If Shivaji ever wanted to have a social media profile, this is how I will describe him. That is what Shivaji always meant to me – Entrepreneur, Dreamer and Visionary !! For me, no one else embodied the spirit of entrepreneurship as Shivaji did. No one ever had a vision like Shivaji did and No one else dreamed the way Shivaji did.
You must be reading this and thinking that this is just the marathi manoos (a person from the lands that Shivaji rules) speaking. Trust me, that is not the case. As a marathi manoos , I might have heard more stories of Shivaji but that has no or little impact on how I feel about the Man.
For all those who do not know much about Shivaji , just reading this wikipedia entry would be sufficient to put this post in context. I am actually going to start by borrowing few sentences from the link
” founder of the Maratha Empire, which lasted until 1818, and at its peak covered much of the Indian subcontinent.”
” Created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital, and was crowned chhatrapati (“paramount sovereign”) of the Marathas in 1674.”
” From a small contingent of 2,000 soldiers inherited from his father, Shivaji created a force of 100,000 soldiers; he built and restored strategically located forts both inland and coastal to safeguard his territory.”
I guess some more context and you will start appreciating the sentences above.
” Shivaji’s father Shahaji Bhosale was the leader of a band of mercenaries that serviced the Deccan Sultanates”
” Around 1645-6, the teenage Shivaji first expressed his concept for Hindavi swarajya “
Imagine a boy, who’s family served the rulers of the land for several decades. This boy had the vision, entrepreneurship to dream about a sovereign state for his fellow countrymen at the a very young age. What he dreamed of, was not easy. It was definitely not straightforward and it was all but simple. Today we worship entrepreneurs who think of starting companies which go on to make millions of dollars. Here was a man who’s idea of entrepreneurship was a sovereign state for his fellow countrymen. In this day and age , we adore innovation. For me Shivaji’s idea of a sovereign state was as innovative in those times as it could have been. He was ahead of times and his execution was beyond belief.
We pitch ideas to venture capitalists and hope that we get their money to play with. Shivaji pitched his idea of a sovereign state in front of his mother, teachers and friends. The only thing he was asking for in return was trust and commitment. He was the ultimate dreamer. He dreamed of a country for his people when there was nothing to support his dreams.
He was also a great visionary and a leader by example. At that very young age, he pitched his idea not just to his mother, teachers and friends but also to people at large. He was able to get them to buyin to his vision of a sovereign state and that is where he was so successful.
He must have been great at execution and making maximum use of the resources at his disposal. Imagine having just 2000 numbers in his army and taking on the might of the Mughal empire. He ended up with 100000 and his own empire which covered most of the Indian subcontinent at it’s peak. If ever there was a story to be compared with ‘David and Goliath’ this was it. Do not even get me started about his strategic acumen. He literally established the concept of guerrilla warfare in his battles and used every trick in the today’s strategy books whether it’ was market entry or alliances.
It’s just sad that he died young and was born in a different era. If Shivaji was present in this day and age, he would be giving Steve Jobs, Bill Gates a run for their money!! 🙂