#Shivaji #Jayanti #special: Why #Chhatrapati #Shivaji was neither a #rebel nor a #guerrilla

Chhatrapati Shivaji, Chhatrapati Shivaji achievements, Chhatrapati Shivaji jayanti, indian express, indian express news

Chhatrapati Shivaji was a visionary and was the only person who noticed a major flaw in the war machinery of the established Empires and Sultanates. He tried to demolish jagirdari and mansabdari, bringing Maratha administration and military directly under his control, where everyone, each of his infantrymen and cavalrymen were directly paid from his treasury.

Many describe Chhatrapati Shivaji as a ‘rebel’ or grand rebel’. A rebel is the one who defies authority and undermines an establishment. Against who or what did the Chhatrapati rebel? Against the invaders who had come from Central Asia and beyond and had massacred millions to establish their empires and kingdoms? Many also call him a Great Guerrilla. He might have used a few guerrilla tactics like ambushes, hit and run, sabotaging the enemy’s line of communications, using speed and mobility to attack enemy camps and cavalcades in the early years of his career, but these tactics were used by everyone, including the Mughal and the Deccan Sultanates those days.

So, what are Chhatrapati Shivaji’s real achievements? He was the only person who noticed a major flaw in the war machinery of the established Empires and Sultanates. It was riddled with the jagirdari system. The king appointed a trustee of the estate, or huge lands (jagir) to his jagirdars. Instead of a salary, jagirdars were given the right over the land revenue from the region that fell in their jagir. With those funds they were to maintain a contingent of horsemen for their king (to help their king in times of war) as well as use some of the money for their personal expenses. They had no hereditary rights over the estates the king bestowed upon them.

Jagirdars were warriors, either Hindus or Muslims. They depended on the watandars to collect agricultural revenue from the villages, watandars like Patil – head of a village, Deshmukh – head of a region. They were mostly Hindus, sons-of-the-soil. They were supposed to encourage the cultivators, collected revenue, levies, and taxes from their region for the jagirdars. Large pieces of tax-free lands were given to them as inams (gifts) and, at times, some share of the government revenue also went to them generation after generation. Even before he became the Chhatrapati, Raja Shivaji understood that the jagirdarsand watandars actually ruling the countryside. At times they became tyrants and fleeced the farmers. They even amassed huge wealth and built fortified homes. Some even became more powerful than the king. Some jagirdars (also called mansabdars in the Mughal administration, nayaks in Vijayanagar Empire administration) cheated on their king by keeping lesser number of horsemen than shown on the paper.

What amazes me is that Raja Shivaji tried to change the system. He tried to demolish jagirdari and mansabdari, bringing Maratha administration and military directly under his control, where everyone, each of his infantrymen and cavalrymen were directly paid from his treasury. The astonishing fact was that Raja Shivaji’s army had a rank system that bound all military personnel together as a team and that bond was known as chain-of-command. This enabled junior officers to know whom to look to for orders, guidance, and leadership. This was totally missing in jagirdari and mansabdari systems. Take, for example, of our army and its chain-of-command, starting with Field Marshal, General, Lieutenant General, Major General, Brigadier, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major and Captain followed by junior officers, Raja Shivaji’s cavalry had Cavalry Sarnaubat, the head of the cavalry, Panch Hazari – the head of cavalry division, Hazari, the Regiment Head, Jumledar, the Squadron Head, Havaldar (Troop Head) and then Troopers. Same was the case with his infantry and navy. Raja Shivaji’s thinking was modern and this proves that he was a visionary. Ask any defence official today – if he or she could function without chain-of-command and the answer will be ‘NO’!

Not to forget Raja Shivaji’s fortitude. He had a mighty enemy like Emperor Aurangzeb, who was backed by 8,000 mansabdars, 200,000 thousand cavalrymen, 40,000 artillerymen and more than 200,000 infantrymen. Mughal mansabdars collected about Rs 100 million as the revenue collection from their territories (each rupee weighing a tola of pure silver). If we convert in gold and factor in today’s gold price, the military budget of the Mughal comes to a mind-boggling figure, more than $3 billion – that is more than Rs18,000 crores!

Medha Deshmukh Bhaskaran is the author of Challenging Destiny, a best-selling biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Views expressed are personal.
Advertisements

What #WhatsApp’s #payments push means for #Paytm

Paytm stands to lose most if WhatsApp can push its payments service to the 230 million people who use its app frequently to send messages, pictures and other content. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Unlike BHIM, PhonePe or Google Tez, all of which had to start from scratch, WhatsApp represents a unique threat to Paytm: it is already one of the most-used internet platforms in India!

