Battle of Surat, also known as the Sack of Surat, was a land battle that took place on January 5, 1664, near the city of Surat, Gujarat, India between Maratha Chhatrapati Shivaji and Inayat Khan, a Mughal captain. The Marathas defeated the Mughal force, and sacked the city of Surat for six days.
|Battle of Surat|
|Part of Imperial Maratha Conquests|
|Maratha Army||Mughal Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
According to James Grant Duff, a captain in the British India Regiment, Surat was attacked by Shivaji on 5 January 1664. Surat was a wealthy port city in the Mughal Empire and was useful for the Mughals as it was used for the sea trade of the Arabian Sea. The city was well populated mostly by Hindus and a few Muslims, especially 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 and two-thirds of the city was burnt down. The loot was then transferred to Rajgad fort.
As Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor, was in Deccan for more than three years fighting the Marathas, the financial condition of the Maratha Kingdom was dire. So to improve his finances, Shivaji planned to attack Surat, a key Mughal power centre, and a wealthy port town that generated a million rupees in taxes. His aim was to capture and loot the wealthy port city and bring all the loot to his main residence, the Raigad Fort.
Composition of ForcesEdit
Local Subedar, Inayat Khan who was appointed by Aurangzeb, had only 1000 men at his command. After attacking and then sacking the Mughal garrison, Shivaji attacked the Port of Surat and set the local shipping industry ablaze.
Shivaji was assisted by commanders along with cavalry of 10000.
Movement and clash of forcesEdit
Shivaji attacked Surat after demand for the tribute was rejected. The Mughal Sardar was very surprised by the suddenness of the attack, unwilling to face the Maratha forces, he hid himself in the Fort of Surat.
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. Similarly, Chhatrapati Shivaji did not plunder the houses of the foreign missionaries. The French traveller Francois Bernier wrote in his Travels in Mughal India:
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.'
Shivaji had to complete the sacking of Surat before the Mughal Empire at Delhi was alerted and he could not afford to spend much time attacking the British. Thus, Sir George Oxenden was able to successfully defend the British factory, a fortified warehouse-counting house-hostel.
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. However, when Shivaji came to know and understand that Smith was poor, he freed him. When the Mughal Army finally approached on the fourth fateful day, Shivaji and his Maratha soldiers had already started their return southwards into the Deccan.
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. This event enraged the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. The revenue of the Mughal Empire 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, Jai Singh, to curb Shivaji's activities.
- Vincent Arthur Smith (1919), The Oxford History of India, Oxford University Press, page 435
- H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. pp. 506–. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Balkrishna Govind Gokhale (1979). "VII. The Merchant Prince Virji Vora". Surat In The Seventeenth Century. Popular Prakashan. p. 25. ISBN 9788171542208. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha. Cosmo Publications. p. 506. ISBN 978-81-7755-286-7.
- The great Maratha, Volume 2, H. S. Sardesai, Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd, 2002, ISBN 8177552864, ISBN 9788177552867
- News in London Gazzet http://www.indianexpress.com/news/researcher-finds-reference-to-shivaji-maharaj-in-foreign-newspaper/362848
- Mahmood, Shama (31 May 1999). "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.
- James Grant Duff - History of Marathas
- S.D.Samant - Vedh Mahamanvacha
- Babasaheb Purandare - Raja ShivChhatrapati