All battles ends in casualties and more gore, yet battles also give rise to legends of bravery that will be a source of sparks for generations to come. Currently the whole world is under the claws of sickening mentality of supremacy, which produces more bullets than food grains, ample wounds than Band-Aids. When we fight a war for gaining more power or significance that is merely religious, more money or material pleasure, a cycle of vengeance sets in. This cycle haunts every genesis for centuries.
However, a battle fought to conserve a common person from atrocities of a brutal leader or to up-bring the culture and long last traditional beliefs that have been suppressed for an unknown time, rewards the king or a general a credit that exemplifies his legendary value. In Indian history, known for its rich cultural and traditional values, such battles not only reiterate our valor, also reinstate our belief in the ultimate fate of walking on the right ethical path.
Let us salute and remember those common people rose to the occasion and instilled a deadly lightning into the heart of enemies and foreign invaders.
The battle of Pavan Khind (1660): 300 against 10000 Men near Vishalgad
Heavy downpour, pitch-dark night, set against a backdrop of a narrow rocky gorge surrounded by pristine forest and there stood 300 men maneuvered by an efficient leader Mr Bhaji Prabhu Deshapande to fight against heavily armed 10000 men of Siddi Johar. Sounds much like a still from action movie “ 300” minus that Gerald butler‘s toned physique. This battle lasted for painstaking 18 hours near a place called Ghod Khind.
Great leader Shivaji Maharaj had escaped from Panhala Gad because of Great sacrifice of his look-alike Shiva Kashid. This is itself a yet another wonderful story of valor sacrifice and deceit. After fooled for a while, Siddi Johar somehow came to know this escape plan and followed Shivaji. Shivaji with his trusted men set foot to conquer Vishalgad in dead of a night. His half men fought with Siddi Johar until Shivaji Maharaj seized the fort, entered it and fired the cannon. This is the indication that He is safe.
Combat at Ghod Khind, (After named as Pavan Khind) was fiercest kind that anyone could imagine. Almost 1250 of Siddi Johar’s men died and many more injured, which led Siddi Johar to Retreat. Only 300 died on Maratha’s side. That Narrow canyon soon filled with red mud and flesh.
Bhaji Prabhu’s act of valor was praised after his death. He holds on to his last breath fighting and killing the enemies, until his ears heard those sounds of cannon balls. He is only 25 then, an age for romance and chivalry. Although knowing the inevitable, he pioneered for this brutal combat. This is a real sacrifice and requires an immense strength.
The battle of Sinhagad : 300 vs 2000 ( Feb, 1670)
While previous story has highlighted the sacrifice of a young adult in his 30s, this battle at Sinhagad glorifies the legend of a 70 Year old warrior. Yes, 70 Year old Tanaji Malusure. A age to play with his grandchildren, or go for a pilgrimage or take bed rest for most of the time. Defying his age, his son’s wedding ceremony, bad omens during his voyage, He summoned before Raja Chatrapathi (Another title to Shivaji Maharaj) for his love for Swarajya.
Sinhagad was ruled by a Rajput alley of Mughals known as “ Uday Bhan”. Being on a hill surrounded by impenetrable forests and gorges, fort itself was well guarded from all sides except one rocky cliff. Perhaps, Guards never imagined someone as old as their granddaddy to climb that sheer cliff and attack them.
Tanaji halted at the foot of the fort, observing and analyzing every brick and mortar of the fort. With the help of his pet “ A Bengal Monitor Lizard”, mere 300 patrons and some another 700 waiting to enter from main gate under the leadership of his Brother Suryaji, Tanaji an old man of 70 years, climbed a rock cliff of 40 feet, entered the fort. Unfortunately, somehow, the guards were alerted and Tanaji soon fell into a vulnerable situation.
During his one to one combat with Uday Bhan, Tanaji was grievously injured. He wrapped some cloth to his injured hand and used as a shield, fought with one hand. He breathed his last as another platoon, which was waiting just outside the fort, entered and seized it.
Battle of Umberkhind (Feb 1661) Near Lonavala Pune : 1000 vs 35000
This Battle exemplifies the first guerilla warfare strategy in India. This strategy is studied all around the world and has its significance in Vietnam War against USA. However, Militants use this strategy as well.
If you know your ground well, then allow your enemy to come to you, trap him in a strategic position either in an narrow gorge or forest or hilly terrain where in enemy is incapable of moving ahead or retreat, then surround him with all your secret weapons, without a glitch finish him.
This is exactly what happened when Kartlab khan, A sub general of the Mughal Army tried to follow every deceiving foot step of Shivaji near Khandala Ghat, Lonavala Pune. Shivaji Intentionally gave misinformation and moved his cavalry within no time from one rugged terrain to another deluding his enemy.
Finally, with no choice left, Kartlab choose to descend the ghat through a narrow downhill. As a military man fought only in open plain grounds, he lacked expertise of cornering these inaccessible and dense valleys. Shivaji’s men stood on top of the hill and soon they will surround the army. They dropped rocks,boulders, piercing arrows and soon Kartlab’s army got thousands of casualties. Kartlab finally agreed to surrender and fled back to Pune without any significant troop to back him up.
Shivaji never left his strategy to capture Pune. He soon launched a disguised and infiltrated attack on Pune amidst the heavy guarding of Mughal Army on every foot. He could be able to succeed in rupturing the confidence of Mughals in conquering the Konkan.