Sivajee enters into a correspondence with Aurungzebe – commits hostilities on the Moghuls, by plundering Joonere and Ahmednugur – augments his cavalry – Political artifice of Sivajee and of Aurungzebe – Sivajee entertains a body of Patans – Factions at Beejapoor – Khan Mohummud the prime minister put to death – Shamraje Punt defeated by the Seedee – Moro Trimmul Pingley appointed Peishwa – Treaty with the Sawunts, – which they break – Expedition against Sivajee – Afzool Khan, the Beejapoor general, seduced to a conference and murdered – Sivajee gets possession of Panalla – defeats Roostum Zuman – plunders to the gates of Beejapoor – levies a contribution from Rajapoor – takes Dabul – Another expedition against him under Seedee Johur – besieged in Panalla – escapes from the fort – gallant conduct of his rear guard – heroic death of Bajee Purvoe. Ali Adil Shah takes the field – reduces the country lately over-run by Sivajee – and retakes Panalla – Sivajee takes Rajapoor – conquers Sringarpoor – and reduces Dhunda Rajepoor – kills Ghorepuray, and burns Moodhole – Conquest of Waree – Truce with Beejapoor – Shahjee visits Sivajee – Raighur – Sivajee’s territory and army – The Moghuls.
At the time when Aurungzebe was on the point of commencing the war against Beejapoor, Sivajee, professing himself a servant of the emperor, entered into a correspondence with that prince, who readily listened to his overtures, assented to his keeping what he had wrested from Beejapoor, and, with the alleged right of the emperor to dispose of that kingdom, consented to a proposal from Sivajee of taking possession
of Dabul and its dependencies163 on the sea coast.
Aurungzebe was particularly desirous of having an interview with Sivajee, for the purpose of explaining how essentially their interests were allied, and the vast advantages the latter might expect to reap by uniting with him164. But Sivajee, although he professed obedience, and humbly demeaned himself towards Aurungzebe, no sooner saw the army at a distance, and ready to engage in what he hoped would prove a long struggle, than he resolved on seizing this opportunity of augmenting his resources by plunder, and increasing his cavalry. Of the latter, he at this time had but a small number, and partly from want of confidence in his countrymen, as well as want of funds, he did not at first attempt to raise them on the usual footing of Sillidars165.
The first act of hostility which Sivajee committed against the Moghuls was in May, 1657, when he one night surprised and plundered the town of Joonere, carrying off three lacks of pagodas in specie, two hundred horses, some valuable clothes, and other articles. This booty he escorted as far as Poona, where he gave it in charge to a party prepared for the purpose, who conveyed it to Rajgurh. Sivajee himself marched by unfrequented roads to Ahmednugur, in hopes of surprising the Pettah: but in this attempt he was only partially
successful; he was attacked whilst his men were plundering; but he had secured seven hundred horses and four elephants, with which he got clear off, although several of his party were killed by a detachment from the fort, which had, on the first alarm, been sent out to protect the town.
On Sivajee’s return to Poona, he used great exertions to increase his cavalry; he purchased horses in all quarters, and mounted them with Bargeers of his own: he now also commenced entertaining Mahratta Sillidars. Mankojee Dutonday, an old officer, who had served with his father, had commanded his small body of horse for several years, with the title of Surnobut; but, at his death, Sivajee appointed as his successor, Netajee Palkur, an enterprizing officer, who had considerable influence with the Sillidars in various parts of the country, but a man naturally cruel and unprincipled.
The unexpected success of the Moghuls, and the danger which threatened Beejapoor alarmed Sivajee. He made every preparation to augment his army, but he wrote to Aurungzebe in the most humble strain, begging forgiveness for what had passed, and promising to continue stedfast in his allegiance for the future. Rugonath Punt, one of his confidential wukeels, was dispatched to reiterate these assurances.
The news from Agra, the peace with Beejapoor, and the march of Aurungzebe to the northward, altered the face of affairs. Sivajee sent another ambassador, Kistnajee Bhaskur, professing, as before, his extreme regret for what had happened; mentioning his having prepared a body of horse,
offering to assist Aurungzebe in the present exigency, and to protect the imperial territories during his absence; but he at the same time revived his pretensions to certain hereditary claims within the Moghul districts, and pointed out the Deshmookhee, and some part of the family Jagheer, as a fit recompense for serving with his troops. The ambassador was likewise instructed to represent how much many parts of the Concan were mismanaged by Adil Khan, and the great advantage of transferring the whole to Sivajee.
Aurungzebe was in no condition to resent such arrogant demands; but conceiving that security to the Imperial territory would be best consulted by encouraging Sivajee’s aggressions on the Beejapoor government, and by amusing him with hopes of obtaining what he claimed in the Moghul districts, he wrote to him, artfully acknowledging, in the same letter, the communications made by Rugonath Punt and Kistnajee Bhaskur, condescending to pardon his crimes, assenting to his taking possession of the Concan, and desiring that Sona Pundit (Abajee Sonedeo) might be sent to discuss his hereditary claims; that when the terms were concluded, Sivajee should send five hundred horse to join his army, and be prepared with the rest of his troops to maintain order and tranquillity in the imperial districts166.
