Netaji Palkar

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Netoji Palkar
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg
Sardar Senapati of the Maratha Empire
Born est. 1620
(Raigad District, Maharashtra)
Died est. 1681
Religion Hindu

Netoji Palkar was the second Sardar Senapati or Sarnaubat (Commander-in-Chief, Duke) of the Maratha Kingdom under Shivaji Maharaj, the historical founder of the Maratha empire.

Family history[edit]

Netoji's father was in the services of Shivaji's father Shahaji. Shivaji's 3rd queen Putalabai was also from Palkar's family. Netoji Palkar's birthplace was a small village chowk in Khalapur, Maharashtra, India.

Military career[edit]

During the period of the rise of Shivaji from 1645 to 1665, Netoji 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, Netoji Palkar deflected to the Bijapur forces

After Shivaji's meeting with Aurangzeb at Agra, Netoji 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[edit]

After Shivaji's escape from Agra, Aurangzeb, as a revenge, ordered Mirza Raja Jai Singh I to arrest Netoji Palkar. He was under arrest at Dharur fort for few days which is situated in Beed district now. Also it is told that on the same fort Jija mata sent some money to Jaisingh when demanded by Shivaji to distribute sweets in Agra. 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, Netoji 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, Netoji joined Shivaji's troops and went to Raigad. Thus, after a decade in Mughal captivity, Netoji turned up at the court of Shivaji, asking to be taken back into the Hindu fold.

Reconversion to Hinduism[edit]

Shivaji arranged for the reconversion of Netoji at Raigad, even though it was opposed by some of the orthodox people. However, with the acceptance and counsel of judges and senior members in Shivaji's court, he became a Hindu once more.When 2nd Maratha King Chhatrapati Sambhaji was murdered by Aurangzeb Netoji Palkar again went to Mughals.

Military campaigns[edit]

Netoji led battles against the Adilshah at Panhala, Shahapur, Tikona and Vijapur in 1660 and at Khatav, Mangalvedha, Phaltan, Taathvada and Vijapur in 1665.[1]