The Portuguese colonised India in 1510, conquering many parts of the western coast and establishing several colonies in the east. By the end of the 19th century, Portuguese colonies in India were limited to Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Anjediva Island. Portuguese control of its Indian colonies ended when India invaded Goa in 1961 and incorporated the territories into the Indian Union.
After independence of the India on 15 August 1947, Goa people also started movement to free to Goa from Portuguese rule. Portuguese armed forces opened fire during 15 August 1955 movement when approx 8,000 people were marched to Goa free. During 1955 movement Portuguese troops killed 32 people on the spot and 225 people were deeply injured.
Indian Government sent approx 30,000 ground troops along with naval and air forces. This operation named was “Operation Vijay” which was started from 17 December 1961. In Operation Vijay, 30 armed forces were killed of the Portuguese along with 22 military killed of the Indian army. This operation was run during 36 hours while no large level violence occurred during operation. At last Governor General of the Goa Vassalo Da Silva declared Goa state as free from Portuguese rule on 18 December 1961. Finally, Goa state became as part of the India on 19 December 1961 when Indian Armed Forces under a daring, audacious and swift operation liberated Goa from the Portuguese. The deposed governor general of Portugal in India manuel antonio vassalo e-silva surrendered to the then Chief of Army Staff general Pran Nath Thapar. The War Memorial at Indian Naval Ship Gomantak was constructed in memory of seven young gallant sailors and other personnel who laid down their lives on 19 Dec 1961 in the “Operation Vijay” undertaken by the Indian Navy for liberation of Anjadiv Island and Territories of Goa, Daman and Diu from the portuguese rule.
Goa Government celebrate “Goa Liberation Day” on 19-December as public holiday every year. People celebrate holiday and remember sacrificed of the freedom fighters of the Goa who lots their life during movement from 1955 to 1961.
Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by billions of people around the world. Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.
St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (now called Turkey). He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people who needed it. Because of his kindness Nicholas was made a Saint. St. Nicholas was exiled from Myra and later put in prison during the persecution by the Emperor Diocletian. No one is really knows when he died, but it was on 6th December in either 345 or 352. In 1087, his bones were stolen from Turkey by some Italian merchant sailors. The bones are now kept in the Church named after him in the Italian port of Bari.
In the 16th Century in northern Europe, after the reformation, the stories and traditions about St. Nicholas became unpopular. But someone had to deliver presents to children at Christmas, so in the UK, particularly in England, he became ‘Father Christmas‘ or ‘Old Man Christmas‘, an old character from stories plays during the middle ages in the UK and parts of northern Europe. In France, he was then known as ‘Père Nöel‘. In some countries including parts of Austria and Germany, present giver became the ‘Christkind‘ a golden-haired baby, with wings, who symbolizes the new born baby Jesus. In the early USA his name was ‘Kris Kringle‘ (from the Christkind). Later, Dutch settlers in the USA took the old stories of St. Nicholas with them and Kris Kringle and St Nicholas became ‘Sinterklaas‘ or as we now say ‘Santa Claus‘!
In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger. By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated.
In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday. After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.
Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945 C.E.) was born on 23rd January 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. He is famously known as Netaji. Netaji was one of the prominent leaders who struggled for India’s Independence from British rule. He is most famously known for building Indian National Army with Japanese support.
Netaji’s famous slogan “You give me blood, I’ll give you Freedom” has continued to inspire many even today. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. He also adored Vivekananda as his spiritual Guru.
When he started schooling came out brilliant and scored top ranks throughout his study in school and university and completed his BA in Philosophy with a first class score in 1918. His father sent him to England to appear for the Indian Civil Service Examination as he wanted him to become a civil servant. Bose was placed fourth with highest marks in English. But his urge for participating in the freedom movement was intense that in April 1921, Bose resigned from the coveted Indian Civil Service and came back to India.
He joined the Indian National Congress, and also elected as the president of the Youth wing party. He had been a leader of the younger, radical, wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from Congress leadership positions in 1939 due to differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Netaji always believed that non-violence would never be sufficient to secure independence and advocated violent resistance. On the outbreak of the war Bose protested against Viceroy’s decision to declare war on India as he advocated mass campaign of civil disobidience.