It is not probable that either party was deceived, as no further agreement was concluded. Sivajee, however, prepared his troops for the purpose of reducing the Concan, and occupied several neglected strong-holds on the sea coast, where he afterwards collected boats for purposes of piracy. He acquired a considerable accession to his force by being joined by seven hundred Patan infantry, whom the Beejapoor government discharged immediately after the departure of Aurungzebe. Sivajee hesitated in entertaining these Mahomedans; but his scruples were overruled by the judicious arguments of Gomajee Naik, an old retainer of his maternal grandfather, Jadow Rao, who had been the faithful adherent of Jeejee Bye during the many dangers of her eventful life. Sivajee, from this time, admitted a portion of Mahomedans into his service, and the advice of Gomajee afterwards proved of infinite importance to the success of the Mahrattas. The body of Patans were placed under a Bramin commander, Ragoo Bullal, the murderer of Chunder Rao Moray167.
The government of Beejapoor was distracted and weakened by a treacherous, factious nobility, and Ali Adil Shah’s youth was ill-calculated to control them. As soon as Aurungzebe retired, when they might have sent an army to crush Sivajee’s formidable rebellion, their time was occupied in plotting the ruin of each other. Khan Mohummud, the prime minister, who had betrayed the cause of his king, was justly condemned, but, instead of being
tried in any regular manner, he was invited to court under promise of protection, attacked by a band of assassins at the gate of the city, torn down from the elephant on which he sat, and put to death in the most barbarous manner.
Khan Mohummud was originally an Abyssinian slave, named Rehan, given by Ibrahim Adil Shah to his son Mohummud, whose minister he afterwards became. The young king did not, as is usual on such occasions, sequestrate his estate; it was bestowed on his son Khowaus Khan, but the execution of his father rankled in the bosom of the son, who was always suspicious of the king, and necessity alone reconciled them to each other168.
Sivajee, in pursuance of his plan for reducing the Concan, sent a large force under the Peishwa, Shamraje Punt, to invade the possessions of the Seedee.
But Shamraje Punt was unfit for such an undertaking; Futih Khan was prepared, anticipated the attack, and defeated the Peishwa’s army with great slaughter.
This reverse was the first which Sivajee had experienced, and he was proportionally disappointed; but every exertion was used to repair the disaster. He sent a fresh body of troops to join the fugitives; Rugonath Punt was directed to assume command of the whole: Shamraje Punt was recalled, disgraced, and removed from the office of Peishwa, which was now bestowed on Moro Trimmul Pingley. Previously to the defeat of Shamraje Punt, the Sawunts (Deshmookhs, and Jagheerdars
of Waree), on learning the great preparations of Sivajee, and supineness of their own government, sent a wukeel for the purpose of negotiating a treaty, to which Sivajee readily assented, and it was settled that one half the revenue should belong to Sivajee, and be collected by his agents, whilst the other half, exclusive of their Deshmookhee rights, which were also yielded to them, should remain to the Sawunts. For these concessions they became bound to keep up garrisons in the forts, and a body of three thousand infantry, liable to be called upon for service at the shortest notice169. But they soon repented of this alliance; and although they did not act against Sivajee in the ensuing season, they did not abide by the terms of their agreement, and shortly after resumed their allegiance to Beejapoor.
The Seedee maintained his ground against Rugonath Punt, and both parties retired on the setting in of the monsoon. During the rains, a great army was prepared under the joint command of the Peishwa and Netajee Palkur; but as the season continued unusually severe, the Seedee’s possessions remained unmolested; and in the meantime, Sivajee was threatened by a more formidable enemy, to whom all his attention was directed.
The Beejapoor government had at last become sensible of the necessity of making an active effort to subdue him, and for this purpose, an army was assembled, consisting of five thousand horse, and seven thousand choice infantry, a good train of
artillery, or what was considered as such, besides a large supply of rockets, a number of swivels mounted on camels, and abundance of stores. Afzool Khan, an officer of high rank, volunteered to command the expedition, and at his public audience of leave, in the vaunting manner particularly common to Mahomedan natives of the Deccan, pompously declared that he should bring back the insignificant rebel, and cast him in chains under the footstool of the throne.
To avoid impediments which present themselves on the straight route from Beejapoor, and the heavy rains which seldom subside in the neighbourhood of the hills till the end of October, the army proceeded to Punderpoor, and thence marched towards Waee.
Sivajee, on its approach, took up his residence in Pertabgurh, and sent the most humble messages to Afzool Khan. He pretended to have no thought of opposing so great a personage, and seemed only anxious to make his peace with the Beejapoor government, through the Khan’s mediation; he affected the utmost sorrow for his conduct, which he could hardly persuade himself would be forgiven by the king, even if the Khan should receive him under the shadow of his protection; but he would surrender the whole of his country to the Khan, were it possible to assure himself of his favour.
