Pune: One of the most valiant and distinguished rulers in the history of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder, and torch bearer of the illustrious Maratha Empire was born on 19th February 1630 at the Shivneri Fort near Pune.
He was named after goddess Shivai by her mother, who as per popular legend, prayed to goddess Shivai, who fulfilled her wish by blessing her with a divine child.
Episodes from the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj are nothing short of enthralling to win people’s admiration and attention by the sheer display of not just valor and conviction, but quick-wittedness. The 1659 episode of Shivaji’s life in which he defeated Afzal Khan in the famous battle of Pratapgarh holds testimony of Shivaji’s leadership acumen and mental fortitude at the age of 29.
It is his meticulous planning, strong spy-network, and unique guerilla warfare tactics that make him one of the greatest rulers in India’s history. Shivaji’s exploits against the Mughals, especially against Aurangzeb are notable feats that reflect his greatness, his conquest against the Mughal viceroy under Aurangzeb and against Mirza Raja Jai Singh, Aurangzeb’s general being the most prominent ones. Shivaji’s escape from Agra with his son was another enthralling episode from Shivaji’s life.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti or Shiv Jayanti was first celebrated in India in 1870, when Mahatma Jyotirao Phule discovered the tomb of Shivaji Maharaj on Raigad, around 100 km from Pune. In memory and honor of the visionary Indian ruler Shivaji, celebrations commenced on this day in Pune.
Later, noted freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak popularised the image of Shivaji Maharaj by highlighting his contributions and brought people together by means of it during the Independence movement. This year marks the 391st birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj.
On Shivaji Jayanti, people organize many cultural programs and processions in the honor of Shivaji Maharaj. Historical dramas depicting the life and principles of Shivaji are enacted at various places.
Speech is delivered by government officials on the life, contributions, and relevance of Shivaji in modern India. The day is associated with the pride of the people of Maharashtra. It is also celebrated in Goa and Karnataka.