Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi
|Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi|
|Pradhan to HRH Emporer Chhatrapati Rajaram of the Maratha Empire,
Pratinidhi of the Maratha Empire,
Sardar of Vishalgad & Aundh
(Satara District, Maharashtra)
(Satara District, Maharashtra)
Parshuram Trimbak Kulkarni (1660–1718 CE), popularly known as Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, was a Minister (Pradhan) and Count (Sardar) of the Maratha Empire. He served as Pratinidhi (Chief Delegate) during Chhatrapati Rajaram and Tarabai’s reign. His contribution to the War of 27 years is considered to be of vital importance. He was also the founder of the princely states of Vishalgad and Aundh in Maharashtra.
Early life and career
Parshuram Pant was born in 1660. His father was a tax assessor (Kulkarni) of a few villages around his native home of Kinhai near Koregaon in Satara district. At the age of 14, Parshuram Pant went to Vishalgad and started working under Ramchandra Pant Amatya as a clerk. Due to his steady progress both in clerical as well as military functions, he was soon promoted as Ramchandra Pant's deputy and was sent to Vasota Fort to look after military administration.
Contribution to the Maratha War of Independence
Parshuram Pant exhibited his leadership qualities for the first time during the blockade of Panhala Fort in 1689 which was ultimately captured by Aurangzeb in the same year. Parshuram Pant, however, recaptured the fort in June 1692 with tremendous efforts and bravery. Thereafter, under the able guidance of Ramchandra Pant Amatya, he initiated continuous victorious campaigns against Mughal army and re-captured the large region between Miraj and the fort of Prachitgad (also called Rangna). He also captured Fort Bhudargad and Chandangad from Mughals.
Delighted with his performance, Rajaram honored him with the title of ‘Subha Lashkar’ and ‘Samsher Jung’ and later on conferred on him the post of Pratinidhi (Chief Delegate). On 31 October 1699, with the intention to create confusion and suspicion in the minds of Maratha Sardars, Aurangzeb wrote a secret letter to Parshuram Pant but arranged to reach it in Ramchandra Pant’s hand. It read, "It was great to hear that Parshuram Pant was joining the Mughal camp for a consideration that was mutually agreed upon." Simultaneously, Parshuram Pant got a letter of same sort addressed to Ramchandra Pant. However, this trick could not work as both of them were closely associated with each other. During December 1699 to April 1700, when Satara fort was blocked by Aurangzeb, Parshuram Pant ensured non-stop supplies of food grain and ammunition to the Maratha army from Fort Parali. After Rajaram’s death in 1700, Parshuram Pant became right hand of Tarabai who sought his help in restoring her son Shivaji II on the vacant throne of Rajaram. In 1702, he fought for saving the fort Vishalgad continuously for five months and killed the 6,000 attacking Mughal soldiers. Ultimately, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and the fort was handed over to Aurangzeb on 4 June 1702 after receiving a sum of Rs. 2 lac in tribute. Parshuram Pant would not get it back until 1707, however, just within a span of 3 years, he recaptured other forts like Panhala Fort, Pavangad, Satara and Vasantgad.
Later life and death
In 1707, Shahu was released by the Mughals and the civil war between him and Tarabai commenced. Unlike many others, Parshuram Pant remained loyal to Tarabai and fought against Shahu but was defeated and subsequently imprisoned. In 1710, he was released and was earnestly requested by Shahu to assume the post of Pratinidhi which he did with little hesitation. Even though he was granted a separate feudal estate (jehagiri) at Aundh near Karad, he was allowed to keep his existing jehagiri at Fort Vishalgad as well. His disobedience, however, compelled Shahu to put him in prison twice during 1710 to 1714, but subsequently, he was released and restored after settling some disputable issues. Being a genuine devotee of the Hindu Goddess Yami, he wrote a few poems praising the goddess and received great respect and honor until his death in 1718. His son Shrinivasrao alias Shripatrao was appointed by Shahu to succeed him.