Afzool Khan had all the vanity of a Mahomedan noble; he had, also, a thorough contempt for his enemy; but having formerly been in charge of the Waee district, as Soobehdar of the province, he
was aware of the exceeding difficulty he should experience on his advance through the wild country which he must penetrate.
With such considerations, and mollified by Sivajee’s submission, Afzool Khan, in answer to repeated applications, despatched a Bramin in his own service, named Puntojee Gopinat, with suitable attendants, to Pertabgurh. On his arrival at Phar, a village below the fort, Sivajee came down to meet him. The Bramin stated, that the Khan his master, and Shahjee were intimate friends, that the Khan bore no enmity towards his son, but on the contrary, would prove his desire to assist him by interceding for pardon, and even endeavouring to get him confirmed as Jagheerdar in part of the territory he had usurped. Sivajee acknowledged his obligation, although his reply, at this public meeting, was not couched in the same humble strain he had used in his messages. He said, that if he could obtain a part of the country in Jagheer it would be all he could expect; that he was the king’s servant, and that he had been of considerable use to his government, in reducing several Polygars, whose territory would now come under the royal authority. This was the substance of what passed at their first interview.
Sivajee provided accommodations for the envoy and his suite, but assigned a place for the Bramin at some distance from the rest. In the middle of the night Sivajee secretly introduced himself to Puntojee Gopinat. He addressed him as a Bramin, his superior. He represented, that “all he had done was for the sake of
Hindoos and the Hindoo faith; that he was called on by Bhowanee herself, to protect Bramins and kine, to punish the violators of their temples and their gods, and to resist the enemies of their religion; that it became him as a Bramin to assist in what was already declared by the deity; and that here, amongst his cast and countrymen, he should hereafter live in comfort and affluence.” Sivajee seconded his arguments with presents, and a solemn promise of bestowing the village of Hewra, in Enam, on him and his posterity forever. No Bramin could resist such an appeal, seconded by such temptation; the envoy swore fidelity to Sivajee, declared he was his forever, and called on the goddess to punish him if he swerved from any task he might impose. They accordingly consulted on the fittest means for averting the present danger. The Bramin, fully acquainted with Afzool Khan’s character, suggested the practicability of seducing him to a conference, and Sivajee at once determined on his scheme. He sent for a confidential Bramin already mentioned, Kistnajee Bhaskur, informed him of what had just passed, and of the resolution which he had, in consequence, adopted. After fully consulting on the subject, they separated as secretly as they had met.
Some interviews and discussions having taken place, merely for the purpose of masking their design, Kistnajee Bhaskur, as Sivajee’s wukeel, was despatched with Puntojee Gopinat to the camp of Afzool Khan. The latter represented Sivajee as in great alarm; but if his fears could be overcome by the personal assurances of the Khan, he
was convinced that he might easily be prevailed upon to give himself up. With a blind confidence, Afzool Khan trusted himself to Puntojee’s guidance. An interview was agreed upon, and the Beejapoor troops, with great labour, moved to Jowlee. Sivajee prepared a place for the meeting, below the fort of Pertabgurh; he cut down the jungle, and cleared a road for the Khan’s approach; but every other avenue to the place was carefully closed. He ordered up Moro Punt, and Netajee Palkur from the Concan, with many thousands of the Mawulee infantry. He communicated his whole plan to these two, and to Tannajee Maloosray. Netajee was stationed in the thickets a little to the east of the fort, where it was expected that a part of the Khan’s retinue would advance, and Moro Trimmul, with the old and tried men, was sent to conceal himself in the neighbourhood of the main body of the Beejapoor troops, which remained, as had been agreed upon, in the neighbourhood of Jowlee. The preconcerted signal for Netajee was the blast of a collerie horn, and the distant attack, by Moro Trimmul, was to commence, on hearing the fire of five guns from Pertabgurh, which were also to announce Sivajee’s safety.
Fifteen hundred of Afzool Khan’s troops accompanied him to within a few hundred yards of Pertabgurh, where, for fear of alarming Sivajee, they were, at Puntojee Gopinat’s suggestion, desired to halt. Afzool Khan, dressed in a thin muslin garment, armed only with his sword, and attended, as had been agreed, by a single armed follower,
advanced in his palanquin to an open bungalow prepared for the occasion.
