Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Climax and Disintegration of the Mughal Empire - 2 Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Climax and Disintegration of the Mughal Empire - 2 Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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 Page 1


NINETEEN
Climax and Disintegration of the
Mughal Empire—II
THE RISE OF THE MARATHAS
We have already seen that the Marathas had important positions in the
administrative and military systems of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, and that
their power and influence in the affairs of government had grown as the
Mughals advanced towards the Deccan. Both the Deccani sultans and the
Mughals made a bid for their support, and Malik Ambar used them in his
army in large numbers as loose auxiliaries. Although a number of influential
Maratha families—the Mores, the Ghatages, the Nimbalkars, etc., exercised
local authority in some areas, the Marathas did not have any large, well-
established states as the Rajputs had. The credit for setting up such a large
state goes to Shahji Bhonsale and his son, Shivaji. As we have seen, for some
time, Shahji acted as the kingmaker in Ahmadnagar, and defied the Mughals.
However, by the treaty of 1636, Shahji yielded the territories he w as
dominating. He joined the service of Bijapur and turned his energies to
Karnataka. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, Shahji tried to set
up a semi-independent principality at Bangalore, just as Mir Jumla, the
leading noble of Golconda, tried to carve out such a principality on the
Coromandel coast. A number of other chiefs, such as the Abyssinian chiefs on
the western coast, the Sidis, behaved in a similar manner. This forms the
background to Shivaji’s attempt to carve out a large principality around
Poona.
EARLY CAREER OF SHIVAJI
Shahji had left the Poona jagir to his neglected senior wife, Jija Bai, and his
minor son, Shivaji. Shivaji showed his mettle when at the young age of 18, he
Page 2


NINETEEN
Climax and Disintegration of the
Mughal Empire—II
THE RISE OF THE MARATHAS
We have already seen that the Marathas had important positions in the
administrative and military systems of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, and that
their power and influence in the affairs of government had grown as the
Mughals advanced towards the Deccan. Both the Deccani sultans and the
Mughals made a bid for their support, and Malik Ambar used them in his
army in large numbers as loose auxiliaries. Although a number of influential
Maratha families—the Mores, the Ghatages, the Nimbalkars, etc., exercised
local authority in some areas, the Marathas did not have any large, well-
established states as the Rajputs had. The credit for setting up such a large
state goes to Shahji Bhonsale and his son, Shivaji. As we have seen, for some
time, Shahji acted as the kingmaker in Ahmadnagar, and defied the Mughals.
However, by the treaty of 1636, Shahji yielded the territories he w as
dominating. He joined the service of Bijapur and turned his energies to
Karnataka. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, Shahji tried to set
up a semi-independent principality at Bangalore, just as Mir Jumla, the
leading noble of Golconda, tried to carve out such a principality on the
Coromandel coast. A number of other chiefs, such as the Abyssinian chiefs on
the western coast, the Sidis, behaved in a similar manner. This forms the
background to Shivaji’s attempt to carve out a large principality around
Poona.
EARLY CAREER OF SHIVAJI
Shahji had left the Poona jagir to his neglected senior wife, Jija Bai, and his
minor son, Shivaji. Shivaji showed his mettle when at the young age of 18, he
overran a number of hill forts near Poona—Rajgarh, Kondana and Torna in
the years 1645—47. With the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadeo in
1647, Shivaji became his own master, and the full control of his father’s jagir
passed to him.
Shivaji began his real career of conquest in 1656 when he conquered Javli
from the Maratha chief, Chandra Rao More. The Javli kingdom and the
accumulated treasure of the Mores were important, and Shivaji acquired
them by means of treachery. The conquest of Javli made him the undisputed
master of the Mavala area, or the highlands, and freed his path to the Satara
area and to the coastal strip, the Konkan. Mavali foot soldiers became a strong
part of his army. With their help, he strengthened his position by acquiring a
further series of hill forts near Poona.
The Mughal invasion of Bijapur in 1657 saved Shivaji from Bijapuri
reprisal. Shivaji first entered into negotiations with Aurangzeb, then changed
sides and made deep inroads into Mughal areas, seizing rich booty. When
Aurangzeb came to terms with the new Bijapur ruler in preparation for the
civil war, he pardoned Shivaji also. But he distrusted Shivaji, and advised the
Bijapur ruler to expel him from the Bijapuri area he had seized, and if he
wanted to employ him, employ him in Karnataka, away from the Mughal
frontiers.
