately began strengthening his domains and increasing his territory. This was at a time when both the Samanids and the Persians were fading in power, but although the kingdom was independent, it perhaps still showed nominal allegiance to the Samanids. For the most part, Lahore was the easternmost bastion of Ghazni power, although they frequently raided further east.
977 – 997
Sebuktigin / Sebuk-Tigin
Son-in-law of Alptegin. First Yamanid king of Ghazni.
994
The
Samanid ruler faces internal uprisings, and Sebuktigin goes to his assistance. The rebels are defeated at Balkh and then Nishapur, and Sebuktigin is granted the title ‘Nasir ud-Din’ (‘Hero of the Faith’), while his son, Mahmud, is made governor of Khorasan. Northern Khorasan is lost the following year to an independent emirate.
997
Mahmud campaigns against the
Qara-Khitai in Central Asia, but is ultimately defeated.
997 – 998
Ismail
Son. Captured and imprisoned for life.
998
Although Ismail is Sebuktigin’s chosen heir, his elder half-brother Mahmud contests his claim to the throne. Initially in command of Nishapur, Mahmud hands it over to his uncle, Borghuz, and younger brother, Nur-ud-Din Yusuf, and marches upon Ghazni. The capital city is captured and Mahmud claims the throne, imprisoning his brother in a fort in Joorjan.
1019: Mahmud of
Ghazni invaded India.
1030 Mahmud Ghazni died. Conflicts between various Ghaznavid rulers arose and as a result the empire started to crumble.
The Ghaznavid Dynasty
Alptigin (963-977)
Sebük Tigin, (Abu Mansur) (977-997)
Ismail (997-998)
Mahmud (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (998-1030)
Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah) (1030-1031)
Mas’ud I (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1031–1041)
Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah (second time) (1041)
Maw’dud (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1041-1050)
Mas’ud II (1050)
Ali (Baha ud-Dawlah) (1050)
Abd ul-Rashid (Izz ud-Dawlah) (1053)
Toğrül (Tughril) (Qiwam ud-Dawlah) (1053)
Farrukhzad (Jamal ud-Dawlah) (1053-1059)
Ibrahim (Zahir ud-Dalah) (1059-1099)
Mas’ud III (Ala ud-Dawlah) (1099-1115)
Shirzad (Kemal ud-Dawlah) (1115)
Arslan Shah (Sultan ud-Dawlah) (1115-1118)
Bahram Shah (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (1118-1152)
Khusrau Shah (Mu’izz ud-Dawlah) (1152-1160)
Khusrau Malik (Taj ud-Dawlah) (1160-1187)
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Ghurid SultanateAD 1163 – 1215
The Ghurids were initially conquered by the
Ghaznavids and converted to Islam in the eleventh century. In 1149 Adauddin Hussein turned the tables and sacked the city of Ghazni, ending Ghaznavid rule.
1149
The
Ghaznavid emirate is brought to an end when Ghazni is captured by the Ghurid Moslems. Ghaznavid power continues in northern India alone, with them ruling from Lahore.
1163 – 1203
Ghiyathuddin Mohammed II
In Ghur.
1173 – 1206
Shihabuddin Mohammed III
In Ghazni.
1186
The
Ghaznavids in Lahore are conquered by the Ghurids, who also gain the Punjab of the Pallavas.
1206
The
Delhi sultanate takes Lahore.
1206 – 1212
Ghiyathuddin Mahmud
1212 – 1213
Bahauddin Sam II
1213 – 1214
Alauddin Atsiz
1214 – 1215
Alauddin Mohammed IV
1215
The Ghurids are displaced in Afghanistan by the
Khwarazm shahs. The remaining Ghurid territories in northern India are taken over by the Delhi sultanate which also gains the Punjab of the former Pallavas.
1221
The
Mongols raze the city of Bamiyan and exterminate its inhabitants.
1332
Descendants of the earlier Ghurid rulers reassert control over Afghanistan.
1369
Much of Afghanistan is conquered by Timur and becomes part of
Timurid Persia.
1140 Due to many conflicts Ghori (Ghauri) leaders from central Afghanistan captured and burned Ghazni, then move (Mahmud Ghori) on to conquer India. 1219-1221, the mongol, Genghis Khan invades Afghanistan.
1221 Genghis Khan razes the city of Bamiyan and exterminates its inhabitants. 1332-1370 :Descendants of earlier Ghorid rulers reassert control over Afghanistan.
1369-1405 :Timur (aka Timur Lang or Timur Lenk or Tamerlane, so-named because of a lame leg) rules from Samarkand.
1370 CE Tamerlane crowned as King in Balkh north of Afghanistan
1380 CE Timur marries sister of Mashud ( King of Kabul)
1394 Tamerlane became King by all of what is now Afghanistan.
1398 Timur (Tamerlane) sacks Delhi
1405- 1447: Shah Rukh son of Timur takes control of his father’s empire .
1438 –1506: Husayn Bayqarah the king of Herat dies in 1469 and the last of Timurid ruler.
Timurid rulers:
· Timur (Tamerlane) 1370–1405 (771–807 AH) – with Suyurghitmiš Chaghtay as nominal overlord followed by Mahmūd Chaghtay as overlord and finally Muhammad Sultān as heir
·
Pir Muhammad bin Jahāngīr 1405–07 (807–08 AH)
Rulers of Herat
Shāhrukh 1405–47 (807–50 AH; overall ruler of the Timurid Empire 1409–47)
Abu’l-Qasim Bābur 1447–57 (850–61 AH)
Shāh Mahmūd 1457 (861 AH)
Ibrāhim 1457–1459 (861–63 AH)
Sultān Abu Sa’id Gūrgān 1459–69 (863–73 AH; in Transoxiana 1451–69)
Yādgār Muhammad 1470 (873 AH)
Sultān Husayn 1470–1506 (874–911 AH)
Badi ul-Zamān 1506–07 (911–12 AH)
Muzaffar Hussayn 1506–07 (911–12 AH)
1451 An Afghan named Bahlol khan Lodi invades Delhi with some large tribal men, and seizes the throne. He is the founder of the Lodi dynasty.
1504-1519: Babur is chosen as King in Kabul and invades India.He becomes the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, and his base is in Kabul until 1519.
1504 – 1530
Babur
Timurid prince from Fhargana in Transoxiana.
1511
Following the death of the
Shaibanid ruler, Babur is able to recapture Samarkand with Safavid Persian help, but is unable to retain it. The Shaibanids re-conquer the city just eight months later.
1519 – 1530
From 1519, Babur leads a great many raids on the sultanate of
Delhi, which is divided and weakened. In 1526, he is invited by the nobility to invade, and the sultan is killed at the Battle of Panipat. Babur creates a Moghul empire which sacks and controls Delhi as the heart of that empire, while also retaining Kabul within it. In 1530, Kabul and Ghazni are handed by Babur’s son to his brother, Kamran, to rule .
1530 – 1545
Kamran Mirza:Brother of
Moghul emperor Humayun.
1540
After being present at the rebellion of Hindal in
Moghul Agra in 1539, Kamran returns to Kabul and, with the help of his brother, Askari, secures territory as far east as Lahore and proclaims himself king of Afghanistan.
Persians take control and time to time wars break out with the Persians over the land disputes.
1526, Mughal Emperor Babur kills Ibrahim Lodi establishes in this year the Mughal dynasty at Delhi. ……Mughal rule in Afghanistan starts.
1530 Babur dies .
1530 The Kingdom of Kabul separates from Humayun,son of Babur.
1535 Humayun tried to retake Kabul .
1543 – 1545
Kamran’s elder brother, Humayun, the exiled
Moghul emperor, arrives in Kabul, after failed attempts from Amrakot to regain his territory. The two are now implacable enemies, and Humayun is forced to flee to the court of the Safavid shah of Persia. Here, he receives enough support to strike out and defeat Askari in Kandahar and then Kamran in Kabul just two years later, also adding Lahore to his domains. Humayun exiles his surviving brothers to Mecca, while Hindal has already died fighting on his behalf.
1545 – 1555
Humayun
Brother.
Moghul emperor in exile.
1554 – 1555
The death of Islam Shah
Suri in Delhi leaves his dynasty weak and open to rival claimants, of which their are many. The most powerful of these is the resurgent Humayun, who leads his army eastwards from Kabul in a string of impressive victories. Afghanistan is again part of the restored Moghul empire, with the emperor’s relative, Mirza Muhammed Hakim, governing Kabul and the surrounding districts.
1555 – 1585
Mirza Muhammed Hakim
Cousin of
Moghul emperor, Akbar. Rebelled. Died Jul 1585.
1566
An army from nearby Badakhshan arrives to besiege Kabul. The governor leaves the garrison in place and retreats with his army towards the Indus in the Punjab plain. There, he is incited by Uzbek rebels to besiege Lahore. The
Moghul emperor, Akbar, marches to confront him and he retreats back to Kabul, now cleared of its attackers. Akbar chooses not to pursue him.
1576
The
Safavid shahs of Persia begin to encroach on Afghan territory, putting pressure on Kabul to defend itself.
1581
Mirza Muhammed continues to rule Kabul as an independent state, and the governor of Kandahar now also supports him, while he plans to invade Punjab and seize Hindustan. Akbar sends his Rajput general, Man Singh of Amer, to attack Kabul, and Man Singh captures the city, while Kandahar is peacefully surrendered by its erstwhile governor. However, Mirza Muhammed is restored as governor of the province.
1585
Kabul is formally annexed to the
Moghul empire after the death of Mirza Muhammed Hakim.
1623 – 1638
Prince Khurram (Shah Jehan) resents the influence of Nur Jahan, wife of
Moghul emperor, Jahangir, over the royal court and rebels against his father. One of Jahangir’s generals, Mahabat Khan, humiliated by Nur Jahan and her brother, Asaf Khan, joins that rebellion. Taking advantage of Shah Jahan’s revolt, the Persians capture Kandahar.
1638 – 1648
Buoyed by his successes in the Deccan against Golconda and Bijapur,
Moghul emperor Shah Jahan retakes Kandahar. However, the Persians manage to take it back just ten years later, and it is permanently lost to the Moghuls. It becomes a Persian province until 1709.
1678
Rajput king Jaswant Singh of Marwar is fighting in Afghanistan when he dies, allowing his overlord,
Moghul emperor, Aurangzeb, to put into action a plot to reduce the Rajputs’ special status within the empire.
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1613-1689 Khushhal Khan Khattak , an Afghan warrior-poet initiates a national uprising against the Mughul rule.
1622 Safavids of Iran rule Kandahar.
1708 Mir Wais Hotak, makes Kandahar independent of Safavid Persia that had ruled it since 1622.
1715 Mir Wais dies .
1722 Mir Mahmud Hotak attacks Safavid Iran for converting Afghanis from Sunni islam to Shia islam. He announces Jehad, a religious war and occupies almost all of Iran . Many people are killed and Shia mosques, Zoroastrian temples and cities are destroyed.
1722, Shah Sultan Hussain surrenders the Persian capital of Isfahan to Afghan rebels after a seven month siege. Mir Wais’ son, Mir Mahmud of Afghanistan, had invaded Persia and occupied Isfahan. At the same time, the Durranis revolt, and end the Persian occupation of Herat.
1725, Mir Mahmud mysteriously killed after going insane. Afghans start to lose control of Iran.
1736 Nadir Shah (head of Khorasan) takes over southwest Afghanistan, and southeast Iran.
1738 Nadir Shah takes over the rest of Iran and Afghanistan with the help of Ahmad Shah Abdali .
1739 Nadir Shah of Persia invades India and briefly seizes Delhi.
1747 Nadir Shah assassinated. Afghans say Nadir Shah was killed by Iranian Shias because he was Sunni and from Khorasan (A former name of Afghansiatan) and had close ties with Afghan Tribes. Whereas, the Iranians say , Nadir Shah was killed because Afghans had a plan to get independence and most of them point a finger at Ahmad Shah Abdali,who is very close to Nadir Shah.
Afghans, organize under under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani) after he is chosen by Loa Jigra (tribal meeting) as a Shah or (King).He retakes Kandahar, and establishes modern Afghanistan.
1747 Ahmad Shah Abdali Duranni (d.1773) consolidated and enlarged Afghanistan. He defeated the Moghuls in the west of the Indus, and he took Herat away from the Persians. Ahmad Shah Durrani’s empire extends from Central Asia to Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian sea.
1750 Khurasan renamed as Afghanistan.
1757, Ahmed Shah Abdali Durrani, the first King of Afghanistan, occupies Delhi and annexes Punjab.
1756
Ahmad Shah Abdali invades the
India of the declining Moghul emperors and plunders Mathura. The next year the British East India Company are victorious over the nawab of Bengal, an ally of the French, which signals the end of any serious French ambitions in India.
1761
The Peshwa sends an army to challenge the Afghans under Ahmad Shah Abdali, and the Maratha army is decisively defeated on 13 January 1761 at the Third Battle of Panipat.
1788
The Marathas have recently evacuated Delhi, so the opportunistic Afghan Rohillas march on the city, but financially, Delhi is already bankrupt. Finding nothing to loot, the Afghans blind
Moghul emperor Shah Alam II just before the Marathas return to save him and drive away the Rohillas.
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1773-1793 Rule of Timur Shah Durrani. The capital of Afghanistan was transferred from Kandahar to Kabul because of tribal opposition. Constant internal revolts occur.
1793-1801 Rule of Zaman Shah Durrani. Constant internal revolts.

1795 Iranians invade Khurasan (province) now in Iran .
1801-1803 Rule of Mahmud Durrani (brother of Zaman). Internal revolts continue.
1803-1809 Rule of Shah Shuja, another of Timurs sons.
1805 Persian attack on Herat fails. Internal fighting continues.
1809:Mahmood returns to the throne (rules 1809-1819). War with Persia is indecisive. Internal fighting continues.
1818-19: Sultan Ali Shah , another of Timurs sons briefly seizes power.
1819-1823: Ayub Shah , another of Timurs sons rules.
Afghans lose Sindh permanently to the British.
1824 William Moorecroft, of the East India Co. arrives in Peshawar, Afghanistan, while enroute to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, to trade for horses. He is killed in Balkh while returning to India.
1826 Dost Mohammad Khan born in Kabul took Kabul, and established control.
832-1833 Iran moves into Khurasan (province), and threatens Herat. Afghans defend Herat successfully.
1834, Afghans lose Peshawar to the Sikhs;
later they defeat the Sikhs under the leadership of Akbar Khan,son of Dost Mohammed, near Jamrud, and kill the great Sikh general Hari Singh. However, they fail to retake Peshawar due to disunity and bad judgment on the part of Dost Mohammad Khan from the people of Peshawar.
1836: Dost Mohammad Khan proclaimed as Amir al-mu’ Minin, commander of the faithful. He tries reunifying the whole of Afghanistan when the British, in collaboration with an ex-king Shah Shuja, invade Afghanistan.
1839 Britain decides that Persian and Russian intrigues pose a threat to their control of India and want to create a buffer state in Afghanistan .
A British army marches to Kabul and replaces Dost Mohammad, the Amir of Afghanistan, with a more docile ruler.
1839-1842 First Anglo-Afghan War. After some resistance, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan surrenders to the British and is deported to India.
1839-1842 Shah Shuja installed as Afghanistans “puppet king” by the British.
1842 : Afghans unite and force the British to retreat.
1843: Afghanistan becomes independent again, and the exiled Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan re occupies the royal throne in Afghanistan.Rules upto 1863.
1855 Dost Mohammad Khan signs a peace treaty with British India.
1859 British take Baluchistan, and Afghanistan becomes completely landlocked.
1863-1866: Sher Ali, Dost Mohammad Khan’s son, succeeds the throne.
1865 Russia takes Bukhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand.
1866-1867: Mohammad Afzal occupies Kabul and proclaims himself Amir (dethroning Sher Ali).
1867 Mohammad Afzal dies.
1867-1868 Mohammad Azam succeeds to the throne.
1868 Mohammad Azam flees to Iran
1868: Sher Ali reasserts control.
1873 Russia establishes a fixed boundary between Afghanistan and it’s new territories. Russia promises to respect Afghanistan’s territorial integrity.
1879, Sher Ali resfuses British commission in Kabul. Second Anglo Afghan war 1879-1880.
British troops occupy Kabul city for a very short time.
British General Frederick “Little Bobs” Roberts sent with an army to force Afghanistan into a treaty ceding foreign policy to the British. The treaty is concluded, but the British envoy was murdered.
General Roberts returns to Kabul to hang the killers of the British envoy. Roberts is ambushed and another British force in southern Afghanistan is almost annihilated. Roberts retreats in a march from Kabul to Kandahar.

1879 :Sher Ali dies in Mazar-i-Shariff, and Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan takes over until October 1879. Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan gives up the following Afghan territories to the British: Kurram, Khyber, Michni, Pishin, and Sibi.
1880: Abdur Rahman is the new Amir 1880-1901.Also called the ‘iron amir’. During his reign (1880-1901), the British and Russians officially established the boundaries of what would become modern Afghanistan. The British retained effective control over Kabul‘s foreign affairs.
Afghanistan remained neutral during
World War I, despite German encouragement of anti-British feelings and Afghan rebellion along the borders of British India.
1880 The British, shortly after the accession of the new Amir, withdraw from Afghanistan, although they retain the right to handle Afghanistan’s foreign relations.
1885 : Russian forces seize the Panjdeh Oasis, a piece of Afghan territory north of the Oxus River. Afghans try to retake it, but are forced back.The Russians keep Panjdeh, but the Russians promise to honor Afghan territorial integrity in the future.
1893 The Durand line fixes borders of Afghanistan with British India for 100 years splitting Afghan tribal areas, leaving half of these Afghans in what is now Pakistan.
1895 Afghanistan’s northern border fixed and guaranteed by Russia.
1901 Abdur Rahman dies and his son Habibullah succeeded him.
1907 Russia and Great Britain sign a treaty at the convention of St. Petersburg, in which Afghanistan is declared outside Russia’s purview.
1919 Habibullah assassinated.
1919 his son Amanullah Khan succeeds him, rules till 1929.
Afghanistan declares war on British and attack India. Thousands Killed . Afghanistan was recognized as a sovereign nation, independent from British control of foreign affairs of Afghanistan.
Domestic,social/political /financial/ArmyReforms take place in Afghanistan. Opposed to these reforms,Shinwari Pastun tribals rebel. Afghan army deserts amidst these revolts.
Amanullah abdicates throne in 1929 (exile in Italy,later dies in Zurich in 1960), succeeded by brother Inayatullah for only three days.He too flees to India.
Habibullah Ghazi succeeds, but is later killed by Nadir Khan, Amanullah ex minister.Nadir Khan rules as king Nadir Shah. Assasinated in 1933.
1933:Mohammad Zahir Shah,son of Nadir ( khan) Shah, is made king (ousted in 1963 and deposed in 1973).Political reforms occur during his time.
Latter governments under:
Mohammad Daud Khan
(1973-78)… overthrew cousin Zahir Shah and forms govt.Under him Afghanistan becomes a republic.Daud is pro west.Daud murdered.
Noor Mohammad Taraki (1978-79)of PDPA(peoples democratic party of Afghanistan)succeeds in govt.It is more pro-Soviet.Its social reforms make them unpopular in an conservative Afghanistan.US sees an opportunity and fund Mujahiddeen to overthrow the pro soviet govt.
Hafizulla Amin(1979-87)succeeds Taraki amidst internal rivalry…Soviet troop deployment.Babrak Karmal(1987).Sibghatulla Mojaddedi (1987) interim government.Soviet troop withdrawl in 1989.
Najibulla Ahmadzai (1987-96) govt. supported by the Soviet Union…Kabul falls to the Mujahideen. Najibullah hanged by the Mujahideen .
Burhanuddin Rabbani(1996) briefly succeeds.
Mullah Mohammad Omar(1997-2001)…Taliban rule.
President Hamid Karzai (2004 till date)
 
 
 
Sources:This article was compiled from various blogs, sites on the net.
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Acknowledgements: Mr.Peter.Kessler, historyfiles.co.uk



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MARATHAS

The Maratha  is a politically dominant caste in the present day state of Maharashtra (a portion of the Deccan plateau). But when we speak of ‘Marathas’ in historical terms we include not only the primary Marathas (by caste) i.e  the  aristocratic (nobles) Marathas (the warrior caste,later to be known as the 96 kuli marathas)  , but also other communities (castes) in Maharashtra like the Brahmins (priest caste), the Kunbi Marathas( peasant caste), (the Maval region specific community the ‘ Mavales’), the Kayasthas i.e CKP’s, SKP’s (who traditionally worked as accountants for the kings), the Dhangars (shepherd caste), etc  and all those communities prevalent in medieval Maharashtra  who joined their illustrious leader Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in carving out a Hindu kingdom in the predominantly Mohammedan Deccan. The Marathas later galloped right upto the gates of Delhi and became a force to reckon with in the then Indian politics. The Marathas may have been the last stumbling block for the British before they created their supremacy over entire India.

The Marathas were essentially sturdy by build, wheatish dusky in complexion (excepting the Konkan based Chitpavan Brahmins, many of whom were unusually fair complexioned and with distinct features like grey eyes,brown hair etc alluding to a foreign gene) and hard working. They were mainly peasants who toiled hard on their otherwise hilly and not so fertile land (barring the tract of southern Maharashtra). There was no aristocracy amongst the Marathas. Even the village headmen toiled in their fields, besides collecting revenue for the king. The language spoken was mainly ‘Marathi’ and its dialects (Malvani,Konkani) , especially around the coastal region. They were simple folks, and very God fearing and religious minded. This probably led to the early saint movements in Maharashtra , also called the Warkari (Bhagwatism) movements which were mainly aimed at social reforms and dilution from Vedic Brahmanism.  The land of Maharashtra gave birth to several saints, poets, philosophers and teachers like Sant Dnyaneshwar,Sant Tukaram,Sant Namdeo,Sant Sakhubai, Sant Eknath,Ramdas swami etc all devoted to their central deities Vithoba ( a form of Lord Vishnu )and Rakhumai (a form of Goddess Lakshmi ). Also revered were other Gods like lord Shiva as Mahadev, Goddess Parvati  as Bhavani and their son lord Ganesh as Ganapati, besides the earthly incarnations of Vishnu like  lord Rama and lord Krishna. Maharashtra always had many temples in their honour.These saints ensured that spirituality and devotion to God spread to every corner of the society.

The village headmen were called ‘Patils’ or ‘Khots’ (in the Konkan region). They usually came under the district heads , landowners  and revenue collectors called the ‘Deshmukhs’ , the ‘Desais’ and the ‘Deshpandes’. Their accountants were called the ‘Kulkarnis’.

The  knights and the nobles usually resided in ‘wadas’(multi storeyed houses), gigantic black stoned forts (Kila, Qila,castle), which though cannot be called aesthetic were certainly most practical. The head of the fort was called the ‘Kiledar’. The ambitious and strong amongst the peasants were usually recruited in the army and those who rose in ranks were often allotted estates or ‘jagirs’.

Brief History of the Marathas

Maharashtra was called Ashmaka (present day Marathwada region) in the ancient times and was one of the great sixteen Janapadas.  The land of the Marathas were ruled in turns by various dynasties like the Satavahanas (230 BC – 220 AD), the Vakatakas (250-525 AD) of Vidharba, the Kalachuris (6th century), the Chalukyas (Chalukyas 543 – 973-1189 AD western Chalukyas), the Rashtrakutas (753-982 AD)  ,

[The Kadambas of Goa and the Shilaharas of South and North Konkan and Kolhapur served as vassals of the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, and who were finally overthrown by the Yadavas].

 

 and the Yadavas of Devagiri (850-1334 AD) until its invasion by Allauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi.The Khilji dynasty (1290-1320 AD) ruled Deccan from their capital at Delhi. The rule of Delhi had later passed on to the Tughlaq dynasty (1321-1398 AD).  Mohammed Tughlaq , a successor of the Tughlaq dynasty, made Devagiri , his capital , renaming its fort Daulatabad. The province of Deccan  (i.e the region between north of river Godavari and river Krishna  *note:  in present day India , the Deccan areas are distributed amongst the present day states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh ), became an independent state during the time of the Bahamani sultanate (1347-1527 AD). The Bahamani sultanate later disintegrated and split into five independent sultanates at Berar, Ahmednagar (both presently in Maharashtra state), Golkunda(presently in Andhra Pradesh), Bijapur and Bidar( both presently in Karnataka state). Soon the states of Bidar were swallowed by Bijapur and Berar by Ahmednagar, leaving only three important sultanates in the Deccan viz the Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar (1490-1636), Adilshahi of Bijapur(1490-1686) and Qutubshahi of Golkunda (1518-1687).

 

 

Shivaji the founder of the Maratha empire

The legendary king Shivaji Bhosale (b.1630- d.1680 AD) created the kingdom that is now known as Maharashtra, after prolonged battles with the Bijapur Sultanate and later with the mighty Mughals ( not to exclude his minor skirmishes with the Portuguese, the English  and the Dutch, who came as traders but had nibbled away small territories along the Deccan coast).

Shivaji’s father Shahaji raje Bhosale , b.AD1594-d.1665 (Shahaji was the son of Malojirao Bhosale, head man of Verul, and the first in the Bhosale family  to gain prominence in the Nizamshahi court)) was a high ranking Maratha noble in the court of Nizamshah of Ahmednagar. That was the time when the Mughals under Shah Jahan were trying to gain a foothold in the Deccan. But the Deccan sultanates were fiercely resisting them. Shahaji raje under the able guidance of Malik Amber the Abyssinian general of Nizam shahi forces led several successful battles against the Mughals. There was also a competetion between the Nizamshah of Ahmednagar and Adilshah of Bijapur for the internal territories of the Deccan. Often Adilshah and the Mughals sent overtures to Shahaji raje to enlist him in their ranks. But barring a occasion or two (especially after the murder of his father in law Lakhujirao Jadhav and his kins in the Ahmednagar court), he remained loyal to Nizam shah of Ahmednagar. After the death of Malik Amber, there was an internal revolt in the Nizamshahi which led to  the murder of its erstwhile ruler and later led to the succession of Fateh Khan, the son of Malik Amber.But Fateh khan in trying to be too cheeky , fell out with the Bijapuris and the Mughals. That was when Shahaji raje installed Murtuza, the young son of Nizamshah on the throne of Ahmednagar and ruled on his behalf. Sensing an opportunity, the Adilshah of Bijapur and the Mughals combined forces and mounted an assault on Ahmednagar. It was a long drawn war which eventually led to the defeat of the Nizamshahi forces. Shahaji raje was forced to surrender and as a part of the treaty, had to serve in the Adilshahi court of Bijapur. Shahaji settled down in his jagir (estate) of Bangalore along with his elder son Shambhuraje (Sambhaji I), also Shivajis elder brother, and his second wife and younger son Ekoji  (Vyankoji),who later established the royal Bhosale dynasty at Thanjavur/Tanjore in present day state of Tamil Nadu. Sambhaji I died young. Incidently Shivaji’s elder son was also named Sambhaji  i.e Sambhaji II after his late uncle.)

Shivaji raje and his mother Jijabai were left to manage their estates in Pune and Supa(both in Maharashtra) under the stewardship of Dadoji Kondeo, who acted as the manager of the estate  and also as Shivaji’s early teacher. Shivaji right since childhood was fiercely independent and resented the Islamic tyranny over the predominantly Hindu population. From his youth , he started nibbling away territories of the Bijapuris and later the Mughals. He created an army from the local hillmen (Mavales) and successfully captured several forts. His first prize was the fort of Torna , captured with a selected band of ‘mavalas’ at the age of seventeen.In a couple of years he had entire Pune region in his control.After the death of Adilshah, Shivaji attacked his kingdom even more vigorously. Shivajis legend grew when he killed the gigantic  Afzal Khan ,the famed general of Bijapur (who had the reputation of even warding off  Aurangzeb’s attack), and  wounded the stalwart Mughal general, Shaista Khan in different points of time. Shivajis  lore reached new zenith when he hoodwinked Aurangzeb and escaped from his house arrest in Delhi .He simultaneously fought the armies of the Bijapuris and the Mughals and managed to keep other potential enemies like Qutub shah, the Portuguese and the English at bay (by hook or by crook). Shivaji  eventually succeeded in carving out his own independent Hindu Maratha kingdom in the Deccan.

Shivaji died prematurely at fifty. He was succeeded by his son Sambhaji , b. 1657- d.1689 (Sambhaji II).After a initial power struggle with his step mother Soyrabai,Sambhaji succeeded the Maratha throne. Sambhaji was also a brave warrior and kept resisting Mughal attacks. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had himself encamped in the Deccan (Aurangabad, Maharashtra) and was personally supervising the fight against the Marathas. Eventually Sambhaji was betrayed to the Mughals by his own relatives. Sambhaji was imprisoned by Aurangzeb, who asked him to accept the Islamic faith , else face death. Sambhaji chose the latter and after an horrific torture he was put to death. This martyrdom of Sambhaji spurred on the Marathas even more, and under the leadership of Rajaram (b.1670-d.1700), Shivaji’s younger son (from Soyrabai) and later his Queen, Tarabai (b.1675-d.1761)  the Marathas continued their resistance against the Mughals. While Sambhajis son Shahu raje and wife Yesubai remained in  the Mughal imprisonment in Delhi, the legendary Maratha warriors Dhanaji Jadhav and Santaji Ghorpade under the guidance of Tarabai continued to wreck havoc in the enemy camp.

The Peshwas

Aurangzeb died in AD.1707. The Mughals released Shahu from prison as a part of their strategy to counter Tarabai (widow of Rajaram). Shahu challenged the supremacy of Tarabai in Maharashtra and a battle of succession ensued to prove legitimacy to the throne of Shivaji. A Chitpavan Brahmin Balaji Vishwanath Bhat assisted Shahu in his claim to the throne. The forces of Shahu eventually won, and Tarabai was exiled to Kolhapur (along with her son Shivaji II), where she spent her remaining life (later a separate throne of Kolhapur was established which owed allegiance to Satara).

Shahu (b.1682- d.1749) was declared the Chatrapati (King) and made Satara his capital. He appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhat (1680-1719) as his Peshwa ( Prime Minister) .Balaji Vishwanath had initiated a treaty with the mughal emperor Farukhsiyar (during the years of a power vaccum in Delhi), which the latter refused to honour. Hence the Marathas assisted the mughal vazir, Hussain Ali (one of the Sayyid brothers) in dethroning the Mughal emperor, for which the Marathas extracted the right to collect revenue from the Deccan provinces.

Shahu by now had refrained from active politics and  the Peshwas eventually became the de facto leaders of the Marathas (especially after the death of the issueless Shahu raje. Though there remained titular Maratha kings in their capital, Satara).

After the death of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat, Chatrapati Shahu raje Bhosale appointed the young son of Balaji Vishwanath i.e Bajirao I (b. 1699- d.1740) as the new Peshwa. The decadent Mughals by now had become a weaker lot and were challenged on all fronts. Bajirao I took advantage of this situation and began the expansion of the Maratha empire. Bajirao I was called the ‘Cavalry General’ for his rapid tactical movements on horseback. He matched Shivaji in the speed and alacrity shown in launching swift attacks on his enemies.The Marathas under Bajirao I, marched right upto the gates of Delhi. On the way back, the commanders  of Bajirao I’s army were established by him  as governors in the various regions of central and western India forming a Maratha confederacy. In years to come, they were to form their own kingdoms with allegiance to the Satara throne (Maharashtra) and the Peshwas in Pune (Maharashtra). The Gaekwads would establish themselves in Baroda (Gujrat), the Holkars at Indore (present day state of Madhya Pradesh), and the Shindes (later known as Scindias) at Gwalior(Madhya Pradesh). Bajiraos reign was also characterized by the famous victory of the Marathas (led by his younger brother Chimnaji Appa) over the Portuguese at Vasai (Bassein creek).

Bajirao I was succeeded by his son Balaji Bajirao  a.k.a  Nanasaheb (1721-1761). He also proved a competent  administrator . He maintained the boundaries of the Maratha empire (with the able  help of his son Vishwasrao, cousin Sadashivrao (son of Chimnaji Appa),younger brother Raghunathrao and his generals like Holkar and Shinde. The Maratha kingdom expanded upto Attock(presently in Pakistan) during Balaji Bajirao’s reign.

But his tenure also saw one of the worst moments in the Maratha history. Nanasaheb was responsible for bringing the British in the forefront of Indian politics after seeking their assistance against the Angres of Kolaba (1754) who had been the traditional admirals of the Maratha navy. The British were soon to be the nemisis of the Marathas in the years to come.

Also, due to certain miscalculations in the battlefield , the Marathas faced their major defeat at the hands of the marauding Afghan king , Ahmad Shah Abdali in the third battle of Panipat , AD. 1761. Nanasaheb also lost his son Vishwasrao and cousin  Sadashivrao Bhau in that battle. Unable to cope with that loss, Nanasaeb died soon.

He was succeeded by his other son Madhavrao I ,a.k.a Thorle Madhavrao or Madhavrao the elder (1745-1772). He was a well meaning ruler, but  had to face dissent from his own uncle Raghunathrao, (besides the risen debts that arose from the disasterous battle of Panipat),  thus diverting his attention.

After 1761, young Madhavrao Peshwa tried his best to rebuild the empire in spite of his frail health. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, semi-autonomy was given to strongest of the knights. Thus, the autonomous Maratha states of the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore & Malwa, the Scindias (or Shinde’s) of Gwalior (and Ujjain), Pawars of Udgir and Bhonsales of Nagpur  came into being in far flung regions of the empire. Even in the Maharashtra itself many nobles were given semi-autonomous charges of small districts which led to princely states like Sangli , Aundh, Bhor, Bawda , Jath, Phaltan, Miraj etc. His justice system (under the chief justice Ram Shastri) and citizen redressal systems were very popular and highly appreciated .

Madhavrao I died prematurely at an young age after suffering from Tuberculosis. But he managed to leave an indelible impression in his brief span.Madhavrao I was succeeded by his young brother Narayanrao (1759-1773). But he was murdered treacherously at the behest of their uncle Raghunathrao and his wife Anandibai, in the precincts of their palace, Shanivarwada at Pune.

