Wednesday, February 20, 2013


                                                  KHADGA TIKKANA

                                                   Dr K Prabhakar Rao
           The provinces in Andhra Pradesh were ruled by various  dynasties  over the time and these rulers contributed in various ways to the literature, economy, trade, security, religion, sculpture, dance, Music and drama. There is no field left in which there was no contribution from them. Tamil kings held sway over Andhra provinces for long periods. Chieftains appointed by the sovereigns to rule provinces declared independence or changed loyalties as per the   prevailing political situations. Old dynasties vanished and in the place  new ones came up. Satavahans, Vengi Chalukyas and , Kakateeyas, were the  most important sovereigns while Reddy Kings and Nayaka  rulers of Telangana were the   important provincial  rulers who ruled over most part of   Andhra Pradesh provinces till the Muslim conquest of South India began.    Vijay nagar empire found in 14 century stood up against Islamic onslaught   and for the next 300 years Vijaynagar  emperors stopped Islamization of South India and after the fall of the Vijaynagar empire in 17 century,   provincial powerful Chieftains of Madhura, Tanjavur, Mysore and Jinji held sway with fluctuating fortunes.
              Nellore is a province at the border of present of AP state and Tamilnadu state. This was ruled by a branch of  Telugu Chodas who   ruled from Nellore and they were the chieftains of Kakatiya  sovereigns.Gan apatideva of kakateeya dynastu was the most important ruler and he ruled over entire Andhra Pradesh.He ruled for 60 yyeras with complete authority.  The famous  Telugu poet, Tikkana Somayaji who translated major portion of Maharshi Veda Vyasa’s MahaBharata  from sanskrtit into Telugu was the chief minister of the king Manuma siddhi at Nellore.   In the introduction of his Nirvachanottara Ramayanamu, which is a scholarly work by him  gave an account of the history and antecedents of this family. These Chodas also claimed descent from the famous Karikala Chola of tamilnadu provinces. They ruled over their kingdom consisting of the Nellore, Cuddapah, Chittoor and Chengalput ( Now in Tamilnadu state) districts with Vikramasimhapuri (modern Nellore) as their capital.
              Chola Bijjana was the first important chief in the Nellore Choda clan. As a feudatory of the Western Chalukya Someswara I (1042–1068 ) of Kalyani, he took part in the wars of the Chalukyas and Cholas. In recognition of the loyalty and services of his descendants to the Chalukyas of Kalyani ( Now in Karanataka in Bidar dist), Vikramadiya II (1076–1126 ) appointed them as rulers of Pakanadu. Later Tikka (1223–1248 ) father of the famous Manumasiddhi, extended the sway of the Nellore Telugu Chola family as far south as the river Kaveri. He owed nominal allegiance to the already crippled Chalukya Chola emperors of the south, but was practically an independent ruler. Along with the Hoysala Vira Narasimha, he helped the Chalukya Chola ruler Rajaraja Chola III in restoring him back to his throne by repulsing the attacks of Aniyanka Bhima, Kopperunchinga II and the Pandyas.
                Subsequently, when the Hoyasala Vira Narasimha's successor Somesvara, desirous of making the Chalukya Chola ruler a puppet in his hands, joined hands with the Pandyas and attacked Rajendra IIl, Choda TiKka came to the rescue of the Chola emperor. He defeated both the Hoyasala and the Pandyan forces and got thereby the Tondaimandalam region for himself. He even assumed the title Cholasthapanacharya. During the reign of Tikka's son and successor Manumasiddhi II (1248–1263), the power of the Nellore Cholas was at its low ebb.
                About the year 1260, a dangerous feud broke out between King Manumasiddhi and Katamaraju, the chief of Erragaddapadu in Kanigiri region. The feud was on the issue of the rights of the two princes to use certain wide meadows as grazing grounds for their flocks of cattle. It led to the fierce engagement of the two sides and the bloody battle was fought at Panchalingala on the Paleru river. Manumasiddhi's forces  were led by  his army chief Khadga Tikkana, the cousin of poet Tikkana.The fight was vigorous and Tikkana s forces suffered defeat and  he retired home. At home he was insulted by his wife Dasamma and mother by offering bangles. The enraged  Khadga Tikkanna  rode back to battle field and the battle was most  vigorous and Nellore   forces became victorious. However Tikkanna  sacrificed his life in the battle field fighting very bravely causing havoc among  the enemy by killing most of the enemy men. He became a Martyr. The story of Khadga Tikkanna ( Rana Tikkanna) has become a legend and many ballads were written about his valor and the battle.  The story is also called Yadava Bharatham and Katamarjukatha. Many dramas were also written and enacted  by the artists making Khadga Tikanna immortal in the history of Andhra Pradesh and India.  

