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Tanaji Malusare -The Lion of Singhgarh Fort war

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Tale of Bravery of Tanaji Malusare

A brief overview of the Famous Kondana Singhgad Fort War

Tanaji Malusare was a great warrior who fought along with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A movie ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ is soon going to be in theatres soon. Here’s the background story for you .

Kondana Fort, was still under Mughal control. Uday Bhan Rathod, a brave Rajput was the fort keeper. He led an army of about 1500 Rajputs and Mughals for the protection of the fort. Uday Bhan had maintained strict vigil around the fort. On February 4, 1670 Shivaji deputed one of his most senior and trusted generals, Tanaji Malusare, to head a mission to capture Kondana.

Tanaji Malusare surveyed the fort and its defenses very meticulously for some days. The fort was extremely well guarded. One very sheer cliff caught Tanaji’s eye. This side was least guarded as one could not possibly imagine climbing the fort from this steep side. Tanaji decided to scale this cliff to enter the fort. He used a monitor lizard named “Yeshwanti” with a rope tied around its body for climbing this cliff on a moonless night. Perhaps this was the first time in the history of wars where a lizard was used to climb a fort.

The Common Indian Monitor (Varanus bengalensis) found locally in present day Maharashtra is the species of Monitor Lizard is also known as ghorpad in Marathi. These Monitor lizards are famous for their ability to cling to smooth surfaces, and were traditionally trained for this purpose by herders in the area.

As the advance party reached the top, they threw ropes for others to climb. Meanwhile Tanaji’s brother Suryaji had moved close to the gates of the fort, namely Kalyan Darwaja, with another 300 Mavalas (Maratha Soldiers). The gates were soon opened and once inside, all his soldiers joined Tanaji in the surprise attack.

Tanaji and Uday Bhan came face to face and a fierce fight ensued. A solid blow from Uday Bhan broke Tanaji’s shield. He continued the fight until another fatal blow from Uday Bhan staggered Tanaji and a counterblow then killed Uday Bhan.

Post a furious fight between Tanaji n Udaybhan Tanaji was ultimately killed by Udaybhan. It happened so coz, while the fight was going on between this two Tanaji’s shield broke following which he wrapped his ‘shela’, a piece of cloth tied around his waist on his hand as a substitute to a shield n continued fighting but, Udaybhan taking advantage of the situation cut off Tanaji’s hand covered with ‘shela’, used as shield by Tanaji. Subsequently, Udaybhan attacked Tanaji so strongly that finally latter had to succumb to former’s blows as he was highly wounded and eventually died. It was SHELARMAMA who subsequent to Tanaji’s death attacked Udaybhan and killed him.

Seeing their leader mortally wounded, the Maratha soldiers became tentative and started to back-up and retreat. Suryaji, then stepped in front and center to rally them and to get them to be back on the offensive. His exhortations and his leadership lifted the Maratha spirit. The Marathas now determinedly commenced their attack on the Mughal defenders with great courage and tenacity, and captured the fort.

This battle is quite popular in Marathi folklore and is retold as a reminder of the glory and sacrifice that was the Maratha war of Independence.

When Shivaji learned that he had lost his brave, loyal and trusted friend, he said “Gad ala, pun sinha geyla”, meaning We have won the fort, but lost the Lion. Thenceforth Kondana fort was formally named Sinhagad (the Lion fort) in honour of the great Tanaji Malusare

That is the story w e been hearing since our childhood days in a povada/ ballad dedicated to the Tanaji Malusare and his most unique venture he had been on i. e. getting back Kondhan fort in Swaraj even when there was his son’s marriage. His words in conversation with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj prior he left on mission ‘adhi lagin Kondhan yache mag Rayabache’ Raya, his son are most loved and cherished by every Maharashtrian in his heart till date.

List of related posts of Hindu warriors’ bravery:

  1. Maharani Durgavati-Saffron Swords by Manoshi Sinha
  2. Brave Kuyili sacrificed herself life to win over Britishers 1780
  3. Queen of Ullal- Braveheart Abbakka Chowta
  4. Queen Hadi Rani who sacrificed herself for Rajput Honour
  5. Kiran Devi with her dagger on Akbar’s throat
  6. Story of Brave Lady Onake Obavva
  7. A Tale of Bravery and Chivalry : Rajputs
  8. Maharaja Chhatrasal Bundela- Victor of 52 glorious wars
  9. Overview of Brave resistance of Hindus against Islamic jihad in Kerala
  10. Braveheart Prataprao Gurjar – Battle of Salher, 24 February 1672
  11. Jaimal Rathore of Badnor and Patta of Kelwa
  12. Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar who defeated British every time
  13. King Sambhaji Raje & Knight Williams Wallace- Two warriors, similar life
  14. Tanaji Malusare -The Lion of the Famous Singhgadh Fort War
  15. Freedom fighters Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu
  16. The 27 Years Maratha War(1681 to 1707A.D.) which saved Hinduism
  17. Battle of Kamrupa-King Prithu annihilated and Bakhtiyar Khilji finally
  18. King Suheldev routed out 10 lac strong army of Invader Salar Masood
  19. Sardar Jasaa Singh Ahluwalia- Abdali’s Nightmare

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संकलित लेख

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One Comment on “Tanaji Malusare -The Lion of Singhgarh Fort war”

  1. Thank you for your article. We Marathis know about him now with movie many more know it. There are still more true stories which need to be retold in movies.

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