Terror Of The Enemies
Sultan Adilshah saw how Shivajis dream
of Swaraj would come true, and felt both
anxious and helpless. Every day he
received news of some fort or the other falling into Shivajis hands! The
Sultan had a foster mother, by name Uliya Begum. She hated Shivaji like
poison. One day she herself held a Durbar. The far-famed heroes of Bijapur
all attended it. At that Durbar Uliya Begum threw out the challenge to
all present: "if there is one amongst you who can capture and bring Shivaji
captive here, let him accept this token gift of pan." So saying she held
out the silver platter in which was place the
ceremonial pan and betel-nut offering.
A sever-foot tall robust general stood up and
accepted the gift. The general was
Afzal Khan. He was a Pathan general who was as brave as he was cruel and
deceitful. The Sultan sent a strong force of 25,000 soldiers to help him.
Afzal Khan first proceeded to destroy
Bhavani of Tuljapur, the family deity worshipped by Shivaji. His axe broke.
The idol of the Goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur to pieces. The Khan desecrated
this idol and another in Pandharput. Shivaji was being informed of all
these happenings daily. The Khan knew that as long as Shivaji was safely
behind his fortresses and was in the jungle areas, it was difficult to
defeat him. He hopped that Shivaji would come into the open plains and
offer battle if he indulged in such desecration of temple, slaughter of
cows and the molestation of women. Then it would be easier for him to defeat
Shivaji was not slow to understand
this scheme; he knew that the Khan would overpower him if the came down
from the forts and offered battle. So he made up his mind to proceed to
the new fort of Pratapagadh which he had built in the forest of Javali.
He then planed to attract the Khan to this place and fight him there. Just
at this time he had a dream in this dream Goddess Bhavani appeared to
them and blessed him saying that he would be victorious.
Afzal Khan wanted to make Shivaji come
down from the fort of Pratapagadh and meet him on the plains. Towards this
end he sent a representative of his with secret
instructions. He met Shivaji and politely
informed him that Afzal Khan was a great of his father and that he did
not intend any harm and Shivaji should come down to meet him. In reply,
Shivaji sent a flattering letter through his own representative. He wrote,
You are like an uncle to me. You must forgive all my crimes. You should
come to Pratapagadh and uplift me and take me to the Sultan of Bijapur."
The humble and pleading tone of Shivajis letter deceived the Khan. And
the representative sent by Shivaji praised the courage of the Khan and
made fun of Shivajis cowardice. So the Khan was very much pleased.
The Khan arrived at the forest of Javali
with all his forces. He stationed himself right at the foot of Pratapagadh.
It was decided that Shivaji and Afzal Khan should meet as friends. It was
also agreed that as Shivaji was a little terrified, Afzal Khan alone should
meet Shivaji and the body guards of both should remain at some distance.
It was the night before this meeting.
Who could sleep on such a night? Netaji, Tanaji,
Kanoji and other trusted lieutenants
of Shivaji came down from the fort and with their battalions, hid in the
forest; they stood ready for action. They had been instructed that they
should fall upon the enemy ranks and destroy them the moment they heard
the booming cannon on the fort. The day dawned. As usual Shivaji bathed,
and worshipped Lord Shiva. He put on a metallic helmet to protect the head
and a metallic cost to protect he chest. In the scabbard at his waist were
the dagger Bhavani and a sharp knife. Meditating on Goddess Bhavani he
went down from the fort, to meet Afzal Khan. They were to meet halfway
down the hill; the place was hidden from view from the came of Afzal Khan.
In the shamiana the Khan waited for Shivaji. He rose as soon as he saw
Shivaji. Their eyes met for short while. Pretending to offer him the customary
embraceof friendship, the Khan invited Shivaji. He stretched both his powerful
and long arms in an act of embrace of friendship, the Khan invited Shivaji.
