Who is the Father of Indian Navy?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 11th, 2023

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is called the father of Indian Navy. The great Maratha Emperor received this title in recognition of his role in the development of the naval wing of the Indian army during the Middle Ages. Along with realizing the importance of the naval wing, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built several naval bases around the shore. The father of Indian Navy was born on 19 February 1630 in Shivneri, Pune.

Up until 1729, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built several fleets that were commanded by famous Maratha figures and kept the Dutch and English away from the shore. In this post, we have addressed the frequently asked queries on the father of Indian Navy, including his biography, and naval tactics.

Father of Indian Navy

Many people are likely unaware that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is also known as the father of Indian Navy. On December 4, Indian Navy Day is observed to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the Indian Navy. The day also serves to enhance public awareness of the Indian Navy and marks the beginning of Operation Trident against Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War in 1971.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is regarded as one of India’s most knowledgeable and responsible kings. On February 19, 1630, he was born in the famous Shivneri Fort. Discover why Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj is referred to as the father of Indian Navy by reading the complete article.

Biography of Father of Indian Navy

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Bhosale also known as the father of Indian Navy was born on 19 February 1630 in Shivneri which is near the city of Junnar (Pune district). His father was Shahaji Bhosle, a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was raised by his mother and was devoted to her.

With his mother, he became deeply interested in religious teaching. While the father of Indian Navy Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a child, his father Shahaji married another woman and left Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his mother in the care of Dadoji Konddeo who has been credited for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Education and Training.

Forts Won by Father of Indian Navy

The conquest of forts was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, now known as the father of Indian Navy at the early age of 15 starting with the fort of Bijapur where he acquired the fort by bribing the commander and later got into conflict with Afzal Khan and killed him in a hand to hand combat. During a span of 35 years, the father of Indian Navy Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Maharaj had conquered more than 300 forts.

Father of Indian Navy – Conflicts

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj aka father of Indian Navy assisted Aurangzeb in conquering Bijapur in return for recognition for his right to the Bijapur forts and village under his possession. However, the response from the Mughals did not satisfy Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and he started raiding into Deccan. Aurangzeb’s measures against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were constantly interrupted by rainy seasons in the south and battle with his brothers for the Mughal throne.

The conflict with Aurangzeb remained for a very long time following the Treaty of Purandar, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s arrest in Agra, and escape. The conflict ended with the peace proposals between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (father of Indian Navy) and Aurangzeb where Aurangzeb conferred the title of Raja to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and granted him permission to attack Adil Ali Shah .

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was well known to have won the wars with minimum possibilities because of a lesser army and lack of resources. However, they were able to win Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Motivation and leadership. Other reasons why the father of Indian Navy, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj won some of the impossible battles were:

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s extensive knowledge of the battlefield.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s infiltration into the enemy empire and bribing of the commander to provide useful information, Spirited army.
  • Surprise Attacks.
  • Guerrilla Warfare: Various out-of-the-box ways to reach the enemy empire and destroy it from the inside.

Father of Indian Navy – Building of Naval Fleet

The father of Indian Navy, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was known for his great military skills and realized the importance of the naval fleet after seeing the Portuguese arrival in India and starting and controlling trade on the western coast. The first keel of the Maratha naval base was built near Kalyan in the year 1654 after which multiple naval bases were constructed. 

It was a common practice in the Maratha army to hire mercenaries with the navy being no exception. The Maratha navy consisted of 20 warships which were commanded by mostly mercenaries including the Portuguese and Siddi people. The first known event involving the Maratha navy was the battle of Surat where the Maratha defend their coast against the English and Siddi and finally succeeded.

After Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (father of Indian Navy), the navy was strong under the leadership of Kanhoji Angre who fought and was successful to stop the English and Dutch from invading the coast but following the death of Angre, there was a rapid decline in Naval capabilities from the year 1729.

Naval Tactics Used by Father of Indian Navy

The Maratha navy under the guidance of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj aka the father of Indian Navy was a green-water navy that was unable to operate in the blue water. Thus the Maratha navy is not involved in the high seas. The attack of Maratha was from the leeward or astern side and because of that the navy could find shelter or hide in bays or shallow creeks where larger enemies could not follow them. 

The enemy ships were captured only by hand-to-hand combat after invading the enemy ships. As the navy fought from the eastern side, this ensured that the enemy could not use their broadside guns. Maratha does not have all their ships in one place and thus spread them into small squadrons.

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