The entry of WhatsApp into digital payments is set to significantly expand the digital payments market in India and could threaten the dominance of Paytm, highlighting the challenges that pure consumer payments firms face in defending their turf.

The payments launch by WhatsApp, one of the most popular internet platforms in the country, is likely to introduce tens of millions of users to digital payments, industry executives said.

Paytm, the runaway leader in payments with nearly 300 million registered users, stands to lose most if Facebook Inc.-owned WhatsApp can push its payments service to the 230 million people who use its app frequently to send messages, pictures and other content. (While Paytm claims roughly 300 million registered users, the number of people using WhatsApp on a regular basis is far higher.)

Based on the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) platform, WhatsApp launched payments on trial for some of its users this month. It is expected to introduce the service to its entire user base soon.

On Thursday, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma alleged that WhatsApp was flouting rules and putting consumers at risk because it was skipping steps in the payments process. Sharma also alleged that WhatsApp was restricting access to other UPI-based platforms.

In response, the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI), which owns UPI, said all UPI apps have to allow interoperability.

Beyond the issue of interoperability, what is at stake is Paytm’s dominance of the digital payments business that has helped catapult the company into India’s second-most valuable internet start-up after Flipkart.

Driven by a massive spending spree and Sharma’s ambitious vision, Paytm beat rivals including FreeCharge and MobiKwik to emerge as the country’s largest digital payments brand.

Paytm has been the country’s most stunning start-up story in recent years. The company has enriched many of its investors and employees and become a household name. It raised more than $2 billion and counts China’s Alibaba Group and Japan’s SoftBank Group as two of its key investors. From a valuation of less than $200 million at the end of 2014, its valuation soared to $10.2 billion this month.

That valuation is based mostly on expectations that Paytm will continue to dominate payments, expand its fledgling payments bank business and introduce new services such as wealth management.

Now, WhatsApp, with its easy-to-use interface and spending power, will offer the biggest challenge to Paytm yet.

Unlike payment apps such as BHIM, Flipkart’s PhonePe or Google’s Tez, all of which had to start from scratch, WhatsApp represents a unique threat to Paytm: it is already one of the most-used internet platforms in the country.

While Google and Flipkart are large internet platforms by themselves, their payments platforms aren’t nearly as well known. WhatsApp will offer payments on its existing app—a key difference in terms of useability and reach.

“WhatsApp is already one of the most popular apps in India and with messaging as the key hook, they offer a compelling use case for payments, particularly P2P. They’ll be competing on the back of their UI (user interface), which is really smooth, and it will force everyone to up their game,” said Amrish Rau, chief executive of PayU India, a payments processor.

“I’ve always believed that payments by itself is not enough of a hook to build customer loyalty. You need other services as the main hook and then you add payments. That’s why I think WhatsApp’s entry is a threat to the incumbents.”

Digital payments is a nascent business and while Paytm has a massive lead, what makes it vulnerable is that digital payments have far fewer entry barriers than operations-heavy businesses, such as e-commerce or cab transportation.

Platforms that are willing to spend loads of money and whose interfaces catch customer fancy can quickly build large businesses in payments. Paytm itself has benefited from this over the past two years. After adding services such as bus and movie tickets, and air travel, it quickly became a formidable force in these businesses, threatening to upstage specialty ticketing platforms like RedBus and MakeMyTrip that had painstakingly built their businesses over several years.

WhatsApp will aim to do just that to Paytm in the latter’s core business of payments.

“You have to see what happened in China—Alipay was the biggest payments company for years but the market moved towards mobile payments suddenly when WePay (owned by Tencent) came in and became really big, because it was a higher-frequency app,” said Kunal Shah, founder and former CEO of FreeCharge. “Similarly, WhatsApp has the most number of daily active users, exponentially more than anyone in payments. How will Paytm or Tez or anyone compete with that? WhatsApp will lead to a digital payments revolution in India. Not just wallets, even services like NEFT could potentially become irrelevant or less used,” he added.

To be sure, Paytm has significant advantages over any rival. Its brand has become synonymous with digital payments over the past year, aided by demonetisation. The company has years of valuable experience and has diversified into many payments niches, including offline spaces such as petrol pumps and various retail stores. It also has more than $1.5 billion in cash as well as investors with the appetite to pump in billions of dollars more.

