Shivaji jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of the great Martha leader and the founder of the Martha Empire Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This day is celebrated annually on 19th February.
Life history of Chatrapati Shivaji
Shivaji was born on February 19th 1627 at the Shivneri fort to Jijabai and Shahaji Bhosle. After his father was offered a jagir in present day Bangalore he left behind Shivaji and his mother in Pune to take care of the Pune holdings. Shivaji’s mother had great influence on Shivaji who instilled in him love for independence. He was also greatly influenced by Ramayana and Mahabharata.
At a very young age of 17 he attacked the Torna Fort of Bijapur and captured it and by 1647 he had complete control over the Pune region with the capture of Kondana and Rajgad forts. In 1659 he defeated Afzal khan in the battle of Pratapgarh. After this victory Shivaji became a hero of Maratha folklore and a legendary figure among his people. Immediately after this he defeated the army commanded by renowned Bijapur’s Abyssinian general Rustemjaman in the battle of kolahpur.
By this time Mughals started considering Shivaji a big threat. In the year 1660 a truce was made between Shivaji and Adilshahi after the fierce battle in Panhala fort. After this Aurangzeb attacked Shivaji by sending his maternal uncle Shaista Khan in 1660. By 1663 Shivaji had lost most of his forts to the Mughals. However Shivaji regained his fort back and attacked Surat in 1664 to replenish his looted treasury. However he was defeated by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I who was sent by Aurangzeb and surrendered to him. But he managed to escape from the Mughals and maintained a low profile for the next few years and began building his army. By 1674 he had retained most of his territory and expanded his territory to present day Karnataka and Tamilnadu. He was formally crowned Chatrapthi in the year 1674 in at the Raigad fort. Shivaji died on 3rd April, in 1680 at Raigad after running fever for three weeks
Shivaji was a great warrior and a hero known for his military and civil administration. He used innovative methods like guerrilla tactic in his attacks. He adopted a policy of religious tolerance among all the sects and promoted Sanskrit and Marathi during his rule.
How is Shivaji Jayanti Celebrated?
Shivaji today is a national hero and has been a source of inspiration for many. In Maharashtra he enjoys the status of a demi god where the international airport, main railway station and museums are named after him. Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated with gusto and fanfare in state of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. On this day people take out grand and colorful processions with many tableaux and people dress up as Shivaji and his associates. Skits are performed depicting various events in his life. Politicians pay their respect to him on this day by garlanding his statutes.