Shivaji Maharaj, King of Maratha, Maratha Empire, Raigad fort, Maratha, Hindu, Maharashtra, Forts of maharashtra, History Of Maharashtra, History of India,
Respectful and equal treatment to all his subjects, no cruelty or discrimination on any women and children during the raids, specific and strict instructions on guarding the forts, minute details on maintenance of store houses, artillery, grain houses and lamp-posts to avoid any mishaps and accidents [thus saving lives], preventing conflicts and battles where they may result in large scale blood shed of his troops or where they seem impossible to win, preventing battles on open fields and adopting guerrilla warfare instead, making surgical strikes on enemy than destructive strikes, building forts and garrisons to protect his subjects in times of danger - all these reflect the same basic quality of Compassion in Shivaji Maharaj.
While every ruler, big and small has always relied on an intelligence network, Shivaji Maharaj was the first Indian ruler to have an official intelligence wing. Head of this department was the famous Beherji Naik and all those people who worked as spies for Shivaji Maharaj were on his official pay-roll. Well, I must say not all of them :-)
The spiritual guru of Shivaji and his ally Samarth Ramdas Swami had a strong network of his disciples and he had established many temples and Monasteries across Southern India in kingdoms of Adilshah as well as Kutubshah. His disciples who frequently traveled between these monasteries were a great medium to exchange information - May be not the information of high urgency, but definitely the information regarding the general sentiments and well being of people, etc. Unfortunately, there is no historical reference which proves that the huge network of Samarth disciples were at any time also helping Shivaji Maharaj and hence this has to be mentioned just as a speculation.
The Best part of Shivaji's intelligence department was that he also employed people to spread the information he wanted - sometimes this information was to inspire people in joining the greater cause of Independence, sometimes it was to invoke self-respect in them and sometimes it was also to make some rumor popular.
Discipline and a well-defined Protocol, these are also the prominent qualities which Shivaji had, and which he practiced in all aspects of his life. His troops knew and followed exact signals which were to be given out in case of victory, in case of loss, in case of danger, in case any help was needed. That made communication faster and convenient. That made life of soldiers of all ranks easier. They were not needed to figure out - just acknowledge and act.
To check that all guidelines are properly followed and his men adhere to the discipline warranted, Shivaji himself conducted surprise checks from time to time. Legends and History books speak of so many examples on this.
Just like his father, Shivaji had excellent networking skills. It was this ability which helped him keep mughals at bay during the initial days of his conquest and also helped him create a huge army of dedicated soldiers and brave warriors. It is also this networking, which helped him to prevent the local landlords and warlords from changing loyalties at times of danger and enemy raids.
During the life time of Shivaji Maharaj, there were many moments of eminent dangers looming over the Maratha empire and also on the life of Shivaji Maharaj. Pratapgad episode is one such case. In all these situations, Shivaji Maharaj never gave in to the attacking mughals and sultanates. Instead of saving his own life in return of some fat title and lordship in their courts, Shivaji opted to defend his empire against those threats. He created a plan B and set guidelines on what is to happen in case he dies while tackling those threats. No wonder, Samarth Ramdas Swami refers to Shivaji as "Shrimant Yogi".
One last thing before we conclude this chapter - Shivaji was an excellent Strategist and knew exactly when to play his next step. Even when Afzalkhan started destroying prominent Hindu temples to get Shivaji and his troops out in the open ground, Shivaji knew it was not the right time to face Afzalkhan and exercised appropriate restraint. It was only when the place was in his favor and when the time was right, that Shivaji escalated the battle with Afzalkhan to the next level. He created an upper edge in the battle by careful planning, strategic thinking and timely escalation.
It is these qualities that helped Shivaji Maharaj to be a great commander of his troops during his conquest in enemy territories and also be a great ruler who could ensure that his defenses are adequate and his subjects are happy. And, it is these qualities of Shivaji Maharaj which inspired Setu Madhavrao Pagadi and Bhimsen and Khafi Khan and Swami Vivekananda and Samarth Ramdas to praise Shivaji Maharaj.