First Edition, ( April, 1919.)
A new and critical study of Shivaji's life and character has long been due, as the last scholarly work on the subject was composed, by Captain James Grant Duff, a century ago, and a vast mass of original material unknown to him has become accessible to the student since then. To put the case briefly, the present work differs from his eminently readable and still valuable History of the Mahrattas, (3 Vols., 1826), in the rigid preference of contemporary records to later compilations, and the exhaustive and minute use of the available sources, both printed and MS.—in Persian, English, Marathi and Hindi, as well as the Dutch Records in the India Office, London.
The present work marks an advance on Grant Duff's History in three points in particular:
First, among Persian materials his only authorities were Khafi Khan, who wrote 108 years after the birth of Shivaji and is admittedly unreliable where he does not borrow faithfully from earlier writers, and Bhimsen, an incorrect and brief translation of whose Journal (by Jonathan Scott, 1794) alone was then available. I have, on the other hand, relied on the absolutely contemporary official histories