Chauth (from Sanskrit meaning one-fourth) was a regular tax or tribute imposed, from early 18th century, by the Maratha Empire in India. It was an annual tax nominally levied at 25% on revenue or produce, hence the name. It was levied on the lands which were under nominal Mughal rule. It is a tribute paid to the king.
Balaji Vishwanath assisted a young Maratha Emperor Shahu to consolidate his grip on a kingdom that had been racked by civil war and persistent attack by the Mughals under Aurangzeb. He was called "the second founder of the Maratha State."
The Mughal General, who decisively defeated Shivaji and forced him to conclude the Treaty of Purandar, was
Shivaji was forced to sign the agreement after Jai Singh besieged Purandar fort. When Shivaji realised that war with the Mughal Empire would only cause damage to the empire and that his men would suffer heavy losses, he chose to make a treaty instead of leaving his men under the Mughals.