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And again : “So many died from protracted confinement in the prisons of the revenue authorities, that there was no need of the executioner or swordsman, and no one cared to find them graves or grave-clothes." The same historian, no doubt a severe critic, speaks of the prevalence of indulgence and debauchery, extravagance in household expenditure, and accumulation of riches, as rendering it impossible to maintain the soldiery or to foster the peasants.

If I turn, in the next place, to Sivaji and his successors, it is not with the view of drawing any direct comparison between them and their former Mogul lords, for one might just as reasonably attempt to compare a Gaulish chieftain with Julius Cæsar. But the Mahratta Empire carved out by Sivaji illustrates another type of Oriental government, which is important for the purposes of comparison from the point of view already indicated.

And although Sivaji is not to be placed on the same platform with Akbar, he is nevertheless a very remarkable

An uncultured freebooter who was brought up in the wild mountains of the Konkan, a region which had never felt the heel of the conqueror, Sivaji imbibed that spirit of independence and love of adventure which could brook no superior, and which at an early age brought him into conflict with the Muhammadan Kings of Bijapur, and still later with the crafty Aurangzebe. Sivaji was a good archer, a skilful spearsman, a fearless rider, and an expert swordsman, accomplishments which marked him out for leadership amongst the lawless bands which then infested the country, and who readily joined his banner for the sake of plunder. While his father, Shahji, was serving the Government of the Sultan of Bijapur as a soldier of fortune in the Carnatic, and accumulating wealth, Sivaji was becoming the terror of that Government by the daring exploits he was performing in the districts of Poona and Sopa with the aid of his lawless Māwúlis. Now swooping down upon a treasure convoy, now attacking a hill fort, now sacking a rich town, now plunging his scorpion (bichwa) dagger into the vitals





of the unsuspecting representative of the Bijapur Government, who had consented to grant him a conference, and completing his deadly work with his steel claws (wagnuch), which he wore on his left hand, now entering with a few attendants at dead of night into the house of the Mogul Viceroy of the Deccan at Poona, and wounding him and killing his son and most of his personal guard, Sivaji was a constant nightmare to both the Great Mogul and the Sultan of Bijapur. But it is claimed for him that he at least respected cows, cultivators, and women, who were never molested ; and although he hated Muhammadans, he abstained, as a rule, from sequestrating any grants which had been made by their rulers in support of tombs, mosques, or shrines. Bold in enterprise, he was as ready to resort to dissimulation, deceit, treachery, or abject submission, in order to attain his ends. With the instincts of a statesman and the genius of an administrator, he combined the cruel nature of the tiger whom he hunted in his native mountains. He not only raised a large army, consisting of 7,000 horse and 50,000 foot, but he trained, disciplined, and officered it with a military insight and skill which excite our admiration. He also organized a powerful navy, consisting of eightyseven vessels manned with 4,000 men, with which he made rapid descents on the Malabar coast and carried off much plunder. From a petty marauder he rapidly rose to a throne, and his empire at his death embraced nearly the whole of the Konkan, extending over 250 miles in length from Kalian to Goa, and 100 miles in breadth, besides scattered districts included in the Bijapur kingdom. Kings and Princes paid him tribute to purchase peace, and powerful Chiefs acknowledged his authority. No department of the State escaped his vigilance, his masterful mind grasped all details, and was the first to detect a blot in the administration. Implicit obedience was imposed upon both civil and military officials, and no departure from express instructions was permitted in any case.

Rigid economy was observed in every department, and

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all State accounts had to be closed at the end of the

