Shivaji was the first Hindu king in a very long
time to carve out a kingdom in an otherwise Islamic Deccan.
Shivaji Bhosale was born in Fort Shivneri
on 19 February 1630 (although there are other claims about his
date of birth. Sir Jadunath Sarkar places it on 10 April 1627).
He was named Shivaji after Shivai, the fort's
goddess, and was the second child of Shahaji raje Bhosale and
his queen, Jijabai (who hailed from the family of the Jadhavs of
Sindkhed). Apparently, due to Shahaji's shifting loyalties, his
father-in-law, Lakhuji Jadhav, was entrusted with orders for his
immediate capture and he was surrounded at Fort Mahuli. Jijabai
was then pregnant with Shivaji, so for her safety she was sent
to Fort Shivneri, which was under the control of a relative
named Sriniwas Vishwasrao (who also later became the father-in-law
of the eldest son of Shahaji and Jijabai: Shambhuraje).
Childhood and youth
Shahaji raje had served under various rulers, such
as the Nizamshah, the Mughals (briefly), and finally the Adilshah of
Bijapur. Adilshah had conferred on Shahaji the jagir (estate) of
Banglur (Bangalore), and he stayed there with his second wife,
Tukabai (from the house of the Mohites. Shahaji had a son named
Vyankoji through Tukabai. Vyankohi later started the Thanjavur, or
Tanjore, royal dynasty in present day Tamil Nadu), and their elder
Jijabai, along with the young Shivaji, remained at
Pune to manage Shahaji's estates (between the rivers Bhima and Nira,
an area known as the parganas of Puna, Chakan, Indapur, Shirwal and
Supa). To supervise the affairs of the estate, a Deshastha Brahmin
manager by the name of Dadoji Kondeo Gochivde was deputed in 1637
(he would later become subhedar or administrative/military head of
Fort Kondana, to which role he was appointed by Adilshah in 1639).
A portrait of Shivaji Maharaj, son of Shahaji raje Bhosale
To assist him were Shahaji's trusted men, including
Sonopant the Dabir (envoy), Shamrao Nilkanth the Peshwa (chief
minister), Balkrishnapant the Muzumdar (revenue minister), and
Raghnath Bhat the Sabnis (chronicler).
The jagir had various deshmukhs, deshpandes, and
desais (regional chieftains and revenue collectors for the sultan)
such as Khopde, Bandal, Jedhe, Maral, and Silamkar, among others.
Some of them were often unruly and fought amongst themselves over
trivial issues, besides terrorising their village folk. It was
imperative that these people be brought under control. Some came
willingly, but for others there was the option of force. 
The estate was in the mountainous area of the
Sahyadri hill range. It was a dense forest region, infested by
dacoits and wild animals such as wolves, leopards. The people
in that area were called Mavales (belonging to the Maval valley
region. The valleys in Maval are Andar, Nane, Karyat, Gunjan,
Hirdas, Pawan, while those towards Junnar are Shivner, Bhimmer,
Ghodner, and so on). The people were mainly peasants or shepherds.
 As per Marathi Riyasat by G S
Sardesai, and Shri Raja Shivchatrapati by Mehendale, Shahaji
sired another son by his second wife, Tukabai Mohite, by the
name of Koyaji raje, and another through Narsabai by the name of
Santaji raje. Also there were children through his other
concubines, those children being Shivji, Pratapji and Hiroji (Farzand).
(Acknowledgement: Rajesh Khilari.)
The first thing Dadoji Kondeo did was to clear
the region and make it secure and safe for farming. He introduced
strong law and order (and established a strict and impartial justice
system), making it more inhabitable and accessible. This brought
forth a lot of goodwill from the people towards their new masters.
Dadoji constructed the town of Shivapur in 1636 (as
per Jedhe Shakavali), and built the Lal Mahal for Jijabai and Shivaji
to reside in.
Shivaji grew up in these free mountains, along
with his 'Mavala' playmates. He was raised under the watchful eye
of his religious and independent-minded mother Jijabai and the
disciplined supervision of his guardian, Dadoji Kondeo. Shivaji
grew up on stories inspired by epics like the Ramayana and
Mahabharata, as told to him by Jijabai. This may have
instilled in Shivaji his religious and moral values which were
to be seen later in his conduct as a king.
 Shivaji never trusted the
loyalty of these deshmukhs and we see that during his wars
against Bijapur and the Mughals. The deshmukhs switched sides
with relative ease. Hence Shivaji had to create his own army in
order to reduce his dependence on the deshmukhs.