 Shortly after this disastrous battle, Manumasiddhi died.With the death of Manumasiddhi II, the Nellore kingdom lost its individuality, became a battle ground between the Kakatiyas and the Pandyas and changed hands frequently. In the reign of Kakatiya Prataparudra II, the Nellore region became part and parcel of the Kakatiya empire and lost its political significance.



Dr K Prabhakar Rao


                    Palanadu (Probably Pallavanadu) was a part of Kamma ( Now a caste in AP of  fourth Varna ) Rashtra. It lies to east of Srisailam and to the South of the Krishna river. The area that comprise of Guntur District now lying  on the south of Krishna river passing through present  Nalgonda distrct of Andhtra Pradesh   mostly comprise of Pala nadu. Macherla the great historical town lies immediately after crossing river Krishna near Nagarjuna Sagar dam which is  around  130 Km from Hyderabad.  Gurajala, Karempudi, Macherla form the   important places in the   history of Battle of Palanadu.
The story of the veera charitra of Palnadu or Battle of Palanadu ( Fought some where near 1184 or 1186) starts with one Anuguraju of Haihaya clan from a place called Jambhanapuri (Modern Jabalpurin MP state) coming on a pilgrimage to Andhra to mitigate his ancestral sins. It was said after having bath in the sea near Motupalli, his black clothes turned into white indicating he was purified from his sins. The local Chola ( Choda) king gave his daughter Mylamma in marriage to Anuguraju who was already having two wives and gave palnadu as dowry.   Anuguraju started living in the capital city Gurajala along with his minister Dodda Naidu. 

Dodda Naidu's eldest son Baada Raju was adopted and intially made successor by Anuguraju as he was childless for a long time. But later- on, he had Nalagama raju and Narasimha Raju  from  his elder wives and Peda Malideva and China Malideva  Raju with Mylamma. After the death of Anuguraju and Dodda Naidu, dispute broke out between the sons of Anuguraju .Nalagama put his claim stating he was eldest while Malideva argued the kingdom was his mothers property .Finally, Brahma Naidu, second son of Dodda Naidu,who succeeded his father made Nalagama as the king with Malideva as Yuvaraja and started to rule Palnadu on their behalf, as they were too young.
Veerasaivism was established by Basaveswara in early 11th century in Kalyani in North Karnataka. It preaches superiority of Lord Shiva over other gods and irrespective of caste, one can achieve superiority by just worshiping Lord Shiva. This religion went down well with the lower castes who saw an oppurtunity to break the iron shackles of caste and climb up in the caste hierarchy. Basaveswara the PM of King Bijjala used govt funds for the spread of his new faith and order.This infuriated the king. Finally, there was religious unrest in Karnataka between Jains and Veerasaivas which finally led to a civil war in which the Jain king Kalachuri Bijjala was also brutally killed in the night.

In the neighbouring Andhra also there was impact of veerasaivism and lot of farmers and artisans converted to veerasaivism and under its influence overcame the inferiority thrust upon them by the rulers and priests, gained in confidence and were waiting for an opportunity to have their share of wealth and power.Kakateeya kings at Warangal who patronized Jainism earlier adopted Shiva  worship accordingly.
One such farmer widow lady Nagamma had a chance to entertain the king Nalagama when he was on a hunting trip. She made good rapport with the king and slowly started visiting the court at Gurazala. Shrewd,cunning and intelligent, She slowly gained the confidence of the king.Under her spell the king who used to very highly respect Brahma Naidu, started ignoring him and even tried to imprison his step brother Malideva.Realising the situation,Brahmanaidu persuaded the king to divide the kingdom and built a New capital city Mahadevicherla or Macherla, on the bank of the river chandra vanka , shifted to Macherla along with his relatives and followers and crowned Mallideva as the king.