With Aurangzeb away in the north, Shivaji resumed his career of conquest
at the expense of Bijapur. He burst into the Konkan, the coastal strip between
the Ghats and the sea, and seized its northern part. He also overran a number
of other hill forts. Bijapur now decided to take stern action. It sent against
Shivaji a premier Bijapuri noble, Afzal Khan, at the head of 10,000 troops,
with instructions to capture him by any means possible. Treachery was
common in those days, and both Afzal Khan and Shivaji had resorted to
treachery on a number of occasions. Shivaji’s forces were not used to open
fighting and shrank from an open contest with this powerful chief. Afzal
Khan sent an invitation to Shivaji for a personal interview, promising to get
him pardoned from the Bijapuri court. Convinced that this was a trap, Shivaji
went prepared, and murdered the Khan (1659) in a cunning but daring
manner. Shivaji put his leaderless army to rout and captured all his goods and
equipment including his artillery. Flushed with victory, the Maratha troops
Page 3


NINETEEN
Climax and Disintegration of the
Mughal Empire—II
THE RISE OF THE MARATHAS
We have already seen that the Marathas had important positions in the
administrative and military systems of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, and that
their power and influence in the affairs of government had grown as the
Mughals advanced towards the Deccan. Both the Deccani sultans and the
Mughals made a bid for their support, and Malik Ambar used them in his
army in large numbers as loose auxiliaries. Although a number of influential
Maratha families—the Mores, the Ghatages, the Nimbalkars, etc., exercised
local authority in some areas, the Marathas did not have any large, well-
established states as the Rajputs had. The credit for setting up such a large
state goes to Shahji Bhonsale and his son, Shivaji. As we have seen, for some
time, Shahji acted as the kingmaker in Ahmadnagar, and defied the Mughals.
However, by the treaty of 1636, Shahji yielded the territories he w as
dominating. He joined the service of Bijapur and turned his energies to
Karnataka. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, Shahji tried to set
up a semi-independent principality at Bangalore, just as Mir Jumla, the
leading noble of Golconda, tried to carve out such a principality on the
Coromandel coast. A number of other chiefs, such as the Abyssinian chiefs on
the western coast, the Sidis, behaved in a similar manner. This forms the
background to Shivaji’s attempt to carve out a large principality around
Poona.
EARLY CAREER OF SHIVAJI
Shahji had left the Poona jagir to his neglected senior wife, Jija Bai, and his
minor son, Shivaji. Shivaji showed his mettle when at the young age of 18, he
overran a number of hill forts near Poona—Rajgarh, Kondana and Torna in
the years 1645—47. With the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadeo in
1647, Shivaji became his own master, and the full control of his father’s jagir
passed to him.
Shivaji began his real career of conquest in 1656 when he conquered Javli
from the Maratha chief, Chandra Rao More. The Javli kingdom and the
accumulated treasure of the Mores were important, and Shivaji acquired
them by means of treachery. The conquest of Javli made him the undisputed
master of the Mavala area, or the highlands, and freed his path to the Satara
area and to the coastal strip, the Konkan. Mavali foot soldiers became a strong
part of his army. With their help, he strengthened his position by acquiring a
further series of hill forts near Poona.
The Mughal invasion of Bijapur in 1657 saved Shivaji from Bijapuri
reprisal. Shivaji first entered into negotiations with Aurangzeb, then changed
sides and made deep inroads into Mughal areas, seizing rich booty. When
Aurangzeb came to terms with the new Bijapur ruler in preparation for the
civil war, he pardoned Shivaji also. But he distrusted Shivaji, and advised the
Bijapur ruler to expel him from the Bijapuri area he had seized, and if he
wanted to employ him, employ him in Karnataka, away from the Mughal
frontiers.
