Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Shivaji’s Letter to Jai Singh

Shivaji’s Letter to Jai Singh

Shivaji’s letter to Jaisingh.
1.    O Sardar of Sardars, King of Kings, Manager of the mango-trees of the garden of Bharat.

2.    0 piece of the heart and consciousness of Ramchandra, the Rajputs hold up their heads owing to thee.

3.    The grandeur of the Empire of Babar’s dynasty is rendered all the more powerful owing to thee and it is its good fortune to receive thy help.

4.    0 Jay Shah, whose fortune is ever young and whose intellect ever old, be pleased to accept the salutations and blessings of Shiva.

5.    May the Creator of the world protect thee. May He show thee the path of Religion which is Justice.

8. I have heard that thou hast come to make battle upon me and to subjugate the Deccan.

7.    Thou desirest in this world to make thy face glow with blood drawn from the hearts and the eyes of the Hindus.

8.    But thou knowest not that thy face is painted in black, because owing to it, this country and religion are in danger.

9. If thou oonsiderest for a moment or givest thought to thy hands and thy strength,

10.    Then thou wilst discover whose blood lends the glow and what will be the colour of the glow in this world and the next.

11.    Further, if thou hadst come of thy own accord to conquer the Deccan, my eyes and my head could have been laid on earth for thee to tread upon.

12.    I would have marched with my whole force at the stirrup of thy horse and would have yielded up to thee the country from one end to the other.

13.    But thou hast in fact come to conquer at the instance of Aurangzeb and under the instigation of those who desire to destroy the Hindus.

14.    I do not know how I shall deal with thee. If I join thee, there is no manliness in it.

15.    For, brave men are not time servers. The lion pursues not the policy of the fox.

10. Or, if I lift up the sword and the axe, then the Hindus on both sides will suffer.

17.    The greater sorrow is that my sword, which thirsts’for the blood of the Mussalmans, should be drawn from the scabbard for some other purpose.

18.    E the Turks had come to fight this battle, then indeed the prey would have come to the lion in its lair,

19.    For, they are Rakshasas in the guise of men devoid of justice ang religion, and sinful

20.    When supremacy could not be secured hy Afzul Khan, and Shaista Khan proved no better,.

21.    Thou art engaged to fight me because he (Aurangzeb) himself is not fit to bear battle with me.

22.    He desires that no strong persons should be left surviving among the Hindus in this world,

23.    That lions may fight among themselves and disabled, so that the fox may rule the forest.

24.    How is it that his secret policy is not transparent to thy brain? It is clear that thou art under the influence of his magic spell.

25.    Thou hast seen much good and evil in this world; thou hast reaped both flowers and thorns in the garden of life.

23. Is it not meet that thou shouldst fight us-people and bring the heads of Hindus to death?

27.    After having attained ripe wisdom in action, do not then exhibit (the folly of) youth, but remember the saying of Saadi:

28.    “The horse cannot be ridden on all the roads; sometimes discretion is the better part of valour”. (Lit. sometimes it is more fitting to throw down the shield and fly).

29.    Tigers attack the deer and other animals They do not indulge in a fratricidal war with lions.

30.    Or, if thy cutting sword has true water, if thy prancing horse has true spirit,

31.    Then do thou attack those who are the enemies of religion and abolish Islam root and branch.

32.    Had Dara Shekoh been King of the country, he would have treated his people with kindness and favours.

33.    But thou deceivedst Jaswantsing; thou didst not first consider the high and the low in thy heart.

34.    Thou art not satisfied with having played the fox and hast come to fight the battle with the lions.

35.    What dost thou get from this running about and labouring under the Sun? Thy desires head thee to a mirage.

30. Thou art even as a mean creature who exerts his utmost and captures a beautiful damsel,

37.    But, instead of tasting the fruit of that garden of beauty himself, delivers it into the hands of his rival.

38.    How canst thou feel proud at the mercy of that mean man ? Dost thou know how the services of Joharsing were rewarded ?

39.    Dost thou know by what means he desired to bring calamities to Prince Chhatra Sal ?

40.    Dost thou know what calamities that sinful man has left inflicted on other Hindus also ?

41.    I believe that thou hast attached thyself to him and hast laid down for him the self-respect of thy family.

42.    But what is the value of this net in which thou art caught for the sake of the Rakshasa? This bond that binds thee is not stronger than the cord of the paijama that you wear.

