Friday, December 15, 2017

National Employment Policy of India

India has been one of the fastest growing economy of the World and has been termed as the growth engine of the future.

Despite this stellar performance on the economic front the situation of unemployment is India is pretty bad and is on towards a downward trajectory specially on account of excessive mechanisation and reduction of manual work.

Also technologies like Artificial Intelligence are further going to create a problem.

So it is expected that the Central Government is going to launch the First National Employment Policy of India in the Union Budget 2018.

The National Employment Policy is said to have a comprehensive roadmap outlined for all the employers and workers in a bid to create quality jobs across all sectors through economic, social and labour policy interventions.

National Employment Policy is said to broadly target Micro and Small Enterprises for job creation, will provide incentives to the employers, and will bring in reforms to attract employers.

However all these things are already happening through different policies of the government.

How the National Employment Policy will differ exactly from the current steps taken by the government can only be seen after the official government policy is out.

The problem of providing decent enough employment to 1 crore youth joining workforce every year requires a whole lot of innovation which is said to be addressed by this policy.

An official told The Economic Times, "The policy will moot fiscal incentives for employers across labour-intensive sectors to create more jobs as well as employees to get engaged in the organised sector as this would fetch them minimum wages and enough social security."

Few months back the National think tank of India - NITI AAYOG reported that more than unemployment, severe underemployment is what is troubling India more.

Unemployment means that you want a job you have a qualification but you do not have a job.

Underemployment means that you have a job but your efficiency and skills are not being properly employed and utilised.

National Employment Policy is said to be focussing on this issue in particular detail.

The article will be updated when further information regarding the policy is out.

Member of Parliament Qualification & Disqualification Procedure in India

For being a Member of Parliament in India qualifications laid down in the Constitution of India

# He must be a citizen of India.

# He must make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the person authorised by the election commission for this purpose.

In his oath or affirmation, he swears

1. To bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India

2. To uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India

# He must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years of age in the case of the Lok Sabha.

# He must possess other qualifications prescribed by Parliament.

Qualifications which are being laid down in the Representation of People Act (1951) and not in the Constitution of India

He has to be registered as a voter in any parliamentary constituency of India.

This is applicable for both, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

Before 2003, there was a rule that contesting for a Rajya Sabha seat the candidate must be an elector in the particular state from where he is contesting but this requirement has been waived off since 2003.

In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of this change.

A member of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes can also contest a seat not reserved for them.

How a Member of Parliament is disqualified in India

Disqualification Conditions of Member of Parliament laid down in the Constitution

# if he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by Parliament).

# if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.

# if he is an undischarged insolvent

# if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state

# if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.

Disqualification Conditions of Member of Parliament laid down in the Representation of People Act (1951) and not in the Constitution of India

# He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections

# He must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years.

# However, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.

# Should file his election expenses within the time.

# Should not be involved in government contracts, works or services.

# He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25 per cent share

# He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the State.

# He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for bribery.

# Should not promote social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.

On the question whether a member is subject to any of the above disqualifications, the president’s decision is final.

However, he should obtain the opinion of the election commission and act accordingly.

# If the Member of Parliament is disqualified on the grounds of Defection according to the provisions of the 10th schedule of India.

Lily Thomas Case 2013

Section 8(4) of RPA, 1951 gave a reprieve of three months to legislators from immediate disqualification if they were convicted for an offence, so that they could file an appeal in the higher courts.

The SC in Lily Thomas case 2013, reversing one of its own judgment of 2005 where it accepted differential treatment of legislators and candidates, invalidated Section 8(4) on the grounds that :

(i) Differential treatment of legislators and candidates violates the law of equality as envisaged under Art 14

(ii) It interpreted Article 101(3)(a) to state that any disqualification is immediate

In order to negate this judgement the Parliament subsequently passed an amendment to RPA, 1951 reinstating Section 8(4) in effect by giving a cooling off period of 90 days and allowing the convicted legislator to continue if he/she is able to get a stay on either the sentence or conviction.

The passage of this Bill without a discussion in Rajya Sabha created huge furor as it was an action that was seemingly governed by politician – criminal nexus which has led to the menace of criminalization of politics.

