The Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj (19 February 1630 – 3 April 1680), popularly known as Shivraya, ruled over his own State, carved out of Bijapur Adilshahi territory, only for a short span of six years(1674-1680), but even today he is considered the Great Maratha King who laid the foundation of benevolent rule in present day Maharashtra. Chhatrapati Shivaji was given the title of Raja (King) by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb since he was his Sardar but after the Agra Durbar episode (1666), Shivraya could fulfill his dream to establish his independent Hindavi Swaraj, a sovereign State in 1674. After Shivaji and Afazal Khan’s deadly meeting on 10 November 1659 followed by his encounter with Shaista Khan and looting Surat city in 1664, which was under the Mughal territory, the Emperor Aurangzeb was feeling ashamed.
Aurangzeb deputed one of his most important Army General, Mirza Raja Jai Singh (15 July 1611-28 August 1667), in 1665 to control or capture Shivaji. Jai Singh was the King of Amber- Jaipur and had been loyal to the Mughal Durbar. Since he knew how clever Shivaji was, he got certain pre-conditions approved by the Emperor to function freely in the Deccan region. Mirza Raja even got certain Sardars of Shivaji defected to the Mughals like Netaji Palkar. Before the Treaty of Purandhar was agreed upon, a deadly fight between the Marathas and the Mughal warriors took place. Jai Singh convinced the Emperor to give audience to Raja Shivaji in the Mughal Durbar at Agra. Before that Shivaji tried to play a Hindu card followed by writing a historical letter to Jai Singh. This letter incorporated in the first volume of the book, “Shivkaleen Patra SarSangrah”, edited by N.C. Kelkar and D. V. Apte, published in 1930 by Raigad Smarak Mandal and Bharat- Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Pune. As per the arrangements, Shivaji reached Agra on 12 May 1666 along with his son, Shambhaji, appeared before the Emperor in the birthday celebration of Aurangzeb. Both offered the Nazrana to the Mughal ruler.
Shivaji was escorted by the son of Jai Singh, Ram Singh. Since he was made to stand behind Jashwant Singh, he felt humiliated and left the Durbar. Aurangzeb conspired to kill the Maratha Sardar but Shivraya along with son managed to vanish secretly from Agra. They appeared together at Raigad on 20 November 1666! In the historical letter written in 1965 by Shivaji to Jai Singh, the Maratha leader tries to instigate the Mirza Raja against the Emperor and offers to join hands with him to demolish the Mughal Empire. Unfortunately, since his family had the matrimonial alliance with the Mughals, Jai Singh preferred to remain loyal to the Emperor till his last breath.
In a lengthy letter to Jai Singh, Shivaji conveys the Mirza Raja: “If you have come to conquer Deccan for yourself, I would prefer to offer my services at your disposal. But since you have come on behalf of Aurangzeb, I am little perplexed how to deal with you. If we both fight, the loss of the Hindus would be from both sides. One would not be considered brave and no heroism in fighting among each other.” “The intention of Aurangzeb is no brave man among the Hindus should survive. The lions should fight among each other and finish off themselves so that the vultures can rule over. You do not understand the strategy of the Mughals… I would appreciate you not to blacken the faces of Hindus by fighting with lions like us. If you have guts, you should attack the enemies of Hindu religion and get rid of Islam. If Dara Shukoh would have been the ruler of this country, he could have showered love and affection on us. But since you have ditched persons like Jashwant Singh, you cannot distinguish between good and bad. You have been fighting small fries so far and now since you have to fight with lions like me, you would realize where do you stand. You may run after mirage. It is like after making so much of efforts, you can capture a beautiful lady to be handed over to our enemy. Are you such a low level personality? Do you feel proud of earning favours of such rascal? Are you not aware of the outcome of the efforts of Zuzar Singh?”
Jai Singh was instrumental in getting Dara Shukoh, the eldest son of the Emperor Shah Jahan, captured and killed by Aurangzeb. Jai wrote a letter to Jashwant Singh of Ajmer not to extend any support to Dara. Dara believed in Hindu-Muslim harmony unlike his fanatic brother Aurangzeb. Zuzar Singh was the King of Odisha loyal to the Mughal Emperors, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, but Aurangzeb sacked him from his Durbar and made him run from pillar to post.
Shivaji writes further: “A few Muslims taking over our great country really surprises me. But this has happened not because of their adventures. They talk nicely with us and made us slaves if you try to understand. If your eyes can see, you may realize it. We need to realize how they are tying shackles in our legs and cutting off our heads by our own swords. We need to make tremendous efforts to protect Hindus, Hindustan and Hindu religion. We should go for tit for tat policy. The Turks be shown the power of our swords. If you can join hands with Jashwant Singh, Raja of Marwad, and Raj Singh, Rana of Mewar, it would be of great help.” The Maratha leader expresses his desire to wipe out the influence of Islam not only from Deccan but also the power and fame of Emperor like Aurangzeb from India too.