Brahmanaidu was a very highly respected person of his times.He was a indomitable warrior,scholar and reformer.He was a staunch vaishnavite and founded a new sect called Veera vaishnavism to counter Veera Saivaism.While Veera saivaism allowed the sudra castes into its fold disallowing the untouchbles,Brahmanaidu even opened his doors to this under priviliged people.To eradicate the caste system he started a reform called "chapakudu" where the people of all communities will eat a single heap of rice poured on a chapa or mat.He adopted children from lower castes like barbers,washermen etc,.and brought them up along with his own son Balachandra. He even made a untouchble kannamadasu ,Supreme commander of his army, which was unimaginable in those times.He  constructed the  famous Chennakeswara swamy temple at Macherla and  it stands even today in all its glory where regular worship of the lord ( Vishnu) takes place. 

Because of all these activities Brahmanaidu was hailed as "Vishnu" of Palnadu. Brahmanaidu captured the fort of Shimoga which was a strong hold of Veerashaivas on the request of King of kalyani and the Kannada king in a thanksgiving gesture, gave his daughter Siramadevi to Mallideva in marriage. Thus Malideva and Brahmanaidu grew in stature and power. Kalyani was a powerful seat of Kalyani Chalukyas.
All these developments infuriated Nagamma.She poisoned the king's mind by preaching him that a powerful neighbour is always a cause of concern. As beating Macherla by fair means was out of their capability,they hatched a plan based on the fondness of Brahma Naidu for cockfight.They invited Brahma Naidu and Mallideva for a festival and challenged them for a game of cockfight.In the final bout Brahma Naidu's cock was killed tactically by Nagamma by applying poison to the knife tied to the leg of Nagamma's cock.As per the  conditionBrahma Naidu and his people gave up their kingdom and set out for exile (Vana Vaasam ) for seven years and stayed at Medapi. 

          Brahma Naidu  tried his best to persuade king Nalagama  to return the kingdom of Macherla to Malideva after seven years but to of no avail. Ala Raja who was the follower of Malideva and son in law of Nalagama was sent as an envoy to Gurajala to persuade the King Nalagma to return the kingdom. But Ala Raju was poisoned  in the night under the orders of Narsinga Raju  brother of Nalagma who harbored the desire to be crowned after Nalagama. Nagamma planned the murder in conspiracy with Narsinga Raju.  The dead body of Ala Raja was retrrned to Brahmanaidus camp and there was  a greatr rise of tempers. Peramma the  wife of Ala Raju committed self immolation ( sati) on the funeral pyre of her husband not before valiant Balachandrudu son of Brahmanaidu took an oath that he would behead Narsinga Raja in battle and would thus take revenge for death of Ala Raja thereby bringing peace to the soul of Peramma.   The Battle of Palnadu was thus set although all efforts were made by Brahamanaidu in all good faith. He was not a war monger. The  war began around 1180 AD at Karempudi on the bank of Naguleru.Most of the south Indian Kings took part in this great battle by sending their armies. Rudradeva the Kakateeya king of Warangal sent 1500 cavalry in support of Nalagama. The factions were divided based on Shivites and Vaishnavites sects .

                   There was very heavy loss of life on both sides. Balachandra, Brahma Naidu's young son     fought like Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata war.  He cut off the head of Narsinga Raju in a duel on the battle field and thus kept up his promise made to Peramma. However he was also injured in the duel. He carried the head to Brahma Naidu and  displayed it for which he was shown contempt. The infuriated Balachadrudu rode back into the battle field and continued his  fight till he  was grievously wounded. He  went to Naguleru nearby, opened his bandage at the waist and breathed his last  He and many others became folk heroes. Manchala wife of Balachandrudu has  also become immortal as she sent her husband most willingly into the  battle although  she knew that it was the most dangerous battle. Most of followers of Brahamanidu including valiant Kommanaidu   lost lives in the battle. Finally, Brahmanaidu too entered the battle and  fought vigorously displaying great valor and the enemy forces fled.   However Malideva  gave up his life greatly pained at the death of his kin. The war was won by army of Brahma Naidu while   NalagamaRaju  and Nagamma surrendered. Brahma Naidu however forgave them and made Nalagama as king again and went into the mountains (called 'Guttikonda Bilam' near Karempudi and piduguralla)for penance. The fate of Nagamma was not known later. No record is available about her subsequent life. It is assumed that she was sent away or she was put in prison.The ballads state that dejected Brahma Naidu entered the  Guttikonda Cave and never returned later. The cave exists even today and no one has tried to  travel through the cave.  . It  has remained a mystery. Temples have been erected  at the place of battle for the fallen war heroes and the weapons used by them in the war are well preserved till today at the temples and annually these weapons are worshipped at a great procession. Ballads are sung praising the heroes.Great Poet Srinadha who was in the court of Reddy kings at Kondaveedu wrote a book of poems in Telugu titled Palanati veera chartitra. He lived in 15 century.