However the then Law Minister Mr Kapil Sibal had argued that the amendment would prevent political victimization as false charges can be filed against a person.

In light of huge public pressure, the bill was subsequently withdrawn.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Everything about Lingayat Sect

The philosophy of Lingayatism was propounded by Basavanna who was a social reformer, Kannada poet and philosopher of the 12th century.

He was active during the reign of Kalachuri dynasty King Bijjala I in the present day state of Karnataka.

Basavanna also initiated a movement names Virashaivas which means ardent followers of Lord Shiva.

This is the reason that the terms Lingayatism and Virashaivism have been many a times used synonymously.

So Lingayatism was one of the Shaivite religious tradition which was centred around Lord Shiva.

The society was of 12th century Karnataka was severely marred by caste restrictions, feudalism and Brahmanical Hindu values.

The Karnataka Brahmanical society of that time was predominantly centred on Shiva Bhakti.

The Lingayat sect rose against the Shaivite Brahmanical traditions of discriminatory Hindu social traditions  like wearing of sacred thread, caste distinctions etc. but they kept Shiva bhakti at the centre of their faith.

This means that they wanted to purge the society off its prevalent evils.

Basavanna's aim was to propagate the feeling of brotherhood, equality and freedom.

A wider tradition of Bhakti movement was going on in South India since the 8th century.

The Lingayat sect origin can also be traced in the Shaiva Nayanar traditions which was there from 7th to 11th century.

Basavanna also promoted devotional worship but rejected the concept of temple worships and rituals.

Almost all the Bhakti traditions revolved around reforming the Hindu religion but according to some historians the case of Lingayat tradition is slightly different.

Lingayats challenged Hinduism at its roots and become a properly organised movement which led to the strict institutionalisation of the values that other Bhakti traditions were presenting as a reform.

Lingayat Bhakti movement in Karnataka transformed itself into a cult and became hereditary in nature which did not happened with other Bhakti traditions.

However in order to counter this argument in can also be said that Lingayats have many traits which make them a part of the Hindu culture.

One reason is the association of Ligayatism with Virashaivism.

Some historical evidences say that Lingayatism and Virashaivism is entirely different and many consider them to be the same as told at the start of the lecture.

One difference is that Virashaivism adopts discriminatory social practices and Vedic texts which are severely refuted by Lingayats.

There is a big debate on whether Basavanna found the Lingayat sect or was a mere reformer of the Virashaiva tradition.

Lingayat sect also includes in its teaching many aspects of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Upanishads etc.

So it is big controversy whether Lingayats are Hindu or not and can not be answered convincingly.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hybrid Electoral System In India (Combination of Proportional Representation and First Past the Post System)

What is First Past the Post System of Election in India ??

This is the system which is currently being deployed in the Lok Sabha elections and State Legislative Assembly elections to elect the members.

This is a very simple method in which that candidate is declared winner who simply secures the majority chunk of votes in the elections.

For example, Suppose in an election A,B,C,D secure 26%, 25%,25% and 24% of the votes. Then A will be declared as the winner as compared to all others A has scored the maximum number of votes.

Reasons of adopting First Past the Post System of Election in India

It is very simple and can be easily understood by the illiterate population of India.

Before Independence, several elections have occurred on the basis of First Past the Post system so the Indian populace was very much familiar with this system.

Also this system gives authority to an individual against the Proportional Representation system in which the authority lies with the political party.

What is Proportional Representation System of Election ??

In this the election results are more representative in nature as the votes polled in minority are also counted to decide the final results.

The single party dominance is difficult to achieve.

Makes power sharing between parties and interest groups more visible.

Facilitates minority parties access to representation depending on the magnitude of the votes garnered.

For understanding it completely kindly look at my President Election and Rajya Sabha election video

Hybrid System of Election

It combines the positive features of both First Past the Post and Proportional Representation system.

In this two electoral systems using different formula are implemented simultaneously.

In this the same voters vote and some seats are taken up on the basis of First Past the Post i.e. majority/plurality system and the other on the proportional representation system.

Two types are there - 

Mixed Member Proportional System (MMP)

When the results of the two elections are linked, with seat allocations at the PR level being dependent on what happens in the plurality/majority (or other) seats and compensating for any disproportionality that arises there.