Raghunathrao  briefly succeeded as the next Peshwa (1773-1774), but was soon overthrown by his minister Nana Phadanvis (1742-1800). Nana installed the son of Narayanrao  viz. Madhavrao II a.k.a Sawai Madhavrao (1774-1795) and managed the affairs of the Maratha confederacy through an 12 member regency council also called the Barbhai council (comprising of Haripant Phadke, Moroba Phadnis, Sakharambapu Bokil, Trimbakraomama Pethe, Mahadji Shinde, Tukojirao Holkar, Phaltankar, Bhagwanrao Pratinidhi, Maloji Ghorpade, Raste and Babuji Naik). The first Anglo Maratha confrontation  of 1779, took place during his tenure(Raghunathrao sided with the British during this war in a bid to regain power). The Maratha forces led by Mahadji Shinde and the British forces met fluctuating fortunes in this war, leading eventually to the treaty of Salbhai in 1782 (initiated by Mahadji Shinde). As per the treaty, Sawai Madhavrao continued to be accepted as a Peshwa, but Mahadji Shinde succeeded in becoming his own independent chief and ceased to be an vassal of the Peshwa.The British agreed to remain neutral in the Maratha politics.

Mahadji now started  increasing his power in the north. He had subsequent victories against many small rulers of central India , who had earlier refused to pay him tributes. He formally established his capital at Gwalior in 1783. He even reinstated Shah Alam II as the emperor of Delhi ,after he was deposed and blinded by the Rohilla chief Ghulam Qadir.Mahadji  then came to be known as Shaha Alam II’s honorary regent. He even subdued the Nizam of Hyderabad and concluded a peace treaty with Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1792.

By 1790, Mahadji Shinde had succeeded in reestablishing Maratha dominance in northern India. Mahadji died in 1793. He was succeeded by Daulatrao Shinde (grandson of Tukoji, the brother of Mahadji Shinde).

 Madhavrao II allegedly jumped to his death (1795) from the palace walls of Shanivarwada, for reasons (alleged suicide) that remained shrouded in mystery.

Nana and Daulatrao Shinde then installed the son of Raghunathrao, Bajirao II (1775-1851) as the next Peshwa.

 Nana Phadanvis  died at Pune on the 13th of March 1800.

By now a civil war like situation was created when the two Generals of the Peshwa, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior and Yeshwantrao Holkar of Indore started fighting amongst themselves. Bajirao II alligned himself with his mentor Daulatrao.  But Holkar ultimately triumphed,reaching the gates of Pune, and Baji Rao fled to Bombay in September 1802, into the the British , who buoyed with their succesess in other parts of India were waiting to take on the final hurdle of the Marathas.

Peshwa Baji Rao II  placed himself in the hands of the British vide the treaty of Bassein , December 1802, in which the British agreed to reinstate Baji Rao in return for the Marathas allowing British troops in Maratha territory and paying for their maintenance, and acceptance of a British Resident at Pune. But this move by the Peshwa infuriated the Shindes of Gwalior and the Bhosales of Nagpur, who considered it an insult to the Maratha pride. This gave rise to the second Anglo Maratha war, 1803-05.  The Shindes and Bhosales were defeated in their respective battles. The Holkars of Indore  who had earlier abstained from the battle because of friction with the Shindes joined in the fray much later and compelled the British to make peace. But the Second Anglo-Maratha War managed to give rise to the first cracks in the Maratha confederacy.

The third Anglo Maratha war (1817-18)  was the final nail in the coffin of the Maratha empire. The British out manouvered the combined forces of the Peshwa, Yeshwantrao Holkar and Bhosales of Nagpur (this time around, the Shindes abstained from the battle).

The Battle of Koregaon fought on 1st January 1818,  gave decisive victory to the British. The Peshwa , Bajirao II was pensioned off and most of his territory was annexed to the British Bombay Presidency, although the Maharaja of Satara           ( Pratap sinh raje Bhosale,1793 and later Shahaji raje Bhosale,1839 ) was restored as ruler of a princely state in order to placate the marathas. Shahaji raje died without a issue and the state of Satara was annexed to the Bombay presidency in 1848 .(Kolhapur remained a princely state till Indias independence from the British rule in 1947). The northern portion of the Nagpur Bhonsle dominions, together with the Peshwa’s territories in Bundelkhand, were annexed to British India as the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. The Maratha kingdoms of Indore, Gwalior, Nagpur, and Jhansi became princely states, acknowledging British control.

There was a final attempt by the nominal Peshwa Nanasaheb II (b.1824, an adopted son of Bajirao II)  along with his minister Tatya Tope to revive the Maratha glory. He  assisted the mutineers in what is considered as Indias first war of independence (Sepoy Mutiny) , 1857.  Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi (a Maratha vassal queen of Jhansi, in present day Madhya Pradesh) demonstrated  great valour during this period. However after the fall of Kanpur, Nanasaheb dissappeared without a trace. His minister,Tatya Tope was executed by the British in 1859

Till date, no one knows about the final fate of the last Peshwa. 

 ADDENDUM: The Marathas never submitted completely to the British. The Ramoshi rebellion of 1826 under Umaji Naik in Pune, the peasant rebellion of 1875 in Pune,Satara,Ahmednagar, the armed rebellion under Vasudev Balwant Phadake in 1879  and later active participation in the Indian freedom movement by leaders like Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (also called the father of Indian unrest,1856-1920), Chaphekar Bandhu (who shot dead the tyrannical collector, Rand,1897), Rajguru (who was hanged along with the revolutionary Bhagat singh) and later the firebrand  Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (who became a youth icon for Indian revolutionaries),  bear testimony to this fact.

 

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Sources: Shivaji and his times by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (Orient Longman),  Chatrapati Shivaji by Setu Madhavrao Pagadi (Continental Prakashan),              Studies in Indian History (Bookhive),                                                                                                                   A History of India by Percival Spear (Penguin).

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Maratha lineage
Babaji Bhosale (headman of Hingani Beradi and Diwalgaon villages near Pune ) – Maloji(Babajis son,village headman of Verul, later noble in Nizamshahi of Ahmednagar) – Shahaji(Malojis son,noble in Nizamshahi/and then Adilshahi court at Bijapur/Karnataka state…b.1594-d.1665: had jagir at Bangalore and Pune)..had three sons Shambhuji (stayed with Shahaji at Bangalore) who died early, Shivaji (stayed with his mother at Pune) and Vyankoji (stayed with Shahaji at Bangalore) who established the Thanjavur(Tanjore/Tamil Nadu)* dynasty.I[Maratha empire founded by Shivaji] SHIVAJI BHOSALE(b.1630-d.1680) -SAMBHAJI BHOSALE(son of shivaji.b.1657-d.1689)-RAJARAM Bhosale(son of shivaji. b.1670-1700)-SHAHU BHOSALE(son of sambhaji.b.1682-d.1749)-After Shahu kingdom got divided.* refer Bhosale royal families of kingdoms of Satara ,Thanjavur,Kolhapur,Nagpur)ISonopant Dabir-Shyampant Kulkarni Ranzekar- Moropant pingale (peshwa/Prime ministerduring Shivaji)IRamchandra pant amatya Bawadekar (peshwa during Rajaram)I(Peshwa- Bhatt family from Balaji to Nanasaheb)BALAJI VISHWANATH[b.1680-d.1719]* Scindias(Shinde),Holkars,Gaekwads were commanders of MarathasIBAJIRAO- I [b.1629-d.1740] (son of balaji vishwanath. ruled from Pune) – Scindias(ruled.Gwalior) – Holkars (ruled.Indore) – Gaekwad(ruled.Baroda)(formed their own princely states-lineage mentioned below*)IBALAJI BAJI RAO(a.k.a nanasaheb: son of bajirao first.)[b.1721-d.1761]IMADHAVRAO[son of balaji bajirao.b.1745-d.1772]..ruled from 1761-1772INARAYAN RAO[younger brother of madhavrao.b.1759-d.1773]..ruled for a few months..murdered by Anandibai wife of RaghunathraoIRAGHUNATHRAO..madhavrao/narayan raos uncle[ruled from 1773-74]IMADHAVRAO-II(sawai madhavrao)[b.1774-d.1795]..ruled 1782-1796..commited suicideIBAJIRAO-II[son of raghunathrao. b.1775-d.1851]…ruled from 1796-1851.INANASAHEB [b.1824…disappeared in 1857]MAHARAJAS OF SATARA (presently in Maharashtra state)Ramaraja (1749-1777). Grandson of Rajaram and Tarabai; adopted son of Shahu I.Shahu II (1777-1808). Son of Ramaraja.Pratapsinh (1808-1839)Shahaji III (1839-1848)1848 to Great BritainPratapsinh I (adopted)Rajaram IIIPratapsinh IIRaja Shahu (1918 – 1950)Pratapraje (1950-1978) / Abhaysinha raje.Udayanraje Bhonsle (1978 till present) /Shivendra raje
Maharajas of Kolhapur(presently in Maharashtra state)Shivaji I (1700-1712)Shambhoji (1712-1760)Sivaji II (1760-1812) (adopted from the family of Khanwilkar)Shambhu (1812-1821)Shahoji I (1821-1837)Shivaji III (1837-1866)Rajaram I (1866-1870) (adopted from the family of Patankar)Shivaji IV (1870-1883)Shahu IV (1883-1922) (adopted from the family of Ghatge)Rajaram II (1922-1940)British rule (1940-1942)Shivaji V (1942-1947)Shahoji II (1947-1949), titular Maharaja 1949-1983 (adopted from the family of Pawar)1948 to IndiaShahu II as titular Maharaja (1983-present) Maharajas of Nagpur (Berar/Vidharba..presently in Maharashtra state)Raghoji I (1738-1755)Janoji (1755-1772)Mudhoji I (1772-1788)Raghoji II (1788-1816)Mudhoji II (1816-1818)Raghoji III (1818-1853)1853 to Great Britain*Maharajas of Thanjavur(presently in Tamil Nadu state)Venkaji (son of shahaji : 1674-1686)Shahji (1686-1711)Sarabhoji I (1711-1727)Tukoji (1727-1735)Bava Sahib (1735-1736)Maharani Sujana Bai (1736-1738)Sawai Shahji (1738)Sayaji (1738-1739)Pratap Singh (1739-1763)Tusalji (1763-1787)Amar Singh (1787-1798)Sarabhoji II (1798-1824)Shivaji (1824-1855)1855 to Great BritainScindia Maharajas of Ujjain and Gwalior (presently in Madhya Pradesh state)Maharaja Ranojirao Scindia (1731 – 19 July 1745)Maharaja Jayapparao Scindia (1745 – 25 July 1755)Maharaja Jankojirao I Scindia (25 July 175515 January 1761). Born 1745.Meharban Srimant Dattaji Rao Shinde Maharaj Sahab, Regent (1755 – 10 January 1760). Died 1760.(15 January 176125 November 1763) vacantMaharaja Kedarjirao Scindia (25 November 176310 July 1764)Maharaja Manajirao Scindia (10 July 176418 January 1768)Maharaja Madhavrao I Scindia (18 January 176812 February 1794). Born c.1730, died 1794.Maharaja Daulatrao Scindia (12 February 179421 March 1827). Born 1779, died 1827.Maharaja Jankojirao II Scindia (18 June 18277 February 1843). Born 1805, died 1843.Maharaja Jayajirao Scindia (7 February 184320 June 1886). Born 1835, died 1886.Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia (20 June 18865 June 1925). Born 1876, died 1925.Maharaja (later Rajpramukh) George Jivajirao Scindia (Maharaja 5 June 192515 August 1947, Rajpramukh 28 May 194831 October 1956). Born 1916, died 1961.MadhavraoJyotiraditya (present)
Gaekwad Maharajas of Baroda (presently in Gujrat state)Pilaji Rao Gaekwad (1721-1732)Damaji Rao Gaekwad (1732-1768)Govind Rao Gaekwad (1768-1771)Sayaji Rao Gaekwad I (1771-1789)Manaji Rao Gaekwad (1789-1793)Govind Rao Gaekwad (restored) (1793-1800)Anand Rao Gaekwad (1800-1818)Sayaji Rao II Gaekwad (1818-1847)Ganpat Rao Gaekwad (1847-1856)Khande Rao Gaekwad (1856-1870)Malhar Rao Gaekwad (1870-1875)Maharaja Sayyaji Rao III (1875-1939)Pratap Singh Gaekwar (1939-1951)Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad (1951 – 1988)Rajitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad (1988 – )
Holkar Maharajas of Indore (presently in Madhya Pradesh state)Malharrao Holkar (I) (r. 2 November 1693 – 19 May 1766 CE)Malerao Khanderao Holkar (r. 23 August 1766 – 5 April 1767 CE)Punyaslok Rajmata Ahilyadevi Holkar (as a regent) (r. 5 April 1767 – 13 August 1795 CE)Tukojirao Holkar (I) (r. 13 August 1795 – 29 January 1797 CE)Kashirao Tukojirao Holkar(r. 29 January 1797 – 1798CE)Yashwantrao Holkar (I) (r. 1798 – 27.11.1811 CE)Malharrao Yashwantrao Holkar (III) (r. November 1811 – 27 October 1833 CE)Martandrao Malharrao Holkar (r. 17 January 1834 – 2 February 1834 CE)Harirao Vitthojirao Holkar (r. 17 April 1834 – 24 October 1843 CE)Khanderao Harirao Holkar (III) (r. 13 November 1843 – 17 February 1844 CE)Tukojirao Gandharebhau Holkar (II) (r. 27 June 1844 – 17 June 1886 CE)Shivajirao Tukojirao Holkar (r. 17 June 1886 – 31 January 1903 CE)Tukojirao Shivajirao Holkar (III) (r. 31 January 1903 – 26 February 1926 CE)Yashwantrao Holkar (II) (r. 26 February 1926 – 1961)Usha Devi Maharani Sahiba Holkar XV Bahadur, Maharani of Indore (r. 1961 – present)
Peshwas (Ruled from Pune)Sonopant Dabir Period 1640-1652Shyampant Kulkarni-Ranzekar Period 1652-1657Moropant Peshwe(Pingale) Period 1657-1683Moreshwar Pingale 1683-1689RamchandraPant Amatya 1689-1708Bahiroji Pingale 1708-1711Parshuram Tribak Kulkarni 1711-1713Balaji Vishwanath (1713-2apr.1720) (b.1660, d. 2apr.1720)Peshwa Bajirao I (17 apr.1720-28 apr.1740) (b.18 aug.1700, d. 28 apr.1740)From 1749 ,after death of Shahu , peshawa became head of maratha empire ,offcourse reporting to Chatrapati.Balaji Bajirao (4 jul.1740-23 jun.1761) (b.8 dec.1721, d. 23 jun.1761)Madhavrao Peshwa (1761-18 nov.1772) (b.16 feb.1745, d. 18 nob.1772)Hereafter they remained titularNarayanrao Bajirao (13 dec.1772-30 aug.1773) (b.10 aug.1755, d. 30 aug.1773)Raghunathrao (5 dec.1773-1774) (b.18 aug.1734, d. 11 dec.1783)self -claimed not accepted by ChatrapatiSawai Madhava Rao II Narayan (1774-27 oct.1795) (b.18 apr.1774, d. 27 oct.1795)Chimnajee Madhavarao (26 May 1796 – 3 Dec 1796) (brother of Bajirao II, adopted by Madhavrao II’s wife)Baji Rao II (4 dec.1796-3 jun.1818) (d. 28 jan.1851)Amritrao (brother of Bajirao II), Peshwa for a short period during Yashwantrao Holkar‘s siege of Pune. Bajirao was later reinstated by the British.Nana Sahib (1 jul.1857-1858) (b.19 may.1825, d. 24 sep.1859)
 

SHIVAJIS ANCESTORS

PIC: SHAHAJI RAJE BHOSALE FATHER OF SHIVAJI MAHARAJ



Shivaji belonged to the House of the Bhosales . There are many families in Maharashtra with the surname Bhosale, but not all can trace lineage to the royal Bhosales ( later the succesors to the thrones of Satara and Kolhapur) , whose most famous son was Shivaji raje Bhosale, and also the progenitor of their aristocracy.
One of Shivajis early known ancestors was his great grandfather Babaji Bhosale. He was the headman of the villages Hingane Beradi and Diwalgaon in Pune district(or Poona/ Puna, state Maharashtra…source J.Sarkar). His sustinence was mainly dependent on his farm fields and his income as the headman of the villages.

Note: As per author historian C.V.Vaidya, Babaji Raje Bhosale then was the feudal lord
Of Pande Pedgaon and the same fief continued for
a time in the possession of Maloji. Indeed Maloji
was associated with Babaji in its possession, even
in 1596 A. D.

He had two sons: Maloji Bhosale the eldest and Vithoji ,his younger sibling.
Both Maloji and Vithoji had some friction with the locals in their village, and shifted with their entire family to Verul (Ellora in Aurangabad district, state Maharashtra). The land there wasn’t very conducive for farming and both the brothers sought service in the army of Lakhujirao Jadhav (Lakhuji Jadhav was a noble in the Nizamshahi army of Ahmednagar, his jagir being Sindkhedraja in present day Buldhana, Maharashtra. He also claimed lineage to the royal family of Yadavas of Devagiri).
With their bravery, the brothers rose in ranks in Lakhujis army.


Note: Some derive the Bhosale name from Bhose,
a village in the Verul district, where the family
first settled and Bhosala, means of the Bhose village.Ref. Vaidya


Then the story goes this way, that in a ‘Holi’(festival of colours) function Lakhujirao praised the handsomeness of the young Shahaji, son of Maloji (from his wife Umabai from the family of Nimbalkars of Phaltan, also serving in the Nizamshahi. It is to be noted that Maloji was childless for a long time and he had two sons Shahaji and Sharifji, after blessings from the Sufi saint Baba Shah Sharif and therefore named after the sufi saint.) and even mockingly said that that the young Shahaji and his little daughter Jijabai would make a fine couple. But these words of Lakhuji were taken too seriously by Maloji rao Bhosale. He proudly pointed out to this incident in public, which irked Lakhujirao Jadhav to no end. An indignant Lakhuji Jadhav promptly dismissed Malojirao from his services, after rebuking Maloji,
for dreaming that a ‘shiledars’( a shiledar is just higher in the hierarchy than a common soldier , and one who has his own sword and horse, besides what is given by his master) son can marry a ‘sardars’ (noble) daughter. (Author/historian:Vaidya says Lakhuji declined to accept Shahaji as his son in law at the protest of his wife Mhalsabai).
Humiliated , Maloji retreated to his village in Verul. Maloji meanwhile had become the headman of his village.


Note: Maloji and his brother Vithoji served the
Nizamshah with distinction and got many ‘mokasas’
for maintenance of forces, as also many villages
and lands in Inam. These were as follows:
The three perganas(parganas) of Elur ( Verul ); Derhadi
and Kannarad.
Kannarad was given with ‘ kot ‘ and 4 ‘ kila ‘ or fort
and included Jategau and Vakadi. The towns
1. Pedgaon, now in ruins, is eight miles from Shrigonda,
on the Bhima, with Hemadpanti temples of Shiva
and Rameshwar.2.{Kasba) of Lasur pergana Gandapur, Adharsul
pergana Ahmedabad and the villages of Porle
(ditto), Pimpalvadi pergana Paithan and Gaudagau
or Ahmedabad. So far as we have ascertained,
Jategaon is in Karmala ( Sholapur ), and Adharsul
is near Yeola.source: Rajwade (Vaidya).

The brothers spent the next few years tilling their fields. Then one day Maloji noticed a snake coming out of a hole in his field. As per popular superstitions, the snake is said to guard a hidden treasure. So Maloji, began digging the place. To his joy he found seven pots of of gold coins. He wisely lodged them at the house of a local banker named Punde at Chamargunda (present day Shrigonda. source : J.Sarkar). He called over his brother, and together they bought horses, saddles,arms ,tents and employed a thousand troopers. With his small army (after briefly harassing Lakhujis jagir) ,Malojirao (and his brother Vithoji) , aligned himself with his in laws, the Nimbalkars of Phaltan and entered directly in the service of the Nizamshah of Ahmednagar.
They participated in many a battle against the Bijapuris and the Mughals(there were conflicts with the Mughals during the early 17th century when Akbars forces invaded Ahmednagar), who were constantly at war , trying to gain each others territories. They fought under the command of the famous general of Nizamshah, the Abyssinian, Malik Ambar, and his fellow compatriot Ranadaulla Khan (Khan i Zaman). That is where they honed their skills in the art of warfare.
Malojirao also spent a large portion of his new found wealth in the construction of several temples, giving alms to the poor, the Brahmins and also for excavating a large tank on the arid Shambhu Mahadev hill in the Satara district. This brought him a lot of praise from the pilgrims who flocked to this holy place.
The Bhosales had by now grown in stature in the Nizamshahi court. The courtiers and the king had even managed to persuade Lakhujirao Jadhav to give his daughter Jijabai’s hand in marriage to Malojirao Bhosale’s son, Shahaji. Something to which Lakhuji reluctantly agreed .
After Malojirao’s death, the army of the Bhosales was commanded by his younger brother Vithoji (Vithoji had eight sons, ‘four have been found in the mughal service at the beginning of Shah Jahans reign viz. Kheloji Parsuji,Maloji II, and Mambaji: source Abdul Hamid- J.Sarkar) and later after Vithoji’s death (1623), by Malojis son, Shahaji raje Bhosale.

Note:Ref. Vaidya. It is certain that Maloji died about the end of
1528 or the middle of A. D. 1606 as in a sanad
of ‘ravan’. 1529, we have the mention of Maloji
as deceased and as subsequent documents mention
Vithoji alone. Maloji is said to have been killed in the battle
of Indapur fought by the Nizamshahi forces against
Bijapur.
Vithoji dying some time hereafter, the leadership
of the family came naturally to Shahaji, son
of the elder Maloji, and he, with his brother Sarfoji
and his eight cousins ( sons of Vithoji )


Meanwhile Malik Ambar, who had even humbled the might of the mughals, had died (AD.1626). He was succeeded by his son Fateh Khan as the next regent of Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar. Shahaji was deputed by Fateh Khan to raid East Khandesh against an invading mughal force. Shahaji displayed great valour there. Soon friction developed between Fateh Khan and his king and Fateh Khan was placed under arrest. This was the time of political intrigues amongst the various nobles of the Nizam shahi court. Sensing the chaos, Lakhujirao Jadhav had left the services of the Nizamshahi and had joined the Mughals(authors like Vaidya have stated the fight between the Bhosales and the Jadhavs as mentioned below in detail, and the subsequent Malik Amber siding with the Bhosales as the cause for Lakhujiraos disenchantment with the Nizamshahi and desertion to the mughal camp ), but disenchanted, returned soon to the Nizamshahi court. But the Nizam wasn’t ready to forgive and forget murdered Lakhujirao along with his sons in the very court where they had once served. Angry at the treatment meted out to his father in law Lakhuji Jadhav and his sons, Shahaji left the Nizamshahi services. He rebelled against the Nizamshahi and tried to seize the country from Junnar to Ahmednagar. Later, he joined the Mughal services.He served there for an year and half (end of 1630-June 1632), but finding little scope amongst the largely predominant north Indian courtiers, he left its services and joined Adil Shah I of Bijapur, who was eyeing the brave warrior for a long time. (but Vaidya states that Shahajis cousins had grown jealous of him, and created bad blood between him and the rulers of the Nizamshahi, hence Shahaji moved over to the Adilshahi camp).There his courage impressed Adil Shah I and his deputy Murar Jagdev. But Adil Shah I died within a year. He was succeeded by his son Adil Shah II. This Adil Shah was ill disposed towards his hindu nobles and had Murar Jagdev murdered. Shahaji, sensing a danger to his life, left the services of Adilshah II.
Sometime in 1629, the Mughals were preparing a renewed attack on the kingdom of Ahmednagar(after Khan Jahan Lodi the governor of Deccan had rebelled against the Delhi court and had sought refuge in Ahmednagar). Scared, the Nizam Shah (Burhan Nizam Shah) released Fateh Khan and made him the regent again. But this time Fateh Khan had his master murdered (Feb 1632) and installed a puppet successor Hussain Nizam Shah in his place .Fateh Khan thus became the de facto ruler of the Nizamshahi kingdom. He even invited Shahaji raje Bhosale to be the commander of his forces. Shahaji accepted the offer. Fateh Khan even bought temporary peace by accepting the vassalage of the Mughals. But, secretly he desired freedom from the mughal yoke.Fateh Khan simultaneously opened diplomatic channels with the Deccan kingdoms of Bijapur and Golkunda to unite them against the Mughals . When the mughal emperor, Shah Jahan discovered Fateh Khans duplicity, he ordered his general Mahabbat Khan to attack Ahmednagar. The mughals came down heavily on Fateh Khan and he was soon defeated and captured. Fateh Khan and Hussain Nizam Shah were sent as prisoners to Delhi , and Ahmednagar was formally annexed to the Mughal empire.
But nobles like Shahaji raje Bhosale refused to submit to the Mughals. He rallied the forces of Ahmednagar under him and installed the young Murtuza III ( a descendent of the Nizamshahi) as the successor to the throne. Shahaji acted as his regent. He once again retreived several captured districts from the mughals including North Konkan. He repossessed more than one fourth of the old Nizamshahi territory(revenue worth 20 lakh ‘huns’coins) with the Bijapuri help and even thwarted Mughal attempts to seize Parenda. He ruled on behalf of the young king for three long years.
This time the Mughals decided on another strategy. Shah Jahan sent peace overtures to the Bijapur court. Both reached a pact, where in, they decided to jointly invade Ahmednagar and split the spoils of the war amongst themselves. Shahaji thus was isolated and completely outnumbered. He finally accepted defeat and ceded his seven earlier captured forts to the enemy (Oct.1636) and as per the treaty, also,entered into the services of Adilshah of Bijapur ( It is said that earlier, Shahaji had protected Shah Jahan for eight months in the Deccan ,when Shah Jahan as a prince had rebelled against his father Jahangir and sought refuge in the Deccan. This prompted Shah Jahan to spare Shahajis life and even pressed Adil Shah to enlist Shahaji in his court). Shahaji was given the territory of Bangalur (Bangalore in state of Karnataka ) as his jagir (estate). He was also allowed to keep his estate of Pune and Supa.
Shivaji was born to Shahaji and his wife Jijabai, during his tumultuous period (Note:Shivaji was born on 18TH Feb, 1630 as per Jedhe Shakavali,ref:Tilak,Shiv Bharata and Tanjore stone inscription ,against an other date given by, author historian Grant Duff on basis of the bakhars , who gave the birthdate of Shivaji as 3 rd May 1627) on the fort Shivneri (which was under the care of Vishwasrao an relative of Shahaji ), while Shahaji was busy fighting the Nizamshahi forces.

Note: While Jijabai gave birth to Shivaji, at the fort of Shivneri, Shahaji was on the run chased by his father in law Lakhuji. Both being in opposite camps.For some time there had been friction between Lakhuji and Shahaji. The reason for the same was this unfortunate incident.
Maratha sardars were attending a Durbar (court session) of the Nizamshah.While they were departing
from the palace, each one trying to crowd out
the others, the elephant of a sardar named Khandagale became unruly and trampled some footmen
to death. Dattaji, son of Jadhavrao, attacked the
elephant. A skirmish thus began between him and
Khandagale and the latter was assisted by the sons
of Vithoji. A regular duel ensued between Dattaji
and Sambhaji, son of Vithoji, in which Dattaji was
killed. Lakhuji Jadhavrao who had departed already
heard the terrible news of his son’s death,
and, infuriated, returned to attack Sambhaji . Shahaji
now went to the help of his cousin Sambhaji and a
battle was fought wherein Sambhaji was killed.
The Nizamshah himself, on hearing of this scuffle,
came out, and, intervening, separated the combatants.
Thus began that enmity between Jadhavrao
and Shahaji, according to Shiva-Bharata ,which the
Bakharkars have wrongly carried back to the time
of Shahaji’s marriage with Jijabai.
One result of this scuffle was that Jadhavrao
thought that the Nizamshah was unduly in favour
of the Bhosales, and he left his service and went
over to the Moguls. This desertion was taken
advantage of by Adilshah, who invited the Moguls
to attack Nizamshahi from the -north while he attacked
it from the south. A battle was fought
between the two sides at Bhatavadi in 1624 A. D.This was the time when Shahaji found himself besieged by his father in law Lakhujirao, and he sent his pregnant wife to the safety of fort Shivneri where she gave birth to Shivaji.
Shiva-Bharata gives a detailed description of this
battle and mentions by name the many captains in
the three armies, namely of Delhi, Bijapur and
Ahmednagar. Eventually Malik Amber obtained
a signal victory over the two allies, Muila Mahmad,
Sar-Lashkar of Bijapur, being killed and many
captains of the Mogul and Bijapur armies being
taken prisoners. The Bhosales fought bravely on
Malik Amber’s side, Sharifji (Shahajis brother) being among the
slain in the army of Ahmednagar. This was
Shahaji’s first brilliant exploit on the battle-field.
The battle is referred to in a letter of Pedro, an
Italian traveller, dated 1624 October 31st which
supports the account of Shiva-Bharata and may
thus be taken to have been fought some time in
the middle of that year*
It is probable that Shahaji got at this time, as
reward, the mokasas (inams-reward/jagirs-estates) of Poona and Supa , which
were beyond the Bhima and which were, as stated
before, subjects of frequent conflicts between
Ahmednagar and Bijapur.

Shahaji was appointed Sar-Lashkar or general in Ahmednagar army-
Shiva-Bharata relates that the sons of Vithoji
became hereafter jealous of Shahaji’s greatness.
Malik Amber seems to have supported
Shahaji’s cousins in the quarrel, as the ruling power,
also as usual, keeps up disputes in powerful sardars*
families. Shahaji was dissatisfied and he retired to
Poona where he built a house for himself. From
there he was invited by Ibrahim Adilshah to enter
his service and Shahaji with his followers became an
Adilshahi sardar. This is supported by a document
dated 19th December 1625, in which Shahaji
is contemptuously described as ‘ Shahaji Bhosala,
Adilshahi ‘. Another document, a sanad dated
28th July, describes him, however, as ‘ Meherban
Shahaji Raje Sarlashkar ‘. Both these documents
relate to the Poona District and show that while in
July 1625, Shahaji was a Sarlashkar or commander
of forces in Nizamshahi and enjoyed the fief of
Poona. In December 1625 he was in Adilshahi
service and Poona had been taken away from him.
Shahaji rendered important services to Adilshah
by conquering Mudhoji of Phaltan and some
refractory chiefs in Karnatic and in Keral. He remained
in Adilshahi service from about October
1625 to about the end of 1627. From a document
dated 10th January 1626, it appears that he was
then a Sarlashkar in Adilshahi, and at his request
the Adilshah granted the desagata of Talebid and some rights on the fort of Panhala to Sambhaji
and Dharoji Mohite. These were probably relatives
of Shahaji’s second wife who belonged to the
Mohite family.
In May 1626 Malik Amber died and about a
year or so after Ibrahim Adilshah also died. The
former was succeeded by his son Fattehkhan who
was favourably disposed towards Shahaji, and the
latter by Mahomed Adilshah who was a staunch
Shia and an intolerant Mahomedan. About the
change of policy the latter initiated we shall speak
later ; but Shahaji now thought it safe to leave
his service and go to Nizamshah, his old master.
He again got his Poona mansab to which was added
Patas apparently. It also seems that Nizamshahi
was threatened at this time by Shahjahan and
Shahaji being called by the Nizamshah thought it
proper to join his old master. The Poona pergana
with Patas was given him again and he was
sent against the advancing Mogul force.
Shahaji remained in this service till
the fall of Nizamshahi in 1636, with the exception
of a short interval, when he had gone over to the
Moguls, as will be presently related.
Source.C.V.Vaidya


From Jijabai, Shahaji already had an elder son Sambhaji. When settled in Bangalore, Shahaji took on a second wife Tukabai ,from the Mohite family . That has been attributed as the reason why Jijabai moved away (another reason given was the enimity between Jijabai father Lakhuji rao and Shahaji created a distance between the husband and wife), along with her son Shivaji, to their estate in Pune. But the historians differ on this. Some say, it was a regular practice in those days for people of higher social standing to have more than two wives, so, Jijabai couldn’t have possibly been displeased on this account, and she had agreed to move to Pune, only to manage the Shahajis estates there (because as per the treaty with Bijapur , Shahaji wasn’t to enter the boundaries of the old Ahmednagar kingdom, lest he decides to rebel again). Sambhaji stayed on with his father Shahaji, and his step mother Tukabai, while Shivaji grew up in the wild lands of Pune under the care of his mother Jijabai and his guardian (and manager of his estates) Dadoji Kondeo.
Later when Shivaji grew up into manhood, he challenged the very court of Bijapur, where his father Shahaji was a courtier. In all probability Shahaji supported his sons activities, due to which Shahaji , for a brief period , even had to face imprisonment in the Bijapuri prison. The Bijapuri forces even invaded Shahaji’s estates at Bangalore and Pune. But his brave sons, Sambhaji at Bangalore and Shivaji at Pune , stoically repelled these attacks. Soon the Bijapur court reached a compromise of sorts and Shahaji was released from prison. During this period Sambhaji was killed,treacherously murdered as historians say by Afzal Khan, an fellow Bijapur courtier and Shahaji’s most bitter rival out there. But Shivaji had his revenge when he killed Afzal Khan in an latter encounter.
Shahajis son Ekoji (or Vyankoji) from Tukabai went on to establish the royal Bhosala dynasty at Thanjavur (in Tamil Nadu state, south India).
Shahaji died in an accident when he was thrown of his horse.
Shahaji died in AD 1665.


