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Shivaji's rule

After his coronation, Shivaji launched a wave of conquests in southern India by attacking Mughal encampments in Berar and Khandesh. He defeated and captured the forts at Vellore and Jinji in modern day Tamilnadu. He also signed a friendship treaty with the Kutubshah of Golconda. Shivaji died in 1680 at Raigad, after running a fever for three weeks.

Shivaji established an effective civil and military administration and adopted a policy of religious tolerance to accommodate all religions and sects. He made it a state policy never to desecrate a mosque or seize women. Many Muslims were loyal to him, admired him and served in his army. He also created a government with democratic structure, where 12 ministers were elected by the public - one of the first experiments in democracy in the Indian subcontinent. The chief of ministers (prime minister) was chosen by the public and was called "Peshwa".

At a time when Hindus didn't cross the sea, Shivaji built coastal forts and maintained a navy, forcing the Portuguese to give up their system of passports for Indian ships.

After his death, his elder son Sambhaji and his step-mother Soyarabai fought for control of the kingdom. After a brief struggle Sambhaji was ultimately crowned king. Aurangzeb's son, Prince Akbar, rebelled against his father and was sheltered by Sambhaji. The emperor and his entourage moved to the Deccan in 1681 to coordinate the assault on the Marathas. Aurangzeb was never to return to Agra until his death twenty-six years later.

 

All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

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