Braveheart Prataprao Gurjar – Battle of Salher, 24 February 1672
Tribute to Prataprao Gurjar on his Punyatithi. He attained Veergati this day, the 24th of February in 1674. He was the Senapati of the Maratha Army of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Prataprao Gurjar along with Morapant Pingle (the first Peshwa) defeated Aurangzeb’s Mughal forces in the Battle of Salher in 1672. The Battle of Salher was another battle like that of Haldighati where pools of blood of both soldiers and war animals were formed. In Haldighati, a river of blood flowed.
Here is a description from book SaffronSwords from Chapter 48 on Prataprao Gurjar:
“1672. Battle of Salher, Nashik. It took place between the Marathas and Mughals. This was significant as it was the first open battle where the Mughals faced defeat. This was the battle that reinforced the supremacy of the Maratha Empire. Two brave sons of the soil made this victory possible. They were Prataprao Gurjar, the Maratha Senapati and Morapant Pingle, the first Peshwa, also called Sardar. The Maratha army numbered 20,000 and the Mughals 40,000. The Marathas were less superior to the Mughals in terms of weaponry and war animals. Yet in this fierce battle, the Marathas emerged victorious! Many a war fought in India between Indians and invaders do find a place in our History text books. But is the Salher Battle of 1672 well glorified and well described — a battle that saw the Mughals decimated in an open battle?…….
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Shivaji had four different Commanders-in-Chief — Mankoji Dahatonde, Netaji Palkar, Prataprao Gurjar, and Hambirrao Mohite. Prataprao Gurjar was the third royal Senapati of Shivaji’s army……
Both Prataprao Gurjar and Moropant Pingle marched towards Salher through different directions. The combined army of around 20,000 soldiers met at a plain field near Salher. The Mughal forces under Ikhlas Khan and Behlol Khan were double the Maratha forces. Mughal combination of cavalry, infantry, and artillery were outmatched compared to the light Maratha cavalry. Furthermore, Mughals were superior in arms and ammunitions and the use of war animals. A fierce battle ensued. Part of the Mughal forces fought with artillery-swivels carried on elephants and camels. Soon Maratha forces routed the Mughal army and gave them a crushing defeat.”
Complete details about the hero is described in Saffron Swords.
It is because of the valor and sacrifice of warriors like Prataprao Gurjar and thousands of our warrior ancestors that we, one of the oldest civilizations, have survived.
Image (painting by Vishal Gurjar) sourced from Google.
Credits: From the Facebook wall of Manoshi Sinha.
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