Monday, 23 March 2009

30. Dakshin Digvijay … Tamilnadu

Shivaji left Hydrabad by end of March 1677. He had 20,000 cavalry & 30,000 infantry with him. He marched towards Karnool. He also visited confluence of river Krishna & Tungabhadra. He also visited famous Shiva shrine Mallikarjuna & Shri Shaillya. Passing through the present district of Cudappah, he visited shrines of Kalhasti & Tirupati.

By 1st week of May 1677, he reached Pedda polam, 11km west of Chennai. Only coastal area of few kilometers south of Chennai including Chingleput was under Golkonda. Districts like Arcot, Cuddalore & Pondicherry were under Vijapur. The Vijapur Governer of Tamilnadu named Sherkhan, was from Bahlolkhan’s party. Where as Nasir Muhammad, Commander of fort of Jinji was brother of Khavas khan, who was murdered by Bahlolkhan. Now Sherkhan was out to destroy Nasir & take possession of Jinji fort. On other hand Nasir offered fort of Jinji to Golkonda. It was a welcome offer.

It was at this time Shivaji appeared on the scene. Marathas were moving with some Golkonda contingents & hence this strong fort passed into hands of Marathas without much efforts. Nasir Muhahamad had received a sum in cash & some territories with an annual rent of 50,000/- Shivaji then moved to Vellore & laid siege to it. Noticing that, its capture may took time, he left a detachment there & he proceeded to reduce the surrounding districts. His aim was not loot & purn. He desired to do permanent conquest. Civil administration was introduced with the help of considerable number of men he had brought over from various departments of Maharashtra.

Shivaji was a great fort architect. He strengthened the defenses of the area. The fort of Jinji received his special attention. He gave orders to cut off a part & to erect new fortifications. Frenchman martin writes, “Shivaji applied all his energy of his mind & all the resources of his dominions to the fortifications of all the principal places. He constructed new ramparts around Jinji(fort), dug ditches, erected towers & executed all the work with a perfection that Europeans would be ashamed of.” At same time Sherkhan tried to mobilize his resources against Marathas. He also asked help from French. He meet martin, French commander, on 29th June 1677. Sher khan told him that Bahlolkhan has given ultimatum to King of Golkonda to break alliance with Shivaji. Freanch should help Vijapur to battle against Shivaji. But martin had a different doubt. According to martin Sherkhan was hardly qualified to fight against Marathas as considered in resources. But Sherkhan decided to attack Marathas.

By end of June in 1677, in Tiruwadi near Colhdan river. The place is about 27km from Tanjore. In this battle Sherkhan fled & took refuge in fort Bhavangiri where Marathas besieged him. Very soon on 5th July he surrendered all his territories to Marathas. He also promised to pay 2,000 pagodas in cash. Thus in one stroke Vijapur lost its Tamilnadu territories & its influence in states of Tanjore & Madurai. Now Shivaji was looking for his step-brother Vyankoji with all his territories to join Marathas. Major achievement of Vyankoji was seizure of Tanjore & setting himself as a ruler. Shivaji had toyed with idea of taking over Vyankoji’s possession’s including Tanjore completely. To achieve his purpose he formally called upon Vyankoji & they meet at Tiruwadi in July 1677. In this meeting Vyankoji sensed the working of shivaji’s mind. Taking alarm, he fled to Tanjore. Now Shivaji left only Tanjore in possession of Vyankoji & held all other his territories like Banglore, Haskot, Kolar, Jinji region. In fact all the area north of Cauvery river.

For administration of newly-won provinces, Shivaji made excellent arrangements. Raghunath Narain Hanamante was made Governer-General of Tamilnadu & part of Carnataca(Karnataka). To watch movements of Vyankoji, a strong force under his commander-in-chief Hambirrao Mohite was left. It was a very wise move. In november Vyankoji tried to seize some of newly won forts of Shivaji. But he fled in front of Marathas & as per treaty all his territories were passed on to Shivaji, except Tanjore.

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