Dadoji Konddev was a great warrior who had played a key role in upbringing Shivaji Maharaj like a warrior king since childhood . He was the tutor and guardian of Shivaji Maharaj who founded the great Marathas empire in 17th century .
Shivaji was shifted to the Poona district from Shivner in 1636 by Dadoji Konddev after getting the order of Shahji Raje Bhosale . He was credited for bringing back the prosperity of Pune which was the Jagir of Shahji . One of the majors step taken by Dadoji Konddev was giving concession in land tax to the peasants to encourage them to work to upgrade the prosperity of the Pune district .
Dadoji Konddev was a legendary administrator and a great scholar who gave his service to Shahaji Bhosale but he was more popular as a remarkable tutor of Shivaji Maharaj when he was in the age of 50’s.
Dadoji was born in 1577 AD in a brahmin family of Pune district. He himself was a Kulkarni of Malthan and looked after the adjoining villages of Hingri, Berdi, Deulgon and others which belonged to the Bhonsle family.
Shahji after joining the Bijapur kingdom in 1636 , handed over the Jagir of Puna district to Dadoji Konddev and ordered him to shift Jijabai and Shivaji from Shivner to Pune.
He had changed the wilderness and the uninhabited land of Pune into a civilized district after becoming the guardian of Shivaji .
According to the records, in the decade of 1637 AD – 1647 AD, Dadoji was accredited governor of fort kondhana and the district attached to it.
Shivaji’s training for becoming a warrior had started between the age of 10 to 15 .
Under the guardianship of Dadoji Kondadev and his mother Rajmata jijabai, he became a fearless warrior just at the age of 15 . Dadoji’s immediate staffs also helped Shivaji to evolve in the field of moral development and administrative duties.
Jijabai and Dadoji married Shivaji to Saibai from the Nimbalkar family about the year 1640.
Dadoji Konddev was the advisor of shahji Bhonsle and the keen observer of the situations and events around him .
He was much older than Shahji and he had immensed love for his country and hate for foreign Invaders and religious persecution.
After wandering for months for the protection of Jijabai and Shivaji from his rival, Shahji Bhonsle settled them in Poona in October 1636 AD under the guardianship of Dadoji Kondadev.
There, Dadoji built a palace for Shivaji and Jijabai at kasba which was known as Lal Mahal and procured for him expensive clothes ,jewellery and equipment so that people of Pune gave him their due respect like a king .
The palace was built in a hilly area which afforded plenty of outdoor occupation and opportunities of adventures. Now,Dadoji Kondadev had got a great exposure to train Shivaji in surviving even in the worst weather situation.
Training of Shivaji Maharaj by Dadoji
- Dadoji trained Shivaji in riding, swordsmanship, swimming through torrential floods , spear-throwing, wrestling and other sports too.
- Shivaji Maharaj had achieved mastery in the art of disguise. To become a successful disguiser, a person should have the knowledge of several languages, a handy provision of cloths and necessary tools and above all, a ready wit to act and speak spontaneously.
- He was trained for organisation defence and protection either from neighbouring chiefs and evil-doers.
- Dadoji was himself a scholarman. He had an ocean of knowledge to give to Shivaji Maharaj. He used to tell the stories of the old epics like Mahabharata, Ramayan ,Shukraniti ,Chanakyaniti , Smritis and lives of great saints . From Mahabharat, Yudh-kand (war chapter) was regularly read and expounded at night to all the garrisons of Shivaji’s Forts as part of their discipline.
- The outer Courtyard of the palace was used to teach Shivaji and there, many rolls of Sanskrit verses were piled against the wall. And that was the place where Dadoji sat for so many hours working on accounts, puzzling over reports from various districts of the estate.
- Shivaji used to listen the devotional songs or Hari Kirtan by household preachers and celebrated Saints like Tukaram.
- Shivaji had also developed a sense of higher hearing power than an ordinary person.
- Shivaji had developed a kind of wild comradeship with nature and man.
- He had par excellence in imitating the voices of birds and beasts.
- He was able to cover long distance on foot, without fatigue, quickly jumping over obstacles and became an accurate Shooter with match-lock.
