Tanaji Malusare

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Tanaji Malusare
Tanaji Malusare.jpg
Memorial of Tanaji Malusare at Sinhagad fort
Military leader in Shivaji's Army
Born Godoli, Javali Taluka
(Satara, India)
Died 1670
Sinhagad
(Pune, India)
Religion Hindu

Tanaji Malusare was a military leader in the Maratha Empire. Hailing from the Malusare clan, Tanaji fought alongside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in various battles throughout the years. He is most famously known for his role in the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670 A.D.

Battle of Sinhagad[edit]

According to the legend, Tanaji who hails from "Umrathe" near Mahad, Konkan, was busy making preparations for his son's wedding when he received a summons and immediately left the festivities. On hearing Shivaji's plan to recapture Kondhana, Tanaji took charge of the campaign and left for Kondhana, Pune.

Upon reaching Kondhana, Tanaji and his detachment of 300 troops were said to have scaled the fort from the western side on a dark night with the help of a domesticated bengal monitor lizard (ghorpad) nicknamed Yashwanti to which they were said to have tied ropes and sent crawling up top to the precipice of the fort. After two failed attempts, Tanaji and his men successfully scaled the steep hill fortress. [1]

Once inside and after opening the Kalyan Darwaza, Tanaji, his men and another detachment of 500 troops headed by Suryaji (his younger brother) attacked the army holding down the fort. The fort was controlled by Udaybhan Rathod, a rajput officer appointed by Jai Singh I.

A fierce combat took place between the forces of Tanaji and Udaybhan. Tanaji fought like a brave lion. During the battle, Tanaji broke his shield but he continued fighting by tying his upper garment over his defending hand in order to ward off Udaybhan's blows. The fort was eventually conquered but in the process, Tanaji was gravely wounded and gave up his life fighting on the battlefield.

Upon hearing the demise of Tanaji, Chhatrapati Shivaji was struck with grief and expressed his sorrow by uttering,

"Gad ala, pan sinha gela" ("The Fort is captured, but the Lion is dead")

Eventually, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj renamed the fort of Kondhana to Sinhagad in memory of the great warrior who gave up his life in order to recapture it.

In culture[edit]

Books[edit]

  • A Marathi novel named Gad ala pan sinh gela based on his life

Films[edit]

  • A Marathi film with the title based on the novel with the same name

Notes[edit]

1.^ This monitor lizard story is disputed among historians. "Gorpade" is a common surname amongst Marathas and it is likely that one of the first people to scale the fort was named "Gorpade"

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