300 Marathas vs 10,000 Adil Shahis, in a narrow pass called Ghor Khind, one man Baji Prabhu Deshpande, standing in the way, fighting till the end. India's own Thermopayle.
The Adil Shahis having had to taste many defeats at the hands of Shivaji Maharaj in Pratapgarh and Panhala, decided to go all out for one last offensive. Bijapur ruler Ali Adil Shah II even allied with the Mughals for this purpose.
The Mughals attacked from the North under Shaista Khan. The Adil Shahi offensive was led by Siddi Masud, the son-in-law of the famous Siddi Jauhar. And laid siege to the fort of Panhala with a huge 10,000 strong army.
Around the same time two other Maratha sardars, Suryarao Surve and Jaswantrao Dalvi, who belonged to the Adilshahi side, also beseiged Vishalgadh.
On the night of July 13, 1660, he made his escape from Panhala taking advantage of the darkness, accompanied by Baji Prabhu Deshpande, and others. One of the men Shiva Kashid, volunteered to dress like Shivaji to throw the Adil Shahis off guard.
However the Adil Shahis were soon alerted, and a force of 10,000 began to pursue Shivaji and the fleeing Marathas, who by now were hopelessly outnumbered both against the Adil Shahis and the Mughals at Vishalgadh.
Shivaji Maharaja then decided that while a smaller force would engage and hold off the Adil Shahis, the remaining would escape with him to Vishalgadh.
This small unit of 300 would be led by Baji Prabhu Deshpande,a giant of a personality, who was a long time follower of Shivaji, playing a major role in his campaigns. A master of the Danda Patta, he would now fight the greatest battle of his life at Pavan Khind.
The original name of Paavan Khind was Ghor Khind, literally meaning horse ravine, which is where Baji Prabhu would make his epic last man stand. One of the narrowest passes in the hills, through which only few could pass, this made it a strategically important point.
Baji Prabhu occupied the pass, blocking the path of the Adil Shahi pursuers, aided by his brother Fulaji Prabhu as well as sardars such as Shambusing Jadhav. Both Fulaji and Shambhu Singh fell after a fierce resistance.
The 10,000 strong Adil Shahi army repeatedly tried to break through the defenses, but were beaten back repeatedly by the 300 odd Marathas, led by Baji Prabhu.
In spite of severe injuries, Baji Prabhu kept fighting off the Adil Shahi hordes, waiting for the cannon fire signal from Vishalgadh, that would signal his master was safe. Only a few of the 300 Marathas survived, Baji Prabhu Deshpande himself fell fighting to the last.
But they had not just inflicted severe casualties on the Adil Shahi forces, but also slowed down their advance. In the meantime Shivaji Maharaj himself had to face fierce resistance from the Mughals at Vishalgadh, and the Maratha sardars who had encircled it.
With the Dandapatta in both hands, Shivaji fought back fiercely, and soon Narayan Orpe, sent his man to bring Maharaj safely into the fort. With a fresh set of troops, the Marathas pounced on the Adilshahi forces, as well those of Surya Rao and Jaswant Rao.
Baji Prabhu Deshpande’s sacrifice was on par with Tanaji Malusare’s at Singhad, Shivaji Maharaj renamed Ghor Khind to Paavan Khind( Sacred Pass) in honor of the great man’s sacrifice and bravery. And honored his family with maanache pahile paan( Court Honor).
Baji Prabhu Deshpande’s epic last stand inspired many nationalist leaders too. Aurobindo composed a English poem in his honor, while Veer Savarkar wrote a famous ballad on him in Marathi, to instigate the people against British rule.
Baji Prabhu Deshpande, led 300 Marathas against 10,000 Adil Shahis at Paavan Khind, fought till the end, helped his master, Shivaji Maharaj to escape to safety. A true hero, whose sacrifice needs to be celebrated and remembered. #Naman
My article on the epic Battle of Paavan Khind, on which the thread is based, do check out and share. historyunderyourfeet.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/bat…
Battle of Pavan Khind
In my previous posts I had covered the rise of Shivaji Maharaj through his victories at Pratapgarh and Panhala. With the Adil Shahis having had to face many routs at the hands of Shivaji, the Bijap…
Techie, part time historian Author of City of Victory Curator of @historifytoday Conservative, not RW,Larpers will be blocked
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