(Last Updated on : 20/12/2008)
On February 19th, the birthday of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated on a grand scale in Maharashtra. Shivaji's ancestors belonged to the Bhosale clan of the Maratha clan and were the headmen of the villages of Hingani, Beradi and Devalgaon in the Pune District. Shivaji was born in 1630 at the Shivneri fort, to Jijabai & Shahaji Bhosle. He was named Shiva, after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother Jijabai had prayed for a son.
Shivaji was a great leader and the creator of the Maratha nation. He founded the Hindu kingdom in the Deccan against all odds, fighting against the mighty Moghuls. He inspired and united the common man to fight against the tyranny of Moghul ruler Aurangzeb, by inculcating a sense of pride and nationality in them. The history of India is incomplete without the history of Marathas and Shivaji is the nucleus of Maratha history. Shivaji has been a source of inspiration and pride to the past generations and will continue to inspire generations in future.
The tiny kingdom established by Chhatrapati Shivaji known as "Hindavi Swaraj" (Sovereign Hindu state) grew and spread beyond Attock in Northwest India (now in Pakistan) and beyond Cuttack in East India in course of time, to become the strongest power in India. He united the Maratha chiefs from Malwa, Konkan and Desh regions the promotion of Maharashtra Dharma. He carved out a small kingdom by defeating the alien powers. He stabilized the state with effective civil and military administration. He was tolerant to all religions and sects in his state. He introduced systems in revenue collection and warned the officials against harassment of subjects. He thought ahead of times and was a true visionary.
Shivaji was not only the maker of the Maratha nation, but also the greatest constructive genius of medieval India. States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true King like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for an entire human race. His dazzling victories and ever-ready smile made him the idol of his soldiers. A royal gift of judging character was one of the main causes of his success.
Thus, on the occasion of Shivaji Jayanti processions are taken out. People dress up like Shivaji and his associates, to take part in the procession where they put up small skit, which they keep on performing all the way in the procession. A colourful procession with lezims (a traditional musical instrument) and floats is taken around the city. It terminates at Kranti Chowk where there is an impressive bronze statue of Shivaji Maharaj. Various programs are arranged on this day.