Shivaji was a daredevil who was prepared to fight Jai Singh. Of course, both fought the battle and when Mughals had upper hand, Shivaji expressed desire for the Treaty of Purandar where he was prepared to have peace with the Mughals by offering certain forts and money to Agra Durbar apart from expressing his loyalty to the Emperor. Of course, as per the conditions laid down, Shivaji had presented himself before Aurangzeb on his birthday. Since he was insulted and arrested, his honeymoon did not last long.
Aurangzeb considered Ram Singh, the Prince of Jai Singh, responsible for Shivraya’s escape from Agra and banished him from the Durbar. Even Jai Singh died on 28 August 1667 at Burhanpur under mysterious circumstances, believed to be poisoned on the orders of Aurangzeb. Mirza Raja Jai Singh did not give an ear to the advice of Shivaji, otherwise the history of India would have been different.
Shivaji’s letter to Jaisingh.
1. O Sardar of Sardars, King of Kings, Manager of the mango-trees of the garden of Bharat.
2. 0 piece of the heart and consciousness of Ramchandra, the Rajputs hold up their heads owing to thee.
3. The grandeur of the Empire of Babar’s dynasty is rendered all the more powerful owing to thee and it is its good fortune to receive thy help.
4. 0 Jay Shah, whose fortune is ever young and whose intellect ever old, be pleased to accept the salutations and blessings of Shiva.
5. May the Creator of the world protect thee. May He show thee the path of Religion which is Justice.
8. I have heard that thou hast come to make battle upon me and to subjugate the Deccan.
7. Thou desirest in this world to make thy face glow with blood drawn from the hearts and the eyes of the Hindus.
8. But thou knowest not that thy face is painted in black, because owing to it, this country and religion are in danger.
9. If thou oonsiderest for a moment or givest thought to thy hands and thy strength,
10. Then thou wilst discover whose blood lends the glow and what will be the colour of the glow in this world and the next.
11. Further, if thou hadst come of thy own accord to conquer the Deccan, my eyes and my head could have been laid on earth for thee to tread upon.
12. I would have marched with my whole force at the stirrup of thy horse and would have yielded up to thee the country from one end to the other.
13. But thou hast in fact come to conquer at the instance of Aurangzeb and under the instigation of those who desire to destroy the Hindus.
14. I do not know how I shall deal with thee. If I join thee, there is no manliness in it.
15. For, brave men are not time servers. The lion pursues not the policy of the fox.
10. Or, if I lift up the sword and the axe, then the Hindus on both sides will suffer.
17. The greater sorrow is that my sword, which thirsts’for the blood of the Mussalmans, should be drawn from the scabbard for some other purpose.
18. E the Turks had come to fight this battle, then indeed the prey would have come to the lion in its lair,
19. For, they are Rakshasas in the guise of men devoid of justice ang religion, and sinful
20. When supremacy could not be secured hy Afzul Khan, and Shaista Khan proved no better,.
21. Thou art engaged to fight me because he (Aurangzeb) himself is not fit to bear battle with me.
22. He desires that no strong persons should be left surviving among the Hindus in this world,
23. That lions may fight among themselves and disabled, so that the fox may rule the forest.
24. How is it that his secret policy is not transparent to thy brain? It is clear that thou art under the influence of his magic spell.
25. Thou hast seen much good and evil in this world; thou hast reaped both flowers and thorns in the garden of life.
23. Is it not meet that thou shouldst fight us-people and bring the heads of Hindus to death?
27. After having attained ripe wisdom in action, do not then exhibit (the folly of) youth, but remember the saying of Saadi:
28. “The horse cannot be ridden on all the roads; sometimes discretion is the better part of valour”. (Lit. sometimes it is more fitting to throw down the shield and fly).
29. Tigers attack the deer and other animals They do not indulge in a fratricidal war with lions.
30. Or, if thy cutting sword has true water, if thy prancing horse has true spirit,
31. Then do thou attack those who are the enemies of religion and abolish Islam root and branch.
32. Had Dara Shekoh been King of the country, he would have treated his people with kindness and favours.
33. But thou deceivedst Jaswantsing; thou didst not first consider the high and the low in thy heart.
34. Thou art not satisfied with having played the fox and hast come to fight the battle with the lions.
35. What dost thou get from this running about and labouring under the Sun? Thy desires head thee to a mirage.
30. Thou art even as a mean creature who exerts his utmost and captures a beautiful damsel,
37. But, instead of tasting the fruit of that garden of beauty himself, delivers it into the hands of his rival.
38. How canst thou feel proud at the mercy of that mean man ? Dost thou know how the services of Joharsing were rewarded ?
39. Dost thou know by what means he desired to bring calamities to Prince Chhatra Sal ?
40. Dost thou know what calamities that sinful man has left inflicted on other Hindus also ?
41. I believe that thou hast attached thyself to him and hast laid down for him the self-respect of thy family.
42. But what is the value of this net in which thou art caught for the sake of the Rakshasa? This bond that binds thee is not stronger than the cord of the paijama that you wear.