He escaped from India in 1941 for Germany to work for India’s independence and travelled to a number of countries, including Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, so as to seek alliance with each and to attack the British government in India. He went to Singapore to lead the Indian Independence league in 1943 and re built Indan Azad Hind Fauj or Indan National Army. Under his leadership, thousands of ex-prisoners and civilian volunteers from Malaya (Malaysia) and Burma joined the army, and together they fought to drive the British imperial rulers out of the country.
Along with the Japanese army they brought independence to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and came all the way to Manipur in India. He established the Azad Hind Radio station in Germany and led the Indian nationalist movement in East Asia.
Sources reported that death of Subhash Chandra Bose was caused after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed and Bose suffered third degree burns. After his death several conspiracy theories surrounded his death.
Although it was believed that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in a plane crash on 18 August 1945, his body was never recovered. There have been many theories put forward regarding his disappearance. The government of India has set up a number of committees to investigate the case and come out with truth.
Most recently, in April 2017, someone named Sayak Sen issued a Right to Information (RTI) application asking about Gumnami Baba — the identity that many claim Netaji had taken up after surviving the plane crash. The RTI application also asked if the government has any information about Netaji’s whereabouts after August 18, 1945. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) responded to RTI saying that the government, after considering reports from various commissions, has concluded Netaji had indeed died in the 1945 plane crash.
India commemorates the day of 26th January as Republic Day when Constitution of India came into force in 1950. It is the same day when Declaration of Independence was promulgated by the Indian National Congress and this day were chosen to honor that event. This day celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British Dominion to a republic on 26th January, 1950. After getting freedom from the British rule on 15th August 1947, India was headed by King George VI till the constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950. On this day India is declared as a democratic republic nation. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first president of India.
It is one of the three national holidays of India, including Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Being a gazetted holiday all government offices and most businesses are closed on Republic Day.
Republic Day is celebrated with a great pride and enthusiasm throughout India. The main parade takes place in the national capital New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the president who unfurls the national flag. The parade starts from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace), along the Rajpath, India Gate and on to the Red Fort. The different regiments of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy participate in the parade with all their finery and official decorations. The President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute and addresses the nation. Celebrations are also held in state capitals where the Governor of the state unfurls the national flag.
Vasant Panchami, also spelled Basant Panchami, is a Hindu spring festival. It is observed on the fifth day of the Indian traditional calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of January or February. This day is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on Vasant Panchami. Vasant Panchami is also known as Shri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami.
People worship Goddess Saraswati to get enlighten with knowledge and to get rid of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance. This ritual of initiating education to children is known as “Akshar-Abhyasamor Vidya-Arambham/Praasana” which is one of the famous rituals of Vasant Panchami. Schools and colleges arrange pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess.
Purvahna Kala, which is the time between the sunrise and the midday, is considered to decide Vasant Panchami day. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the day when Panchami Tithi prevails during Purvahna Kala. Due to which Vasant Panchami might also fall on Chaturthi Tithi. Many astrologers consider Vasant Panchami as Abujha (अबूझ) day which is auspicious to start all good work. According to this belief whole Vasant Panchami day is auspicious to perform Saraswati Puja.
The colour yellow has a great significance in the celebration of Vasant Panchami. It is believed to be the symbol of blossoming flowers of mustard. Yellow attire is therefore worn by the followers of Saraswati. Moreover, the sweets and dishes prepared for the festival are usually yellow and saffron in color.
Another legend behind Vasant Panchami is based on the Hindu god of love called Kama. It is remembered as the day when Parvati approached Kama to wake up Shiva in Yogic meditation since the Maha Shivaratri. The other gods support Parvati, and seek Kama’s help to bring Shiva back from his meditation to do his duties in the world. Kama agrees and shoots arrows, made of flowers and bees, at Shiva from his heavenly bow of sugarcane in order to arouse him to pay attention to Parvati. This initiative is celebrated by Hindus as Vasant Panchami.
Guru Ravidas (1377-1527 C.E.) was a famous saint of the Bhakti Movement. His devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the Bhakti Movement. Guru Ravidas is also known as Raidas, Rohidas and Ruhidas.
According to historians Guru Ravidas was born during 1377 C.E. at Mandhuadhe in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. There is controversy on the exact birth date of Ravidas. According to some scholars it was year 1399 when Guru Ravidas was born. As per Hindu calendar Guru Ravidas was born on Magha Purnima. Hence his birth anniversary is celebrated on Magha Purnima as per Hindu lunar calendar.