year, when balances due to the Government were recovered. His revenue system was not so complex as that of Todar Mull, but was calculated to insure a fair return to the cultivator, and protect him from exaction at the hands of the subordinate officials. The Government share of the produce was fixed at two-fifths, and that of the ryot at threefifths, which was slightly more favourable to Government than that taken under the Mogul system. No military contributions were permitted, and Sivaji very wisely set his face against two other evils which are commonly found to exist in native Governments of the older type. In the first place he abolished the practice of farming out the revenue, and insisted on all collections being made by officers appointed by himself; and in the next, he introduced a uniform system of paying all his servants in cash, refusing to adopt the proposal of making assignments for this purpose on portions of the revenue of certain villages. By this means he avoided many abuses, preserved a more effective check upon the Government realizations, and infused a higher sense of responsibility into the minds of officials of all classes. “Make your men do their duty was the advice he gave his younger brother Venkajee in one of the last letters he ever dictated, and no ruler more completely acted up to this injunction than Sivaji himself. Each man in his administration had his allotted duty, and it fared ill with him if he failed to discharge it properly. But though a hard and severe task-master, Sivaji knew how to reward loyal services with a liberal hand. He thus had the good fortune to be well served, and this circumstance, coupled with his generous treatment of Brahmins, and his own orthodox Hinduism, have secured him more than a fair meed of praise at the hands of his native biographers. He is represented as an incarnation of the Deity, and his wisdom, piety, and fortitude are set as an example for all time. But candour compels the faithful historian to say that the boasted wisdom of Sivaji was of that crooked


kind which prefers deceit and treachery to fair and open dealing, and his piety was the outward observance of all the ceremonial usages of a polytheistic religion, dictated by narrow ignorance and inflamed by a highly superstitious

His fortitude amidst trials and reverses which would have crushed many another man certainly stands out in bold relief and claims our unstinted admiration. But if we take the man as a whole—this “mountain rat," as Aurungzebe contemptuously called him—he presents such an amalgam of vice and virtue, in which the proportion of alloy is unhappily largely in excess of the pure metal, that it is impossible to hold him up for later generations,

“To serve as model for the mighty world,

And be the fair beginning of a time.” A man who never hesitated to commit murder, who saw no harm in lying, who paved his way to power by plunder, treachery and bloodshed, who preferred to overcome an enemy by trickery rather than by a display of manly courage, is not a man for whom a distant generation can be expected to feel much respect or esteem. But his extraordinary success, his brilliant feats of arms, his personal daring and

courage, his consolidation of the Mahratta power, and his administrative skill as a ruler, have converted him into a national hero whose name sheds a passing glamour over a brief page of Mahratta history, recalling the days of an empire which vied with the Mogul in greatness, and at the feet of which the Mogul Empire itself eventually lay prostrate.

A man like Sivaji, who founds an empire as the product of his own virile energy and prowess, is rarely followed by an able successor. His son Sumbhaji succeeded him in 1680 A.D.; but although he showed a certain vigour and capacity in the commencement of his reign, he was not fitted to wield the good sword Bhiwani which his father had bequeathed to him. Indeed, the innate barbarity of his disposition alienated his friends and made him odious to his subjects. He was captured in 1689 by a Mogul officer, named Tukurrib Khan, who found him besotted with drink in his mountain retreat of Sungumeshwur, and he was soon afterwards publicly beheaded, his eyes having previously been burnt out with a red-hot iron, and his tongue removed for having blasphemed the Arabian Prophet. His son Sahu (or Shao) was for many years detained in the Mogul Court as a prisoner, but was eventually released and succeeded to his grandfather's throne. Long residence at the Mogul capital had accustomed Sahu to a life of ease and pleasure which unfitted him to rule a race like the Mahrattas.

He willingly surrendered the reins to his Minister with the title of Peshwa, and contented himself with the society of the inmates of his seraglio. In that atmosphere he gradually sank into a state of mental imbecility, his chief amusement being in dressing out a favourite dog (which had once saved his life in a tiger-hunt) in gold brocade, covered with jewels, and placing his own turban on the animal. Upon his death (1750 A.D.) Poona became the capital of the Mahrattas, and for eleven years under the third Peshwa, a title which had become hereditary, the Mahrattas continued to extend their empire, and to carry it into the very centre of the Mogul possessions. But in 1761 the Battle of Panipat saw the overthrow of any cherished dream of Mahratta sovereignty supplanting that of the Mogul, and finally, in 1818, the Mahratta power was broken for ever in the time of the seventh and last Peshwa by the British forces. Under the direction of Mountstuart Elphinstone the country of the Mahrattas became a part of the Bombay Presidency, and the people were soon able to contrast the difference between the two systems of government. Thus ended an empire, which perished, as it was created, by the sword.

In many respects the rise of the Sikh power resembles that of the Mahratta, and the character of Rangit Singh has much in common with that of Sivaji. Both empires had a short-lived existence, and both arose in the conflict of race and religion, which was fanned into a blaze by the

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