Some historians, such as J Sarkar, state that
Shivaji was unlettered, but this seems unlikely. Education for
a noble's son was a necessity (especially in 'Marathi', his mother
tongue and the language of the land; 'Sanskrit', the language of
the religious texts; and 'Persian', the language of the Islamic
courts. Subjects were required to learn the processes involved in
the administration of their land, including law, mathematics, and
economics). Moreover, Shivaji was very sharp and intelligent as a
child. Yes, he did ask his courtiers to read out letters for him
in court (fuelling the speculation), but that was the way of the
royals in this period.
Shivaji was trained in the use of the talwar and
dhal (sword and shield), bhaalaa (the spear), the danda pattaa (a
long, sharp-edged flexible steel sword), dhanushya baan (archery),
secret weapons like the khanjir/bichwa (knife/dagger), waagh nakha
(tiger claws), and other martial requisites such as ghod sawaari
(horse riding), malla yudh/kusti (wrestling), and so on. Dadoji
Kondeo was also said to be an excellent swordsman and he imparted
his knowledge to the young Shivaji.
Why Shivaji wanted independence
There are various possible reasons for this. It
may have had something to do with the stories of valour he heard
from his mother, about traditional heroes like Lord Rama, Lord
Krishna, Rana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan, and even about his own
father, Shahaji, who ruled the old Nizamshahi as regent for the
young Nizam Murtuza and who subdued many a powerful enemy.
Shivaji may have looked on the old lands of
the Nizamshahi that his father once ruled (though briefly) as
his own backyard.
It may also have something to do with the
erratic behaviour of the sultans. The earlier Nizamshah of
Ahmednagar had murdered Shivaji's grandfather, Lakhujirao Jadhav,
in cold blood. Jijabai must have sworn vengeance then, and
instilled this anger into the young Shivaji. There was also
an instance when the men of the Mughal commander, Mahabbat Khan,
had carried off the wife of Shivaji's cousin, Kheloji, and held
her to ransom. Some historians claim the kidnap victim was Jijabai
herself and that she was released from the Mughal camp by the
efforts of either her brother or her uncle who were then part
of the Mughal army.
Also, some time in 1644, Adilshah had accused
Dadoji Kondeo of impropriety (and probably Shahaji of being
hand-in-glove with him), and ordered the seizure of Shahaji's
Pune Jagirs and the hands of Dadoji Kondeo, his vakil (lawyer/envoy)
to be cut off. Apparently, in his capacity as the subedar of Kondana,
Dadoji Kondev had removed certain officials such as Sardar Ghorpade
and Shaikh Mirad from their jobs and replaced them with his own men,
Sardar Balkawde, Netaji Palkar and Mrudangal Deshpande. These sacked
officials went and complained about this treatment and raised doubts
about the loyalty of Dadoji in the sultan's mind. (Dadoji was a
temporary fugitive at the time). But soon these fears were assuaged
and the seizure order was soon revoked. 
Shivneri Wada, the birthplace of Shivaji in 1627 or 1630 (the date
But for some time there must have been a feeling
of insecurity in young Shivaji's mind and he must have longed for
the security of his own impregnable fort, in which he could be
protected against future attacks such as these.
 It is said that Ghorpade
later cut off one of Dadoji's hands for his impudence.
Moreover, the Hindus always felt like second class
citizens in an Islamic kingdom. Though they were entrusted with jagirs,
they were never made governors, and neither were they amongst the close
courtiers of the sultans. The Hindus were always the 'jimmis', ie.
non-Muslim subjects of a Islamic state.
Though not regular, there were also instances of
forcible conversions, the desecration of temples, and tyrannical
behaviour by some Muslim officials who had a disregard (and a level
of disrespect) for Hindu culture and religion. As per
Busalatinussalatin (by Muhmd Ibrahim Ali Zubairi, sourced by
Sarkar), it was a deliberate policy of the Bijapur kingdom to keep
its non-Muslim subjects suppressed. Shivaji must have resented this
arrogance and felt alienated towards his Muslim masters. This may
have propelled him to desire to have a kingdom that the Hindus could
consider their own.
Jijabai, widow of Shahaji raje Bhosale, teaching her son, the
Along with his Mavla friends, Shivaji is said to
have taken a blood oath to fight against the Islamic tyranny (at
Rohideshwara Temple). 
In 1646, with the help of a small band of local
Mavalas, Shivaji made his first conquest of Fort Torna. He subdued
the local Bijapuri commandant and seized the fort, later naming it
Prachandgad. He found government treasure worth two lakh huns (gold
coins, with a lakh equalling 100,000). Buoyed by his success he made
another acquisition in the form of Fort Murumbgad. He renamed it
Rajgad (forty kilometres from Pune). The treasure he collected was
used to strengthen the defences of the two forts.
The fort of Chakan (guarding the Puna road from
the north, around forty kilometres from Pune) had been entrusted
by Dadaji Kondeo to Firangoji Narsala. So it automatically came
under the control of Shivaji. Next, Shivaji bribed Babuji Pant,
the commander of Fort Kondana (who died in 1647, as per Shivapur
Deshpande Bahi and Muhammadnamah), and secured its possession
(Kondana is also about forty kilometres from the city of Pune).
