Battle of Surat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Battle of Surat
Part of Imperial Maratha Conquests
Date5 January 1664
Result Decisive victory for Maratha
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire Mughal Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Shivaji Inayat Khan
4,000 Cavalry 1,000
Casualties and losses
unknown 4 prisoners killed
24 prisoners wounded

Battle of Surat, also known as the Sack of Surat,[1] was a land battle that took place on January 5, 1664, near the city of Surat, Gujarat, India between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Inayat Khan, a Mughal captain. The Marathas defeated the small Mughal force, and engaged in sacking Surat.[1]

According to James Grant Duff, a captain in the British India Regiment, Surat was attacked by Shivaji on 5 January 1664. This was a wealthy port city in Mughal empire for the sea trade of the era. The city was well populated mostly by Hindus and a few Muslims, specially the officials in the Mughal administration of the city. The attack was so sudden that the population had no chance to flee. The plunder was continued for six days, two third of the city was burned down and there was smoke in the air for many days. The loot was then transferred to Raigad fort.


As Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor, was in Deccan for more than three years fighting the Marathas, the financial condition of the Maratha 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.


Composition of Mughal forces[edit]

The defences of the city were poor, as the local Subedar, Inayat Khan appointed by Aurangzeb, had only 1000 men at his command. 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. Shivaji took the city and put it to the sack.

Surat was under attack 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.[2][3] Similarly, Shivaji did not plunder the houses of the foreign missionaries.[4] The French traveller Francois Bernier wrote in his Travels in Mughal India:[5]

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.[4]

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.

Surat Sacked[edit]

All this loot was successfully transported to the Deccan 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 State.[6][7]


One Englishman named Anthony Smith, was captured by the Marathas, and funds were demanded from him. Smith wrote an account of him witnessing Shivaji ordering the cutting off of the heads and hands of those who concealed their wealth.[1] However, when king Shivaji understood that Smith was poor he was freed. When the Mughal Army finally approached on the fourth fateful day, Shivaji and his followers galloped southwards into the Deccan. Hence he was declared the most respective ruler.

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


This enraged the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb as this was a crippling blow to the Mughal Empire. The revenue was reduced as trade did not flourish as much after Shivaji's raid on the Port of Surat. To take his revenge the Mughal Emperor sent a veteran Rajput General Jaisingh to curb Shivaji's activities.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Vincent Arthur Smith (1919), The Oxford History of India, Oxford University Press, page 435
  2. ^ H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. pp. 506–. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. p. 506. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7.
  5. ^ The great Maratha, Volume 2, H. S. Sardesai, Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd, 2002, ISBN 8177552864, ISBN 9788177552867
  6. ^ News in London Gazzet
  7. ^ Mahmood, Shama (1999-05-31). "1. Mughal - Maratha Contest in Gujarat". Suba Gujarat under aurangzeb (Thesis). Department of History, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. pp. 19–38. hdl:10603/60357 – via Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre.


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