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Measures Taken by Shivaji to Defeat the Impending Mughal Aggression

Then we come to the Forts, as I mentioned how the Fort of Devagiri was fought or rather lost. And what Shivaji did was, he brought about wide range changes in how the Forts were constructed. He built multiple entry and exit points. If you go to Maharashtra, each of these Forts, will find having multiple entry and exit points. For example, this is Fort of Torna, Zunjar Machi, there is one entry from here and there is one more entry at the opposite end of the Fort, from Budhla Machi. So multiple entry points.

Then he devised architecture accordingly, he had double walled forts such as Rajgad. He ensured that, it had a sufficient amount of not only grain stocked properly on Fort, but Forts were made self-sufficient, you could actually grow your grain on the Fort, (you could). There are plenty of water. He built many water tanks and essentially Forts could fight all by themselves. For example, the fort of Ramsej, which is north of Nasik somewhere. This Fort is not such a large place; is a smaller Fort of Shivaji. But when Aurangazeb attacked, this single fort fought for 6 years, alone. So, this is the kind of capabilities Chhatrapati Shivaji’s policies had managed to put in the Maharashtra’s forts.

Another important change he brought about, he knew when he had escaped from Mughal custody in 1668, that Mughals are going to come one fine day to the Deccan. Aurangazeb is going to come and he is going to try and wipe out whatever he has built. Chhatrapati Shivaji has built over year and with that in mind, right in 1670, we can see how visionary was Chhatrapati Shivaji, that right in 1670, he kept aside money, One lakh twenty five thousand for restoration of forts, One lakh seventy five thousand for training people and recruiting soldiers to fight for the Forts and distributed all this money fort wise, about 5,000 to Sinhagad, 10000 to Torna, 5000 to Raigad, all these different places, because he knew that when the Mughal army attacks, it may not be possible for a central location like Raigad, to control everything. Forts are going to be cut out from each other and at this time, they may not have either the ability or the time, or the money, to every time run to Raigad, ask for funds, ask for help and then again go back to the Forts back. At that time that Fort is lost.

So he gave this money to each of these Forts and that is why, they were able to withstand sieges for long periods of time, because they didn’t have to worry about repairs and recruits. He also instituted Double-Double forts, such that if one fort was about to fall or if it required supplies, it could be easily supplied from the nearby Fort, that is why we find Forts in pairs. You have Purandargad and Vajragad together, you have Rajgad and Torna together, we have this Ramsej and fort called Trimbak together. It was the fort of Trimbak, which was giving supplies to Ramsej and enabled it to withstand 6 years of continuous warfare. So this was the situation, this was the kind of Empire built by Shivaji.

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