Explained: Taanaji Malusare and the role he played in the Battle of Singhagadhttps://indianexpress.com/article/explained/taanaji-malusare-maratha-shivaji-battle-of-singhagad-6080633/

Explained: Taanaji Malusare and the role he played in the Battle of Singhagad

Hailing from the Malusare clan, Taanaji is popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad that took place in the year 1670.

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Subedar Taanaji Malusare. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn Monday took to Twitter to share the first look of his upcoming period drama film, Tanhaji: The unsung warrior. It is being said that the film is based on Subedar Taanaji Malusare, a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Hailing from the Malusare clan, Taanaji is popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad that took place in the year 1670. In the battle, Taanaji fought against Udaybhan Rathore, a formidable Rajput warrior, who was put in charge of Fort Kandhana (later named Singhagad) by Jai Singh.

Battle of Singhagad, 1670

In the year 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Jai Singh and Shivaji. Amongst several demands, the treaty had required the Maratha ruler to give up Fort Kandhana to the Mughals. Located near Pune, the fort was one of the most heavily fortified and of high strategic importance.

After it was taken over by the Mughals, the fort was guarded by Rajput, Pathan and Arab troop guards and was said to be impenetrable.

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The idea of Mughals taking control of the fort is said to have deeply disturbed and enraged Shivaji’s mother Rajmata Jijabai. Upon knowing this, Shivaji entrusted Taanaji, the only man he could think of capable of reconquering the fort Kondhana at any cost.

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Kalyan Darwaja of the Singhagad.

In February 1670, Taanaji along with his troops marched towards the fort that had just two doors that were heavily guarded. It is said Taanaji’s troop decided to enter the fort from the south side where there was only a deep cliff and no guards.

According to legend, Taanaji brought along with his pet ghorpad, or monitor lizard, that could cling to rocks. A rope was tied around the lizard and it was made to climb up the cliff, paving the way for the soldiers to climb holding them.

Even though the attack by Taanaji took the Mughals by surprise, the latter nonetheless outnumbered the Marathas. A fierce battle is said have taken place between the Rathore and Taanaji. The two clashed for long. Malusare was gravely wounded in the fight and died

Enraged by the death of their general, the Marathas fought under the leadership of his brother, Suryaji Malusare, and eventually vanquished the enemy.

According to legend, Shivaji, upon hearing the news of Tanaji’s demise, said Gad ala pan Sinha gela (Although the fort was captured, a lion was lost).

The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.