Sending off a captured Muslim Lady - Shivaji's respect for Muslim sentiments

"Shivaji had always striven to maintain the honour of the people in his territories and was careful to maintain the honour of the women and children of Muhammadans when they fell into his hands. His injunctions upon this point were very strict", writes Khafi Khan in Muntakhab-ul-Lubab. As Khafi Khan was a bitter critic of Shivaji, his testimony, if one was needed at all, about Shivaji's attitude towards the Muslims becomes significant.

In defending the Hindu religion, Shivaji was in no way actuated by any hatred towards the Muslims or towards their religion. He ensured full religious liberty to all people in his State. He honoured all saints, both Hindus and Muslims. He had many devoted Muslim officers and servants. His chief naval commanders were Muslims. Shivaji's views in matters of religion were in line with the most liberal traditions of all religions and sects which originated in India; here tolerance of each other's views was the general rule rather than an exception. On the other hand toleration of other religions on equal footing is "exceptional and contrary to the Quranic Law". This is the main fundamental difference between the religions which originated in India and Islam which originated in Arabia.

Details of the next sketch

The sketch portrays the famous incident which "created universal admiration for Shivaji's character". During the raid on Kalyan (October 1667), the Bijapuri Governor Mulla Ahmed's young daughter-in-law, who was extremely beautiful, fell in the hands of a Maratha officer Abaji Sondev. Abaji sent the lady with a suitable escort to Poona thinking that she would be an acceptable present for his young master, but Shivaji, on her arrival exclaimed, "Oh, how nice would it have been if my mother were as fair as you are", implying that in that case, he too would have been equally fair, and at once sent her to her home with apologies for her capture. He also issued a stern warning that in future, during raids and war with the enemy, women on no account should be made to suffer or treated as booty.