Colonialism Vs. the Maratha Empire




Colonialism Vs. the Maratha Empire:

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had foreseen the ulterior motives of these foreigners and their ways of infiltration. He built up strategies to arrest their advances in India. The immediate measures taken by him in this direction included creation of a strong naval force and construction of sea forts. He levied octroi on British salt trade as a measure to protect local salt trade. Thus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj adopted a very strong policy against the European colonisers. Later, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj also fiercely fought the Portuguese. Chimajiappa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa I, defeated the Portuguese at Vasai. The Marathas were the only Indian rulers to adopt a policy of resistance against the European colonisers.

Portuguese, French, Dutch, British, all of them came to India as traders. However, they did not stop at that, in the course of time they also grabbed the political power. It is often said that they came to India with weighing scales but used swords and ultimately seized the Indian throne. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in India. They were mentioned as ‘Firangis’ in the historical documents of that period. The regions under Portuguese rule were mentioned as ‘Firangaan’.

Shivaji Bhonsale I 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 (emperor) of his realm at Raigad.

Chhatrapati Shivaji was one of the bravest, most progressive and sensible rulers of India. The founder of the Maratha Kingdom, Shivaji was born to be a natural leader and fighter on 19th February, 1630 in the prestigious Shivneri Fort. Till date, the day is celebrated as Shiv Jayanti with great rigour and traditional style by Maharashtrians.

He is Known as the Father of Indian Navy, Shivaji was the first to realise the importance of having a naval force, and therefore he strategically established a navy and forts at the coastline to defend the Konkan side of Maharashtra.  The Jaigad, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and other such forts still stand to testify his efforts and ideas.

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