PIC: MARATHA WEAPONS , COURTESY. ATUL KAJALE
Bhosale lineage:
There are different versions about the Bhosale origins. Some (including Shivaji) claimed descent from the Sisodiya clan of Chittor , Rajasthan, while one historian Dr. Ramchandra Dhere has even claimed their origins from the Hoysalas of Karnataka (Bhosale-Bhosala being a distortion of Hoysala). But the Rajput theory seems more documented.
Some of the Bhosale genealogical claims are as under:
Kolhapur Royal chronicles:Lakshmana simha – Sajjana simha (reaches Maharashtra in 1310 AD) – Dilip simha – Shivaji I – Bhosaji – Devarajji – Ugrasena -Mahulaji – Kheloji – Janakoji – Sambhaji – Babaji – Maloji – Shahaji – Chatrapati Shivaji
Satara Museum chronicles:Lakshmana simha – Sajjana simha (reaches Maharashtra in 1310 AD) – Dilip simha –simhaji I – Bhosaji – Devarajji (came to south India) Indrasenji – Shubhakrishna – Rupaji- Bhumindraji – Dhapaji – Barbatji – Kheloji -Jaya-Karna – Sambhaji- Babaji – Maloji – Shahaji – Chatrapati shivaji
Note:From enquiry of Pandit Sukhdeo Prasadji, Prime
Minister of Udaipur, it appears that
“the name Bhosaji,does not occur in their genealogical tables nor is it common among Rajputs.” It ia probable that this name was inserted by pedigree-writers to explain the surname.Ref: Vaidya.

Thanjavur stone inscription (surprisingly very different from Maratha records:Venkoji – Sharabhoji (came to south India) – Mahasena – Ekashiva – Ramachandra – Bhimaraya – Ekoji – Variha – EkojI II – Brahmaji – Shahaji – Ambaji – Parasoji – Babaji – Maloji – Shahaji – Ekoji or Vyankoji (First Maratha king of Thanjavur)
The Jintikars of Gwalior give the following genealogy:Bakhtaji (came to south India from north) – Nagoji – Ekoji/Vyankoji – Babaji – Maloji – ShahajI – Sambhaji (elder brother of Shivaji) – Umaji – Parsoji (may not be a real son) – Jintikar Bhosales
As per Tod’s account from Rajput chronicles:Ajay simha – Sajjana simha – Dilipa simha – Shivaji I – Bhoraji – Devaraj ji – Ugrasena – Mahulji- Khailuji – Janakoji – Sattuji – Sambhaji – Chatrapati Shivaji
From royal Rajput documents with seals, termed ‘sanads’ one can confirm the following:Lakshmana simha – Ajaya simha – Sajjana simha – Dilip simha – Sidhoji – Bhairoji (Bhosaji?) – Devarajji – Ugrasena – Shubakrishna
As per Chitins bakhar: Shubha Krishna- Roop singh-Bhoomi – Dhaapji-Barbhatji Khalkarn(Khalaji) –Jaikarna Sambhaji-Babaji-Maloji-Shahaji- Chatrapati Shivaji. (contributed by Atul Kalaje)
(Alternate)
Maharana Laxmansingh-Sajjan singh- Dilip singh- Sinhaji- Bhosaji-Devrajji-Indrasen
Note: the genealogy
given by Chitnis says that Devarajaji, son of Bhosaji,
came to the Deccan about 1415 A. D.
As per Mahadev Dongare : Khelkarna-Jaikarna-Maalkarna-Sambhaji-Babaji-Maloji-Shahaji- Chatrapati Shivaji(contributed by Atul Kalaje)
(Alternate)
Maharana Lakshman singh-Ajay singh- Sajjan singh- Dilip singh- Sinhaji-Bhosaji-Devaraj-Indrasen (Ugrasen)
As per Bhide: Sajjan singh- Dilipsingh-Sinhaji- Bhosaji-Devarajji- Khelkarna(contributed by Atul Kalaje)
As per Sane : Shivrao Chittodkar-Bhimsingh-Vijaybhanu-Khelkarna-Jayakarna-Mahakarna-Raja Shiv- Babaji- Maloji- Shahaji- Chatrapati Shivaji.
(contributed by Atul Kalaje)
Note:The Rajput theory. Ref. author Takakhav(adapted from K. A .Keluskars work)
Shivaji Maharaj, the illustrious founder of the Maratha
Power, derived his descent from the renowned Bhonsle family.
This noble Maratha house claimed an ancient Kshatriya
origin. It is said that the family was transferred to the
uplands of Maharashtra by a Rajput warrior, Devraj Maharana
by name. The family tradition tells a long tale of
chequered adventures and vicissitudes. In what is now
known as the modern province of Oudh, there ruled for centuries
the ancient princes of the royal Sesodia family. They
claimed descent from the mythical Solar Race, which along
with the Lunar Race comprises the genealogy of every
Kshatriya family in the land. One of these Sesodia(Sisodiya) princes
crossed the Narbada (Narmada river) and became the founder of an independent
principality on its southern banks. The fortunes of
this family were, however, destined to wane before the rising
glory of the famous Shalivan (Satavahana), who inaugurated a new
Hindu era, which is still current south of the Narbada. The
ruling Bhonsle prince of the time was defeated and his
kingdom, annexed. At this crisis the afflicted queen of the
prince escaped with her young son of five or six years across
the Narbada and sought shelter in the inhospitable regions
of Mewar in the vicinity of the Vindhya Mountains.
There she found an asylum in a poor Brahman family, her
son keeping the Brahman’s kine. Once while out engaged
on his cow-herd duties the boy discovered a hidden treasure.
This he disclosed to his patron and acquainted him with the
story of his origin and fall. The Brahman listened with
sympathy and encouraged and exhorted him to endeavour
to recover his royal power, giving him to that end every
assistance within his means. It was a mountainous region
in the possession of the Bhils, with whom they had to fight.
When the conquest of the country was completed, they erected
a fort upon those mountain heights under the shadow
of a temple of the goddess Bhawani. This fort they
named Chitrakote. They restored the ancient temple of
Bhavani and built another within the fort in honour of
Eklingji Shiv. The descendants of this prince are said to
have reigned at Chitrakote for about five hundred years.
This fort of Chitrakote became afterwards famous in history
as the fort of Chitore.
Then followed the establishment of Mahomedan power
at Delhi, and the interminable wars between the Mahomedan
emperors and the Rajput princes. Many Hindu kings
had to acknowledge defeat and become vassals of the Mahomedan
emperors. These rulers carried on constant wars
with the Rajput state of Chitore, but with little success to
boast of The Chitore princes defended their kingdom and
independence very bravely. About 1275 the Maharana
Lakshman Singh succeeded to the throne of Chitore. The
affairs of the administration were in the charge of his uncle,
Bhim Singh. This Bhim Singh had for his consort one of
the greatest beauties in the land, Rani Padmini. This
princess is said to have come from Ceylon. Her great reputation
for beauty reached the ears of Allauddin Khilji, the
emperor of Delhi, who conceived an unholy passion for her.
With an immense army he advanced upon Chitore and laid
siege to the fort. The Rajputs fought with the valour for
which they are famous; they beat back the enemy in all their
advances, but still Allauddin would not raise the siege. He
had invested the fortress on all sides with very powerful
forces. The garrison had now exhausted all their resources.
Driven to desperation the Rajput king resolved at the head
of his whole army to make a sudden sortie upon the enemy
and meet a warrior’s death on the field of battle.
(Some chronicles describe the Rani Padmini as the wife of the
Maharana Lakshman Singh).
Rajputs to a man applauded the plan. But surely it was
not desirable that the whole race of the Sesodias should be
extirpated from the earth, and means must be found to
perpetuate it. The king had twelve sons. They all vied
with each other in the desire to sacrifice their lives upon
the battle-field. But the second prince Ajay Singh was
the special favourite of his royal father. The Raja explained
to him, how undesirable it was that his royal race
should be totally extinguished and commanded him to betake
himself to an inaccessible part of the Aravalli Mountains,
known as Kailwada, and save himself. This advice
was by no means palatable to a prince of the courage
of Ajay Singh. . But overcome by the urgent entreaties of
his father he was obliged to acquiesce in this plan, and
according to his father’s wishes escaped to Kailwada1
.
Thereupon at Chitore, the Raja with his followers and
kinsmen dashed forth upon the enemy, and nearly fourteen
hundred of them were cut to pieces. The fort fell
into the hands of the Mahomedans. The whole place was
pillaged and plundered; not even the royal insignia were
saved ; the gigantic war-drum and the massive gates composed
of an ingenious amalgam of five metals, celebrated
throughout the land, fell into the hands of the enemy.
When, as related above, Ajay Singh made his escape,
he took with him Humbir Singh(Vir Hammir), the minor son of his
eldest brother. He then rallied the remnants of his people
and again formed a fairly large principality. As Humbir
Singh grew in years he proved himself a brave and capable
leader. Ajay Singh was a man of a very pious disposition
and loved his nephew with a father’s love. He crowned
him king of his forefathers’ realm and himself took charge
of the administration. They built the fortress of Rajnagar
and made it their capital. Chitnis’s chronicle gives a different version to the effect that ,
Lakshman Singh’s his queen escaped to the Bhil country
with two princes, who subsequently propagated the race.
return to Chitore until they had retrieved from the enemy
the royal drum and insignia. Until they had curbed the
insolent pride of those hostile bands who had decimated
their race and desecrated the capital of their hereditary
kingdom, they were resolved not to carry their war-standards
before them, and to deny to themselves the luxury of
plate and couches, and not even to trim their beards. This
hatred of Islam they transmitted to their posterity. They
made new conquests; they built new forts and consolidated
their power; and at last with Udaipur as their capital, they
established their independence.
On the demise of Ajay Singh, his son Sajan Singh
thought it unwise to quarrel with his cousin for a partition
of territory, and considered it more glorious to win
new realms for himself. With this design, this brave
prince advanced southwards. The territory of Sondhwad
was conquered by him, and there he made his capital.
Among his descendants we read the names of Dilip Singhji
Maharana, Singhji Maharana, Bhosaji Maharana, and
Devrajji Maharana in succession. All these constantly
fought with the Mahomedans and preserved their kingdom.
But at length Devrajji, quite exhausted with the frequency
of the Mahomedan invasions, gave up his kingdom, and
coming down to the south maintained a precarious independence as a polygar in the valleys of the Krishna and
the Bhima. On coming to the Decean he changed his
name for fear of the Mahomedans and assumed that of
Bhosawant Bhonsle. His object was, if possible, to lay
the foundations of a new sovereignty in this land. But the
Mahomedans carried everything before them and his high
ambition was not destined to be realized. At last he had
to content himself with the Patelship of Singnapur.
His descendants afterwards obtained by purchase the
Patelships of various places, such as, Khanwat, Hingnsi
Begdi, Dewalgaon, Verul, Vavi, Mungi etc. In the line of
direct descent from Devrajji we have Indrasen,
krshnaji, Rupsinghji, Bhumindraji, Dhapji Barhatji
Khalaji* alias Khalkarn, Karnasinghji alias Jayakarn,
Sambhaji and Babaji alias Shivaji. The last named Babaji
was born in 1533.Source: Life of Shivaji by Takakhav (adapted from Keluskars work).

Note 2: As per History of the Marathas by C.A.Kincaid and Rao Bahadur D.B.Parasnis
Lakshman Singh, the ancestor of the house of Udaipur. One
of the family, Devrajji by name,t after a quarrel with the Rana
of Udaipur fled to the Deccan. There he and his descendants
assumed the name of Bhosle * from the family fief of Bhosavat
in Udaipur. Another story is that two brothers, Kheloji and Malkamaji or Maloji, came together from Udaipurto
offer their services as free lances to the king of Ahmadnagar.
Khelkamaji or Kheloji died in battle. Malkamaji was drowned
while bathing in a river. Malkamaji’s son Babaji purchased
the Patilki or headship of the village of Verul near Daulatabad.
Babaji had two sons, Maloji t and Vithoji, who were the real
founders of the greatness of the Bhosle family.

All genealogies are pretty conflictiong , but there is a common lineage amongst all the maratha genealogies , i.e , from Babaji to Maloji to Shahaji to Shivaji.
There is a lot of controversy about whether the Bhosales were indeed descendents branching out from the famous rajput clan of the Sisodias. The Sisodiyas in turn claim to belong to the earliest of the ruling dynasties (the ‘Suryavanshis’ or descendents of the Solar dynasty from Ishvaku and the Raghu vanshis of the Ramayana) from ancient India. The Sisodiya clan boasts of great kings like Rana Sangha and Rana Pratap and a connection from them to the reviver of the hindu fortunes (Shivaji) after an long Islamic rule is indeed remarkable.
It is alleged by many historians like Sir.J.Sarkar that Gaga Bhatt, the Brahmin from Benaras contrived Shivaji’s genealogy to the Sisodiyas, in order to prove him a Kshatriya (warrior), when he was of the shudra(peasant) stock, so that he can be coronated officially. But many historians including the contemporaries of Shivaji have attested the fact that Shivaji was indeed a Rajput Kshatriya. Some of the notables amongst them were:
1) Radha Madhava Vilasa Champu of poet Jayarama (written in the court of Shahaji at Banglur,1654) describes Shivaji as descending from the Sisodias of Chittor. Jayaramas poetry was composed much before Shivajis coronation.
Note: But we find that this same Rajput descent has been
mentioned by Jayaram who, years before Shivaji’s
coronation, wrote a poem on Shahaji. Therein he
says that Shahaji was descended from Dalip born
in the family of the Rana who was the foremost
among all kings of the earth. This Dalip was, we
find, a grandson of Lakshmanasen, Rana of Chitod,who came to the throne in 1303 A. D.
2)Shivabharata of Paramananda: Shivaji and Shahji are of the Ikshvaku lineage like the Sisodiyas.3)Parnalaparvata grahanakhyana states that Shivaji is a Sisodia4)Bhushan the Hindi poet speaks of the Bhosales being Rajput..5)Shahji in his letter to the Sultan Adilshah states he is a Rajput.6) Mughal historian Khafi Khan describes Shivaji as a descendent of the Ranas of Chittor.(Khafi Khan was a very harsh critic of Shivaji and has even personalized his accounts condemming Shivaji to hell. Khafi Khan has claimed that though Shivaji’s ancestors did come from the family of Ranas of Chittor, they (Dilip singh) were their illegitimate offsprings ( But Khafi khan was a Islamic historian and most of his accounts of Shivaji are very harsh and biased against Shivaji.). 7) An intelligence dispatch of the East India company from 28th Nov 1659 reports: “Sevagy (Shivaji),a great rashpoote (Rajput) issues forth from his fort Rayguhr(Raigad) to strike blows on the Emperor, Duccan, Golconda and the Portuguese.”8) Tod and Ojha who had access to the Rajput records claimed that as per those records there is a mention of the Bhosles descending from Ajay Singh, the uncle of Vir Hammir.



Sajjan singh was considered the patriarch of the Nagpur Bhosales. According to the Chitnis bakhar , after the death of Shivaji, (his sons Sambhaji under house arrest in Panhala and Rajaram being absent), Sabaji Bhosale of Nagpur who was serving in Shivajis army performed the final rites of Shivaji, which is possible only for a relative.
Moreover, Shahu, Shivajis grandson was childless, so he wanted to make one of the Nagpur Bhosales his successor(to the throne of Satara) , before finally settling for Rajarams descendent, as he was more closer amongst the kins. Again this can be possible if the Nagpur Bhosales were indeed relatives of the Bhosales of Satara.
Thus there are several reasons to the theory that Shivaji indeed had Rajput genes and those of the Sisodiyas in particular.

Sources:
1. A History of the Maratha people by G. A. Kincaid and Rao Bahadur D. B. Parasnis.( Humphrey Milford Oxford University press)

2.History of the Mahrathas by James Grant Duff (Exchange press, Bombay)

3.The Life of Shivaji Maharaj by N.S.Takakhav(adapted from the work in Marathi by Keluskar.K.A (Manoranjan press, Bombay).
4.Shivaji the founder of Maratha Swaraj by C.V.Vaidya (S.R.Sardesai,Navin Samartha Vidyalaya’s Samartha Bharat Press, Poona).
5.Shivaji and his times by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (Orient Longman).
6. Chatrapati Shivaji by Setu Madhavrao Pagadi (Continental Prakashan)
7. Studies in Indian History (Bookhive),
8. A History of India by Percival Spear (Penguin).
Acknowledgements: Atul Kajale.
 
 

SHIVAJI (PART 1)

THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF THE TWO PART ARTICLE ON CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ. THIS ARTICLE IS IN CONTINUATION OF THE MAIN ARTICLE ‘MARATHAS’ AND ITS SUBSEQUENT ARTICLE ‘ANCESTORS OF SHIVAJI’.



PIC: CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ

Shivaji was the first Hindu king to have carved out an kingdom after a long hiatus in an Islamic Deccan.

Birth
Shivaji Bhosale was born on 19th February 1630 (though there are other claims about Shivajis birth date. Sir Jadunath Sarkar places Shivajis birth on 10 th April 1627) in fort Shivneri . He was named Shivaji after Shivai the Godess of the fort.Shivaji was the second child of Shahaji raje Bhosale and mother Jijabai (who hailed from the family of Jadhavs of Sindkhed). Apparently because of Shahajis shifting of loyalties, his father in law Lakhuji Jadhav was entrusted with orders for Shahajis immediate capture. He was surrounded at fort Mahuli. Shahajis wife Jijabai was then pregnant with Shivaji, hence she was sent for her safety to Fort Shivneri , which was under a relative Vishwasrao (who also later became the father in law of Shahajis eldest son, Shambhuraje, through Jijabai ).

Childhood and youth
Shahaji raje had served under various kingdoms like Nizamshah, the Mughals (briefly) and finally Adilshah of Bijapur. Adilshah had conferred on Shahaji the jagir (estate) of Banglur (Bangalore) and he stayed there with his second wife Tukabai ( from the house of the Mohites. Shahaji had a son Vyankoji through Tukabai. Vyankohi later started the Thanjavur or Tanjore royal dynasty in present day Tamil Nadu ) and their elder son Shambhuraje.
Jijabai along with young Shivaji , remained at Pune to manage Shahajis estates (between rivers Bhima and Nira namely the parganas of Puna,Chakan,Indapur,Shirwal and Supa). To supervise the affairs of the estate, a Deshastha Brahmin manager by the name of Dadoji Kondeo Gochivde (also, later, Subhedar or administrative/military head of fort Kondana,as appointed by Adilshah in 1639) was deputed (1637).

To assist him were trusted men of Shahaji like Sonopant the Dabir(envoy), Shamrao Nilkanth the Peshwa(chief minister),Balkrishnapant the Muzumdar(revenue minister),and Raghnath Bhat the Sabnis (chronicler).
The jagir had various Deshmukhs , Deshpandes , Desais(regional chieftains and revenue collectors for the Sultan) like Khopde,Bandal,Jedhe,Maral,Silamkar etc. Some of them were often unruly and fought amongst themselves over trivial issues, besides terrorizing their village folk. Hence it was imperative to get these people under control. Some came willingly, for others there was use of force.
Note: Shivaji never trusted the loyalty of these Deshmukhs and we see that during Shivajis wars with Bijapur and the mughals, these Deshmukhs switched sides with relative ease. Hence Shivaji had to create his own army , in order to reduce the dependence on these Deshmukhs.
The estate was in the mountainous area of the Sahyadri hill range. It was a dense forest region, infested by dacoits and wild animals like wolves,leopards etc. The people in that area were called Mavales (belonging to the Maval valley region. The valleys in Maval are Andar,Nane,Karyat,Gunjan,Hirdas,Pawan, towards Junnar are Shivner, Bhimmer, Ghodner etc) and were mainly peasants or shepards. The first thing Dadoji Kondeo did was to clear the region and make it secure and safe for farming. He brought in strong law and order (and established an strict and impartial justice system) to that region, thus making it more inhabitable and accessible. This brought forth a lot of goodwill of the people towards their new masters.
Dadoji constructed the town of Shivapur in 1636 (as per Jedhe Shakavali) and built the Lal Mahal for Jijabai and Shivaji to reside in.
Shivaji grew up in these free mountains, along with his mavala playmates, under the watchfull eye of his intensely religious mother Jijabai and his guardian Dadoji Kondeo. He grew up on the stories inspired by the epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. This may have instilled in Shivaji his religious and moral values, inculcated by the loving but strict upbringing of his mother Jijabai.


PIC: SHIVNERI WADA, THE BIRTHPLACE OF SHIVAJI
Education
Some historians like Sarkar state that Shivaji was unlettered. But that seems unlikely. Education for a nobles son was a necessity (especially in ‘Marathi’ his mother tongue and language of the land, ‘Sanskrit ‘ the language of the religious texts,’Persian’ the language of the Islamic courts, and subjects required to learn the administration of ones lands like Law,Mathematics, and Economics ), moreover , Shivaji was very sharp and intelligent as a child. Yes, he did ask his courtiers to read out letters for him in court (fuelling the speculation), but that was the way of the royals then.
Shivaji was imparted training in the use of the talwar & dhal (sword & shield),bhaalaa( the spear), the danda pattaa(a long sharp edged elastic steel sword) ,dhanushya baan(archery), the secret weapons like the khanjir/ bichwa (knife/dagger), waagh nakha (tiger claws) and other martial requisites like ghod sawaari (horse riding),malla yudh/ kusti (wrestling) etc. Dadoji Kondeo was also said to be an excellent swordsman and imparted the primary knowledge to young Shivaji.

PIC: JIJABAI TEACHING YOUNG SHIVAJI
Why Shivaji wanted independence?
This may have varied reasons. It may have something to do with the stories of valour he heard from his mother, about the traditional heroes like lord Rama , lord Krishna, Rana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan and even about his own father, Shahaji who ruled the old Nizamshahi as a regent for the young Nizam Murtuza and subdued many a powerfull enemy.
Shivaji may have looked at the old lands of the Nizamshahi , his father once ruled (though briefly),as his own backyard.
But it may also have something to do with the erratic behavior of the Sultans. The earlier Nizamshah of Ahmednagar had murdered his grandfather Lakhujirao Jadhav in cold blood. Jijabai must have sworn vengeance then, and instilled this anger in the young Shivaji. Also, sometime in 1644, Adilshah had accused Dadoji Kondeo (and probably Shahaji of being hands in glove with him) of impropriety and ordered the seizure of Shahajis Pune Jagirs and the hands of Dadoji Kondeo his vakil (lawyer/envoy) to be cut. Apparently Dadoji Kondev in his capacity as the subedar of Kondana, had removed certain officials like Sardar Ghorpade and Shaikh Mirad from their jobs and replaced them with his own men like Sardar Balkawde, Netaji Palkar and Mrudangal Deshpande. These sacked officials further went and complained about the same and raised doubts about Dadojis loyalty in the Sultans mind. (Dadoji was a temporary fugitive then). But soon these fears were assuaged and the order was revoked soon.
Note: It is said that Ghorpade later cut one of Dadojis hands for his impudence.
But for sometime there must have been a feeling of insecurity in young Shivaji ‘s mind and he must have longed for the security of his own impregnable fort, where he can be protected against future attacks like these.
Moreover, the Hindus always felt like second class citizens in an Islamic kingdom. Though they wre entrusted with jagirs, they were never made Governors nor were they amongst the close courtiers of the Sultans. The hindus were always the ‘jimmis’ i.e non muslim subjects of a islamic state.
Though not regular, there were also instances of forcible conversions, descecration of temples and tyrannical behavior by some Muslim officials who had a disregard (disrespect) for Hindu culture and religion. As per ‘Busalimussalatin’ (source. Sarkar), it was a deliberate policy of Bijapur kingdom to keep its non muslim subjects suppressed. Shivaji must have resented this arrogance and felt alienated towards his muslim masters. This may have propelled in Shivaji a desire to have a kingdom, that the Hindus can consider their own.
Oath
Shivaji along with his mavla friends is said to have taken a blood oath to fight against the Islamic tyranny( at Rohideshwara temple). But that seems more of an apocryphal story, more created as a part of the folk lore.



PIC: WEAPONS DURING SHIVAJI

Early conquests
In 1646, with the help of a small band of local Mavalas, Shivaji made his first conquest of fort Torna. He subdued the local Bijapuri commandant and seized the fort. He later named it Prachandgad. He found government treasure worth two lakh huns (gold coins). Buoyed by his success he made another acquisition in the form of fort Murumbgad. He renamed it Rajgad (40 km from Pune).The treasure he collected was used to streanthen the defences of the two forts.
The fort of Chakan (guarding the road of Puna from the north, around 40 kms from Pune) had been entrusted by Dadaji Kondeo to Firangoji Narsala. So it automatically came under the control of Shivaji. Next, Shivaji bribed Babuji Pant the commander of fort Kondana (dt.1647 as per Shivapur Deshpande Bahi and Muhammadnamah) and secured its possession (Kondana is about 40 kms from Pune city).
Dadaji Kondeo died in 1649.
In 1648, understanding the gravity of the situation, Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur ordered Fateh Khudavand Khan to put down Shivaji and appointed Kedarji Khopade of Bhor and Balaji Haibatrao to assist Fateh Khan in this endeavour.
Adilshah further instructed Farhad Khan and Tanaji Dure to capture Bangalore from the hands of Shambhuraje, Shahajis eldest son.
In 1649,Shahaji raje was also arrested at Jinji, by his own cousin Baji Ghorpade (along with Jaswant rao Asad Khani. Afzal Khan was entrusted with the job of bring back Shahaji enchained to Bijapur and a eunuch was asked to attach his property in order to humiliate him.
Shivaji then asked for Mughal help from Prince Murad Baksh the son of Shah Jahan (letter dt.1649). But Shah Jahan refused to intervene.
Finally the Bijapuri forces reached both Bangalore and Shirval (near Pune). But both the valorous sons of Shahaji rose to the occasion and defeated their enemy.
Shivajis forces consisted of his trusted captains like Kavji,Baji Jedhe ( son of Kanhoji Jedhe, the Deshmukh of Kari , a follower of Shahaji),Baji Pasalkar (Deshmukh of Muse Khore),Godaji Jagtap,Bhimaji Wagh,Sambhaji Kate,Shivaji Ingle, Bhikaji Chor and his brother Bhairav (as written by Parmanand).
Bijapur was shaken by the streangth of the Maratha forces and now sought reconciliation. Shahaji was released from prison and given back his jagirs.Also, Shahaji on his part instructed Shivaji to return Kondana to the Bijapur officers.
Capture of Fort Purandar, 1654
After the submission of fort Kondana to Adilshah, Shivaji was in need of a strong fort. His eyes fell upon fort Purandar (Purandar is about 40kms south-east of Pune and some 10kms south-west of Saswad ) . The commandant of the fort Mahadji Nilkanth had just died. Mahadji had earlier allowed Shivaji and his men to encamp near Purandar during the Bijapuri invasion, but not allowed inside the fort. After Mahadjis death, his sons Niloji, Pilaji and Shankarji started quarreling amongst themselves over the issue of inheritance. Niloji had become the new fort administrator and was neglecting his brothers. Shankarji implored Shivaji to take over the fort and give him his rightfull inheritance.Taking advantage of this fact, Shivaji surreptiously captured fort Purandar, (probably with Shankarji’s help), without much bloodshed.Shankarji however refused to hand over possession of the fort to Shivaji. Therefore all the brothers were arrested, but later freed when they agreed to comply with Shivajis demands. Shankarji was given the village Chamli as his inheritance. Niloji was given the ancestral inam village as Nayakwar and Pilaji was inducted into Shivaji’s army as an high official (as per the family records studied by V.S.Bhave.).
Thus strong fort Purandar became a safe haven for Shivaji, whenever he felt threatened.
[External link: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/MTDC/HTML/MaharashtraTourism/Default.aspx?strpage=../MaharashtraTourism/TouristDelight/Forts/PurandarFort.htm]

JAVALI CAMPAIGN
Javali was a strategically important region. It was the gateway to the Konkan region. Javali was a densely forested area mainly comprising of eighteen valleys, called ‘Khores’. It was a region traditionally ruled by the Mores. They owed alliegence to the Adilshahi. Under the mores came the ‘khores’ of Jambhul,Jor,Shivthar,Kandat,Tam,Bamnoli,Atgaon,Chatwarbet,Solas etc.
The Mores had a clan head called ‘Chandrarao’. The last Chandrarao More was Daulatrao. When he died he was issue less. Therefore Afzhal Khan, Adilshahs commander wanted to annex the More territory to the Adilshahi. So Daulatraos widow turned to Shivaji for help. Shivaji advised her to adopt a son. So this person Krishnarao was adopted from within the clan (he belonged to the family of Mores of Shivthar).Shivaji promised them help against any external aggression.
Initially this Chandrarao More being indebted to Shivaji proffesed loyalty towards Shivaji. But later his tune changed. His attitude towards Shivajis officials and envoy too turned from polite to haughty. He even started showing disrespect towards Shivaji and refused to accept him as his king (he had also started communicating with Bijapur by then). Shivaji taken aback by Chandraraos sudden arrogance, and decided to teach him a lesson, by annexing his territory.
It was a tough terrain, but Shivaji had local support in the form of Jedhes ,Bandals and Silimkars. On 27th January 1656, Shivaji attacked Javali. Chandrarao proposed a treaty, which Shivaji accepted. But then Shivajis men caught secret correspondence between Chandrarao and the Ghorpades of Mudhol, who besides being Shivajis rivals and relatives ,were also Bijapurs officers.
Shivaji ordered the execution of Chandrarao More (his chief agent Hanumanrao was killed by Shivajis man Raghunath Ballal ) and Javali was annexed.
Note: Murar Baji who had previously served with the Mores was to play an important role with Shivaji in the future.
Soon the forts of Wasota and Rairi were also in Shivajis hands. Now the central Konkan region comprising of Adilshahs provinces of Kalyan Bhivandi were practically isolated from rest of the Bijapur territory. The Kolaba district managed by the Siddis of Janjira were now within the reach of Shivaji.
Shivaji then instructed Moropant Pingale to construct a powerfull fort for Shivaji within the vicinity of Javali. That fort was named as Pratapgad.
Shivajis next acquisition was the fort of Rohida in May 1656. Krishnaji Bandal the commandant of the fort was killed in battle against Shivaji.
Note: Baji Prabhu Deshpande the minister of the Baandals, later joined Shivaji, and played an important role in Shivajis career.(Refer the following para on the Battle of Pawan Khind).

Supa captured
Supa was being administered by Sambhaji Mohite, the brother of Shahajis second wife Tukabai. Shivaji took it under his possession in Sept 1656, arresting Mohite (on charges of corruption) and sent him packing to Bangalore.
Death of Muhmd.Adil Shah
Muhammed Adil Shah died on 4th November 1656 after a prolonged illness. The administration of the kingdom passed over to Badi Begum ( who was the sister of Qutubshah of Golkunda). She ruled the sultanate on behalf of the young Ali Adilshah II.
Confrontation with the Mughals
The post Muhmd. Adilshah period was that of a turmoil in Bijapur. All his ministers were envious of each other and covertly plotted each others downfall. Afzal khan,Khan Muhammed,Fateh Khan,Ranadullah Khan,the pathan Bahlol Khan and his sons, the Maratha nobles : Shahaji raje ,Sarnobat ,Baji Ghorpade etc were all embroiled in political intrigues with Mir Jumla, the ex minister of Golkunda kingdom, who had defected to the mughals.
(These political intrigues later cost the lives of Muhammed Khan I Khanan in mysterious circumstances).
Even Shivaji had begun negotiations with the mughals in 1656, in case of an Bijapuri retaliation (especially after the invasion of Javli).
Prince Aurangzeb (who was then the viceroy of Deccan) had plans of capturing the south and wanted to start with Golkunda and Bijapur, hence he engaged the services of Mir Jumla, to correspond with these Bijapur nobles on his behalf. Some were seduced, but some refrained. Mir Jumla advised Aurangzeb to first attack Bijapur and then Golkunda.
Golkunda being the weaker of the two could have easily been surmounted at any time.
Note: Mir Jumla was an ex minister of Qutubshah of Golkunda
(Aurangzeb had therefore attacked and captured the Bijapur territory of Bidar on 29th March 1657 and now was facing Kalyani , which was 40 miles from Bidar).

Shah Jahan had already instructed Aurangzeb to capture the old Nizamshahi territories which included Poona (which was then in Shivajis control).
Shivaji feared a mughal attack. So he decided to strike the first blow. Shivaji attacked Junnar in May 1657. Junnar was a Mughal territory. It yielded Shivaji a large booty of 3 lakh honas and two hundred horses, besides jewelry. His men further raided the mughal controlled territory of Ahmednagar and captured seven hundred horses.
This went on while Aurangzeb was concentrating on Kalyani. (Kalyani fell to the mughals on 31st July 1657).
Aurangzeb felt outraged by Shivajis audacity and ordered his commanders Nasirikhan and Irajkhan to attack Shivajis forces at Ahmednagar(4th June 1657) and Junnar.
The Maratha forces had to withdraw.
Aurangzebs brother Dara feared Aurangzebs eminence will increase if he succeeds in the Karnatak campaign. Hence Shah Jahan on Daras bidding, ordered Aurangzebs men like Mahabat Khan,Nasirikhan,Rao Chatrasal to return back.
Exasperated, Aurangzeb had to make a treaty with Bijapur, whereby, they had to officially hand over Bidar,Kalyani ,Parenda and Konkan to the mughals.
Just as the treaty was being enforced, Shah Jahan fell ill on 6 th September 1657. Aurangzeb realising the time for power succession had come, returned back to Delhi.
Parenda remained with the Bijapuris and even Shivaji was left alone.
Shivaji seized this opportunity and attacked the Bijapuris. He captured Prabalgadh (in the vicinity of Matheran).
The other Bijapur forts to fall to Shivaji (in 1657) were Kondana (which was recaptured),Lohagadh ,Tikona, and Rajmachi (facing Konkan plains)

While Shivaji was busy fighting the Bijapuri and the mughal forces, his wife Saibai bore him his son, Sambhaji, on 14 th May 1657 at fort Purandar.

