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Chhatrapati Shivaji: The Mughal Empire’s back-breaking warrior, why says the grandfather of the Indian Navy

Today’s Modern Indian Navy is considered part of the same Navy which was founded by the Marathas and then expanded by Shivaji. For this reason, Shivaji is called ‘Father of Indian Navy’.

The credit of the vision of the Navy’s strength, which is seen today, goes to Shivaji.

Chhatrapati Shivaji, the warrior of the Maratha Empire, who could not stand before him. Chhatrapati Shivaji is counted among the most advanced and rational rulers of the country. He was born on 19 February 1630 in the iconic Shivneri Fort and on 3 April 1680, he breathed his last in the Raigad Fort. Shivaji was counted as a warrior from childhood. He was just 15 years old when he forced Bijapur commander Inayat Khan to hand over the fort of Toran to him. Shivaji was a master of war strategies and few of you will know that he is also called ‘Pitamah’ of Indian Navy.

First ship ready in 1654

Shivaji’s credit for the concept of the strength of the Navy, which sours the teeth of enemies on the sea, goes to him. Shivaji was the first person to start a navy under the Maratha Military Forces. During the era of Shivaji, the Maratha regime worked to establish the Navy Force in 1674. Shivaji is credited with strengthening this cornerstone. Chhatrapati Shivaji established a strong navy to protect the sea in Konkan and Goa. Shivaji wanted to protect this part from Arabs, Portuguese, British and pirates. For this, they got ships ready for battle in Bhiwandi, Kalyan and Panvel.

Explained the importance of Navy

Historian Jadunath Sarkar has written, ‘When the Mughals came to India in the medieval period, they completely ignored the capabilities of the military’s naval force. This was because those rulers had advanced through the northern region where they had easily won many battles on the ground. But when the Portuguese came to India, they tried to establish their dominance over the western region.

He further wrote, ‘He wanted to control the trade here and wanted his authority over it. It was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who emphasized the importance of a strong navy. Because of this, he built the first Maratha ship. It was prepared in 1654 around Kalyan.

500 ships near Shivaji

From 1657-58, Shivaji built many ships. Shivaji assigned the work to the trained people and got 20 warships prepared. Shivaji fought many battles against Siddis on the Janjira Coast Line.

Krishnaji Anant Sashasad, who was in Shivaji’s administration, wrote that there were two squadrons in Shivaji’s fleet. Each squadron had 200 ships and all belonged to different classes. According to Shivaji’s secretary Malhara Rao Chitnis, this number was 400 to 500.

5000 Navy in Shivaji’s Navy

It is said that due to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1674, the Portuguese realized the power of the Maratha Navy in Goa. After this, he sent a messenger with some gifts to Chhatrapati Shivaji. After this, a friendship agreement was reached between the two.

At this time, the Maratha Navy had around 5,000 naval and 57 warships. After this, the Maratha Navy expanded itself till Karwar. This place is in Karnataka today and is an important base of the Indian Navy. Here the Navy had about 85 warboats weighing around 30 to 150 tons.

A fleet with 160 ships

English, Dutch, Portuguese and Dutch have also mentioned Maratha Ships but did not say how many were there. It is said that there were merchants in Shivaji’s fleet from 160 to 700. In February 1665, Shivaji himself added his army to Basrur.

According to the English factory records, Shivaji’s army had 85 frigates, one small ship for the battle and three big ships. In November 1670, a fleet was assembled at Nandgaon in Colaba district to prepare 160 ships. Dariya Sangar was the Admiral of this fleet.

Big responsibilities given to Muslims

There were also many Muslim soldiers in Shivaji’s prepared navy. Abraham and Daulat Khan were the most special among them. Both were of African descent and Shivaji had given both of them big roles. Siddi Ibrahim was the head of the Artillery. The Maratha Navy fought many battles during the period of Sambhaji Maharaj from 1680 to 1689. Manak Bhandari, Dariya Sarang and Daulat Khan were a large part of the Maratha Navy.

Modern Navy is a part of Maratha Navy

Today’s Modern Indian Navy is considered part of the same Navy which was founded by the Marathas and then expanded by Shivaji. For this reason, Shivaji is called ‘Father of Indian Navy’.

A royal history of administrative abilities is recorded in the name of Shivaji. People remember him till today for such strategies which played a strong role in weakening the foundation of the Mughal Empire.

Chhatrapati Shivaji often used to tell his soldiers that they should first step towards victory with small goals. Only then will a big victory be achieved.

Beat up to Aurangzeb

On 25 July 1648, his father Shahaji was ordered by the ruler of Bijapur, Mohammed Adilshah to control Shivaji. On this order, he was imprisoned by Baji Ghorpade. In 1649, when Shivaji approached the Sahajan emperor in Delhi, his father Shahaji was released. It is said that from 1649 to 1655, Shivaji participated in his conquests and left no stone unturned to break the back of the Mughal Empire. He defeated Adilshah to Aurangzeb.

Death due to fever

In March 1680, on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, Shivaji suffered from fever and dysentery. His age at that time was just 52 years. On 3 April 1680, he died in the fort of Raigad. Putlabai was the eldest of Shivaji’s surviving wives, she became a sati after his death. On 21 April 1680, 10-year-old King Rama was installed on the throne. Sambhaji captured Raigad Fort after killing Senapati and gained control of Raigad on 18 June of the same year.

Also read: Kanhoji Angre, the first naval commander of the country, before whom the British trembled, know how they conquered every fort


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