48. In order to attain his ends, be hesitates not to shed the blood of his brother, or to take the life of his father.
44. Or, if thou appealest to loyalty, remember thou also thy conduct in reference to Shah Jahan.
45. L’ fate has endowed thee with any intellect or if thou seekest to pride thyself on thy manhood or manliness,
46. Then dot hou heat thy sword at the fire of distress of th.9 land thou wast born in, and wipe off the tears of the unhappy ones who suffer from tyranny.
47. Tbis is not the time for fighting between ourselves since a grave danger faces the Hindus.
48. O1 ir children, our country, our wealth, our God, our temples and our holy worshippers,
49. Are all in danger of existence owing to his mact inations and the utmost limit of suffering, that can be borne, has been reached.
50. If the work goes on like this for some time, there will not remain a vestige of ourselves on the earth.
51. It is a matter of supreme wonder that a handful of Mussalmans should establish supremacy over this vast country.
52- This supremacy is not due to any valour on their part. See, if thou hast eyes to see.
53. See, what policy of duplicity he plays with us, how differently he colours his face from time-to time.
54. He claps our own chains to our feet; h& cuts our heads with our own swords.
55. The most strenuous efforts should be made at this time to protect Hindus, Hindusthan find the Hindu Religion.
56. I desire to make an effort and bring about stability and strive my utmost for the sake of the country.
57. Polish thy sword and thy intellect and prove thyself a Turk to the Turks.
58. If thou joinest hands with Jaswantsing and divestest thy heart of the layers of trickery,
59. And if thou bringest about’ unity with the Raj Rana (of Mewar), then indeed there is hope for great things.
60. Do you all rush and fight from all sides; tramp down that serpent under the rock;
61. So that he may for some time l occupy himself with ruminating on the consequences of bis own actions; and may not further entangle the Deccan in his meshes;
82. And I may in the meantime with the aid of these and other lanoe bearing heroes make away with the other two Sultans (of Bijapur and Golkonda);
03. So that I may rain the shower of swords from the thundering clouds of my army on the Mussalmans;
64. So that, from one end of the Deccan to the other, I may wipe out the name and very vestige of Mahomedanism;
65/66. Thereafter, with the assistance of wise statesmen and the army, like the river swirling and foaming as it emerges from the mountains of the Deccan, I may come out into the plains;
67. And forthwith present myself for service with you, and then after that hear you render your accounts.
68. And then we – four – may again inaugurate a grim war and devote the battlefield to it;
69. And then the tide of our armies may be made to reach the crumbling walls of Delhi,
70. So that nothing may be left of the Aurang (throne) or the Zeb (lust), so that nothing may remain of the sword of his tyranny or the net of his policy of duplicity or dissimulation;
71. So that we may flow a river full of pure blood, and with that we may satisfy the souls of our ancestors; and
72. With the grace of God, the Just and the Giver of life, we shall entomb him (Aurangzeb) in the bowels of the earth.
78. If two hearts combine, they can burst a mountain, they can dispel and scatter the whole armies.
74. This is not a very difficult task, we only want good hearts, good eyes, and good hands. These are the really necessary things.
75. I have much to tell thee in regard to this matter which cannot in sooth be put on paper.
78. I am desirous of having a talk with thee so that no unnecessary pain or labour may be involved.
77. If such is thy desire, I shall come to thee and hear what thou hast to say.
78. Thy maiden of speech may open her mouth in privacy, and I may take guard against the words being divulged;
79. So that we put our hands to the plough of effort and practise some incantation on that mad Bakshasa.
80. I swear by my sword, by my horse, by my country, and by my religion, that no harm shall befall thee in this.
81. Or, we may find out some other way to attain our object and make our names in this world and the next.
82. Be not suspicious owing to the incident of Afzul Khan—the report spoke not truly.
83. He had secretly kept twelve hundred warlike Habsee cavalry to accomplish my death.
84. Had I not raised my arm against him first, who would have written this letter to you ?
85. But I do not believe any such thing of you; there is no inherent enmity between us.
88. Or, if I receive the desired reply from thee, I shall present myself before thee alone at night,
87. And I will show thee the secret letters which I cleverly extracted from Shaista Khan,
88. So that I may remove all doubts from thy mind and rouse thee from thy sweet sleep;
89. I may show thee the true result of thy dreams and then receive any answer;
90. Or, if this letter does not appeal to thee, then indeed I am ready with my sword to deal with thy army.
91. To-morrow, the moment the sun shall conceal his face behind the evening cloud, the orescent moon of my sword shall flash forth. That is all. God be with thee.
Reproduced from the Shivaji Souvenir 3-5-1927. pages 172 to 178, with the permission of Mr- G. S. Sardesai the reputed author of the Riyasats and Editor of the Shivaji Souvenir.