Estimates of Shivaji by Thinkers and Writers

I. Ramchandra Nilakantha, Shivaji's Amatya

"The epoch-maker Chhatrapati was at first a Muslim's dependent but he managed from the age of fifteen to free his small jagir of Poona and based his future greatness on that small beginning, entirely relying on his own effort and initiative. ….. He welded the scattered elements of his people into united body and with their help accomplished his main object.

He established an independent kingdom of his own stretching from Salher and Ahiwant in the West Khandesh to Tanjore on the Kaveri, with unchallenged supremacy, erecting for its defence hundreds of forts and several sea bases with extensive market places.

He created his own regiments of 40 thousand paid troops, in addition to about 70 thousand shilledars or hired troopers and an infantry of some 2 lacs, a treasure which could be counted by crores, choice jewelry and material provision of every indispensable article.

"Thus he elevated his Maratha nation consisting of 96 clans to an unheard of dignity, crowning the whole achievement by occupying an exalted throne and assuming the title of Chhatrapati. He plunged the most powerful Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb into an ocean of grief.

"Indeed this miracle is God's own work performed through Shivaji's instrumentality".

II. Khafi Khan, a contemporary Historian in Muntakhab-ul-Lubab

"Shivaji had always striven to maintain the honour of the people in his territories … and was careful to maintain the honour of women and children of Muhammadans when they fell into his hands. His injunctions on this point were very strict ….."

III. Bhimsen, a contemporary historian in Tarikh-i-Dilkasha

"He was a straightforward man and a matchless soldier and knew the administrative side of the king-ship very well. He enjoyed the full confidence of his soldiers ….."

IV. Dr. Bernier, the French Doctor traveller who was in India from 1658 to 1668

"..... Shivaji is exercising all the powers of an independent sovereign. ..... He distracts the attention of Aurangzeb by his bold and never ceasing enterprises that the Mughal cannot find opportunity of conquering Vizapur. How to put down Shivaji is become his object of chief importance".

V. Contemporary English merchants of Surat

"Shivaji is the fairest friend, noblest enemy, and the most politique Prince".

"Shivaji Raja ..... marched into Karnatak and with a success as happy as Caesar's in Spain, he came, he saw, and conquered. He has taken two very strong forts, being no less dexterous thereat than Alexander the Great and became master of Bijapur. He loved his country but was not partial to any one. He had many Muslims in his service … but he could not tolerate the conversion of his Hindu brethren to either Islam or to Christianity. The underlying reason for his vengeance upon Aurangzeb was the religious policy of that monarch.

Later Estimates of Shivaji

VI. Swami Vivekanand

"Is there a greater hero, a greater saint, a greater bhakta and a greater King than Shivaji? Shivaji was the very embodiment of a born ruler of men as typified in our great epics. He was the type of the real son of India representing the true consciousness of the nation. It was he who showed what the future of India is going to be sooner or later ….."

VII. Braganca Pereira (ed.), Arquivo Portugues Oriental, Vol.III

"Wonderous mystic, adventurous and intrepid, fortunate, roving prince, with lovely and magnetic eyes, pleasing countenance, winsome and polite, magnanimous to fallen foe like Alexander, keen and a sharp intellect, quick in decision, ambitious conqueror like Julius Caesar, given to action, resolute and strict disciplinarian, expert strategist, far-sighted and constructive statesman, brilliant organizer who sagaciously countered his political rivals and antagonists like the Mughals, Turks of Bijapur, the Portuguese, the English, the Dutch, and the French, undaunted by the mighty Mughals, the greatest power in Asia, Shivaji fought the Bijapuris and carved out a grand Empire".

VIII. Sir E. Sullivan, Warriors and Statesmen of India

"He (Shivaji) possessed every quality requisite for success in the disturbed age in which he lived, he possessed … An energy and decision that would in any age have raised him to distinction ….. His strength and activity in action were the glory and admiration of his race".

IX. D. Kincaid, The Grand Rebel

"In spite of the character of a crusade which Ramdas's blessings gave to Shivaji's long struggle, it is remarkable how little religious animosity or intolerance Shivaji displayed. Even his enemies remarked on his extreme respect for Musalman priests, for mosques and for the Koran ….."

X. Cosme da Guarda, Life of the Celebrated Sevagy

"Such was the good treatment he (Shivaji) accorded to the people and such was the honesty with which he observed the capitulations that none looked upon him without a feeling of love and confidence ….."

XI. Sir Richard Temple (Oriental Experience)

"..... Shivaji was not only a bold man, but he had the peculiar power of arousing enthusiasm in others and he raised an abject race from nothingness up to empire. Besides, Shivaji was a great administrator".

XII. Acworth

"….. No man perhaps then living had a keener and juster appreciation of his own strength and the weak points of his opponents. He alone among his countrymen thoroughly gauged the sources and direction of both ….. The character of Shivaji far transcends that of Aurangzeb. Religion was a dominant feature in both, but in Aurangzeb it was degraded into pettiest, narrowest and most malignant bigotry …"

XIII. J.N. Sarkar

Shivaji's political ideals were such that we might accept them even today without any change. He aimed at giving his subjects peace, universal toleration, equal opportunities for all castes and creeds, a beneficent, active and pure system of administration, a navy for promoting trade and a trained militia for guarding the homeland ….. "All this national expansion proceeded from the initial energy of one man. Shivaji was the central power-house of the new Maharashtra …..

He was not only the maker of 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 'hero as King' like Shivaji, remains an imperishable historical legacy for the entire human race".

XIV. Jawahar Lal Nehru

"Shivaji did not belong to Maharahstra alone; he belonged to the whole Indian nation … (he was) a patriot inspired by a vision and political ideas derived from the teachings of the ancient pilosophers".

XV. Indira Gandhi

"Shivaji ranks among the greatest men of the world". Since we were a slave country, our great men (whatever their standing) have been somewhat played down in world history. Had the same person been born in a European country, he would have been praised to the skies and known everywhere. It would have been said that the he had illumined the world".