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Administration under Shivaji

Central Administration

Shivaji was assisted by eight ministers in his administration. Each of them was the head or the pradhan of the department.

The prime minister or the peshwa enjoyed superiority among his colleagues. He looked after the general administration and welfare of the kingdom, promote harmony in the administration, represent the king in his absence and put his seal below the king’s to all royal letters and dispatches.

The Amatya or Majumdar was responsible for the account of income and expenditure of the state.

The Mantri or Waqia-Nawis was responsible for the personal safety of the king and supervise his daily routine-work.

The duty of the Sachiv was to see that all royal letters and dispatches were drafted in the proper style. He also checked the accounts of the paraganas.

The Sumant or Dabir was the foreign minister. He advised the king regarding questions of war and peace with other states, received foreign ambassadors, collected news from other states and advised the king in appointing ambassadors to foreign states.

The Senapati or Sar-i-Naubat was in charge of recruitment, organisation, and discipline, training of soldiers and arranging their supplies.

Pandit Rao or Danadhyaksha looked after the charitable and religious works of the state. He also tried to attempt moral uplift of the people. The Nyayadhish was next to the king, and was the highest judicial authority in the kingdom.

Provincial Administration of Shivaji 

The kingdom of Shivaji was divided into three provinces. Each was ruled by a governor. The Northern Province was under More Trimbalc Pingle. The southern province included Konkan, south of Mumbai, and the north Kanara coast. It was governed by Aunaji Datto. The southeastern province which was under Dattaji Pant included the districts of Satara and Koihapur of the Deccan plateau, the districts of Dharwar to Kopal west of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka.

However, he could not consolidate his hold over this territory and ruled it by sheer force. Besides, Shivaji collected taxes from the territory of Kanara, south Dharwar, Sondha and Bedmir though it was yet under dispute and it was conquered just before the death of Shivaji.


Shivaji’s military administration was equally successful. His ranking of his officers both in the infantry and the cavalry, payment of wages of soldiers on the fixed day, personal supervision of their recruitment, training and promotion, etc. were all winning measures.

His guerrilla system of warfare and administrative measures concerning the forts were in a way, novelties of his military administration while keeping soldiers busy in fighting for eight months provided them the best possible training in the art of fighting.

His army observed high morality. Shivaji made certain other regulations as well concerning the army which were strictly enforced. Thereby, he was able to build up a strong fighting force which virtually became invincible m the seventeenth century. Shivaji also organised a navy which successfully safeguarded the coast-line and trade of the kingdom.

Finance and Revenue

The revenue System during the reign of Shivaji was quite an efficient one. Currency, trade tax and land revenue were the most important sources of the fixed income of Shivaji.

Shivaji collected the chauth and sardeshmukhi from the territory which was either under his enemies or under his own influence.

The revenue system of Shivaji was Ryotwari in which the state established direct contact with the peasants. The revenue system of Shivaji enhanced the prosperity of his subjects.

Thus, the kingdom of Shivaji was well-administered. He has been regarded as one of the great personalities of medieval India because he provided an efficient administration.


Sambhaji Maharaj was born in Purandar fort on 14th May 1657. Saibai was mother of Sambhaji. Grandmother Jijamata took care of Sambhaji because of death of Saibai when he was just 2 years old. He was a scholar of Sanskrit and eight other languages.

The remarkable things that Sambhaji Maharaj achieved in his short life had far-reaching effects on the whole of India. He valiantly faced the 8 lakh strong army of Aurangzeb and defeated several Mughal chieftains in the battlefield forcing them to retreat. This can be considered as the greatest achievement of Sambhaji Maharaj. This helped in the establishment of new Hindu kingdoms in the provinces of Bundelkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan in North India.

 Rajaram I

Rajaram Raje Bhonsle was the younger son of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, and half-brother of Sambhaji.

He took over the Maratha Empire as its third Chhatrapati after his brother’s death at the hands of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb in 1689. He had a very short reign, during which he was engaged in a struggle with the Mughals.

After the death of Sambhaji, Rajaram was crowned at Raigad on 12 March 1689. As the Mughals started laying siege to the region around Raigad on 25 March 1689, the widow of Sambhaji, Maharani Yesubai and her minister Ramchandra Pant Amatya sent young Rajaram to the stronghold of Pratapgad through Kavlya ghat.

Rajaram died at Satara and introduced novel changes to the administration during his tenure.


Shahu was the son of Sambhaji Maharaj and Yesubai (and the grandson of the great Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj).
He was born in 1682. His birthname was Shivaji (after his illustrious grandfather).

Soon after the execution of his father at the hands of the Mughals, Shahu and his mother Yesubai were taken away as prisoners (after the fall of fort Raigad).  He was raised in Mughal captivity.

Fort Raigad was handed over to the Mughals by Suryaji Pisal along with the queen Yesubai and the young prince Shahu, in return for the Sardeshmukhi of Wai. Years later, when Shahu returned, the first thing he did was to execute the traitor, Suryaji Pisal and many of his family members.

Aurangzeb had wanted to convert Shahu to Islam, but on the request of his daughter Zinatunnisa, Aurangzeb agreed to accept Khanderao Gujar, a son of Prataprao Gujar, as a convert instead.

It is said that it was Aurangzeb who named the child as ‘Sahu’ or the good one. It later changed to ‘Shahu’ and was used permanently by the king.

Shahu succeeded the Maratha throne (with Satara as his capital, 1708) at the age of twenty six with the help of Balaji Vishwanath, an astute diplomat who was in the service of Dhanaji Jadhav, the maratha commander in chief.

Shivaji II and Tarabai

The defeat of Shahu Shivaji II and the dowager maharani and regent in 1707 split the kingdom, with Shivaji II becoming raja of an independent Kolhapur until 1714.

Although he had four wives who gave him two born-to sons and four born-to daughters, he also adopted two sons.

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