With Aurangzeb away in the north, Shivaji resumed his career of conquest
at the expense of Bijapur. He burst into the Konkan, the coastal strip between
the Ghats and the sea, and seized its northern part. He also overran a number
of other hill forts. Bijapur now decided to take stern action. It sent against
Shivaji a premier Bijapuri noble, Afzal Khan, at the head of 10,000 troops,
with instructions to capture him by any means possible. Treachery was
common in those days, and both Afzal Khan and Shivaji had resorted to
treachery on a number of occasions. Shivaji’s forces were not used to open
fighting and shrank from an open contest with this powerful chief. Afzal
Khan sent an invitation to Shivaji for a personal interview, promising to get
him pardoned from the Bijapuri court. Convinced that this was a trap, Shivaji
went prepared, and murdered the Khan (1659) in a cunning but daring
manner. Shivaji put his leaderless army to rout and captured all his goods and
equipment including his artillery. Flushed with victory, the Maratha troops
overran the powerful fort of Panhala and poured into south Konkan and the
Kolhapur districts, making extensive conquests.
Shivaji’s exploits made him a legendary figure. His fame grew and he was
credited with magical powers. People flocked to him from the Maratha areas
to join his army; and even Afghan mercenaries who had been previously in
the service of Bijapur, joined his army.
Meanwhile, Aurangzeb was anxiously watching the rise of a Maratha
power so near the Mughal frontiers. Aurangzeb instructed the new Mughal
governor of the Deccan, Shaista Khan, who was related to Aurangzeb by
marriage, to invade Shivaji’s dominions.
At first, the war went badly for Shivaji. Shaista Khan occupied Poona
(1660) and made it his headquarters. He then sent detachments to wrest
control of the Konkan from Shivaji. Despite harassing attacks from Shivaji,
and the bravery of Maratha defenders, the Mughals secured their control on
north Konkan. Driven into a corner, Shivaji made a bold stroke. He infiltrated
into the camp of Shaista Khan at Poona, and at night attacked the Khan in his
haram (1663), killing his son and one of his captains, and woundingthe Khan.
This daring attack put the Khan into disgrace and Shivaji’s stock rose once
again. In anger, Aurangzeb transferred Shaista Khan to Bengal, even refusing
to give him an interview at the time of transfer as was the custom. Meanwhile,
Shivaji made another bold move. He attacked Surat, which was the premier
Mughal port, and looted it to his heart’s content (1664), returning home
laden with treasure.
TREATY OF PURANDAR AND SHIVAJI’S VISIT TO AGRA
After the failure of Shaista Khan, Aurangzeb deputed Raja Jai Singh of
Amber, who was one of the most trusted advisers of Aurangzeb, to deal with
Shivaji. Full military and administrative authority was conferred on Jai Singh
so that he was not in any way dependent on the Mughal viceroy in the
Deccan, and dealt directly with the emperor. Unlike his predecessors, Jai
Singh did not underestimate the Marathas. He made careful diplomatic and
military preparations. He appealed to all the rivals and opponents of Shivaji,
and even tried to win over the sultan of Bijapur in order to isolate Shivaji.
Page 4


NINETEEN
Climax and Disintegration of the
Mughal Empire—II
THE RISE OF THE MARATHAS
We have already seen that the Marathas had important positions in the
administrative and military systems of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, and that
their power and influence in the affairs of government had grown as the
Mughals advanced towards the Deccan. Both the Deccani sultans and the
Mughals made a bid for their support, and Malik Ambar used them in his
army in large numbers as loose auxiliaries. Although a number of influential
Maratha families—the Mores, the Ghatages, the Nimbalkars, etc., exercised
local authority in some areas, the Marathas did not have any large, well-
established states as the Rajputs had. The credit for setting up such a large
state goes to Shahji Bhonsale and his son, Shivaji. As we have seen, for some
time, Shahji acted as the kingmaker in Ahmadnagar, and defied the Mughals.
However, by the treaty of 1636, Shahji yielded the territories he w as
dominating. He joined the service of Bijapur and turned his energies to
Karnataka. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, Shahji tried to set
up a semi-independent principality at Bangalore, just as Mir Jumla, the
leading noble of Golconda, tried to carve out such a principality on the
Coromandel coast. A number of other chiefs, such as the Abyssinian chiefs on
the western coast, the Sidis, behaved in a similar manner. This forms the
background to Shivaji’s attempt to carve out a large principality around
Poona.
