Beginning of 17th century witnesses the rise of new Warrior class Marathas when the Bhonsle family of the Poona district got military as well as political advantage by Ahmadnagar kingdom that get advantage of being local. Therefore, they took privileges and recruited a large number of Maratha sardas and soldiers in their armies. Shivaji maharaj's Reign was the turning point in Indian History. Maharaj's time was seeing the the end Medieval time and Start of colonial rule. This part of history is part of UPSC mains General Studies 1.


    • Important Events in the life of Shivaji Magaraj
    • Administration in  Shivaji Maharaj's Reign


  1. Shivaji was the son of Shahji Bhosle and Jija Bai. Shivaji was brought up at Poona under the supervision of his mother and an able Brahmin Dadaji Konda-dev. Dadaji Konda-dev made Shivaji an expert soldier and an efficient administrator. He also came under the religious influ­ence of Guru Ramdas, which made him proud of his motherland.
  2. Conquest of Torana: It was the first fort captures by Shivaji as Chieftain of Marathas which led the foundation of his ruling attributes of valour and determination at the age of 16. This conquest drives him to capture another like Raigarh and Pratapgarh. Due these conquests, the Sultan of Bijapur was get panic and he put Shahji, Shivaji’s father in prison. In AD 1659, Shivaji again tried to attack Bijapur then the Sultan of Bijapur sent his general, Afzal Khan, to capture Shivaji. But Shivaji was manage to escape and killed him with a deadly weapon called Baghnakh or tiger’s claw. Finally, in 1662, the Sultan of Bijapur made peace treaty with Shivaji and made him as an independent ruler of his conquered territories.
  3. Conquest of Kondana fort:  It was under the control of Nilkanth Rao. It was fought between Tanaji Malusare, a commander of Maratha ruler Shivaji and Udaybhan Rathod, fortkeeper under Jai Singh I.
  4. Coronation of Shivaji: In AD 1674, Shivaji declared himself as independent ruler of Maratha Kingdom and crowned as Chhatrapati at Raigarh. His coronation symbolises the rise of people who challenges the legacy of Mughal’s. After the coronation, he gets the title of ‘Haidava Dharmodharka’ (Protector of Hindu faith) of newly formed state of Hindavi Swarajya. This coronation gives legitimate right to collect land revenue and levy tax on the people.
  5. Alliance with Qutub Shahi rulers Golconda: With the help of this alliance, he led the campaign into Bijapur Karanataka (AD 1676-79) and conquered Gingee (Jingi), Vellore and many forts in Karnataka.


  1. Shivaji Maharaj ’s system of administration was largely borrowed from the administrative practice of the Deccani states.
  2. Shivaji Maharaj designated eight ministers, sometimes called the ‘Ashtapradhan’ (it was not in the nature of a council of ministers), each minister being directly responsible to the ruler.
  3. The most important ministers were the ‘Peshwa’ who looked after the finances and general administration, and the sari-i-naubat (senapati), which was a post of honor and was generally given to one of the leading Maratha chiefs.
  4. The majumdar was the accountant, while the waqenavis was responsible for intelligence post and household affairs. Further, the surunavis or chitnis helped the king with his correspondence.
  5. The dabir was master of ceremonies and also helped the king in his dealings with foreign powers. The nyayadhish and panditrao were in charge of justice and charitable grants.
  6. Shivaji Maharaj preferred to give salaries in cash to the regular soldiers; however sometimes the chiefs received revenue grants (saranjam).
  7. Shivaji Maharaj strictly regulated the “mirasdars,” (mirasdars were those who had the hereditary rights in land). Later mirasdars grew and strengthened themselves by building strongholds and castles in the villages. Likewise, they had become unruly and seized the country. Shivaji Maharaj destroyed their bastions and forced them to surrender.
  8. Shivaji Maharaj was not only a deserving general and a skillful strategist, but he was also a shrewd diplomat and laid the foundation of a strong state by curbing the power of the deshmukhs.

Hence, the rise of Marathas was due to economic, social, political and institutional factors. To that extent, Shivaji was a popular king who represented the assertion of popular will in the area against Mughal encroachment. Although, Marathas were ancient tribes but 17th century give them space to declare themselves as ruler.

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