Remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — 8
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — 8

March 23, 2020

Shivaji surrenders. All set to Aurangzeb’s invite to his Court

[Continued from Mar. 15]

There was a unique feature of war with Shivaji, nay Marathas. With other enemies, where once the enemy was defeated, all the Forts of the enemy would fall and its garrison surrenders. But, in case of war with Shivaji even when he lost one Fort, his other Forts would continue the engagement of war.

Raja Jai Singh knew about this strategy of Shivaji and decided to attack Shivaji’s Forts one after the other. The first Fort he selected for assault was Purandar. Remember this Fort? Yes, this was the Fort Shivaji had taken by fooling the three quarrelsome brothers of the just dead Governor of the Bijapur Sultan by pretending to negotiate a settlement! It is to the South-West of Pune and it was here Shivaji had killed Afzal Khan. Remember? I was told by a reader of  this column that presently the spot where Afzal Khan was killed is converted into a sacred place under the vote-bank politics by the government of the early days of independence! I do not know.

Dilir Khan was ordered by Raja Jai Singh to open the attack with his Afghans while Shivaji was fully ready with his men in the Fort. Marathas rained down on the enemy arrows and stones and old kettles full of gunpowder giving hell to Mughal army.

To cut a long battle of resistance by Marathas short, it was only when Shivaji’s commander Murar was shot by Dilir Khan from the back of an elephant he was perched on, the Marathas were discouraged. The next day morning Raja Jai Singh went up the Fort, unarmed the Marathas and as a ‘Hindu Warrior’ offered them honourable terms which they reluctantly accepted. “As a fellow-Hindu he congratulated them on their courage…” The British historian Dennis Kincaid writes, “After further compliments he (Raja Jai Singh)  set them free and invited them to return to their homes.”

Then the Mughal Commandant Raja Jai Singh sent a heralding message to the main Fortress (Shivaji) offering similar, honourable terms: “Surrender, Marathas! Your Commandant is dead.”

The Marathas shouted back in herald: “We hope to die as bravely as he did.”

All this time Shivaji was not sitting idle. He knew now that he could not engage the Mughal army assembled at Saswad, near Pune, in an open battle. The Mughal army was so huge that he is outnumbered four to one.  After the fall of Purandar Fort, Raja Jai Singh left Dilir Khan to complete the task of taking over the Fort and left for Rajgad where Jai Singh knew, lived Shivaji’s family. Shivaji saw his Kingdom crumbling to pieces before his eyes against the enormous resources and constant reinforcement of man-power to Mughal army.

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Shivaji the diplomat and strategist decided that seeking cessation of hostilities, an armistice, would be wiser than a long-drawn-out war. He decided that it could be no shame now to admit defeat and go for diplomacy with Mughal Empire which he had engaged on equal terms frequently with startling  success — remember  Shayista Khan and loot of Surat?

Thus it was that at the beginning of June 1665 Shivaji sent a message to Raja Jai Singh pleading for an armistice. Jai Singh refused to accept anything less than unconditional surrender.

When Shivaji was offering armistice, Raja Jai Singh was demanding an unconditioned surrender. A clever and intelligent person that Shivaji was, he then made another offer to Jai Singh. Shivaji offered to visit Jai Singh in his imperial camp to discuss his personal surrender.

Surprisingly, Raja Jai Singh agreed for this offer and assured a safe conduct to Shivaji to arrive at the camp and for Shivaji’s safety. Shivaji’s envoy carried this message back to Shivaji who never doubted a promise made by a Rajput. Shivaji, who usually went riding his white horse, this time chose to be carried in a single palanquin to go to Jai Singh’s imperial camp at Purandar Fort. Interestingly, when Raja Jai Singh heard that Shivaji was approaching the camp, he sent a Brahmin to ask if Shivaji really wanted peace. When Shivaji  nodded his approval for peace sitting in his palanquin, Jai Singh sent his senior Rajput noble to welcome Shivaji.

It is recorded that Shivaji’s reputation was such that the Mughal officers found it difficult to believe that Shivaji was really coming to talk peace, more so that Shivaji was alone. In his tent Jai Singh was awaiting Shivaji taking every precaution.  That was because Shivaji had become a legendary creature with powers of magic and of super human cunning. As already mentioned earlier, in the incidents relating to Mughal Governor Shayista Khan who had occupied Shivaji’s Pune Palace Lal Mahal, was the reason for this special precaution. All their apprehensions, however, simply evaporated when Shivaji getting down from the palanquin bowed low to Jai Singh thanking him for receiving him. Simultaneously Raja Jai Singh also rose from his couch and folded Shivaji in his arms saying, “You have fought well against the Emperor, now you must fight as well for him.”