EARLY CAREER OF SHIVAJI
Shahji had left the Poona jagir to his neglected senior wife, Jija Bai, and his
minor son, Shivaji. Shivaji showed his mettle when at the young age of 18, he
overran a number of hill forts near Poona—Rajgarh, Kondana and Torna in
the years 1645—47. With the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadeo in
1647, Shivaji became his own master, and the full control of his father’s jagir
passed to him.
Shivaji began his real career of conquest in 1656 when he conquered Javli
from the Maratha chief, Chandra Rao More. The Javli kingdom and the
accumulated treasure of the Mores were important, and Shivaji acquired
them by means of treachery. The conquest of Javli made him the undisputed
master of the Mavala area, or the highlands, and freed his path to the Satara
area and to the coastal strip, the Konkan. Mavali foot soldiers became a strong
part of his army. With their help, he strengthened his position by acquiring a
further series of hill forts near Poona.
The Mughal invasion of Bijapur in 1657 saved Shivaji from Bijapuri
reprisal. Shivaji first entered into negotiations with Aurangzeb, then changed
sides and made deep inroads into Mughal areas, seizing rich booty. When
Aurangzeb came to terms with the new Bijapur ruler in preparation for the
civil war, he pardoned Shivaji also. But he distrusted Shivaji, and advised the
Bijapur ruler to expel him from the Bijapuri area he had seized, and if he
wanted to employ him, employ him in Karnataka, away from the Mughal
frontiers.
With Aurangzeb away in the north, Shivaji resumed his career of conquest
at the expense of Bijapur. He burst into the Konkan, the coastal strip between
the Ghats and the sea, and seized its northern part. He also overran a number
of other hill forts. Bijapur now decided to take stern action. It sent against
Shivaji a premier Bijapuri noble, Afzal Khan, at the head of 10,000 troops,
with instructions to capture him by any means possible. Treachery was
common in those days, and both Afzal Khan and Shivaji had resorted to
treachery on a number of occasions. Shivaji’s forces were not used to open
fighting and shrank from an open contest with this powerful chief. Afzal
Khan sent an invitation to Shivaji for a personal interview, promising to get
him pardoned from the Bijapuri court. Convinced that this was a trap, Shivaji
went prepared, and murdered the Khan (1659) in a cunning but daring
manner. Shivaji put his leaderless army to rout and captured all his goods and
equipment including his artillery. Flushed with victory, the Maratha troops
overran the powerful fort of Panhala and poured into south Konkan and the
Kolhapur districts, making extensive conquests.
Shivaji’s exploits made him a legendary figure. His fame grew and he was
credited with magical powers. People flocked to him from the Maratha areas
to join his army; and even Afghan mercenaries who had been previously in
the service of Bijapur, joined his army.
Meanwhile, Aurangzeb was anxiously watching the rise of a Maratha
power so near the Mughal frontiers. Aurangzeb instructed the new Mughal
governor of the Deccan, Shaista Khan, who was related to Aurangzeb by
marriage, to invade Shivaji’s dominions.
At first, the war went badly for Shivaji. Shaista Khan occupied Poona
(1660) and made it his headquarters. He then sent detachments to wrest
control of the Konkan from Shivaji. Despite harassing attacks from Shivaji,
and the bravery of Maratha defenders, the Mughals secured their control on
north Konkan. Driven into a corner, Shivaji made a bold stroke. He infiltrated
into the camp of Shaista Khan at Poona, and at night attacked the Khan in his
haram (1663), killing his son and one of his captains, and woundingthe Khan.
This daring attack put the Khan into disgrace and Shivaji’s stock rose once
again. In anger, Aurangzeb transferred Shaista Khan to Bengal, even refusing
to give him an interview at the time of transfer as was the custom. Meanwhile,
Shivaji made another bold move. He attacked Surat, which was the premier
Mughal port, and looted it to his heart’s content (1664), returning home
laden with treasure.
TREATY OF PURANDAR AND SHIVAJI’S VISIT TO AGRA
After the failure of Shaista Khan, Aurangzeb deputed Raja Jai Singh of
Amber, who was one of the most trusted advisers of Aurangzeb, to deal with
Shivaji. Full military and administrative authority was conferred on Jai Singh
so that he was not in any way dependent on the Mughal viceroy in the
Deccan, and dealt directly with the emperor. Unlike his predecessors, Jai
Singh did not underestimate the Marathas. He made careful diplomatic and
military preparations. He appealed to all the rivals and opponents of Shivaji,
and even tried to win over the sultan of Bijapur in order to isolate Shivaji.