Konkan invasion
Shivaji then marched into Konkan (the coastal regions of Maharashtra). The Konkan invasion started with Kalyan. Bhiwandi,Tale,Ghosale,Surgadh,Birwadi,Sudhagad,Kangori,Aseri,Mahim Jawbar fell in quick succession.Upper Chaul was captured by November 1657.
The Siddis of Janjira (Siddi Fateh Khan) held bay at Kolaba on the behalf of Bijapur. Earlier in July 1657, Shivaji had dispatched Raghunath Ballal to take on the Siddi controlled Danda Rajapuri. The Sabhasad Chronicle states that Ballal captured Tale ,Ghosale and was marching right upto Rajapuri. But Raghunath Ballals unexpected death put a brake on Shivajis plans. In 1658, Shivaji dispatched Vyankoji Datto to Rajapuri. He put up a stiff fight with the Siddi and captured all his territory (Danda ,Raiuri) barring his castle at Janjira.
Note:During the seize of Janjira the Siddi was secretly helped by the Portuguese with arms and provisions.
Shivaji meanwhile wanted to give the mughals the impression that he was in fact capturing Konkan for the mughals and in future was willing to accept Aurangzebs suzerainty. He even professed to send a large contingent to serve at the mughal court along with his envoy Sonaji Pant. In return, the request was, Shivaji be allowed to keep the captured domains of Bijapur.
Shivaji was well aware of his own limitations . His army was very small compared to the mighty Mughal army. Hence Shivaji didn’t want to take on Bijapur forces and the Mughal forces at the same time.


Shivaji builds a Navy
After the acquisition of the coastal towns of Kalyan , Bhiwandi and Panvel, Shivaji envisioned an navy that will take on the navies of Bijapur and the mughals, and also facilitate his foreign trade.
For the same , some Portuguese ship builders helped him ( probably secretly , fearing the wrath of the Siddi, the Bijapuri admiral and the Mughals). Though Shivaji officially maintained that it was to be used ostensibly against the Siddi, he secretly desired to reduce the influence of the Mughals,the Portuguese and the English, who had encamped in the coastal areas , and on the basis of their powerfull navy, they controlled the trade of the Arabian sea. But since the naval technology was only available with these European powers, he didn’t want to antagonize them also.
Maratha chronicles speak of Shivajis fleet having 700 vessels of various sizes and classes like Ghurabs (gun boats),Tarandis(large sailing vessels),Tarambes,Gallivats,Shibars (large vessel with two masts but no deck),Pagars(canoe),Manchwuas (large cargo boat with a single mast)….(English reports puts the figure down between 60-160.(barring ghurabs n gallivats, rest were used for mercantile purposes). Shivajis navy used to accompany and guard his trading vessels and his naval forts from European pirates.Note: Gallivats are large row boats built llike Ghurabs but of smaller dimension, largest rarely exceeding70 tons and had one sail only.
Limitations of Shivajis navy : Shivajis navy was in its infant stage. Moreover the europeans were hesitant to supply any new technology to Shivaji (partly out of fearing mughal wrath and partly because they didnt want Shivaji’s power to grow akin to his inland power).The marathas didnt even have regular access to gunpowder, as the sources to ‘saltpetere’ and ‘sulphur’ were inaccessible to the marathas. Shivaji’s navy was also meant only for the coastal waters . It didnt have the capacity to attack warships and was based on knowhow supplied by the local fishing communities like the Kolis,Badhelas… Shivajis navy lacked the basic armoury required for warships. there were no cannon foundaries nor gunpowder.Whatever cannons ,Shivaji had, were the captured land ones (the lighter ones being used on his ships).
As a result Shivaji inspite of his ambitions couldnt better his naval power.Nevertheless, Shivaji because of his foresight and military genius realised the importance of the navy, and he made up with excellent fortifications which he built around the western coast e.g forts at Kalyan,Malvan,Vijaydurg,Sindhudurg etc.

Incursions in Karnataka
In 1657-58 – 59 , Shivaji conducted several raids in the southern region of Karnataka. This was the parent territory of Bijapur. The reason may not have been to capture land, but was more to suffice the growing needs of his expanding army.
PIC: WAGH NAKH AND ARMOUR
Confrontation with Afzal Khan
The Queen mother of Bijapur, Bari begum was now getting worried of the growing power of Shivaji. She had requested Shahaji to rein in his son, but the latter had expressed his helplessness in the matter, stating the Shivaji was beyond his control and was his own man.
Then Afzal Khan (Abdullah Bhatari of Afzalpura village near Bijapur) took up the challenge of bringing Shivaji down to his knees. Afzal Khan was an old rival of Shahaji in the Bijapur court (Shahaji belonged to the rival camp of Ranadaulla Khan aka Rustam e Zaman). He had also served as the governor of Wai and was well aware of the terrain. He was also said to be responsible for the death of Shahajis elder brother Shambhuraje , allegedly by treachery.
Note: Sambhaji( Senior) Bhosale or Shambhuraje : Shambhuraje was born at Verul ( Ellora) near Aurangabad in 1619. He was the elder son of Shahaji and Jijabai. He was appointed jagirdar of Kolar (Karnataka). According to ‘Shedgaonkar bakhar’ his wife’s name was Makau/ Makai. He had two sons Suratsingh and Umaji(adopted son from Parsoji raje Bhamberkar).During the period of Raja Shivaji’s birth (around 1630) she was at Jinti ( Near Daund ,near Pune).During the arrest of Shahaji by Adilshah, Sambhaji (Sr) had handled the responsibility of Banglore and successfully defeated Farhad Khan and Tanaji Dure..In 1654 Palegar of Kanakgiri named Aapakhan had revolted against Adilshah . Hence Afzalkhan and Sambhaji were deputed to take over Kanakgiri. However , Afzalkhan treacherously did not provide the timely help, and Sambhaji lost his life in this battle (1654).During the Afzalkhan incident at Pratapgad, incase of failure, Shivaji had planned to give state to Umaji, son of Elder brother Sambhaji, Umaji was 5 years old then. ( Ref. ‘Chitnis Bakhar’ – edited by R V Herwadkar foot notes).After the death of Sambhaji (Sr) ,Kolar was continued as Jagir to Sambhajis son Suratsingh and later by Shivaji during his Southern campaign.

Afzal Khan along with his huge army (consisting of a large cavalry of 10,000, 1200 camels and 65 elephants) marched on to the Maratha regions. He was joined by other Bijapur sardars like Ambar,Yaqut,Muse Khan,Hassan Pathan,Ranadullah Khan JR,AnkushKhan and Maratha deshmukhs, chiefs like Ghorpade,Pandhare Naik,Kharate Naik, Kalyan Jadhav, Mambaji Bhosale, Jhujharrao Ghatage, Kedarji and Khandoji Khopade etc.On his way (Pandharpur-Phaltan …here he arrested Bajaji Nimbalkar , brother in law of Shivaji and the deshmukh of Phaltan-Wai) he pillaged towns, villages, murdering and ransacking at will. In order to antagonize Shivaji’s religious sentiments and bring Shivaji out in an open confrontation, Afzal Khan desecrated the temples of Tuljapur and Pandharpur, defacing and destroying the deity idols.
Note:Saibai, Shivajis wife and the mother of his eldest son Sambhaji had just died at Rajgadh (on 5th September 1659) leaving Shivaji grief stricken.
Shivaji was well aware of his limitations and a pitched battle would have been suicidal. There was no way he could match the Khan’s might man to man. So Shivaji cunningly professed his inability to fight the Khan. He sent peace overtures to the other side from his base Pratapgad. He managed to give the impression, that he is willing to negotiate on the Khans terms and in return his life should be spared. The same was conveyed to Afzal Khans emissary Krishnaji Bhasker.
Shivaji had all the while refused to go to Wai to meet Afzal Khan stating fear for his life and insisted that Shivaji will talk surrender only if Afzal Khan meets him at Javli. Afzal Khan took the bait.
Afzal Khan encamped at the foothills of fort Pratapgad (near Javli). A meeting was arranged between Shivaji and Afzal Khan at a distance from Afzals camp (on 30th November 1659).
It was agreed that the meeting would be unarmed, and each man was to bring ten personal
bodyguards. Both were prepared for treachery.(Afzal Khan had the reputation of treacherously murdering his surrendered enemies viz Kasturi Ranga, Raja of Sera. Afzal was also involved in the murder of Khan Muhammed, the wazir of Bijapur and a rival in court.).
Afzal hid a ‘kataar’a small sharp edged
dagger, in his coat. While, Shivaji wore an armour under his clothes, and carried a weapon called ‘waagh nakha’ (tiger claws), consisting of an iron finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his clenched fist and an hidden ‘bichwa’(small dagger).
It was like a meeting between David and Goliath. While Shivaji was barely a five feet and a half, Afzal Khan was a giant of a man at six and a half feet and built like a mountain.
The two men entered the tent, fixed for the meeting, Afzal Khan pretended to greet Shivaji with a bear hug (even though there was no love lost between the two). He tried to grip Shivaji in an iron like vice and (allegedly) stabbed Shivaji in the back with his dagger. However Shivaji, was protected due to the armour under his coat. Shivaji opened his fist and
disemboweled Khan with his tiger claws. In a swift movement he again wounded the giant Khan with his bichwa. Afzal managed to hold on to his bleeding abdomen and staggered outside. He moved towards his palanquin. But the Khan was decapitated by one of Shivaji’s bodyguards (Sambhaji Kavji) in a swift movement. The Khans bodyguard Sayyed Banda struck Shivaji on his head with his sword.But Shivaji was saved because of the protective helmet inside his turban. Just as he was to strike the second blow, Shivaji aide Jiva Mahala chopped off Sayyed Bandas hand and then struck him down. Shivaji killed Krishnaji Bhasker, the assistant of Afzal Khan as he tried to block Shivajis way.
Shivaji and his men then rode back towards the fortress . A bugle was sounded. This was a predetermined signal to his men, which had been strategically placed in the densely covered valley. All of Shivaji’s generals, including his Cavalry chief, Netaji Palkar, his Peshwa Moropant Pingale,Bandal and Shahajis trusted aide, Kanhoji Jedhe,the deshmukh of Kari (who had kept themselves camoflaged , and ready for assault) launched swift and rapid attacks from all flanks and routed Afzal Khan’s army.
Netaji Palkar pursued the fleeing forces and hacked them to the ground, before they could regroup with their reserve forces( which were stationed at Wai). Thus Afzal Khans forces were thouroughly defeated.
Afzal Khan’s eldest son Fazal Khan ,barely managed to escape with his life ( helped by Khandoji Khopade, the Deshmukh of Bhor).
Subsequently,an Afghan regiment of Bijapur was also decimated at Panhalgad.
After the Pratapgad encounter, Shivaji constructed a temple there, installing the idol of his godess Bhavani (made from the stone of river Gandaki).
This encounter with the great Khan became a subject of the local folklore and made an legend out of Shivaji.

Battle of Kolhapur
To compensate the losses , Bijapur dispatched (28th December 1659) another general, Rustam e zaman (to assist him were Fazal Khan ,son of Afzal Khan, Malik Itibar,Fateh Khan son of Aziz Khan,Mullah Yahiya,Santaji Ghorpade and Sarjerao Ghatage too joined him), with ten thousand strong troops,but only to be humbled by Shivaji with half the army(Netaji Palkar,Bhimaji Hiraji Wagh,Ingle,Mahadik,Sidhoji Pawar,Gondaji Jagtap,Kharate and his son Hanumantrao,Pandhare,Siddi Hilal,Jadhav).
Note:Many historians have already alluded that Rustam e zaman and his father Ranadaullah Khan having close proximity to Shahajiraje, were said to be always soft on his son Shivaji.



PIC: PAWAN KHIND , COURTESY ATUL KAJALE

Battle of Pavan Khind
Shivaji added further salt to the Bijapur wounds, when he overran Satara and Sangli , and captured the forts of Chandan and Wandan and on 28th November 1659 took hold of fort Panhala. This time Bijapur decided to strike Shivaji with all its might. They made a deal with the Mughals whereby both the forces would together attack Shivaji.
But Shivaji did the unthinkable. His cavalry rode right into the heart of Bijapur kingdom and demanded contributions from the towns of Belgaum and Dharwad. They laid seige on the suburb of Bijapur called Shahpur. Though this attack was warded of by Khawas Khan and his five thousand men, it sent a chill down the spine of Ali Adil Shah.Never before had he felt the enemy so close to him.
Meanwhile the troops of Bijapur led by the Abyssynian,Siddi Jauhar had laid seize on Fort Panhala, where Shivaji was present.He was assisted by many of the Bijapur sardars like Siddi Masud,Sayyad, Jaswantrao the raja of Pali,Suryajirao the raja of Shringarpur,Fazalkhan,BajiGhorpade,Pidnaik,Bhaikhan,Badekhan etc (ref.Shiv Bharat of Parmanand). They encircled the fort on March 1660. But Shivaji managed to give the Siddi’s forces a slip. He escaped with his select band of 300 men to fort Vishalgad.
For the safe passage of Shivaji , the brave men led by Baji Prabhu Deshpande held the Siddi’s army at Panhala and sacrificed their lives till their master reached his destination safely.Shivaji reached Vishalgad and fired the cannon which was a signal to his men that he had reached Vishalgad.
Note:1.Shivaji further covered the distance from fort Vishalgad to fort Rajgad.
2.Siddi Jauhar was assisted secretly by the English factory of Rajapur in his seize of Panhala in the form of arms and ammunition.




PIC: BAJI PRABHU DESHPANDE

The mountain pass called ‘Ghod Khind’ where Baji Prabhu Deshpande and his men laid down their lives was renamed as ‘Pawan Khind’ or the ‘Purified valley’, purified by the blood shed by the martyrs.
Note: This encounter between the Siddis men and Baji Prabhu Deshpande has been compared to the famous battle of Thermopylae between the Greeks and the Persians.
Meanwhile Shivaji received the news that the mughal emperor Aurangzeb had sent his maternal uncle and the governor of Deccan, Shaista Khan to assist Bijapur in capturing Shivaji.
That’s when Shivaji realized that he may not be able to fight both his enemies simultaneously. So tactfully, he decided to make peace with Bijapur. Rustam e Zaman mediated between the two. Bijapur agreed to accept Shivaji as an independent king. In return he agreed to hand back fort Panhala to Bijapur.
Note: During this time Siddi Jauhar had also rebelled against Ali Adilshah and he too was distracted , hence was quick to make peace with Shivaji.Now Shivaji was free to lay his sights on the approaching Mughal forces of Shaista Khan.
To be concluded.






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YADAVAS OF DEVAGIRI

YADAVAS OF DEVAGIRI

Yadavas of Devagiri (Dauatabad) claimed lineage from the Yadu clan that gave birth to the epic hero of the Mahabharata,  Vasudeva Krishna . They were also called Seuna Yadavas (a name derived from their ancestral king Seunachandra).

They started as feudatories of the Rashtrakutas and later the  western Chalukyas , but ended up carving an empire for themselves that stretched from the river Tungabhadra to the river Narmada, mainly encompassing areas of northern Karnataka, Maharashtra and parts of Madhya Pradesh . The dynasty  had a life of  almost five centuries from 850-1334 AD. Their origin though as they claimed was  from Mathura and Dwarka (Uttar Pradesh), their ancestors probably started from Karnataka. There were two amongst the yadava families, one , known better as the Hoysalas of Mysore and the other belonging to the Seuna desa i.e the country around Devagiri who may have migrated from Karnataka. Yadavas of Devagiri can be said to be the original Marathi speaking dynasties belonging to Maharashtra.

The founder of the Seuna dynasty was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu. He ruled from the Nasik area of Maharashtra. Seunachandra was the son of Dridhaprahara and the dynasty is named after him.

The Yadavas created their own independent kingdom with Devagiri as their capital during the time of their great king Bhillama V ( 1185-1193) son of Mallugi . He defeated the Kalachuris or Chedis ( of Chattisgarh) and also the western Chalukyas. He later overran the territories of  his kins the Hoysalas and extended the boundaries of his kingdom upto Seringapatam on the river Kaveri.  He even defeated the Chola king Kulotunga III. But the Hoysala king Vir Ballala II  once again countered his kin Bhillama and drove the Seuna Yadavas out of the Hoysala territory (c. 1188 AD). Ballala even managed to capture some Yadava dominions. Notwithstanding his defeat in Karnataka, Bhillama carried forth his victories in the north defeating many kings like  Vindhyavarman of Malwa and Bhima II of Gujrat. He was however checked by Chahamanas of Naddula.

Bhillama was succeeded by his son Jaitrapala or Jaitugi (1193-1200 AD). He successfully fought with the Kakatiyas (Warangal), the Gangas (Mysore) , the Cholas in the south and the Parmaras  (Malwa), Chalukyas in the north.

Jaitrapal (or Jaitugi) had Mukundaraja, the author of  ‘Paramamrita’( It is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vedanta principles in Marathi)  and  Vikeksindhu  (another Vedanta exponent) as his spiritual teachers.

 Jaitugi was succeeded by his son Singhana II (1200-1247). He is considered the greatest conqueror  amongst the Yadavas. He won back all the territories from the Hoysalas which his grandfather had lost and established absolute supremacy of the Seuna Yadavas in the Deccan. To commemorate his victory over the Hoysalas , Singhana erected a column of victory on the banks of river Kaveri.      He embarked on many conquests in the north. His campaigns in Gujrat proved very successful and he was able to conquer Lata. He defeated the kings of Malwa, the Kalachuris of Chatisgarh/ Jabalpur. Many petty principalities like the Silaharas of Kolhapur, Kadambas of Goa etc submitted to his might. His kindom extended down south beyond the river Krishna. Mahimabhatta wrote his famous work, the ‘Lilacharitra’(said to be the first book in the Marathi language.) during the time of Singhana II. Singhana even constructed the town of Singhanapur (Shingnapur) in Maharashtra.

Singhana was succeeded by his grandsons. Firstly , Krishna (1247-1260) and later by Mahadeva (1260-1271). Both kept their kingdom intact . Mahadeva even annexed northern Konkan and some Hoysala territories beyond river Tungabhadra.

His famous minister, Hemadri pant ( the author of great works like  ’ Chaturvarga chintamani ’ a book about the ‘Vratas’  or ritualistic fasts, a book on traditional medicine ‘Ayurveda Rasayana’and ‘Vaidyakshastra’,  a historical account ‘Hemadri bakhar’ and ‘Mestaka’ an administrative guide . He was also the inventor of the Modi script of writing the Marathi language .He also propogated the cultivation of the ‘Bajri’ crop in Maharashtra. Moreover he constructed many temples and its unique style of architecture was ‘Hemadripanti’ named after him.) credits him with conclusive victories against the Waghelas of Gujrat, the Parmars of Malwa, and the Kakatiyas of Telangana.

Ramchandra, the son of Krishna was next in the Yadava line. Hemadripant continued as his minister and advisor.Ramchandra was the contemporary of the great saint Sant Dnyaneshwar who wrote the first simplified treatise of ‘Bhagvad Geeta’ (told by Lord Vasudeva Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata) in Marathi and also the poet of several devotional songs, collectively called the  ‘abhangas’.

 In 1294, the Sultan of Delhi , Alladin Khilji invaded Devagiri. Ramchandra was defeated and had to enter into a humiliating treaty with Khilji, whereby he was to pay a ransom and an annual tribute to the sultan. Ramchandra defaulted in his payment leading to another attack by Alladin Khilji. His commander Malik Kafur made Ramchandra a prisoner and took him to Khiljis court. Khalji reinstated Ramachandra in return for a promise to help Khalji subdue the Hindu kingdoms in the south. In 1309, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiyas from Devagiri.

Thus the Yadavas fell from grace. Ramchandras son Singhana III tried to challenge Khilji, but was killed fighting in battle (1313 AD). Finally the Devagiri kingdom was annexed to Khilji’s Delhi sultanate. After the death of Khilji, the son in law of Singhana III, Harapala,  tried to stage a revolt against the mohammedans. But he too met a bloody end.

Later , Khilji’s successor  Muhammed Tughlaq  renamed Devagiri as Daulatabad which still stands today 14 km from Aurangabad, in the present day state of Maharashtra.

Feudatory of Western Chalukyas of Kalyani

Independent kingdom

Tributary status under Khilji dynasty

 

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RASHTRAKUTAS

RASHTRAKUTAS

Rashtrakutas were successors to the Chalukya dynasty of Badami. They ruled over the Deccan region for more than two centuries and can be regarded amongst the foremost dynasties of monarchial India.

They started of as district heads for their  Chalukya masters, but soon ascended as one of the feared powers in their region. They  posed a threat to all their contemporary kingdoms including their overlords the Chalukyas of Badami.

Envious of their success the Chalukyan king,  Kirtivarman II tried to cut them down to size, but as history showed, he ended up destroying his entire empire.

There are different opinions about the origin of the Rashtrakutas. Some have called them peasants who were made chieftains by the Chalukyas , while some have considered  them  as of the Kshatriya (warrior) caste. Some claim their origin was  from the Andhra , whereas some have considered them sons of the Kannada soil, who later migrated to Maharashtra.

The first amongst the Rashtrakutas who rose to prominence was Indra. He  administered a small principality in Berar called Achalapura (Ellichpur). He had married a Chalukya princess. Indra was succeeded by his son Dantidurga. He like his ancestors began as a feudatory, assisting his overlord Vikramaditya II against the Pallavas of Kanchi and the invading arabs in the north.

After Vikramaditya II’s death, the ambitious Dantidurga ventured against Gurjara kingdom of Nandipuri (Bharuch, Gujrat) and the Gurjara Pratihara kingdom of   Malwa. Buoyed by his success, he  extended his authority further over the eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh. All the while Dantidurga assiduously avoided any conflict with his overlord , the Chalukyan King Kirtivarman II.

But the success of his vassal irked the Chalukyan king, and to curb Dantidurgas growing power, Kirtivarman II attacked Dantidurga in 753 AD. The Chalukyan king was defeated in the battle and had to  flee.

Thus Dantidurga laid the foundation of the Rashtrakuta empire.

Dantidurga was succeeded by Krishna I in 758 AD. Krishna was either the son of Dantidurga or as some historians claim his uncle. During the time of Krishna, Kirtivarman II again made a futile attempt to subjugate the Rashtrakutas. But this time Kirtivarman was defeated comprehensively and his kingdom was annexed to the Rashtrakuta empire. Next , Krishna I defeated the Gangas of Mysore and the Chalukyas of Vengi. The latter entered into a alliance with the Rashtrakutas and became their feudatories. Krishna I died in about 773 AD. Krishna I came to be known as a great conquerer, but his greatest achievement was the famous rock cut temple of Kailasa (Shiva) at Ellora (Maharashtra).

Krishna I was succeeded by his son Govinda II (773-780 AD). He was a known debaucher and hedonist, and was soon overthrown by his brother Dhruva (780-813 AD) who had revolted against him. Dhruva proved to be a very capable king. He made successful campaigns in the south against the Pallava king Dantivarman, the Chalukya king Vishnuvardhan IV. He also gained sovereignity in the north by defeating the Pratihara king Vatsaraja  who ruled in Rajputana and parts of central India. From there, Dhruva turned his attention to the east, subjugating the  Pala king Dharmapala of Bengal (east India). Dhruva extended his control over the prestigious capital city of Kannauj. Thus Dhruva made the Rashtrakutas an power to reckon in the whole of India.

Dhruva in his old age abdicated the throne for his third son ,Govinda III (793-814 AD). Before he could settle down, Govinda III was challenged by his brother Stambha who was the elder one. But Stambha was defeated by Govinda III and sent down south to the territory of the Gangas as the Viceroy. Stambha later posed no threat to  Govinda III.

Meanwhile , in the north, the Pala king Dharmapala was succeeded by Chakrayuddha at Kannauj and the  Pratihara king Vatsaraja was succeeded by his son Nagabhatta II. Both challenged the authority of the Rashtrakutas, forcing Govinda to return northwards. He came down heavily on the Kings. The Pala king was forced to accept his suzerainty and Nagabhatta II was defeated somewhere in Bundelkhand (central India).

Satisfied, Govinda turned back southwards only to find Nagabhatta II replenishing his power and even acquiring Kannauj. But the Rashtrakutas had to remain contented with Gujrat and Malwa. Govinda extended his kingdom in the south upto Kanchi ( in present day Tamil Nadu). Even the king of Sri Lanka accepted him as his soveireign.

Govinda III thus proved the most unparalleled of the Rashtrakuta rulers.

Amoghavarsha ( 814-878 AD) succeeded his father, Govinda III at the young age of fourteen. He had to face many rebellions in his time, many of which  he was able to suppress, prominently the revolt of the Chalukyas of Vengi.  But the Gangas succeeded in driving  out the Rashtrakutas from their territory. Amoghavarsha was known as a good administrator and was said to be tolerant to all faiths. He built the city of Manyakheta . He was also a scholar and is credited to Kanarese poetic work , ‘ Kavirajamarga’. He also patronized other scholars of his time like Jinasena (author of ‘Adipurana’ and ‘Harivansha’ and probably his spiritual teacher in Jainism) and Mahaviracharya (author of ‘Ganitasarsangraha’ and ‘Sakatayana’).

Amoghavarsha was succeeded by his son Krishna II (878-914 AD). He too had to face rebellions like his father. Though he retained Vengi, he was defeated by the Pratihara king Bhoja, who snatched away Malwa and Kathiawar from the Rashtrakutas. He was also defeated by the Cholas.

Krishna II was succeeded by Indra III (914-927 AD). Kanauj was briefly reoccupied during his period but only to be lost again.  There were subsequent kings amongst the Rashtrakutas like Govinda IV (927-936 AD) and Amoghavarsha  III  (936-939 AD) who had limited successes.

Krishna III who ascended the throne in 939 AD . He tried to revive the lost glory of the Rashtrakutas and even succeeded to a point. He attacked the Chola king and aannexed Kanchi and Tanjore, with help from the Gangas. He regained Vengi. He even annexed Ujjaini in the north to his kingdom. Krishna III proved to be the last of the greats amongst the Rashtrakutas.

He was followed by his brother Khottiga (965-972 AD). During his time the capital city Manyakhetta was plundered by the Parmara king Siyaka. Khotigga was succeeded by his nephew Karrka II who proved to be an incompetent ruler and was deposed by his feudatory, the Chalukya, Taila II, who laid the foundation of the kingdom of the Chalukyas of Kalyan.

Religion:

The Rashtrakuta kings were followers of Hinduism and  performed many ‘yagnas’ (spiritual fires) as per Vedic traditions. They were liberal in their religious affairs and worshipped along with the Hindu gods and goddess, the Jain tirthankara Mahavira (during the time of Amoghavarsha). Their family diety was the goddess Latana. Islam too was allowed to be practiced freely. Arab traders were allowed to settle in the territories and even worked in important  positions.

Arts and Culture:

The Rashtrakutas also patronized literary scholars like Jinasena, Mahaviracharya, Ponna, Pamma, Ranna etc.  The main languages prevalent in the Rashtrakuta kingdom were Sanskrit, Prakrit and Kannada.They constructed many architectural edifices and temples including the Kailasa temple at Ellora ( Maharashtra ) which is acknowledeged by the historian Dr.V.A.Smith, as an unique example in architecture of  Hindu India . Ellora was a Buddhist cave site (total 34 caves) which were renovated by Amoghavarsha. He built five cave temples for the Jains, and seventeen cave temples  were reserved for the Hindus and twelve for the  Buddhists, creating the finest example of secularism and religious harmony. The Ellora caves demonstrate the finest sculptures, frescoes , on its walls and its ceilings , displaying very intricate and the most beautifull carvings.  Also famous are the Dashavatara cave temples in  Ellora (famous for its sculptures of  lord Vishnu and Shivaleela an eulogy for lord Shiva) .

Though disputed (some relate them to the Kalichuris), the Elephanta caves near Mumbai are also attributed to the Rashtrakutas. The 8 metre three faced idol of lord Shiva at the Elephanta is often shown as a showcase for Indian sculpture.

The Kashivishwanath temple in Karnataka and Jain Naryana temple at Pattadakal are declared world heritage sites by the UNESCO.  Other well known temples are the  Parmeshwara temple at Konnur,  Brahmadeva  temple at Savadi, the Settava, Kontigudi, Jadaragudi  and   Ambigeragudi temples  at  Aihole, Mallikarjuna  temple at  Ron, Andhakeshwara  temple at  Huli, Someshwara temple  at  Sogal,  Jain temples  at Lokapura,   Navalinga temple at Kukkanur, Kumaraswamy temple at Sandur, at Shirival in Gulbarga and the Trikunteshwara temple at Gadag which was later expanded by Kalyani Chalukyas.

Other famous temples are found in the Maharashtra region like the Dhumer Lena and the Jogeshwari temple near Mumbai, all being of the rock cut style.

 

Administration:

The  Rashtrakuta kingdom was divided into various provinces called the ‘Rashtras’ and sub divided into’ Vishayas’ or districts. The Rashtras were administered by the Rashtrapati and the Vishayas by the Vishayapati. The Vishayas were divided into ‘Nadu’ administered by the Nadugowda and the lowest denomination was the ‘Grama’ village managed by a ‘Gramapati’.

The king was the supreme head. Under him came the Chief minister (Mahasandhivigrahi). Below him were the commander of the army (Dandanayaka), the prime minister (amatya) and the foreign minister (Mahashapataladhrikita). A Mahasamanta was a feudatory or higher ranking regal officer. The women may also have played an important role in the administration. An example being  Revakannimaddi, the daughter of Amoghavarsha .

The army consisted of an infantry, an cavalry and several elephants.   A standing army was always ready for war in a cantonment  ‘ Sthirabhuta kataka ‘ in the regal capital of Manyakheta .

 

Economy:

Rashtrakuta had a agrarian based economy. Cotton was the chief produce (Gujrat, Berar), along with betel leaf, coconut and rice (Konkan).

Also there were industries for producing muslin cloth in Paithan and Warangal, cotton cloth, yarn in Bharuch and white calicos in Burhanpur and Berar. Incense and perfumes were exported from Thane ports.

There were rich copper mines in Cuddapah, Bellary, Chanda, Bijapur,Buldhana, Narsingpur. Also present were the diamond mines in Cuddapah, Bellary,Kurnool and Golconda. Manyakheta and Devagiri were important diamond trading centres.

There was also trading in horses, done mainly by the Arab traders.

The major imports were pearls, gold,silver, dates from Arabia, Italian wines, tin, lead,topaz, sweet clover, flint glass,  and  antimony .

The Rashtrakutas issued coins (minted in an Akkashale /mint) in silver and gold weighing  65 grains, Kalanju weighing 48 grains, Gadyanaka  weighing 96 grains,Kasu weighing 15 grains, Manjati with 2.5 grains and Akkam with 1.25 grain.

An inscription found in Saundatti (near Belgaum, Karnataka) refers to an assembly of all people from various  guilds of a district. They were assigned various powers and privileges through a royal charter. The guilds had their own armed guards to protect their wealth and their banks to operate their flow of money. The artisans and craftsmen operated through their various guilds.

The government income came from various taxes like the land tax, the income tax, tax on goods manufactured, traded  etc. There was also an emergency tax to meet contingencies. The land tax was generally 8-16 % and in form of goods and services. A Banavasi inscription states of an hike in the land tax (which may have been as high as 20% during an war situation which was quite frequent).

 

The Rashtrakutas created a great empire. But historians often fault them for their northern expansions, which proved detrimental to the interest of the Indian subcontinent. Due to the constant Rashtrakuta  interference  in the politics of the north, no kingdom there was able to develop itself  and later all  succumbed to the Turkish aggressions that followed.

 

 

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SATAVAHANAS

SATAVAHANAS

If the Mauryas are credited to forming  the first empire in north India, then the credit for forming Indias first south Indian empire should go to the Satvahanas.

The Satavahanas, are also called the Andhras , mainly because one of its clansmen King Puloma is considered the first amongst the Andhra kings. (It is to be noted that Andhras are a community residing in present day Andhra Pradesh state in southern India. Puloma was the first to capture the regions in the Andhras).

The kingdom of the Satvahanas extended from the present day Andhra Pradesh to parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh,Rajputana and Gujrat. They ruled from their capitals in Pratishthanapura/Pytoon/Paithan (in present day Maharashtra state) on Godavari river  and Dhanyakataka, near Bezwada on the Krishna river (present Andhra Pradesh state).

The Satavahanas belonged to the Dravidian stock . The were essentially brahmanas who were later accepted in the Aryan fold.

The Satavahanas were probably chieftains under the Mauryan rule, but maintained considerable autonomy. After the death of Ashoka they declared their independence from the Mauryas. They also have mentions in the text ‘Aiteraya Brahmana’ .

The foremost of the great kings in the Satvahana lineage was King Simuka. He (in first century BC/ around 27 BC) was instrumental in destroying the rule of the Kanavas of Magadha (killing the last Kanava ruler) and the Sungas of Vidisha. He further acquired large territories in central India.

He was succeeded by his brother Krishna (Kanha). He included Nasik (Maharastra) to his kingdom. He ruled for further eighteen years.

He was succeeded by his son , Satkarni I. He proved to be a great king, conquering western Malwa, Vidharba (Berar) and parts of the south. For the same he was called Dakshina Pathapati ( lord of the south). He performed the Rajasuya yagna and two Ashwamegha yagnas ( vedic fire rituals to declare one self the emperor).

After the death of Satkarni , his wife Nayanika ruled the kingdom on the behalf of her young sons, Satkarni  II and Vedashree. She had to face the simultaneous onslaughts of the Greeks, the Sakas and the Parthians.

By first century AD, the Sakas  had wrested away from the Satavahanas their North Western territories of Kathiawar, Malwa and Nasik. The Satvahana empire was beginning to get nibbled away.The latter Satvahana kings proved very vulnerable against their enemies.

Just when it seemed like the glory of the Satvahanas would fade away, an illustrious king amongst the Satvahanas by the name of Gautamiputra Satkarni (106-130 AD) also known as Shalivahana  held fort against the invaders.

