Tanaji Malusare story and 1670 Battle of Sinhagad Fort
Tanaji Malusare was the Subedar in the army of Chhatrapati Shivaji and also one of his good friends. He belonged to Malusare clan and fought various battles alongside Chhatrapati Shivaji. Do you know that the original memorial of the legendary Tanaji Malusare has been found during the restoration work in the Sinhagad Fort or Lion's Fort around 36 km from Pune?
First let us tell you that the director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra, Dr, Tejas Garge, and the conservation architect, told in the report at the sidelines that was concluded about the Durg Parishad at the Raigad Fort.
According to Dr. Tejas Garge, there was a stone that was buried under the cement, concrete and layers of paint. "While we were restoring a memorial of Tanaji, which was built in the 1940s and comprised of a base, bronze statue and a concrete canopy, we stumbled upon the original memorial stone below the current base".
And according to Rahul Samel the historical reference and a 1917 photo of the Samadhi was found, his team could establish that it was Tanaji's original memorial. In the Sinhagad fort, the Samadhi was restored in the original form.
About Tanaji Malusare
Date of Birth: 1600 A.D
Place of Birth: Godavali, Javali Taluka Satara, Maharashtra
Date of Death: 1670 A.D
Place of Death: Sinhagad, Pune
Age (at the time of Death): Approx. 70 years
Cause of Death: Wounded badly fighting in the battlefield
Father's Name: Sardar Kaloji
Mother's Name: Parvatibai
Siblings: Brother-Sardar Suryaji
Marital Status: Married (at the time of death)
Wife/Spouse: Savitri Malusare
Children: Son-Rayaba Malusare
Tanaji Malusare is one of the brave and famous Maratha warriors and is a name that is synonymous with valour. He was a friend of the great Shivaji. He is best remembered for the 1670 battle of Sinhagad, where he fought until his last breath against the Mughal fort defender Udaybhan Rathore that paved the way for the Marathas to win. Shivaji Maharaj used to call him 'Sinha' (Lion) because of his strength.
About the Battle of Sinhagad and how he fought it?
Preparations were going on for the marriage of Tanaji Malusare's son. There was a frolic atmosphere all around. He had gone to invite Shivaji Maharaj and his family to attend the wedding but when he came to know that Shivaji Maharaj wants to get back the Sinhagad Fort from the Mughals. Earlier, the name of the fort of Sinhagad was Kondhana.
Let us have a glimpse of the history of Kondhana Fort, how it gets into the hands of Mughals?
In 1665, due to the treaty of Purandar, Shivaji Maharaj had to give the Kondhana Fort to the Mughals. Kondhana, located near Pune, was the heaviest fortification and strategically placed fort. After this treaty, the Rajput, Arab and Pathan troops used to protect the fort on behalf of the Mughals. The most capable commander in this was Udaybhan Rathore and also a Durgpal, who was appointed by the Mughal army chief Jai Singh I.
After Shivaji's order, Tanaji with 300 armies marched to capture the fort Sinhagad in 1670. He was accompanied by his brother and 80-year-old Shelar maternal uncle. The weather was not good and to climb the fort was difficult due to height. The climb was straight.
Let us tell you that the fort was guarded by 5000 Mughal soldiers under the leadership of Udaybhan. The only part of the fort where there was no Mughal army was on top of an overhanging cliff.
It is said that Tanaji, with the help of his pet, a giant reptile called Ghorpad, succeeded in climbing the cliff with the help of rope with the soldiers and attacked the Mughals silently. Udaybhan and Mughal soldiers were unaware of this attack. The battle was fought fiercely and Tanaji was killed by Udaybhan. But his Shelar uncle took command of the fight after Tanaji's death and killed Udaybhan. Finally, the fort was captured by the Marathas. Ultimately, the Marathas won due to Tanaji's bravery and hoisted the saffron flag at Kondhana Fort.
Despite the victory, Shivaji Maharaj was deeply upset by losing his most capable commander and friend and came out of his mouth – “Gad ala pan Sinha gela.” (“The fort has come, but the lion is gone.”). In the honour of Tanaji, he changed the name of Kondhana Fort to Sinhagad Fort because he used to call Tanaji as 'Sinha' (Lion).
Tanaji Malusare was a warrior who obeyed Shivaji Maharaj and fought the Battle of Sinhagad Fort and won, despite not thinking about his son's marriage and family. The valour of such a great warrior is remembered in Maharashtra and all over India.