Marching to Poona, Jai Singh decided to strike at the heart of Shivaji’s
territories— Fort Purandar where Shivaji had lodged his family and his
treasure. Jai Singh closely besieged Purandar (1665), beating off all Maratha
attempts to relieve it. With the fall of the fort in sight, and no relief likely
from any quarter, Shivaji opened negotiations with Jai Singh. After hard
bargaining, the following terms were agreed upon:
i. Out of 35 forts held by Shivaji, 23 forts with surrounding territory which
yielded a revenue of four lakhs of huns every year were to be surrendered
to the Mughals, while the remaining 12 forts with an annual income of
one lakh of huns were to be left to Shivaji ‘on condition -of service and
loyalty to the throne’.
ii. Territory worth four lakhs of huns a year in the Bijapuri Konkan, which
Shivaji had already held, was granted to him. In addition, Bijapur
territory worth five lakhs of huns a year in the uplands (Balaghat), which
Shivaji was to conquer, was also granted to him. In return for these, he
was to pay 40 lakhs huns in instalments to the Mughals.
Shivaji asked to be excused from personal service. Hence, a mansab of 5000
was granted in his place to his minor son, Sambhaji. Shivaji promised,
however, to join personally in any Mughal campaign in the Deccan.
Jai Singh cleverly threw a bone of contention between Shivaji and the
Bijapuri ruler. But the success of Jai Singh’s scheme depended upon Mughal
support to Shivaji in making up from Bijapur territory the amount he had
yielded to the Mughals. This proved to be the fatal flaw. Aurangzeb had not
lost his reservations about Shivaji, and was doubtful of the wisdom of a joint
Mughal-Maratha attack on Bijapur. But Jai Singh had larger ideas. He
considered the alliance with Shivaji the starting point of the conquest of
Bijapur and the entire Deccan. And once this had been done, Shivaji would
have no option but to remain an ally of the Mughals since, as Jai Singh wrote
to Aurangzeb, ‘We shall hem Shivaji in like the centre of a circle.’
However, the Mughal-Maratha expedition against Bijapur failed. Shivaji
who had been deputed to capture Fort Panhala was also unsuccessful. Seeing
his grandiose scheme collapsing before his eyes, Jai Singh persuaded Shivaji to
Page 5


NINETEEN
Climax and Disintegration of the
Mughal Empire—II
THE RISE OF THE MARATHAS
We have already seen that the Marathas had important positions in the
administrative and military systems of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, and that
their power and influence in the affairs of government had grown as the
Mughals advanced towards the Deccan. Both the Deccani sultans and the
Mughals made a bid for their support, and Malik Ambar used them in his
army in large numbers as loose auxiliaries. Although a number of influential
Maratha families—the Mores, the Ghatages, the Nimbalkars, etc., exercised
local authority in some areas, the Marathas did not have any large, well-
established states as the Rajputs had. The credit for setting up such a large
state goes to Shahji Bhonsale and his son, Shivaji. As we have seen, for some
time, Shahji acted as the kingmaker in Ahmadnagar, and defied the Mughals.
However, by the treaty of 1636, Shahji yielded the territories he w as
dominating. He joined the service of Bijapur and turned his energies to
Karnataka. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, Shahji tried to set
up a semi-independent principality at Bangalore, just as Mir Jumla, the
leading noble of Golconda, tried to carve out such a principality on the
Coromandel coast. A number of other chiefs, such as the Abyssinian chiefs on
the western coast, the Sidis, behaved in a similar manner. This forms the
background to Shivaji’s attempt to carve out a large principality around
Poona.
EARLY CAREER OF SHIVAJI
Shahji had left the Poona jagir to his neglected senior wife, Jija Bai, and his
minor son, Shivaji. Shivaji showed his mettle when at the young age of 18, he
overran a number of hill forts near Poona—Rajgarh, Kondana and Torna in
the years 1645—47. With the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadeo in
1647, Shivaji became his own master, and the full control of his father’s jagir
passed to him.