48. In order to attain his ends, be hesitates not to shed the blood of his brother, or to take the life of his father.

44.    Or, if thou appealest to loyalty, remember thou also thy conduct in reference to Shah Jahan.

45.    L’ fate has endowed thee with any intellect or if thou seekest to pride thyself on thy manhood or manliness,

46.    Then dot hou heat thy sword at the fire of distress of th.9 land thou wast born in, and wipe off the tears of the unhappy ones who suffer from tyranny.

47.    Tbis is not the time for fighting between ourselves since a grave danger faces the Hindus.

48.    O1 ir children, our country, our wealth, our God, our temples and our holy worshippers,

49.    Are all in danger of existence owing to his mact inations and the utmost limit of suffering, that can be borne, has been reached.

50. If the work goes on like this for some time, there will not remain a vestige of ourselves on the earth.

51. It is a matter of supreme wonder that a handful of Mussalmans should establish supremacy over this vast country.

52- This supremacy is not due to any valour on their part. See, if thou hast eyes to see.

53.    See, what policy of duplicity he plays with us, how differently he colours his face from time-to time.

54.    He claps our own chains to our feet; h& cuts our heads with our own swords.

55.    The most strenuous efforts should be made at this time to protect Hindus, Hindusthan find the Hindu Religion.

56.    I desire to make an effort and bring about stability and strive my utmost for the sake of the country.

57.    Polish thy sword and thy intellect and prove thyself a Turk to the Turks.

58.    If thou joinest hands with Jaswantsing and divestest thy heart of the layers of trickery,

59.    And if thou bringest about’ unity with the Raj Rana (of Mewar), then indeed there is hope for great things.

60.    Do you all rush and fight from all sides; tramp down that serpent under the rock;

61.    So that he may for some time l occupy himself with ruminating on the consequences of bis own actions; and may not further entangle the Deccan in his meshes;

82. And I may in the meantime with the aid of these and other lanoe bearing heroes make away with the other two Sultans (of Bijapur and Golkonda);

03. So that I may rain the shower of swords from the thundering clouds of my army on the Mussalmans;

64. So that, from one end of the Deccan to the other, I may wipe out the name and very vestige of Mahomedanism;

65/66. Thereafter, with the assistance of wise statesmen and the army, like the river swirling and foaming as it emerges from the mountains of the Deccan, I may come out into the plains;

67.    And forthwith present myself for service with you, and then after that hear you render your accounts.

68.    And then we – four – may again inaugurate a grim war and devote the battlefield to it;

69.    And then the tide of our armies may be made to reach the crumbling walls of Delhi,

70.    So that nothing may be left of the Aurang (throne) or the Zeb (lust), so that nothing may remain of the sword of his tyranny or the net of his policy of duplicity or dissimulation;

71.    So that we may flow a river full of pure blood, and with that we may satisfy the souls of our ancestors; and

72. With the grace of God, the Just and the Giver of life, we shall entomb him (Aurangzeb) in the bowels of the earth.

78. If two hearts combine, they can burst a mountain, they can dispel and scatter the whole armies.

74.    This is not a very difficult task, we only want good hearts, good eyes, and good hands. These are the really necessary things.

75.    I have much to tell thee in regard to this matter which cannot in sooth be put on paper.

78. I am desirous of having a talk with thee so that no unnecessary pain or labour may be involved.

77.    If such is thy desire, I shall come to thee and hear what thou hast to say.

78.    Thy maiden of speech may open her mouth in privacy, and I may take guard against the words being divulged;

79.    So that we put our hands to the plough of effort and practise some incantation on that mad Bakshasa.

80.    I swear by my sword, by my horse, by my country, and by my religion, that no harm shall befall thee in this.

81.    Or, we may find out some other way to attain our object and make our names in this world and the next.

82.    Be not suspicious owing to the incident of Afzul Khan—the report spoke not truly.

83.    He had secretly kept twelve hundred warlike Habsee cavalry to accomplish my death.

84.    Had I not raised my arm against him first, who would have written this letter to you ?

85.    But I do not believe any such thing of you; there is no inherent enmity between us.

88. Or, if I receive the desired reply from thee, I shall present myself before thee alone at night,

87.    And I will show thee the secret letters which I cleverly extracted from Shaista Khan,

88.    So that I may remove all doubts from thy mind and rouse thee from thy sweet sleep;

89.    I may show thee the true result of thy dreams and then receive any answer;

90.    Or, if this letter does not appeal to thee, then indeed I am ready with my sword to deal with thy army.

91.    To-morrow, the moment the sun shall conceal his face behind the evening cloud, the orescent moon of my sword shall flash forth. That is all. God be with thee.

