The sword of Tanaji Malusare

‘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 statue of the great maratha warrior – Tanaji

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.

Ajay Devgan as Tanaji in 2019’s forthcoming biopic on the maratha warrior

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.


Why was Peshwa Bajirao overshadowed by historians?

This still remains a question to date on Bajirao’s valor which was overshadowed by his emotions and love for Mastani. Equally brave as Napoleon and Alexander, Bajirao shook the Mughal empire and took the maratha empire to great heights.


A true successor of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Bajirao retained the Maratha Empire which had lost its power after the brutal slaying of Chattrapati Sambhaji. After the demise of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, Bajirao stepped in the shoes of Peshwa to complete the tasks which were left incomplete by his father Vishwanath. Under the guidance of his father Balaji Vishwanath, Bajirao had rigorously trained himself in every skill – politics, warfare, horse riding, sword fighting, and economics. Bajirao entered the battle scene at age of 20 when the roots of Mughal supremacy were weakening. He not only had to fight with the crafty Nizam-Ul-Mulk, Portuguese, Siddis but also had to wage a war against his internal enemies.

The popular marathi novel - Rau is based on Peshwa Bajirao's relationship with Mastani
The popular marathi novel – Rau is based on Peshwa Bajirao’s relationship with Mastani

Popular Marathi Novelist N.S.Inamdar took the literary world by storm when his historical novel – Rau was published. Based on Bajirao’s relationship with Mastani, ‘Rau’ highlighted the struggles that Bajirao had to face with his own family – especially his mother Radhabai who strongly opposed his relation with Mastani. History says that Bajirao had won 41 battles which were against the enemies of Maratha supremacy. Despite leading so many military campaigns for his nation none of his efforts have been recorded with honour by historians. His only fault was that he obeyed his heart by loving his mistress – Mastani. His relationship with Mastani was even opposed by Brahmins to such an extent that they even plotted conspiracies to get Mastani killed. Not a single family member supported his relationship or understood his emotions. The family pressure and internal conflict took such a depressive toll on Bajirao’s health that he got unexpectedly sick due to heat stroke and breathed his last in a camp, isolated by his loved ones and separated by his true love – Mastani. This valiant Maratha was cremated on 28th April 1740 at Raverkhedi. Irony is that this brave Peshwa who had struggled so hard for Maratha supremacy died a quiet death leaving his legacy in hands of his children – Nanasaheb Peshwa and Raghunath Rao.

statue of Peshwa Bajirao
statue of Peshwa Bajirao

The Shaniwarwada palace built by Bajirao ironically never give any peace to his family and his successors. Bajirao didn’t spend a single day of happiness in Shaniwarwada. His successors – Madhavrao and Narayanrao died untimely death. Though his successors rose to post of Peshwa none of them was able to carry the legacy that Bajirao possessed. Only Madhavrao, his grandson had those qualities to continue that legacy which he couldn’t carry due to his death from tuberculosis.

Author E.Jaiwant Paul has succeeded to record every event of Bajirao’s military campaigns as well as his personal life in the book – Bajirao: The warrior Peshwa. This book by E.Jaiwant Paul is a reliable reference for those who want to read extensively on Peshwa Bajirao. Author Ram Sivasankaran has breathed a new life into forgotten history of Peshwa with his novel – The Peshwa: Lion and the stallion which is a thrilling historical story on rise of Peshwa Bajirao and his daring military campaigns.


Even though historians only recorded his infamous relationship with Mastani, they couldn’t ignore his daring military campaigns which crumbled down the mighty Mughal Empire. Bajirao was a born warrior whose entire life was spent in army camps and even in his last moments, he was planning military strategies in his camp.


“He died as he lived, in camp, under canvas among his men and he is remembered among the Marathas as the fighting Peshwa, as the incarnation of Hindu energy.” – Quote by S.R.Temple in praise of Peshwa Bajirao