least concerned about their country. This constant fighting amongst
themselves also caused great misery to the people. There was misrule
everywhere. The people of Maharashtra were, thus, tired of this oppression.
Conducive Atmosphere for Shivaji’s Rise It is true that Shivaji
contributed a lot towards the rise and growth of Maratha power in India, but
it is equally true that at the time he appeared on the scene, the ground had
already been prepared for him. According to Dr. Ishwari Prasad, “But
Shivaji’s rise to power cannot be treated as an isolated phenomenon in
Maratha history. It was as much the result of his personal daring and heroism
as of the peculiar geographical situation of the Deccan country and unifying
religious influences that were animating the people with new hopes and
aspirations in the 15th and 16th centuries.”
                      GEOPOLITICAL FACTORS
  The physical features of the Maratha country developed certain peculiar
  qualities among the Marathas, which distinguished them from the rest of
  the people of India. The mountainous territory gave security to the
  Marathas from the outside invaders. It also made them hardy soldiers who
  were not afraid of difficulties and hardships. The scarcity of rains in
  Maharashtra and the difficulties of finding livelihood developed among
  the Marathas a spirit of self-reliance and hard work. Without these
  qualities, they would have faced death from starvation. Their hardy
  character stood them in good stead when they were pitted against the
  Mughals. While the Marathas could be seen galloping in their small
  narrow paths in search of their enemies without the least feeling of any
  inconvenience or hardship, the Mughal soldiers found their life miserable.
  The mountainous country made it possible for the Marathas to adopt
  successfully the guerilla tactics. The broken ranges of hills provided the
  Marathas ‘ready-made and easily defendable rock forts’.
Maratha Sardars
Military and Administrative Training of Marathas Even before the
appearance of Shivaji on the scene,     the Marathas had acquired training in the