Monday, July 4, 2011

Baji Prabhu Deshpande and The Battle of Pavankhind

Baji Prabhu Deshpande was a sardar in Maratha army in time of Shivaji Maharaj. He is wel known for his valor and supreem scarification for Shivaji Maharaj in Ghodkhind pass.

The Battle of Pavankhind was fought between Adilshaha and the Marathas on the night of 13th July 1660. The heroes of the battle were Baji Prabhu Deshpande, his brother Fulaji Prabhu Deshpande, Sambhaji Jadhav (Father of Dhanaji Jadhav) and 300 anonymous Maratha soldiers. One more name - "Shiva Kashid" is to be included in the list, he did not participated in the actual battle, however made sure that Marathas could get enough time to take strategic positions in the Ghodkhind. Because of his supreme scarification Baji Prabhu and Shivaji Maharaj could reach Ghodkhind before Siddi Masud could get them. Ghodkhind was renamed to "Pavankhind" after this battle in the memories of the martyrs of the battle.

After Afzalkhan was killed at Pratapgad, the Maratha army concurred the area till the fort Panhala near Kolhapur from Aadilshaha. After capturing Panhala, the siege was laid to the fort by Adilshahi general Siddi Jauhar. Shivaji Maharaj was on the the fort Panhala. The siege was too tight to escape from it. All the attempts made by Maratha general Netaji Palkar to break the siege failed.

Finally, a plan was prepared to escape from the siege and to go to Vishalgad. Shivaji Maharaj sent his representative to Siddi Jauhar, and told Siddi Jauhar that he was ready to sign a treaty. This news made the soldiers who were conducting the siege relax to some extent. In the night (night of 13th July 1660), Shivaji Maharaj took selected 600 soldiers with him and quietly escaped the siege.

Statue of Shiva Kashid on Panhala
 Siddi Jauhar's men came to know about Shivaji Maharaj's escape from Panhala. Siddi Jauhar immedietly sent Siddi Masud ( his son in law) on pursuit of Shivaji Maharaj with 3000 cavalry. They soon got the palanquin of "Shivaji Maharaj". With immediate effect, "Shivaji Maharaj" was arrested and with immense pleasure was taken to the camp. Then they came to know that they had been fooled. The one who was arrested was not real Shivaji, he was a barber, "Shiva Kashid"!!!!!! Needless to say, he was immediately  killed. Thus, Shiva Kashid sacrified his life to save his king. 

This was according to the plan. Siddi Jauhar's army was expected to chase the escaping Shivaji Maharaj. To mislead them, Shiva Kashid volunteered to be a duplicate Shivaji. He dressed like Shivaji Maharaj and boarded in palanquin, similar to that of Shivaji Maharaj. When the chase started Shiva Kashid got himself arrested by Siddi Masud. As expected he was taken to the camp. This gave the fleeing Marathas some time to cover more distance towards Vishalgad. Thanks to Shiva Kashid.
Tomb of Shiva Kashid
Again the chase was started.When Shivaji Maharaj was near Ghodkhind, Siddi Masud got the fleeing Marathas. The Ghodkhind is a narrow pass. It is too narrow that only a few soldiers can pass through it simultaneously. Marathas were divided into two troops of 300 each. Shivaji Maharaj took one troop with him and went ahead towards Vishalgad. Other troop led by Baji Prabhu Deshpande stood the ground in Ghodkhind to deffend the pass until Shivaji Maharaj reach Vishalgad.
Statue of Baji Prabhu Deshpande on Panhala
Shivaji Maharaj was unware about the siege laid to Vishalgad by Suryarao Surve and Jaswantrao Dalvi, the Adilshahi sardars. Shivaji Maharaj attacked the siege with his full strength, and the siege was broken. Shivaji Maharaj reached the fort Vishalgad and quickly fired cannons. This was the signal for Baji Prabhu Deshpande, who was defending the Ghodkhind,  that Shivaji Maharaj has reached to Vishalgad.

By this time, Baji Prabhu and his 300 soldiers were fighting  against 3000 soldiers of enemy. They all were badly wounded and extremely tired. As soon as Baji Prabhu heard sound of cannons, he breathed his last with satisfaction. 

Because of the martyrs like Shiva Kashid, Baji Parbhu, Fulaji Prabhu, Sambhaji Jadhav and many other unknown Maratha soldiers, Shivaji Maharaj could escape the siege successfully and could reach Vishalgad safely.

Tombs of Baji Prabhu and Fulaji Prabhu

Tomb of Baji Prabhu Deshpande

Tomb of Fulaji Prabhu Deshpande


  1. great Narayan kaka....Preetm Ganu( Deshpande Australia)

  2. Great and very inspiring story of r nation's history......

  3. good,this battle should be taught in Bhartiya schools to students.