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Military adventures (Afzal Khan)

Afzal Khan tried to garner support of local landlords of the mountainous region who nominally acknowledged the sovereignty of Adil Shahi or Nizam Shai but were militarily independent. But the powerful baron Kanhoji Jedhe helped Shivaji to counter these moves and attract their support.

Shivaji took up a position at Pratapgad which was strategically advantageous for a mountain infantry action. Shivaji and Afzal Khan arranged a meeting at the foothills of the fort. Each had agreed to meet unarmed, but were to bring with him ten personal bodyguards who were to remain at a distance of one 'arrow-shot'. Nevertheless, both men came to the meeting armed. Amongst Shivaji's hidden weaponry was a small but effective weapon called 'wagh nakhi' - the claws of the tiger. It consisted of an iron finger-grip with four curving razor claws which could be concealed in the clenched fist. As the two men embraced one another in traditionally accepted fashion, Afzal Khan tightened his grip around Shivaji's neck and nearly stuck a dagger in his side, but it only grazed over the chain-mail armour Shivaji was wearing under his robe, which tore under the cut, but he was unharmed. The Maratha then passed his arm around the Khan’s waist and, to quote from the biography by Jadunath Sarkar, "tore his bowels open with a blow of steel claws". However, as recorded in contemporaneous accounts now held more trustworthy, he disembowelled the Khan with a a small, sharp dagger called the 'bichwa'. The Khan's emissary, Krishnaji Bhaskar Kulkarni, then attacked Shivaji with the sword the Khan had handed over to him just before the fatal embrace. Shivaji easily parried the blow and warned Krishnaji to desist as he did not wish to kill a Brahmin. But when Krishnaji tried to strike him again, Shivaji cut him down without further ado. Banda Sayyed, Afzal Khan's bodyguard who had been sent out before the actual meeting and was waiting just outside the shamiyana, upon hearing the commotion, drew his sword and charged towards Shivaji, managing to strike him on the head and cut through the turban, but not penetrating the steel helmet underneath. Nevertheless, Shivaji suffered a cut and blood oozed out drenching a good part of his robe around the shoulders. Before Sayyed could strike again, Shivaji's bodyguard, Jiva Mahala, killed him with a single stroke of his sabre. (The pithy Marathi phrase : ‘Hota Jiva Mhanun Wachala Shiva’ - Because of Jiva, Shivaji survived - owes its origin to this alert act) Afzal Khan managed to hold his gushing entrails and hurtled, faint and bleeding, outside the shamiyana and threw himself into his palanquin. The bearers hastily lifted their charge and began moving rapidly away down the slope when Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar went in pursuit, hacked their legs and decapitated the Khan.

Shivaji, who was already speeding up the slope towards the battlements, ordered a bugle to be sounded as a signal for discharging a cannon shot from the fort, the predetermined signal to his infantry, deployed at strategic vantage positions along the valley, to commence attacking and decimating the enemy.

Maratha infantrymen who had been hiding in the surrounding thick forest charged out and attacked the Bijapur army, completely routing it.

Shivaji arranged for a dignified burial of Afzal Khan's headless body near the site of the meeting, even allotting land for revenue to pay for its upkeep.The same was done for Sayyad Banda i.e. his dignified burial was arranged for. The severed head was sent to Rajgarh to be shown to Jijabai. She had long cherished vengeance for the Khan's deliberate act of ommission in failing to send timely reinforcements to her son Sambhaji, Shivaji's elder brother, and thus causing him to be killed in the Battle of Kanakgiri.

 

 

 

 

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Submitted By:sarthak tyagi
Date: 12/9/2013
idiot things are written in this paragraph



 
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