Rango Narayan Orpe
Rangnath Narayan Orpe, historically mentioned as ‘Rango Narayan’, was a warrior and administrative officer on Fort Vishalgad in the regimes of Shivaji, founder of the Maratha Empire and his son Sambhaji in the 17th century in India. He is mainly known for defeating the Bijapur army in the battle of Vishalgad in July, 1660.
Rango Narayan was born in the historical Sarpotdar family settled at Vishalgad since late 16th century. His father Naropant was the chief of Kothi and Ambarkhana i.e. Food Stocks & Treasure in the regimes of Mohammed Adil Shah.
It seems during 1659 Rango Narayan was the 'In charge' of the fort Vishalgad as Adilshahi General Afzalkhan sent a letter to him asking him to join his hands in the campaign against Shivaji. He also had given certain promises. However, Rango Narayan did not respond. Probably, he had already conspired with Shivaji because immediately after Afzalkhan's death and defeat Shivaji attached the fort to the proposed Maratha Empire in November, 1659. In the same year, Shivaji wrote a letter to Udhaji Ahir Rao, the then Killedar of the fort Vishalgad, ordering him to handover the charge of Karkhanisi to Rango Narayan. The sequence of incidences proves that Rango Narayan helped Shivaji for capturing the fort.
Battle of Vishalgad
In July 1660 when Shivaji escaped from Panhala fort and reached Vishalgad after the Battle of Pavan Khind, he ordered Rango Narayan to attack the Adilshahi troops camping around the fort. Rango Narayan did the job up to complete satisfaction of Shivaji.
Adilshahi troops headed by Siddhi Masood, Suryarao Surve and Jaswantrao Dalavi were attacked from a hill called Gonimooth, fiercely beaten and turned back to fort Panhala by the Marathas headed by Rango Narayan. He was handsomely rewarded by Shivaji for his great performance. Later, during his coronation ceremony in June 1674, Shivaji conferred on him the honor of ‘Palkhi’ and doubled his remuneration.
Later life and inheritance
After Shivaji’s death in 1680, he continued working for Chhatrapati Sambhaji as his officer in confidence on Vishalgad. References indicate that he was rewarded by Sambhaji for discharging his responsibilities successfully while constructing the fortresses of fort Vishalgad during 1683–1684. There is no mention as to the year of his death, however, several sources are available about the battles fought and diplomacy shown from time to time by his sons Kashi Rangnath and Shamji Rangnath in the regimes of Chhatrapati Rajaram and Tarabai.
His heirs include the eminent historian Datto Vaman Potdar.
- 'Kille Vishalgad' (Marathi) by P.B.Shirwalkar
- 'Pant Pratinidhi' Bakhar (Marathi)
- 'Datto Vaman' by Shubhalaxmi Potdar (Marathi)