His belief in one God and his unbiased religious poems won him numerous followers. In fact, around 41 of his poems were included in the religious text of the Sikhs, “Adi Granth” or “Guru Granth Sahib”. Those poems were compiled by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev. The Sant was a thinker, a socio-cultural reformer, a traveller, a spiritual figure, and, most important, a humanist who dedicated his whole life to the banishment of a treacherous caste-system. He openly denounced the notion of a Brahminical society (where Brahmins are perceived as supreme beings) and even established Begumpura, a state sans any hierarchical system of caste or creed. Guru Ravidas said, “If God actually resides in every human being, then it’s quite futile to segregate persons on the basis of caste, creed and other such hierarchical social orders.” He opposed the myth that caste plays a very important role in establishing a relation with God. He was of the belief that God is omnipresent, and anyone with a clear conscience and “bhakti” can reach God through simple prayers.
Widely known as Raidas, Guru Ravidas was an eminent figure in the Bhakti Movement which started in North India around the 15th century. His birthplace is now known as Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan and it is a major place of pilgrimage for the followers of Guru Ravidas.
Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati was the legendary catalyst who changed the tide of times. He is heralded as the grandfather of Indian Freedom Movement giving birth to the concept of ‘Swadesh‘. His call for ‘Back to the Vedas’ in late nineteenth century ushered in a widespread social and moral transformation worldwide which continues till today.
Tankara, a town in Saurashtra of the present Gujarat State, There lived a wealthy brahmin, Karshanji Laiji Tiwari by name; he was also the tahsildar of Tankara. His wife, Amrith bai, was a beautiful and virtuous woman. She was like a mother to all the villagers. In 1824, a son was born to the couple. They named. him Moolashankar. According to the custom of the place, he was also called Dayaram. This child was to become famous as Maharshi Dayananda. When he attained the age of five, Moolashankar’s education started. At the age of eight, his Upanayana Samskara (being invested with the holy thread) was performed. The boy used to perform religious rites like ‘Sandhyavan dana’ with devotion. He had a very good memory. By the time he was fourteen he had learnt by heart the Yajurveda, the scriptures and the upanishads.
Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati authored more than 70 works in all, including a 14 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, 9 volumes of Rigveda Bhasya and 4 volumes of Yajurved Bhasya. His most important and referred works are Satyarth Prakash, Sanskarvidhi, Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2) and Yajurved Bhashyam.
Maharshi completed his vedic studies under Swami Virjanand in 1864. Thereafter, he travelled across India till 1874 AD for Vedic propagation and learning. Maharshi’s first major authorship was Panchmahayajya Vidhi in 1874 AD. The Paropkarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts in 1882.
Maharshi passed away in 1883; at that time his Rig Veda Bhasyam was only more than half way. But within his short span of 10 years of work, he created a vast, deep and research based literature on the Vedic lore.
Shivaratri is great festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.
According to one story from Puranas, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This made his throat turn blue, and he was given the name Neelakantha, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.
According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu, were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. But light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness. At this, the angry Shiva revealed his true form. He punished Brahma for telling a lie, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.
At Maha Shivratri, People keep fast of whole day and night and all the Shiv temples e.g. Kashi Vishwanath temple gets congregated by the young and old devotees from the very early morning. They come to the temple to perform the puja of traditional Shivalingam and hope to get what they have prayed to the god. They take bath in the holy water of the Ganga (Symbol of the purity) early in the morning before sunrise and wear a clean clothe after the sacred bath.
Ramakrishna (1836-1886 C.E.) was a famous Saint in the 19th century in India. He was born on 18 February 1836 into a very poor but devoutly religious Brahmin family in the village of Kamarpukur, Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali and located near Calcutta on the Ganges River. He is famously known as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa among his devotees.
Young Ramakrishna was prone to experiences of spiritual reverie and temporary loss of consciousness. His early spiritual experiences included going into a state of rapture while watching the flight of cranes, and loosing consciousness of the outer world while playing the role of the god Shiva in a school play.