According to the Nasik inscription , his mother Gautami Balasri has written about her son as under…

…who crushed down the pride and conceit of the Kshatriyas (the native Indian princes/ Rajputs of Rajputana, Gujarat and Central India); who destroyed the Shakas (Western Kshatrapas), Yavanas (Indo-Greeks) and Pahlavas (Indo-Parthians),… who rooted the Khakharata family (The Kshaharata family of Nahapana…Gautamiputra Satkarni defeated the  Saka king Nahapana around 124-125 AD); who restored the glory of the Satavahana race…

Thus it can be concluded that, Gautamiputra Satkarni managed to drive out all the invaders from his territories and annexed to his kingdom the regions of Gujrat ,Kathiawar, Saurashtra, western Rajputana, Malwa, Vidharba and north Konkan.

Gautamiputra has often been reffered to as ‘Rajaraja’ and Vindhya raja (lord of the Vindhya mountains).

The Sakas accepted the power of the Satvahanas and agreed to act as their vassals. The Satvahanas entered into matrimonial alliances with the Sakas. Gautamiputras son Puloma   was married to the daughter of the Saka satrap Rudradaman.

Gautamiputra Satkarni died sometime in 130 AD. It is said that in his last days, the Sakas managed to take back their kingdoms from Gautamiputra Satkarni.

His son Puloma inspite of relations with the Sakas fought wars with them and  was defeated twice by his father in law Rudradaman in the battlefield (Junagadh rock inscription). Puloma did manage to capture the present day Andhra Pradesh and extend his kingdom to the south east, but lost many of his territories to the Sakas including the north western parts of his kingdom. Puloma ruled for 29 years (130-159 AD).

There were 4-5 Satvahana rulers after Puloma who probably acted as vassals of the Sakas.

The last important ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Yajnashri Satkarni (174-203 AD). He conquered Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and North Konkan and re established the glory of the Satvahanas. His coins contain figures of ships, indicating his naval power.

But his successors were weak rulers and frittered away their territories.

By the middle of the third century the Satavahana kingdom was divided into many parts , each having a separate ruler who claimed the Satvahana lineage.

Among them were:

·         Western Satraps in the northwestern part of the kingdom.

·         Andhra Ikshvakus (or Srîparvatiyas) in the Krishna-Guntur region. (r. 220-320 CE).

·         Abhiras in the north western part of the Deccan and southern Gujrat. They were ultimately to succeed the Sâtavâhanas in their capital Pratishthânapura.

·         Chutus of Banavasi in North Karnataka  and south western Deccan.

·         Kadambas of Banavasi in North Karnataka.

·         Brihatphalanayas in Masulipatam region.

·         Pallavas around Kanchi (modern Kanjeevaram, Kanchipuram).

However, the power and influence of the Satavahanas  in southern India soon passed over to  the hands of the ‘Vakatakas’ , who proved to be the most dominant of the  successors.

There is a differing references to the actual number of Satvahana rulers and the time of their rule. The ‘Matsya Purana ‘ states that the Satavahana family ruled for 400 years and had 30 kings (only 19 actually named). Whereas the ‘Vayu Purana’ states that the Satavahanas ruled for 300 years and had 19 rulers.

Dr. Roychoudhary (historian) concludes that the main family ruled for 300 years and had 19 rulers, while some of the offshoots of the family ruled for another hundred years and had 11 more rulers.

List of  Satavahana rulers

Puranic list of Andhra/ Satavahana kings (Source: “A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc…”, Rapson). This list, the most complete one with 30 kings, is based on the Matsya Purana.

Probably as vassals of Kanva dynasty (75-35 BCE):

·         Apilaka, ruled 12 years.

·         Meghasvati (or Saudasa), ruled 18 years.

·         Svati (or Svami), ruled 18 years.

·         Skandasvati, ruled 7 years.

·         Mahendra Satakarni (or Mrgendra Svatikarna, Satakarni II), ruled 8 years.

·         Kuntala Satakarni (or Kuntala Svatikarna), ruled 8 years.

·         Svatikarna, ruled 1 year.

 

Contribution of the Satavahanas:

The Satavahanas ruled their kingdom in a just manner. There have been no despots mentioned amongst the Satavahanas. The administration of the Satavahanas was as per the religious texts ‘Dharmashastra’ and considered very sound and followed as a model example by the Guptas of the north and the Pallavas of the south.

Foreign trade prospered from  the time of Puloma. There was maritime trade (primary exports being spices, cotton,silk,herbs,muslin,animal skins , ivory, pearls etc.) with the southeast asian and other foreign kingdoms . There was  overall economic prosperity. Bharucch , Kalyan, Sopal were the famous ports  for maritime trade , whereas , Nasik, Vajyani and Junnar were prominent centres for internal trade.

 The Satvahanas were Vaishnava brahmanas, but  Buddhism (Mahayana) is also said to have influenced them in a large way. They considered Lord Gautam Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and was venerated accordingly.

The elders, the  widows and women in particular, were well respected in their community. That the Satavahana  names included the names of their mothers e.g Gautamiputa Satkarni alludes to this fact. The Satavahanas were liberal in their thinking and allowed all faiths to prosper in their kingdom. Gautamiputra Satkarni has been considered a great social reformer.

The Satavahana  constructions are also quite famous. The cave dwellings (no.2) of Nasik  were built by Gautami Balasri (mother of Gautamiputra Satkarni) for the Bhadrayan Buddhist Sangha  and the cave dwellings/Chaityas(prayer halls) of Karle were built by Vashisthaputa for the purpose of Mahasanghik Buddhist Sangha. Also famous are the caves of Kanheri. There have also been discovered a few Stupas and images of males and females belonging to the satavahana time. The satavahanas have also commissioned the famous Sanchi stupa. The Amravati styled art started during the time of the Satavahanas , spread to several south east asian kingdoms.

Coinage during the Satavahanas consisted of coins in gold, silver,lead and copper.

Literature and fine arts also gained patronage from the Satavahana rulers. Their official language was Prakrit and the literary texts in Prakrit by grammarian Sarvaverma are quite reknowned. Also prominent were the ‘Gathasapthasati’ by king Hala, and ‘Brahkatha’ by Gunthya.

Thus the Satavahanas can be said to be one of the leading dynasties in India , post the Mauryan period.

 

(Sources: Ancient India by R.C.Majumdar , Studies in Indian history by Prasad, Penguin histoy of India by Romila Thapar.)

 

 

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Ancient Indian History

[ Articles by A.Raj ]


 


Mauryas


 


Chandragupta Maurya 


 


Chandragupta Maurya  was the founder of the Maurya dynasty which ruled Magadha from c.321 BC to 185 BC.


Chandragupta Maurya can also be said to be the foremost of the dated Indian rulers, to have ruled over maximum of the then known Bharatvarsha (India) land.


His territories extended from present day Afghanistan-Pakistan to the southern Indian state of Karnataka and right upto the east till Bengal and Assam.


He was succeeded by his son Bindusara (c.297 BC)


 


Origins of Chandragupta and his early beginings:


 


There are varying stories about the origins of Chandragupta Maurya. While some bramhanical texts, like the  ‘Puranas’ consider him from a lower (Shudra) caste, there are the Buddhist and Jain texts which speak of him as a member of the ‘Kshatriya’ (warrior)’ Moriya’ clan related to the ‘Shakyas’. (It is to be noted that Buddhism and Jainism were the patronised religions from the Nanda dynasty to the Maurya dynasty, which may be causing resentment amongst the Vedic bramhanas).


Then there is this version that Chandragupta was the son of king Mahanandin and Mura, and whose second wife Sunanda was the mother of the Nandas. Apparently with the help of a barber, Mahapadmananda she murdered her husband and Chandraguptas brothers and installed Mahapadmananda as the king. Mura escaped with her young son, who grew up and swore revenge.


Also another source calls Chandragupta’s  father a commander to Mahapadmananda’s forces, whom Mahapadmananda had murdered by deceit.


Some texts have called Chandragupta a grandson of a headman of a village of peacock tanners, while some (‘Vishnu purana’ and the play ‘Mudrarakshasa’) refer to him as the illegitimate  son of the woman named Mora and a Nanda prince (incidently the puranas also refer to the Nandas as offsprings of low birth).  


However the  most popular version holding fort is that, Chandragupta belonged to a ‘kshatriya’ (warrior) clan called ‘Moriya’, originally ruling, ‘Pipallivana’(Uttar Pradesh), a forest kingdom. After her husbands death, Chandragupta shifted to Patliputra where she gave birth to her son.


Whatever might be the truth,  until, unbiased and conclusive proof  is unearthed, the authenticity of these texts will remain uncertain.


Chanakya:


Chandragupta was noticed by a bramhin teacher (Acharya) of the Taxilla (Takshashila) university, Acharya Chanakya Vishnugupta (a.k.a Kautilya) son of the famed scholar Chanak and a pundit in his own right. To Vishnugupta, he seemed precocious as a child, displaying leadership qualities amongst his mates that impressed the Taxillan teacher. Vishnugupta took the young Chandragupta under his tutelage where his formative years took shape. Chandragupta was trained in political science,economics,philosophy, sword fighting, wrestling, archery and other martial arts. Vishnugupta thus  proved to be Chandragupta Mauryas mentor, philosopher and guide. Vishnugupta, known for his legendary acumen in political science, can also be attributed to Chandraguptas ascension to power and its long and subsequent retention ( Vishnugupta was to later serve as Chandraguptas advisor and a minister in his court ).


Another source tells us that Chanakya  was a member of Dhanananda’s court and Chandragupta served in his army. Apparently after a fall off with the arrogant king on different occasions, both were expelled from his service, and they later colluded to overthrow Dhanananda.


There is a story where Chanakya while moving with Chandragupta in the forests, was pricked by a thorn of a jungle weed. Chanakya proceeded to pour sugar syrup all over the weed. When Chandragupta asked the reason, he was told, that the syrup will attract the ants, which in turn will destroy the thorny weed from its roots and clear the path for future travellers. Impressed by Chanakyas wisdom, Chandragupta became his disciple.


Whatever might be the truth ,its evident that with time and undiscovered proofs, the line between fact and fiction has become blurred.


Reign of Chandragupta:


In 327 BC, Alexander the Macedonian king along with his Greek , Macedonian and suzerain central asian armies invaded India. His entry was facilitated by King Ambhi of Gandhara. It was ostensibly to use the Greek armies against his arch rival, King Puru (also known as Parvataka through other sources) of Kekaya. Soon the Greeks marched over almost the entire upper half of India (except Magadha, which as per the Roman Greek historian,Plutarch was too powerfull for Alexander to take on), thus  making the various smaller kingdoms his vassals (else ravaging them).


Apparently Acharya Vishnugupta had approached the Nanda king Dhanananda (Nandrum), for his help in raising an united army to fight against the Greeks. But stories say, he was humiliated and turned away by an inebriated Nanda. This insult streangthened Vishnugupta’s resolve to do away with the Nanda dynasty. He along with his pupil , Chandragupta, raised an army of teachers,students,monks, rebels, mercenaries, and  tribals ( Chandragupta was also said to be aided by a Kekaya king Parvataka).


Alexander meanwhile had departed  and had placed Seleucus Nicator his general as the chief satrap of the Indian subcontinent. A power vacuum was created by Alexanders departure. Seleucus had centered himself in central Asia, with Philippus as the local satrap. Chandragupta initially started with the lower Indus valley and liberated it. He then assisted revolts from several Indian satraps which also led to the assassination of Phillipus, the satrap of the upper Indus valley (325BC). Soon northern India was in Chandraguptas control.


Chandraguptas victorious armies then started eating into Magadhas surrounding territories, until finally conquering the powerfull Magadha kingdom.(after an internal conflict apparently orchestrated by Vishnugupta. The decadent Nanda king,Dhanananda was either killed or exiled, as per sources. The Nanda empire collapsed inspite of mentions of the Nandas having wise ministers like Varuchi, Katyayana, Shaktaar  and a corrupt commander of forces called Bhadrabahu). In 321 BC , Chandragupta Maurya was crowned the king of Magadha. He immediately declared his mentor Vishnugupta ,as his prime minister. Vishnugupta however retained Nandas loyal minister Katyayana Rakshas in his original post (after much persuasion) and took on the role of an elder statesman and advisor.


Chandragupta then embarked on his conquest of rest of India , starting from  central India . He surmounted  the territory  upto the north of river Narmada. His armies as per version of Plutarch were around 4,00,000 . (as per Pliny, the Roman naval commander and author of ‘Naturalis Historia’, Chandragupta had an infantry of 6,00,000, 30,000 cavalry and 9000 war elephants).


In 305 BC, Seleucus Nicator himself led his Greek armies to conquer his lost territories. But this time around, Chandragupta proved more than a match for him. Seleucus was forced to enter into a treaty with Chandragupta, whereby he surrendered his territories of Arachosia (Kandahar), Gedrosia (Baluchistan), Paropamisadae (Kamboja), Aria( Herat)  and Kabura(Kabul). He even entered into a matrimonial alliance with Chandragupta, where in one of Seleucus’s daughters was bethroted to the Indian king. In return Chandragupta assured him his support in consolidating central asia, along with a gift of 500 war trained elephants. Subsequent relations between the Greeks and the Mauryans appear to be cordial. Seleucus even appointed Megasthenes as his ambassador in Chandraguptas court. Megasthenes later penned the famous travelogue , ‘Indica’, recounting his travel and stay in India. Chandragupta has been identified by the name ‘ Sandrokottos’ in the contemporary Greek texts.


 


Chandraguptas Reign and Mauryan administration as per Arthashastra:


Chandragupta was known to be a benevolent ruler , who not only extended the peripheries of his empire but also ruled it with considerable prudence, under the able guidance of his aide Vishnugupta, for almost a quarter of a century. Trade, agriculture and commerce were based on some principles and rules  enunciated by Vishnugupta and the country  prospered during the Mauryan  rule.


Vishnugupta during his lifetime, authored the famed treatise ‘Arthashastra’, and ‘Nitishastra’ under the pseudonym Kautilya. It essays the tenets of  ruling a country and concentrates (besides the politics), on its military, security,economic, social and moral facets.


As per the Arthshastra, the king was the supreme head of the state. His duty was mainly ensuring the welfare and happiness of his subjects. He was to work almost 18-19 hours a day and was to be at the service of his people , courtiers,  and officers any time of the hour. (The king was to listen to reports of his spies  and officers even while being dressed up…).


The Council of ministers consisted of 3-12 members, each being the head of a department. Then there was the State council which could have 12,16 or 20 members.  Besides, there was the bureaucracy consisting of the ‘Sannidhata’ (treasury head), ‘Samaharta’ (chief revenue collector), ‘Purohita’ (head priest),’Senapati’(commander of the army),’ Pratihara’ (chief of the palace guards),’Antarvamisika’ (head of the harem guards),’Durgapala’(governor of the fort), ‘Antahala’ (governor of the frontier),’Paur’(governor of the capital),’Nyayadhisha’ (chief justice),’Prasasta’ (police chief). Then there were the ‘Tirthas’, ‘Amatyas’ i.e officers in charge of accounts (controlled by the chief minister‘Mahaamatya’) of the: treasury,records,mines,mints,commerce,excise.agriculture,toll,public utility,armoury  etc.


The governors or viceroys of provinces were called ‘Mahamatras’ and if the designation was held by a prince then he was called ‘Kumara mahamatra’. Assisting them were the ‘Yutas’ (tax collectors), ‘Rajukas’(revenue collectors),’Sthanikas’ and’Gopas’(district officers). Then there was the local village head called’ Gramika’ under whom the village assembly operated.


The civil courts were called ‘Dharmasthiya’ and criminal courts were called ‘Kantakshodhana’.


Arthashastra stresses on a efficient espionage system. Spies operated not only in the city but outside in foreign regions as well.


The defence forces consisted of the navy, infantry, cavalry,war chariots and the war elephants.


There were hospitals not just for humans but for animals as well. There were census records maintained on births and deaths. There were wells, gardens,tanks,amusement places,temples erected in various parts of the city.


The royal share of the produce of the land was called the ‘Bhaga’ and was generally 1/6th the total. The shepards, livestock breeders were taxed. Also there was the forest tax, tax on intoxicants,mine tax,fishery tax,irrigation tax etc. Trade by sea was controlled by the state. The state also owned factories producing cloth etc.


Kautilya has stated that collection of tax should be akin to a bee collecting honey from the flower, just the minimum that is required, negating  the  chances of tax evasion.


Every city was divided into wards and further groups of houses. The roads measured 1150 miles and were quite wide as per accounts of Megasthenes. There were trees planted on both sides of the road.


Arthashastra also enunciated the ideal relations between a father and son, brother and sister, husband and wife, teacher and a student etc.


There is a section which deals in inter state relations. They were to be based on the four traditional expedients viz. ‘Saama’ (conciliation,alliance),’Daama’ (gifts,subsidy), ‘Bheda’ (sowing dissension in hostile states) and ‘Danda’ (aggressive action).


There are some suggestions for  individuals as well i.e:


1.Citizens need to follow their duties diligently in order to ensure welfare of the state.


2.The king and the subjects should exercise control over their instincts and desires. One may indulge in cardinal pleasures, but in limitation.


3.Only cowards are  afraid of defeat  and one shouldn’t hesitate in attempting a mission (One shouldn’t shun karma).


4.A king should be religious in nature, respectfull towards his elders, teachers and courtiers. He should refrain from tyranny. He should follow an pragmatic ,prudent and concilliatory approach towards issues.


5.To achieve social goals , one has to forego personal interests. Politics shouldn’t be self serving but for the welfare of the state.


There are some suggestions for the state, i.e:


6.An  egalitarian  society  is  one where  there  are  equal  opportunities  for all.


7.According  to  Kautilya, there should  be  efficient  management of resources. It is essential that the state  keeps an eye on the occupation of excess land by the landlords and unauthorized use of land. Ideally the state should monitor the most important and vital resource – Land.


8.The state  should  always  take  care  of  agriculture. Government machinery should  be  directed  towards the implementation of projects aimed at supporting and nurturing the various processes,  beginning from sowing of seeds to cutting and supply of the harvest.


9.The  nation should embark on constructing forts and cities. These complexes would protect the country from invasions and provide internal security. The cities would serve as giant markets, increasing the revenue of the state.


10.Internal  trade was more important to Kautilya than external trade. At each point of the entry of goods,there was to be a minimal amount of tax collected.  A country should have a self sufficient economy and shouldn’t depend completely on foreign trade.


11.Laws of the state should be the same for all, irrespective of the person ‘s position in society.


12.Security of the citizens at peace time is paramount,  because state is the saviour of the subjects of the state. Criminals and antisocial elements should be kept under check  with the  help of spies . Destitute women should be protected by the society from   exploitation .


13.Kautilya has suggested a society where the people are not slaves of  material pleasures. Control over ones sense organs is essential for success in any endeavour. Spiritual development is essential for the internal strength and character of the individual. Material pleasures and achievements are always secondary to the spiritual development of the society and country at large.


13.The  task of a king is to strive for the welfare of his people day in and day out. The administration of the kingdom should be foremost for the king. The happiness of  his subjects  is the happiness of the king. Their welfare  should be  his welfare.


14.There  should  be establishment  of  new  colonies for the  augmentation of resources. Also  advocated  is  the  development  of  the  already  annexed colonies.


 


Vishnugupta Chanakya is often termed as the India’s Machiavelli. He trained Chandragupta into the valliant warrior that he was ,and acted as his trusted eyes and ears, warding off  the nefarious designs of his enemies. It can also be said that Chandragupta Maurya could embark on his long war campaigns knowing fully well that the administration of his kingdom was safe in the hands of his elderly and competent statesman, Chanakya Vishnugupta.


Vishnugupta stayed on as the advisor of Magadha even after Chandragupta , assisting his  son Bindusara.


There is a story that Vishnugupta used to feed Chandragupta ,small quantities of poison with a glass of milk since childhood, in order to make him immune to poison. He continued that practice after Chandragupta became the king. One day, Chandraguptas wife who was nine month pregnant, being unaware of the poisoned glass of milk, drank it. Frothing, she collapsed and died. Vishnugupta on hearing the news immediately went to the spot and ordered her womb to be torn open . Thus the foetus was extracted and the child was named Bindusara.( Bindu literally meaning a drop…in this case a drop of poison).


Bindusara also had a minister named Subandhu who disliked Vishnugupta immensely. He poisoned  Bindusara’s mind against Vishnugupta, implying that Vishnugupta Chanakya  was responsible for the murder of his mother. Bindusara on hearing the same became very angry with Chanakya. It is said that Chanakya, on hearing that the king was angry with him, donated all his wealth to the poor, widows and orphans and sat meditating on a dung heap, preparing to die by total abstinence from food and drink. Bindusara meanwhile heard the full story of the circumstances of his birth, from the nurses and rushed to beg forgiveness from Chanakya. But Chanakya refused to relent. Bindusara  then went back to Subandhu and vent his fury on him. Subhandhu implored the king for time so as to beg for forgiveness from Chanakya. But Subandhu, had other plans.He wanted to once and for all end the  chapter of his arch rival. So he arranged for a ceremony of respect, but unnoticed by anyone, slipped a smoldering  charcoal ember inside the dung heap. The dung heap caught fire, and Acharya Chanakya Vishnugupta, the man behind the mauryan empire was burnt to ashes.


 


Death of Chandragupta:


Chandragupta embraced Jainism during his lifetime. Later, he is said to have abdicated his throne in favour of his son Bindusara .


Chandragupta then, retired to the forests of Shravana Belgola (near Mysore city ,Karnataka state) along with his religious guru Bhadrabahu and several followers, where he renounced his life after a fast unto death as per Jain traditions.


 


 


 


Bindusara:


 


Bindusara succeeded his father Chandragupta Maurya in 297 BC. He was also known as Amitraghata (slayer of the foes) or Amitrochates as the Greeks called him. 


He was said to be a competent ruler who successfully consolidated the vast empire that he had inherited. He is said to have maintained friendly relations with the southern kingdoms of  Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Only exception was the hostile kingdom of Kalinga, which too was surmounted later, by his son Ashoka.


Tibetan history attributes to him the conquest of the land between the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal. But there are no conclusive proofs to establish that fact.


He is said to be a man of eclectic tastes. He is said to have asked the greek king Antiochus I to send him some sweet wine, dried figs and a sophist ( a greek teacher of philosophy and rhetoric). The then greek ambassador present in his court was Deimakos.


Buddhist texts reveal that he was deeply interested in the Ajivika sect (Ajivikas were a sect of wandering ascetics who believed that rebirth is not as per ones karma ( deeds), but a matter of ‘niyati’ meaning destiny or fate).


Bindusara had many sons. But the prominent amongst these were Sushima the governor of Taxilla and Ashoka the governor of Ujjain.


Bindusara ruled for twenty five years until his death in c.272.BC.


He was succeeded by his son Ashoka after a brief struggle with his brothers including Sushima.


 


 


ASHOKA


Ashoka the Great, as he is known, is not presumed great for his conquests, but for his renunciation of violence and laying the foundations of a welfare state to serve as an example for centuries to come.


Ashoka was said to be born somewhere around 273 BC. In 1837, James Princep had deciphered a script where in, Ashoka was referred to as ‘Devanampiya Piyadassi’ or the ‘beloved of the gods’. Something that tallied with the Buddhist chronicles of Sri Lanka which gave details of his early life.


Ashoka  served as the governor of Ujjain during his father , Bindusara’s rule. After Bindusaras death, Ashoka is said to have seized the throne after a fratricidal war with his ninety nine brothers, prominent being Sushima the eldest. His earlier life seems to have been one of extreme ruthlessness, typical of a imperialist.                                                                          But it was the cataclysmic war of Kalinga, which is said to have transformed the personality of Ashoka from a cruel individual to a pacifist and benevolent king. A transition from ‘Chandashoka’ (ferocious Ashoka ) to ‘Dharmashoka’( the religious one).


There is no other king from ancient India on whom so much information has been unearthed as Ashoka, making him the most familiar name as far as the future generations are concerned.


Rock Edicts of Ashoka


The inscriptions of Ashokas  furnish a wealth of information engraved on rocks and monolithic and remarkably polished stone pillars. Details were mainly about his latter life as a king, his reign,his religion and his ideology. They can be categorised as under:


1.     Fourteen Rock Edicts: found at eight different places viz. Shahbazgarhi (seventh edict engraved on a bowl ,Peshawar, Pakistan presently displayed in the Prince of Wales museum, Mumbai),Manshera (Hazara),Kalsi (Dehradun, Uttarakhand),Girnar (Junagadh, Gujrat),Sopara(Thana, Maharashtra), Dhauli and Jaugada(Orissa) and Yerragudi(Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh).


2.     Minor Rock Edicts: found at thirteen different places viz. Roopnath(Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh), Bairat(Jaipur, Rajasthan), Sasaram(Shahbad district, Bihar), Maski (Raichur, Karnataka), Gavimath and Palkigundu(Mysore, Karnataka), Gujarra(Datia district , Madhya Pradesh), Ahraura (Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh), Rajulamandagiri (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh), Yerragudi and three neighbouring places in Chitaldurga district, Mysore.


3.     Seven Pillar Edicts: seven edicts found on a single pillar (Topra,presently displayed in Delhi). Rest were found in northern Bihar.


4.     The remaining inscriptions were engraved on rocks, pillars and  cave walls .


The most important of these being the engravings on a pillar found at Rumindei (Nepal) which mentions Ashoka’s visit to the birthplace of Gautam Buddha at Lumbini. Two short inscriptions written in Aramaic have also been found at Taxilla and Jalalabad(Afghanistan). A bilingual inscription written in Greek and Aramaic has been found on a rock at Shar-i-Kuna(Kandahar, Afghanistan). Four edicts (one in Kharoshti script derived from Aramaic, used in Iran and others in perhaps ,Prakrit, rest found in the country being in Brahmi) have been found in Shalatak  and  Qargha (Afghanistan).


The thirteenth rock edict gives a vivid account of Ashokas conquest of  Kalinga (260 BC), after a prolonged war, in which 1,50,000 persons were captured, 1,00,000 killed and many times that number perished. Ashoka was said to have been filled with great remorse and guilt after witnessing the misery and bloodshed his war cost.


He sought solace in peace preached by the Buddhist religion. He was initiated into the Buddhist fold by the monk, Upagupta. He remained a disciple for two and a half years, until being formally inducted in the Buddhist order and becoming a Bhikku’ ( a fully ordained Buddhist monastic).


Modern Indias national emblem is a gift from Ashokas heritage.


Ashoka visited the various  places considered holy by the Buddhists. He is said to have begun the propogation of the Buddhist doctrines through his specially appointed officers called ‘Dharmamahamatras’.


Ashokas ‘dhamma’ (in Prakrit) or ‘dharma’ (in Sanskrit) is still considered reflecting his character and philosophy.


 


 Dhamma  


Dhamma was  Ashokas own invention as per historian ,Romila Thapar . It was essentially a code of moral duties, benevolent acts and freedom from passions for an individual (ref.L.Prasad) .


The basic tenets of Ashokas Dhamma were:


1.Compassion, liberalism, truth and purity in personal life.


2.Respect and kindness towards  parents, siblings,companions, friends, elders, teachers, ascetics,the bramhanas, bhikkus,the disabled,the slaves and servants.


3.Cruelty towards humans and  animals alike was abhorred.


4.Doing away with anger, envy and pride and pursuance of righteous deeds.


5.The description of the 12th rock edict states that the people not only should tolerate all religions, sects, but also develop a spirit of reverence for all. Polite speech was encouraged and criticism, intolerance was discouraged. Also, was a request to read out religious texts to each other.


He never stressed on the metaphysical part of religion ,but its moral and social aspects.


Ashoka also practiced what he preached. He stopped consuming meat, prohibited killing of animals, birds in the palace or during hunting expeditions. He stopped animal fights and encouraged festivals and religious fairs.


He also convened the ‘Third General Council’, of Buddhists  at his capital, Patliputra, to settle their internal differences and proceed with a more unified way of Buddhism. It was presided by the monk Mogaliputta Tissa. It deputed missionaries to neighbouring and far off countries like western asia, Syria (court of Antiochus Theos), Egypt (court of Ptolemy Philadelphus), Ceylon (his son Mahendra and daughter  Sanghamitra were sent to the royal court of Ceylon i.e the present Sri Lanka) , Macedonia  and  Greece (court of Antigonus Gonatia), Magas of Cyrene and the court of  Alexander of Epirus .


Ashokas administration


Ashoka followed the basic structure of administration set up during the rule of Chandragupta Maurya.


However Ashoka stressed on ‘humanism and dedication to his subjects’ in his administration and which was to be the hallmark of his reign.


He categorically instructed his officers to apprise him of the peoples problems whenever and wherever they wanted. He sincerely believed that being a monarch was only the means of public service, than anything else. The subjects were the children and the king their benevolent patriarch.


A special officer ‘Vrajabhumika’ was appointed in charge of public utility works.


Orders  were given to the high serving officials to keep strict vigil on their subordinates so as to ensure the  regular performance of  their duties.


As mentioned in the book by Romila Thapar,  during Ashokan times,” Land revenue was of two types. One being the tax on the area of the land cultivated and other on the assessment of the produce. Ashokas inscription at Lumbini, commemorating the birthplace of Buddha, speaks of ‘Bali’ and ‘Bhagga’ which may have been these two taxes. Interestingly, he exempts the people of Lumbini from the first, but continues to impose a tax on the produce. The assessment varied from region to region and the sources mention a range from one sixth to a quarter of the produce of the land. It was generally based on the land worked by each individual cultivator and also the quality of land. A reference to ‘pindakara’- a heap of taxes- could suggest a tax collected jointly from a village. The treasury was entitled to tax the shepards and livestock breeders on the number and produce of the animals. Taxes on other activities referred to by the general term ‘kara’, were also levied. A tax of a different kind, ’vishti’, was paid in labour for the state and is therefore translated as  corvee. ‘Vishti’ pertains more to the individual than the other taxes. At this period it is mentioned often in the context of craft production, where craftsmen provide a stipulated amount of free labour to the state.”


The security and law and order was also strictly maintained during the Ashokan rule. It was decided that the death penalty was to be executed after three days of the judgement and there were also dates fixed for granting amnesty.


All people were considered same before the eyes of law, irrespective of their religion, sect or class. The  ‘Rajukas’ (revenue settlement officer), were given judicial powers to facilitate quick dispensation of justice.


The Ashokan empire was governed by its many ‘viceroys’ seated at their provincial capitals viz.Suvarnagiri, Toshali,Taxilla and Ujjain. The empire was mainly the inheritance of his predecessors, barring Kalinga which Ashoka conquered in 260 BC.  It extended right down south excluding the independent Tamilian kingdoms of the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas , Satyaputras and Tamraparnis of Sri Lanka (with whom Ashoka maintained friendly relations as mentioned in the chronicles of the island, ‘Dipavamsa’ and ‘Mahavamsa’. There is also a mention of Ashoka gifting the branch of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved salvation).


Emperor Ashoka died around 232 BC. He was succeeded by seven Mauryan kings down the line, the last being Brihadrata who was killed by his Brahmin commander in chief Pushyamitra, who established Sunga dynasty.


H.G.Wells has written about Ashoka: “ It is not every age, it is not every nation, that can produce a king like this type. Ashoka still remains without a parallel in the history of the world”.


 


References:


Ancient India by R.C.Majumdar.(Motilal Banarasidas publishers p.ltd)


Studies in Indian History by L.Prasad .(Bookhive publishers)


The Penguin history of early India By Romila Thapar.(Penguin academics)


State and Government in ancient India by A.S.Altekar.( Motilal Banarasidas publishers p.ltd)


 


 


KALINGA


Kalinga was roughly comprised of the present day Puri, Ganjam and Cuttack districts of the state of Orissa.


The name of Kalinga  appears prominently during  emperor,Ashoka’s reign (268-231 BC), and later during the reign of king Kharavela (50 BC). It also has a mention in the book ‘Indica’ by Megasthenes.


Kalinga must have been a powerful kingdom, even during the reign of Ashoka, for it dared to challenge the might of the Magadhan empire. Ashoka  invaded Kalinga   around 260 BC, presumably to chastize Kalinga for  refusing to accept its suzerainty, or for a dispute over a Nanda canal and allowing access to the magadhans over the eastern trade routes. Magadhans managed to defeat the Kalingans after a gruesome battle. But  the death and destruction of human life and property that followed was so enormous that it is said to have dramatically transformed king Ashoka into renouncing violence and accepting Buddhism. Kalinga was annexed to the Magadhan empire. Peace prevailed until the end of the maurya rule in 185 BC. The  rule was passed on to the Sunga dynasty , and later to the Kanva dynasty which  ruled the magadhan empire with Kalinga as a subsidiary.


Later the Chedi dynasty established its rule over Kalinga. The Chedi dynasty was started by Mahameghavahana . The great Kharavela was probably his grandson and the son of King Vakradeva.   Kharavela is  also, said to have descended from the royal sage Vasu. A jaina text also calls him a descendent of the asura king Ravana from the Ramayana.


Kharavela was the third ruler from the Chedi dynasty , ruling Kalinga around the first century BC. He ascended the throne at the age of 24 and his rule was said to be the golden period for the Kalingans. Kharavela was a jain, but all religions could be freely practiced during his rule. He was often refered to as Bhikshuraja (or the monk king) ,apparently because of his patronage to the monastries.


Hathigumpha inscriptions discovered near present day Bhubaneshwar give us an insight into the life of Kharavela. After becoming the king, Kharavela is said to have immediately started the repairs of the city. He restored the  gardens, built embankments around the lake , constructed tanks and cisterns, started several irrigation and public welfare projects in the city. This pleased his subjects immensely. Thus after gaining the confidence of his people, Kharavela embarked on his conquests.


In his second year Kharavela is said to have forced an huge army comprising of a strong cavalry and elephants through the western regions controlled by the Satvahana king Satkarni. He also threatened the city of the Mushikas.


In his fourth year the Rathikas and the Bhojakas submitted to kharavela.


In his fifth year he extended canal built by the Nandas.


In his sixth year he performed the Rajasuya yagna. He is said to have remitted taxes and cesses and granted funds to various institutions.


In the seventh year Kharavelas wife became a mother.


In his eighth year, he is said to have threatened the Indo Greek king Demetrius , who  fled to Mathura. This was followed by many gifts like golden trees, chariots, horses, elephants, residences and rest houses. That year he exempted the bramhanas from paying any taxes. The same year, a royal residence was also said to have been built at a cost ofthirty eight hundred thousand.