Parallel System

Where the two sets of elections are detached and distinct and are not dependent on each other for seat allocations

How Elections to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are Conducted

Elections to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are conducted directly and indirectly.

Elections to Lok Sabha - For electing members to the Lok Sabha, direct elections are conducted in the territorial constituencies where people vote directly for the representatives of different political parties.

These constituencies are exclusively made for the election purposes and are made on following two premises -

1. Every State of India is allotted a fixed number of seats in the Lok Sabha and this process is done in such a manner that the ratio of the number of seats allotted to the State and its population is same for all the states of India as far as possible.

2. After deciding the number of seats allotted to a particular State in Lok Sabha, territorial constituencies are formed in the state in such a manner that the ratio of the population of each constituency to the number of seats allotted to it is same throughout the State.

However after every Census the seats allotted and constituencies made have to be readjusted in order to account for the population rise.

But for effectively encouraging population limiting measure, the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the seat allocation to the states in Lok Sabha and also the division of States into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 statistics.

Further through the 84th Amendment Act of 2001, the restriction on readjustment was further stretched by 25 year till 2026.

However the 84th Amendment Act of 2001 and 87th Amendment Act 2003 allowed the rationalisation and delimitation of territorial constituencies on the premise of 1991 census and 2001 census respectively without altering the total number of seats allotted to each state in Lok Sabha.

Seats have also been reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and after the promulgation of the Constitution this measure was to last for 10 years (till 1960) but since then it has been extended and through the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, the reservation of seats have been extended to last till 1960.

Elections to Rajya Sabha - Elections to the Rajya Sabha happen indirectly in India. Members of the legislative assembly of all states and in Union Territories Delhi and Puducherry elect the members.

The members are elected through the method of Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote. This is same method through which the President of India is elected.

Method - Suppose there 4 vacant seats for Rajya Sabha through a State and 150 Members of Legislative Assembly. All these members will vote preferentially for this candidate and each candidate requires at least (150/(4+1))+1 vote to win. In this case 31.

What this method does it that it enables minority party to get their representative in Rajya Sabha. For eg. there are three parties having 65, 43 and 42 MLA's. So looking at the above figure we can say that parties having 65 MLA's can get 2 representatives elected and party having 43 and 42 MLA's can get 1 representative each elected if they provide first choice of a particular candidate.

Introduction to the Parliament of India (Composition and Duration)

Parliament of India is the legislative organ of the Union Government.

Parliament has a central position in the Indian democratic political system due to adoption of Parliamentary form of Government based on United Kingdom political setup.

Parliamentary form of government is also known as Westminster model of government.

Parliament of India consists of the President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Lok Sabha is also known as Lower House/First Chamber/Popular House/House of the People.

Rajya Sabha is also known as Upper House/Second Chamber/House of Elders/Council of States.

Rajya Sabha represents the States and Union Territories of India.

Lok Sabha represents people of India as a whole.

President of India is not the part of any House but is an integral part of Parliament because without his assent no bill can become a law.

Indian Parliament represents British political system and not American political system.

Parliament of India which is Parliamentary form of Government emphasizes on interdependence between legislative and executive organs whereas Presidential form emphasizes on separation of legislative and executive organs.

Composition of Indian Parliament

Lok Sabha - Maximum Strength is 552 out of which 530 are to be from states, 20 from Union Territories and 2 members to be nominated by the President from the Anglo Indian Community.

However currently our Lok Sabha has only 545 members, the reason for which is that the 7 vacant seats (552-545=7) are left for the areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Rajya Sabha - Maximum Strength is 250 out of which 238 to be sent by the states and union territories and rest 12 to be nominated by the President. 

Currently there are 245 members of Rajya Sabha, the rest 5 left vacant for future adjustment.

The fourth schedule of the Constitution decides the Rajya Sabha seat allocation.

Duration of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Lok Sabha - The normal duration is 5 years after which it automatically dissolves. 

However President can dissolve the Lok Sabha earlier than its stated tenure.

The period of Lok Sabha can be stretched during National Emergency.

Rajya Sabha - Continuous & Permanent Chamber not vulnerable to dissolution as the elections to it are indirect.

