‘The wilde warfront’

-The second volume of “Mahasamrat Shivaji”

Rana-Khaindal, the second volume of Mahasamrat, the celebrated quartet on Shivraya’s life written by the renowned Marathi writer Vishwas Patil, published by Mehta Publishing House, Pune has been released.

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There are numerous books dealing with different aspects of the exploits and achievements of Chhatrapati Shivaji. However, on the strength of his inimitable, powerful presentation style and thirty years of research, Shri Patil has created an extraordinary work of literature that is bound to keep the readers mesmerized. The first volume of the quartet, titled Zhanzhaavat (The Whirlwind), was launched barely six months ago, and it has already sold about 30,000 copies in this short span of time. This volume has been translated into Hindi (Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi), Kannada (Sapna, Bengaluru) and English (under the title Whirlwind, publisher Westland, Delhi) and has established itself as a bestseller.

The Wilde Warfront (Rana-Khaindal), the second volume of Mahasamrat Shivaji, begins with the daring assault mounted on the invincible walls of Bijapur by the brave captain of Shivaji one Netaji Palkar. Later, in 1685, Aurangzeb too mounted an offensive against the very same battlements of Bijapur with an army of three lakh men, but could not pierce its invulnerable defences after over a year of continuous efforts. In sharp contrast was the onslaught of Netaji Palkar in 1659. After having slaughtered Afzal Khan at the foot of the Pratapgadh fort on November 10, 1659, Shivaji had ordered Netaji Palkar to mount a blitzkrieg against Bijapur with barely six or seven thousand soldiers in hand. Netaji dashed against the mighty gates of Bijapur; his attack was so ferocious that it created mayhem among the citizens cowering inside the city walls. This true-to life episode is sensational enough to be the subject-matter of an epic. Penned by the creator of the iconic Panipat, it is guaranteed to make the spine of the reader tingle.

One hundred and thirty-three days after being trapped in the Panhala siege, Shivaji broke out of it by escaping through the impenetrable jungle tracks of the Sahyadris. He covered the sixty-kilometer track that passed through Ghodkhind and Vishalgadh inside a day and a half, a feat that would tax the toughest of peasants native to the land. He did this journey not on horseback or in a palanquin, but on foot, the obvious reason being that the jungles here were so dense that they did not allow a bare-backed horse to pass through. A palanquin was put to use, though, but that was not for the king; it was for Shiva Kashid, Shivraya’s look-alike, for bluffing the enemy to distract its attention.

Vishwas Patil walked through this impossible jungle trail a number of times, even during the heavy monsoon rains, to bring authenticity to his presentation of this episode.

There are many tales of valourous warriors in this second volume: the early martyrs of Hindvi Swaraj like Shiva Kashid and the first Muslim martyr Siddhi Wahwah, as also the warriors Baji Prabhu and Phulaji who consecrated Pawankhind with the gift of their lives. The book also throws light upon another greatest warriors who attained fame at Pawankhind such as Shambhuji Jadhav (who was father of later very famous Dhanaji Jadhav of Santaji- Dhanaji ).Through his intensive research, Patil has brought into sharp visibility many hitherto hazy events and personalities of the Shivaji era.

Rana-khaindal, the second volume of the quartet Mahasamrat will not only be a delectable treat for the readers, but it will also be a source of inspiration to all the citizens of India. This second volume, along with the first volume, will, without the slightest doubt, join the ranks of the immortal creations of literature.


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