In the tenth year, again, he set off on his conquest of Bharatvarsha. He acceded Pithunda, southwards towards the Krishna river. Further down, he broke the confederacy of the Tramira ( Tamil countries), which had been a threat to the Kalingans. He brought back precious stones from the Pandya kingdom.


In the the twelfeth year, his armies turned northwards attacking Magadha and Anga. He pillaged the kingdoms. He brought back with him riches and several jaina images taken away by the  Nandas.


He settled a hundred builders in Kalinga ,after giving exemptions in land revenue. He constructed huge buildings, towers and carved interiors and stockades for the elephants.


In his thirteenth year Kharavela offered maintainance and gifts to the Jain monks and their monasteries. He arranged an assembly of several ascetics , sages and monks and had jain texts compiled. Kharavela is said to have excavated several caves to serve as dwellings for the Jain monks, in the Khandagiri mountains.


Kharavela before his inception to the throne was said to be a great sportsman and had an athletic physique and was very handsome . He had received education in various arts and sciences including music, mathematics, law and finance. He also propogated education in a big way during his rule.


The Chedis are also attributed to spreading the Indian culture in the south east asian countries of today.


There is little known about the death of the great king Kharavela or for that matter , his descendents. Some generations of the Chedis did rule Kalinga and parts of neighbouring Andhra. But afterwards  the Kalinga kingdom is said to have been swallowed by its neighbours.


 


INDO GREEKS


The death of Alexander gave rise to the kingdom of his general Seleucus Nicator who ruled parts of northern India. He was subsequently weakened by the Maurya empire. This led his satraps in Bactria (region between Hindu kush and Oxus) and Parthia to think in independent terms.


Diodotus , the governor of Bactria was the first to rebel against Antiochus, the Seleucid king. Antiochus was ignoring his territory in the Indian sub continent due to his concentration in the east Mediterranean region. Taking advantage, Diodotus set up his independent rule in Bactria.


Later, another satrap ,Euthydemus defeated the Seleucid king. His son Demetrius led his Indo Greek armies to the south east of the Hindukush mountains. Later on another king by the name of Demetrius came to rule large areas in south Afghanistan,Punjab and the Indus valley. Demetrius was thus the first of the Indo Greek kings to rule over north west India


However the best remembered of the Indo Greek kings was Menander or king Milinda(c.166-150 BC) as per Indian texts. Milinda achieved fame due to the Buddhist text, ‘Milinda panha’. It is an account of a long discussion conducted between Milinda and Nagasena, a buddhist monk. This led to Milindas acceptance of Buddhism. Milinda also created a vast empire from central Afghanistan upto western and central India . His capital remained Sakala (Sialkot). Milinda proved himself a patron of Buddhism and himself was a reputed scholar. He enjoyed tremendous popularity amongst his subjects, and as per accounts of Plutarch, after Milindas death, all his cities vied for his ashes. After Milindas there were many kings, notably Strabo, and kings from the Euthydemus line which ruled Bactria and parts of the Indian subcontinent.


There is also a mention of Heliodorous who was either the king of Taxilla or the kings envoy. Heliodorous was a devotee of Lord Vasudeva  (Vishnu-an primary Hindu God). Heliodorous erected a structure, ‘Garuda Dhwaja’ in the honour of Lord Vasudeva.


Indo Greeks introduced a lot of innovations in the coins that they made. They used the technique of die striking in the manufacture of coins. Their coins had portraits of their rulers. Something which was employed by the latter Indian kings.


Greek astronomy is also considered a gift to India, as per the Brahmin text                            **‘Gargi Samhita ’  , and Indian astronomers like Varahamira. Greek sculpture also left an indelible mark on Indian arts and culture. In return the Greeks were influenced by Hindu and Buddhist philosophies and rituals, resulting in many of the Indo Greek kings embracing these religions. (** The Brahmin text Gargi Samhita (Yugapurana section) is also critical of the Greeks, Yavanas as they were called, for their brutality in the Indian sub continent. The Yavanas have been termed as barbarians for their approach, but as per Romila Thapar , it may have been to their patronizing of Buddhism, and newly emerging hindu sects like ‘Shaiva’ and ‘Bhagvata’, at the cost of the Vedic Brahmanism)


The Indo Greeks remained in India for two centuries (upto first century AD) and later paving the way for the Shakas, Pahlavas and the Kushanas.


 


SHAKAS AND PAHLAVAS


Shakas or Indo Scythians were an central asian nomadic tribe that inhabited the region around Lake Issykkul and the river Jaxartes. They were basically pastoralists and good horsemen. They often attacked sedentary societies for acquiring pastoral grazelands and livestock.


The Shakas were attacked and driven south by the Yueh chi tribes. The Shakas settled down in Bactria and Parthia. The Parthians (Pahlavas ) were over run by the Shakas. The Shakas, the Pahlavas and the Yueh chi( Kushanas) arrived in India turn by turn.


The Shaka king Maues or Moga (c.80 BC) established the Shaka rule in Gandhara. His successor, Azes (58 BC)  further took over the kingdom of the last Indo Greek king Hippostratos. The Shakas ruled over north west frontier, Punjab, Sindh,Kashmir, western Uttar Pradesh ,Saurashtra, Kathiawar,Rajputana, Malwa, and  north Konkan belt of Maharashtra( Shakas fought with the Satvahanas also, and later entered into matrimonial alliances with them). The Shakas employed the Greek system of rule and appointed Kshatrapas (satraps/ governors) to rule each region.


Mirtradetes II established the Parthian presence in India in the first century BC.  As did Vonones and Gondophares ( first century AD). It is said that St.Thomas the disciple of Christ arrived in the court of Gondophares and later found his way to southern India.


It is very difficult to distinguish between the Shakas and the Pahlavas , as they came from the same  stock, and Indian literature often regards them as one   ‘Shaka Pahlava’.


The Shakas were later overpowered by the Kushanas. The Shakas accepted the suzerainty of the Kushanas. After the fall of the Kushanas, the western Kshatrapas amongst  the Shakas once again rose in prominence, especially under King Rudradaman, who successfully waged wars against the Satvahanas. The Shakas were finally finished by the rulers of the Gupta dynasty.


With time the remnants of the Shakas sans their political power merged with the Indian society. 


 


KUSHANAS


Kushanas were said to be a offspring of a branch of the Yueh Chi tribe after their mass exodus from  from China (around 165 BC).


There were in all five branches of the Yueh chi. Kujula Kadphises or Kadphises I united these five tribes and led an campaign down south, somewhere in the first century AD. He encountered the Scythians (Sakas) which had already taken their roots in India. The Sakas were a central asian tribe , which along with the Parthians (Pahlavas) had dominated India right from  present day Afghanistan, Pakistan to  parts of Maharashtra and Kathiawar (Gujrat).


Kadphises pushed down the Sakas and established his kingdom in Bactria and the valley of the river Oxus. He further captured Gandhara (Kandahar) and south Afghanistan.


Kadphises I was succeeded by his son Wema Kadphises or Kadphises II. Wema was a great conquerer and he expanded the boundaries of his kingdom to bordering provinces of China and Rome. He ventured to India and established his kingdom upto Punjab and parts of Uttar Pradesh. Kujula Kadphises embraced Buddhism , while his son Wema embraced Shaivism ( Hinduism). Wema Kadphises struck many coins that have imprints of various shaivaite deities like lord Shiva and Nandi (Shivas carrier/bull).


After Wema Kadphises died, his kshatrapas (governors) fought amongst themselves. Kanishka the kshatrapa of Wema’s eastern province, won the struggle and declared himself successor of Wema Kadphises (78 AD). Kanishka proved himself a great ruler. Firstly, he annexed to his kingdom, the various regions of India like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kashmir, Malwa,Rajputana, Saurashtra, right upto Khotan (south India). He made  Purushpura (present day Peshawar in Pakistan) his capital and appointed kshatrapas to rule his vast territories.


Kanishka was a Buddhist. It was during his rule that Buddhism split into two sects, the Hinayana and the Mahayana (during the fourth and apparently last great council of the Buddhists). Kanishka embraced the Mahayana Buddhism. The Peshawar monastery and the Stupa, built by Kanishka was a source of admiration for many travellers. It was during Kanishkas time, the Kashyapa Matanga introduced Buddhism to China( AD. 61-67).


Kanishka was a patron of arts. Architecture and painting progressed during his time. The mural paintings of Ajanta caves started taking shape during Kanishkas time. Also, the Gandhara school of sculpture gained prominence. Images of Buddha and many other exquisite sculptures, rock pillars, rock edicts were built all over India. (The headless statue of Kanishka wearing a long overcoat and quilted boots has been found near Mathura, UP).The great scholars of that time like Ashwaghosha, Parshwa,Vasumitra, Sangharaksha, Nagarjuna were regulars in his court. So was the great physician philosopher, Charaka. The greek engineer, Agesilaus built monuments ,structures for the royals. Mathara a shrewd politician of his age was Kanishkas minister. Coins minted during Kanishkas rule have been found to have images of Indian,Greek,Persian, and Sumerian gods and godesses.


Kanishka facilated the trade routes between India and the rest of the world, and commerce prospered during his time.


Thus it can be concluded that Kanishka’s era was a golden age in the true sense.


Kanishka was apparently killed by his own rebellious soldiers during one of his military expeditions to China. Kanishka was succeeded by his son Vashishka (ruled between 102-106 AD/ just for four years) and subsequently by Huvishka (rule.106-138 AD).The last known Kushana ruler was Vasudeva (rule.145-176 AD). The latter Kushana rulers accepted the Sassanian (Persian) suzerainty and the Kushana power gradually waned in India.


 


 


 

Posted in Blogs.


mughals

 

Articles by A.Raj

THE MUGHALS 


IT IS SAID WHEN SOMEONE IS DESTINED TO SUCCEED , ALL THE FORCES OF NATURE CONSPIRE TO USHER HIM TO HIS SUCCESS. THE MUGHALS WERE DESTINED TO SUCCEED IN ESTABLISHING THEIR RULE OVER INDIA , AND A SERIES OF EVENTS, LEAD THEM TO THEIR DESTINY.


PRIOR TO THE ADVENT OF THE MUGHALS, INDIA WAS  SPRINKLING OF INDEPENDENT KINGDOMS RULED BY MUSLIM AND HINDU RULERS ALIKE. THERE WERE THE AFGHAN KINGS RULING DELHI ,GUJRAT, BENGAL, AND THE BAHAMANI KINGDOM OF THE DECCAN AND FURTHER SOUTH WAS THE FORMIDABLE HINDU KINGDOM OF VIJAYNAGAR RULING ANDHRA, KARNATAKA, TAMIL NADU AND PARTS OF KERALA. EVEN FURTHER WAS THE HINDU ZAMORIN OF KERALA. STANDING FACE TO FACE TO THE DELHI SULTANATE WERE THE  LOOSE CONFEDARACY OF THE HINDU RAJPUT CLANS, LED BY RANA SANGHA OF MEWAR.


THE MUGHALS BELONGED TO A TURKO MONGOLOID RACE ,OFFSPRINGS OF INTER TRIBAL WARS AND INTERMIXING  OF THE VARIOUS CENTRAL ASIAN TRIBES.


THEY HAD  A TURKISH PHYSICALITY AND VERY DISTINCT MONGOLOID FEATURES. THEY WERE A BELLIGERENT LOT AND EXCELLENT HORSE RIDERS.


THEIR DESCENT WAS  SAID TO BE FROM TIMUR THE GREAT AND CHAGTAI KHAN, SON OF GENGHIS KHAN.


BABAR WAS THE FIRST MUGHAL TO INVADE INDIA, SOMEWHERE IN THE TIMELINE OF 1519. WITH SOME REMARKABLE MILITARY CONQUESTS HE SUCCEEDED IN DEFEATING MORE POWERFUL FOES LIKE THE AFGHAN LODHIS OF  DELHI AND THE VALOUROUS RAJPUTS OF RAJPUTANA. BY 1530 ,BABAR HAD SUCCEEDED IN CAPTURING HALF OF UPPER INDIA.


HIS SON HUMAYUN CONTINUED HIS TIRADE AGAINST THE AFGHANS. HIS MOST FORMIDABLE FOE WAS THE AFGHAN,SHER SHAH SURI. HUMAYUN HAD MIXED LUCK IN HIS LIFE.HE WAS TO LOSE HIS LANDS, BUT ONLY TO REGAIN THEM LATER. HE EVEN LOST DELHI TO HIS FOE, SHER SHAH SURI, AND ONLY AFTER THE AFGHAN’S DEATH HE COULD REGAIN IT BACK.  HUMAYUN COULDN’T ENJOY HIS RULE FOR LONG. HUMAYUN DIED IN AN ACCIDENT IN 1556.


HUMAYUN WAS SUCCEEDED BY HIS SON AKBAR.


AKBAR THE GREAT AS HE IS POPULARLY KNOWN ,PROVED TO BE  THE MOST COMPETENT RULER IN MUGHAL HISTORY. HE EXPANDED HIS RULE TO MANY CORNERS OF INDIA. HIS MOST VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION WAS THE SYMBIOSIS THAT HE ESTABLISHED BETWEEN THE HINDUS AND THE MUSLIMS OF THE COUNTRY. AKBAR, WAS CONSIDERED TO BE  A SON OF THE SOIL, IN COMPARISON TO HIS PREDECESSORS WHO WERE VIEWED MORE AS FOREIGNERS. HE MARRIED MANY HINDU PRINCESSES, FORGING ALLIANCES BETWEEN KINGDOMS. OVERALL, HE WAS CONSIDERABLY TOLERANT TO OTHER FAITHS,IN  COMPARISON TO THE HIS PREDECESSORS AND DESCENDENTS.


AKBAR WAS SUCCEEDED BY HIS SON JEHANGIR. HE CONTINUED HIS FATHERS POLICY OF CONQUESTS. HE IS VIEWED IN VERY  CONTRADICTORY  TERMS BY HISTORIANS , A STRANGE COMPOUND OF TENDERNESS AND CRUELTY. HE WAS SAID TO BE HEDONISTIC AND ADDICTED TO ALCOHOL. HE ALIENATED THE SIKHS, WHEN HE PUT TO DEATH THEIR GURU,ARJUN DEV, FOR HELPING HIS REBELLIOUS SON. HOWEVER OVERALL , JEHANGIR IS VIEWED AS AN COMPETENT ADMINIISTRATOR AND A PATRON OF ARTS.


JEHANGIR WAS SUCCEDED BY HIS SON SHAH JEHAN. SHAH JEHAN INCREASED THE BOUNDARIES OF HIS KINGDOM UPTO THE DECCAN (PRESENT DAY MAHARASHTRA).


HIS GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO INDIA WAS THE MAGNIFICENT MASOLEUM , ‘TAJ MAHAL’, IN MEMORY OF HIS WIFE MUMTAZ MAHAL. HIS BEJEWELLED PEACOCK THRONE WAS ALSO A SOURCE OF GREAT ENVY.


SHAH JEHANS SON, AURANGZEB SUCCEEDED HIM AFTER IMPRISONING HIS FATHER  AND MURDERING HIS BROTHERS, INCLUDING DARA SHAIKOH THE ELDEST AND FAVOURED SON OF SHAH JEHAN.


AURANGZEB WAS A MUSLIM ZEALOT WHO RUTHLESSLY SUPPRESSED HIS HINDU SUBJECTS.   HE INTRODUCED THE MUCH HATED ‘JAZIYA’ TAX ON HIS HINDU SUBJECTS.THERE WAS MASS PROSELYTISATION. ALSO IN HIS LIFETIME ,HE ALIENATED MANY OF HIS HINDU NOBLES. HE FACED  MANY REBELLIONS IN HIS LIFETIME. THOUGH, TO HIS CREDIT HE WAS SEEN AS  A COMPETENT COMMANDER AND A VERY ABLE ADMINISTRATOR. HE WAS ALSO A MUSLIM PURITANT WHO NEVER TOUCHED ALCOHOL , WAS A REGULAR ‘NAMAAZI’ AND LEAD A VERY SIMPLE LIFESTYLE.


HE MET HIS MOST IRKSOME ENEMY IN DECCAN, IN THE FORM OF SHIVAJI, THE MARATHA KING. TO TACKLE SHIVAJI, AURANGZEB CAMPED HIS LATTER LIFE IN MAHARASHTRA .BUT SHIVAJI REMAINED ELUSIVE TO THE MUGHALS TILL HIS LAST BREATH. SHIVAJI’S SON SAMBHAJI CARRIED ON HIS FATHERS STRUGGLE AGAINST AURANGZEB, BUT WAS A VICTIM OF TREACHERY AND CAPTURED. AURANGZEB ASKED HIM TO CONVERT TO ISLAM. WHEN SAMBHAJI REFUSED, HE WAS SAID TO HAVE BEEN PUT TO DEATH  AFTER A VERY CRUEL TORTURE. THERE IS STILL A CITY IN MAHARASHTRA,AURANGABAD, NAMED AFTER AURANGZEB. AURANGZEB IS SAID TO HAVE BEGUN ITS CONSTRUCTION.


AFTER AURANGZEBS DEATH, THE MUGHAL EMPIRE WEAKENED. THOUGH THERE REMAINED MUGHAL EMPERORS IN DELHI TILL AS LATE AS THE NINETEENTH CENTURY , THEY WERE A DECIMATED LOT.


THE RAJPUTS, THE MARATHAS AND LATER THE BRITISH SUPERSEEDED THE POWER OF THE MUGHAL THRONE. 


THE MUGHAL LINEAGE:


                                                                           RULE / PERIOD


1.BABAR……………………………………………….(1526 – 1530 AD)


2.HUMAYUN………………………………………..(1530 – 1556 AD)


3.AKBAR……………………………………………….(1556 – 1605 AD)


4.JEHANGIR………………………………………….(1605 – 1627 AD)


5.SHAH JAHAN……………………………………..(1627 – 1658 AD)


6.AURANGZEB…………………………………….(1658 – 1707 AD)


AFTER AURANGZEB , THERE WAS A FALL FROM GRACE FOR THE MUGHALS AND THE LAST MUGHAL EMPEROR BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR(DIED 1862), WAS JUST A PUPPET IN THE BRITISH HANDS. 


BABAR


ZAHIRUDDIN MUHAMMAD BABUR OR’ BABAR’ IS ATTRIBUTED FOR LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF THE RULE OF A NEW DYNASTY ,THE MUGHALS, IN INDIA, IN 1526 AD.


BABAR WAS THE FIRST MUGHAL TO INVADE INDIA SOMETIME IN 1519.HE HAILED FROM A SMALL PRINCIPALITY CALLED FARGHANA IN BADAKSHAN (PRESENTLY, CUTTING BORDERS OF KYRGHISTHAN,TAJIKISTAN AND EASTERN UZBEKISTAN).HE IS SAID TO HAVE DESCENDED FROM THE LINEAGE OF THE GREAT CONQUERER , TIMUR OR TAMERLANE,THE FOUNDER  PATRIARCH OF THE TIMURID DYNASTY OF CENTRAL ASIA AND CHAGTAI KHAN THE SON OF GENGHIS KHAN.HOWEVER,  HIS FATHERS KINGDOM HAD BEEN REDUCED TO FARGHANA AFTER SUCCESIVE DEFEATS.HE SUCCEDED HIS FATHER,UMAR SHEIKH MIRZA AT THE TENDER AGE OF TWELVE.HE SPENT HIS EARLY LIFE AS A KING, THWARTING MOVES BY HIS RELATIVES TO DISLODGE HIM.


BABAR, WHO WAS ALWAYS FASCINATED BY THE CONQUESTS OF TIMUR, ATTACKED THE UZBEK CITY OF SAMARKAND IN 1494 AD, AND CAPTURED IT IN 1497,WHEN HE WAS JUST 17 YEARS OF AGE. BUT,JUST AS HE WAS ABOUT TO CONSOLIDATE HIS RULE IN SAMARKAND, HE HAD A REBELLION ARISING IN HIS HOME PROVINCE OF FARGHANA.HE HAD TO RETURN BACK.HE EVENTUALLY ENDED LOSING BOTH FARGHANA AND SAMARKAND.BABAR SOON FOUND HIMSELF THREATENED BY THE UZBEG CHIEF SHAIBANI KHAN WHOM HE HAD ENCOUNTERED IN SAMARKAND. BABAR SPENT HIS LIFE BETWEEN 1494 AND 1503 AS A FUGITIVE ON THE RUN.


MEANWHILE IN KABUL, A MINOR BOY WHO WAS MADE THE KING WAS DISPLACED BY HIS UNPOPULAR NOBLE , MUQUIM  THE ARGHUN. DESTINY BECKONED BABAR  TO INTERFERE. IN 1504 AD, BABAR MANAGED TO CROSS THE HINDUKUSH MOUNTAINS AND CAPTURE KABUL AND LATER KANDAHAR/GAZNI.


IN 1507 AD, BABAR ASSUMED THE TITLE OF PADISHAH OR EMPEROR IN PERSIAN  ( LATER FILTERED AS BADSHAH IN URDU).HE MADE MANY ATTEMPTS TO CAPTURE SAMARKAND, BUT FAILED MISERABLY. EVENTUALLY, BABAR WITH ASSISTANCE FROM THE PERSIAN KING ISMAIL, MANAGED TO CAPTURE SAMARKAND.BUT WAS ABLE TO RULE IT ONLY UNDER THE SUZAIRAINTY OF THE SHAH OF PERSIA. BABAR ALREADY HAD THE KINGDOM OF KABUL IN HIS ABSOLUTE CONTROL.


IN 1513, HE SHIFTED HIS FOCUS TOWARDS INDIA. BABAR HAD SINCE CHILDHOOD LEARNT OF IMMENSE RICHES OF INDIA, STORIES OF THE LOOT AMASSED IN THE RAIDS CONDUCTED BY HIS ANCESTOR TIMUR.


HE HAD AN ARMY OF UZBEKS,TAJIKS,AFGHANS AND TURKS RALLIED UNDER HIMSELF. BABAR LEARNT MANY MILITARY TACTICS DURING HIS CONQUESTS.HE LEARNT THE TULGHUMA* FROM THE UZBEKS,AMBUSCADE FROM THE MONGOLS,USE OF FIREARMS FROM THE AFHANS,USE OF THE ARTILLERY FROM THE PERSIANS AND EFFECTIVE USE OF CAVALRY FROM THE TURKS.THE SYNTHESIS OF THESE TACTICS , HELPED BABAR STAND IN GOOD STEAD IN THE SUBSEQUENT BATTLES  IN INDIA.


THERE WAS A REBELLION TAKING PLACE IN DELHI. MANY OF IBRAHIM LODHI’S COURTIERS WERE CONSPIRING AGAINST HIM, INCLUDING HIS OWN UNCLE ALAM KHAN LODHI.


SANGRAM SINGH A.K.A RANA SANGA , RULER OF MEWAR  WAS ALSO CONSPIRING TO ATTACK DELHI.


BABAR DECIDED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS SITUATION.


BABAR LED MANY RAIDS ON THE DELHI SULTANATE OF SULTAN IBRAHIM LODHI,BETWEEN 1519 AND 1526, ALONG WITH HIS  TURKISH  OFFICERS, USTAD ALI AND MUSTAFA.HE CAPTURED BAJAUR,BERAR,SIALKOT, AND SAYYIDPUR.HE PROCEEDED FURTHER TO CAPTURE LAHORE IN PUNJAB. THE AFGHAN GOVEROR OF PUNJAB , DAULAT KHAN LODHI HAD DISPLAYED A FLIP FLOP ATTITUDE TOWARDS BABAR. HENCE, BABAR DECIDED TO PUNISH DAULAT KHAN.HE CAPTURED THE PROVINCE OF PUNJAB, BUT LATER DECIDED TO REVERT HIS ATTENTION TO DELHI. SO HE PLACED PUNJAB UNDER THE CARE OF DILAWAR KHAN LODHI THE SON OF THE AFGHAN GOVERNOR , DAULAT KHAN LODHI. BUT DAULAT KHAN MANAGED TO RECAPTURE PUNJAB.


IN 1525, BABAR ATTACKED PUNJAB AGAIN, WITH A VIEW TO CONQUER IT. HE DEFEATED DAULAT KHAN LODHI. DAULAT KHAN WAS MADE A PRISONER AND SENT AWAY TO BHERA.  BUT HE DIED ON THE WAY.


ON 21ST APRIL 1526, BABAR MET THE AFHAN SULTAN,IBRAHIM LODHI’S ARMY AT THE BATTLEFIELD OF PANIPAT (IN PRESENT DAY HARYANA STATE).SOURCES SAY LODHIS ARMY HAD ALMOST A LAKH SOLDIERS AND A THOUSAND ELEPHANTS IN COMAPARISON TO BABARS TWELVE THOUSAND. BUT BABARS SUPERIOR MILITARY TACTICS AND A FAR BETTER ARTILLERY PROVED THE DECIDING FACTORS OF THE BATTLE OF PANIPAT. BABAR DEFEATED IBRAHIM LODHIS ARMY CONCLUSIVELY. IBRAHIM LODHI WAS KILLED IN THIS BATTLE.


LODHIS REBEL COURTIERS AND RANA SANGA WHO HAD SUPPORTED BABAR DURING THE BATTLE,WANTED BABAR TO LEAVE WITH DELHI’S RICHES. BUT BABAR HAD OTHER IDEAS. HE ESTABLISHED HIS RULE IN DELHI, MAKING IT THE CAPITAL OF HIS VAST KINGDOM.


AFTER CONSOLIDATING HIS RULE IN DELHI, HE DECIDED TO TRY HIS LUCK IN ITS BACKYARDS.THE NEIGHBOURING STATE WAS RAJPUTANA OR RAJASTHAN.


RAJPUTS ARE  WARRIOR CLANS BELONGING TO THE LAND OF RAJASTHAN.THE WORD ‘RAJPUT’ MEANS LITERALLY ‘THE SON OF THE KING’. RAJPUTS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR VALOUR.


BABAR MET WITH STIFF RESISTANCE IN THE FORM OF THE RAJPUTS .


THE RAJPUTS WERE LED BY RANA SANGHA.   RANA SANGHA WAS A VETERAN OF A HUNDRED BATTLES .HE HAD EARLIER TACITLY SUPPORTED BABAR AGAINST LODHI, HOPING THAT BABAR LIKE HIS PREDECESORS WOULD LOOT DELHI, WEAKEN IT AND TURN BACK, LEAVING DELHI OPEN AND VULNERABLE FOR A RAJPUT ATTACK. BUT BABAR PROVED RANA SANGHA WRONG. RANA SANGHA DECIDED TO TAKE ON BABAR.


THE RAJPUT ARMY WAS ALMOST TWICE THE SIZE OF BABAR’S ARMY.


BABAR’S ARMY WAS SCEPTICAL OF THEIR CHANCES AGAINST THE RAJPUTS. BUT BABAR MOTIVATED HIS ARMY IN THE NAME OF ISLAM. HE EVEN ANNOUNCED GIVING UP OF ALCOHOL UNTIL THE SUBMISSION OF THE RAJPUTS.


THUS BABARS  ARMY CAME FACE TO FACE WITH THE RANAS ARMY IN KHANUA.LUCK AGAIN SIDED WITH BABAR. RANA SANGA WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED IN THE BATTLE. HIS ARMY PANICKED IN ABSENSE OF A LEADERSHIP. BABAR THUS  SURRMOUNTED  THE RAJPUTS  IN THE BATTLE OF KHANUA IN 1527 AD.


BABAR, FURTHER DEFEATED MEDINI RAI A VASSAL OF RANA SANGA AT THE BATTLE OF CHANDERI IN 1528 AD.HE THUS GOT MALWA UNDER HIS CONTROL. MALWA OPENED THE TRADE ROUTES FOR BABAR TO THE WESTERN PARTS OF INDIA.


MAHMUD LODHI, THE NEPHEW OF IBRAHIM LODHI WAS PLOTTING A REVIVAL OF THE LODHIS TO THE DELHI THRONE. HE RALLIED THE AFGHANS UNDER HIM AND CHALLENGED BABAR IN BIHAR. HE WAS PROMISED HELP BY NUSRAT SHAH , THE AFGHAN RULER OF BENGAL. BUT BABAR WAS ON A WINNING SPREE. HE DEFEATED MAHMUD LODHI IN THE BATTLE OF GHAGRA IN 1529 AD. MAHMUD LODHI AGREED TO BABAR’S SUZERAINTY. SO DID NUSRAT SHAH.


BABAR HAD BY NOW CAPTURED MOST OF NORTH INDIA.


BABAR WAS 50 YEAR OLD, WHEN HE TOOK SERIOUSLY ILL.                                THERE IS A STORY THAT HUMAYUN, THE SON OF BABAR HAD TAKEN ILL. THAT’S WHEN BABAR PRAYED TO ALLAH TO EXCHANGE HIS LIFE FOR HUMAYUNS. BUT MANY HISTORIANS HAVE REFUTED THIS STORY AS APOCRYPHAL.


THEY HAVE CONCLUDED THAT BABAR TOOK ILL ALMOST SIX MONTHS AFTER HUMAYUNS ILLNESS AND THAT BABARS LONG TIRING LIFESTYLE AND HIS ADDICTION TO LIQUOR AND OPIUM TOOK ITS TOLL ON HIM.


BABAR DIED ON 26 TH DECEMBER 1530 AD, AFTER NOMINATING HIS SON HUMAYUN TO THE DELHI THRONE. HE WAS BURIED AT ARAM BAGH IN AGRA, BUT LATER REBURIED IN KABUL AS PER BABARS LAST WISHES.


BABARS CHARACTER HAS BEEN PRAISED BY MANY MUSLIM HISTORIANS. HE IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN A GOOD SON, AN AFFECTIONATE FATHER, A CARING RELATIVE AND A VERY GOOD FRIEND.HE WAS BRAVE AND CHIVALROUS. BABAR HAD A VERY STRONG PHYSIQUE AND COULD RUN ON A RAMPART HOLDING TWO ADULTS. HE SWAM ACROSS ALL RIVERS OF INDIA, THAT HE ENCOUNTERED. HE WAS CONSIDERED A GREAT SWORDSMAN AND HORSERIDER.


BABAR IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN A GOOD DIPLOMAT, BUT WAS A LAISSEZ FAIRE ADMINISTRATOR. HE LEFT THE DAY TO DAY AFFAIRS OF HIS KINGDOM TO HIS OFFICERS. MOREOVER, NO ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS WERE INTRODUCED BY BABAR, AND HE JUST CONTINUED WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE STYLE OF THE AFGHANS.


ALSO, HIS KINGDOM WAS ALWAYS SHORT OF FINANCES DUE TO HIS CONSTANT WAR CAMPAIGNS. HE LAVISHED MUCH OF HIS CAPTURED LANDS AND WEALTH AMONGST HIS SATRAPS AND COURTIERS.BUT THIS MUNIFIECENCE RENDERD HIM IN FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES VERY OFTEN. HIS SON, HUMAYUN HAD TO LATER FACE THE BRUNT OF BABARS FISCAL INDISCIPLINE.


PERSIAN CULTURE AND CUSTOMS WERE SAID TO HAVE LEFT AN INDELIBLE MARK ON BABAR.LATER, HE INTRODUCED THIS CULTURE IN INDIA IN A BIG WAY.


HE CONSTRUCTED  PERSIAN GARDENS, MONUMENTS, STATUES, FOUNTAINS , AND  BUILDINGS REFLECTING THE TURKO PERSIAN CULTURE AND ARCHITECTURE.


BABAR WAS VERY SCHOLARLY. HE IS CREDITED TO HAVE PENNED SEVERAL POEMS IN PERSIAN AND CHAGTAI TURKISH. HE WROTE  BOOKS , THE ‘MUBAYYIN’ AND ‘KHAT- E- BABURI’, INDICATING  THE MUSLIM LAW. HE TRANSLATED A FAMOUS WORK ‘RISALA- I- WALIDA’ IN TURKI.


HIS MEMOIRS THE’ BABURNAMA’ IS CONSIDERED A GREAT WORK BY MANY HISTORIANS. IN BABURNAMA, BABAR HAS WRITTEN ABOUT HIS STAY IN INDIA. ITS WEALTH, ITS ARTISANS, ITS CLIMATE.IN THE BOOK, HE HAS ALSO MADE MANY DISPARAGING REMARKS AGAINST INDIA AND ITS INHABITANTS .              BUT THAT CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE FACT THAT HE VIEWED INDIA FROM THE EYES OF THE CONQUEROR.


MOREOVER, HE HAD’NT STAYED IN INDIA LONG ENOUGH TO STUDY ALL ITS REGIONS AND PEOPLE. HIS VIEW WAS MORE MYOPIC AND PERSPECTIVE WAS THAT OF A FOREIGNER.


BABAR WAS A SUNNI MUSLIM, BUT WAS SAID TO BE VERY LENIENT TOWARDS THE SHIAS.THATS EVIDENT FROM HIS CLOSENESS TO THE SHAH OF PERSIA , WHO WAS A SHIA. BABAR HAD ALSO WILLINGLY ACCEPTED SHIA PERSIANS SUZAIRAINTY OVER SAMARKAND.


BABAR WAS NOT A BIGOT , BUT WAS VERY SEVERE ON NON MUSLIMS AS WAS PREVALENT WITH THE ISLAMIC INVADERS THEN, WHO EYED ALL NON MUSLIMS (KAFIRS/INFIDELS/PAGANS ) AS PRIORITISED ENEMIES, WHO HAVE TO BE CONVERTED TO THE FOLD. HE HAD PROUDLY ASSUMED THE TITLE OF GAZI (SLAYER OF THE INFIDELS), AFTER MERCILESSLY SLAYING THOUSANDS OF RAJPUTS DURING HIS CAMPAIGNS. HE DESTROYED A TEMPLE IN AYODHYA (UTTAR PRADESH), REVERED AS THE BIRTHPLACE OF LORD RAMA BY HINDUS, AND CONSTRUCTED A MOSQUE OVER IT.THIS IS STILL AN POLITICAL AND PROPREITARY DISPUTE BETWEEN THE HINDUS AND MUSLIMS OF MODERN INDIA. .