Sivajee had made preparations for his purpose, not as if conscious that he meditated a criminal and treacherous deed, but as if resolved on some meritorious though desperate action. Having performed his ablutions with much earnestness, he laid his head at his mother’s feet and besought her blessing. He then arose, put on a steel chain cap and chain armour under his turban and cotton gown, concealed a crooked dagger, or beechwa170, in his right sleeve, and on the fingers of his left hand he fixed a wagnuck171, a treacherous weapon well known among Mahrattas. Thus accoutred, he slowly descended from the fort. The Khan had arrived at the place of meeting before him, and was expressing his impatience at the delay, when Sivajee was seen advancing, apparently unarmed, and like the Khan, attended by only one armed follower, his tried friend Tannajee Maloosray. Sivajee, in view of Afzool Khan, frequently stopped, which was represented as the effects of alarm, a supposition more likely to be admitted from his diminutive size. Under pretence of assuring Sivajee, the armed attendant, by the contrivance of the Bramin, stood at a few paces distance. Afzool Khan made no objection to Sivajee’s follower, although he carried two swords
in his waistband, a circumstance which might pass unnoticed, being common amongst Mahrattas; he advanced two or three paces to meet Sivajee; they were introduced, and in the midst of the customary embrace, the treacherous Mahratta struck the wagnuck into the bowels of Afzool Khan, who quickly disengaged himself; clapped his hand on his sword, exclaiming treachery and murder, but Sivajee instantly followed up the blow with his dagger. The Khan had drawn his sword and made a cut at Sivajee, but the concealed armour was proof against the blow; the whole was the work of a moment, and Sivajee was wresting the weapon from the hand of his victim before their attendants could run towards them. Syud Bundoo, the follower of the Khan, whose name deserves to be recorded, refused his life on condition of surrender, and against two such swordsmen as Sivajee and his companion, maintained an unequal combat for some time before he fell. The bearers had lifted the Khan into his palanquin during the scuffle, but by the time it was over, Khundoo Malley, and some other followers of Sivajee, had come up, when they cut off the head of the dying man, and carried it to Pertabgurh. The signals agreed on were now made; the Mawulees rushed from their concealment and beset the nearest part of the Beejapoor troops on all sides, few of whom had time to mount their horses, or stand to their arms. Netajee Palkur gave no quarter; but orders were sent to Moro Punt to spare all who submitted; and Sivajee’s humanity to his prisoners was conspicuous
on this, as well as on most occasions172. Many of those that had attempted to escape were brought in for several days afterwards, in a state of great wretchedness, from wandering in wilds where they found it impossible to extricate themselves. Their reception and treatment induced many of the Mahratta prisoners to enter Sivajee’s service. The most distinguished Mahratta taken was Joojhar Rao Ghatgay, whose father had been the intimate friend of Shahjee; but Sivajee could not induce him to depart from his allegiance to Beejapoor; he was, therefore, permitted, at his own request, to return, after he had been honourably dismissed with valuable presents. The son and family of Afzool Khan were taken by Khundoojee Kakray, one of Sivajee’s officers; but, on being offered a large bribe, he agreed to guide them to a place of safety, and led them by unfrequented paths across the mountains, and along the banks of the Quyna, until he safely lodged them in Kurar. The circumstances, however, became known to Sivajee, and Kakray was, in consequence, condemned to lose his head; a sentence which was promptly executed.
This success among a people who cared little for the means by which it was attained, greatly raised the reputation of Sivajee; and the immediate fruits of it were four thousand horses, several elephants, a number of camels, a considerable treasure, and
the whole train of equipment which had been sent against him.
Such of his troops as were wounded, he, on this occasion, distinguished by honorary presents of bracelets, necklaces, chains of gold and silver, and clothes. These were presented with much ceremony, and served to stimulate future exertion amongst his soldiers, as well as to give greater effect to the fame of his exploit. It is worthy of remark, that the sword of Afzool Khan is still a valued trophy in the armoury of Sivajee’s descendant. Puntojee Gopinat received the promised grant in reward for his treachery, and was afterwards promoted to considerable rank in the service173.
Sivajee prepared his troops as if to attack the Seedee, who, on the approach of Afzool Khan, had laid siege to Tala and Gossala; but on the report of his discomfiture, and the destruction of the Beejapoor army, he hastily retired. Sivajee, although he pretended to meditate an attack on him with his whole force, was engaged in an intrigue with the officer in charge of Panalla, from whom he had received overtures for surrendering that important place174. The terms having been agreed on, and
their future operations determined, Sivajee could scarcely assure himself of its not being some stratagem contrived by the Beejapoor government, in order to draw him into their power. To guard against this, as well as to neglect nothing for securing a place of such importance, Sivajee sent forward Annajee Dutto, one of his most confidential Bramins, with a strong body of Mawulees, whilst he himself secretly drew together a large force, both of horse and foot, to act as the occasion might require.
Annajee Dutto was successful; both Panalla and Powangurh were surrendered, and Sivajee followed up this acquisition by surprising the fort of Wussuntgurh, levying contributions along the banks of the Kistna, and leaving a Thanna175 or garrison with
a revenue collector, in the Gurhee176 of Buttees Serala. On his arrival at Panalla, his first object was to send off troops to reduce the neighbouring forts both above and below the Syhadree range, which, in general, submitted without resistance; but Rangna and Kelneh were taken by assault, and the latter got the name of Vishalgurh, which it still retains.
Roostum Zuman, an officer of Beejapoor, stationed at Merich, was directed to march, when too late, for the protection of the Kolapoor district: he had only three thousand horse with a small body of infantry, with which he was permitted to advance to the neighbourhood of Panalla, when Sivajee, in person, attacked him with his cavalry, routed his party with great slaughter, and pursued him across the Kistna177. Thence, having written to Annajee Dutto to assemble all the spare infantry at Vishalgurh, Sivajee continued his route, plundered many of the villages as far as the neighbourhood of Beejapoor, levied contributions
from most of the market towns, spread terror over the whole country, and retired with such celerity as to evade even an attempt at pursuit.