Reproduced from the Shivaji Souvenir 3-5-1927. pages 172 to 178, with the permission of Mr- G. S. Sardesai the reputed author of the Riyasats and Editor of the Shivaji Souvenir.

Friday, 1 January 2016

My Article on Shamsher Bahadur ( Son of Bajirao - Mastani)

Shamsher Bahadur was the son of Peshwa Bajirao and his second wife Mastani .The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity. Tradition makes her the offspring of a Hindu father probably Maharaja Chattrasal and a Muhammadan mother. Some consider her the daughter of the Nizam, while others refer to her as a courtesan of the court of some Muslim chief . Tarikh-i-Muhammadshahi mentions that “she was a Kanchani (a dancing girl) skilled in riding and handling the sword and spear. She always accompanied Baji rao in his campaigns and rode stirrup to stirrup with him” . The first mention of her name in authentic papers occurs in the accounts of the marriage ceremony of Bajirao's eldest son Balajirao which took place on 11th  January 1730. In the same year Bajirao built his Shaniwar palace in Poona and later added to it a portion named after Mastani , Mastani Mahal  (shaniwarwada's north-east corner) and had its own external doorway called Mastani darwaza. 
In 1734 she bore him a son who was named Krishnarao . But the brahmins of Poona refused to conduct the thread ceremony of Krishnarao , him being born from of a muslim woman. As a result the boy was brought up as a Muslim, by name Shamsher Bahadur. His mother and father both died in the year 1740 . But before his death Bajirao gave few districts of Bundelkhand to Shamsher Bahadur as his jagir  yielding 33 lakhs , which he himself had got as present from Maharaja Chattrasal . Shamsher Bahadur made Banda his chief town of residence and loyally served his half –brother Peshwa Balajirao . Shamsher bahadur was married to Mehrambai (or Lal Kunwar), the daughter of Lakshadhir Dalpatrai . A son was born to the couple in the year 1758 and he was named Krishna Singh alias Ali Bahadur. The descendents of Shamsher Bahadur later assumed the title of Nawab of Banda .

Shamsher Bahadur not only managed the affairs of Bundelkhand but also served the Peshwa in his campaigns against the Nizam . On 20th November , 1751 in a stiff action  with the Nizam near Parner (Ahmednagar District) Shamsher Bahadur's mare was wounded with a spear . Shamsher Bahadur also conducted land operations against Tulaji  Angre in 1756 during the Vijayadurg campaign .Shamsher Bahadur also accompanied Raghunathrao  in his first campaign to north in 1753 . Sahmsher Bahadur along with  Yashwantrao Pawar was dispatched to help the Sindhias in Marwad on 29th September , 1755 from Pune with an army of ten thousand . These two Maratha chiefs arrived bit late and  joined Dattaji (21st April 1756) in  the siege of Rupnagar in Rajputana after the Sindhias had ended their Marwar campaign . Bahadur Singh of Rupnagar State, submitted to the Marathas  and yielded the  city to his elder brother Samant Singh, whom he had ousted and whose cause had been taken up by Ram Singh and the Marathas. On reaching Kota , they besieged the fort and placed Ajitsingh on the throne.
In 1757 when Antaji was pushed to Mathura by Abdali’s men he requested the Maratha chiefs of Bundelkhand like Naro Shankar and Shamsher Bahadur to unite and drive off Abdali but he received no positive response .When Raghunathrao came to north India Shamsher Bahadur joined him in Rajputana, towards the end of July Raghunathrao began his march upon Delhi  . Shamsher Bahadur with the artillery and the advanced division reached Rewari on 27th July . He was ordered  to make a base at this city and occupy the Mughal possessions  in the district around . Prince Ali Jah (the Emperor's second son), who had come a few days earlier to Rewari for wresting the district from the hands of usurpers, was made prisoner on 30th July by Shamsher Bahadur. Raghunathrao and Malharrao towards the end of July, reached  Rewari and together they marched to Delhi . Where the Marathas ousted the domination of Najib Khan and restored Imad-ul-Mulkh to power .
In 1758 Raja Hindupat of Panna ,( Bundelkhand)  got his brother Amansingh murdered, usurped the throne of Panna  and banished his younger brother Khetsingh .On 1st July 1758 Shamsher Bahadur and Govind Pant went to meet   Hindupat  . Due to the efforts of these Maratha chiefs some portion of the kingdom of Panna was given to Khetsingh and Hindupat agreed to present 5 lakhs and one thousand to peshwa within three years and to finance the Maratha armies in his territories .Peshwa acknowledged  Raja Hindupat as the King of Panna and Shamsher Bahadur after making necessary arrangements at Kehciwada left for Puna on 3rd August 1758.
During the campaign of Panipat Shamsher Bahadur accompanied the Maratha armies to north with his 3,000 horsemen . In the finale battle of Panipat Shamsher Bahadur was positioned in the right wing of Marathas ,  when Viswasrao fell by the bullet shot Shamsher Bahadur rushed into Maratha centre and joined Bhausaheb in his finale combat .When Shah Pasand Khan left his position on the imperial road of Panipat , Shamsher Bahadur had every opportunity to abandon the battle field and escape unhurt  but instead he chose to join the action in the Maratha centre . The author of Bhausaheb’s Bakhar mentions that Bhausaheb took Shamsher Bahadur along with him and entered the mele killing many Afghans. In the end Shamsher Bahadur managed to reach Kumbher in a highly wounded condition where he was hospitably received by Jat King Surajmal , but he died of his wounds. Probably when he would have been separated from Bhausaheb in the crowd of Afghans and his only option would have been a retreat southwards . It is said that he died crying “Where will i go now ? To whom will i show my face now .... Bhau ! Bhau !” .