* tulghuma : artillery is arrayed at the front, and behind them are the mounted troops/ cavalry, divided into center, right wing and left wing,flanking parties on the extreme right and left of the main line. The commander takes his stand in the center.


 


Reference: Indian History by L.Prasad, A History of India by Percival Spear.


 


Reference: Indian History by L.Prasad, A History of India by Percival Spear.


HUMAYUN


NASIRUDDIN MUHAMMED HUMAYUN WAS BORN IN KABUL ON 6 MARCH 1508 AD. HE WAS THE SON OF BABAR AND BEGUM MAHIM SULTANA. HIS YOUNGER BROTHERS, KAMRAN AND ASKARI WERE BORN OF ANOTHER WIFE OF BABAR, GULRUKH BEGUM, WHILE HINDAL THE YOUNGEST ONE WAS THE SON OF DILDAR BEGUM.


HUMAYUN WAS WELL EDUCATED, ERUDITE AND TRAINED IN WARFARE.  HUMAYUN  HAD EVEN PARTICIPATED IN THE BATTLES OF PANIPAT AND KHANUA, ALONGSIDE HIS FATHER. HE ALSO HELPED IN LOOKING AFTER THE ADMINISTRATION OF HISAR FIRUZA , BADAKSHAN AND SAMBHAL DURING THE LIFETIME OF BABAR. BABAR REALLY DOTED ON HIS SON, AND BABAR NOMINATED HIM  HIS SUCCESOR BEFORE HIS DEATH .


BUT AS WAS TYPICAL OF COURT POLITICS, AFTER BABARS DEATH, HIS WAZIR , NIZAMUDDIN, TRIED TO NOMINATE BABARS BROTHER IN LAW, MAHDI KHWAJA TO THE THRONE. BUT POPULAR SUPPORT FOR HUMAYUN, FORCED THE WAZIR TO TAKE BACK HIS NOMINATION.


THUS HUMAYUN ASCENDED THE THRONE ON 30,DECEMBER,1530, FOUR DAYS AFTER BABARS DEATH.


PARTLY DUE TO HS GENEROUS NATURE AND PARTLY TO AVOID  ANY FRICTION WITH HIS BROTHERS, HUMAYUN GAVE AWAY LARGE PARTS OF HIS TERRITORY TO HIS BROTHERS. KAMRAN GOT KABUL AND KANDHAR, ASKARI GOT SAMBHAL AND HINDAAL GOT MEWAT.


ONLY AFTER A FEW MONTHS AFTER HIS ACCESSION, HUMAYUN EMBARKED ON HIS FIRST INVASION. PRATAPRUDRA DEO, THE RULER OF KALINJOR WAS SAID TO BE SYMPATHETIC TO THE AFGHANS, WHO WERE THE OLD FOES OF THE MUGHALS. HUMAYUN LAID SEIGE ON KALINJOR IN 1531 AD. BUT BEFORE HUMAYUN COULD ESTABLISH HIS GRIP ON KALINJOR, THE AFGHANS UNDER SHER SHAH SURI ATTACKED THE FORT OF CHUNAR. MAHMUD LODHI, NEPHEW OF IBRAHIM LODHI, BABARS OLD ENEMY WAS ALSO APPROACHING JAUNPUR. SEEING HIS TERRITORIES IN TROUBLE, HUMAYUN MADE A HASTY COMPROMISE WITH PRATAPRUDRA , AND AFTER RECOVERING SOME COMPENSATION FOR HIS WAR EXPENSES, HE PROCEEDED TO COUNTER THE AFGHANS. HUMAYUN  VERY CONVINCINGLY SUBDUED THE AFGHANS UNDER MAHMUD LODHI, FORCING LODHI TO FLEE FROM THE BATTLEFIELD OF DAUHARIA.              HUMAYUN THEN  TRIED TO CAPTURE FORT CHUNAR ( WHICH WAS BY NOW UNDER SHER SHAH SURI ).HE LAID SEIGE FOR ALMOST FOUR MONTHS, BUT WAS UNSUCCESFULL AGAINST THE WILY AFGHAN.                                                                                                                                                           MEANWHILE , ANOTHER AFGHAN RULER, BAHADUR SHAH OF GUJRAT WAS MAKING ATTEMPTS TO INVADE RAJASTHAN. WHEN HUMAYUN HEARD THIS, HE WAS FORCED TO MAKE A TREATY WITH SHER SHAH SURI, WHERE,SHER SHAH WOULD KEEP CHUNAR BUT DESIST FROM ATTACKING OTHER MUGHAL TERRITORIES. IN RETURN HUMAYUN WILL WITHDRAW HIS TROOPS FROM CHUNAR . THUS BUYING PEACE WITH SHER SHAH SURI, HUMAYUN RETURNED TO AGRA.


ALL THE WHILE, BAHADUR SHAH WAS MAINTAINING CONTACTS WITH BOTH SHER SHAH SURI AND NUSRAT SHAH OF BENGAL. BAHADUR SHAH HAD STRENTHENED HIS TROOPS, AND BUILT A STRONG ARTILLERY UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF RUMI KHAN , A TURKISH GUNNER. HE WENT ON TO CAPTURE MALWA IN 1531 AND RAISEN IN 1532. BAHADUR SHAH THEN MOVED TO ATTACK CHITTOR, IN RAJASTHAN.


HUMAYUN WAS MEANWHILE GETTING ANXIOUS TO SETTLE SCORES WITH BAHADUR SHAH. HE FIRST  CAPTURED MALWA. WHILE BAHADUR SHAH WAS LOOTING CHITTOR, HUMAYUN WAS MOVING TOWARDS MANDSOR NEAR CHITTOR. HUMAYUN CONSOLIDATED HIS POSITION IN MANDSOR, CIRCLING IT  SURREPTIOUSLY. WHEN BAHADUR SHAH NEARED MANDSOR IN ORDER TO CHECK HUMAYUN, HUMAYUNS FORCES CUT OFF ALL HIS SUPPLY ROUTES.


CORNERED, BAHADUR SHAH’S ARMY LOST THEIR MORALE AND SURRENDERED. BAHADUR SHAH HIMSELF MANAGED TO SNEAK OUT, BUT WAS CHASED BY HUMAYUN AND HIS FORCES UPTO CAMBAY. BUT HUMAYUN THEN LEFT THE TASK OF PURSUING BAHADUR SHAH TO HIS GENERALS, AND MIDWAY TURNED TO CAPTURE ANOTHER FORT OF CHAMPANER.             SOON ENTIRE MALWA AND GUJRAT WERE UNDER HUMAYUN.


HUMAYUN APPOINTED HIS BROTHER ASKARI AS THE GOVERNOR OF GUJRAT AND LEFT FOR MANDU IN MALWA TO MANAGE ITS AFFAIRS. BUT, ASKARI WASN’T ABLE TO HANDLE GUJRAT FOR LONG. IN A YEARS TIME , BAHADUR SHAH’S TRUSTED LIEUTNENT , IMAD UL MULK , STIRRED A REVOLT AGAINST ASKARI. BAHADUR SHAH WHO HAD ESCAPED HUMAYUNS CLUTCHES, RALLIED HIS FORCES AND ATTACKED GUJRAT AGAIN, FORCING ASKARI TO FLEE TO CHAMPANER. BUT TARDI BEG, WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THE FORT OF CHAMPANER, REFUSED HIM ENTRY AS HE WAS’NT ON GOOD TERMS WITH ASKARI. ASKARI THEN HAD TO LEAVE FORAGRA. BAHADUR SHAH THEN ATTACKED CHAMPANER FORCING TARDI BEG TO FLEE FROM THERE. BAHADUR SHAH THUS WON BACK GUJRAT. TARDI BEG THEN FLED TO MANDU AND MET HUMAYUN WHO WAS LOST IN CELEBRATING  HIS VICTORIES, OBLIVIOUS OF WHAT WAS BREWING BEHIND HIS BACK. TARDI’S INTERACTION WITH HUMAYUN LED HUMAYUN TO BELIEVE THAT ASKARI WASN’T TO BE TRUSTED AND MAY EVEN CHALLENGE HUMAYUNS CONTROL OVER AGRA.  HUMAYUN, HURRIEDLY LEFT FOR AGRA, ONLY LEAVING MALWA TO BE CAPTURED BY BAHADUR SHAH . BUT AFTER HE MET ASKARI , HUMAYUN REALISED HOW WRONG HE WAS. BOTH THE BROTHERS RECONCILED.BUT WITHIN A YEARS TIME THE MUGHALS HAD WON AND LOST BOTH GUJRAT AND MALWA.


WHILE HUMAYUN WAS BUSY FIGHTING BAHADUR SHAH,  SHER KHAN WAS CONSOLIDATING HIS POSITION IN BIHAR. SHER SHAH SURI ALREADY BEING  THE MASTER OF THE STRONG FORT OF CHUNAR ,  MOST OF THE AFGHAN NOBLES GATHERED UNDER HIM. NUSRAT SHAH , RULER OF BENGAL HAD DIED. HIS SUCCESOR MAHMUD SHAH WAS INCOMPETENT. SHER SHAH SURI SEIZING THIS OPPURTUNITY CAPTURED AND ANNEXED BENGAL.


THIS WAS WHEN, HUMAYUN REALISING THE GROWING CLOUT OF SHER SHAH SURI, DECIDED TO CUT HIM DOWN TO SIZE. HE ATTACKED FORT CHUNAR AND CAPTURED IT IN SIX MONTHS TIME. THEN HE PROCEEDED TO BENGAL AND CAPTURED IT. BUT, AGAIN, HUMAYUN WASTED VALUABLE TIME IN BENGAL. HIS PROCASTINATION PROVED VERY COSTLY FOR HUMAYUN. SHER SHAH SURI, USED THAT PERIOD TO REORGANISE AND THEN CAPTURED BENARAS, KARA AND SAMBHAL. MEANWHILE, HUMAYUNS BROTHER, HINDAL DECLARED HIMSELF EMPEROR AT AGRA. HUMAYUN  HAD TO LEAVE BENGAL TO TACKLE HINDAL. AGAIN, SHER SHAH SURI STEPPED INTO THE BENGAL SHOES. MEANWHILE, SEEING HUMAYUN’S HUGE ARMY ,HINDAL SURRENDERED TO HUMAYUN .


THEN HUMAYUN TURNED TO FACE SHER SHAH SURI AGAIN.THEY MET AT KANNAUJ.  THE BATTLE OF BILGRAM, KANAUJ ,  1540 AD, PROVED DECISIVE.   THIS TIME AROUND , SHER SHAH SURIS , MILITARY  SKILLS PROVED BETTER THAN HUMAYUN’S. SHER SHAH SURI ROUTED THE MUGHALS . HIS RAMPAGING FORCES, FORCED HUMAYUN TO FLEE. SHER SHAH SURI CAPTURED AGRA AND THEN DELHI, THE CAPITAL OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE.


HUMAYUN WAS TO BE IN EXILE FOR THE NEXT FIFTEEN YEARS. HE WAS GIVEN PROTECTION BY KING VIRSALA, RULER OF AMARKOT. THAT’S WHERE HE GOT MARRIED TO HAMIDA BANU. A YEAR LATER, HIS SON , AKBAR WAS BORN. BY NOW, RESIGNED TO FATE AND FOR THE SAFETY OF HIS FAMILY, HUMAYUN LEFT FOR LAHORE, ONLY TO FIND HIS BROTHER KAMRAN ( WHO WAS DISILLUSIONED WITH HUMAYUNS LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES HAD WANTED HIS OWN KINGDOM ) HAD DECLARED HIMSELF THE KING OF AFGHANISTAN WITH HELP FROM ASKARI WHO HAD ALLIED WITH KAMRAN, HIM BEING HIS NATURAL BROTHER. KAMRAN REFUSED TO ENTERTAIN HUMAYUN. BUT ASKARI AGREED TO LOOK AFTER HUMAYUN’S SON AKBAR IF HUMAYUN LEFT LAHORE. HUMAYUN THEN WENT TO TAHMASH, THE SHAH OF PERSIA AND SOUGHT ASYLUM WHICH WAS GRANTED. SHORTLY, WITH TAHMASH SHAHS HELP,HE RECAPTURED AFGHANISTAN FROM KAMRAN. TYPICAL OF HIS NATURE HE FORGAVE HIS STEP BROTHERS, KAMRAN AND ASKARI, BUT EXILED THEM TO MECCA.


IN SHER SHAH SURIS LIFETIME, DELHI SEEMED LIKE A DISTANT DREAM TO HUMAYUN. SHER SHAH SURI WAS A BRILLIANT GENERAL ( AND AN EVEN LEGENDARY ADMINISTRATOR, AS EVIDENT FROM HIS RULE OVER DELHI ). HE GAVE NO OPPORTUNITY TO HUMAYUN, TO EVER ATTACK HIM AGAIN.


BUT AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT , SHER SHAH WAS KILLED IN A FREAK ACCIDENT, GIVING AN ANTI CLIMAX TO THIS GREAT RULERS LIFE.


SHER SHAH SURI WAS SUCCEEDED BY HIS SON ISLAM SHAH, WHO ALSO PROVED TO BE A FORMIDABLE ADVERSARY FOR HUMAYUN. ONLY WHEN ISLAM SHAH DIED, THAT IS IN 1553 AD, HUMAYUN SENSED AN OPPURTUNITY. WITH A LOT OF DETERMINATION , HE RETURNED TO DELHI AND AFTER A FIERCE BATTLE AT SARHIND,1955, HUMAYUN DEFEATED THE AFGHANS AND RECOVERED HIS LOST CAPITAL. AT LAST,HUMAYUN WAS ABLE TO MARCH  VICTORIOUS THROUGH THE STREETS OF DELHI.


WHAT HUMAYUN GAINED BY HIS BRILLIANCE, HE LOST BY HIS INDOLENCE  BUT THE RECAPTURING OF DELHI  WAS INDICATIVE OF HUMAYUNS RESILIENCE AND TENACITY.


HUMAYUN WAS NOT ABLE TO RULE DELHI FOR LONG. HUMAYUN FELL DOWN THE STAIRS OF HIS LIBRARY AT DIN PANAH , FRACTURING HIS SKULL. HE DIED IN TWO DAYS TIME, ON 26TH JANUARY 1556 AD.


SUCH WAS HUMAYUN’S SWINGING DESTINY, HE WAS NEVER TO HOLD SOUND GROUND EVER. AND AS LANEPOOLE HAS REMARKED, “ HUMAYUN TUMBLED THROUGH LIFE AND TUMBLED OUT OF IT ”.


 



 
AKBAR


JALALUDDIN MUHAMMED AKBAR WAS BORN ON 15TH OCTOBER, AD. 1542, IN THE PALACE OF RAJA VIRSAL OF AMARKOT. VIRSAL WAS A FRIEND OF HIS FATHER HUMAYUN, AND HAD GIVEN THEM REFUGE, AFTER, THEY WERE BEING HOUNDED BY SHER SHAH SURIS HORDES.


AKBAR WAS A PRECOCIOUS CHILD , WITH AN KEEN INTELLECT. THOUGH HE WAS VERY LESS INCLINED TO THE LITERARY EDUCATION PROVIDED BY HIS FATHER , HE COMPENSATED WITH HIS INTEREST IN THE MARTIAL ARTS, AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES LIKE HORSERIDING,   HUNTING  ETC. HE ALSO HONED ARTISAN SKILLS IN CARPENTARY AND WAS A  BLACKSMITH , A PAINTER AND A ANIMAL TRAINER . BUT, AKBARS LITERARY SKILLS WERE TO REMAIN LIMITED FOR LIFE, TO SAY THE LEAST.


WHILE HUMAYUN WAS AWAY, BATTLING THE AFGHANS UNDER SIKANDAR SHAH, AKBAR, UNDER THE GUARDIANSHIP OF BAIRAM KHAN , WAS LEARNING TO MANAGE THE AFFAIRS OF GHAZNI AND LAHORE.


WHEN HUMAYUN DIED IN A ACCIDENT IN DELHI , AKBAR WAS JUST FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE. BAIRAM KHAN, A PERSIAN LOYALIST OF HUMAYUN, IMMEDIATELY INSTALLED AKBAR TO THE MUGHAL THRONE IN AD. 1556.     BAIRAM KHAN WAS MADE THE VAZIR AND GIVEN THE TITLE OF ‘KHAN-I-KHANA’.


AKBAR, THEN WAS SAID TO BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF BAIRAM KHAN ON ONE END AND ON THE OTHER END, IN THE INFLUENCE OF HIS KITCHEN CABINET OF HIS MOTHER HAMIDA BANU , HIS CHIEF NURSE MAHAM ANGA AND WET NURSE JIJI ANGA.


JIJI ANGA’S HUSBAND SHAMSUDDIN ATGA KHAN, WAS AKBARS MOST TRUSTED GENERAL. AFTER HUMAYUN, AKBAR UNDER THE ABLE GUIDANCE OF BAIRAM KHAN CONSOLIDATED THE MUGHAL EMPIRE. AFTER, HUMAYUN’S DEATH , THERE WERE MANY ASPIRANTS TO THE DELHI THRONE. ONE OF THEM WAS SULTAN MUHAMMED ADIL SHAH AKA MUBARIZ KHAN ,WHO HAD USURPED  THE SURI THRONE AFTER MURDERING HIS NEPHEW FIROZ SHAH, THE SON OF SIKANDAR SHAH. WHILE AKBAR WAS CAMPING  IN PUNJAB, ADIL SHAH’S HINDU MINISTER HEMU HAD JUST CAPTURED AGRA AND WAS PROCEEDING TOWARDS DELHI. AKBAR , BAIRAM KHAN AND THE MUGHAL FORCES APPROACHED  DELHI TO ENCOUNTER HEMU.   A BATTLE ENSUED (AD. 1556), IN WHICH HEMU WAS INJURED IN THE EYE BY AN STRAY ARROW. HEMU FELL DOWN UNCONSCIOUS. HEMU’S ARMY PANICKED AND SURRENDERED TO AKBAR. THE UNCONSCIOUS HEMU WAS TAKEN BEFORE AKBAR. BAIRAM KHAN THEN URGED AKBAR TO KILL HEMU AND ASSUME THE TITLE OF GAZI, THE SLAYER OF THE INFIDELS.THE YOUNG AKBAR RELIGIOUSLY OBEYED BAIRAM KHAN AND STRUCK DOWN HEMU.


AKBAR WAS NOW GROWING UP INTO MANHOOD, AND WAS FAST FINDING BAIRAM KHAN MORE AND MORE DOMINATING AND INTERFERING. AKBAR FELT THAT HIS AUTHORITY WAS BEING UNDERMINED BY BAIRAM KHAN, WHO WAS EVEN CONTROLLING AKBAR’S PERSONAL FINANCES.   ALSO, INSTIGATING AKBAR WERE LOT OF JEALOUS COURTIERS WHO RESENTED BAIRAM KHANS PROMINENCE IN THE MUGHAL COURT. MUGHALS WERE SUNNI MUSLIMS WHEREAS  BAIRAM KHAN WAS A SHIA.  ALSO CONSPIRING AGAINST BAIRAM KHAN WERE MEMBERS OF AKBAR’S KITCHEN CABINET. MAINLY HIS NURSE MAHAM ANGA, AND HER WAYWARD SON ADHAM KHAN. WITH TIME MATTERS  BETWEEN AKBAR AND BAIRAM GREW WORSE,  THAT’S WHEN AKBAR ORDERED FOR BAIRAM KHANS DISMISSAL. BAIRAM KHAN OBEYED AKBAR AND EXPRESSED DESIRE TO PROCEED ON A PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA. AKBAR PAID FOR HIS EXPENSES AND PACKED OFF BAIRAM KHAN TO HIS JOURNEY. BUT BAIRAM KHAN, NEVER REACHED MECCA. HE WAS ASSASINATED ON THE WAY BY ONE OF HIS OLD ENEMIES.   MEANWHILE,  ADHAM KHAN, SON OF MAHAM ANGA WAS BECOMING VERY OVERBEARING . THERE WERE INSTANCES OF HIS BARBARITY AND DISHONESTY WHICH AKBAR HAD EARLIER FORGIVEN. BUT WHEN IN A PALACE INTRIGUE ,ADHAM KHAN MURDERED AKBARS FAVOURITE GENERAL ATGA KHAN , AKBAR WAS FURIOUS . HE ORDERED ADHAM KHAN TO BE THROWN DOWN  FROM THE PALACE RAMPART . HIS MOTHER, MAHAM ANGA TOO DIED IN GRIEF WITHIN A YEAR.  AKBAR WAS BY NOW FREE OF THE KITCHEN CABINET AND WAS A COMPLETE AUTHORITY IN HIS OWN RIGHT.


MUGHALS, HAD ALREADY SURRMOUNTED MALWA BY AD. 1562, DEFEATING ITS RULER  BAZ BAHADUR . AKBARS  OTHER CONQUESTS HAD BEEN CHUNAR AND THEN JAUNPUR IN UTTAR PRADESH. AKBAR THEN ATTACKED GONDWANA IN 1564. ITS REGENTS , DURGAVATI AND HER SON VIR NARAYAN, DIED FIGHTING IN THE BATTLEFIELD. GONDWANA WAS ANNEXED TO THE MUGHAL EMPIRE. NOW, AKBAR DECIDED TO TAKE ON THE MIGHT OF THE RAJPUTS. HE SENT HIS EMISSARIES TO VARIOUS RAJPUT PRINCES, ASKING THEM TO ACCEPT HIS SUZERAINTY. HE KNEW OF THE RAJPUT VALOUR, SO HE INITIALLY DECIDED ON DIPLOMATIC AND SUBTLE MEANS TO SUBDUE THEM.   HE TACTFULLY, ENTERED INTO MARRIAGE ALLIANCES WITH MANY.THE RULER OF AMER (JAIPUR), RAJA BHARMAL WEDDED HIS DAUGHTER TO AKBAR AND SET THE PRECEDENT. AKBAR INDUCTED HIS SON BHAGWANDAS AND GRANDSON MAN SINGH IN HIS HIGH RANKING COURTIERS .  


THE RULER  OF MEWAR, MAHARANA UDAY SINGH OF THE SISODIYA CLAN (DESCENDENT OF RANA SANGHA),  REFUSED THE OFFER OF AKBAR.  AKBAR DECIDED TO PUNISH THE RANA. HE ATTACKED MEWAR, AND ANNEXED HALF OF THE KINGDOM. UDAY SINGH OFFERED A BRAVE RESISTANCE , HOLDING ON TO THE OTHER HALF OF HIS KINGDOM, TILL HIS DEATH.  UDAY SINGHS SON, THE LEGENDARY MAHARANA PRATAP SINGH TOO REFUSED TO DO AS PER AKBARS BIDDING AND CONTINUED HIS FAMED RESISTANCE. AKBAR MET RANA PRATAP AT THE FAMOUS BATTLE OF HALDIGHATI ( COMPARED TO THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE) IN AD 1576.  THE RAJPUTS FOUGHT VALLIANTLY BUT WERE OUTNUMBERED. RANA PRATAP ESCAPED TO THE ADJOINING JUNGLES AND CONTINUED HIS STRUGGLE FROM THERE, HE WAGED A GUERILLA BATTLE WITH AKBAR UNTIL HIS DEATH IN AD.1597. HIS SON, AMAR SINGH WAS TO WIN BACK THE FORT OF CHITTOR FROM THE MUGHALS. SOON, BARRING THE PART OF MEWAR , KALINJAR AND RANTHAMBOR, WERE ANNEXED TO  THE MUGHAL EMPIRE.                                                                                                      THE RULERS  OF MARWAR,JODHPUR,BIKANER,JAISALMER AND BUNDI, GRADUALLY SUBMITTED TO AKBAR. BY AD 1570, THE ENTIRE RAJPUT INDEPENDENCE WAS CEDED TO THE MUGHALS.    THIS WAS A GRAND SUCCESS FOR AKBAR, WHO BECAME THE FIRST PERSON IN THE MUGHAL HISTORY TO SUBDUE THE RAJPUTS IN THEIR ENTIRETY.  


SOON,  GUJRAT , BIHAR, BENGAL FELL TO AKBAR. HAVING UPPER HALF OF INDIA IN HIS CONTROL, AKBAR TURNED NORTHWARDS. HIS COUSIN MIRZA MUHAMMED HAKIM, OF KABUL  WAS THREATENING AKBAR. AKBAR SENT HIS RAJPUT GENERAL MAN SINGH, TO ATTACK KABUL .MAN SINGH CAPTURED KABUL IN AD 1581.ALSO, KANDAHAR WAS PEACEFULLY SURRENDERED TO THE MUGHALS BY ITS ERSTWHILE GOVERNOR, WHO HAD CHANGED LOYALTIES.  KASHMIR FOLLOWEDIN 1586 , AND THEN SIND IN 1591 . ORISSA WHICH WAS A SUBSIDIARY OF THE MUGHAL KINGDOM, REBELLED, BUT ONLY TO BE ANNEXED IN 1592. WITH BALOCHISTAN IN 1595, AKBAR COMPLETED HIS NORTH CAMPAIGN.


BY AD 1600, THE DECCAN / CENTRAL RULERS OF BERAR, BURHANPUR(MADHYA PRADESH), KHANDESH, AHMEDNAGAR (MAHARASHTRA) , GOLCONDA  AND BIJAPUR( KARNATAKA) TOO WERE OVERPOWERED BY THE MUGHALS.


AKBAR, WAS NOW THE UNDISPUTED RULER OF ALMOST THE ENTIRE INDIAN SUB CONTINENT.THIS WAS THE BIGGEST EVER EXPANSION OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE SINCE THE ADVENT OF HIS GRANDFATHER BABAR.


THE PERIOD OF AKBAR CAN BE CONSIDERED AS THE GOLDEN ERA OF THE MUGHALS. AKBAR NOT ONLY EXPANDED THE BOUNDARIES OF HIS EMPIRE, BUT ALSO CONSOLIDATED IT.


AKBAR PROVIDED AN EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION TO HIS SUBJECTS. HIS ADMINISTRATION WAS NOT INNOVATIVE BUT DERIVED FROM THE BEST PRACTICES OF THE AFGHANS AND THE RAJPUTS.     AKBAR DIVIDED HIS EMPIRE INTO 12 PROVINCES  (SUBAHS) AND APPOINTED A SUBEDAR TO ADMINISTER EACH SUBAH. EACH SUBAH WAS FURTHER DIVIDED INTO ‘SARKARS’ AND SUBDIVIDED INTO  ’PARGANAS.’MOREOVER TO OVERALL SUPERVISE  THE  SUBAHS, WERE HIS CHIEF COURTIERS : THE WAZIR (PRIME MINISTER),  THE QAZI (CHIEF JUSTICE),    MIR BAKSHI  ( PAYMASTER GENERAL),  THE MUHTASIB (HEALTH MINISTER),   THE KHAN-I- SAMAN (SECURITY INCHARGE),   THE DAROGA –I-TOPKHANA ( CHIEF OF ARTILLERY) AND THE    DAROGA-I-DAK CHAUKI (CHIEF OF INTELLIGENCE).


AKBARS HAREM WAS SAID TO HAVE 5000 WOMEN COMPRISING OF HIS MANY WIVES AND CONCUBINES. HIS SUCCESOR  JEHANGIR WAS THE SON OF HIRA KUMARI OR HARKHA BAI , DAUGHTER OF RAJA BHARMAL OF AMER.


AKBAR WAS AN IMPERIALIST, BUT ALSO A BENEVOLENT AND NON PARTISAN RULER.HE  LIKE HIS PREDECESSORS , MAY HAVE DESTROYED HINDU TEMPLES DURING WAR , BUT WAS NEVER OVERZEALOUS AND BIGOTED DURING PEACETIME. AKBAR ALLOWED HIS HINDU QUEENS TO PRACTICE THEIR OWN RELIGION, WITHIN THE PALACE PRECINCT. IN FACT HE USED TO PARTICIPATE IN SOME HINDU FESTIVALS LIKE DEEWALI (THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS) AND HOLI (THE FESTIVAL OF COLOURS). HIS FINANCE MINISTER WAS A HINDU ,TODAR MAL, FAMED FOR HIS EFFICIENCY. AKBAR REPEALED THE HATED JAZIYA TAX AND YATRA TAX (PILGRIMAGE TAX) ON HIS HINDU SUBJECTS (BUT , JAZIYA TAX, WHICH WAS EXEMPTED FOR THE MUSLIMS, WAS USED AS A TOOL TO CONVERT HINDUS TO ISLAM, AND IT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY REINTRODUCED BY AKBAR A FEW YEARS LATER\


akbar , he repealed the jaziya tax in 1562, reintroduced it in 1575, only to repeal it again in 1680.


the jaziya tax was mostly a burden for the poor.  on their inability to pay the tax, the poor hindus faced execution but if they converted to islam their life was spared.therefore this tax was very much hated by the hindus.


). AKBAR WAS FOND OF RELIGIOUS  DISCOURSES. FOR THE SAME HE INVITED RELIGIOUS LEADERS FROM ALL COMMUNITIES INCLUDING JESUITS FROM EUROPE. EVENTUALLY, AKBAR STARTED HIS OWN RELIGION THE ‘DIN ILAHI’, (WHICH DIED ALONG WITH AKBAR).


AKBAR WAS ALSO A GREAT PATRON OF ARTS. HE HAD GATHERED IN HIS KINGDOM THE        NAV RATNAS ( NINE GEMS), EXPONENTS OF VARIOUS ARTS FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE  FIELDS.TANSEN THE EXPONENT OF CLASSICAL HINDUSTANI MUSIC , BIRBAL THE WISE ADVISER, FIAZI THE COURT POET , ABU FAZAL AUTHOR OF THE BIOGRAPHY AKBARNAMA, WERE AMONGST THEM.


AFTER HIS CONQUEST OF CHITTOR ,AKBAR CONSTRUCTED THE FAMED CITY OF FATEHPUR SIKRI ( CITY OF VICTORY). BUT IT WAS SOON ABANDONED DUE TO WATER PROBLEMS.


AS DESCRIBED BY HIS SON JEHANGIR, AKBAR WAS PHYSICALLY VERY STRONG, OF MEDIUM HEIGHT, YELLOW WHEATISH COMPLEXION, WITH LONG ARMS AND A BROAD CHEST.HE HAD A LOUD VOICE AND WAS VERY WITTY AND ANIMATED IN DISCOURSES. HE IS SAID TO HAVE A PRODIGIOUS MEMORY. HE WAS BRAVE AND ADVENTUROUS.   HE IS SAID TO HAVE MADE AN ROGUE ELEPHANT KNEEL AT HIS COMMAND. ANOTHER TALE DESCRIBES HIM HAVING KILLED A TIGER WITH A SINGLE BLOW OF HIS SWORD.AKBAR WAS A INTREPID SOLDIER PERSONALLY LED HIS ARMY IN MANY BATTLES .HE WAS A VERY ADEPT SWORDSMAN AND VERY PROFICIENT ARCHER. HISTORY VIEWS AKBAR AS AN INSPIRING LEADER , A SHREWD PERSON, AN ASTUTE  DIPLOMAT AND A SOUND JUDGE OF HUMAN CHARACTER.


AKBAR , DIED ON 25TH OCTOBER 1605 AD, AFTER A PROLONGED  UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESS.    HE WAS BURIED IN SIKANDARA, AGRA, WHERE HE RESTS IN HIS MASOLEUM .  


JAHANGIR


Nuruddin Mohammed Salim (‘Jahangir’), was born in AD 1569. He was named Salim, because he was born after the blessings of the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. Akbar had already lost his first two sons in their infancy. Jahangir was the third in the line.He was the son of Akbar and Hira kunwari a.k.a Mariam uz Zamani ,the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer/Jaipur . There are different stories about Jahangir’s mother. Some call her Jodhabai, but some sources insist her name was Hirakunwari , and Jodhabai was in fact the other name of Jahangirs second wife Jagat Gosain, the princess of Jodhpur and prince Khurram’s (Emperor Shah Jahan) mother. Jahangirs first wife was Manbai, daughter of Raja Bhagwandas of Jaipur and sister of Raja Man singh. She became the mother of prince Khusrav.Prince Parvez was the third son of Jahangir from Begum Sahib i Jamaal. Jahangir also had a son , Shaharyar from one of his concubines. Jahangir in the later stage of his life married Nur Jahan. Nur Jahan wielded considerable influence over Jahangir and is said to make many decisions on Jahangir’s behalf.


Salim assumed the name,’ Padshah Jahangir Gazi’  after his coronation in AD.1605. ‘Jahangir’ literelly means ‘conqeurer of the world’. Jahangirs eldest son, Khusrav is said to have revolted twice against Jahangir at the behest of his uncle, Man singh and father in law, Mirza Aziz Koka. Prince Khusrav had also been allegedly supported by the Sikh Guru, Arjundev.


Jahangir did forgive Khusrav once, but after the second attempt, Jahangir apparently gave orders for Khusrav to be blinded. Khusrav was later assassinated in the Deccan , allegedly at the orders of his brother and rival to the throne, prince Khurram. Jahangir even imprisoned, tortured and killed the Sikh guru Arjun dev for his support to Khusrav. This started the long drawn  bitterness between the Sikhs and the Mughals.


Jahangirs Mewar campaingn.


Jahangir continued Akbars campaign against the Rajputs of Mewar. Rana Amar singh , son of Rana Pratap singh, was offering a stiff restance to the Mughal challenge. From time to time ,Jahangir had  despatched many of his famed nobles like Mahabbat khan, prince Parvez, Abdullah khan ,Mirza Aziz Koka,  Raja Basu and prince Khurram to challenge the Rajputs. After many battles between AD 1605 and 1615, the Rajputs under Amar singh agreed to sign a peace treaty ( at the advice of  Amar singh’s  courtiers and  son prince Karan singh).Amar singh, apparently not very happy with his submission to the mughals, retired to the confines of the lonely Nan chauki.


