Shivaji Bhonsle (Marathi 3 April 1680), also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati of his realm at Raigad.

Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations. He innovated military tactics, pioneering the guerrilla warfare methods (Shiva sutra or ganimi kava), which leveraged strategic factors like geography, speed, and surprise and focused pinpoint attacks to defeat his larger and more powerful enemies. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and court conventions and promoted the usage of Marathi and Sanskrit, rather than Persian, in court and administration.

Shivaji’s mother Jijabai and his guru Ramdas inspired him with the noble and patriotic ideas and infused in him love for the religion and the motherland. Shivaji got military training and learnt the art of government from Kondadev. He organized a number of Marathi hill-folk into a fighting force and began to raid neighboring territories.

Chhatrapati Shivaji began his early career of conquests at the age of nineteen by capturing the fort of Torna, about twenty miles from Puna. After this he conquered other forts like Chakan, Singhagarh and Purandar, situated within the territories of the Sultanate of Bijapur. In order to put pressure on Shivaji the Sultan of Bijapur imprisoned Shahaji Raje Bhosale, Shivaji’s father. After that Shivaji kept quiet for a few years. Shahaji Raje Bhosale was released by the Sultan. But Shivaji again started his activities of conquest. By 1655 Shivaji had occupied the northern part of Konkon and the fort of Javali.

The army of Shivaji defeated the Bijapuri Sultanate in the Battle of Pratapgarh (November 10, 1659). Huge quantity of weapons and war-materials were collected, which further strengthened the Maratha army. This success gained him much reputation among the Marathas. He became a Hero.

Shivaji was a born leader and a great administrator. He had a successful military career. He is known for establishing a well-managed administrative and military system. His charisma drew people around him. In him they found the leader who never hesitated to risk his own life in times of danger. Shivaji had a constructive genius of a high order. The army of Shivaji was well organized. The most significant achievement of Shivaji was the welding of the Marathas into a nation. He infused a new spirit of unity and dignity into the Maratha people consisting of 96 clans.

In recruitment to services Shivaji showed no partiality to any community. There was no discrimination, no casteism, and no communalism. He, however, laid emphasis on the recruitment of the son of the soil. Though a champion of Hinduism, he extended his liberality to the people professing other religions.

Shivaji was a patron of art and culture, piety and letters. Prominent among the saintly persons whom Shivaji admired were Ramdas, Tukaram, Baba Yakub, Mauni Baba, etc. Sanskrit poets like Jairam, Paramananda, Gaga Bhatt, and some Hindi poets received his patronage.

Shivaji created and maintained an organized and disciplined army consisting of infantry, cavalry and navy. Shivaji recruited only able persons in his army. He had the skills to manage a huge army. His army mostly composed of light infantry and light cavalry was admirably well-adapted to guerilla warfare and hill campaign. The army movements were extremely quick.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj died on April 3, 1680. After the death of Shivaji, his son Sambhaji Maharaj(1680-1689) succeeded him. After the death of Sambhaji , his brother, Rajaram Maharaj, assumed the leadership of Maratha Empire and continued the struggle.,/P>