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb

Before accession.


"The temple of Chintaman, situated close to Sarashpur, and built by Sitadas jeweller, was converted into a mosque named Quwat-ul-islam by order of the Prince Aurangzib, in 1645' (Mirat-i-Ahmadi, 252.) The Bombay Gazetteer, vol. I. pt. 1. p. 280, adds that he slaughtered a cow in the temple, but Shah Jahan ordered the building to be restored to the Hindus.


"In Ahmadabad and other parganahs of Gujrat in the days before my accession [many] temples were destroyed by my order. They have been repaired and idol worship has been resumed. Carry out the former order.'1 Farman dated 20 Nov., 1665. {Mirat, 275).


"The village of Sattarah near Aurangabad was my hunting ground. Here on the top of a hill stood a temple with an image of Khande Rai. By God's grace I demolished it, and forbade the temple dancers (murlis) to ply their shameful trade." Aurangzib to Bidar Bakht in Kalimat-i-Tayyibat, 7 b.


After accession.


"It has been decided according to our Canon Law that long-standing temples should not be demolished, but no new temple allowed to be built...Information has reached our...Court that certain persons have harassed the Hindus resident in Benares and its environs and certain Brahmans who have the right of holding charge of the ancient temples there, and that they further desire to remove these Brahmans from their ancient office. Therefore, our royal command is that you should direct that in future no person shall in unlawful ways interfere with or disturb the Brahmans and other Hindus resident in those places."—Aurangzib's "Benares farman" addressed to Abul Hassan, dated 28th Feb., 1659


"The temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building may be left, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place."—Letter of Aurangzib in the last decade of his reign. Inayetullah's Ahkam, 10a, Mirat, 372.


19 Dec., 1661. Mir Jumla entered the city of Kuch Bihar, which had been evacuated by its king and people, and "appointed Sayyid Md. Sadiq to be chief judge, with directions to destroy all the Hindu temples and to erect mosques in their stead. The general himself with a battle-axe broke the image of Narayan."—Stewart's Bengal.


"The Emperor learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shukoh, remarked, 'In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara had restored a railing in a temple ! This fact is not creditable to the Muham-madans. Remove the railing.' By his order Abdun Nabi Khan (the faujdar of Mathura) removed it."— Akhbarat, 9th year, sheet 7, (14 Oct., 1666).


9th April. 1669. "The Emperor ordered the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and strongly put down their teaching and religious practices."—Masir-i-Alamgiri, 81. (De Graaf, when at Hughli in 1670. heard of the order. Orme's Frag., 250.)


May, 1669. "Salih Bahadur, mace-bearer, was sent to pull down the temple of Malama."—M.A. 84.


2nd Sep. "News came to Court that according to the Emperor's command, his officers had demolished the temple of Bishwanath at Benares."—Ibid., 88.


January, 1670. "In this month of Ramzan, the religious-minded Emperor ordered the demolition of the temple at Mathura known as the Dehra of Keshav Rai. His officers accomplished it in a short time. A grand mosque was built on its site at a vast expenditure. The temple had been built by Bir Singh Dev Bundela, at a cost of 33 lakhs of Rupees. Praised be the God of the great faith of Islam that in the auspicious reign of this destroyer of infidelity and turbulence, such a marvellous and [seemingly] impossible feat was accomplished. On seeing this linstance of their  strength of the Emperor's faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God. the Rajahs felt suffocated and they stood in amazement like statues facing the walls. The idols, large and small, set with costly jewels, which had been set up in the temple, were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Jahanara, to be trodden upon continually."—Ibid


7th April, 1670. "News came from Malwa that Wazir Khan had sent Gada Beg, a slave, with 400 troopers, to destroy all temples around Ujjain......A Rawat of the place resisted and slew Gada Beg with 121 of his men." —Akhbarat, 13th year, sheet 17.