Still, Paytm hasn’t yet faced a competitor as formidable as WhatsApp.

Whoever wins, one thing is clear—the digital payments market is set for a big leap. Consequently, payments will become one of the most intensely competitive and expensively fought markets in India’s internet world.

“WhatsApp’s entry can bring in the next 100 million users into the digital payments fold and that will be a massive boost for the digital payments ecosystem overall,” PayU’s Rau said.

Paytm didn’t respond to emails seeking comment, while WhatsApp declined to comment on the matter.

The 10 Most #Watched #YouTube #Ads of #2017 (And the #Agencies Behind Them)

most-watched-youtube-ads-2017-adidas-1

Most pre-roll ads on YouTube are something to be endured, muted, and skipped immediately after the mandatory five seconds have passed. It’s nothing personal — people just want to get to their video.

So how can advertisers create branded videos that users actually want to watch?

For an ad to be sought out and consumed willingly on YouTube, it needs to stand out as an enjoyable, compulsively shareable story. It can’t just be a typical advertisement — it needs to compete for attention with viral, non-branded content.

To better understand what YouTube users want in a watchable online ad, let’s take a look back at what worked in 2017.

Google released a list of the top 10 most watched ads on YouTube from 2017, and we’ve compiled them here to inspire your next digital ad campaign. All advertisers and marketers should be taking notes: These are the online ads people actually wanted to watch in 2017.

The 10 Most Watched YouTube Ads of 2017

1. Samsung India Service (SVC)

150.3M views

Samsung India crushed it with this beautiful short story, called “We’ll Take Care of You Wherever You Are.” The company used it to promote its customer service expansion across rural India last year. Created by the agency, Cheil, it spans four minutes and collected 150 million views for its multinational appeal.

The ad follows a Samsung van through a cumbersome rural drive to answer a service call at a small Indian home. Who the driver meets inside is exactly what made me cry watching this viral sensation:

The ad follows a Samsung van through a cumbersome rural drive to answer a service call at a small Indian home. Who the driver meets inside is exactly what made me cry watching this viral sensation:

2. Clash Royale: The Last Second

110.7M views

This zany, offbeat, and yet still universally appealing mobile game developer won the fifth-most watched YouTube ad of 2016. It’s now back with the same agency partner, Barton F. Graf, and a suspensful 50-second spot that garnered nearly triple the views of its clip from the previous year.

The ad for Clash Royale, a multiplayer mobile game, opens with a three-second countdown and a pink-haired archer releasing an arrow into a battleground. What happens in “the last second”? Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself:

3. Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect

90.6M views

If you’ve never seen Dude Perfect, you’re missing out. This group of friends’ homemade clips of sports tricks spawned one of the most successful independent YouTube channels in history — so successful, in fact, that food brands like Ruffles and Oreo have partnered with them to advertise on their videos.

What started as a series of basketball stunts (some of which are literally in the Guinness Book of World Records) is now a goldmine of addicting content promoting popular snack foods via awesome trick shots.

Their latest? Dude Perfect and the Oreo Dunk Challenge — using nothing but ping pong balls:

4. Miss Dior – The new Eau de Parfum

43.0M views

Number four on YouTube’s list is an empowering ad for Dior’s newest women’s perfume, Miss Dior. Created by the production company, Iconoclast, it’s another installment of actor Natalie Portman’s longstanding work with the Dior brand. This ad is just too powerful to not watch.

The ad, set to the tune of “Chandelier” by Sia, focuses on love and the diverse emotions with which the modern woman can express it — something Natalie Portman sees “reflected in the duality of the fragrance.” Check it out below:

5. Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | Born The Hard Way

28.5M views

Budweiser has an expectedly large presence in the ad space of every Super Bowl. In 2017, that presence became unforgettable. Working with Anomaly, a New York-based ad agency, America’s beloved beer-maker blew the doors off with the unexpected story of the company’s founding.

The ad introduces us to a young man immigrating from Germany to an unwelcoming American community. Who he ends up befriending is, well — I won’t spoil it for you:

6. 2017 Kia Niro | ‘Hero’s Journey’ Starring Melissa McCarthy

25.9 views

Coming in at number six is the most hilarious of the most watched YouTube ads of 2017, starring a lovable and heroic Melissa McCarthy. Made by the agency, David&Goliath, the commercial is classic McCarthy in an unusually slapstick video for one of Kia’s newest sedans.

McCarthy plays herself in “Hero’s Journey,” but with hopeless loyalty to a few too many world causes. The ad originally debuted during the 2017 Super Bowl, along with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot called NiroBot that viewers could interact with through Facebook Messenger during the game.

See why Kia focused on social responsibility in this amusing but compelling spot:

7. adidas Originals | ORIGINAL is never finished

25.4 views

There’s something mesmerizing about this obscure commercial for the adidas Originals line of shoes. Colorful, aggressive, raw — I can’t seem to put my finger on it. But in partnership with the agency, Johannes Leonardo, it continues the brand’s “ORIGINAL is never finished” series, celebrating originality in perhaps the most stylish YouTube ad of 2017.

Set to the rising sound of Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Way,” the ad takes you on a ride where moment-to-moment, there’s no telling what’ll come next. See if you can spot the Snoop Dogg cameo in this cool piece:

(Note: adidas’s “ORIGINAL is never finished” ad for 2018 has already surpassed the view count of its 2017 predecessor! Watch it now.)

8. iPhone 7 | The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day

25.3 views

“Siri, show me that crazy Apple commercial featuring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.” If she doesn’t give you the video below, she’s probably just shy — Apple’s AI-based voice assistant is as much a star of the ad as Johnson is. This clip was the brainchild of the agency, TBWA, and grossed more than 25 million views by the end of 2017 having debuted just last summer.

Apple ultimately cut the ad into three smaller commercials to promote the iPhone 7’s launch (no pun intended, as part of the clip takes The Rock and his new hardware to space).

TBWA calls itself “The Disruption Company,” and it’s no mystery why with this flashy plug for the sleek smartphone. Watch it here:

9. Levi’s ‘Circles’ Commercial

22.3 views

Levi’s is celebrating more than excellent dancers in this fun commercial for everyone’s favorite jeans, and it only becomes clearer as the ad progresses. The clip showcases as many styles of jeans as it does cultures of the people dancing in them, making this not only one of the most watched ads of 2017, but also one of the most heartwarming.

Said FCB West, Levi’s agency partner, “Different cultures, religions and groups all share dance as a common unifier, and when we come together to celebrate, we all dance in a circle — a forum for connections and individual self-expression.”

See how that idea manifests in this catchy spot:

10. Mr. Clean 2017 Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams

17.6 views

Knowing what I know of the animated Mr. Clean, this ad made me laugh. The man in the famous white muscle shirt never looked so endearing while mopping hardwood floor before … Kudos to Leo Burnett, the agency behind this charming Super Bowl commercial.

Within seconds of this animated head-turner squeezing out the sponge, he likely became every man’s new marriage coach. As they say at the end of this one, you gotta’ love a man who cleans. See why below:

As YouTube continues to release these greatest hits lists every year, the content we’re forced to sit through before our video plays will become the videos we actively seek out. Learn how to delight your customers with sweet video content below.

CREDIT: HubSpot

Remembering #Shivaji’s greatest #battle

The Battle of Pratapgad can be termed the turning point in Indian history as it interrupted the continuous chain of Muslim successes on the battlefield.
Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) remembers the Great Maratha Warrior King on his birth anniversary.

We have a family tradition of hailing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj every time we step out on a journey. This is our small tribute to the legend to whom, Indian civilisation owes a debt of gratitude.

Faced with a determined onslaught by the Mughal-Rajput combine in 17th century, India could well have met the fate of Persia. Like the Parsees, Indians would have been forced to flee the land of their ancestors to preserve their culture and civilisation.

Between possible Islamisation of India and destruction of our civilisation stood Chhatrapati Shivaji and his valiant Marathas.

Militarily speaking, the difficult terrain of Maharashtra was a major contributing factor (the advantage not available to Sikhs or Jats who also showed equal valour). But it needed the military genius of Shivaji to exploit this advantage and halt the Mughal empire’s march to Peninsular India.

On February 19, as we celebrate his birth anniversary, we will do well to remember his greatest battle — the victory at Pratapgad.

The classic example of Shivaji’s approach to war and his doctrine of total war is the battle of Pratapgad.

In this single decisive engagement, Shivaji destroyed the military foundations of the sultan of Bijapur. The subsequent survival of the sultanate of Bijapur owes more to the Maratha need to keep the Mughals engaged rather than any residual power of the Bijapur regime.

In June-July 1659, Afzal Khan with a huge army numbering over 20,000, with 75 large and 300 to 400 small cannons, entered Shivaji’s domain from the south.

