The escape

Shivaji is one of the most enigmatic person and King in Hindu
history. His friends could not understand him. His enemies could not
understand him too. The only person in those times, who could
understand Shivaji, was Aurangzeb. It was the vision of Aurangzeb
when he predicted the danger that Shivaji can be as early as 1646,
when he was governor of Deccan in his first term. During his second
term as governor of Deccan, Shivaji plundered Mughal territory of
Junnar and Bhivandi in early 1650’s. These forays of Shivaji
coincided with Shahjahan’s ill- health. Hence, Aurangzeb had to
return to North to participate in the battle of succession with his
brother Dara. Nevertheless, he warned Adilshah and Kutubshah about
this upcoming danger of Shivaji. Shivaji again entered a treaty with
Mughals in June 1659, to deal with impending Afzal Invasion. At the
same time, Shaista Khan, maternal uncle of Aurangzeb, was appointed
as governor of Deccan. By that time, in late 1659, Siddhi Jauhar,
Adilshah’s last attempt to control Shivaji, had cornered Shivaji in
Panhalgadh. Taking advantage of this, Shaista Khan invaded the
Maratha state, occupied Pune, and besieged the ground fort of Chakan.
However, Shivaji escaped from Panhalgadh to Vishalgadh in July
1660, due to valiant effort of his 600 men, most of which died in
order to keep Shivaji safe. The hero of the battle was Bajiprabhu
Deshpande, who is immortalized for his sacrifice in the pass of Pavan
Khind. Figuratively, the battle of Pavan Khind can be compared with
the Battle of Thermopylae fought in 480 BC. 300 Greeks and 900 others
under the Spartan King Leonidas defended the pass for 3 days against
large Persian army under Xerxes. Coincidently, even Bajiprabhu had
300 men to defend the pass against 10,000 Adilshahi forces. The
battle of Pavan Khind is excellent example of superior use of terrain
to the benefit of a small but disciplined army. They held on until
the signal of Shivaji’s safety arrived. All of them were slain

No comments: