On this day, back in 1659, Battle of Pratapgad was fought between the forces of the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Adilshahi general Afzal Khan, near the town of Satara, Maharashtra, where the Marathas emerged victorious despite the numbers not being in their favour. It led to the eventual establishment the glorious Maratha empire. In 1657, Aurangzeb, the Mughal leader with a heart of gold as described by so called liberals, decided to leave the Deccan and march northward. Shivaji, in his bid to expand his Maratha empire started winning over Konkan and other Adilshahi kingdoms.
Afzal Khan, the commander of the Adilshahi dynasty in Bijapur Sultanate, presently in Karnataka, took upon himself to stop the forces of Shivaji. He had earlier killed Shivaji’s brother, Sambhaji Shahaji Bhosale, through treachery when he was just 33. Khan started destroying temples (not surprising). Khan’s strategy was to bring Shivaji in open in the Deccan plains as against the rocky plateau where Shivaji had an advantage, and overpower him since they outnumbered the Marathas. Armed with over 20,000 Adilshahi cavalry and 15,000 infantry over 6,000 light cavalry and 3,000 light infantry of Marathas, Khan and Shivaji met on the foothills of Pratapgad. Shivaji sent out an emissary to Khan that he did not want to fight and wanted peace.
They had decided to meet unarmed with just 10 bodyguards each, who would stay within an arrow’s distance from the two men. A towering figure, Khan hugged Shivaji, but in a treacherous move, tried to kill him with a sword. However, Shivaji had come armed as well and the force was repelled by Shivaji’s armour which was underneath his clothes. Shivaji, who had concealed a bagh nakh (curved blades fixed to a crossbar) and disemboweled Khan when they embraced in the tent.
A hand to hand combat ensued where the Marathas, though having been outnumbered by Adilshahi forces, emerged victorious. Shivaji was attacked by Sayyed Banda, Afzal’s body guard, but his trusted bodyguard Jiva Mahala came to the rescue, cutting him down, saving Shivaji’s life.
Such is the story of valour and courage of Shivaji that he is respected across India. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah even said that Shivaji belonged to Karnataka since his ancestors were from Vijaypura in Karnataka and his father died in Davangere, again in Karnataka.
However, when it comes to honouring a great warrior like Shivaji, same Siddaramaiah shies away and chooses to glorify a bigoted ruler who plundered Hindu temples.
Honouring India’s first freedom fighter & the Tiger of Mysore for his bravery & sacrifice in fighting the British. Karnataka salutes his patriotism, courage & military excellence. #TipuJayanti pic.twitter.com/0x3ymK8yKd
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) November 10, 2017
Not just that, a full page ad was published in papers by Karnataka Government led by Siddaramaiah to celebrate “Hazarath Tippu Sultan Jayanthi”
— Abhinav Agarwal (@AbhinavAgarwal) November 10, 2017
He is the same Tipu Sultan who hanged women and children.
A Portuguese traveller who witnessed the barbarity of Tipu Sultan writes
“Mothers were hanged with children tied to their necks. Tipu tied naked Hindus and Christians to an elephant and made it move around until Kafir bodies were torn to pieces.Most of men and women were hanged” pic.twitter.com/8GZVGwJQ0t
— True Indology (@TrueIndology) October 21, 2017
He even indulged in forced religious conversion by forcing Hindus to eat beef.
How could Tipu Sultan make Hindus of Kerala abandon Hinduism and accept Islam?
That’s right, by simply force-feeding them beef pic.twitter.com/vayEJ5n3Pq
— True Indology (@TrueIndology) May 29, 2017
He has left behind a legacy of destroyed temples in Kerala.
Ruins of temples destroyed by Tipu Sultan at Palakkad. it has been over 200 years since Tipu destroyed them, but our apathy very perplexing pic.twitter.com/5D4y3Q98iU
— True Indology (@TrueIndology) November 12, 2016
Despite the atrocities, Siddaramaiah government decides to celebrate Tipu Sultan, who looted and plundered instead of Shivaji Maharaj, whom he once hailed as son of his own soil.
Perhaps the demands of ‘secularism’ trump honouring men who fought for our right to breathe and live by defeating the forces of tyranny and oppression.