For four months Afzal Khan went on a rampage in the Maratha territory.

He had come with the clear intention of taking Shivaji, dead or alive, to Bijapur.

All this while, Shivaji continued to stay in Pratapgad which is located on the edge of a steep and jungle-clad river valley.

Afzal Khan knew the area well and tried very hard to lure Shivaji into the plains.

Contrary to the usually tolerant policy of Bijapur, Afjal Khan deliberately destroyed temples including the famous Durga shrine at Tuljapur (Shivaji’s family deity).

Afzal Khan had an unsavoury reputation of using deceit against his adversaries. After long negotiations, Shivaji convinced Afzal Khan that he was ‘hiding’ in Pratapgad as he was too scared to face the Bijapur army.

Afzal Khan fell prey to the ruse and walked into Shivaji’s trap.

As the route to Pratapgad was through a narrow defile, most of Afzal Khan’s heavy baggage and guns were left at Wai in the plains.

But the army that continued with him was still formidable enough.

However, it was further divided as there was inadequate camping space.

On Shivaji’s instructions, the villagers of the area had cleared small areas near the river Koyna to serve as ready camping sites.

The camp sites were so located that they were out of sight of one another due to intervening spurs (see sketch below).

Thus, by the time Khan reached Pratapgad, his huge army was already divided into four parts and he was looking forward to the prospect of an easy victory.

Shivaji had no illusions about the fate that awaited him should he surrender and had planned beforehand to destroy the Bijapur army.

To this end, days before the scheduled meeting of November 10, 1659, three divisions of his army, each numbering over 3,000, two-thirds of which was cavalry, led by Netaji Palkar, Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar, had hidden themselves in the jungles surrounding the invading army.

As the Bijapur army advanced deep into the jungles, the Marathas blocked all escape routes by felling trees.

On the night of November 9, Shivaji sent a generous supply of food and liquor for the enemy soldiers. Many of his soldiers in the disguise of entertainers had penetrated Khan’s camp.

During the night of November 9, the Bijapur army was busy celebrating their impending victory over Shivaji, prematurely as it turned out.

In a meeting that took place in the afternoon, halfway up the hill to the fort, Shivaji — a diminutive man — risked personal combat with the tall and powerful Afzal Khan and killed him with his bare hands as per the plan.

At the signal of a gunshot from the fort, the Maratha army swooped down on the Bijapur army.

The Bijapur soldiers were taken totally by surprise and there was virtually no resistance.

Only on reaching Wai, did Fazal Khan, Afzal’s younger brother, realise the disaster that had befallen his army.

Shivaji is said to have sent Afzal’s severed head to his mother 40 km away in Rajgarh. This was his way to deal with a treacherous enemy who had imprisoned and humiliated his father.

Afzal Khan’s headless body lies buried near Pratapgad and Shivaji himself built a respectable tomb in honour of the fallen general.

By severing Afzal Khan’s head, Shivaji not merely killed an enemy general, but forever destroyed the myth of Muslim superiority in the battlefield.

As time passed, the Marathas gave a taste of their fighting prowess to the mighty Mughal army. There arose a new myth, the seeming invincibility of the Marathas.

The fear of the Marathas was later enhanced by the exploits of Maratha Generals Dhanaji Jadhav and Santaji Ghorpade against Aurangzeb when Maratha horsemen became legends.

The decisive Battle of Pratapgad can be termed the turning point in Indian history as it interrupted the continuous chain of Muslim successes on the battlefield.

Immediately after the Battle of Pratapgad, Shivaji launched a hot pursuit of the routed army and taking advantage of the disarray in the enemy camp, recovered the entire territory earlier captured by Afzal Khan.

His strategy of exploitation of victory and relentless offensive action mark a major change from the earlier Indian approach to war that entailed priority for celebrations of victory over immediate pursuit of the enemy.

Shivaji believed in the doctrine of ‘total war’ and never shirked away from achieving annihilation of the enemy.

If he had to make compromises and truce, it was clearly due to the exigencies of the situation and not as matter of choice.,In this respect, Shivaji was a true revolutionary.

Over a long period of peace, Indians had virtually accepted that wars were mainly ‘limited’ in aim.

It is this notion that ensured a misplaced chivalry and lack of pursuit of victory made them lose every single war when faced with an enemy who was intent on ‘total war’.

As India faces multiple security challenges today, it is worthwhile to remember the valour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) is a military historian.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Amit20081980/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Rediff News