At one point he became frustrated, feeling he could not live any longer without seeing Kali. He demanded that the goddess appear to him. He threatened to take his own life with a ritual dagger (normally held in the hand of the Kali statue). Ramakrishna’s behavior became more erratic as time passed and began to worry his family and employer. He would take on ritual and mythical roles identifying with figures from the Puranas (medieval Indian holy books describing the adventures of gods). The group of respected religious leaders concluded that this was a case of divine madness similar in nature to that of other famous saints such as Caitanya (a fifteenth century Bengali saint). From this point on, people began to treat Ramakrishna with more respect though his unusual behavior in worship and meditation continued. A Yogi named Totapuri then became Ramakrishna’s mentor. Ramakrishna adopted the role of renunciant and learned a nondualist form of Vedanta philosophy from him. In this system, God is understood to be the formless unmanifest energy that supports the cosmos. Ramakrishna experienced a deep form of trance (nirvikalpa samadhi) under the guidance of this teacher. This state can be described as complete absorption of the soul into the divine ocean of consciousness. Ramakrishna also appealed to those with an interest in yoga and esoteric practices by practicing a non-dual form of meditation prescribed by Totapuri which seeks samadhi.
He was married to Sarada Devi who later became his spiritual counterpart and was considered a saint in her own right to take charge of his disciples and carry on his message. Swami Vivekananda was one of his famous disciples. In honor of his Guru, Swami Vivekananda founded Ramakrishna Math which works for the welfare of others and spread the spiritual movement known as Ramakrishna Movement worldwide. Belur Math is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
According to Hindu lunar calendar it was Dwitiya, Phalguna, Shukla Paksha, Vikram Samvat 1892 when Shri Ramakrishna was born. Each year the birth anniversary of Ramakrishna is celebrated as per Hindu lunar calendar across all Ramakrishna Maths.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1534 C.E.) was a great spiritual teacher and the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. The followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are known as Gaudiya Vaishnava(s). He was born as Vishvambhar Mishra on 18 February 1486 in present-day Nadia, West Bengal, India, into a Brahmin family, to Jagannath Mishra and his wife Sachi Devi. He was their tenth child and his childhood nickname was Nimai. His mother’s father, Pandita Nilambara Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child was destined for greatness in future.
He grew up to be a bright child and developed an early interest in religious pursuits. He entered the Gurukula of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara when he was eight years old. A brilliant student, he excelled in his studies and became a scholar in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric at a young age. He went to Gaya as a teenager and it was here that he met the ascetic Ishvara Puri who would become his guru. Nimai received initiation with the Gopala Krishna mantra from his guru. Upon his return to Bengal he became a prominent religious preacher and before long was considered the eminent leader of the Vaishnava group within Nadia. He soon received entrance into the sannyasa order by Keshava Bharati. After becoming a sannyasi he travelled throughout India, visiting many places, spreading the name of the Lord Krishna.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as a devotee of Krishna in Mayapur, West Bengal, India in the late fifteenth century. He introduced sankirtan, widespread congregational chanting of the Supreme Person’s names, as the most effective means by which anyone can achieve spiritual perfection. By His influence, many of India’s leading religious scholars and their followers became devotees of Krishna themselves. In His youth, Mahaprabhu started a Sanskrit academy in Navadvipa—one of India’s top centers of learning at the time—and earned a reputation as an excellent scholar. But at age twenty-four he renounced everything to travel the subcontinent, encouraging everyone he met to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, is a continuation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement.
As per Hindu lunar calendar, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born during Phalguna Purnima in the year 1542 of Vikram Samvat. Hence, followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, observe Phalguna Purnima as Gaura Purnima and it is observed as the birth anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
As per Julian calendar, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born on February 18, 1486 C.E. At the time of his birth Gregorian calendar was not invented. In proleptic Gregorian calendar it was Saturday, February 27, 1486 C.E. when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born.
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March every year. Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Holi is considered as second biggest festival on Hindu calendar after Diwali. Holi is also known as festival of Colors.
Holi was originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, but is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend Prahlad from Hindu Mythology.
The festival is also associated with the eternal love of Krishna and Radha, and hence, Holi is spread over 16 days in Braj region. Places related to life of Lord Krishna are known as Braj regions. Holi rituals in Braj regions – Mathura, Vrindavan, Gowardhan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana – are the most famous one. The Lathmar Holi – the traditional Holi festivity in Barsana is world famous.