- Dadoji always took Shivaji with himself whenever he moved place to place for dealing out justice without favour or prejudice. He wanted Shivaji to have the practical learning of the methods of Government and gaining useful experience of public matters.
- Dadoji whole-heartedly supported Shivaji for his new movement of revolt against Muslim domination and encouraged him in every possible way and considered him as the fittest person to lead the movement to success.
Contribution of Dadoji Konddev in resettlement of Pune
Six years of continuous warfare (1630- 1636 AD) among three kingdoms ( Mughal, Nizamshahi kingdom, Bijapur kingdom) had desolated the land of Puna and left it totally in shambles and ruined .
As an administrator, he started his journey by taking the vow to restore the estate to its former prosperity.
As the prosperity of the Pune had been destroyed by the Nizams and others, the people living around there got indulged into multiple mischievous acts like : robbery, grabbing and etc. They had turned their eyes towards the jungle for shelter and been called as hillmen.
Below are the steps taken for the resettlement of Pune :
- To cure wolf plague, he offered a reward from his own savings to anyone who would kill the wolves. The Hillmen found this reward more tempting than raiding on an occasional caravan. Very soon, they clear the land from wolves.
- Dadoji now offered to the peasants a good nominal rental of 1 Rupee for the first year, 3 rupees for the second year and so up to 20 rupees in the sixth year. All the peasants who had fled to the jungles and had become a banditry found it a good offer to lead a peaceful life.
- Rest hillmen were recruited as armed Guards to protect the countryside from brigands.
- For the first time in so many years the villagers had seen a constant relief from constant peril.
- Houses started to take a new shape and temples reconstruction started with great enthusiasm. The prayers started to begin in those all temples . Once again the charmness and the prosperity of the Pune had been revived by Dadoji and Jijabai which was later expanded by our Shivaji Maharaj.
- Gradually the people of Pune started to become great enthusiastic adherents of Shivaji Maharaj which became the base of the Maratha empire.
His great efforts successfully turned the destroyed region into a well civilized country about 1640 AD.
The restoration of peace and prosperity was seen in the estate. The finances improved along with the growth of protection and government.
A well organized army of undoubted loyalty was raised from among the local people known as the Mavlas. They became the most trusted and loyal followers of him, always ready for any sacrifices that they were called upon to make.
Legend of Dadoji Konddev
One of his legends was popular to a large extent in Indian history. The legend goes on as follow :
After becoming the tutor of Shivaji, the foremost thing he did was to create an orchard for Shivaji’s estate and also warned everyone to not steal even a single fruit from the trees. If anyone did, he or she would be punished.
One day at noon, he himself standing in the orchard and was feeling very thirsty so, without thinking for a moment, he plucked out a ripe mango. Suddenly, his own voice echoed in his years of warning. He regretted for what he had done. But he was also a man of words.
He decided to cut off his right hand. He called for a Sword and prepared to hack off the offending hand.
The servants and his staffs were crying hard and dissuading dadoji to drop the idea of giving such an extravagant self-punishment. Even though, he laid his sword aside, he wore from then onwards a coat without a sleeve for his right arm.
That kind of dedication he had for his work. He didn’t want to make even a single mistake which could give a wrong idea about him to the society. His determination had made the Pune district once again a prosperous city.
Dadoji Konddev Death
Dadoji Konddev died on 7th March 1647 in Pune due to his old age.
When Dadoji fell ill , Shivaji dedicated his time in nursing of his master. He had cared for him like a father.
Initially, Dadoji wasn’t in support of Shivaji’s spirit to waging a war against invaders. When Shivaji with his army took the control of Torna Fort which was then under the charge of Bijapur in 1646 , a secret letter was sent to Dadoji by Shahi Bhonsle to warn him to keep good control of Shivaji’s action . He argued long with Shivaji and advised him to follow the footprint of his father to give his service to Bijapur kingdom.
But soon , Dadoji realized that he is not an ordinary person but a great power of future. He had also sensed that he is the one who could restore the old virtues of Hindu life.
Giving his all blessings to Shivaji for his future , he closed his eyes forever. Shivaji was deeply saddened by the demise of Dadoji. He was going to miss him as he had spent long years of his life under the shade of Dadoji.
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