On joining his troops at Vishalgurh, he marched straight to Rajapoor on the coast, where he appeared a few hours after the news of his being in the neighbourhood of the capital had been received. He levied a contribution from Rajapoor, possessed himself of Dabul and its dependencies, acquired considerable booty, and safely conveyed it to Rajgurh.
The destruction of Afzool Khan and his army, the capture of Panalla, the defeat of Roostum Zuman, and above all, the appearance of Sivajee at the gates of the capital, created such an alarm at Beejapoor, that even faction amongst the nobles was in some measure allayed; but, as it was difficult to assign the precedency to any one in particular, it was suggested that the king in person should take the field against him. This proposition, however, was over-ruled, and a fit commander appeared in an Abyssinian officer, Seedee Johur, then commanding at Kurnoul, who had particularly distinguished himself on various services in the Carnatic.
Although he did not then rank among the nobility, his appointment excited less jealousy than if he had been one of either party; but he did not long escape their envy. His army was twice as large as that lately commanded by Afzool Khan; and Fazil Mohummud Khan, the son of Afzool Khan, who was anxious to avenge his father’s murder, volunteered to accompany him. It was determined
to open the campaign by the siege of Panalla; but before the march of the troops, Seedee Johur was dignified with the title of Sulabut Khan178. Futih Khan, the Seedee, was prepared to attack Sivajee’s possessions in the Concan, on the advance of Seedee Johur; and the Deshmookhs of Waree, whose fears prompted them to act vigorously, were directed to co-operate for the same purpose.
Sivajee, on the other hand, made arrangements for defending the Concan. Rugonath Punt was opposed to Futih Khan; Abajee Sonedeo protected the fort and districts of Kallian Bheemree; and Bajee Rao Phasalkur, the sarnobut or commander-in-chief of the infantry, maintained the war against the Sawunts of Waree. In the upper country, Moro Punt was charged with the care of Poorundhur, Singurh, Pertabgurh, and the adjoining country. Sivajee, esteeming Panalla a place of greater strength than it really was, imprudently resolved to defend it in person.
He made no attempt to dispute the approach of the Beejapoor army; but as soon as they encamped in the neighbourhood of the fort, Netajee Palkur, with the horse, began to ravage the surrounding country, to cut off their supplies, to avoid encountering their cavalry, but to harass them by night attacks, in which he was supported by the garrison. Parties of Mawulees under cover of the ravines approached
the camp, sprung on the besiegers sword in hand, where they found them unprepared, or threw rockets when they were discovered.
In this manner they did great mischief, and with little loss on their part, killed numbers of the Beejapoor troops. Seedee Johur ordered that no quarter should be given to men who practised such warfare. He personally headed the attacks, drove in the whole of the out-posts, closely invested the place, and for several months, in the worst season of the year, persevered in vigorous efforts to reduce it.
The war was likewise actively prosecuted in the Concan. The Seedee, by means of his fleet, having made several successful descents on different parts of the coast, had gained some advantages over his opponent Rugonath Punt; and Bajee Rao Phasalkur, one of Sivajee’s earliest followers, fought a drawn battle with Kye Sawunt of Waree, in which both commanders were slain.
The siege of Panalla had lasted four months; the place was still tenable, but every avenue was vigilantly guarded, and Sivajee saw the fault he had committed in allowing himself to be shut up in a manner which effectually obstructed all communication, and prevented his either knowing or directing affairs in other parts of the country. To extricate himself from this dilemma, required address and boldness.
The besiegers were in high hopes, and exceedingly alert. Sivajee first endeavoured to throw them off their guard. He began his scheme by proposals for surrendering; negotiations were commenced, and Sivajee, who well knew that he could trust Seedee
Johur179, on receiving his promise not to molest him, came down, slightly attended, to one of the batteries, where he was met by Seedee Johur, and soon made him believe that he intended to submit. All firing ceased, and everything was adjusted, except a few trifling points artfully reserved by Sivajee till next morning; and in the meantime, as the evening closed, he was permitted to return to the fort, which the whole army, now lulled into security, considered as if in their possession.
But in the darkness of night, Sivajee, with a chosen band of Mawulees, descended the hill, passed the unsuspecting guards, and was on full march towards Rangna before his flight was suspected. When discovered, Fazil Mohummud Khan, and Seedee Uzeez, the son of Seedee Johur, pursued him with the cavalry, followed by infantry. They did not overtake him till the morning was far advanced, and he was entering a ghaut within six miles of Rangna. To cover his retreat, Sivajee stationed a party of Mawulees in the pass, and confided the command to his former enemy, Bajee Purvoe, Deshpandya of Hurdus Mawul, desiring him to maintain the post, until a signal of five guns announced the arrival of the main body at the fort. The Deshpandya was worthy of the honourable trust: the cavalry, in attempting to advance, were driven back; and on the arrival of the infantry, two successive assaults with fresh troops were gallantly repulsed. About noon a third party of infantry, headed by the son of Afzool Khan, advanced
in a most determined manner. Their attack was desperate and the brave defenders, after the loss of half their numbers, amongst whom was the gallant Deshpandya, were at last obliged to retreat. But not without effecting their object. Bajee Purvoe heard the signal guns before he fell, and died expressing his satisfaction. The Mawulees proved their regard for him, as well as their own steadiness, by bearing off his body in the face of their numerous pursuers.
