The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra State Board

Shivaji Maharaj founded Swaraj. He had himself crowned. After the coronation, Maharaj accomplished ‘Dakshin Digvijay’, the conquest of the South. The Swaraj expanded comprising large areas of Nashik, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, and Thane districts of Maharashtra. It also included parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu States. To ensure the smooth management of the affairs of the Swaraj and to ensure people’s welfare, Shivaji Maharaj set up an efficient administration. We shall get some information about it in this chapter.

Ashtapradhan Mandal (Council of Eight Ministers):
At the time of his coronation, Shivaji Maharaj appointed a council of eight ministers. The administration was divided into eight departments. A Head was appointed for each department. These eight Heads of department constituted the Ashtapradhan Mandal. Maharaj alone had the power to appoint a minister or to remove him from his position. The ministers were answerable to Maharaj for the administration of their respective departments. Shivaji Maharaj selected the Council based on their merit and achievements. He did not give them jagirs, vatans or gifts or fiefs. They were paid handsome salaries instead.

The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

The Policy Regarding Agriculture:
Agriculture was the main occupation in villages. Maharaj knew the importance of agriculture. That was why he paid attention to the welfare of farmers. He entrusted the responsibility of organizing the land revenue system to his capable and experienced office bearer Annaji Datto. He warned the officers that they should not collect more revenue than the amount that was fixed. He encouraged peasants to bring uncultivated land under cultivation. If the crop was lost due to excessive rains or drought, or if an enemy army had devasted the area of the village, remissions were granted in land revenue and other taxes. Maharaj had instructed his officers to provide peasants with bullocks, ploughs, and good seeds for sowing.

Ashtapradhan Mandal of Shivaji Maharaj

Name of the Minister Designation Work
1. Moro Trimbak Pingle Pradhan Running the administration and making arrangements for the conquered territories
2. Ramchandra Nilkanth Muzumdar Amatya Keeping the Accounts of the State
3. Annaji Datto Sachiv Preparing Royal Edicts
4. Dattaji Trimbak Waknis Mantri Correspondence
5. Hambirrao Mohite Senapati Organization of the Army and Protection of the Kingdom
6. Ramchandra Trimbak Dabir Sumant Foreign Relations
7. Niraji Rawaji Nyayadhish Dispensing Justice
8. Moreshwar Panditrao Panditrao Looking after religious matters

Village Economy of that Period:
Agriculture was the backbone of the rural economy. In villages, many occupations were developed to supplement agriculture. Artisans in the village produced goods and fulfilled the needs of the local people. In this sense, a village was a self-sufficient unit. Farmers gave a definite share of their produce to artisans. This share was called ‘Baluta’.

Trade and Business:
Maharaj knew that a kingdom would not prosper without an increase in trade. Merchants bring novel goods as well as certain necessities into a kingdom. Goods become available in plenty. Trade prospers adding to wealth. The view that Maharaj took of merchants is seen in the Ajnyapatra where merchants are described as follows: ‘Merchants are the ornaments of the kingdom and the glory of the king.’

It was the policy of Maharaj to protect industries. An excellent example of this is the salt industry. He protected the salt industry in Konkan. At that time, traders imported salt from the Portuguese territory and sold it in Swaraj. That affected the local trade in the Konkon areas. So, Maharaj charged heavy duty on the salt imported into Swaraj from the Portuguese territory. The intention was that the salt imported from the Portuguese territory would then cost more and as a result, its import would decrease and the sale of the local salt would increase.

The Military Organisation:
There were two main divisions of the army of Shivaji Maharaj: infantry and cavalry. In the infantry, there were officers such as the Havaldar, Jumledar, etc. The chief of the infantry was called Sarnobat. He was the highest officer in the infantry. In the cavalry, there were two types of cavalrymen, namely Shiledars and Bargirs. The Shiledar had his horse and weapons. The bargir was provided with a horse and weapons by the State. In the cavalry, bargirls were more in number. The ranks of the cavalry officers were similar to those of the infantry officers. The highest officer in the cavalry was the Sarnobat. Netaji Palkar, Prataprao Gujar, and Hambirrao Mohite were some of the famous Sarnobats of the cavalry.

The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Intelligence Department:
It was necessary to protect the Swaraj from its enemies. For this, it was necessary to get precise and timely information about the movements of the enemy. It was the job of the intelligence department to obtain information about the movements of the enemies and submit it to Maharaj. The intelligence service of Maharaj was very efficient. Bahirji Naik was the Head of the intelligence department. He was extremely skilled in his job. He collected accurate and detailed information about Surat before the raid on Surat.

Forts were of great importance in the medieval age. Possession of a fort made it possible to keep an eye on the surrounding area. In case of foreign invasion, it was possible to protect the people taking shelter in the fort. It was possible to stock the fort with foodgrains, war materials, ammunition, and military garrison. The importance of forts in the foundation of Swaraj is well stated in the Ajnyapatra: ‘This kingdom was created by the late revered and exalted Majesty forts alone.’ There were about 300 forts in the Swaraj. Maharaj spent a considerable amount of money on the building and repairs of these forts. He built hill forts like Pratapgad, Pavangad, and Rajgad. There was a Killedar, a Sabnis, and a Karkhanis on every fort. The Karkhanis looked after the storage of foodgrains and the maintenance of war material on the fort.

The description of the building of forts by Shivaji Maharaj in the treatise ‘Budhabhusanam’ composed by Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj is remarkable. It is as follows: ‘Shivaji Maharaj built many impenetrable forts on the ridge of plateaus in the Sahyadri mountain range, in many places from Karnataka up to Baglan. The intention behind it was to protect this earth. Under his successful leadership, these forts were built from the banks of the river Krishna up to the sea in all four directions. In the Rayari Fort, Raje Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj remained at the forefront among all kings and was victorious’.

Sea Forts:
Maharaj knew the importance of sea forts, too. One of the sea forts that he built was Sindhudurga at Malwan. It is an excellent sea fort. To give strength to the construction of the fort, five khandis of lead were poured into its foundation. A sea fort called Padmadurga was built in front of Rajapuri to counter the Siddi power. About this fort, Maharaj has said in a letter that by constructing Padmadurga, he had set up ‘another Rajapuri to overshadow the Rajapuri of the Siddi.’
The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 1

Enemies on the west coast of India, the Portuguese of Goa, the Siddi of Janjira, and the British factors of Surat and Rajapur, created obstacles in the work of expanding the Swaraj. It was necessary to curb their activities and to protect the west coast. For this purpose, Maharaj raised a navy. He realized that the one who has a navy controls the sea Maharaj had great foresight.
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There were four hundred ships of various kinds in his navy. They included battleships like the Gurab, galbat, and Pal. Ships were built in the creek of Kalyan Bhivandi, Vijaydurga Malvan Mayank Bhandari and Daulatkhan were the chief naval Commanders.

The Administration of the Swaraj Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Concern for the Welfare of his Subjects:
Maharaj did not work only with the limited ambition of conquering enemy territories and establishing dominance like other things. His main objective was to make his subjects independent. He was aware that if his subjects were to get the joy of freedom, it was necessary to have a disciplined administration, take comprehensive care of people’s welfare, and protect the conquered territories. Maharaj was not merely a ruler, he was a watchful administrator who cared for his people’s welfare. This is seen in his administration of the State.

Comprehensive Maharashtra State Board Class 7 History Notes The Administration of the Swaraj can help students make connections between concepts.

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