Pune recalls Shivaji cutting off Shaista Khan’s fingers

To mark 350 years of incident,events organised at Lal Mahal.

Written by Dishya Sharma | Published: April 19, 2013 1:33 am

To mark 350 years of incident,events organised at Lal Mahal.

To mark 350 years of Mughal general Shaista Khan losing three fingers in a skirmish with 17th century Maratha king Shivaji at Lal Mahal here,history lovers on Thursday organised social and cultural events at the place.

“Shaista Khan had captured Lal Mahal and made it his headquarters during his stay at Pune in 1663 AD. During the battle to recapture Lal Mahal,Shivaji Maharaj confronted Khan. As Khan tried to escape from one of the windows of the Mahal,his fingers were severed by Shivaji,” historian Mandar Lawate told Newsline.

According to local Maratha historians,Shaista Khan — Mirza Abu Talib who had been bestowed the title Shaishta Khan by his nephew Aurangzeb — had been sent to Pune to overpower the Marathas. Shaista Khan had garrisoned Pune and prevented entry of Marathas but Shivaji and his soldiers disguised as a groom’s party entered the place to recapture it. It was during this attack that Shaista Khan’s fingers were believed to have been sliced off. Shaista Khan escaped through a window.

Lal Mahal,built in 1640,is where Shivaji is believed to have spent his childhood.

“Lal Mahal is important as a historical monument as Shivaji spent his childhood here with his mother. The monument has memories of the formative years of his life,besides events like the severing of Shaista’s fingers,” said Lawate.

The red structure in the heart of the city near other historic monuments at Shaniwarwada on Shivaji Road,Lal Mahal was originally made of wood. It was revamped by the Pune Municipal Corporation in the late 80s. The four umbrellas on the roof are prime attractions of the Mahal,which also houses a garden named after Jijabai.

Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe,who organised cultural events coinciding with the 350th anniversary of ‘severing of Shaista Khan’s fingers’,said the event in history is an incident of valour in which Shivaji Maharaj,with a less powerful army,had made the more powerful enemy bite the dust.

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