PAVAN KHIND

Category : History |Writer : AVINASH ARUN KANKHAR |Date : 27th November, 2012
PAVAN KHIND
Battle of Päwan Khind
Part of the Imperial Maratha Conquests

Shivaji Maharaj and Baji Prabhu at Pawan Khind
Date: July 13, 1660
Place: Pävan Khind, Vishalgad, Maharashtra, India
Outcome: Decisive victory for Marathas
Combatants:Maratha Empire, Adilshahi forces.
Commanders:Baji Prabhu Deshpande, idi Masud,Sidi Johar, Shaista Khan.
Strength:600 and 10,000.
Casualties:300 and 3,000.
Battle of Pävankhind was a rear guard battle and a Last Stand that took place on July 13, 1660 at a mountain pass in the vicinity of fort Vishalgad, near the city of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India between the Maratha sardar Baji Prabhu Deshpande and Siddi Masud of Adilshah. The Marathas held the Adilshahi forces till Shivaji Maharaj reached the fort Vishalgad. The Adilshahi forces were 15,000 strong against 300 Maratha light infantry.

Shivaji Maharaj defeated Adilshahi generals of distinction one after the other. Hence Adilshah as last measure pulled all his resources and sent Siddi Jauhar on the expedition against Marathas. At the same time he made correspondence with Mughals to attack Shivaji Maharaj. Accordingly, Shaista Khan attacked from Northern side towards Pune.

Pavankhind as it is today - much wider
Siddi Jauhar laid the siege to Panhala fort. All attempts to raise the siege were failed. Shivaji Maharaj\'s senapati (Commander) Netaji Palkar could not break through the siege from outside. Hence Shivaji decided to give a final battle. But instead of suicidal attack, he followed a different strategy. A grand escape was planned to give a battle from the fort Vishalgad.

It consisted of selected cavalry of Adilshahi which was well known under the command of Siddi Jauhar assisted by Siddi Masud and Fazal Khan.
Jasvantrao Dalvi of Palavani and Surve of Sringarpur had laid siege to Vishalgarh.
[edit]Composition of Maratha forces
Shivaji was assisted by his Sardar Bajiprabhu, Jadhavrao, Bandal and many more. However, the light infantry forces were limited around 600. They consisted of hardened mountaineers of maval region who had remained historically unconquered till that time.
[edit]Movement and clash of forces
Siddi Jauhar had laid the siege around Panhala very well, with utmost care. Firstly, Shivaji sent his vakil to Siddi Jauhar saying that he was ready to sign a treaty with him. Siddi Jauhar and his army thus relaxed a bit, foreseeing that their siege going on for months together was going to end. Still, getting through the siege of about 10000 Adilshahi soldiers seemed impossible. According to the plan, on the dead of the full moon night, Shivaji passed through the siege along with some 600 men, led by Bajiprabhu Deshpande. They were surprisingly successful and were speeding towards Vishalgad. When the enemy came to know about Shivaji's escape from Panhala, they chased and caught some portion of his troops. The captured king turned out to be an impostor of Shivaji. He was a barber, named Shiva Kashid. This heroic sacrifice gave the fleeing Maratha force some breathing space.

Plaque to commemorate the entrance to Pavankhind
The enemy started the chase once again, led by Siddi Masood, son-in-law of Siddi Johar. By that time, Shivaji had reached a strategic location, Ghod Khind (Horse Pass), a gorge. It was very narrow so as to pass only a few soldiers at a time. Bajiprabhu Deshpande, a gallant general along with 300 of his Bandal sena, took the position to defend the pass till Shivaji reached another fort, Vishalgad.
Shivaji Maharaj attacked another siege at the base of fort Vishalgad with such vigour that it was broken. Meanwhile, Baji Prabhu, his brother Fulaji and Sambhaji Jadhav successfully defended the pass with 300 soldiers. They were fatally wounded, soldiers of Siddi Masood were taken-aback by the sight of those 300 soldiers bleeding heavily but fighting brutally with swords in both hands they kept fighting and gave up only when they heard the sound of cannons blasted by Shivaji from the fort, indicating that he had reached safely. The pass is now known as Pävan Khind - The Sacred Pass. After crossing the pass, the enemy attacked Shivaji at Fort Vishalgad. But again they were fiercely beaten by Rango Narayan Sarpotdar, Shivaji's young officer on the Fort, and repulsed with heavy losses.

The sword of honour was given to Bandal. Shivaji personally visited the house of slain Baji Prabhu, situated in the village of Kasabe Sindh near Bhor in the Pune district. His elder son was offered job as chief of a section. Other 7 sons were given honour of the Palkhi. Son of Slain Sambhaji Jadhav, Dhanaji Jadhav was inducted in the forces.

This was the last major battle between Adilshahi forces and Marathas. Hereafter Marathas were recognised as an independent power. The sacrifice of Bajiprabhu Deshpande and Shiva Kashid is a legend in itself. Even today youths trek on the route taken by Shivaji between the forts of Panhala and Vishal Gadh. The distance is around 70 km.

The total casualties of this battle was 3,000 on Adilshahi side and 300 on Maratha side.
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