Monday, 9 March 2009

18. Escape From Agra… The Route ...

The Rajasthani letter, dated aug.23, throws light on events prior to Shivaji’s escape: “since four days prior to the flight of Shivaji there was much strictness about the guards. Once again emperor ordered that Shivaji be killed but soon after he changed to keeping him in the haveli of Rajah Vithaldas. Shivaji realized that the evil day has arrived, so he escaped.” According to Maratha chronicles Shivaji escaped from Agra on 17th aug. the Rajasthani letter suggest august 18, while Alamgirmana mensions 19th aug. as the date of departure. The Maratha chronicles are correct. The Rajputs choose to discover Shivaji’s escape on 18th while Mughals only confirmed the event on the next day, following a hurried search for Shivaji. Shivaji’s escape resulted in flurry of inquiries, charges & counter-charges. Efforts were made to involve Kumar Ramsingh in the dispute.

Shivaji must have made his plan very carefully. But the story of escape from a large fruit / sweet basket seems to have been circulated to save the police guards & their efforts from embarrassment. Following letter of 3rd sept.1666, strengthened this impression. “When the day was four gharis old, the news came that Shivaji has escaped, even when a thousand men were on guard duties. That day no one could tell when precisely he escaped & through which section of the guard (chowki). After deliberation it was concluded that Shivaji escaped through the basket.” This letter is written after 20 days of event. Aurangzeb was not the man to leave anything uninvestigated thoroughly. But still excepting Ramsingh, who was under disgrace for some time, nobody seems to have been punished. Shivaji proceeded to first to Mathura & then to Deccan, with the help of Dastak (passport) issued to the men of his retinue, he took straight path towards Deccan. The spy report says he reached Rajgad on 12sept.1666. But letter from MirzaRajah Jaisingh to Emperor on 27thsept states, Shivaji has not returned.

The Jedhe Shakavli states that Shivaji reached Rajgad along with Sambhaji on 20th nov. 1666. It states that, “Rajashree Swami came to Rajgad on Margashirsh Shuddha Panchami(20th nov 1666). Rajashree Shambhu Raje had been kept at Mathura with the Brahmin Vishwasrao. Vishwasrao brought him as well.” The first reaction of Aurangzeb to Shivaji’s escape was to order the arrest of Netaji Palkar, who had accepted service under the Mughals. This step must have been dictated by anger at Shivaji’s escape as well as anxiety to forestall any possibility of Netaji rejoining Shivaji. Netaji was brought to Agra, converted to Islam with name – Muhammad Kuli khan, granted a mansab of 3000 & was attached to province of Kabul immediately.

Mughals launched a vigorous search for Shivaji. Shivaji must have took the earstern route, as far as away from Mughal outposts as possible. Both Maratha chronicles n Bhimsen Saxena suggests Allahabad – Banaras – Gaya – Gondwana – Golconda as the route taken by Shivaji. From Banaras he must have moved to Sarguza dist. of present Madhya Pradesh. So Ambikapur – Amarkantak – Ratanpur – Bilaspur – Raipur – Bastar – Golconda seems to have been route taken by him. His journey was fraught with danger. More than once he escaped being captured by Mughals. Shivaji’s safe arrival on Rajgad was celebrated by Marathas. Soon Sambhaji joined his father. Once they both reached Rajgad, there was little that Aurangzeb could do to rectify the mistake.

50 years later, when Aurangzeb lay dying at Ahmadnagar, he still remembered Shivaji’s escape with regret. He has recorded in his will that - ‘A moment’s carelessness on his part in allowing Shivaji to escape had led to no end of distractions.’


  1. What a hero is Shivaji ?. Such bravery is unprecedented in History of India after Islamic conquest of India.

  2. Chhatrapati Shivaji was sun,moon and stars of historical galaxy of India.Not only he was bravest,cleverest,and best judge and excellent king but had a inherent awareness of the agonies of his people and always strived for their betterment.He is the first patriot who taught us significance of freedom,every indian regardless of religion and creed worship this god of freedom.

  3. वरील चित्रात दाखवलेल्या ऐसपैस बुट्टी-पेटाऱ्यात, शेजारी टोकऱ्यात ढिगाने रचलेल्या लाडू, बर्फी, जिलेबी, इमरतीसारख्या ठिसूळ व नरम मिठायांना 60 -70 किलोवजनांपर्यंत भरता येणार का हे ठरवावे लागेल. चौक्यावर पहारेकऱ्यांना चकवायला खाली लपलेल्या व्यक्तीच्या अंगावर मिठाया ठेवायला हव्यात. अशा पेटाऱ्यांना दोन भोयांनी ते कमीत कमी 7-8 किमी दूर नेताना लागणारा वेळ. त्यांची सहभागी कितीवेळ लपलेली राहणार, वगैरे कसे शक्य आहे याचे प्रात्यक्षिक करायला हवे. त्यातील त्रुटी पाहता मिठाईच्या पेटाऱ्याची युक्ती फक्त कल्पना होऊ शकते असे वाटते.