Following the triumph at Panhala, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj decided to press forward his advantage and capture lands which were under the rule of the Bijapur Adil Shahis. After the capture of the forts of Parali and Satara (captured on 26 July 1673), Maharaj had extended his dominion to the east of Ghatmatha over the present Kolhapur and Satara territories.
Forts of Chandan Vandan and Nandgiri soon fell into the hands of Maharaj. The ground fort of Wai, Karad, Shirol and Kolhapur were captured by Maharaj as well as the territories of Hukeri and Raibag.
Maharaj then turned his attention to Hubli, a flourishing centre of commerce and an important meeting ground for merchants from across the lands. Maharaj sent a strong army led by Prataprao Gujar to pillage the city at leisure, without hinderance. The booty obtained in this town was deemed to be the largest yet (about seven to eight thousand pagodas).
The English factory at Hubli came in for a share of his attention. Mr. Aungier, the Governor of Bombay had maintained friendly relations with Shivaji and had avoided any direct confrontation with the latter. He waited for the opportune moment and sought compensation for their losses (English claimed that the Marathas had taken seven thousand pagodas from them).
Maharaj replied to his letter stating that neither the English merchants were attacked or troubled during his raid of the city nor had they suffered such losses as they complained of. Maharaj to support his contention, called for inventories of the booty obtained as compiled by his men and proved that only two hundred pagodas worth had been taken from the English factory.
However, Maharaj known for his generosity and fairness reimbursed the company to this extent as well as for the losses incurred during their raid of Rajapur. He also urged them to re-establish their factory at Rajapur. This request was subsequently complied with, but when Maharaj asked for naval guns for his fleet, Aungier declined to send them. Aungier had managed to have peaceful relations with the Mughals, Abyssinians and the Marathas so far and did not wish to provoke either of them into a full-fledged battle. For Bombay, was almost entirely surrounded by Maharaj’s dominions and it would have been perilous in the extreme to court hostilities with such a formidable neighbour.
Maharaj’s ambition was to bring the western coast under his undisputed authority, and it was in furtherance of this objective that his fleet scoured the seas and made new descents upon Karwar, Ankola and other towns.
The deshmukhs in the inland territories were instigated to rebel against the oppressive rule of the Bijapur Adil Shahis. The commanders of the Bijapur court deserted their positions to save themselves from a possible fight.
It was imperative for Maharaj to have peaceful relations with Aurangzeb for him to carry out his raids into the Bijapur lands. He was beginning to lay his claim on the Deccan.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)
* Information about Hubli raided is taken from archives