Who is Taanaji Malusare?

Taanaji Malusare is most popularly remembered for the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670 where he fought against Mughal fort keeper Udaybhan Rathore, a formidable Rajput warrior, until his last breath, which paved the way for a Maratha victory.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 21, 2017 2:16 pm
who is tanaji malusare, taanaji movie, taanaji history Bust of Taanaji Malusare. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Subedar Taanaji Malusare was a superior general and a man of iron will in the army of Chhatrapati Shivaji and also one of his dearest friends. He is most popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad in 1670 where he fought against Mughal fort keeper Udaybhan Rathore, a formidable Rajput warrior, until his last breath. Malusare’s martyring paved the way for his men to fight with renewed vigour fuelled by their rage and defeat the enemy that outnumbered them vastly.

Battle of Sinhagad: In 1665, the Treaty of Purandar required Shivaji to give up the Maratha fort Kondhana to the Mughals. Kondhana, located near Pune, was one of the most heavily fortified and strategically placed. It was garrisoned thereafter by Rajput, Arab and Pathan troop guards of the Mughals, such that it was all but impenetrable. The very capable commander at the helm of it was Udaybhan Rathore, appointed by Mughal Army chief Jai Singh I.

The idea of Mughals taking control of the fort was deeply disturbing and enraging to Shivaji’s mother Rajmata Jijabai. The conquest was considered virtually impossible but her decision was made. Upon knowing that her wish was unrelenting and set in stone, Shivaji entrusted Taanaji, the only man he could think of capable of finishing this dangerous mission — to reconquer the fort Kondhana, at any cost. So Taanaji rallied his troops of 1000 mavals and marched towards the fort in February 1670.

The fort had only two doors. The siege by Taanaji’s men was laid from the south side of the fort where there was only a deep cliff and no guards. According to legend, Taanaji had brought along with his pet ghorpad, or monitor lizard, that can cling to rocks. Rope was tied around it and the lizard was made to climb up the cliff, which set the ropes for the soldiers to climb.

tanaji malusare, sinhagad, ajay devgn taanaji movie Tanaji The Lion, Amar Chitrakatha cover.

The Maratha surprise attack was immediately responded to by outnumbering enemy forces, but Taanaji wasn’t the one to accept failure. A historic swordfight took place between Rathore and Taanaji. The two bravehearts clashed for a long while and it ended with Malusare losing his life. Enraged by the death of their general, the Marathas fought under the leadership of his brother, Suryaji Malusare, and vanquished the enemy.

Kalyan Darwaja of the Singhagad today.

The Maratha’s impossible victory did not result in a celebration. Shivaji was deeply saddened by the loss of his beloved commander and childhood friend, and he renamed the fort — Singhagad (Lion Fort). He has been noted to have famously said, “Gad ala pan Sinha gela.” (“The fort has come, but the lion is gone.”)


For all the latest Who Is News, download Indian Express App

  1. C
    Jul 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm
    Good to remember my school days - the fort is won but the lion is dead - the great warrior Tanaji his bravery but why has the government of Maharashtra not taken care of this great fort which is can be made into a tourist attraction. Let the present youth future generations see the historic forts built by the previous rulers. Please remember this - If we do not know our past we have no future. Jai Hind, Jai Hind ki Sena.
    1. A
      Adv.Ketan Sawant
      Jul 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm
      Truly inspiring historic event. I just want to add one more thing to the above said battle history that before the battle marriage of tanaji malusare's son Raiba was fixed but when tanaji malusare came to know about chatrapati shivaji maharaj conquest plan of the fort, tanajai malusare cancelled all arrangement of his son's marriage and went to conquer the fort. There is one famous saying by tanaji malusare to chatrapati shivaji maharaj that "Aadhi laagna kondacha mag majha Raibacha". It means first I will conquer Kondana fort then I will perform my son's marriage.
      1. P
        Prashant Pagawad
        Jul 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm
        It's "Adhi lagn Kodhnayche maag raibache" precisely saying this the line we learned during school time. Great Maratha Warrior : Tanaji Malusare
      2. J
        Jul 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm
        Should be 1670 not 1870
        1. M
          Jul 20, 2017 at 7:47 pm
          Jai Hind' Brother, at last, you are beginning to show respect for Facts!! Indian Media, as you know, does not respect Facts. To them, it matters not whether it is 1670 or 1870 !!!
        2. A
          Jul 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm
          Please research dates properly and edit this. 1870? You are around 200 years off !!!!
          1. Prashant Dumbre
            Jul 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm
            An inspiring historical event that's known by each and every Maratha. Only point is , incident took place in 1670 and not in 1870.
            1. Load More Comments