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The Powada (Marathi: पोवाडा) is a genre of Marathi poetry that emerged during the late 17th century in India. The powadas are a kind of ballad written in an exciting style and narrate historical events in an inspiring way. The composer-cum-singers of the powadas are known as Shahirs. Earlier, powadas were mostly composed by the eyewitnesses of the great events celebrated in those ballads.


The professional powada singers later formed a guild or caste known as the Gondhalis. The earliest notable powada was the अफझल

खानाचा वध (The Killing of Afzal Khan) (1659) by Agnidas, which recorded Shivaji's encounter with Afzal Khan. The next notable powada was the तानाजी मालुसरे by Tulsidas, which gave an account of the capture of Sinhagad fort by Tanaji.[1] Another notable contemporary powada was the बाजी पसाळकर by Yamaji Bhaskar.

During the Peshwa rule, several celebrated Shahir poet-singers, which include Ram Joshi (1762–1812), Anant Phandi (1744–1819), Honaji Bala (1754–1844) and Prabhakar (1769–1843) composed a number of powadas.

About sixty powadas were collected by Harry Arbuthnot Acworth and S. T. Shaligram and published under the title, इतिहास प्रसिद्ध महापुरुषांचे​ व स्त्रियांचे पोवाडे in 1891. Out of these, ten powadas were translated into English verse by H. A. Acworth and published as Ballads of the Marathas in 1894.[2]

In the Marathi movie, Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009), the powada, Afzal Khanacha Vadh is played.


  1. ^ Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, p.584
  2. ^ Gupta, Manik Lal (1989). Sources of Mughal History. New Delhi: Atlantic. p. 89. ISBN 81-7156-125-X.
  • H. A. Acworth and S. T. Shaligramgot the powada of afazaj vadha written by aagindas in kolhapur shivshahir purshottam raut

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