Dadaji Kondeo died in 1649. Understanding the
gravity of the situation, Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur ordered Fateh
Khudavand Khan to put down Shivaji and appointed Kedarji Khopade
of Bhor and Balaji Haibatrao to assist him in this endeavour.
Adilshah further instructed Farhad Khan and Tanaji
Dure to capture Bangalore from the hands of Shambhuraje, Shahaji's
In 1649, Shahaji raje was also arrested at Jinji,
by his own cousin, Baji Ghorpade (along with Jaswant rao Asad Khani).
Afzal Khan was entrusted with the job of bring back Shahaji in chains
to Bijapur and a eunuch was asked to attach his properties (the use
of a eunuch was a deliberate move to humiliate Shahaji as they were
viewed alongside women, as being more inferior than men). Shivaji
then asked for Mughal help from Prince Murad Baksh, the son of Shah
Jahan (a letter dated to 1649). But Shah Jahan refused to intervene.
A display of some of the weapons which would have been
available to Shivaji and his Maratha warriors at the time
 But this oath story seems
apocryphal , more created as a part of the folklore.
Finally the Bijapuri forces reached both Bangalore and Shirval (near
Pune). But both the valorous sons of Shahaji rose to the occasion
and defeated their enemy.
Shivaji's forces consisted of his trusted captains,
including Kavji, Baji Jedhe (son of Kanhoji Jedhe, the deshmukh of
Kari, a follower of Shahaji), Baji Pasalkar (deshmukh of Muse Khore),
Godaji Jagtap, Bhimaji Wagh, Sambhaji Kate, Shivaji Ingle, Bhikaji
Chor and his brother Bhairav (as written by Parmanand).
Bijapur was shaken by the strength of the Maratha
forces and now sought reconciliation. Shahaji was released from
prison and given back his jagirs. Also, for his part Shahaji
instructed Shivaji to return Kondana to the Bijapur officers.
The capture of Fort Purandar in 1654
Shivaji knew very well the importance of these
mountain forts. Though the lands below them were under his father's
control, his position against the enemy was very vulnerable.
After the submission of Fort Kondana to Adilshah,
Shivaji was in need of a strong fort. His eye fell upon Fort Purandar
(Purandar is about forty kilometres south-east of Pune and some
ten kilometres south-west of Saswad). The commandant of the fort,
Mahadji Nilkanth had just died. Owing to his allegiance to Shahaji
raje, Mahadji had earlier allowed Shivaji and his men to encamp near
Purandar during the Bijapuri invasion, but they were not allowed
inside the fort, lest he incur the wrath of the sultan. Shivaji
was certainly feeling the need for the security offered by Fort
Purandar and decided to take it under his control.
After Mahadji's death his sons, Niloji, Pilaji and
Shankarji, started quarrelling amongst themselves over the issue of
their inheritance. The quarrel led Shivaji to sense an opportunity
to take over Purandar and as luck would have it, circumstances also
started to favour Shivaji. Niloji became the new fort administrator
and was neglecting his brothers. Shankarji implored Shivaji to
intervene in their family dispute and give him his rightful
inheritance. He was even willing to give Shivaji and his men access
to the fort in return for his rights. Taking advantage of this fact,
Shivaji surreptitiously captured Fort Purandar (probably with Shankarji's
help), and without much bloodshed. However, Shankarji dithered on
his earlier promise and refused to hand over possession of the fort
to Shivaji. Therefore he too was arrested along with his brothers,
but then freed soon after, when all of them agreed to comply with
Shankarji was given the village of Chamli as his
inheritance. Niloji was given the ancestral inam village as Nayakwar,
and Pilaji was inducted into Shivaji's army as an high official (as
per the family records which have been studied by V S Bhave).
This was how the mighty Fort Purandar became part
of Shivaji's early collection of forts, for his use whenever he felt
Javali was a strategically important region. It was
the gateway to the Konkan region, a densely forested area mainly
comprising of eighteen valleys, called 'Khores'. It was a region
traditionally ruled by the Mores who owed their allegiance to the
Adilshahi. Under the Mores came the 'khores' of Jambhul, Jor, Shivthar,
Kandat, Tam, Bamnoli, Atgaon, Chatwarbet, Solas, etc.
The Mores had a clan head called 'Chandrarao'. The
last Chandrarao More was Daulatrao. When he died he was issueless.
Therefore Afzhal Khan, Adilshah's commander, wanted to annexe the
More territory to the Adilshahi. So Daulatrao's widow turned to
Shivaji for help. Shivaji advised her to adopt a son, which is how
Krishnarao was adopted from within the clan (he belonged to the
family of the Mores of Shivthar). Shivaji promised them help
against any external aggression.
