Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pavan Khind

Observing that enemy cavalry was fast closing in on them, Shivaji sought to avoid defeat and capture. Baji Prabhu Deshpande, a Maratha sardar along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind (a mountain pass in Gajapur which is 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Vishalgad) to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of the Vishalgad fort.[8][12]
Statue of Shivaji Maharaj in Mumbai

In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, Baji Prabhu Deshpande fought relentlessly. He was almost fatally wounded but he held on and continued the fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad, signalling Shivaji had safely reached the fort. The result of this intense and heroic battle was the death of 300 Marathas and 1,286 of Adilshah's troops who were engaged in an fierce, up close, face to face, hand to hand, steel on steel combat,[8] allowing Shivaji to reach the fort safely on 13 July 1660. .[12] Thereafter a truce was made between Shivaji and Adilshah through Shahaji, acknowledging and formally recognizing the independence of Shivaji's Kingdom.

In addition, as the terms of this accord, Panhala Fort was awarded to Siddi Johar.[8] Ghod Khind (khind = " a narrow mountain pass") was renamed Pavan Khind (Sacred Pass) in honor of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, people from Bandal community and all other soldiers who fought in Ghod Khind (People from Bandal community were specially selected by Shivaji while escaping from Panhala for their knowledge of the region, rock climbing skills, martial qualities).[12] A small memorial stands even today in the pass in recognition of the heroism of Bajiprabhu and his men.

This treaty remained in force until the death of Shahaji. Thereafter the Marathas became a formal and recognized power in the Deccan. Suspecting treachery, the loyal, steadfast, dedicated and horourable Siddi Jauhar was reportedly poisoned to death by the Adilshah for alleged disloyalty in allowing Shivaji to emerge victorious against the sultanate.[12]

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