Fazil Khan advanced, and halted at Rangna: but Seedee Johur’s plans were completely disconcerted. He hesitated whether to proceed to Rangna, or to continue the siege of Panalla. Ali Adil Shah, disappointed in his hopes, and impetuous in his disposition, was easily induced to believe that Seedee Johur had been bribed by Sivajee. The king accused him of this, and Seedee Johur equally disposed to anger, and now in a state of irritation denied the charge, in terms which were construed into disrespect and disloyalty.
Ali Adil Shah took the field in person, and marched to Kurar. All the district authorities in the neighbourhood, some of whom had submitted to Sivajee, attended in the royal camp for the purpose of tendering their adherence. Seedee Johur apologized to the king; but dreading the malice of the courtiers, excused himself from doming to camp, and withdrew towards Kurnoul, the place of his government and Jagheer.
The king again invested Panalla, of which, as well as of Pawungurh, he obtained possession. The whole of the forts in the neighbourhood, taken
by Sivajee during the former year, excepting Rangna and Vishalgurh, likewise submitted. The setting in of the monsoon induced the king to withdraw from the neighbourhood of the Syhadree range, and encamp at Chimulgay on the banks of the Kistna.
Sivajee in the meantime, although he made no attempt to oppose the king’s army, did not remain inactive. In the beginning of the year he again appeared before Rajapoor, which he took and plundered. On this occasion the English sustained some loss, and several of their factors were seized, and confined in a hill fort for two years, on an accusation, never substantiated, of having assisted Seedee Johur with mortars and shells, at the siege of Panalla180. On the reduction of Rajapoor, Sivajee attacked the possessions of the Mahratta Polygar Dulwey. Sringarpoor, his capital, was surprized and taken; but Dulwey continued to resist, until he was killed in an action where Sivajee in person commanded against him. Neither this conquest, nor that of Jowlee were viewed throughout the country with the same favor as his successes against the Mahomedans; and although the present advantage was not acquired by any atrocious deed, such as disgraced several of Sivajee’s successes, yet some of the most respectable Hindoos of Sringarpoor, preferred emigrating to the territory of the Seedee, to residing under the government of the conqueror.
It required all Sivajee’s address to persuade them to return, and he only effected it by gaining over a family named Soorway, the members of which had been principal managers under Dulwey. Sivajee, to obliterate this odium, and to make amends for his past conduct, assumed a greater regard for the forms enjoined by the Hindoo faith, to which he was probably induced, as much from superstition as from policy. Precluded by the situation of the celebrated temple of Dewee Bhowanee at Tooljapoor, from paying his devotions there, he, this year, during the rains, dedicated a temple to that deity, with great solemnity, in the fort of Pertabgurh. His religious observances, from this period, became exceedingly rigid: he chose the celebrated Ramdass Swamy as his Mahapooroosh, or spiritual guide, and aspired to a high character for sanctity.
But the devotions in which he was engaged did not impede the activity of his troops. During the rains, his whole strength was directed against Futih Khan; and although his operations were much obstructed by the weather, he drove back the troops of the Seedee, and had captured Dhunda Rajepoor before the season was sufficiently open to enable the Beejapoor government, or the Deshmookhs of Waree, to relieve the place. He opened batteries against Jinjeera; but a want of guns, and of men who could use them with effect, prevented his making any impression on the works; and he was soon called away to oppose an expected attack from Beejapoor181.
During Ali Adil Shah’s stay at Chimulgay, he sent several persons to Seedee Johur, assuring him of a favourable reception. He was at last prevailed upon to pay his respects at the royal camp, where he was received with every mark of civility and distinction; but as Ali Adil Shah was much under the influence of Ibrahim Khan, his personal enemy, Seedee Johur doubted the king’s sincerity, and embraced the earliest opportunity of returning to his Jagheer. There were at this time, several petty rebellions in the northern part of the Carnatic, and as the king’s first intention was to prosecute the war against Sivajee, Seedee Johur was commissioned to suppress them; but as he showed no readiness to comply, it was supposed he secretly aided the insurgents, and that he was even connected with Sivajee.