Rajputs agreed to the suzerainty of the Mughals.In return, all the territories of Mewar were magnanimously restored to the rajputs .Prince Karan singh was deputed to the mughal court and given a high rank there , along with a ‘mansab’ of 5000 ‘sawar’(cavalry) and 5000 ’jat ’(foot soldiers).


Jahangirs other miscellaneous conquests were the fort Kangra in Punjab, Kharda in Orissa and , Kishtwar in Kashmir.


Jahangirs south India campaign


Jahangirs southern campaign was challenged by Malik Amber, an Abyssinian general of Nizam Shah, the ruler of Ahmednagar (in present day Maharashtra). Malik Ambar resisted the mughal intrusions till 1617, when he was forced to sign a peace treaty with the mughals led by prince Khurram. That was when prince Khurram was given the title ‘Shah Jahan’ by Jahangir. But, Malik Ambar didn’t adhere to the treaty. Prince Khurram was again sent to the Deccan to subdue Malik Ambar.Malik Ambar again entered into a peace treaty with Khurram in AD,1621.This time he had to cede a major part of the Ahmednagar territory to the mughals, along with lakhs of rupees in compensarion.


But differences between Jahangir and his son Khurram and later a revolt with his general Mahabat khan, forced Jahangir to abandon his south campaign.


Nur Jahan


One of the most important events of Jahangirs life was his marriage to NurJahan. Nur Jahan  was born, Mehr un Nisa, to Mirza Ghiyas Beg, a Persian courtier of Akbar.She was the wife of Jahangirs  deceased officer, Sher Afghan.When Mehr un nisa was brought before Jahangir, he fell in love with her.


Mehr un nisa was almost thirty four when she got married to Jahangir. She was said to be very beautiful, multi talented and wielded considerable influence over Jahangir, (especially when he was in an inebriated state ).Her daughter Ladli Begum, from her previous marriage had been married to prince Shaharyar.Her brother Asaf Khan had married his daughter to prince Khurram.


Both wanted their son’s in law to succeed Jahangir. Shah Jahan ,resented Nur Jahans influence over Jahangir, and revolted against his father in AD 1623.However, his father in law Asaf Khan didn’t support Shah Jahan in his revolt against the emperor.Maybe his loyalty for Jahagir over rode his ambition for his son in law.


Mahabat khan, another general of Jahangir, who was close to prince Parvez, also disliked Nur Jahan and Asaf Khan.They were instrumental in keeping him away from the mughal court, by sending him away on some expedition or other pretexts. He also felt humiliated by them,( after his  campaigns in Bengal and Bihar against the rebel Shah Jahan), when he was asked to submit details of the captured property before the mughal court. Furthermore, his son in law, Barkhurdar’s  property had also been confiscated at the behest of Nur Jahan and Asaf Khan. Angry,Mahabat Khan revolted against Jahangir  and joined forces with Shah Jahan.


Taking advantage of Shah Jahans revolt, the Persians captured Kandahar.


Jahangir was furious. He came down heavily on Shah Jahan. Asaf Khan too refused to side with Shah Jahan. Mahabat Khan realizing the futility of the situation, also had switched sides. All the nobles, who disliked Nur Jahan, didn’t side with Shah Jahan against the emperor. Thus Shah Jahan, was isolated and forced to surrender to Jahangir. Shah Jahan was pardoned by Jahangir and let off relatively easily,( in comparison to prince Khusrav).


Jahangirs death


Jahangir, who was addicted to drinking wine, was losing his health. The revolts had also taken its toll on him. In AD, 7 th November, 1627, while returning from Kashmir, Jahangir fell ill and died. He was buried in Lahore, where Nur Jahan erected a beautiful mausoleum on his grave.


Jahangirs reign


Today, historians view Jahangir differently. While European historeans have been somewhat harsh on Jahangir, their Indian counterparts have been fairly lenient while accessing Jahangir.


Yes, Jahangir was addicted to wine , was prone to pleasure seeking and leading a easy way of life. But he never did so at the cost of his administration. Barring the instances of revolts by his rebellious sons,Khusrav, Khurram and his general Mahabat Khan,  he was successful in maintaining the loyalties of the people around him. Jahangir had even once  revolted against his father, but it was more to stress his identity as an individual and not for any personal ambitions. Even though he was trained in use of arms, he never led his army in battle.But he had some able commanders doing efficient work at his behest. Jahangir was successfully able to maintain the empire he inherited from his father, in fact only added to it. He only lost Kandahar to the Persians, and that to because of the distraction he felt because of Khurrams  revolt. Jahangir even achieved the Mewar loyalty, something even Akbar wasn’t able to achieve in his lifetime.                                                                                                                                 Jahangir was famous for his sense of justice. After his coronation, he errected a  huge bell outside his palace. Anyone who needed justice could seek Jahangirs attention by ringing the bell.


Jahangir was well educated and erudite .He had a good command over  Persian, Arabic and Turkish. He wrote his own autobiography the ‘Tuzuk i Jahangiri’. He encouraged poets from Persia, besides the vernacular poets of the country. Jahangir is said to have been an expert in paintings, and often boasted that he can spot  the source of any artwork.  Jahangir constructed beautiful gardens, fountains,monuments and buildings.The mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandara, the tomb of Itimad ud daula near Agra, the grand mosque in Lahore and the gardens in Kashmir are a testimony of  Jahangirs  aesthetic sense. Jahangir  beautified his coins, the little things around him and even the dresses he and his wives wore.


Jahangir also wasn’t bigoted, and apart from a few instances, he was considered quite impartial towards both hindus and muslims. He participated in all hindu festivals. He even employed European teachers for his grandsons.                                  All in all he pursued the religious policy enunciated by his father, Akbar.                                    His certain decisions like Khusrav’s blinding or Guru Arjundev’s killing were more in a fit of rage, than anything else. Otherwise he was considered a loyal friend, an affectionate father and a loving husband. After his wife Manbai’s death, he is said to abstained from food or water for the initial  three days of his mourning.


Inspite of all his qualities, his personality has remained an enigma for all historians. Jahangirs evident competency can therefore, be said to be eclipsed by his father, Akbars greatness and his son, Shah Jahans grandeur.


SHAH JAHAN


Shah jahan or prince Khurram   was born on 5 th January AD 1592. He was the son of Jehangir and Jagat Gosain, the princess of Jodhpur.He was the second in line after prince Khusrav. Khurram showed tremendous potential as a child and his grandfather and father , both doted on him. From the beginning of his career, he was given important assignments and virtually groomed as a successor to the throne, and especially after the rebellion of prince Khusrav.


Khurram was married to Arjumand Banu Begum , daughter of Asaf Khan and neice of Jahangirs favourite queen, Nur Jahan. He had been assigned the rank of 8000 sawar(cavalry) and 5000 jats(foot soldiers). Nur Jahan   favoured her son in law Shahryar to succeed Jahangir, and this caused the rift between her step son Khurram and herself. Khurram revolted against his father in 1623. But  Khurram was soon isolated and defeated. Khurram apologized to Jahangir and Jahangir forgave his errant but favourite son.


Jahangir died in 1627, and the war of succession started.  Shahryar declared himself the emperor in Lahore. This time however, Khurrams father in law Asaf Khan stood behind him. He was also supported by the diwan,  Khwaja Abul Hassan and the general, Mahabbat khan. Shah Jahan who was on his deccan campaign, instructed Asaf Khan to kill all the claimants to the Delhi throne, including Shahryar.After this, Shah Jahan crowned  himself the emperor in AD 1628.


Shah Jahan was however, merciful towards his step mother. Nur Jahan was exiled to Lahore with a annual pension of two lakh rupees. Asaf khan was given the post of Vazir (prime minister), along with an  mansab of 8000 jat and 8000 sawar. Mahabbat khan was rewarded with an elevated mansab of 7000 jat and 7000 sawar and given the title of ‘Khan i Khana’.


Shah Jahans initial period as the emperor was spent in quelling the revolts of the Bundelas (1628) and his deccan governor Khan Jahan Lodi (1629).  


Deccan campaign.


When Khan Jahan Lodhi, the mughal governor of deccan revolted against Shah Jahan, he was helped by Nizam Shah the ruler of Ahmadnagar. Lodhi had already sold the fort of Balaghat to the Nizamshahi. When Shah Jahan sent a huge army against Lodhi, Nizam shah had already withdrawn his support to Lodhi.                Lodhi fled to the north where he was murdered after a conflict with the local king. Meanwhile, the Nizam shahi was weakning due to internal cracks. The Nizam Shah’s vazir ,Fateh khan( son of his trusted general Malik Amber) , had usurped the Ahmadnagar throne, and installed Hussain Shah a puppet in the place of the Nizam. Fateh khan played political games with the mughals, and tried to bide time from the mughals by signing treaties with them while, simultaneously trying to gather the forces of Golconda and Bijapur to counter the mughals. In 1633, the mughal forces under Mahabbat khan subdued Fateh khan and sent him and his master as captives to the Delhi court. However, a few nobles including Shahaji  Bhosale (father of the Maratha king Shivaji), installed a child Murtuza III, on the Ahmadnagar throne and continued the resistance against the mughals. But by 1636, the rebels lost the war. Murtuza was handed over to the mughals , and the Nizam shahi was extinguished. Golconda  , along with Bijapur had to accept  the mughal suzerainty.


Shah jahan appointed his son Aurangzeb as the governor of Deccan in 1636, with Aurangabad  as his capital. Soon  differences arose between the mughals and the kingdom of Golconda. Prince Muhammed the son of Aurangzeb was deputed to attack Golconda in 1646. The mughals first captured Hyderabad and besieged the fort of Golconda. Qutub Shah the ruler of Golconda surrendered to the mughals, and even married one of his daughters to Prince Muhammed.


Meanwhile, Bijapur under its ruler Adil Shah II , was accused of not paying the annual tribute in full, and was attacked on that pretext. Aurangzeb and his army forced on the Bijapur kingdom, a treaty where almost one and a half crores was to be handed over to the mughals. However, the sum was reduced to one crore.


Aurangzeb had wanted to annex the kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur to the mughal dominion, but was prevented from doing so by Shah Jahan, allegedly at the behest of his eldest son Dara Shukoh and his favoured daughter Jahan Ara. Apparently both didn’t want Aurangzebs importance to increase.


Shah Jahan , buoyed with his success in deccan ,  decided to regain Kandahar, which his father had lost to the Persians , during Shah Jahan’s rebellion. He captured it in AD.1638, but later it was lost again to the Persians in 1648, and the later efforts by mughals to recapture it, failed.


Shah Jahans reign:


Shah Jahan reign was replete with great architecture, patronizing of arts, painting, music, and poetry. The famous mausoleum,Taj Mahal (Agra) , for his deceased wife Mumtaj Mahal, was a tribute to her memory. It is considered as one of the finest monuments the world has ever seen. Other notable structures built by Shah Jahan were   Shis Mahal (the glass palace),  Nau Lakha,   Musammam Burj,                     Moti Masjid (the pearl mosque), Jama masjid (Delhi),  Lal Qila(the red fort, Delhi),                        Diwan i Aam,  Diwan i Khaas and Khwab Gah ( Lahore). Shah Jahan constructed beautiful gardens and fountains around them. Shah Jahan also constructed the ninety eight mile Ravi canal, and Nahar i Shah, an enlargementof the canal by Firoz shah Tughlaq .


Shah Jahan was a cultured person, well versed in Persian, Arabic and Turkish. Shah Jahan was a patron to many hindu poets and writers like Jagannath Pandit, Chintamani Acharya Saraswati and Sunderdas.  Also many famous  Persian authors like Abdul Hamid Lahori and Amin qazwani  wrote brilliant works like Padshahnama and Shahjhannama in his guidance. Shah Jahan was a good singer himself and patronized musicians like Sukhsen and Sursen . 


The War of Succession,  AD 1657 – 1659 :


Shah Jahan fell ill on 6 th September, 1657 AD. He failed to present himself before his subjects for his ‘jharoka darshan’ (jharoka means the window and darshan means to present oneself before others) .


Dara Shukoh, was Shah Jahans eldest and favourite son. He was to succeed Shah Jahan. But this was not acceptable to his brothers, Shah Shuja (governor of Bengal), Aurangzeb(governor of Deccan) and Murad Bux(governor of Gujrat). Their sisters also individually allied themselves to each of their brothers. Jahan Ara  allied with Dara, Roshan Ara supported Aurangzeb, while Gauhan Ara sided with Murad.


The eldest prince Dara Shukoh, was a cultured and liberal person, very genteel in mannerisms and a kind and considerate person by nature.He was a scholar in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.He therefore enjoyed the confidence of the emperor.He was also very liberal towards the hindus, (besides being a patron of Sanskrit works) , and therefore commanded respect amongst them as well.


Dara shukoh, along with the imperial army attacked and defeated Shah Shuja. Shah Shuja fled to Bengal, where he was killed. Aurangzeb immediately made a treaty with Murad, wherein Murad was to get Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir and Afghanistan, and 1/3rd  of the booty. Dara then turned to face Aurangzeb and Murads combined army. But Dara, though a courageous commander was no match for the guile and deceit of Aurangzeb.He won over some of Dara’s   officers like Qasim Khan, over to his side.Also some of the emperors  rajput officers  like Jai singh  supported Aurangzeb. Jai singh used his good offices to win over Daras rajput men like Jaswant singh. This rendered Dara very weak. Dara  was conclusively defeated. Dara sought refuge from a Baluchi chief, Malik Jiwan, whom he had once saved from the wrath of the emperor. But Malik Jiwan betrayed him and handed over Dara and his family to Aurangzeb.Dara with his second son Sipoh, were paraded in the streets of Delhi in a dirty attire.His other son Sulaiman was taken a prisoner and later died by poisoning. Dara was charged by a special court with apostacy and beheaded. His dead corpse was shown to the public in the streets of Delhi and then buried at the tomb of Humayun in Delhi.                  Aurangzeb then had his other brother Murad ( with whom he had allied), put to death.


Shah Jahan had murdered his brothers to ascend the throne. Now his own son Aurangzeb followed his genetic calling. 


Shah Jahans death:


Shah Jahan was taken a prisoner and spent his last eight years in captivity at Shah Burz, in the fort of Agra.His daughter Jahan Ara loyally served him till his final days. Shah Jahan breathed his last in AD 1666, a  sad, bitter man.                                  


This marked the end of a glorious and grandiose  reign.


AURANGZEB


Muhiuddin Muhammed Aurangzeb was born on 3rd,November AD 1618 at Dohad near Ujjain. Aurangzebs rule is characterised as a dark period for his non muslim subjects. It saw revolts by many hindus who were otherwise loyalists of the mughal throne: the Jats, the Rajputs, the Satnamis, the Marathas,the Bundelas and  the Sikhs.


Aurangzeb was a fanatic sunni muslim whose rise to the throne was as bloody as his reign.He had his brothers killed, and his father imprisoned to ascend the throne of Delhi.He was the first mughal ruler to impose the ‘Sharia’ law on his subjects and expected everyone to follow the fundamental codes of sunni  islam. He persecuted even the Shia muslims  and the liberal amongst the Sunnis. He awarded the strictest punishment for blasphemy.  He compelled his non muslim subjects to accept the Islamic faith and imposed the hated jazia tax, the pilgrim tax, the trade tax (5% of the value of goods), specifically on the hindus.He did not spare even  his mansabdars , vassals and tried his utmost  to convert  them to islam, by pressure, bribes or force . He banned hindu festivities in the court premises. He forbade good horses for hindus, dissallowed hindus to keep muslim servants and allowed palanquins only for his most loyal rajput officers.He even appointed ‘Muhtasibs’ or enforcers of his brand of morality and Islamic law,( a new class of officer) for the same.During his rule new schools for hindus were prevented.Also prevented were repairs for old temples. He destroyed temples of Vishwanath at Benaras, Keshav dev at Mathura, and the Somnath temple at Patan, amongst the prominent ones. He ordered construction of mosques in their place. His aim was to convert India from the ‘Dar-ul- harb’ (land of infidels) into ‘Dar-ul-islam’ (land of islam). He drove out all dancers, artists from his court and banned music of any form .His rule can be compared to the Talibani rule of the present times.


He himself adhered to the strictest version of islam. He led a very austere life.He was a regular ‘namazi’ (prescribed praying in islam). He remained a teetotaler all his life. He never kept more than four wives as instructed in the quran. He woke up every day at five in the morning and personally supervised every aspect of governance , allowing himself only five hours of sleep. He also banned drinking , gambling , and prostitution.He banned the practice of Sati amongst some hindus. He was very hard working and laborious. He was also a very able commander and often led his forces in the battlefield. He was well versed in Persian, Arabic and Turkish.He was proficient in the art of politics and had a  extremely shrewd and crafty mind. He preferred calling himself an enlightened despot.


But one thing is certain, all his good qualities were outweighed by his religious bigotry and fanatiscism. He even confessed to his son in his last stages that,             ’ he has sinned terribly…and didn’t know what fate he awaited in Gods kingdom’.


Aurangzeb while he ruled, he ruled with a iron hand, but his policies of islamising India, bore  the seeds of a gradual decline in the mughal empire. 


Revolt of the Jats


This was the first organized rebellion against Aurangzeb. In Mathura a local muslim officer named Abdul Nabi had destroyed a temple and erected an mosque on its ruins. This was 1661. He was also said to harass the local hindu populace on a regular basis. The simmering resentment against him gave vent to a revolt by the local jats (jat is a community in northern india) under a person called Gokul.In 1669, Gokul killed Abdul Nabi and looted his tehsil of Sadabad. Aurangzeb when he heard about this ordered a retaliatory destruction of the Keshav dev temple in 1670. This further inflamed the jats. They collected in a number around 20,000 and attacked mughal posts. Aurangzeb took the matter most seriously.He took on the Jats in the battle of Tilpat. Gokul was killed and his followers were punished severely. In 1686, the jats again ,under the banner of Rajaram revolted.Rajaram was killed in 1688. But resistance continued under his nephew Churaman, till Aurangzebs death.Later, the Jats were successful in establishing their independent kingdom with Bharatpur as its capital. 
 


Revolt of the Satnamis


Satnamis were a religious sect also called mundiyas (the bald) because they shaved their heads. What started as a quarrel between a satnami peasant and a muslim sodier, grew in proportion.The mughal army quelled that revolt killing over two thousand satnamis.


Revolts of the Sikhs


This was a major revolt in the lifetime of Aurangzeb. Sikhs are a martial community from the state of Punjab. They had started as an offshoot sect of Hinduism under Guru Nanak. They came into conflict with the mughals when Jehangir had its fifth Guru ,Arjun dev killed for helping his rebellious son, Khusrav. He was succeeded by his son Guru Har Gobind. The Sikhs had by now raised their own army, and opposed the mughals openly. There were a few skirmishes between the Mughals and the Sikhs. But they subsided with the death of Har Gobind in 1645. His successor Guru Har Rai maintained good relations with Shah Jahans son Dara Shaikoh (Aurangzebs rival brother).  Aurangzeb  therefore disliked the Sikhs. When Har Rai died in 1661, Aurangzeb  tried to install his man, Ram Rai (an estranged son of Har Rai ). The Sikhs however installed Tegh Bahadur( another son of HarRai) on the seat. Aurangzeb imprisoned Tegh Bahadur and forced him to embrace islam. When he refused Tegh Bahadur was tortured for five days until his death in prison in 1675.                                                      Tegh Bahadurs son Guru Gobind singh converted the dormant sikhs  into a warrior community and took on the mughals. He  fought Aurangzeb throughout his life , until his death in 1708.


Revolt of the Rajputs


Rajputs were loyal to the mughals since their treaty with Jahangir. Raja Jai singh (raja of Ambar/Jaipur) and Raja Jaswant singh(raja of rathore community of Marwar) were amongst the main commanders of the mughal army. Aurangzeb always resented the special staus of the rajputs in the mughal empire. He had malicious  designs for them, but was waiting for the opportune moment.With the death of Jai singh and Jaswant singh away in Afghanistan. Aurangzeb decided to put his plan in action. Aurangzeb received news that Jaswant singh had just died in Jamrud, Afghanistan (1678).The major part of rathore army of marwar were in Afghanistan fighting battles for the mughals. Sensing a weak defence and a vacant throne, Aurangzeb attacked Marwar.He captured the forts, destroying several temples on the way. He humiliated the rathors further by selling the throne of rathors to his vassal, the chief of Nagar for 36 lakhs. Jaswant singhs son Ajit singh was an infant and in the care of Jaswant singhs aide Durgadas. Aurangzeb tried to install a milkmans son on the marwar seat. But the people revolted. Durgadas had already declared Ajit singh as the new raja of marwar, and the people had supported him. Durgadas raised an army to fight against Aurangzebs tyranny. They  settled in the forests and continued their gureilla attacks on the mughals. By now, Mewar under the Sisodiya raja Raj singh (who was incidently Ajit singh’s maternal uncle), too had revolted against the mughals to protest the jaziya tax. Aurangzeb retaliated ruthlessly. It is said around 173 temples in Udaipur and 63 temples in Chittor were destroyed by the mughals. Raj singh was defeated in the battle in 1680. Aurangzeb had himself marshaled the mughal troops. After the battle Aurangzeb went back to Ajmer.But rajputs under Raj singh and Durgadas continued harassing the mughals  through repeated gureilla attacks. Aurangzeb then deputed his sons Akbar,Muazzam and Azam to counter the rajputs. But the three proved unsuccessful.


Meanwhile, rajputs held secret negotiations with prince Akbar, who desired to overthrow Aurangzeb. Rajputs aligned themselves with Akbar. Sensing a rebellion,  Aurangzeb personally led his army against  Akbar . Aurangzeb then played a ruse on the rajputs. He sent a letter commending Akbar for bringing the rajputs to the mughal camp.He let the letter be discovered by the rajputs. The rajputs especially the sisodiyas  were outraged and deserted Akbar. Durgadas who saw through Aurangzebs plans remained with Akbar. Durgadas and  Akbar then  fled to the Deccan, where they took refuge with Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji.


Aurangzeb made a treaty with the Sisodiyas of  Mewar, under Jai singh , son of Raj singh, and pursued Akbar to the deccan. Akbar later fled to Persia, where he died. Akbar’s sister Zeb ur Nisa who had supported her brother during his rebellion was also imprisoned by her father, Aurangzeb.


The  Rathores under Durga das and Ajit singh continued their struggle against the mughals till Aurangzebs death. In 1707, Ajit singh recaptured Marwar  and established an independent kingdom with Jodhpur as their capital.


The religious policy of Aurangzeb soon  gave rise to more revolts viz. in Malwa, Bihar and Bundelkhand.                                                                                             Bundelkhand  broke away from the mughal empire after Aurangzebs death. Its king Raja  Chatrasal with help from the Marathas, established his independent state of Bundelkhand in AD 1707.


Aurangzebs Deccan campaign


The  Deccan was to be linked to Aurangzeb for years to come. Aurangzeb had started as the governor of Deccan, during his fathers rule. He had even constructed a city there,  Aurangabad ,named after himself. When Aurangzeb became the emperor, he went back to Delhi. The deccan remained ignored for some time.


Shivaji ,an upstart son of a Bijapur noble, had begun to challenge the mighty mughal empire. He had already succeeded in carving an hindu kingdom  from the territories of Islamic Bijapur, Golkunda and some mughal areas.


Aurangzeb  deputed Raja Jai singh to tackle Shivaji.


Shivaji was no match for Jai singhs mammoth army. He was forced to sign the treaty of Purandar in 1665. Shivaji  went to Delhi to meet Aurangzeb to discuss the modalities of the treaty, where he was humiliated and imprisoned by Aurangzeb. But Shivaji managed to escape and resumed his attacks on the mughals. He won back all the forts he had surrendered during the treaty of Purandar. He managed to resist all the attacks by the mughals, till his untimely death in AD 1680.


By now,  the mughals had annexed the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golkunda in the southern region of India. Shivaji’s  kingdom (in Maharashtra) remained the only challenge for the mughals.


After Shivaji’s death, his son Sambhaji had succeeded him. The rebel prince Akbar and Durgadas  were given refuge by Sambhaji. Aurangzeb was therefore in no mood to forgive him. Aurangzeb in 1682  himself camped in deccan to take on Sambhaji. But Sambhaji managed to elude him and fought several small skirmishes till AD 1689. That’s when he was captured by Aurangzeb. He was imprisoned.Aurangzeb asked him to embrace islam. When Sambhaji refused, he was put through the most heinous torture. His eyes were gouged out , his nails were pulled off and finally he was finally plastered alive in a wall. Sambhaji was martyred , but his death spurred the Marathas.


Sambhaji ‘s younger brother Raja Ram carried forward his struggle along with his queen, Taramati. They launched relentless attacks on the mughals, one of them even on his camp. Marathas were soon going to be the nemesis of the mughals.


Aurangzeb was now almost ninety, a tired man and very frustrated about his lack of success against the resilient Marathas.


He died on 3rd March, AD 1707, in Khuldabad in Aurangabad district. Aurangzeb was buried in an open grave.


Aurangzeb could have been the greatest of the mughal rulers, if not for his obduracy about his faith.


Disintegration of the mughal empire


After Aurangzeb there were some mughal emperors like Bahadur Shah I, Jahandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Mohammed Shah, Shah Alam II and lastly Bahadur Shah Zafar. But none were competent enough and proved to be tools in the hands of their nobles or outside powers like the Rajputs , the Marathas, and finally the British. The throne of Delhi weakened after many invasions like that of the afghan, Abdali or the Persian, Nadir Shah.They looted, raped and pillaged Delhi to its peril.


Soon, the respect for the Delhi throne declined and the empire splintered into several smaller kingdoms like Hyderabad, Avadh, Bengal etc. The subsequent decline of the mughals was so pitiable that the latter princes even faced starvation ( as per reports of historians like Dr.Jadunath Sarkar). The descendents of the great moghuls are existing even now, but in abject poverty.


Such was the rise and fall of the great Mughal empire. 


ADDENDUM :MUGHALS


Mughal administration: The king was the supreme head of the state, and below him were his group of ministers.In Akbars time there were mainly three ministers: the vazir /vakil/diwan- prime minister, mir bakshi- in charge of army recruitment and assignment of duties to the officers of the army , sadr us sadr-he looked after the religious matterss of the state and its charity.the  qazi or law minister were the same as sadr us sadr during Akbars reign.the muftis interpreted the Islamic laws , while the Qazi  passed the judgements.  The muhtasib who had a prominent role during Aurangzebs rule saw to it, that islamic laws are being strictly adhered to.He was assisted by provincial  mutasibs. Khan i saman was the personal secretary of the emperor. He looked after the personal necessities of the emperor.He was also in charge of the industries run by the state. Mir i aatish or daroga e topkhana  was in charge of the artillery. Daroga i dak chauki was the head of the intelligence department. He kept the emperor informed about the happenings and affairs of the state. The state was divided into provinces or subas.


Nizam or subedar was in charge of of the province. Under him were Kotwal or  the head policeman, and provincial qazis, diwaan or the financial officer/ revenue collector,the bakshi,sadr, and the waqaya navis or the head of the local spy department. The provinces were further divided into districts or sarkars .


Faujdar was the chief military officer of the district. He assisted the amal guzar or finance officer in collecting local taxes.The bitikchi was in charge of maintaining the land records.Khazaandar was the treasurer. There were also the local kotwals and the qazis. Each sarkar was sub divided into parganas.


Shiqdar was the military and administrative head of the pargana. Amil was the finance and revenue officer of the pargana. Fotadar was treasurer of the pargana. Qanungo  kept the village land records. Karkuns were the clerks in every department. Each pargana had a village, with its own panchayat or a elected group of representatives who looked after the village needs like laws,security, education and sanitation.The village had a local policeman or a chaukidar. 


   Military administration  was in charge of the mansabdars   or ranked nobles having their own sawars ( cavalry) and zats (foot soldiers) .The dakhili soldiers were put in charge of the mansabdars , while the ahadi soldiers owed direct alliegence to the emperor.  


The cavalry comprised of the bargirs who were provided arms, horses by the state, whereas the shiledars bought their own arms ansd horses. 


The infanty was primarily  divided into bandookchis i.e the riflemen and the shamshirbaz or swordsmen. Each wielded swords, spears or bow arrows.


There were also a number of war elephants serving the mughal army.


The  officers enjoying the mansab from 500 to 2500 were called amirs and those above 2500 were called amir e azam.


To counter the sea threat, the mughals maintained an navy.


Revenue administration:  One unit of land was called a bigha i.e 60X60 sq yards. The owners of the land were called the jagirdars. The patwaris or muqaddams collected the local revenue from the individual landowners.


THE LATTER MUGHALS : POST AURANGZEB


Muazzam Bahadur Shah(b.1643-d.1712):  was also known as Shah Alam I. He became the emperor(1707) after a brief struggle with his brothers , especially prince Azam.He inherited a kingdom  of upheavals from his father Aurangzeb. He tried to bring about peace in the polity with his more liberal approach. He , unlike his father followed the Sufi Islamic tradition. He succeeded in making peace with the Sikhs.He was a old man when he ascended the throne and ruled hardly for five years.


Jahandar Shah (b.1661-d.1713): succeeded his father Muazzam, after after a fight with his brother,Azim us Shan (Azim us Shan was earlier credited for having fought successful wars against the sikh general Banda Bahadur) leading to Azim’s death. Jahander Shah could rule only for eleven months(1712-1713) before being killed by Farrukhsiyar, the son of Azim us Shan, who later declared himself the emperor.


Farrukhsiyar (b.1685-d.1719) ascended the mughal throne in 1713. He was assisted in this process by the Sayid brothers viz.Sayid Husein Ali who became the wazir and Sayid Abdullah Ali who became the commander of his army. Farrukhsiyar  was virtually a puppet in the hands of the Sayid brothers and they ruled as the de facto rulers. Farukhsiyar had a long standing trouble with the Sikhs which led to the capture and death of their general Banda Bahadur and his associate Baz singh. Eventually this spurred the Sikhs to form their own kingdom. Farukhsiyar was also instrumental in allowing the East India Company , trading rights in Bengal. Farrukhsiyar tried to break the shackles of the Sayid brothers , who subsequently deposed him and installed his nephew, Rafi ul Darjat on the royal throne. Farukhsiyar was imprisoned and allegedly murdered at the behest of the Sayid brothers.


Rafi Ul Darjat: was another short term puppet emperor in the hands of the Sayid brothers. He was briefly and unsuccesfully challenged by his uncle Nikusiyar.He died in 1719, after enthroning his brother Rafi ul Daulat to the mughal throne.


Rafi ul Daulat: (d.1719) he was the third puppet of the Sayid brothers lasting not even a year.


Nikusiyar (d.1743) he served as the nominal soveireign.He was propped up by a local minister.


Muhammed Shah (b.1702-d.1748) was the grandson of Bahadur Shah I.He ascended the throne (1719) with the help of the Sayid brothers.But he got rid of them in a coup.During his time many smaller kingdoms cropped up. In 1739, Nadir Shah of Persia invaded and looted Delhi. He even carried away the famed  ‘peacock throne’, the Kohinoor’and the ‘Darya e noor’diamonds with him, leaving Muhammed Shah humiliated.


Ahmad Shah Bahadur (b.1725-d.1775) was the son of Muhammad Shah. He retired in 1753 (because of a disease) after having been made the emperor at the age of 23. He was murdered in his sleep by his vazir Gazi ud din. His son Bidar Baksh II temporarily rose to power in 1788 as puppet of Ghulam Qadir.


Aziz ud din Alamgir II (b.1699-d.1759) He ruled for six years from 1754-1759. He was also installed by Gazi ud din. Marathas in collaboration with Gazi ud din, consolidated their power in the north. In 1756, the  afghan, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India and plundered Mathura. Aziz ud din was murdered in1759.


Shah Jahan III or Muhi ul millat was a mughal emperor for a very short time. He was the grandson of Aurangzeb. He was placed on the mughal throne in 1759 but subsequently deposed by Gazi ud din in1760.In 1759, Delhi was briefly captured by the Marathas.


SHAH ALAM II (b.1728-d.1806) was also known as Ali Gauhar. He was the son of Alamgir II. As a prince he was completely under the sway of the vazir Gazi ud din.He eascaped  from Delhi and tried to establish himself in Bengal. Upon his fathers assassination by Gaziuddin, he declared himself the emperor. He was under the east india company’s patronage for a long time, until the Marathas who had occupied Delhi in 1771 , invited him to become the emperor. Shah Alam II under his able general Mirza Nazaf khan( he was later to be sidelined), marched towars Delhi. On the way he had successes against the afghan Rohillas and the Jats. He collected huge revenues from them. Shah Alam launched several attacks on the Sikhs.But being a wrong judge of character, he chose some wrong people to lead the mughal army. They colluded with the Sikhs, forcing a mughal retreat. Shah Alam, realizing the indispensability of his general Mirza Najaf Khan, reinvited him to lead the mughal forces. But after Mirza Najafs death, Shah Alam once again relied on the old traitors. This wrecked the mughal empire from within. The Marathas too had evacuated Delhi. Sensing an opportunity, the afghan Rohilla marched on Delhi in 1788. But, Delhi was financially already bankrupt. Finding nothing to loot, the afhan blinded Shah Alam II. The Marathas, returned to save the emperor and drove away the Rohillas. The blind emperor ruled for sometime, but it was evident , that the mughal empire was a pale shadow of its old self.


With the Maratha power weakening, the British attacked Delhi in 1803. The emperor, was helpless against them. The British kept Shah Alam as a figurehead emperor until his death in 1806.


Bahadur Shah  Zafar (b.1775-d.1862) was the last mughal emperor. He was the son of Akbar Shah II. He was a old man when he ascended the throne. He was known more as a poet than as an emperor. He patronized famous  poets and writers of his time like Mirza Ghalib. He lived on a pension offered by the East India Company.  When the sepoy mutiny of 1857, took place, the rebel leaders urged Zafar to let the rebel forces unite under his banner. After the failure of the mutiny, Zafar was imprisoned by the British and exiled to Rangoon (Burma). He died in exile . His departure marked the end of three centuries of Mughal rule in India. 



 
 


 


 


 

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