Shivaji began his real career of conquest in 1656 when he conquered Javli
from the Maratha chief, Chandra Rao More. The Javli kingdom and the
accumulated treasure of the Mores were important, and Shivaji acquired
them by means of treachery. The conquest of Javli made him the undisputed
master of the Mavala area, or the highlands, and freed his path to the Satara
area and to the coastal strip, the Konkan. Mavali foot soldiers became a strong
part of his army. With their help, he strengthened his position by acquiring a
further series of hill forts near Poona.
The Mughal invasion of Bijapur in 1657 saved Shivaji from Bijapuri
reprisal. Shivaji first entered into negotiations with Aurangzeb, then changed
sides and made deep inroads into Mughal areas, seizing rich booty. When
Aurangzeb came to terms with the new Bijapur ruler in preparation for the
civil war, he pardoned Shivaji also. But he distrusted Shivaji, and advised the
Bijapur ruler to expel him from the Bijapuri area he had seized, and if he
wanted to employ him, employ him in Karnataka, away from the Mughal
frontiers.
With Aurangzeb away in the north, Shivaji resumed his career of conquest
at the expense of Bijapur. He burst into the Konkan, the coastal strip between
the Ghats and the sea, and seized its northern part. He also overran a number
of other hill forts. Bijapur now decided to take stern action. It sent against
Shivaji a premier Bijapuri noble, Afzal Khan, at the head of 10,000 troops,
with instructions to capture him by any means possible. Treachery was
common in those days, and both Afzal Khan and Shivaji had resorted to
treachery on a number of occasions. Shivaji’s forces were not used to open
fighting and shrank from an open contest with this powerful chief. Afzal
Khan sent an invitation to Shivaji for a personal interview, promising to get
him pardoned from the Bijapuri court. Convinced that this was a trap, Shivaji
went prepared, and murdered the Khan (1659) in a cunning but daring
manner. Shivaji put his leaderless army to rout and captured all his goods and
equipment including his artillery. Flushed with victory, the Maratha troops
overran the powerful fort of Panhala and poured into south Konkan and the
Kolhapur districts, making extensive conquests.
Shivaji’s exploits made him a legendary figure. His fame grew and he was
credited with magical powers. People flocked to him from the Maratha areas
to join his army; and even Afghan mercenaries who had been previously in
the service of Bijapur, joined his army.
Meanwhile, Aurangzeb was anxiously watching the rise of a Maratha
power so near the Mughal frontiers. Aurangzeb instructed the new Mughal
governor of the Deccan, Shaista Khan, who was related to Aurangzeb by
marriage, to invade Shivaji’s dominions.
At first, the war went badly for Shivaji. Shaista Khan occupied Poona
(1660) and made it his headquarters. He then sent detachments to wrest
control of the Konkan from Shivaji. Despite harassing attacks from Shivaji,
and the bravery of Maratha defenders, the Mughals secured their control on
north Konkan. Driven into a corner, Shivaji made a bold stroke. He infiltrated
into the camp of Shaista Khan at Poona, and at night attacked the Khan in his
haram (1663), killing his son and one of his captains, and woundingthe Khan.
This daring attack put the Khan into disgrace and Shivaji’s stock rose once
again. In anger, Aurangzeb transferred Shaista Khan to Bengal, even refusing
to give him an interview at the time of transfer as was the custom. Meanwhile,
Shivaji made another bold move. He attacked Surat, which was the premier
Mughal port, and looted it to his heart’s content (1664), returning home
laden with treasure.
TREATY OF PURANDAR AND SHIVAJI’S VISIT TO AGRA
After the failure of Shaista Khan, Aurangzeb deputed Raja Jai Singh of
Amber, who was one of the most trusted advisers of Aurangzeb, to deal with
Shivaji. Full military and administrative authority was conferred on Jai Singh
so that he was not in any way dependent on the Mughal viceroy in the
Deccan, and dealt directly with the emperor. Unlike his predecessors, Jai
Singh did not underestimate the Marathas. He made careful diplomatic and
military preparations. He appealed to all the rivals and opponents of Shivaji,
and even tried to win over the sultan of Bijapur in order to isolate Shivaji.
