Krushnaji Kank : The forgotten warrior of Swarajya

Every man dies, not everyone really lives’ – lines from Oscar winning movie ‘The Braveheart’

Many Maratha warriors have laid down their lives for Swarajya: Baji Pasalkar, Tanaji Malusare, Murarbaji Deshpande, Santaji Ghorpade. The list is endless. Only Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had the lion heart to face the invaders: Mughals and the Portuguese. A king blessed with great leadership, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj gathered several ‘Mavlas’ and inspired them to fight for Swarajya. Yesaji Kank was also one of the Mavlas who joined Shivaji Raje in fight for Swarajya.

Image Source : Google

Battle of Ponda Fort, Goa :

After the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje continued the fight for Swarajya. In 1683, the crafty Portuguese took control of Maratha fort Ponda at Goa by bribing the fort keeper named Naik. The Portuguese army under the command of Governor General Conde de Alvor brought fort Ponda under its control. When Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje got the wind of the situation, he rushed along with army to recapture Ponda. Yesaji Kank along with his son Krushnaji Kank took the task of facing the Portuguese army till Chhatrapati Sambhaji arrived. The battle was fierce. The battle ground boomed with loud explosion of cannons. The carnage was intense. Many Maratha warriors were killed by Portuguese. Yesaji and Krushnaji had only army of 800 Maratha soldiers. They were outnumbered. Despite the odds, the father and son duo led the fight. Seeing the ghastly sight of Maratha warriors, Krushnaji Kank got so furious that he single handedly took a might with the massive Portuguese army. Krushnaji Kank alone killed several Portuguese soldiers with his sword. The Portuguese soldiers started fleeing. Such was the fierce terror of Krushnaji on his enemies.

Fortunately, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje arrived with his forces to recapture Ponda. The fort was recaptured but Yesaji Kank was badly wounded. Even Krushnaji Kank was fatally wounded by the bullets. The battle wounds proved fatal for Krushnaji. Krushnaji Kank breathed his last in battle for Swarajya. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje was in tears. He not only had lost a great warrior, but also a great son of India. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje personally went to Yesaji Kank’s hometown – Bhutunde to pay his condolences to Kank family. Even Yesaji Kank breathed his last later. The death of Krushnaji was too hard to bear for Yesaji.

Krushnaji Kank’s martyrdom made him a great legend in league of great warriors like Baji Prabhu, Tanaji and Kondaji Farzand. It is sad that Krushnaji Kank’s story is known very less to young masses in Maharashtra. Through this blog post, I have taken a small effort to pay my tribute to the great Maratha Mavla : Krushnaji Kank.

Further reading: To know more about Krushnaji Kank, I highly recommend reading Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje’s biography – Chava written by Shivaji Savant and a new book : Life and death of Sambhaji by author Medha Deshmukh Bhaskaran.


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