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|Sardar Senapati of the Maratha Empire|
(Raigad District, Maharashtra)
Netaji's father was in the services of Shivaji's father Shahaji. Shivaji's 3rd queen Putalabai was also from Palkar's family. Netaji Palkar's birthplace was a small village chowk in Khalapur, Maharashtra, India.
During the period of the rise of Shivaji from 1645 to 1665, Netaji was given charge of many expeditions which he successfully completed. His greatest success was the campaign against the Adilshah of Bijapur that followed the killing of Afzal Khan. His standing among the local population was such that he was known as Prati Shivaji (Image of Shivaji). After an agreement of Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Shivaji, Shivaji was made to give 23 forts to the Mughals and also fight against the Adilshah of Bijapur. During this period, Netaji Palkar, as a tactic joined the Bijapur forces and weakened the Mughals by counter-attacking them using Adilshah's army. In turn, Shivaji used Mirzaraja Jai Singh's army to weaken the Adilshahi.
After Shivaji's meeting with Aurangzeb at Agra, Netaji Palkar joined the service of Mirza Raja Jaisingh. When Shivaji escaped from Agra, Mirza Raje fell out of favour of Aurangzeb.
Capture by the Moghuls and conversion to Islam
After Shivaji's escape from Agra, Aurangzeb, as a revenge, ordered Mirza Raja Jai Singh I to arrest Netaji Palkar. He was then converted to Islam. His wives were thereafter brought to Delhi and also converted for him to remarry them in the Islamic way. Taking up the name of Muhammed Kuli Khan, Netaji Palkar was appointed as Garrison commander of the Kandahar fort. He tried to escape but was traced and trapped at Lahore. Thereafter on the battlefields of Kandhar and Kabul, he fought for the Mughals against rebel Pathans. Thus he gained the good faith of Aurangzeb and was sent to the Deccan along with Commander Diler Khan to conquer Shivaji's territory.
However, after entering Maharashtra, Netaji joined Shivaji's troops and went to Raigad. Thus, after a decade in Mughal captivity, Netaji turned up at the court of Shivaji, asking to be taken back into the Hindu fold.
Reconversion to Hinduism
Shivaji arranged for the reconversion of Netaji at Raigad, even though it was opposed by some of the orthodox Brahmins. However, with the acceptance and counsel of judges and senior members in Shivaji's court, he became a Hindu once more.