In consequence of this state of affairs, the king’s advisers were divided in opinion, whether to direct their principal efforts to the prosecution of the war against Sivajee, or to re-establish order in the Carnatic. During their indecision, the Deshmookhs of Waree sent proposals for reducing Sivajee, provided they were properly supported. It was therefore determined that the king should march into the Carnatic, whilst Bahlole Khan and Bajee Ghorepuray of Moodhole, were directed to prepare an army to co-operate with the Sawunts against Sivajee. The king marched, and the troops destined for the latter service were assembling, when Bajee Ghorepuray, for some purpose of preparation, proceeded to his Jagheer. Sivajee, who had early intelligence of all that took place, and who had
returned to Vishalgurh, no sooner heard of Ghorepuray’s being at Moodhole, entirely off his guard, than he chose this moment for anticipating the attack, and avenging his father’s wrongs. He made a rapid march across the country, surprised and killed Ghorepuray with most of his relations and followers, plundered Moodhole, left it in flames, and returned to Vishalgurh with the greatest expedition.
Khowaus Khan was appointed to replace Ghorepuray as second in command to Bahlole Khan; and the army had advanced as far as the passes into the Concan, when they were recalled to reinforce the army in the Carnatic.
The king found it necessary to reduce Raichore and Toorgul; both places made an obstinate resistance, and Ali Adil Shah evinced great personal bravery in the attacks.
Seedee Johur at first did not act decidedly as a rebel; but as he foresaw the danger of putting himself again in the power of a sovereign who suspected him, he at last determined openly to oppose the king. He chose an opportunity of attacking the troops of Joojhar Rao Ghatgay, and the Naik of Phultun, when they were separated from the rest of the king’s camp by the Toongbuddra river. They were at first thrown into confusion, and fell back on the camp in great disorder; but on being reinforced by Bahlole Khan, and on recovering from their panic, they retrieved their discomfiture by following up and routing the troops that had attacked them. Seedee Johur maintained the war a very short time, owing to
the treachery of his followers, by whom he was put to death, in order to secure their own pardon. The king extended forgiveness to his son; and some time after, by the advice of his minister Abdool Mohummud, who succeeded Ibrahim Khan182, Seedee Uzeez, was received into favor. But the suppression of this rebellion did not re-establish order; the refractory were numerous, and the war was long protracted. After two whole years spent in different parts of the Carnatic, the campaign was ended by enforcing tribute from the Soonda Raja; and Ali Adil Shah returned to Beejapoor, having only partially accomplished his object183.
The employment of the whole force in the Carnatic, proved in many respects, of the utmost consequence to Sivajee. He had, on the whole, lost considerably by the campaign of the former season; but he soon recovered more than an equivalent. As soon as Bahlole Khan and Khowaus Khan were recalled, Sivajee attacked the Deshmookhs of Waree, who thus imprudently left to their fate, scarcely offered resistance: their territory was speedily occupied, and the Sawunts accompanied by Ram Dulwey, a near relation of the late Polygar of Sringarpoor, fled to Goa for protection, where they were at first received; but the Portuguese,
very different from those of their nation who so greatly distinguished themselves a century before, were intimidated by the threats of Sivajee, and forced the fugitives to quit the place.
The Sawunts, abandoned by their government and driven from Goa, threw themselves on the clemency of Sivajee, by whom their Deshmookhee rights were restored, and they afterwards became faithful servants. Ram Dulwey likewise joined Sivajee; and, although his relations were sometimes troublesome, Sivajee might reckon the resources of the southern part of the Concan, and the services of some good infantry and officers at his disposal.
Sivajee, however, kept his own garrisons in the territory of the Sawunts184, and drew their infantry to distant quarters. He likewise built Rairee, and Sindeedroog, or Malwan, and having seen the advantage which the Seedee derived from his fleet, he used great exertions to fit out a marine. He rebuilt or strengthened Kolabah; repaired Severndroog and Viziadroog185; and prepared vessels at all these places. His principal depôt was the harbour of Kolabah, twenty miles south of Bombay. He gave the command of his fleet to two persons, named Dureea Sagur, and Mynak Bundaree, and soon began to commit acts of piracy. The Portuguese, in order to prevent the ravages of the Mahratta fleet, sent an ambassador to Sivajee, who readily promised to refrain from molesting them, on condition of being supplied with some guns
and warlike stores, to which they consented; and the demand, as might have been expected, was very frequently renewed186.
After the Sawunts were reduced, the minister of Ali Adil Shah, Abdool Mohummud, entered into a secret compact with Sivajee187. The particulars of this agreement, or the means by which it was brought about, are totally unknown; but it is not improbable that it may have been effected through the intervention of Shahjee. It is certain, that about this period, Shahjee, who had been delighted with the exploit of his son against the treacherous Ghorepuray, came from the Carnatic, accompanied by his other son, Venkajee, and visited Sivajee, with the consent and approbation of his own government. Sivajee treated his father with the greatest distinction, and on hearing of his approach, according to Mahratta notions of profound respect, went several miles to meet him, dismounted from his horse, and saluted him with the obeisance due by a servant to his sovereign; insisted on walking by the side of his father’s palanquin, and would not sit in his presence until repeatedly commanded. After some weeks spent in conviviality, and visiting various parts of Sivajee’s territory, Shahjee, highly gratified, returned to Beejapoor, the bearer of presents from Sivajee to the king188; and what strengthens the supposition of Shahjee’s having been the mediator, hostilities from that time were suspended between Sivajee and Beejapoor during
the life of Shahjee; nor, when they were renewed, was Sivajee the aggressor.
