Shivaji was an able administrator who established a government that included modern concepts such as cabinet (Ashtapradhan mandal), foreign affairs(Dabir) and internal intelligence. Shivaji established an effective civil and military administration. He also built a powerful navy. Maynak Bhandari was one of the first chiefs of the Maratha Navy under Shivaji, and helped in both building the Maratha Navy and safeguarding the coastline of the emerging Maratha Empire. He built new forts like Sindhudurg and strengthened old ones like Vijaydurg on the west coast. The Maratha navy held its own against the British, Portuguese and Dutch.
Shivaji is well known for his benevolent attitude towards his subjects. He believed that there was a close bond between the state and the citizens. He encouraged all accomplished and competent individuals to participate in the ongoing political/military struggle. He is remembered as a just and welfare-minded king. He brought revolutionary changes in military organisation, fort architecture, society and politics.
Shivaji was the first king of the medieval world to undertake the revolutionary idea of abolishing the feudal system, 150 years before its worldwide recognition in the French revolution. For a span of about 50 years, there were no feudals in his kingdom. After the fall of Raigad in 1689, Raja Ram started giving land grants to maratha chieftains to fight against the Mughals in the War of 27 years.
Peshwa - Mukhya (main) Pradhan, next to the king, for supervising and governing under king's orders in his absence. The king's orders bore the Peshwa's seal.The organization of Shivaji's administration was composed of eight ministers or pradhaanas:
- Mazumdar - An auditor to take care of income and expenditure checks, keep the king informed of finances and sign districts-level accounts.
- Navis or Waqia Mantri - to record daily activities of the royal family and to serve as master of ceremony.
- Sur Navis or Sachiv - to oversee the king's correspondence to ensure letter and style adherence to wishes of the king and check accounts of palace and Parganas.
- Sumant or Dabir - for foreign affairs and to receive ambassadors.
- Senapati or Sar-naubat - To keep troops ready and the king fully informed.
- Panditrao - to promote learning, spirituality and settle religious disputes.
- Nyayadhish - the highest judicial authority.