Initially Chandrarao More was indebted to Shivaji
and professed loyalty towards him. But later he changed his tune
somewhat. His attitude towards Shivaji's officials and envoy turned
from polite to haughty. He even started showing a disrespectful
attitude towards Shivaji and refused to accept him as his king
(he had also started communicating with Bijapur by then). Shivaji
was taken aback by Chandrarao's sudden arrogance, and decided to
teach him a lesson by annexing his territory.
It was tough terrain over which to mount a
campaign, but Shivaji had local support in the form of the Jedhes,
the Bandals, and the Silimkars. On 27 January 1656, Shivaji
attacked Javali and Chandrarao proposed a treaty, which Shivaji
accepted. But then Shivaji's men captured secret correspondence
between Chandrarao and the Ghorpades of Mudhol who, besides being
Shivaji's rivals and relatives, were also Bijapur's officers.
The claw-like Wagh Nakh (top) and Maratha armour
Shivaji ordered the execution of Chandrarao More
(his chief agent, Hanumantrao, was killed by Shivaji's man,
Raghunath Ballal), and Javali was annexed. 
Soon the forts of Wasota and Rairi were also in
Shivaji's hands. Now the central Konkan region comprising Adilshah's
provinces of Kalyan Bhivandi were practically isolated from rest
of the Bijapur territory. The Kolaba district, which was managed
by the Siddi's of Janjira, were now within the reach of Shivaji.
Shivaji then instructed Moropant Pingale to
construct a powerful fort for Shivaji within the vicinity of
Javali. That fort was named Pratapgad.
 Murar Baji, who had
previously served with the Mores, was to play an important
role with Shivaji in the future.
Shivaji's next acquisition was the fort of
Rohida in May 1656. Krishnaji Bandal, the commandant of the
fort, was killed in the battle to gain control of it. 
Supa was being administered by Sambhaji Mohite,
the brother of Shahaji's second wife, Tukabai. Shivaji took it
under his possession in September 1656, arresting Mohite (on
charges of corruption) and sending him packing to Bangalore.
Death of Muhmd Adil Shah
Muhammed Adil Shah died on 4 November 1656 after
a prolonged illness. The administration of the kingdom passed to
Badi Begum (who was the sister of Qutubshah of Golkunda). She ruled
the sultanate on behalf of the young Ali Adilshah II.
Confrontation with the Mughals
The post-Muhmd Adilshah period was one of turmoil
in Bijapur. All his ministers were envious of each other and covertly
plotted each other's downfall. Afzal Khan, Khan Muhammed, Fateh Khan,
Ranadullah Khan, the Pathan, Bahlol Khan, and his sons, the Maratha
nobles, Shahaji raje, Sarnobat, Baji Ghorpade, etc, were all embroiled
in political intrigues with Mir Jumla, the ex-minister of the Golkunda
kingdom, who had defected to the Mughals.
(These political intrigues later cost the lives of
Muhammed Khan I Khanan in mysterious circumstances.)
 Baji Prabhu Deshpande,
minister of the Bandals, later joined Shivaji and played an
important role in Shivaji's career. (Refer the next paragraph on
the Battle of Pawan Khind.)
Even Shivaji had begun negotiations with the
Mughals in 1656, in case of an attempted Bijapuri retaliation
(especially after the invasion of Javli). Prince Aurangzeb (who
was then the viceroy of the Deccan) had plans to capture the
south and wanted to start with Golkunda and Bijapur, so he
engaged the services of Mir Jumla, requiring that he correspond
with these Bijapur nobles on his behalf. Some were seduced, but
some refrained. Mir Jumla advised Aurangzeb to first attack
Bijapur and then Golkunda. With Golkunda being the weaker of the
two, it could easily been overcome at any time. 
Shah Jahan had already instructed Aurangzeb to
capture the old Nizamshahi territories which included Poona (which
was then in Shivaji's control). Shivaji feared a Mughal attack,
so he decided to strike the first blow. He attacked Junnar in
May 1657, a Mughal territory. It yielded Shivaji a large booty
of 300,000 honas and two hundred horses, besides jewellery. His
men further raided the Mughal-controlled territory of Ahmednagar
and captured seven hundred horses.
Pawan Khind, the scene of the battle in 1659 in which Baji Prabhu
Deshpande and his men died
This went on while Aurangzeb was concentrating
on Kalyani. That fell to the Mughals on 31 July 1657.
Aurangzeb was outraged by Shivaji's audacity
at capturing his own territory behind his back, so he ordered his
commanders, Nasirikhan and Irajkhan, to attack Shivaji's forces at
Ahmednagar, which they did on 4 June 1657, as well as mounting
another attack on Junnar.
The Maratha forces had to withdraw.
