Battle of Surat

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Battle of Surat
Part of Imperial Maratha Conquests
Date January 5, 1664
Location Surat, Gujarat, India
Result Decisive victory for Marathas
Belligerents
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire Flag of the Mughal Empire (triangular).svg Mughal Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Shivaji Flag of the Mughal Empire (triangular).svg Inayat Khan
Strength
4,000 Cavalry 1,000
Casualties and losses
No casualties 4 prisoners killed
24 prisoners wounded

According to 'History of The Marattas' a book written in 1826 by James Grant Duff a Capt.in British India Regiment(page-198),'Surat was attacked by Shivaji on 5 Jan 1664. This was a wealthy port city in Mughal empire for the sea trade of the era. This city was well populated mostly Hindus and very miror number of Muslims, specially the official in the Mughal administration of the city.The attack was so sudden that the inmates had no chance flee. The plundered was continued for six days,two third of the city was burnt and turned in to smoke in the air for many days. The loot was then transferred to Raigad fort'.


Background[edit]

As Shaista Khan was in Deccan (now Maharashtra) for more than three years, the financial condition of the state was dire. So to improve his finances, Shivaji planned to attack Surat, a key Mughal power centre, and a wealthy port town which generated a million rupees in taxes.

Battle[edit]

Composition of Mughal forces[edit]

The defences of the city were poor, as the local Subedar, Inayat Khan appointed by Aurangzeb appointed only 1000 men at arms in his service. After sacking the Mughal garrison Shivaji attacked the port of Surat and set the local shipping industry ablaze.

Composition of Maratha forces[edit]

Shivaji was assisted by notable commanders along with cavalry of 8000 or more.

Movement and clash of forces[edit]

Shivaji attacked Surat after a demand for tribute was rejected. The Mughal Sardar, not the bravest, was very surprised by the suddenness of the attack and not willing to face the Maratha forces, he hid himself in the fort of Surat. However, there was an attempt of life on Shivaji by the emissary sent by the Mughal sardar. So Shivaji took the city and put it to the sack.

Surat was under sack for nearly three days, in which the Maratha army looted all possible wealth from Mughal and Portuguese trading centers. The Maratha soldiers took away cash, gold, silver, pearls, rubies, diamonds and emeralds from the houses of rich merchants such as Virji Vora, Haji Zahid Beg, Haji Kasim and others. The business of Mohandas Parekh, the deceased broker of the Dutch East India Company, was spared as he was reputed as a charitable man.[1][2] Similarly, Shivaji did not plunder the houses of the foreign missionaries.[3] The French traveller Francois Bernier wrote in his Travels in Mughal India:[4]

I forgot to mention that during pillage of Sourate, Seva-ji, the Holy Seva-ji! Respected the habitation of the reverend father Ambrose, the Capuchin missionary. 'The Frankish Padres are good men', he said 'and shall not be attacked.'

The total number of prisoners executed during the raid was 4; the hands of another 24 were cut off.[3]

Shivaji had to complete the sacking of Surat before the Mughal Empire at Delhi was alerted and could not afford to waste much time in attacking the British. Thus, Sir George Oxenden was able to successfully defend the British factory, a fortified warehouse-counting house-hostel.

Outcome[edit]

All this loot was successfully transported to Maharashtra before the Mughal Empire at Delhi could get the news of the sacking of Surat. This wealth later was used for developing & strengthening the Maratha Empire. News in London Gazzet on 20 Feb 1672 [5]

Casualties[edit]

One Englishman named Anthony Smith, was captured by the Marathas, he was forced to witness cruel methods of torture inflicted upon prisoners who were ordinary and innocent subjects of the Mughal Empire, Anthony Smith even mentioned how Shivaji's raiders maimed and executed those prisoners by cutting off their hands and heads.[6] When the Mughal Army finally approached on the fourth fateful day, Shivaji and his followers galloped southwards into the Deccan.

Only the well organized British led by George Oxenden and the Portuguese survived the onslaught, but the city itself never recovered.

References[edit]

  1. ^ H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. pp. 506–. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Balkrishna Govind Gokhale (1979). "VII. The Merchant Prince Virji Vora". Surat In The Seventeenth Century. Popular Prakashan. p. 25. ISBN 9788171542208. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  3. ^ a b H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. p. 506. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7. 
  4. ^ The great Maratha, Volume 2, H. S. Sardesai, Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd, 2002, ISBN 8177552864, ISBN 9788177552867
  5. ^ News in London Gazzet http://www.indianexpress.com/news/researcher-finds-reference-to-shivaji-maharaj-in-foreign-newspaper/362848
  6. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=HTCsAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=baharji+borah&source=bl&ots=AlYwMkBwb6&sig=KpQbE7bMcMILePXasygPjYd6Xkk&hl=en&ei=ahnNTtnqEOHb4QSUtZ1S&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=snippet&q=Anthony%20Smith&f=false

Bibliography

Coordinates: 21°10′N 72°50′E / 21.167°N 72.833°E / 21.167; 72.833