Why History? In the school of life, history is the curriculum that encompasses a Nation’s story. History often reflects as a society, what we are and what we are not. It is rightly said that “Past assists our present, which in turn shapes our future”. History is a study of this past, a study of the glory that our ancestors strived to pass on to our generations, a study that we must keep alive to inspire mankind eternally.
19th February 1630 – a date that carved itself with gold on the rock solid foundation of Indian History, can never be forgotten not only by the Marathas or the Indians but by anyone who peeks into world history to study visionary kings and leaders. It was on this day a man of no ordinary skills and calibre, the great Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born on the Shivneri fort of Junnar.
Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj – His Story
In his short life of five decades, he created history to be remembered for more than hundreds of years and beyond. Shivaji Maharaj’s struggle against the ruling Mughals was not a “Hindu – Muslim” battle, it was a battle of survival, it was a battle for respect and a battle to safeguard his homeland. He will forever be remembered as a pioneer of “Swarajya” which coheres to the modern concept of a secular state with no castism or communalism. Often when we speak of his greatness, his face as a ruler, a fighter or a warrior surfaces in our memories but what also needs to be learnt, comprehended and remembered is his efficiency as an able administrator with the right management policies in place that made him accomplish what he had set for. What esteemed management theoreticians like Henry Fayol and F.W Taylor laid down as their “Principles of Management” in the eighteenth century were practically executed years ago by this remarkable Maratha King – Raja Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
What is Management? Shivaji and His Management
Simply put, management is the art of getting things done by the people. Creating an environment in which individuals co-operate towards effectively achieving common goals by efficiently using limited resources, is management. Shivaji Maharaj did exactly that. Any war, fight or battle involves lives of thousands of soldiers, plunders, loots and transfer of treasures. With his zealous study of prior history of many centuries, he devised his own fighting technique called as Guerrilla Warfare which was unlike any regular battle or war and often resulted in minimum mortality ratio. Maximum prowess with least number of soldiers (mavalas) in least possible time was his motto and he achieved colossal feats with the same.
Management is a process. It involves planning, organization, direction and control over all the resources involved. It is about developing relationship amongst people and inspiring them to contribute towards the goal. Under the leadership of Shivaji Maharaj, the entire Maratha army and civilians were united with a common dream of “Swarajya” and he nurtured it within all of them with no discrimination of cast and creed, or social and economic differentiation. Management is about integration, it is about bringing together the means to achieve the goal – physical or financial and imbibe harmony between all the participating factors. Shivaji Maharaj put small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, to use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.
Management has its own discipline and code of conduct. Whether it was in dealing with his own people or that of the enemy, Shivaji Maharaj had his own set of rules for the army. Women and children were treated with special care and respect. If any copy of Quran was discovered in the plunder, it was returned to the owner with due respect. The loot of the attacks had to be bought back and deposited in royal treasury only to be used for upkeep of the army, navy and the forts. There were valid rules of behaviour that the armed forces had to observe with civilians. Even in the enemy land, his forces had strict instructions not to cause any damage to crops and cattle that were the means of livelihood for the common people.
Management is all about planning and organization. Shivaji was a great administrator who planned his attacks carefully and organized the army, made use of his forts and the Sahyadri ranges to build up defence. He seized many a forts and with great planning and foresight, got them repaired and restored and protected them with a garrison that may not be mighty in number but mighty in their dedication and strength.
Management speaks about taking your followers and stakeholders in the right direction with even-handed control. Shivaji Maharaj raised and controlled his army personally. He was known to disguise himself to inspect if his garrison was alert and on their feet. He took the upkeep of the army as a priority and paid them regularly in cash. He founded his navy diligently too and his intelligence services can be role model to any modern day intelligence in its strategies and execution. He despaired the enemies and broke their alliances and thus made it easier to conquer them.
Management involves a structured organization and Shivaji had his state structure right in place. Assisted by a council of 8 ministers, law prevailed above all. Wasted, barren or disputed lands were also bought under plough. Illegal taxes, bribes, extortions, tolls were done away with. He took care of the trade and business and youth had employment opportunities in commerce of the state or its army and navy. There was a free flow of trade with corrective import export policies.
Shivaji was a great visionary with a definite mission. His strategies and principles are as relevant in today’s world as they were back then. That makes him a national youth icon for centuries together. With a charted mission and determined foresight and vision, his actions as an extraordinary king and statesman created a movement of “Swarajya” and established a spirit of fair justice for all. No wonder, his life and his principles are incorporated into many armies worldwide and many management institutions today have special curriculum dedicated to his strategies and management techniques. He was truly a hero that once comes in a lifetime.
References: Wikipedia, Shivaji The Management Guru(Book) and SlideShare Content.