He stretched both his powerful and long arms in an act of embrace. It seemed
as though it was an embrace of death itself. But whose embrace of death
itself. But whose death? Shivaji too came forward and embraced him. At
once the Khan drew out his sharp knife and biting his lips in anger thrust
it into the side of Shivaji. Shivajis steel vesttore with a grating noise,
Quickly Shivaji released himself from the hold of the Khan and dragging
out his own sharp knife thrust it deep into the entrails of the Khan. The
Khan tried to run away. But Shivaji flung his sword at him and at one stroke
the head of the khan fell down severed.
Shivaji stuck the severed head of the
Khan on his sword and ran up the fort. Simultaneously the cannon also boomed
as if it I would cut opens the skies. The Khans soldiers were rejoicing,
forgetful of the situation in the thought that the Khan would have caught
Shivaji. Suddenly the soldiers of Shivaji pounched upon them like leopards.
Godess Tulaja Bhavani was now fully avenged. The Khans forces were completely
destroyed. Shivaji was all-victorious. He sent Jijabai a gift. Can you
guess what gift was? The head of Afzal Khan!
Shivaji fame as the slayer of Afzal
Khan spread everywhere in our own country and
abroad. A dark and dismal gloom descended
on the Sultan of Bijapur. But Shivaji did not grow careless in the joy
of victory. Taking advantages of this temp of victory he proceeded to other
places and annexed quite a few forts of the Sultan of Bijapur.
The Sultan of Bijapur again chose another
general and sent him to attack Shivaji with a force seventy thousand strong.
The general, Siddi Jauhar, tried hard to capture Shivaji who was then in
Panhalgadh. Even the English came to his assistance with their artillery.
The attack gathered more and more strength. Shivaji hoped that the attack
would lose its force and strength as soon as the monsoon set in. But in
this Shivaji was disappointed. At the same time, in answer to a request
from theSultan of Bijapur, the Badshah of Delhi sent his uncle Shaista
Khan with an army, ahundred thousand strong, to attack Shivaji. All thought
that the hopes of Swaraj and the survival were completely blotted out.
During this period of great danger
Shivajis mother Jijabai took charge of the administration in the place
of her son and managed the affairs ably. In the meanwhile
Shivaji came to the decision that
he should few himself from this encirclements. But
how? For Siddi Jauhar guarded the
fort from below. Shivaji thought of the less dangerous mode of escape.
He sent to Siddi Jauhar through his envoy a letter offering to surrender.
He had appealed earnestly that he would surrender unconditionally the next
day and that he should be given pardon. The moment news of this surrender
reached thesoldiers of Jauhar they spent the whole night in great merriment.
They hardly knew that such letters from Shivaji were sweet only to deceive.
It was night of pouring rain, and terrible thunder and lightning. Just
at that moment Shivaji and 800 of his men got down the fort and proceeded
stealthily towards Vishagadh. The soldiers posted to watch the enemies
were no doubt in their tents, by they were lost in merriment thinking of
the surrender of Shivaji. Even the slightest suspicion would have resulted
in utter destruction. Hence Shivajis men were anxious at every step. But
Bhavanis blessings wee with this mall battalion. They were able to Escape
The group of Mavali soldiers carrying
Shivaji in a palanquin ran faster and faster. As they ran the whole area
was lit up with a large streak of lightning. One of the spies of Siddi
Jauhar noticed the party and he ran to inform Siddi Jauhar of this escape.
On hearing this Jauhar was thunder-struck. Still he did not lose heart.
He sent for his son-in-law Siddi Masood. He wasentrusted with the cavalry
and was sent in hot pursuit of Shivaji. Shivaji too felt that it would
be difficult to escape from this case. But once again he thought of plan.
He sat in another palanquin and traveled in a different direction. There
was a man in the army who was like Shivaji. These man put on the clothes
of Shivaji and sat in the first Shivajis soldiers, captured him and proceeded
to Siddi Jauhar. But when the captive was questioned it was found that
he was a Shivaji by name and was just a barber of Panhalgadh! All were
put to shame.
So Siddi Masood again took up the chase.
By that time Shivaji and his soldiers had
already covered twenty-five miles
and were now near the valley of Gajapur. Vishalgadh was a few miles from
there. Five thousands soldiers of Masood raced towards the group. Shivaji
had a brave lieutenant, a man strong like Bheema. He was Baji Prabhu Deshpande.
He asked Shivaji to proceed to Vishalgadh taking half the force with him.
With the remaining half he was their face the mighty battle on of Siddi
Masood. It was a sight to see Baji Prabhu wielding two swords in both his
In that narrow valley Baji Prabhu began
cutting down the Pathan soldiers who rolled in again and again like waves.
In the battle he too was wounded all over the body and blood was flowing
out. In spite of this he gave battle till the evening. Many of his soldiers
too fell in this battle. Finally Baji Prabhu fell a victim to an enemys
sword that severely wounded him. At the same time Shivaji had overpowered
the soldiers who were attacking Vishalgadh, and climbing up the fort let
the cannon resound in Victory. As Bajji Prabhu lay dying he heard this
sound. He died in peace, happy that his efforts for his master had not
been in vain. The valley was made scatted by the blood of this martyr.
From hence this valley came to be known as Pavan Khindi or the Sacred Valley.
The news that Shivaji escaped from
Panhalgadh and reached his capital fell on the ears of the Sultan of Bijapur.
He felt like one who was struck by a thousand thunderbolts at once. He
could not summon again the courage to attack Shivaji. But Shivaji had the
other danger from Shaista Khan to attend to. How was he to free himself
from this? For this Shivaji chose the month sacred to the Muslims when
they observe Ramzan. It was a time when the community would fast all day
and then eat sumptuously and be fast asleep at night. The day also was
the anniversary of the coronation of Aurangzeb. Need it be said that on
that day there would be all the revelry and merriment of a great feast?
On that day Shivaji came down from Raigadh with an army of two thousand
soldiers. He stationed himself at a distance of some two miles from Poona.
Shaista Khan was then camping in the Lal Mahal at Poona, Where Shivaji
had been brought up as a boy. In and around Poona a hundred thousand soldiers
of the Moghul Emperor were stationed.
A childhood friend of Shivaji by name
Babaji moved towards the Moghul camp with a small force of soldiers. Behind
him proceeded Shivaji with another small troop. Babaji entered the city,
chatting and shouting. The sentries stopped him and his men. But without
a moment'shesitation, Babaji said, "We too, are the Khan's men-, we just
went out to keep watch and are now coming back." He and his men disregarded
the sentries and quietly entered the city. Shivaji's soldiers
followed them. Shivaji went directly towards the gates at the rear of the
Lal Mahal. From there he went to the Kitchen and cut down all who were
there. From there he proceeded to the place where Shaista Khan was sleeping.
He had to pull down a small wall that obstructed his entry. A servant heard
the wall collapse and went to inform the Khan of what was happening. But
the Khan was so sleepy ' that he drove the servant away saying that it
must be some rat in the kitchen.
Shivaji and his men rushed in. By that
time the entire Lal Mahal was never be rating
with shouts which announced that the
enemy had broken in. The wives of Shaista Khan hid him behind a curtain.
Shivaji burst in and flung his sword. Three fingers of the Khan, one as
it were for the three syllables of the name of Shivaji, were chopped off
by this throw.
The Khan jumped down from the window.
By then the Moghul army had surrounded the Lal Mahal.In this utter confusion
Shivaji and his men shouted, "Catch the enemy, cut him into piece ' s!"
They opened the doors of the Lal Mahal and went away. They' escaped and
raced to Simhaoadh on the horses that were waiting for them in readiness,
This incident convinced Shivaji's enemies that he was not just a mountain
rat' but some sort of a fiend or demon, of superhuman powers.Aurangzeb
was put to unbearable shame and even transferred Shaista Khan to Ben gal
as a punishment.
To build up such a vast kingdom independently
and to rule it with an army and a navy, Shivaji needed lots of money. Where
could he hope to obtain so much wealth for the purpose? He decided to extract
this money from Aurangzeb himself who was enjoying the wealth of this country.
In those days Surat was known to be almost the city of Kubera, the God
of Wealth. So he attacked Surat on one occasion and then emptied the city
of its great wealth.