"Order issued on all faujdars of thanahs, civil officers {mutasaddis), agents of jagirdars, kroris, and amlas, from Katak to Medinipur on the frontier of Orissa:—The imperial Paymaster Asad Khan has sent a letter written by order of the Emperor, to say, that the Emperor learning from the news-letters of the province of Orissa that at the village of Tilkuti in Medinipur a temple has been (newly] built, has issued his august mandate for its destruction, and the destruction of all temples built anywhere in this province by the worthless infidels. Therefore, you are commanded with extreme urgency that immediately on the receipt of this letter you should destroy the above-mentioned temples. Every idol-house built during the last 10 or 12 years, whether with brick or clay, should be demolished without delay. Also, do not allow the crushed Hindus and despicable infidels to repair their old temples. Reports of the destruction of temples should be sent to the Court under the seal of the qazis and attested by pious Shaikhs."—Muraqat-i-Abul Hassan, (completed in 167Q-A.D.) p. 202.


"In every parganah officers have come from the thanahs with orders from the Presence for the destruction of idols."—A letter preserved in the Yasho-Madhav temple of Dhamrai in the Dacca district, dated 27 June, 1672, and printed in J. M. Ray's Bengali History of Dacca, i. 389.


"Darab Khan was sent with a strong force to punish-the Rajputs of Khandela and demolish the great temple of that place." (M.A. 171.) "He attacked the place on 8th March, 1679, and pulled down the temples of Khande and Sanula and all other temples in the neighbourhood." {M.A. 173.)


"25 May 1679. Khan-i-Jahan Bahadur returned from Jodhpur after demolishing its temples, and bringing with himself several cart-loads of idols. The Emperor ordered that the idols,—which were mostly of gold silver brass copper or stone and adorned with jewels,—should be cast in the quadrangle of the Court and under the steps of the Jama mosque for being trodden upon."—M.A. 175.


Jan. 1680. "The grand temple in front of the Maha-rana's mansion [at Udaipur]—one of the wonderful buildings of the age. which had cost the infidels much money —was destroyed and its images broken." (M.A. 186.) "On 24 Jan. the Emperor went to view the lake Udaisagar and ordered all the three temples on its banks to be pulled down." (p 188.) "On 29 Jan. Hassan Ali Khan reported that 172 other temples in the environs of Udaipur had been demolished." (p. 189.) "On 22nd Feb. the Emperor went to look at Chitor. and by his order the 63 temples of the place were destroyed." (p. 189.)


10 Aug. 1680. Abu Turab returned to Court and reported that he had pulled down 66 temples in Amber" (p. 194). 2 Aug. 1680. Temple cf Someshwar in western Mewar ordered to be destroyed.—A dab, 287a and 290a.


Sep. 1687. On the capture of Golkonda, the Emperor appointed Abdur Rahim Khan as Censor uf the city of Haidarabad with orders to put down infidel practices and [heretical] innovations and destroy the temples and build mosques on their sites.—Khafi Khan, ii. 358-359.


Middle of 1698. "Hamidudcin Khan Bahadur who had been deputed to destroy the temple of Bijapur and build a mosque (there), returned to Court after carrying the order out and was praised by the Emperor."— M.A. 396



"The demolition of a temple is possible at any time, as it cannot walk away from its place."—Aurangzib to Zulfiqar Khan and Mughal Khan in K. T. 39 a.


"The houses of this country [Maharashtra] are exceedingly strong and built solely of stone and iron. The hatchet-men of the Government in the course of my marching do not get sufficient strength and power (i.e., time) to destroy and raze the temples of the infidels that meet the eye on the way. You should appoint an orthodox Inspector (darogha) who may afterwards destroy them at leisure and dig up their foundations."—Aurangzib to Ruhullah Khan in Kalimai-i-Aurangzib, p. 34 of Rampur MS. and /. 35 a of I. 0. L. MS. 3301.


"1 Jan. 1705. The Emperor, summoning Muhammad Khalil and Khidmat Rai, the darogha of hatchet-men..., ordered them to demolish the temple of Pandharpur, and to take the butchers of the camp there and slaughter cows in the temple...It was done."—Akhbarai, 49-7.