Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tanaji Malusre....A Legend

My Brother came to see one of his friends Adhir Patil who was a Maharashtrian and was due to be operated in Hyderabad for a bye pass surgery early next week. They are Microbiologists. At age 42 he is quite young. He has a wife and son who live in Pune and travel every fortnight to see him. My Brother returned from Boston last weekend and is planning to go to his European site at Amsterdam next week. He is an extremely busy person. I hardy ever see him. So we had a small conversation about Adhir. Among the many things that he spoke about his family he feels proud to be from a Maratha clan. He is the descendant of  one of the famous Maratha warriors. They stood for a do or die philosophy of life. They remember the stories of their forefathers and are extremely proud of their achievements.

An important thing I remembered is the value that you tend to give to such important occurrences. I grew up as a South Indian Hindu and we were proud to say that our Grandfather was a freedom fighter. He was in Jail. He was arrested several times and involved in Non Cooperation and Civil Disobedience movements. Moreover he had met Mahatma Gandhi who was instrumental in leading many people for the freedom struggle.

I was in Maharashtra and Goa in 1993.We were involved in a rural marketing campaign for Kinetic Engineering Limited. While traveling to many places we visited some historical places too. One such place is Umrath which is in Polladpur. We were helped by the local people in each village we visited.There is the larger statue of Tanaji Malusrey in Umrath.He hails from here.He was a legend. A great Maratha who won many a battle for Shivaji. He was one of the loyal friends of Shivaji.I got a wonderful chance to go and visit a family who are descendants of Tanaji Malusrey.They told us some interesting stories.They brought the spear that Tanaji used to fight with, which was found in the Jungles about 300 years ago. I could not just lift it with both my hands and all my strength.I felt about the great power and prowess that Tanaji used to combat with .I was just fascinated with the story that I heard.

Tanaji is famously known for the battle of Sinhagad in 1670. At Shivaji's request, he pledged to recapture the fortress of Kondana near Pune. According to many accounts, he received the summons at his son's wedding, and immediately left the festivities. Tanaji Malusare and his troops scaled the fort with the help of monitor lizards (ghorpad in Marathi). He and his men valiantly recaptured the fort from Udaybhan Rathod, fortkeeper of Jai Singh I. A fierce combat took place between Tanaji and Udaybhan. Udaybhan managed to rid Tanaji of his shield, still Tanaji fought Udaybhan by tying a cloth over one of his hands and using it to ward off Uday Bhan's sword attacks. Tanaji managed to fight Uday Bhan for some time before he died. [1]

The death of their leader unnerved the Marathas, but had kept the battle going just long enough so that the 700 troops who had been left at the bottom of the fort when the battle began had managed to breach the defence and force entry. They were led by Suryaji, Tanaji's brother. The timely arrival of Suryaji, Tanaji’s brother, who had entered the fort, and his exhortation to the Marathas to fight till the end saved the situation. In the fierce battle that continued, the Moghul commander was slain, and the entire garrison routed. Several hundred Moghuls in order to try and save themselves ventured over the rock and were slain in the attempt. 

It was a great victory for the Marathas, but there was no elation in their camp. The news of the victory was conveyed to Shivaji, who rushed to the fort eager to congratulate Tanaji, but to his dismay he saw the brave man’s slain body. The Ballad of Sinhagad describes the grief as such:

Twelve days the king wept over him for the great love that he bore him.

The sorrow of Jijabai ,Shivaji’s Mother was also described:

The scarf removed, she saw his face, No worthier chief of the race, was thus she wailed and drew a sword, before the armies of his Lord:“Shivaji son and king today, Thy best limb has been chopped away”

Nor less the monarch to his chief, The tribute paid of royal grief.

When Shivaji learned of his friend's death, he remarked "Gad ala pan Sinha gela", meaning "We have gained the fort, but lost a lion."

An amazing real life story. I am always eager to know about history.The stories of various battles and conquests, the victory cries, the great conquests were all part of the reminiscences we had. I remember all my school friends who were mostly Marathas, Brahmins and Saraswat Brahmins and a few Bengalis and Kashmiris. They were wonderful people. Hardworking, studious, enterprising and always helpful.I studied during my early college days in Western Maharashtra. I do admire them for being passionate. Everyone has a story to tell. Years ago the Reader’s Digest published an article which said that in order for a person to be happy and have fulfillment, three things were necessary: First, they needed something to believe. Second, they needed someone to love. Third, they needed something worthwhile to do.

That’s true, not because Reader’s Digest said it, but because God’s Word affirms it. There must be more to life than your next breath or your next step. And His name is Jesus Christ. He is indeed the fulfillment of all three of those needs.

Jesus is the One to believe in, He is the Someone to love, and His cause is the something worthwhile for you to do. Do you yearn for happiness? Every need can be met in your life through Jesus Christ.

Why does our religion matter? Well, it really doesn’t. It’s not about buildings, rules, traditions or ceremonies – it’s about a true relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ. There’s really no “religion” to it… Just true faith from the heart in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross.

Why should God let you into heaven?

Think about it. If you died today and stood before God in heaven and He asked you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” what would you say to Him?

Prayerfully think about it and hold the answer in your mind. If your answer was anything like “Because I am a good person” or “I’ve done more things right than wrong” or anything that is based on what you do, then you  should recommit yourself to the liberating truth of the Gospel today!

The first answer that should have come to your mind was something like “I am saved by grace” or “Because Jesus is my Lord and Savior” or something that shows you have a clear understanding of the gospel. Remember, salvation is a gift from God to us. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can we be saved. Eternal life begins the moment we truly receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.

Check out these scriptures:

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5)


(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tanaji_malusare


Raj Kosaraju

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