Everyone feels that a great warrior like Abhimanyu, who got killed in great war of Mahabharata, should be born in someone else’s home and not in one’s own family. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a great warrior. He was a hero not only of Maharashtra but of the entire country. During that period he performed numerous valorous acts. When these valorous acts are narrated to the masses, a sense of patriotism and national unity gets kindled in them. That is why we need to celebrate events such as the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Wars have happened in the past and will continue to occur in the future; however fighting for the sake of our country is the real cause. Duties unto our country and Dharma is the real Dharma. Swantantryaveer Sawarkar had said that Maharashtra should become the warrior arm of the country. ‘Instead of asking what your country will do for you, it is important to think what you can do for your country’. During the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Muslim rulers and the conspiring citizens were the enemies. Today, China, Pakistan, terrorists, naxalites and anti-nationals are our enemies. To win over them, the war tactics and expertise of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj would be of great significance.
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with many innate qualities, was an ideal commander for a war
Mughals, Adilshah and Kutubshah ruled during the regime of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and he had studied them in depth. War requires leadership of a genius. Chhatrapati already possessed innate leadership qualities. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also learnt a lot from Shahajiraje and Dadaji Kondev and had studied warfare, all by himself, in depth. He had also observed and analysed his enemies very well. The Maulas inculcated his virtues through his training and became his replicas. Today we are in need of such leadership.
2. The Bharatiya Army uses the warfare tactics of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
The war tactics of Maharaj are studied in depth in Indian Army. One needs to successfully clear the ‘Part B’ exam to get promoted from the cadre of Captain to Major. After I appeared this test I studied Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as part of ‘Character study’. He possessed several virtues such as courage, bravery, perseverance etc. which are essential for leadership role. He would lead the army from the front and the Bharatiya Army exactly is following it today.
In the 1999 Kargil War, the Bharatiya Army attack on Pakistan at Tiger Hill can be compared with the attack of Tanaji Malusare on Kondana fort. He and the Maulas climbed the fort using a mountain lizard. Bharatiya Army attacked Tiger Hill in a similar manner.
3. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and guerrilla warfare
A. With mountains, rivers and forests in the vicinity, the Sahyadri region was very conducive for guerrilla warfare and it is in this very region that Maharaj created self-rule. The Mughals had huge army. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj fought with them in small battles and brilliantly used guerrilla tactics against them. Guerrilla is a type of battle tactics. It is such a great tactics by which even the big enemies like Mughals, Adilshah and Kutubshah were defeated. In this warfare, the Maulas would hide along the pathway of the enemy, attack them unexpectedly and disappear. The enemy could not figure out what was happening. The attacking soldiers would live in the same area with the help of local residents. The common people of Maharashtra were the greatest strength and soldiers of guerrilla warfare. Even today the common man plays an important role in the protection of our country.
B. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to deploy guerrilla tactics not only on the land but also on the sea. He was the first king to establish a naval force because he was aware that if he neglected the sea then it could pose a threat to Maharashtra. He built forts in the sea to enable keeping an eye on the enemies. Smaller forts were built at the mouth of creeks. In an event of attack by Europeans, if they could not combat the enemy, then his ships would hide in these creeks and resurface when the opportunity arose and attack the enemy.
– (Retd.) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan, Pune
4. Forts of Maharaj are the soul of self-rule !
A. The battlefield of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was in the Sahyadri region. He established self-rule not on the plateaus but in the impassable regions. He constructed all his forts in the mountainous regions of the Sahyadri. His forts were his base. The geographical location of these forts was excellent, they were located where the enemy could not attack easily. The capers of the forts were extremely tough and there was only one road to it. That is why conquering them was extremely difficult. Hence the enemies tried to conquer them by conspiring with people in the fort. The forts had fortifications. They watch towers to track enemies and trenches and smaller forts around. It used to be extremely difficult to besiege them.
B. The forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were the soul of his self-rule. He did not use the forts only for himself, they also served as a home for his people. Provision for keeping the artillery and for carrying out surveillance was made on the forts. Their administration was excellent. The forts were self-sufficient. We need to ponder on whether we can recreate this history now.