Insights from Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s life to help us recover from this crisis

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Leadership makes a difference. Most of us who have the privilege of leading our organisations need mental models which help us succeed in the extremely competitive marketplace. Although there are many examples of leadership in the Indian context, very few are as remarkable as the Maratha warrior-hero Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I remember the time when we were in school and our class went to see the movie. It was fascinating for the time period as well as the graphical quality.

Jogging down memory lane a few things come to mind as lessons. As a leader Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a sharp strategist. He was able to get out of the Adilshahi and able to grow beyond the possible, had a vision for the navy and ruled over the Konkan coast with over 360 forts under his umbrella.

What made it possible? Wouldn’t you like to know?

1. Anticipated threats

As he was conquering the forts, it signaled a rebellion to the Bijapur Sultan. He sent a huge army which was led by Afzal Khan, a trusted General of the Bijapur court. Shivaji Raje as per history did not have the build to match Afzal Khan, however he prepared himself well and had worn an armor. This saved him from the attack by Afzal Khan. Also since he was prepared he was able to kill him and more importantly destroy the army.

This may seem an ordinary event in his life, however it was important to secure the future. The lesson for us in this entire scheme of things is to be prepared. In the usual course of business, we forget at times the importance of preparation.

We are as good as our response. The lessons from history help us to avoid problems of the past and grow in the future.

2. Vision for the people, with the people

He started his journey early motivated by the teachings of his Mother and lessons from his Guru Dadaji Konddeo. He got together people from all strata of society and honed their skills. He did not discriminate on the basis of religion as was the practice in those times, especially in the army. A lot of the people who grew to be his subedars were from this initial group.

3. Futuristic

He was among the first Indian rulers to initiate the formation of a navy. This was important from a trade point of view. This also laid the foundation of a robust economic future for the people living in his kingdom, which is the primary duty of a leader.

He took the defection of his eldest son Sambhaji to the Mughals to heart. Ideally, he should have trained a successor who would have ruled the kingdom on a similar value system.

To sum up, we are as good as our response. The lessons from history help us to avoid problems of the past and grow in the future.

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