Aurangzeb's brother, Dara, feared Aurangzeb's
power would be increased too far if he succeeded in his Karnatak
campaign. At Dara's bidding, Shah Jahan ordered Aurangzeb's men,
including Mahabat Khan, Nasirikhan, and Rao Chatrasal, to return.
Exasperated, Aurangzeb had to agree a treaty with Bijapur, whereby
Bidar, Kalyani, Parenda and Konkan would be handed over to the
Mughals, although it was less than he could have expected to win
by force of arms.
Just as the treaty was being enforced, Shah Jahan
fell ill on 6 September 1657. Aurangzeb realised that the time for
his succession had come, and raced back to Delhi. Parenda remained
with the Bijapuris and even Shivaji was left alone.
 Mir Jumla was an ex-minister
of Qutubshah of Golkunda. Aurangzeb had therefore attacked and
captured the Bijapur territory of Bidar on 29 March 1657 and was
now facing Kalyani, which was forty miles from Bidar.
Shivaji straight away seized this opportunity and
attacked the Bijapuris. He captured Prabalgadh (in the vicinity of
Matheran) before continuing his campaign. In 1657, Kondana (which
was recaptured), Lohagadh, Tikona, and Rajmachi (facing the Konkan
plains) all fell to him.
While Shivaji was busy fighting the Bijapuri and
the Mughal forces, his wife Saibai bore him his son, Sambhaji, on
14 May 1657 at Fort Purandar.
Shivaji then marched into Konkan (the coastal
regions of Maharashtra), and began his Konkan invasion with Kalyan.
Bhiwandi, Tale, Ghosale, Surgadh, Birwadi, Sudhagad, Kangori, Aseri,
and Mahim Jawbar fell in quick succession. Upper Chaul was captured
by November 1657.
The Siddis of Janjira (Siddi Fateh Khan) were held
at bay at Kolaba on behalf of Bijapur. Earlier in July 1657, Shivaji
had dispatched Raghunath Ballal to take on Siddi-controlled Danda
Rajapuri. The Sabhasad Chronicle states that Ballal captured
Tale and Ghosale and was marching on Rajapuri. But Raghunath Ballal's
unexpected death put a halt to Shivaji's plans. In 1658, Shivaji
dispatched Vyankoji Datto to Rajapuri. He put up a stiff fight
against the Siddi and captured Janjira (which territory also included
Danda and Raiuri), all except his castle at Janjira itself. 
Baji Prabhu Deshpande, Shivaji's loyal captain, depicted as an
Meanwhile, Shivaji wanted to give the Mughals the
impression that he was in fact capturing Konkan for them and in
future would be willing to accept Aurangzeb's suzerainty. He even
professed to send a large contingent to serve at the Mughal court
along with his envoy, Sonaji Pant. In return, the request was that
Shivaji be allowed to keep the captured domains of Bijapur. Shivaji
was well aware of his own limitations. His army was very small compared
to the mighty Mughal army, so he certainly didn't want to take on
Bijapur's forces and the Mughal forces at the same time.
Shivaji builds a navy
After the acquisition of the coastal towns of Kalyan,
Bhiwandi and Panvel, Shivaji envisioned a navy that would be able
to take on the navies of Bijapur and the Mughals, and also facilitate
his foreign trade.
In order to help achieve this dream, some Portuguese
ship builders helped him (probably secretly, as they feared the wrath
of the Siddi, the Bijapuri admiral, and the Mughals). Though Shivaji
officially maintained that it was to be used ostensibly against the
Siddi, he secretly desired to reduce the influence of the Mughals,
the Portuguese, and the English, who were encamped in the coastal
areas, and on the basis of their powerful navy, they controlled the
trade of the Arabian Sea. But since naval technology was only available
from these European powers, he didn't want to antagonise them.
Maratha chronicles speak of Shivaji's fleet having
700 vessels of various sizes and classes such as ghurabs (gunboats),
tarandis (large sailing vessels), tarambes, gallivats, shibars (large
vessels with two masts but no deck), pagars (canoes), manchwuas (large
cargo boat with a single mast). English reports puts the figure at
between 60-160 vessels (barring ghurabs and gallivats - the rest were
used for mercantile purposes). Shivaji's navy used to accompany and
guard his trading vessels and his naval forts from European pirates. 
 During the siege of Janjira
the Siddi was secretly helped by the Portuguese, who supplied
arms and provisions.
There were limitations to Shivaji's navy, however.
It was in its infancy. Moreover the Europeans were hesitant about
supplying any new technology to Shivaji (partly out of a fear of
Mughal wrath and partly because they didn't want Shivaji's naval
power to grow in the way his mainland power had).
The Marathas didn't even have regular access to
gunpowder, as the sources of saltpetre and sulphur were inaccessible
to them. Shivaji's navy was also meant only for the coastal waters.
