Saturday, 7 March 2009

17. Visit To Agra – Threat To Life ...

Shivaji left for Agra on 5th march 1666. He stopped at Aurangabad for a week. Aurangzeb wrote to him,"come here without delay in full confidence in my grace & perfect composure of mind. After you have obtained audience of me, you will be glorified with my royal favours & given permission to return home.”

Shivaji reached Agra on 12th may 1666. Rajasthani records says,“ he has come along with only 100 retainers. His escort number from 200 to 550 men in all. When Shivaji rides out in a Palkhi, many footmen wearing costumes like the turks, big like khadauts, go before him. His flag is orange & vermillion coloured with golden decorations stamped on it…at sight Shivaji’s body look lean & short. His appearance is wonderfully fair in complexion & even without finding out who he is, one feels instinctively that he is a ruler of men. He is very brave & high-soled man & wears a beard. His son is 9 years old & very marvelously handsome in appearance & fair in complexion.” Rajastani records provide us with an eye-withness account of Shivai’s audience with Aurangzeb.

The memorable scene in the history of Mughal – Maratha relations is described in following way. “on the day emperor had left the Diwan-i-am (public hall) & was sitting in the select audience hall Diwan-i-khas also known as Ghusalkhana. Shivaji went to the latter place. The emperor asked Asad khan Bakshi to bring Shivaji forward & present him to the emperor. Shivaji presented 1000 muhras & rs.2000/- as nazar & rs.5000/- as nisar. Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji, was then presented to the emperor & he offered 500 muhras & rs.1000/- as nazar & rs.2000/- as nisar. Shivaji was made to stand in the place of Tahir khan in front of rajah Ramsingh.”

“It was emperor’s birthday & betel leaves were distributed to the princes & the noblemen & hence Shivaji too got one. Next the khilats (robes) for the occasion were presented to the princes, Jafar khan & rajah Jaswant Singh. At this time Shivaji became sad & fretful. He flew into a rage & his eyes were filled with tears. The emperor noticed it & told Ramkumar singh (son of Jaisingh), “ask Shivaji what ails him?” then the Kumar came to Shivaji’s side & Shivaji said, “you have seeing, your father has seen, your Padishah has seen what a man I am, & yet you have deliberately kept me standing so long. I cast off your mansab. If you wanted me to stand you should have done so according to the right order of precedence.” He then & there turned his back & began to walk away violently from his place in the line for noblemen. Then the Ramkumar seized his hand. But Shivaji wrenched it away, came to one side & sat down. The Kumar followed him to that place & again tried to persuade him, bur Shivaji would not listen & cried out,“My death date has arrived. Either you will slay me or I shall kill myself. Cut of my head & take it there if you like, but I am not going (back) to the emperor’s presence.”

Ramkumar went to the emperor & reported to him. Aurangzeb ordered Multafat khan, Aqil khan & Mukhalis khan to go, console Shivaji, invest him with a khilat & then bring him to the throne. The 3 noblemen came & asked Shivaji to wear a khilat. Shivaji replied,“I refuse to accept khilat. The emperor has purposely made me stand below Jaswant singh. I am such a man & yet I am deliberately kept standing. I decline emperor’s mansab. I will not be his servant. Kill me, imprison me, if you like, but I will not wear the khilat.” “So they returned & reported to emperor, who ordered Kumar to take Shivaji with him to his own residence & try persuasions. Shivaji’s behaviour in the Diwan-i-khas gave an opportunity to the Mughal nobles, Jafar khan & others, to protest vigorously to the emperor. “Who is Shiva(ji)? That in your royal presence, he commited such contumacious & insolent acts, & yet your majesty passes over them. In this way many bhumias (land holders) will come here, & act rudely. Then how will administration will continue? The news will reach every country that such a Hindu audaciously did every kind of rudeness & all will act similarly.”
It was then Aurangzeb might have decided to kill Shivaji. Siddi Faulad was ordered to take Shivaji to Andaz khan’s haveli.

Ramsingh had been expressly chargd by his father Jai singh to see that there is no harm to Shivaji’s life in Agra. So Ramsingh took immediate steps to stop this unpleasant move. He ran to imperial Bakshi, Amin khan & said,“Emperor is thinking of killing Shivaji. But he has came here on a guarantee of safety from my father, so it is proper that the emperor should first kill me, call up my son & kill him too. Only after putting us to death, he should kill Shivaji or do whatever he likes.” The emperor enquired whether Ramsingh would stand security for Shivaji. Ramsingh immediately consulted with Shivaji & signed a bond of security. The immediate danger was averted.

Sooner emperor ordered Ramsingh to move for Kabul with Shivaji on 16th may 1666. Obiviously Shivaji refused to do so. He mean while contacted Vajir Jafar khan. It seems that Shivaji paid considareble sum to Jafar khan & other nobles to gain their support. The proposal to send Ramsingh & Shivaji to Kabul was dropped. Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was however allowed to attend the court in the company of Ramsingh. Now Shivaji submitted a petition to the emperor through Muhammad Amin khan offering to pay more 2 crores of rupees if his forts were restored to him & to serve the emperor faithfully in the Deccan. Aurangzeb’s response was cold. He said,“He has gone of his head because of my legiency towards him. How can he be given leave to depart for home? Tell him firmly that he must not visit anybody.” Next day strong patrols were posted round Shivaji’s residence. Once again Shivaji was in danger of being killed. On june 7th Aurangzeb wrote letter to Shivaji. “Hand over all your forts to me. I will restore your mansab. Call here your nephew too. I will give mansab to him also.” Shivaji replied,“ I do not want your mansab. I have no control over the forts” One day Shivaji said to Ramsingh,“I thought people listened to you. You have spoken about me to the emperor. But he did not listen. You inform him that Shivaji is no longer in my charge. He may be disposed of in the way the emperor likes.” Ramsingh said,“ How can I leave your side?”

With rumors floating in bazaars of Agra, as recorded in the Rajastani records, make amusing reading. According to them it was rumoured that,“Rajah Jaswant singh said to the emperor,‘Shivaji jumps 14 to 15 arms, height from the ground. He walks a distance of 40 to 50 kos.’ The prince Muazzam said gravely,‘I too had heard of this in Aurangabad.” Shivaji must have been thinking of getting away from Agra without involving Ramsingh in the attempt. He requested that he should not be kept in charge of Ramsingh & that a residence might be fixed for him. The request went unheeded. Ramsingh however continued his arrangements for keeping a watch to protect Shivaji from any harm.

On 7th june, Shivaji sent away all his servants, saying ,‘Go away. Let no one remain with me here. I shall stay here alone. Let me be killed if they wish to kill me.’ They were allowed by Ramsingh to stay in his camp. Shivaji sent word to emperor to issue dastak (passports) to his troops to allow them to return to the deccan. He started giving charities & gifts to soldiers & laymen. As such Shivaji ran short of money. He borrowed rs.66,000/- from Ramsingh. The money was, of course, duly returned to Jaisingh in the deccan.

1 comment:

  1. सुंदर. इनामदारांची इतिहासावरील पुस्तके मी वाचत असे लहानपणी....त्याची आठवण झाली. धन्यवाद.