It is an opinion of some of the Mahrattas, that it was by Shahjee’s advice that Sivajee changed his principal residence, from Rajgurh to Rairee. It is certain, that he, at this time, changed the name of the latter to Raigurh; and Abajee Sonedeo was instructed to commence erecting a complete set of public buildings within the fort, with accommodation for the different officers and departments of his immediate government; a work which was not completed for several years: considerable labour was also, for some time, used in strengthening the natural defences of the mountain, for the purpose of rendering it impregnable.
Sivajee now possessed the whole of the continent of the Concan from Kallian to Goa, a length of coast about four degrees of latitude; and the Concan–Ghaut–Mahta from the Beema to the Warna, a distance of about 160 English miles. His territory, at its greatest breadth, or between Sopa and Jinjeera, did not exceed one hundred English miles. He had an army proportionally much larger than the size of his territory; but when we consider the predatory means he took for supporting it, the number, when stated at fifty thousand foot and seven thousand horse, is probably not exaggerated. His power was formidable, and the truce with Beejapoor gave him an opportunity of directing it against the Moghuls,
163. Original letter from Aurungzebe to Sivajee.
164. Original letter from Aurungzebe to Sivajee. Mahratta MSS.
165. Mahratta MSS.
166. Mahratta MSS., and original letter from Aurungzebe written immediately after the battle with Jeswunt Sing and Kassim Khan, which happened, not near the Nerbuddah, as Colonel Dow seems to conclude, but within twelve miles of Oojein.
167. Mahratta MSS.
168. Beejapoor MSS.
169. Copy of the original treaty.
170. The Beechwa, or scorpion, is aptly named in its resemblance to that reptile.
171. The Wagnuck, or tiger’s claws, is a small steel instrument, made to fit on the fore and little finger. It has three crooked blades which are easily concealed in a half closed hand.
172. The occasions where Sivajee was ever known to exercise cruelty to prisoners, were those where he supposed them to be obstinately concealing wealth, which he was determined to extort.
173. Mahratta and Persian MSS., and English Records. The English Records, referred to during the seventeenth century, are principally in the East India House, London.
174. The name of the person who gave up Panalla, is nowhere mentioned. One Beejapoor MS. states that Sivajee took it by stratagem; another, that a Hindoo in charge surrendered it, which so far corresponds with the Mahratta account. Panels was one of those forts to which the king generally appointed the Killidar, but it was situated within the Jagheer of Roostum Zuman, one of the Beejapoor generals, whom we shall have occasion to mention in our progress. The Jagheer of Roostum Zuman, comprehended Merich and Kolapoor above the Ghauts, and Carwar and Rajapoor in the Concan. There is reason to suppose that Roostum Zuman was bribed by Sivajee at a very early period; the English merchants of the factories of Raja-poor and Carwar, repeatedly accuse him of being in league with Sivajee, and of sharing in the plunder of some towns in his own Jagheer.
175. Thanna, literally signifies a garrison, but it also means, more especially in Deccan history, the military post at which the inferior revenue officers are stationed to protect the country, aid the police, and collect the revenue; whether the station be a fort or an open village. The cultivators consider him their master, who is in possession of the thanna; for this reason, garrison does not convey the full meaning of thanna, and I have therefore been sometimes obliged to use it in preference to the English word.
176. Gurhee means a small, or sometimes a weak fort, Buttees Serala is called a Gurhee, although it is a mud fort, extensive, but of no strength.
177. Mahratta MSS. A letter from the English factory at Rajapoor states, that Roostum Zuman sent on a small party of his troops, under the son of Afzool Khan, and betrayed them into the hands of Sivajee; but the intelligence then obtained by the factors, all of which they wrote off just as it was received, cannot be relied on; indeed they frequently add, that reports are so contradictory, they know not what to believe. Their letters, however, are very important for fixing dates; and in corroborating facts, admitted by native authorities, they are invaluable.
178. I have retained his name of Seedee Johur; but in all Beejapoor writings, his name is henceforth changed to Sulabut Khan. The supposition of his being at all connected with the Seedees of Jinjeera is a mistake into which it would be very easy to account for Mr. Orme’s having fallen.
179. The Seedees, in general, have in the present day, a high character among the Mahrattas, for fidelity to their promise.
180. Mahratta MSS. Beejapoor MSS., and English Records. The unfortunate Englishmen were not finally released without paying a ransom. There appears to have been some reason for Sivajee’s suspicion, though the fact was never fully ascertained.
181. Mahratta MSS.
182. Ibrahim Khan accompanied the king’s mother to Mecca; the usual resort of displaced Mahomedan ministers, as Benares is of Bramins, under similar circumstances.
183. Beejapoor MS. The campaign of Ali Adil Shah, in the Carnatic, is celebrated by Nusserut, in his Ali Namu, already mentioned.
184. The territory generally, is now called Sawunt-Waree.
185. Or Gheriah.
186. Mahratta MSS.
187. Beejapoor MS.
188. Mahratta MS.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage