Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj : Good Governance and secularism under Swarajya

Shivaji Jayanti
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यदा यदा हि धर्मस्यग्लानिर्भवती भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम्||
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे।।

Bhagwan Shrikrishna promised this 5000 years ago. He vowed to protect Dharma whenever it was at it’s weakest. To honour his promise he reincarnated on 19th February 1630 to Jijabai and Shahaji raje at Shivneri fort in Maharashtra. In the honour of Shivai Devi he was named Shivaji. His life is filled with valour and bravery. His military tactics harrased the mughals completely. His tales are still a source of inspiration. Here I’ll discuss the governance of the great king.

Even before the advent of term ‘Secular’, Swarajya was run in a secular way. He respected his own religion along with other religions, but never let religion interfere in administration. He curbed the exploitation caused due to religion. In his raid on Surat, he strictly instructed his army not to disturb any religious shrine. In present day Goa, the temple of Saptakotishwar was famous and well respected. This sheer architectural marvel was ruthlessly destroyed by the sultans and a mosque was built over it’s remains. Chhatrapati had the mosque demolished and Shri Saptakotishwara was re-instated. This act is highly relevant today and the present day politicians should really draw lessons from it.

Women safety is still a pressing issue. It was the same back then. Hindu women and girls were abducted, raped or sold as slaves in Gulf countries. Under Chhatrapati’s rule such actions were severely punished. When the daughter in law of the Governor of Kalyan was abducted by his people and presented to him as a daasi(slave), he honoured her like his mother and sent her back to her husband with complete honour. Although the hard punishments of his time cannot be implemented today, but if every man behaves in the same way as he did, this problem will not exist.

Hindu women and girls were abducted, raped or sold as slaves in Gulf countries. Under Chhatrapati’s rule such actions were severely punished.

Environment Conservation seems like a new age problem. Governments today formulate policies on national and international level to resolve environmental issues. But in his time, Chhatrapati developed policies that promoted the plantation of trees such Mango, Neem, Chikoo etc. The army was strictly instructed against hurting these trees during any military expedition. His letters to various village heads reflects his concern about nature and it’s conservation.

These are just some instances of his administration. His ability to deal with present situation and his far sightedness are exemplary. Its a wonder that in mere 33 years of military and political career, he set such high standards while maintaining a spotless character. When people ask about Ram-Rajya, Chhatrapati’s Swarajya is the best example. On his Jayanti I pay my respects to him and pray that may his illustrious life always guide us.

Jay Bhavani!
Jay Shivaji!

Also Read : Glimpse from the history : Remembering Rajmata Jijabai

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