One-third members of the Rajya Sabha retire every second year and the seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations by President.

Also the retiring members of the Rajya Sabha are eligible for reelection for any number of times.

When the Constitution was promulgated the duration of the tenure of the Rajya members was not decided and left at the discretion of the Parliament.

So an arrangement was made in the Representation of People Act 1951 that the tenure of a Rajya Sabha member would be 6 years.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Institution of Peshwas Under Maratha Empire

The literal meaning of Peshwa is Prime Minister.

The Peshwa rule in India started after the Marathas.

These Peshwas were initially Prime Ministers to the Maratha rulers and commanded the armies.

Their rule started in the year 1749 AD until 1818.

The original purpose of the Peshwas was to monitor the administration and military of the Maratha Empire.

They were also responsible for managing foreign affairs with other states.

After the golden period of the Maratha kingdom which was during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj none of the other Maratha rulers were competent enough to keep their empire consolidated and under control.

Therefore after his reign the Maratha power was basically controlled by the Peshwas.

The word Peshwa was first introduced in the Deccan region by the Muslim rulers.

The very first Peshwa was Moropant Trimbak Pingle who was appointed by Chhatrapati Shivaji during his reign.

The word Peshwa is derived from the Persian language which means ‘foremost’.

According to historical findings, Peshwa Sonopant Dabir was appointed to assist Shivaji by Shaji and given the power of a Prime Minister.

Ramchandra Neelkanth Bahutkar

Ramachandra Neelkanth was one of the best administrators and foreign negotiators that the Maratha Kingdom has ever had.

He was also known as Ram Chandrapant Amarthya Bavadekar.

He was appointed in the service of Chhatrapati Shivaji and was the youngest member of his Council.

He also served Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Sambhaji II and Raja Ram.

During the period of 1618 to 1699 he received the title of a king from Chhatrapati Rajaram as ‘Hukumatpanha’.

He was also the author of the famous code of civil and military administration known as ‘Ananya Patra’.

Ramchandra was also a great Warrior and helped the Maratha rulers recapture several forts from the Mughal Empire during the period of 1690 to 1694.

He was skilled in Guerrilla warfare techniques and received the support of Great Maratha Warriors like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav.

He even took part in wars during the years 1690 to 1694.

Ramchandra Neelkanth acted as a shadow king of the Maratha Empire in the absence of Chhatrapati Rajaram.

Tarabai was appointed after Ramchandra Neelkanth Bahutkar as the Maratha Peshwa.

The Bhat family of Shrivardhan

In the Konkan region the Bhat family of Shrivardhan was appointed as the Peshwas.

When Chhatrapati Shahu was the Maratha ruler he appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhat as Peshwa in 1713 A.D.

Balaji Vishwanath Bhat was a chitpavan Brahmin and he was the first Peshwa who made the office of Peshwa, hereditary.

He was very cunning as far as diplomacy was concerned and also a great military general.

Under his leadership, he raise the Marathas from a micro minority to great power.

He was succeeded by his son Baji Rao who was also a great military leader and a diplomat just like his father.

He freed several Maratha provinces which were under the power of Mughal Supremacy and also expanded the Maratha dominance in the Deccan region.

Baji Rao I expanded the Maratha territory by including the areas of Gujarat, Malwa and parts of Bundelkhand into the empire.

The last Peshwa was Bajirao II who was defeated by the British East India Company in the third Anglo Maratha war which was fought in 1817-1818, in the battle of Khadki.

The East India Company conquered the parts of the Peshwa territories in Central Maharashtra and included them in the Bombay province.

Dispute in the Peshwas

When Chhatrapati Shahu made Baji Rao I as the Peshwa in the year 1793, he informally made the position of Peshwas hereditary.

This event was not received very well by the general Trimbak Rao Dabhade who was the commander in chief of the Maratha Army.

Trimbak was later killed in the battle of Bijapur on April 1st 1731 after which the Bhat family was given absolute control over the Maratha Empire.

Baji Rao’s son was appointed as Peshwa by Chhatrapati Shahu in the year 1740.

As the Peshwas were already imparted with significant authority to lead the Maratha army, Shahu made them his successors before his demise in the year 1749.

