This is yet another example of Shivaji’s cunningness. Shivaji
had defeated a few of Shaistekhan’s generals, namely, Kartalab Khan,
and Namdar Khan. However, the pinnacle was the surprise attack on
Shaistekhan in Mughal stronghold, in his bedroom! Shivaji chose the
month of Ramadan to attack Shaistekhan. Shaistekhan was staying at
Lal Mahal, which was childhood home of Shivaji. Therefore, he knew
everything there was to know about the place. Less than 100 men, led
by Shivaji, attacked this palace, which was surrounded by Mughal army
as strong as 150,000 in pitch darkness of 7th night of Ramadan. It
was a total frenzy. In the darkness, Shivaji and his men were killing
anybody who came in their way. About 50 Mughal soldiers, 6 elite
women, 6 common women, many eunuchs, Shaistekhan’s son, his son in
law, some of his wives, and daughter in laws were killed in this
attack. Shaistekhan was attacked in his bedroom and lost his three
fingers. He escaped, however. Shaistekhan was attacked in April 1663.
He stayed in Pune for 6 months and tried to whitewash his failure.
But, to no avail. In December, Aurangzeb transferred Shaistekhan to
Dhaka as governor of Bengal.
Shaistekhan and Surat . . .
It is possible to stun the world around you by doing something
extraordinary. All the magicians do that. However, that was not the
business of Shivaji. The period, for which the world has been
stunned, Shivaji retained his poise and did something extraordinary
which used to, gave him a lasting success. After the defeat of Afzal
Khan, he went on to conquer Konkan, South Maharashtra and forayed up
to the region as deep as Bijapur. After attacking Shaistekhan, he
retook the lost Konkan. It was his political understanding that he
used to attain lasting success by a swift campaign followed by a
stunner. Shaistekhan tried to contain Shivaji for 6 months, but to no
avail. Aurangzeb had no issues with surprises, but what next? This
was his realistic question. Shaistekhan left for Bengal in December
1663, and in January 1664, Shivaji plundered Surat. If Afzal episode
gave Shivaji a pan-Indian popularity, this task of looting Surat made
him an international celebrity where he was discussed in all the
Muslim and a substantial part of the Christian world. With this act
he formally declared war on Aurangzeb.