Today is the birth anniversary of the the Great King Chhatrapati Shivaji Shahaji Bhosale,who is also known as the Father of Indian Navy.
Now, Why Shivaji is known as Father of Indian Navy?
Shivaji built a strong naval presence across long coast of Konkan and Goa to protect sea trade, to protect the lands from sack of prosperity of subjects from coastal raids, plunder and destruction by Arabs, Portuguese, British, Abyssinians and pirates. Shivaji built ships in towns such as Kalyan, Bhivandi, and Goa for building fighting navy as well as trade. He also built a number of sea forts and bases for repair, storage and shelter. Shivaji fought many lengthy battles with Siddis of Janjira on coastline. The fleet grew to reportedly 160 to 700 merchant, support and fighting vessels. He started trading with foreigners on his own after possession of eight or nine ports in the Deccan. Shivaji’s admiral Kanhoji Angre is often said to be the “Father of Indian Navy”
Muslims were also a significant part of Maratha Navy.
Shivaji had several noteworthy Muslim soldiers, especially in his Navy. Ibrahim Khan and Daulat Khan (both were African descendants) were prominent in the navy; and Siddi Ibrahim was chief of artillery.Muslim soldiers were known for their superior skills in naval and artillery combat skills.
Maratha Navy was strong and defended India against many foreign forces.
Most important reason is that people can relate to the part of history when Maratha existed. Period of Mauryas and Guptas are long gone. Forget about dates even the years are not clear. When we talk about their glory we refer to history written by foreign sources. No doubt India saw its golden age at the time of Guptas and Muryas but that age is long gone. This is not the case with Maratha. We can relate to this part of the history.
Its a different thing that some people treat the glory of Maratha as glory of Marathas only and not of whole India.
The modern Indian navy is indeed an extension of the navy created by Great Marathas and hence Shivaji is referred as Father of Indian Navy.