In most regions Holi festival is celebrated for two days. The first day is known as Jalanewali Holi – the day when Holi bonfire is done. This day is also known as Chhoti Holi and Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan is referred to Kama Dahanam in South India. The second day is known as Rangwali Holi – the day when people play with colored powder and colored water. Rangwali Holi which is main Holi day is also known as Dhulandi or Dhulendi. The other less popular pronunciations of Dhulandi are Dhuleti,Dhulheti.
On first day bonfires are lit after sunset at Right Holika Dahan Muhurta. Main Holi day when people play with colors is always next day of Holika Dahan or Holi bonfire. Next day in the morning people play Holi with dry and wet colors. People play Holi with dry colored powders which are known as Gulal. Wet color is applied on the face and is made on the spot by mixing little amount of water with dry colored powder. More enthusiastic Holi folk mix dry colored powder in full bucket of water to drench complete body in wet color. Holi is marked by colourful parades accompanied by folk songs, dances and a general sense of relaxed fun. On the occasion of Holi morning, the streets fill with people running, shouting, giggling and splashing.
Shivaji Bhonsle (1630-1680 C.E.) was a great warrior King of Marathas who established the Maratha Empire. He was born in 1630 to Shahaji Bhonsle and Jijabai near the city of Junnar in Pune district, Maharashtra. Shivaji Bhonsle is popularly known as Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Shivaji was the son of Shahaji Raje Bhosale and Jijabai. Shahaji worked for the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur at that time. Shivaji was named after the goddess Shivai. The young Shivaji was brought up under the watchful eye and tutelage of his mother. She told him stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat and kindled the flame of freedom in the young Shivba. She taught him politics and religion, at the same time trained him in the art of fighting by wielding the stick and dandpatta (a kind of sword with protective armour for the arm). Shivba became a skilled swordsman and a horse rider too. Shivaji who was a secular ruler had many Muslim soldiers in his army. His sole aim was to overthrow Mughal empire and establish Maratha rule in the state. He was called the ‘Father of Indian Navy’ for his strategic plan to protect the coastline from other rulers. He established the navy, which no other Indian ruler ever did.
Shivaji knew that “He who has control of fort, has control of territory” and he decided to capture the Torna fort. Shivaji and his friends made a plan and attacked Torna in late night hours. Even before Adilshahi forces on Torna could realize that the fort has been attacked, Shivaji had captured it when he was just 16. After Torna, many other forts like Rajgad fort, Chakan fort, Kondhana fort, Purandar fort were captured.
His combat with Afzal Khan is very popular. He defeated the veteran with a single strike when they had met in a hut where they were allowed to carry a single sword. In 1659, Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, an experienced and veteran general to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what he saw as a regional revolt. Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur, hoping to draw Shivaji to the plains where the superior Bijapuri army could destroy him. Shivaji sent a letter to Afzal Khan requesting a meeting to negotiate and pretending that he was afraid of the mighty general and so they meet at Pratapgad foothills. The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by a follower. Shivaji, as a protection, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal “tiger claw”) on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand. As predicted by Shivaji, the meeting turned to be a fight. In the fight, Afzal Khan’s dagger was stopped by Shivaji’s armour, and Shivaji’s weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general.
In his rule, any crime against women was a punishable offence. By order, in his kingdom, no one was allowed to harm women. Strict punishments were meted out to people who harassed women. He is accredited for reviving Hindu traditions and promoting usage of Marathi and Sanskrit. His legacy increased with the emergence of Indian independence movement which people hailing him as a nationalist.
Scholars have two different opinions on the exact date of his birth. The one group propose February 19, 1630 and the other proposes April 6, 1627 as the birth date of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The date of February 19, 1630 has been accepted as the birth anniversary of Shivaji Jayanti by the government of Maharashtra. However, very few people realize that this date is marked on Julian calendar and not on the Gregorian calendar currently used throughout the world.
When consider the first date which has been proposed by the committee of eminent scholars. On converting February 19, 1630 from Julian calendar to Hindu lunar calendar (as per Amanta lunar calendar followed in Maharashtra) and marks Krishna Paksha Tritiya during Phalguna month as birth anniversary of Shivaji. The same Hindu date has been proposed by the eminent scholars of the committee.
Maharashtra government is all set to build the tallest statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea and have increased the size from 192 metres to 210 metres after the state government got the approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). In December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the memorial by performing the ‘jal-poojan’. The increase in height of the statue will make it the tallest in the world and in process will overtake the height of the Spring Temple Buddha in Zhaocun township of Lushan County in Henan, China.