When the Maratha Kingdom came under the Peshwas, they called the direct descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji as ‘swami’ which means ‘the real owner’ in Marathi.

After the death of Madhav Rao in the battle of Panipat, the Peshwas were left as only ceremonial head of state.

Struggle of Shivaji and Aurungzeb, Shivaji's Successors, Treaty of Purandar

Shivaji’s Encounter with Raja Jai Singh

When Shaista Khan failed to kill Shivaji, Aurangzeb was restless and sent another one of his generals named Mirza Raja Jai Singh.

Raja Jai Singh was a Hindu general who was the scion of the Suryavanshi Kachhawa.

On Aurangzeb’s orders, he along with his general Diler Khan laid siege to Purandar while also causing a systematic loot and destruction of Maharashtra.

At that time, Murar Baji was the Maratha commandant at Purandar.

Diler Khan launched vigorous attack on the Fort of Purandar in order to break the spirit of the Maratha troops and hence he successfully forced his way through the outer defences of Purandar.

However the Maratha forces were not intimidated easily.

They piled their defences to the inner fort while simultaneously continuing their attacks on the Mughals.

One fine day, the fort commander Murar Baji decided to go out with full force and hence attacked the Mughal forces which had captured the outer fort.

The Mughal forces were taken aback by surprise attack as they were not expecting an attack of this magnitude and hence they broke ranks and rant to their camp where Diler Khan was .

This Fearless attack cost the Purandar commandant his life and hence he passed away.

With the death of Murar Baji and the dragged on Siege, forced Shivaji to arrange a compromise with Raja Jai Singh in order to protect the population of Maharashtra and end their suffering.

The Treaty of Purandar

This Treaty was signed between Mirza Jai Singh and Shivaji Maharaj.

Among many other aspects and conditions of this treaty, one which was most significant was that Shivaji was to accompany Mirza to Agra where he would be presented before Aurangzeb.

Therefore  Shivaji decided to go to Agra in the year 1666.

Shivaji’s visit to Agra

When Shivaji arrived at Agra, he was presented to the court of Aurangzeb where he was humiliated when Aurangzeb deliberately made him stand behind a lesser noble person, who was defeated by Shivaji in battle.

Aurangzeb had pre-arranged this scenario.

Consequently Shivaji left the court furious which gave Aurangzeb the excuse he was looking for to declare Shivaji of having committed the crime of contempt in the Mughal court.

Shivaji was detained in Mirza Raja Jai Singh’s house where Shivaji was originally staying.

Shivaji sensed that something was going on in Aurangzeb’s mind and he wanted to kill Shivaji and he was right because Aurangzeb had made plans to move Shivaji to the Mughal Dungeons.

Shivaji's Escape

Shivaji escaped the Mughal prison in a spectacular manner by hiding in large baskets which were meant to hold fruits and sweetmeats.

These baskets were used to send food to Brahmins and holy men every day from the prison.

Shivaji’s general, Netaji Palkar was also captured by the Mughals and was forced to convert to Islam and even change his name to Quli Mohammed Khan.

He was forced to serve as a Mughal soldier in the Afghanistan region until he also escaped and re-joined with Shivaji.

He converted to Hinduism and joined the cause of Swaraj once again.

Shivaji Coronated as Chhatrapati

After his brave escape from the Mughal clutches, he returned to Deccan where he again raised an army and recaptured all the forts which the Mughals had made him surrender according to the Treaty of Purandar.

Tanaji Malusare, was one of his brave generals and during this phase of Shivaji's might, he wreaked heaven on Mughal forces.

But while recapturing the indispensable Fort of Kondana from Uday Bhan, who was a betrayer Rajput and also the Mughal commander of the Fort, he lost his life.

Once Shivaji had recaptured all his forts, he was convinced by the Banaras Brahmin Gaga Bhatt and his mother Jijabai to formally announce himself as the king of the Marathas.

The coronation ceremony took place at Raigad on the 6th of June 1674 which was attended by the representatives of the British and other foreign powers.

Southern Campaigns of Shivaji

Shivaji launched several campaigns in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

He expanded his influence to Thanjavur in Tamilnadu.

From 1674 to 1680, it was a peaceful period for the Marathas because the Mughals had taken a step back and did not make any more attempts to disturb the might of the Marathas.

In the year 1680, when Shivaji finally died, Aurangzeb once again dared to invade Maharashtra.

Even then he was aware of the mighty Maratha forces and hence did not assign this task to any of his generals.

He himself came to Maratha in the year 1682 and stayed on in the Deccan region until he died in the year 1707.

The State of Marathas after Shivaji

After Shivaji's death, the Marathas fell into disarray.

His successor was his eldest son Sambhaji who proved inadequate to the responsibilities of the Maratha Kingdom.

He was unable to keep up the flame of Independence which was started by his father.

Although Sambhaji was extremely brave and fearless but he was very often defeated by his own vices.

He was very short tempered and indulged in activities like wine and women.

All the incredible things that Shivaji Maharaj had done in his life, it seems that he did not have enough time to groom his successor.

When Shivaji was king, his son Sambhaji quarrelled with him and left the kingdom to join with the Mughal forces to become one of their Mansabdars.

But he realised his mistakes and came back to his father to repent.

Shivaji forgave him but was extremely hurt as the chimerical nature of Sambhaji had been exposed to him.

When Sambhaji was crowned as Chhatrapati, he blindly followed policies which later on proved to be detrimental to the Maratha power.

He often took advice which was nothing but short sighted, from his friend Kavi Kailash.

In the end, he was captured by Aurangzeb and due to his outspoken nature, Aurangzeb sentenced him to death by torture.

His eyes were gouged, his tongue cut off clean along with his arms and legs.

Sambhaji suffered a very cruel death but till his last moment never released his faith to the Mughals who were trying to make him convert to Islam.

Evolution of Marathas, Shivaji, Afzal Khan, Shaista Khan & the Siege of Panhalgad

The Marathas were a proud race which were mostly found in Maharashtra, as early as the 7th century.

They are first mentioned in the army of Chalukya king Pulikeshin who fought the emperor Harsha in the 7th century and checked his southward expansion.

Before the Muslim era, the Maratha dynasty included the Chalukyas from 580 AD to 750 AD, the Rashtrakutas from 758 AD to 978 AD and the Yadavas from 1175 AD to 1318 AD.

Ramdev Rai Yadav was the last ruler of the Yadav dynasty who ruled from Devagiri.

In the year 1314 when Malik Kafur invaded the Deccan region, Ramdev Rai Yadav fought him but was defeated and hence ended the Muslim free era of the Marathas after which the Marathas accepted their status as being mercenaries under the Muslim overlords.

Marathas before Shivaji

Before the era of Shivaji began, the Marathas were simply mercenaries and revenue collectors for the Muslim rulers.

However, they constantly shifted their loyalties from one Muslim ruler to another such as Adil Shah at Bijapur, the Nizam Shahi at Ahmednagar and the Qutub shahi at Golconda.

Shivaji's father, Shahaji Bhosale also used this strategy to shift loyalties from one Muslim ruler to another.

From time to time he was under the service of the Mughals, the Adil Shahis and the Nizam Shahis but the thought of an independent Maratha Kingdom was always in his mind.

Although he did not work towards achieving that goal but this idea was inseminated into his son’s mind by Shahaji Bhosale’d wife, Jijabai, who was the mother of Shivaji.

Shivaji Maharaj - The Visionary

Shivaji was born at Shivneri Fort in Maharashtra in western parts of India in the year 1627.

His mother Jija Bai was a direct descendant of the Royal Yadav family which ruled before the Mughal Era.

Deep in her mind, she was always convinced and consumed with the idea of an independent state which was lost by her forefathers in the year 1318.

She implanted this idea in Shivaji’s mind right from his childhood and encouraged him to put his efforts towards achieving this goal.

With his mother’s support and the support of his friends, he decided to take an oath to free his country from the clutches of the Muslim rulers.

This oath was taken by him in the year 1645 in a dark cavern which had a small Hindu temple of Lord Shiva and hence marked the beginning of a long and difficult Maratha-Mughal struggle which dragged on for about a century and a half.

This struggle ended with the shifting of power from the Mughal Empire to the Marathas.

