HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

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Battle of Salher- Maratha’s power

Battle of Salher

HistoryFacts : “Sardar Pratap Rao Gurjar”

The following chapter hasbeen taken from the historical accounts of :
▪︎Kincaid, Dennis. The Grand Rebel. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 172.
▪︎Shivaji the Great. Balwant Printers Pvt. Ltd. 2003. ISBN 9788190200004.
▪︎The Battle Where Shivaji Rewrote History And Mughal Rout | Creative India”. creativeindiamag.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
▪︎Sterling. Jaswant Lal Mehta (1981). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India: 1526-1707.

● Sardar #PratapraoGurjar or Kudtoji Gujar was born in Khatav which is located in Satara district to a Gurjar family. He was Senapati of the army of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Maratha Empire, which originated in the Indian Subcontinent & ruled a significant portion of it. Sardar Prataprao Gurjar’s daughter was married with the second son of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj named Rajaram, who was later to be the Empress of the #MarathaEmpire, Maharani Jankibai.
He was given the title of Prataprao (meaning: the brave) by King Shivaji in acknowledgement of his bravery in the war against Mirza Jai Singh (a Rajput general of the invading Mughal army). He defeated a large Mughal using clever battle strategies at the famous Battle of Salher. Salher was a major battle between the Mughals & the Marathas, & the first large-scale pitched battle between the two in open field. The victory of the Marathas at Salher is seen as a definitive turning point in their military prowess against the mighty force of the Turko-Afghan invaders.

● The battle of #Salher:
The period between 1670-1672 saw a dramatic rise in Shivaji Maharaj’s power. The Maratha army successfully conducted raids at Baglan, Khandesh & Surat and retook more than a dozen forts. This culminated with a decisive victory against a Mughal army of more than 40,000 on an open field near Salher. Sardar Moropant Pingle and along with his army of 15,000 captured the Mughal forts Aundha, Patta, Trimbak and attacked Salher and Mulher in January 1671. This led Aurangzeb to send two of his generals Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan along with 12,000 horsemen to reclaim Salher. In October 1671, the #Mughals laid siege on Salher. In return Shivaji commanded his two commanders Sardar Moropant Pingle & Sardar Prataprao Gurjar reclaim the fort. 50,000 Mughals had besieged the fort for more than 6 months.
Shivaji Maharaj ordered Moropant who was in South Konkan and Prataprao who was raiding near Aurangabad to meet and attack Mughals at Salher to relieve the fort. In his letter to his commanders Shivaji had written ‘Go to the north and attack Salher and defeat the enemy’. Both the Maratha forces met near the village of Vani, they bypassed the Mughal camp at Nashik and reached near Salher. The terrain was not suitable for cavalry battle hence the Maratha commanders decided to lure, split and finish the Mughal forces at different places. As per the plan Prataprao Gujar stormed the Mughals with 5,000 cavalry and killed many unprepared soldiers. After half an hour the Mughals became fully ready and Prataprao started to flee with his army. The entire Mughal cavalry of 25,000 started chasing the Marathas. Prataprao lured mughal cavalry in a pass 25 km away from Salher where the 15,000 cavalry under Anandrao Makaji was hiding. Prataprao turned his back in the pass and attacked the Mughals once again. The 15,000 fresh cavalry under Anandrao blocked the other end of the pass. Mughals were surrounded from all sides & slaughtered.
Moropant later surrounded and attacked the 15,000 strong Mughal infantry at Salher with his 20,000 infantry. Prominent maratha sardar & Shivaji’s childhood friend Suryaji Kakde was martyred in a Zamburak cannon in the battle. The imperial Mughal armies were completely routed and the Marathas gave them a crushing defeat. The battle resulted in a decisive Maratha victory which resulted in the liberation of Salher. Further, the nearby fort of Mulher was also taken from the Mughals as a consequence of this battle. 22 wazirs of note were taken as prisoners and Ikhlas Khan & Bahlol Khan were captured. Among the Mughal soldiers who were prisoners around one or two thousand escaped.

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