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What Jai Singh meant to convey Shivaji was that Shivaji should forget about building an independent Hindu kingdom. Instead, he should join the service of Mughal Emperor. In order to convince Shivaji the only option he had in this peace talk, Raja Jai Singh explained it as follows:

“If the brave Rajput kings and people had fallen before the might of the Mughal empire what hope was there for a new little kingdom of Shivaji with half-civilised hillmen as soldiers who had never before been known as warriors? More over, if a Prince like Raja Jai Singh himself of the house of Jaipur was not ashamed to serve the Mughal empire, it was hardly a matter for an obscure Maratha Shivaji to feel disgraced and humiliated, to serve the Mughal empire.”

Jai Singh was persuasive, saying that Shivaji’s undoubted talents as a soldier would find a great place of honour in Mughal imperial service.

And finally, Raja Jai Singh made this offer to Shivaji: If you surrender you will be allowed to retain your ancestral territory and such land you have conquered from Bijapur. But you must hold them as feudatory in the name of Mughal Emperor. Shivaji wanted to know the final terms of his surrender:

Condition No. 1. Shivaji should pay an agreed amount of indemnity, war damages.

2. Shivaji should hand over all the 23 of his Forts.

3. Shivaji should admit the Mughal soldiers into all these Forts without hindrance.

Shivaji agreed to these conditions even as Dilir Khan was capturing the Purandar Fort. Shivaji also agreed to write a letter to the Mughal Emperor pleading for his pardon as per Jai Singh’s direction.

To this Aurangzeb sent a frigid reply to Shivaji. Let me quote from historian Dennis Kincaid:

“Your letter… It is agreeable to note that you crave pardon for your conduct and that you repent your past deeds. Our reply is that your behaviour has been so base that it deserves no forgiveness. Nevertheless at Raja Jai Singh’s intercession we extend to you a general pardon…”

Naturally, Shivaji was unhappy with this letter from Aurangzeb but carried out the terms  of his treaty with Raja Jai Singh, including acceptance of office in the Mughal army under Raja Jai Singh.

[To be continued]

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24 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — 8”

  1. Questo says:

    The author might have never spent half as much time and column space on any Karnataka king (Kadambas, Hoysala, Vijayanagara etc. there are many). RSS chiefs like to tout their own maratha Shivaji as the greatest king. He is one of the best for sure, there is no doubt about that, but so is Krishnadevaraya, Pulikeshi, Alexander III of Macedon or Akbar, there are many to choose from. But Mr. Ganapathy, lacking independent thought and imagination, chooses what he has been told/taught to choose. Maybe this is what Anakru, Alooru Venkatararayaru, Kuvempu… all had referred to as the foes of Kannada-nadu from within.

  2. strangeworld says:

    @Questo I have to agree with you to the extent that there were many rulers in erstwhile Mysuru: for example reading the excellent novels of Tha Ra Su- a real Mysorean who lived in Chamundipuram/Vidyaranyapuram for decades, and produced historical novels of Chitradurga -based rulers. A good read of these novels would produce many articles. Also, very worth while to write on Vijayanagara and Krishna Devaraya too. Whilst, I agree with you about Anakru, I would not about Kuvempu where hypocrisy prevailed in regards to personal matters.
    Despite his human frailities, Tharasu was a great Kannadiga and a great Mysorean who had a big heart-from the privilege of knowing his personally well. Similarly, Anakru’s greatness.
    Not much is known about the earlier Wadiyars like Chamaraja Wadiyar ( who due to his bald head was called Bolu Thale Chamaraja Wadiyar) who built the steps of the Chamundi Hill,leading to the Temple,and even his predecessor to him who did great things for then then Mysore.

  3. Questo says:

    @ strangeworld
    Kuvempu? I would have brought big guns and argued with you till the end of the universe if your opinion was on his writing. But personal-matters, hypocrisy are all too vague and I would not go there. Anyway, when we judge someone on “personal matters”, we need to be cautious because most of the time it’s just our own biases that drive us to misjudge others.

    Tharasu was a great writer, I still remember his vivid descriptions of dry landscapes and scorching sun of Durga. He brought much of Chitradurga related leaders and culture to the mainstream. Also, even a small king was immortalized by Masti in his ‘Chikkaveera Rajendra’ (by immortalized, I don’t mean in a good way or even a bad way, just immortalized for what he was). All one needs to do is to work a bit hard, read a ton of old works and bring someone from the past alive that the general populace have not heard about. But, hey, not everyone can be a good writer. Some take the easy way.