Afzal Khan

Following up on his oath of an independent state, Shivaji captured the Fort of Tarana which sent ripples in the Adil Shah’s court at Bijapur.

The ego of the Muslim rulers was displaced because a local Hindu chieftain had dared to challenge the ultimate might of the Muslims.

Therefore, Adil Shah sent his most fearsome general Afzal Khan to either capture Shivaji or kill him.

Afzal Khan had a reputation to be ruthless.

He was of a stout built and to accomplish his mission of bringing down Shivaji he tried to lure him into the plains by destroying the Hindu temples at Tuljapur, Pandharpur and Shikhar Shinganapur.

But Shivaji was more cunning then he thought and he did not fall in his trap.

So Afzal Khan had to go up the Hills of Pratapgarh to battle Shivaji.

Before the battle began, a meeting took place between Shivaji along with his close group of bodyguards and Afzal Khan.

During this meeting,when Afzal khan who was more than 6 feet tall, hugged Shivaji, who stood at about 5 feet, Afzal Khan tried to stab Shivaji in the back.

But Shivaji sensed that something was wrong and hence using his tiger claws stabbed Khan in the belly and pulled out his intestines.

Afzal Khan screamed in pain and yelled ‘Daga’, which means betrayal.

Seeing this, Khan's bodyguard, Sayed Banda tried to come to his general’s rescue and raised his sword at Shivaji.

However Shivaji’s bodyguard Jiva Mahalya swiped off Banda’s arm.

Santaji Kawji then finished off Afzal Khan and sent him to his final resting place.

Afzal Khan’s army was then massacred in the valley by the Marathan troops which was hiding behind every crevice and bush in the jungles around Pratapgarh Fort.

This shows the intelligence level of Shivaji who knew that as long as he stayed at Pratapgarh fort and used the jungles around it, Afzal Khan's army won’t stand a chance.

For this reason he did not budge from Pratapgarh even when Afzal Khan tried to lure him away into the valley by destroying Hindu temples.

This battle was fought on 10th November 1659 and a ‘Kabar’ or grave was erected by Shivaji for Afzal Khan.

The Siege of Panhalgad

Afzal Khan was one of the most fearsome generals of Adil Shah.

Even after his defeat at Pratapgarh Fort, Adil Shah was still set up on killing Shivaji and hence he sent another general Siddi Johar after him.

Siddhi decided to launch a siege on Panhalgarh which went on for several months starting from summers and till after the monsoons.

However, Shivaji Maharaj managed to escape Panhalgarh and reached safely at Vishalgad.

Now the stories of Shivaji’s escapades had reached Aurangzeb’s ears and he was furious.

He ordered his maternal uncle Shaista Khan to crush Shivaji.

Shaista Khan was accompanied by a huge and powerful army to Maharashtra where he started destruction of towns, fields, temples and every other thing that came in his path.

He provoked Shivaji by setting up camp in Shivaji’s hometown in Pune which was known as Lal Mahal.

On top of this, he also set up his harem in Shivaji’s prayer room known as Devgad.

Shivaji, although infuriated, but he bid his time for several months and one fine night he put together a small band of Marathan troops and sneaked into the Lal Mahal.

He found Shaista Khan sleeping on his bed.

When Khan saw Shivaji he tried to jump out the window but Shivaji cut off the fingers with which Shaista Khan was holding the window sill.

Moved by the pleadings of Shaista Khan's wife, Shivaji spared his life.

When Shivaji was returning from Lal Mahal, Khan ordered his troops to go after him and capture Shivaji but he was unsuccessful.

After this incident Shaista Khan had had enough and hence returned to Delhi in April 1663.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Reasons of Why the Great Mughal Empire Declined in its Power & Glory??

The Mughal Empire was at the peak of its glory during the reign of Akbar and Shahjahan.

On one hand, Akbar did a fine job expanding the territories and boundaries of the Empire with his witty military tactics combined with matrimonial associations with the neighbouring states, on the other hand Shajahan did an excellent job of consolidating and maintaining the glory of the empire.

The real downfall of the Mughal Empire began in the last days of Aurangzeb which was caused by a number of discrete reasons which we will discuss in this article.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 1 - Aurangzeb’s responsibilities

Aurangzeb’s policies and his intolerance was the main reason which led to the decline of Mughal Empire.

His forefathers had worked extremely hard to earn the loyalty and support of their subjects, especially the Rajputs and the Hindus.

But Aurangzeb paid no respect or heed to the rituals and status of the people who belonged to these communities.

He even imposed special taxes known as Jazia on people who belonged to religions other than Islam.

He put a ban on the celebration of Hindu festivals which ultimately led to the Rajput and the Hindus removing their support and loyalties.

If this was not enough, he even went as far as to execute the Sikh guru and made an enemy out of the Marathas.

This pompous attitude of his was not taken very kindly by the Marathas and they were forced to take up arms against him.

Aurangzeb was also obsessed with the southern kingdoms or the Deccan.

He spent huge resources including his army and heaps of financial support from the treasury on his Southern campaigns, which ultimately drained his empire’s economy and military leaving him exposed and vulnerable.

He was a Sunni Muslim and could not even tolerate the Shias and hence turned a big part of the Muslim community against himself.

He focused his energy a little too much on simplicity and despised singing, dancing and drinking.

These three things or activities were common habits among the people of different religions.

All these things combined, nobody liked the idea of a king who went out of his way to make the lives of the general public as difficult as possible.

In a way, Aurangzeb himself carved the coffin of the Mughal Empire.

Soon after his death the Mughal Empire crumpled.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 2 - Weak Successors of Aurungzeb

Apart from Bahadur Shah Zafar II, none of Aurangzeb’s successes were competent enough to protect Mughal Empire’s territories from hostiles.

It's not like there were no threats during the times of Akbar or Babur or Shahjahan, but they were competent enough to deal with such threats gracefully and effectively.

Aurangzeb’s successors spent most of the time enjoying the perks of the royal harems and drinking wine.

Their lavish lifestyles did not go well with the shrinking size of the empire’s treasury and also the starving public.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 3 - No definite law of succession

There was no clear cut rule as to who would inherit the throne from a Mughal emperor.

Therefore, every time an Emperor either died or was imprisoned by one of his own sons, there would follow a bloody war of succession among the sons of the Emperor.

Each one would try to influence the members of the court in their  favor so that they could put a greater claim to the throne, which ultimately divided the royal court on the basis of favouritism.

These subjects worked out of their own self interest and hence gave birth to countless conspiracies which ultimately made the Mughal Empire hollow from the inside and vulnerable to external threats

Reasons for Mughal Decline 4 - Poor economy

During Aurangzeb’s time, his obsession with the Deccan drained the treasury of the Empire and hence affected the economic stability.

The constant pressure of war was draining the empire’s resources which might be justified if the results were mostly in the Mughals favour.

However this was not the case and some of the wars did not even add the smallest of pieces of land to the Empire’s territories.

Apart from this, Aurangzeb’s successors spent their lives living lavishly on the expense of the taxes paid by the suffering peasants and merchants.

They spent the Empire’s fortune building monuments in their names and as a result, foreign invasions absolutely crumbled the economy of the state.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 5 - Low morale of the soldiers

Everywhere the Mughal Army went, they were rewarded with the spoils of war.

Given the number of wars which the Mughal army fought, they quickly became lazy, corrupt and inefficient.

The inefficiency in the ranks of the Mughal military had spread so far that sometimes they even succumbed to bribes.

The army generals refused to march on a campaign without the royal squires and constant supply of women.

These are the signs of an army which has been so corrupted and spoiled, that it could not even fulfil the purpose for which it was constituted.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 6 - Rise of new powers

As expected, different territories and communities decided break away from the main Mughal Empire and established their own kingdoms.

These powers included the Sikhs, Jats and Marathas, who ultimately settled their own independent States.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 7 - Arrival of the Europeans

The Europeans first arrived in India as simple traders and gradually started to interfere with the internal politics of India.

As we all know, the British Empire lasted for 200 years and this colonisation of India was a result of the complete destruction of the Mughal Empire by the British Empire.

The Mughal did not make enough efforts to bring India out of the medieval age and still used primitive weapons in their military whereas the British army had advanced weaponry and superior war tactics which give them an unprecedented edge in Indian history and hence brought down the last of the Mughal Emperors.