                     The battle of Palnadu closely resembles the mythological war described in epic  Mahabharata   fought at Kurukshetra. It was fought for territory between two cousins and almost all the kings of Southern India took part in it. But its implications were tremendous and in a way changed the course of Andhra history. Politically the Kakatiyas under Rudra deva  were able to bring the whole of Andhra under one flag (nearly a thousand years after the Satavahanas),because all the local kings were weakened by this catastrophic war. Socially,it was the begining of the end of the monopoly of the warrior community (The Kammas) as rulers and fighters. In fact the Kammas were fragmented into a new caste,viz velama with Brahma Naidu as its founder. The influence of agrarian communities started to rise. Among the untouchables, the mala community, the section to which Kannamadasu belonged (whom Brahma Naidu adopted with the title KannamaNeedu), the lowest in those times, started to claim superiority over other sections like the Madigas, who were famous as Gosangi Veerulu ( Famous in the  war between king Manuma siddhiII and Katama Raju at Pancha lingala in 13 century where Khadga Tikkannna Commnader of Manumasiddhi became a martyr although won the war) . This is a classical example of the peculiar dynamics of the caste system. The malas even stopped doing some menial tasks like scavenging and cremating dead bodies, particularly in the Palnadu area. Some of the Malas even became priests in some vishnu temples and continue even today as such. The disparity between Mala and Madiga sects in dalits persists even today  and now they are fighting for separate reservations in jobs and education in Andhra Pradesh.



                                    VELAMA SCION

                               Dr K Prabhakar Rao

          Velama community played very important role  in the  history of Andhra  Pradesh .Velamas belong to  chaturth varna in the social cadre. They are invariably identified with warrior class. Most of the people remember the names of Tandra Papayya (Papa Rayudu)of Bobbili, Brahmanaidu and Balachandrudu of Palanadu  as the great persons from the Velama community. In fact there are many stalwarts from the community from the past history who have been forgotten. Velama commanders were very prominent during the reign of Kakateeya Kings at Warangal during12 to 14 centuries. They occupied important positions in the army of King Prataparudra deva II in 14 century. It is learnt that Recharla Singa Bhoopalaudu was a Velama  warrior of great repute and he was occupying the position of Commader in Chief of Kakateeya Army.He was reportedy  having titles, Kakateeya rajya samrakshaka  and Kaliyuga Dronacharya. Andhra history is replete with mutual bickerings between Kammas, Reddys and Velamas.Velama chieftains and feudatories fought relentlessly with Reddy and Kamma chiefs during 14 and 16 centuries. The bickerings during the reign of King Parataparudradeva are well known and wewre at zenith.

          Muslim sultans from North started their campaigns in 14 century during the reign of Prataparudradeva and Alluddin Khilji sultan of Delhi sent his Eunuch General Malik Kafur to conquer Waranagal and Devagiri which were the large and rich  kingdoms in South India. But Muslim armies were defeated at Upparapalli in Karimnagar  District and also at Bheemavaram near Warangal. These were conclusive victories.For some time Warangal had peace. However   subsequently Mulsims were victorious and Parataparudradeva agreed to pay tribute to Delhi sultan and his reign continued. After the death of Allauddin Khilji,  the tribute was stopped and the Sultans from Tughlaq dynasty consequently sent large armies to  discipline southern kingdoms. Although Kakateeya armies repelled the attacks Juna Khan ( Later Mohd Bin Tughlaq) again invaded with great army and  during this period bickerings and rivalries between the Velama and Reddy communities were at the peak.  The padmanayaka velamas were reportedly  favorites of the King. General Bobbareddy of Kakateeya  army decided to show the King who exactly were the valorous and important fighters. He decided to wait till the Velama contigent got mauled, and then jump in to save the Velamas as well as the King. Unfortunately, his timing was not good and both  were defeated. Prataparudradeva was captured by Muslim troops and was made a prisoner. Warangal city was devastated and looted and temples were defaced and damaged. These damages can be seen even today where statues with defaced faces, broken limbs look helplessly at the visitors and mock at the inability of Hindus to defend them. Huge carved pillars of the temples were also broken into pieces and structures were pulled down. Warangal fort is the testimony to vandalism by Muslim armies much before the damage done to Hampi and vijay nagar in  16 century.  Prataparudradeva the king was taken to Delhi. But on the way he reportedly committed suicide by jumping in river Narmada ( Some say it was Godavari river). From then onwards, Velama chiefs blamed Reddy Chiefs and community that acts of Reddys were solely responsible for the loss of Kakateeya kingdom.Or else, the kingdom would have flourished for many more centuries and even up to 1947.

               Thus relations between Reddys and Velamas became bitter and bitter day by day. Kakateeya dynasty collapsed and Warangal was occupied by Muslims and  Muslim governor Malik Maqbool was appointed by Mohd Bin Tughlaq and Warangal was named sultanpur. However the chieftains of Prataparudradeva did not loose heart. Under Prolayanaika a Kamma chieftain at Rekapalli ,they continued to wage guerilla war against the Muslim occupational forces. After Prolaya Naikas death his  cousin Kapayya Naika ( Kapaneedu) took over the command and conducted a long guerilla war and after 10 years   Malik Maqbool was defeated and Muslim armies were driven away and Warangal was liberated. There were 75  chieftains under Prataparudra deva and they elected Kapayya naika as the new ruler  at Warangal and as successor to the Kakateeya kings. Velama scion Singha Bhoopala was one of the powerful scion in Telnagana while Vema reddy was another powerful chieftain in coastal Andhra located at Addanki. While Kapayya Naika was  consolidating at Warangal,A Mulsim chieftain of Mohd Bin Tughlaq at Daulatabad ( Devagiri) revolted against Delhi. Kapayya Naika helped him by sending 1500 cavalry as he thought that a Mulsim kingdom between Delhi and south would be buffer state and that it would be a safe proposition. Probably this step was not liked by Singama Bhoopala.   The Muslim chieftain became successful in his revolt and he was  crowned as Allauddin Hasan Gangu Bhamaniat at Daultabad. As events proved later, this friendship and good relations did not last long as he invaded territories of Kapayya naika and he had to cede Kaulas fort, few elephants and good amount of money.Relations between Kapayya   and  Singama Bhoopala also got strained and Singama Bhoopala established an independent kingdom at Pillala Marri in Nalgonda district revolting against Kapayya Naika.Later the capital was shifted to Rachakonda ( Rajukonda or Rajadri). Singama Bhoopla  had two valiant songs. They were Anapotha Naika and Madav naika.This revolt surely must have annoyed Kapaya who was the ruler.On the other hand Velama king conducted parleys with Bhamani sultans and befriended them.Thus Telugu kings had no unity.

         It is  learnt that the Raju and Reddy Chieftains of the kingdom were jealous of growth of Singama Bhoopala who had large elephant army and troops of 40000 strength. Raju chieftains attacked Velama kingdom when  the sons of Singama bhoopala were away and killed singamanauyudu brother in law of Singama Bhoopala  and the ruler of Chintapalli ( Near Jaggayyapeta).
Poosapati Madhava varma  the king of Vijayawada  at that time was leading the war on kshatriyas side. He sent his childhood friend (king of Srisailam) Thambolla Brahmaji to Singamabhupala for peace  talks, but   Brahmaji stabbed   Singamabhoopala, while he was sleeping in midnight and killed him.  All velama kings  were enraged and they  could not  digest the death of Singamabhupala, who  brought  glory to velama caste The news  reached to the sons of Singamabhupala and  they came back from Kalinga immediatly. Singamabhupala has taken promise from his sons to kill all Kshatriya kings and take revenge.
                 On 7th day of Singamabhupala's death ceremony, all velama kings   promised to kill kshatriyas. Before  embarking on war over Jallepalli  all velamas prayed  to Sun god ( god of Padmanayaka velamas) and  Bhethala(guardian of velama caste) and attacked the Jallepalli fort  shouting Har Har Mahadev.   Anaphotha nayudu killed the commander of kshatriyas kondamalraju and  severed his head from his body and he pierced the head with  his  spear and lifted it up sending shivers among the enemy. Anaphtha nayudu killed all the main kings like Pinnamaraju and Myloore raju. Madava nayudu killed the Obulu raju and chief of Reddy kings "vinukonda maarareddy".