  4. Strangeworld says:

    “But personal-matters, hypocrisy are all too vague and I would not go there. Anyway, when we judge someone on “personal matters”, we need to be cautious because most of the time it’s just our own biases that drive us to misjudge others.”
    I know what I said,I knowthe details of this hypocrisy, but will desist it from making it clear. I do not care whether you believe it or not. You mentioned Anakru,no issues there,Thrasu,no issues there, but other famous poets, I beg to differI do not care which big guns you deploy! Well, like Anakru and Tharasu, I knew Gopalakrishna Adiga,a wonderful person wrote poems like John Keats. Others who were really decent like Gorur never got their due recognition. Politics and caste playing their part obviously

  5. Howdy Modi? says:

    I well understand the hypocrisy mentioned by @Strange world. Poets like Kuvempu in 1950s and even in 1960 svilified those studying in English medium classes in high schools, teaching in English too,not tosay about their crusade against offering Sanskrit study at that level,arguing about Kananda losing importance, but when it involved their children, they did not practice what they preached. DVG , a self-taught genius was a better person, ashe was excellent whether writing in English or Kannada. Really a great man. He took all good in other languages and never hesitated to adopt them. No wonder, he was such a fine disciple of Gokhale. No one can find issues with Anakru, and he practiced what he preached. Adiga, a fine English professor was a brilliant poet He did not pontificate the ways the afore mentioned did.
    Actually, I do not find fault with Mr Ganapathy writing about Shivaji. DVG would have approved it!

  6. Questo says:

    @Strange World
    ‘Big guns’ were for his writing. What I meant by that was that his writing (novels) is pretty brilliant and there are only a few other works that are in the same class. Personal life can never be a metric for the quality of one’s works– Salman Rushdie is a brilliant writer who would have won Nobel twice (you know why he never won so far), but his personal life is a mess. So you can’t take a peek at Rushdie’s personal life and call him a bad writer. It was in this sense. Kuvempu’s personal life was that of an idealist (largely due to his association with Ramakrishna mission), so some of his thoughts come off as BS. No one captured this BS better than his own son, KP Tejaswi. That’s an entirely different discussion.

    Caste and politics are not substitutes for one’s brilliance. If they were, most politicians and their grandfathers who could read and write would have won gnaanapeetas. Literature is a competitive space, many poets are pretty good, but the best get all the recognition (it’s a winner gets all system, just like every other system that rewards the best). So given enough time, the good ones fade away and only the best survive in the collective memory. It’s the same principle for scientists, engineers, politicians, musicians, painters, etc. So it always appears as if some people didn’t get enough recognition.

    But, self-caste bias and politics can sometimes accelerate one’s ascent up the ladder though. For example, UR Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad are at best above average writers (but not even close to being the best), but they went up the ladder quickly when they were young because they were born brahmins and had a lot of political mojo.
    Similarly, one can find a lot of above-average lingayath/gowda/brahmin poets who were called the next big guys at the state level and got big awards (whenever the CM was of respective caste) in 70s but never actually made it big.

    So yes, the self-caste bias and politics can reward the above-average more than or less than what they deserve, but the best ones come out as champions no matter what.
    As far as I know, Gokhale, Adiga, Narasimhaswamy, Putina, Tharasu, etc. are all above avg writers. But they never were as good as gnaanpeeta winners (and were never even close to the likes of Kuvempu, Bendre, and Karanth).

  7. Namaste Trump! says:

    @Questo
    Yada, yada, yada…, the verbal diarrhoea of a narcissist!
    You are a mere cretin who is unfit to tie the shoe laces of Mr Ganapathy, who built this great on-line newspaper read globally by Mysoreans. I bet, you are an empty shell who has achieved nothing. Passing such judgement on those list of marvelous writers, and a great patriot like Gokhale is both mischievous and sheer wickedness that defines you as a low life being.
    Do not read this paper, where Mr Ganapathy writes some very good articles. I would say, grow a better life and then come back. A sheer wastrel.

  8. Past Mysorean says:

    @Questo
    You sound like a keyboard warrior! If you did not like Ganapthy’s articles about Shivaji: I enjoyed it and so I am sure the thousands of Mysoreans who read this paper, DO NOT READ IT! That simple. Unlike Mr Ganapathy. you are just an empty vessel.

  9. Questo says:

    @ Namaste Trump
    Are you a moron? Of course, you are. I called them pretty good writers, just that they are not the best. It’s ranking the writers. Damn, not everyone can win medals, only a few do.

    Maybe I am a nobody, a low achiever, I don’t know. But, given that you could not even understand the context of what I was saying, I presume you think you are a smart ass who has figured out everything in life and requires no thought-evolution.

    The job of tying other’s shoelaces, just like all other demeaning jobs like cleaning toilets, follows reverse meritocracy– the dumbest or the most uninformed are the most qualified. Ah, that’s why I am unfit. Thanks for the compliments. I am sure you meet the criteria, congrats, you are now employable.