It didn't have the capacity to attack warships and was based on
know-how supplied by the local fishing communities like the Kolis and
Badhelas. Shivaji's navy lacked the basic armoury required for warships.
There were no cannon foundries and neither was there any gunpowder.
Whatever cannons Shivaji had were those captured on land (the lighter
ones being used on his ships).
 Gallivats are large rowing
boats built like ghurabs but of smaller dimensions, The largest
rarely exceeded seventy tons and had one sail only.
As a result, and in spite of his ambitions, Shivaji
couldn't improve his naval power. Nevertheless, due to his foresight
and military genius, he realised the importance of the navy, and he
made up for its deficiencies with excellent fortifications which he
built around the western coast, such as forts at Kalyan, Malvan,
Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg, etc.
Incursions in Karnataka
In 1657, 1658, and 1659, Shivaji conducted several
raids into the southern region of Karnataka. This was the parent
territory of Bijapur. The reason may not have been to capture land,
but was more to suffice the growing needs of his expanding army.
Confrontation with Afzal Khan
The queen mother of Bijapur, Bari Begum, was now
getting worried about the growing power of Shivaji. She had requested
that Shahaji rein in his son, but the latter had expressed his
helplessness in the matter, stating that Shivaji was beyond his
control and was his own man.
Then Afzal Khan (Abdullah Bhatari of Afzalpura
village near Bijapur) took up the challenge of bringing Shivaji
down to his knees. Afzal Khan was an old rival of Shahaji's in the
Bijapur court (Shahaji belonged to the rival camp of Ranadaulla Khan
aka Rustam e Zaman). He had also served as the governor of Wai and
was well aware of the terrain. He was also said to be responsible
for the death of Shahaji's elder brother, Shambhuraje, allegedly by
Shivaji Maharaj encounters Shaista Khan, maternal uncle of Arangazeb
and governor of the Deccan
Afzal Khan, along with his huge army (which
consisted of a large force of cavalry which numbered 10,000, plus
1,200 camels and 65 elephants) marched into Maratha territory.
He was joined by other Bijapur sardars such as Ambar, Yaqut, Muse
Khan, Hassan Pathan, Ranadullah Khan (the younger), and Ankush Khan,
along with various Maratha deshmukhs, chiefs such as Ghorpade,
Pandhare Naik, Kharate Naik, Kalyan Jadhav, Mambaji Bhosale,
Jhujharrao Ghatage, Kedarji, and Khandoji Khopade, etc. On his way
(from Pandharpur to Phaltan where he arrested Bajaji Nimbalkar,
brother-in-law of Shivaji and the deshmukh of Phaltan-Wai), he
pillaged towns, villages, murdering and ransacking at will. In order
to antagonise Shivaji's religious sentiments and bring Shivaji out
into an open confrontation, Afzal Khan desecrated the temples of
Tuljapur and Pandharpur, defacing and destroying the deity idols.
Shivaji was well aware of his limitations and a
pitched battle would have been suicidal. There was no way he could
match the Khan's might man to man. So Shivaji cunningly professed
his inability to fight the Khan. He sent peace overtures to the
other side from his base at Pratapgad. He managed to give the
impression that he was willing to negotiate on the Khan's terms
and in return his life should be spared. The same message was
conveyed to Afzal Khan's emissary, Krishnaji Bhasker.
Shivaji had continued to refuse to go to Wai to
meet Afzal Khan, stating that his fear for his life was the reason,
and insisted that he would talk of surrender only if Afzal Khan
would meet him at Javli. Afzal Khan took the bait.
He encamped in the foothills of Fort Pratapgad
(near Javli), and a meeting was arranged between Shivaji and
Afzal Khan at some distance from Afzal's camp (on 30 November
It was agreed that everyone at the meeting would
be unarmed, and each man was to bring ten personal bodyguards.
Both were prepared for treachery. (Afzal Khan had a reputation for
treacherously murdering his enemies when they surrendered, most
notably Kasturi Ranga, raja of Sera. Afzal was also involved in
the murder of Khan Muhammed, the wazir of Bijapur and a rival of
his at court.)
Afzal hid a 'kataar', a small sharp-edged dagger,
in his coat. Shivaji wore armour under his clothes, and carried a
weapon called 'waagh nakha' (tiger claws), consisting of an iron
finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his
clenched fist. He also carried a hidden 'bichwa' (small dagger).
It was like a meeting between David and Goliath.
While Shivaji was barely 1.68 metres tall (five and a half feet),
Afzal Khan was a giant of a man at 1.98 metres (six and a half
feet) and built like a mountain.
