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Shivaji, Afzal Khan and Hindutva

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Old 5th October 2009, 10:31
Rehmat Rehmat is offline
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Shivaji, Afzal Khan and Hindutva

Extremist Hindu leaders and intellectuals have long been distorting the history of 1000-year-long Muslim rule in the Indian subcontinent. Some of these idiots have claimed that the Red Fort, Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar were built by Hindu rulers even before the arrival of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent (711 CE). Many of Hindu Rajas, princes and bandits, who rebeled against Muslim rulers – have been elevated to be religious figures by these fanatic Hindus. One of such hero is the Hindu prince Shivaji. According to Hindu legend, he escaped the prison by killing his captor, Afzal Khan.

Recently, a report sent to India’s Maharashtra State Department by Satara Forest Department has pulled rug under these fanatic Hindus. The report says that Shivaji treachously killed Afzal Khan.

Shivaji (1627-1680) was a Hindu warlord who fought against Bijapur Sultanate, Deccan Nawabs, East India Company, and the Mughals. Afzal Khan was one of Sultan Adil Ali Shah II of Bijapur. The armies of Shivaji and Afzal Khan faced each other at Pratabgad Fort near the town of Satara. In order to negotiate a peace-treaty between Shivaji and the Sultan – both Shivaji and Afzal Khan agreed to meet each other face to face unarmed at an agreed neutral place. When Shivaji entered the tent – Afzal Khan hugged Shivaji to show his friendship. Shivaji who had a ’tiger-claw’ dagger hidden within his clenched fist – stabbed Afzal Khan behind with his armed-fist. Afzal Khan ran out of the tent toward his Palki with blood gushing out of his wound. Shivaji’s bodyguards rushed to the tent to protect their king from Afzal Khan’s bodyguards. Shivaji ordered his army to attack Afzal Khan’s army, which could not fight without their commander and was routed out. The severed head of Afzal Khan was presented to Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai, as vengeance for her husband and her eldest son Sambhaji, who was killed at the hands of Afzal Khan earlier.

Ram Puniyani in his recent artcle has exposed the communal history of Shivaji and Afzal Khan created by the anti-Muslim Hindu fanatics. According to Ram Puniyani, Shivaji is popular amongst people not because he was anti-Muslim or worshipper of Cows or Brahmins, but because he reduced the taxation on the poor peasants. More than one third of his army consisted of Muslims. Shivaji fought several battle against fellow Hindu Rajput army lead by Muslim Emperor Aurangzeb’s Hindu general Raja Jaisingh. One of the two men who helped Shivaji to escape from Agra Fort – was a Muslim by the name Madari Mehtar. Maulana Haider Ali was Shivaji’s confidential secretary. The chief of Shivaji’s ‘Toap Khana (Cannon division)” was Ibrahim Gardi and Rustom-e-Zamaan was his bodyguard.

Shivaji erected a mosque in his capital, Raigad, in front of his palace. He issued specific orders to his soldiers to show respect to copies of Holy Qur’an and if found, should handover them to Muslims.

“To project Shivaji to an anti-Muslim or anti-Islam is travesty of truth. Niether was Afzal Khan an anti-Hindu king. When Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, Afzal Khan’s secretary Krishnaji Bashker Kulkami attacked Shivaji with sword,” wrote Ram Puriyani.

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