India is all set to celebrate Shiv Jayanti or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti on Friday, February 19. The Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Maratha king Shivaji and is celebrated on the same date every year. The King stood up against Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor and is known as one of the bravest rulers of India and the founder of the Maratha kingdom. The day is celebrated with much pomp and vigour, especially in the state of Maharashtra. This year will be celebrated as the 391st birth anniversary of the great Maratha.
The Maharashtra Government has declared the day as a public holiday in the state.
Who was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj?
Shivaji was born in 1630 at Shivneri Fort near Pune. The king was known for his wit and was one of the first Indian rulers who is said to have introduced the concept of “naval force” to defend the Konkan side of Maharashtra. He also employed many Muslim soldiers in his battalion and was secular to his core.
Shivaji Maharaj or Shivaji Bhosale was named after a regional Goddess Shivai and is known for creating an advanced and well-structured civil administration system. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati, or emperor of the Maratha Empire. Rather than using the Persian language, which was the norm in those times, Shivaji decided to promote the use of Marathi and Sanskrit in court and administration.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti: History and significance
The day began to be celebrated as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti or Shiv Jayanti in 1870 by Mahatma Jyotirao Phule in Pune. Mahatma Jyotirao had discovered the tomb of Shivaji Maharaj on Raigad, from around 100 km from Pune. Freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak followed the tradition later and popularised the image of Shivaji Maharaj by highlighting his contributions.
Tilak stood up against the British rule and helped bring people together during the Independence movement through Shiv Jayanti.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti: Celebrations
People organise many cultural programs and processions in the honour of Shivaji Maharaj. Plays and dramas depicting the life of Shivaji are also enacted in various places. Government officials give speeches on Shivaji’s life and his relevance in modern India. People of Maharashtra consider it as their pride and honour. The eve is also celebrated in Goa and Karnataka.