‘Every man dies, but not everyone really lives’ – lines from movie ‘Braveheart’
Our today’s generation mind is fascinated with fictional characters from Game of thrones and Bahubali. Kids know about Spartan King Leonidas but have hardly heard about the unsung Maratha warriors like Tanaji Malusare whose ballads are still sung in India. Should we blame the history textbooks or the growing influence of Western culture on our kids? A lot is written, sung on the great warrior Tanaji Malusare but his courageous feat is slowly fading from the minds of younger generations. It is high time that we continue to pass on the stories of our Indian history to our coming generation and this article on Tanaji is a small effort to remember his courageous feats.
The ‘Povadas’ (Marathi ballads) sung by the folk singers inspired the young men of Maratha Empire to fight for Swarajya and resist the barbaric Mughal empire. Among the trusted comrades, Tanaji Malusare was the most trusted military leader who taken oath along with Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj to fight for Swarajya in Raireshwar temple (Raireshwar is Lord Shiva’s name). Shivaji and Tanaji were close friends during their childhood times and often they planned strategies to capture the forts. With coming times, Shivaji collected a band of brave Mawlas and declared a war on the Mughal Empire. With the help of Tanaji, Baji Prabhu and countless Maratha warriors, Shivaji won many battles. Though Tanaji had fought many battles for Swarajya, it was the battle for Sinhagad that was going to make him immortal in pages of history.
For Tanaji, his call of duty mattered more than his personal things. Such was his devotion to his nation that he left his son’s wedding preparations in middle to march for the battle of Sinhagad. He cared for Swarajya more than his son’s wedding.
By tying the rope on his pet lizard Yashwanti, Tanaji and his troops scaled the fort in the dark of night. The Sinhagad fort was under the control of corrupt Mughal officials Jai Singh and Udaybhan. Tanaji and his handful of men gave a tough fight to the mighty and large numbered enemy soldiers. Tanaji’s sword struck like a thunder bolt, claiming the lives of several enemy soldiers. The battle was bloodied, fierce and fatiguing for Tanaji and his band of brave soldiers. Though Tanaji gave a tough fight to Udaybhan, he was fatally wounded by the sword attacks. The fierce battle marked the end of Tanaji. In the sword fights, the cruel Udaybhan was also killed by Tanaji. Tanaji breathed his last, mortally wounded. He died, but kept his promise of recapturing the Sinhagad fort from the enemies.
Shivaji Maharaj was deeply saddened hearing about the death of his friend Tanaji. He had not only lost a great soldier, but also a close friend.
‘Gad ala pan sinh gela’ were the words uttered by Shivaji Maharaj in remembrance of his brave martyr friend Tanaji. The fort was captured but the lion was dead.
Tanaji’s ballads are still sung today by folk singers in his honor, remembering his courageous deeds and his ultimate sacrifice for Swarajya.
The sad irony about school history textbooks is that it doesn’t describe about the courageous heroes like Tanaji in detail. Kids do study history but only to score marks in exams. I had read about Tanaji Malusare in detail in Amar Chitra Katha books. It had a given a detailed history on Tanaji through illustrations.
Biopic on Tanaji – Viacom 18 is making a biopic on Tanaji Malusare which will have actor Ajay Devgan playing the title role of the great Maratha warrior. The movie is scheduled to release in 2019. I am very sad to see that it took so long time to make a biopic on this brave Maratha warrior. Thankfully, the young masses will be able to see Tanaji on the silver screen soon.
When you can visit Sinhagad, you can see a bust of the great Maratha Warrior at the fort. Tanaji’s valor won’t be forgotten in the pages of history as long as we continue to carry forward his legacy of courage and patriotism.