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).
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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 teaching the young Shivaji
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 eldest son.
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.
Some of the weapons available to Shivaji and his Maratha
 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
Initially Chandrarao More was indebted to Shivaji
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
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
rivals and relatives, were also Bijapur's officers.
Wagh Nakh 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
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
Prince Aurangzeb (who was then the viceroy of the Deccan) had plans
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
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
Pawan Khind, the scene of the battle in 1659
This went on while Aurangzeb was concentrating on Kalyani.
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,
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,
Jawbar fell in quick succession. Upper Chaul was captured by November
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
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
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),
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
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
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 treachery. 
Shivaji Maharaj encounters Shaista Khan
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
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
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
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 1659).
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 Khan's army.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Meanwhile, Shivaji received the news that the
Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, had sent his maternal uncle and the governor of
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.