Marching to Poona, Jai Singh decided to strike at the heart of Shivaji’s
territories— Fort Purandar where Shivaji had lodged his family and his
treasure. Jai Singh closely besieged Purandar (1665), beating off all Maratha
attempts to relieve it. With the fall of the fort in sight, and no relief likely
from any quarter, Shivaji opened negotiations with Jai Singh. After hard
bargaining, the following terms were agreed upon:
i. Out of 35 forts held by Shivaji, 23 forts with surrounding territory which
yielded a revenue of four lakhs of huns every year were to be surrendered
to the Mughals, while the remaining 12 forts with an annual income of
one lakh of huns were to be left to Shivaji ‘on condition -of service and
loyalty to the throne’.
ii. Territory worth four lakhs of huns a year in the Bijapuri Konkan, which
Shivaji had already held, was granted to him. In addition, Bijapur
territory worth five lakhs of huns a year in the uplands (Balaghat), which
Shivaji was to conquer, was also granted to him. In return for these, he
was to pay 40 lakhs huns in instalments to the Mughals.
Shivaji asked to be excused from personal service. Hence, a mansab of 5000
was granted in his place to his minor son, Sambhaji. Shivaji promised,
however, to join personally in any Mughal campaign in the Deccan.
Jai Singh cleverly threw a bone of contention between Shivaji and the
Bijapuri ruler. But the success of Jai Singh’s scheme depended upon Mughal
support to Shivaji in making up from Bijapur territory the amount he had
yielded to the Mughals. This proved to be the fatal flaw. Aurangzeb had not
lost his reservations about Shivaji, and was doubtful of the wisdom of a joint
Mughal-Maratha attack on Bijapur. But Jai Singh had larger ideas. He
considered the alliance with Shivaji the starting point of the conquest of
Bijapur and the entire Deccan. And once this had been done, Shivaji would
have no option but to remain an ally of the Mughals since, as Jai Singh wrote
to Aurangzeb, ‘We shall hem Shivaji in like the centre of a circle.’
However, the Mughal-Maratha expedition against Bijapur failed. Shivaji
who had been deputed to capture Fort Panhala was also unsuccessful. Seeing
his grandiose scheme collapsing before his eyes, Jai Singh persuaded Shivaji to
visit the emperor at Agra. If Shivaji and Aurangzeb could be reconciled, Jai
Singh thought, Aurangzeb might be persuaded to give greater resources for a
renewed invasion of Bijapur. But the visit proved to be a disaster. Shivaji felt
insulted when he was put in the category of mansabdars of 5000—a rank
which had been granted earlier to his minor son. Nor did the emperor, whose
birthday was being celebrated, find time to speak to Shivaji. Hence, Shivaji
walked off angrily and refused imperial service. Such an episode had never
happened, and a strong group at the court argued that exemplary punishment
should be meted out to Shivaji in order to maintain and assert imperial
dignity. Since Shivaji had come to Agra on Jai Singh’s assurance, Aurangzeb
wrote to him for advice. Jai Singh strongly argued for a lenient treatment for
Shivaji. But before any decision could be taken, Shivaji escaped from
detention (1666). The manner of Shivaji’s escape is too well known to be
repeated here.
Aurangzeb always blamed himself for his carelessness in allowing Shivaji to
escape. There is little doubt that Shivaji’s Agra visit proved to be the turning
point in Mughal relations with the Marathas— although for two years after
his return home, Shivaji kept quiet. The visit proved that, unlike Jai Singh,
Aurangzeb attached little value to the alliance with Shivaji. For him, Shivaji
was just a ‘petty bhumia ’ (land-holder). As subsequent developments proved,
Aurangzeb’s stubborn reservations about Shivaji, refusal to recognize his
importance and attaching a low price to his friendship were among the
biggest political mistakes made by Aurangzeb.
FINAL BREACH WITH SHIVAJI—SHIVAJI’S ADMINISTRATION AND
ACHIEVEMENTS
Aurangzeb virtually goaded Shivaji into resuming his career of conquest by
insisting upon a narrow interpretation of the treaty of Purandar, although
with the failure of the expedition against Bijapur, the bottom had dropped out
of the treaty. Shivaji could not be reconciled to the loss of 23 forts and
territory worth four lakhs huns a year to the Mughals without any
compensation from Bijapur. He renewed the contest with the Mughals,
sacking Surat a second time in 1670. During the next four years, he recovered
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