            There is one war custom  among  velamas known as "Bomma kattu", as per  the custom they  make a statue of opponent and they will tie it to their foot and they will tempt the opponent by dragging the statue on earth. All velama kings   followed this custom in Jallipalli war.Velams were victorious in this war and most of the enemy leaders were slain while Poosapati Madhava Verma the ruler of Vijaywada escaped and took shelter with Kalinga Gajapathi.Velamas were not happy winning the war and they performed Pooja of demons called Paisachika Pooja also called Ranamu kudupu.   At midnight they went to war field and chanting all mantras of Bhetala, Bhairava, Shakini and Dhaakini and invited all those kshudra ( evil spirits) shaktis by mixing food and blood in the skulls of their enemies. This was a terrible practice in those days.

                 Velamas  were not  satisfied and they soon attacked Kapayya Naika and a battle was fought at Bheemavaram near Warangal. Kapayya was exhausted  with constant battles with Bahmanis and velamas.His son Vinayaka Deva was earlier killed by Mahmud shah I  the Bahmani sultan very cruelly  at Velamputta and he was under great pain. In the  severely fought battle Kapayya reportedly was killed by deceit by Anapotha naika who was the ruler of Rachakonda. Soon  Devarakonda province was given to his brother to rule and thus Devarakonda became another Velama kingdom. Both Rachakonda and Devarakonda kingdoms always worked together throughout their existence and also vanished together. Velamas occupied Warangal fort and the territories.The velama kings fought always with Reddy kings of  Kondaveedu(  shifted to Kondaveedu from Addanki).Prolaya Vema reddy declared independence after the death of Kapayya Naika of Warangal. Velamas in collusion with Bahmanis sultans fought battles with Vijay nagar empire and slowly lost their independence. Soon Bhamanis sultans, Vijaynagar empire and Gajapathi of Kalinga clashed in Telangana and Andhra and in the events Velamas  lost their power and had to leave the  state and serve  with Vijaynagar empire as  soldiers, commanders and  chieftains at different places.   
















                                                 DEVARAKONDA FORT IN AP STATE
                                                            BHONGIR FORT IN AP STATE

Saturday, February 2, 2013


                                         VALIANT TANAJI MALUSARE
                                              Dr K Prabhakar Rao  