    Given that you are one of those who like Trump, you are not any different from those redneck hillbilly trailer-dwelling racist pigs of Alabama. Go join the Klan buddy… oh wait, you are already in the Indian remake of Klan aren’t you?

  10. Questo says:

    @ Past Mysorean
    If you did not like my comments on Ganapthy’s articles about Shivaji: I enjoyed it, and so I am sure many who read the comments, DO NOT READ IT! That simple. Just like me, you are an empty vessel.

  11. what a culture! says:

    @Questo
    You are pathetic, and miserable cretin. No originality. You think you are clever with your recent remark? Just a wastrel. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  12. Jalandhara says:

    Hello @Questo
    You are in a deep hole of manure produced by yourself. Do not dig deep again, idiot.

  13. Vipra says:

    Hello @ Namaste Trump!

    I wonder if you are the cretin with verbal diarrhea’
    @ Questo made some valid obersavtions . Instead of having an intellectual discussion , you are merely trolling

  14. Questo says:

    Thank you Vipra. We are both mates in this secure asylum with psychiatric disorders. Like you, I am also getting insane day by day. You agree that, it is the reason for us to act and react the way we have done. By the way, is there a date set for your release?

  15. Namaste Trump! says:

    ‘Vipra, the above post from @Questo says a lot about you. When you come out of that asylum, having treated for your insanity, you will post explaining the valid observations from @Questo. Take care, do not go back to that institution again!

  16. What a culture! says:

    @Questo I am sorry that I did not realise you have mental health issues. You are brave in admitting it. The same goes [email protected] @Questo, I can well understand why you lashed out at Mr Ganapathy, who is an excellent writer. Your PM Modi’s lockdown must have made your condition worse. Hope, you feel better soon. Meanwhile, try to get yourself calm, which means not much reading controversial writings and practising meditation.

  17. Vipra says:

    Hello @Questo:
    Good news !
    I was let loose a just a week ago . In this society full of idiots ,sycophants ,and bigots, no sane person can survive for long .
    But let me tell you , staying calm is for wusses and meditation is overrated

  18. Vipra says:

    Hello @Questo:
    Good news !
    I was let loose a just a week ago . In this society full of idiots ,sycophants ,and bigots, no sane person can survive for long .

    Hello @ What a culture!

    How thoughtful of you !
    But let me tell you , staying calm is for wusses and meditation is overrated

  19. Namaste Trump! says:

    @Vipra Yes, nothing will help you, and probably you have to go back then. Insanity is not curable.

  20. Questo says:

    @ What a culture!
    For bot checks, SoM should add 2-digit additions and multiplications rather than single-digit arithmetic. The slight increase in complexity will stop even dimwits like you from commenting.

    You can fake my fake-name, but you are pathologically incapable of faking my thoughts and the way I write. Your puny little mind cannot comprehend complex thoughts. Let alone complex thoughts, I am sure you are one of those puerile imbeciles who can’t even have a single coherent thought.

    Somehow everyone I know who talks about culture, samskruthi and invoke patriotism in every sentence always acts like they are ten-year-olds. Ghosh, no wonder with such people in power in almost all major countries the whole world got into this mess.

    @Vipra
    Yeah, true. This whole country is rife with idiots, sycophants, and ass-kissers. Maybe we should have quarantined these nitwits before they spread the idiocy to the whole nation. Now it’s too late I guess, they appear to be in large numbers, and have made it to the ruling class and media.

    *Correction: In one of my comments I meant to write (Gopalakrishna) Adiga but miswrote it as (Gopalakrishna) Gokhale.

  21. Namaste Trump! says:

    @Questo Yada, yada, yada… Stop your rant lunatic.

  22. Ambika says:

    I live in New Delhi. My friend recently mentioned about this on-line publication produced in Mysore,where my grandparents were born.
    I read with tremendous interest, the story of Chatrapathi Shivaji so nicely written by Mr Ganapathy. I fail to understand why some take umbrage about the sequel of a great hero. This sequel is so informative that I have recommended this to my niece who is 12 years old as part of her learning on t Indian history. I am sure others found them as useful
    I have started looking into archives of this publication,and in particular ,articles written by Mr Ganapathy. His analyses in discussing issuesare superb.
    I request Mr Ganapathy to conatinue producing such excellent articles.. Thank you.

  23. What a culture! says:

    @Questo this “clever” cookie says: “Ghosh”. Is this another mate in his said institution? Get your brain in order before you post anything.

  24. Strangeworld says:

    @What a culture. the ” Ghosh”,@Questo mentions may be: Amitav Ghosh, the famous writer. But, I cannot see him with @Questo in the institution,you mentioned! Amitav Ghosh’s brain seems to be in perfect order!

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