Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born on 19 February 1630. The man was known for his compassion towards animals and fellow human beings. He was a true king who felt for the needy and poor, and established a great civil rule in his region.
Although he was benign and compassionate, on the battlefield, he was the fiercest warrior who had the ability to send shivers down the spine of even the most powerful kings. His amazing tactics, excellent leadership qualities, and adherence to moral values made him a ruler like no other.
Here are some lesser-known facts about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on his 391st birth anniversary:
A great strategist
Shivaji had the capability of winning wars even with limited resources at his disposal. He introduced raiding warfare skills when he captured the Torna fort. By 1655, he had captured the Kondan, Jawali, and Rajgarh forts through his incredible strategies, which the enemies never saw coming.
He honored women more than any other king
Shivaji captured numerous territories during his reign. In contrast to what his enemies used to do to women of captured lands, Shivaji never imprisoned any woman living in the forts he won. Rapists were severely punished during his time, and he ordered his army to always be respectful to every woman irrespective of her religion or lineage.
A secular king
Throughout his rule, Shivaji attacked and defended various armies. He was fierce in his ways but never attacked any religious place. Shivaji respected all religions and believed in the co-existence of people with different beliefs. Many of his trusted warriors were Muslims.
He mastered guerilla warfare
Shivaji knew every important geographical advantage and disadvantage of the areas he defended. Attacking in small groups and outfoxing the enemies were the qualities he mastered through hard work and dedication.
A noble and merciful king
Shivaji was very respectful even towards his enemies. He never raided homes of people in the areas he attacked and captured. Moreover, he accepted the surrender of various kings and even negotiated terms to ensure a peaceful end to conflict.
Escape from Panhala fort
Outfoxing 600 soldiers to walk away unharmed from a highly secure enemy territory is something Shivaji did with ease. He was captured in the Panhala fort by Siddi Johar's army, but with the help of a barber who looked like him, Shivaji escaped and continued his work for the betterment of his people.
He had his daughter marry a converted Hindu
The secular king was respectful of other religions and, at the same time, was proud of his own. He had his daughter Sakhubai marry Mahadji, the son of Bajaajirao Naik Nimbalkar, who was converted to Islam by Aurangazeb. The aim behind the ceremony was to help Bajaajirao return to Hinduism and stop forceful conversions.
He severely punished criminals
Shivaji was very merciful but only to those who deserved it. All rapists and murderers were severely punished during his reign to ensure that people have faith in the legal system and those with criminal mindsets are fearful of the consequences of their actions.
Father of the Indian Navy
Shivaji was probably the first king in the region to understand the importance of reigning supreme on the sea. His naval force played a major role in protecting important forts from several attacks.
A born leader
Shivaji had the ability to successfully lead an army of hundreds against thousands and emerge victorious. People had immense faith in his ways, and as a result, the Maratha Army expanded from 2,000 to 10,000 soldiers during his reign.