The two men entered the tent which had been erected
for their meeting. Afzal Khan pretended to greet Shivaji with a bear
hug (even though there was no love lost between the two). He tried
to grip Shivaji in an iron-like vice and (allegedly) stabbed Shivaji
in the back with his dagger. However Shivaji, was protected due to
the armour under his coat. Shivaji opened his fist and disembowelled
Khan with his tiger claws. In a swift movement he again wounded the
giant Khan with his bichwa. Afzal managed to hold on to his bleeding
abdomen and staggered outside. He moved towards his palanquin. But
the Khan was swiftly decapitated by one of Shivaji's bodyguards
(Sambhaji Kavji). The Khan's bodyguard, Sayyed Banda, struck Shivaji
on his head with his sword, but Shivaji was saved because of the
protective helmet inside his turban. Just as the bodyguard was about
to strike the second blow, Shivaji's aide, Jiva Mahala, chopped off
his hand and then struck him down. Shivaji killed Krishnaji Bhasker,
Afzal Khan's assistant, as he tried to block Shivaji's way.
 Sambhaji (senior) Bhosale or
Shambhuraje was born at Verul (Ellora) near Aurangabad in 1619.
He was the elder son of Shahaji and Jijabai, and was appointed
jagirdar of Kolar (Karnataka). According to 'Shedgaonkar bakhar'
his wife's name was Makau/Makai. He had two sons, Suratsingh,
plus Umaji (adopted from Parsoji raje Bhamberkar). During the
period of Raja Shivaji's birth (around 1630) she was at Jinti
(near Daund, near Pune). During Shahaji's arrest by Adilshah,
Sambhaji (Sr) governed Banglore and successfully defeated Farhad
Khan and Tanaji Dure. In 1654 the palegar of Kanakgiri, Aapakhan,
revolted against Adilshah, so the latter was deputed to take
over Kanakgiri with Sambhaji. However, Afzalkhan treacherously
failed to provide the required help, and Sambhaji lost his life
in this battle (1654). During the Afzalkhan incident at
Pratapgad, in case of failure, Shivaji had planned to give the
state to Umaji, son of elder brother Sambhaji. Umaji was five
years old. (Ref: Chitnis Bakhar, ed by R V Herwadkar,
footnotes). After the death of Sambhaji (Sr), Kolar was carried
on as Jagir to Sambhaji's son, Suratsingh, and later by Shivaji
during his southern campaign.
 Saibai, Shivaji's wife and
the mother of his eldest son Sambhaji had just died at Rajgadh
(on 5th September 1659) leaving Shivaji grief stricken.
Shivaji and his men then rode back towards the
fortress. A bugle was sounded. This was a predetermined signal
to his men, who had been strategically placed in the densely
covered valley. All of Shivaji's generals, including his cavalry
chief, Netaji Palkar, his Peshwa, Moropant Pingale, plus Bandal
and Shahaji's trusted aide, Kanhoji Jedhe, the deshmukh of Kari
(who had all kept themselves camouflaged and ready for the assault),
launched swift and rapid attacks from all sides and routed Afzal
Netaji Palkar pursued the fleeing forces and
hacked them to the ground before they could regroup with their
reserve forces (which were stationed at Wai). Afzal Khan's forces
were thoroughly defeated.
Afzal Khan's eldest son, Fazal Khan, barely
managed to escape with his life (helped by Khandoji Khopade, the
deshmukh of Bhor). Subsequently, an Afghan regiment from Bijapur
was also decimated at Panhalgad.
After the Pratapgad encounter, Shivaji constructed
a temple there, installing the idol of his goddess, Bhavani (made
from the stone of the River Gandaki). This encounter with the great
Khan became a subject of local folklore and made a legend of Shivaji.
Battle of Kolhapur
To compensate for the losses, on 28 December 1659
Bijapur dispatched another general, Rustam e zaman, with 10,000 troops.
To assist him were Fazal Khan, son of Afzal Khan, plus Malik Itibar,
Fateh Khan son of Aziz Khan, Mullah Yahiya, Santaji Ghorpade, and
Sarjerao Ghatage. The force was humbled by Shivaji with only half
his army (Netaji Palkar, Bhimaji Hiraji Wagh, Ingle,Mahadik, Sidhoji
Pawar, Gondaji Jagtap, Kharate and his son Hanumantrao, plus Pandhare,
Siddi Hilal, and Jadhav). 
Shivaji slays Afzal Khan, although the precise circumstances are not
Battle of Pavan Khind
Shivaji added further salt to the Bijapur wounds
when he overran Satara and Sangli, and captured the forts of Chandan
and Wandan. On 28 November 1659 he also secured Fort Panhala. This
time the rulers of Bijapur decided to strike Shivaji with all their
might. They made a deal with the Mughals whereby both forces would
attack Shivaji together. The Mughals had also begun to be alarmed by
Shivaji's growing power. He was encroaching on their territories. So
they readily accepted the Bijapuri request for a joint attack.