                     Tanaji Malusare belonged to a small village named Godoli in Javali taluka of Satara district of the State of Maharashtra.He was the    a childhood companion of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was the most trusted commander of Shivaji Mharaj   and a party to all of Shivaji’s important political movements, right from the establishment of Swarajya. Shivaji Maharaj had assigned a force of a thousand Mavale to a few trusted chieftains during the campaign against Afzal Khan. Tanaji and his army fought bravely in that battle and defeated the enemy.Tanaji was exceptionally focused when in battle – such was his nature. He never accepted defeat against any odds. After capturing Sangameshwar in the Konkan campaign, Shivaji had appointed Tanaji and another chieftain Pilaji to protect Sangameshwar. One night, Surve led a surprise attack on Sangameshwar. Pilaji retreated in fear but Tanaji put up a brave fight and demonstrated true heroism.
                  He was given the responsibility of controlling the delinquent tribes in the Konkan area adjoining Raigad fort in the kingdom. He settled at Umarthe village in the region for this purpose. He transformed them through his friendship and motivated them instead to participate in the building of Swarajya. They contributed in capturing Kondhana (known by the name of Sinhagarh today) fort. Tanaji’s contribution in capturing the Kondhana fort will never be forgotten by the people of Maharashtra.
The Kondhana fort was a strongly fortified, heavily guarded fort, commanded by the valiant warrior, Udaybhan a Rajput and  killedar of Mughals. For the sake of Swarajya and to fulfil the wishes of Queen mother  Jijabai, Tanaji vowed to capture the Kondhana fort. Only a man with such immense  commitment and bravery  could undertake such a courageous mission. Lest the opportunity - to be part of this campaign - slip away from his hands, he decided solely to put Swarajya before family matters. Not a word of his son’s marriage, scheduled during the campaign, reached Chhatrapati Shivaji. His courage, valour and leadership challenged the enemy and inspired his army. To reach Kondhana, he chose Dronagiri cliff, the sheerest cliff, which the enemy left least guarded considering it impregnable. With a small army of 500 soldiers he attacked on 04 Feb 1670, the fort at night and caught the enemy unawares. For this purpose he used mountain monitor Lizard Ghorpad and he tied rope  ladder to its torso and  it was left over the cliff. It soon claimed the cliff and entrenched itself. Tanaji and his men climbed the ladder and all members could not reach the top  as the sword of a  soldier slipped and fell down making sound. The guards of the fort immediately alerted others and soon there was bitter fight among them. Tanaji and Uday bhan were engaged in a bitter duel. In a sword fight with Udaybhan, he lost his shield. But completely disregarding the fatal wounds that Udaybhan’s sword caused him, and using his left hand as a shield with turban wrapped around, he continued his battle with Udaybhan. Udaybhan struck tired Tanaji on his shoulder and his left arm from shoulder was severed. Like a wounded tiger he pounced on Udabhan and gave such a mighty blow on his head that  Udaybhan’s head was cut into two and he died instantaneously.
                 Tanaji too  soon collapsed under shock due to loss of blood  and soon reached heavens. In the mean times the fort gates were opened by Maratha s and Suryaji brother of Tanaji along with reinforcements rushed in and what happened was a massacre of Mughals in the fort. The victorious Maraths  made a huge bonfire to send a signal to Raigad and fired a cannon as a signal of victory. Next day in the morning Chatrapathi Shivaji Mharaj arrived tocongratulate Tanaji.Though it was a joyous occasion as the fort was captured,  the king was sad in losing his friend. He remarked “Gadh aala pan Sinha gela" (We have gained the fort, but lost a lion). The Kondana fort was subsequently renamed after him and came to be called Sinhagarh. (Sinha = lion, garh=fort)

                     In remembrance of his conquest, Tanaji Malusare has a memorial in the form of his bust installed atop Sinhagarh. The village of Umarthe also has a statue and a memorial installed in his name.
           How many of  our leaders keep nations interests first to everything? Probably there are very few like Swami Vivekananda, Guru Swami Ramdas, Balgangadhar Tilak, Guruji Golwalkar , Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Raja Kunwar singh, Bhagat singh, Chadrasekhar Azad, Shivaji Maharaj and few more. During 1962 war with China Gen Kaul got himself admitted in hospital during war with Chinese.  How shameful act it was while  our soldiers fought bitterly against the enemy poorly equipped. Of course there is no requirement to    discuss about our present nad some of the past leaders for whom personal interests came first .These characters are no match to Tanaji Malusare. 


                                                           SAVE HIS KING

                                                    Dr K Prabhakar Rao

                A country that does not respect past history and its heroes will never prosper and would decay and it is a naked truth. This we are experiencing every day in India.  This is because national spirit will  dwindle in such societies and this  is happening in our country. Major portion of our Youth have no time, no interest, no zeal, no aptitude and no respect to our historical past and its heroes. They are carried away in modern vices, western life style, pub culture and discothèques. This article is a call to our youth to spend some time in remembering our past valiant men as it is their noble  duty towards motherland.

             Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj established Swarajya right under the nose of religious bigot Aurangzeb in 17 century. This was possible mainly due to un-flinched support and loyalty from his nobles, Generals and commanders. Each and every one was as determined as the Maharaj himself over the issue. Probably there was no occasion in his life where he had to goad his men to fight even under adverse conditions against superior enemy. The magical leadership qualities of Maharaj inspired every one     towards Swarajya. Baji Prabhu Deshpande is one such General who shines like a glorious star in the history of India. His sacrifice did not go invain as Shivaji Maharaj escaped the seize by Bijapur army at Panhala fort  to Vishalgad near Kolhapur to  fight on another day. Safety of the leader is a most important aspect in achieving the results.  Sadly the aspects of leadership has  changed very greatly  in the present times where we find all types of men and women masquerading    as leaders and patriots keeping themselves busy with self interests and personal rise and glory.

               Baji Prabhu served under Chandra Rao  More of Javli a feudal lord before he joined Shivaji Maharaj. He was  15 years  elder to Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji defeated Chadra Rao More and persuaded baji Prabhu to jin the cause of Swarajya and he accepted. He earned  the confidence of his king   and soon rose in position and importance. After slaying of Bijapur General Afzal Khan by Shivaji Maharaj at Pratapgarh, Sultan of Bijapur made another strong attempt to capture the Martha leader  under the able leadership of Siddi jauhar assisted by Siddi Masud and  Fazal Khan . Bijapur army laid a seize with 15000 strong army  to Panhala fort once they knew that  Shivaji was  at Panhala with limited troops. He had only 600 light infantry assisted by Baji Prabhu, Jadhav Rao and Bandal.    It was an intense operation. At the same time, Shaistan khan the Mughal governor also attacked Pune provinces to keep Maratha armies occupied. All approaches to the fort were cut off and the invading army was far  superior in numbers that could not be defeated in open battle by Maraths as they had very limited strength. The seize lasted for long period and efforts to defeat the  Bijapur army by the Senapati  Netaji Palkar of Shivaji Maharaj from outside did not yield results. The situation soon was becoming desperate and Shivaji Maharaj devised a plan. He sent an emissary to the  Commander of the invading army that he was willing to negotiate with him.  This made the  Bijapur army  slightly complacent and the army lowered the guard.
               On one  full moon stormy night  Shivaji Maharaj escaped the seize along with his troops led by Baji Prabhu       without getting detected. However soon the Bijapur army got the news and started chasing them. They caught some Maratha soldiers and captured a   person who was looking like Shivaji. Soon they realized that he was an imposter named Shiva kashid a barber. They     started the chase again. But  in this mean time, Shivaji Maharaj with his men reached a very strategic location called Ghod khind which is a very narrow defile through which very few soldiers could pass at a time .At this point of time Baji Prabhu persuaded Shivaji Maharj that he along with 300 men would defend the Ghodkhind that would enable the Maharaj to escape to Vishalgad fort. Shivaji Maharaj did not accept the suggestion that was very dangerous to the lives of his men. But Baji Prabhu prevailed over him and guarded the  pass. Soon the  Bijapur army arrived at the pass and there was an intense fight between Marthas and  enemy soldiers.
The pass was very narrow and the Bijapur army found it extremely difficult to pass through it and there were many casualties among them. But their strength was very high. The dare devil Marathas led by Baji Prabhu, his brother  Fulaji and Sambhaji Jadhav successfully defended the pass till Shivaji Maharaj reached Vishalgad fort and fired a cannon. Maratha soldiers sacrificed themselves at the  pass fiercely  fighting  with swords in both hands and profusely bleeding and it was  shock for the Bijapur soldiers. They gave up only after listening to the firing of cannon.

                   When Shivaji reached Vishalgad fort he found enemy troops led by another  officer Surve and with a violent charge they broke through them and reached the fort safely and fired the cannon. The Bijapur army after  passing the Ghod khind attacked Vishal gad fort. They were defeated with heavy losses by  Rango Narayan Sarpotdar  an young and brave officer of the fort. Marathas lost 300 men while  Bijapur army lost 3000 men . Soon Shivaji learnt about the sad demise of Baji Prabhu in the operation and the place of his sacrifice has been named as Pavan khind. Shivaji was much grieved at the loss of Baji Prabhu and  visited his  house at Kasabe sindh near Bhor at Pune to console the family. The family was given suitable honors and his sons were taken care of.

                   Battle of Pavan khind was the lost major battle with Bijapur sultans and after this Shivaji Maharaj consolidated his position as independent kingdom.