Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ’s system of administration was largely borrowed from the administrative practice of the Deccani states.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj designated eight ministers, sometimes called the ‘Ashtapradhan’ (it was not in the nature of a council of ministers), each minister being directly responsible to the ruler.
The most important ministers were the ‘Peshwa’ who looked after the finances and general administration, and the sari-i-naubat (senapati), which was a post of honor and was generally given to one of the leading Maratha chiefs.
The majumdar was the accountant, while the waqenavis was responsible for intelligence post and household affairs. Further, the surunavis or chitnis helped the king with his correspondence.
The dabir was master of ceremonies and also helped the king in his dealings with foreign powers. The nyayadhish and panditrao were in charge of justice and charitable grants.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj preferred to give salaries in cash to the regular soldiers; however sometimes the chiefs received revenue grants (saranjam).
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj strictly regulated the “mirasdars,” (mirasdars were those who had the hereditary rights in land). Later mirasdars grew and strengthened themselves by building strongholds and castles in the villages. Likewise, they had become unruly and seized the country. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj destroyed their bastions and forced them to surrender.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was not only a deserving general and a skillful strategist, but he was also a shrewd diplomat and laid the foundation of a strong state by curbing the power of the deshmukhs.
In 1670, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj renewed the contest with the Mughals, sacking Surat a second time. During the next four years, he recovered a large number of his forts, including Purandar, from the Mughals and made deep inroads into Mughal territories, especially Berar and Khandesh.
Mughal preoccupation with the Afghan uprising in the north-west gave an opportunity to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj . Further, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also renewed his contest with Bijapur, securing Panhala and Satara by means of bribes.
In 1674, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj crowned himself formally at Raigad. He was by now, became the most powerful among the Maratha chiefs.
The formal coronation had, therefore, a number of purposes, including −
It placed him on a much higher pedestal than any of the Maratha chiefs;
It strengthened his social position and hence he married into some of the leading old Maratha families;
Gaga Bhatt, the priest presiding over the function, supported Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and said that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a high class Kshatriya; and
As an independent ruler, now it became possible for Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to enter into treaties with the Deccani sultans on a footing of equality and not as a rebel.
In 1676, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj undertook an expedition into the Bijapuri Karnataka. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was given a grand welcome by the Qutb Shah at his capital and a formal agreement was made.
Qutub Shah agreed to pay a subsidy of one lakh huns (five lakhs of rupees) annually to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj along with a Maratha ambassador who was appointed at his court.
Qutub Shah, further, supplied a contingent of troops and artillery to aid Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and also provided money for the expenses of his army.
The treaty with Qutub Shah was beneficial to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj , as it enabled him to capture Jinji and Vellore from Bijapur officials and also to conquer much of the territories held by his half-brother, Ekoji.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had assumed the title of “Haindava-Dharmoddharak” (Protector of the Hindu faith), but he plundered mercilessly the Hindu population of the respective region.
As per the agreement, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had to share treasure (won in the war) with Qutub Shah, but when Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj returned back to home with treasure, he refused to share anything with the Qutub Shah. Hence, Qutub Shah resented with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj .
Karnataka expedition was the last expedition of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj , as he died shortly after his return from the Karnataka expedition (1680).