But Shivaji did the unthinkable. His cavalry rode
right into the heart of the Bijapur kingdom and demanded payments
from the towns of Belgaum and Dharwad. Then his forces lay siege to
a suburb of Bijapur called Shahpur. Though this attack was warded
off by Khawas Khan and his five thousand troops, it sent a chill
down the spine of Ali Adil Shah. Never before had he felt the enemy
so close to him.
Meanwhile the troops of Bijapur led by the Abyssynian,
Siddi Jauhar, had laid siege to Fort Panhala, while Shivaji was
present within. He was assisted by many of the Bijapur sardars
such as Siddi Masud, Sayyad, Jaswantrao the raja of Pali, Suryajirao
the raja of Shringarpur, Fazalkhan, Baji Ghorpade, Pidnaik, Bhaikhan,
Badekhan, and more (as related by Shiv Bharat of Parmanand). They
encircled the fort in March 1660, making escape very difficult. The
siege lasted for months, thwarting attempts by Shivaji to escape the
fort. Even an attempt by Shivaji's general, Netaji Palkar, to attack
Siddi Johar's camp was foiled.
Then Shivaji tried a different tactic. He knew Siddi
Jauhar was a conceited person, and harboured secret designs about an
independent kingdom. Shivaji therefore decided to cater to his ego.
He sent several costly presents to Siddi Jauhar and even offered to surrender,
provided that Johar agreed to protect Shivaji from the wrath of Adilshah.
Shivaji successfully managed to create an impression in Siddi's camp
that Shivaji was befriended, and willing to accept defeat. This made
Siddi Johar's army a little complacent. They let down their guard.
 Many historians have already
alluded that Rustam e zaman and his father, Ranadaullah Khan
(Khan e zaman), who were close to Shahajiraje, were said always
to be soft on his son, Shivaji.
Baji Prabhu Deshpande, defender of the pass at Ghod Khind
Taking advantage of this situation, Shivaji managed
to give the Siddi's forces the slip. He created a diversion whereby
his lookalike (his barber) was sent out in one direction so that
Siddi Johar's men gave chase and captured him, only to find that he
was not Shivaji. Meanwhile, Shivaji himself set off in another
direction, with his select band of 300 men (including his captain,
Baji Prabhu Deshpande) to Fort Vishalgad.
Siddi's army chased Shivaji into a mountain pass
called Ghod Khind. But the brave men led by Baji Prabhu Deshpande
held back the Siddi's army at the pass and sacrificed their lives
in order to ensure the safe passage of their master. Shivaji reached
Vishalgad and fired the cannon which was a signal to his men that he
had reached his destination unharmed. The ballads passed down from
generations sing that Baji Prabhu, though fatally wounded, continued
fighting like a man possessed, valorously, with a swirling 'dandapatta'
(a long snake-like malleable sword), with a spear, and later with
swords in both his hands, warding off the attackers, and fell to the
ground only when he heard the cannon signal from Vishalgad and
breathed his last, demonstrating an example of supreme sacrifice. 
The mountain pass, 'Ghod Khind', at which Baji Prabhu
Deshpande and his men laid down their lives was renamed 'Pawan Khind'
or the 'Purified Valley', purified by the blood shed by the 'martyrs'. 
Meanwhile, Shivaji received the news that the Mughal
emperor, Aurangzeb, had sent his maternal uncle and the governor of
the Deccan, Shaista Khan, to assist Bijapur in capturing Shivaji.
This is when Shivaji realised that he may not be able
to fight both his enemies simultaneously. So, tactically, he decided
to make peace with Bijapur. Rustam e Zaman mediated between the two
and Bijapur agreed to accept Shivaji as an independent king. In return
he agreed to hand back Fort Panhala to Bijapur. 
Now Shivaji was free to turn his sights towards the
Mughal forces of Shaista Khan, who, by now virtually unchecked, had
entrenched themselves in Shivaji's territories.
 Firstly, Shivaji covered the
distance from Fort Vishalgad to Fort Rajgad during his escape.
Secondly, Siddi Jauhar was secretly assisted by the English
factory officials at Rajapur in his seizure of Panhala in the
form of supplies of arms and ammunition.
 This encounter between the
Siddi's men and Baji Prabhu Deshpande has been compared to the
famous Battle of Thermopylae between the Greeks and the
 During this time Siddi
Jauhar had also rebelled against Ali Adilshah, perhaps after an
altercation over the issue of Shivaji. Also approaching were the
Mughals. Ali Adilshah too was distracted, and was therefore
quick to make peace with Shivaji. Earlier Shivaji himself had
circulated rumours in the Adilshahi camp that Siddi had
intentions of assuming power in Bijapur, and had cleverly sowed
the seeds of dissention between Bijapur and Siddi.