Baji Prabhu Deshpande "Champion of Pavankhind"

Baji Prabhu Deshpande "Champion of Pavankhind"

Baji Prabhu Deshpande was a commander of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire. The legend of Baji Prabhu is intricately linked with an important rear guard battle enabling Shivaji's escape from Panhala fort; he was the hero who sacrificed his life for his king.

Baji Prabhu was 15 years elder to Shivaji Maharaj, this means he was born around 1615. He was born in a Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu family. His original surname was Pradhan. He was honoured by Kulkarni Hakka as per available information from modi Scripts. He was born in Shind Village of Bhor Taluka in Pune District.

From a young age Bajiprabhu Deshpande had a martial spirit in him. In those days India was suffering from the tyranny of the Mughals . Bajiprabhu Deshpande wanted to serve his country and help liberate it from the Mughal yoke. The rise of Shivaji Maharaj gave Bajiprabhu Deshpande the opportunity he was seeking.

Shivaji Maharaj, seeing the intense love for the motherland in Bajiprabhu Deshpande gave him military command of south Maharashtra around the Kolhapur region.

 Bajiprabhu Deshpande played an important role when the fearsome General Afzal Khan was sent by the Adilshahi king to slay Shivaji Maharaj and destroy the fledgling Maratha Kingdom. Bajiprabhu Deshpande brought with him a few selected band of Maratha warriors who included Visaji Murambak who was as tall and heavily built as Afzal Khan. Shivaji Maharaj practiced the duel with Afzal Khan using Visaji as his sparring partner.

 The Battle of Pavan Khind

The battle of Pawan khind is very similar to 300 Spartan fought against thousand of Persians. Baji Prabhu and his men blocked the Sultan's army cheasing king Shivaji at Pawankhind mountain pass. The battle was completely unmatched, the ratio of strength is 1:40, with one side army of 12,000, well prepared heavy armored infantry and other side 300 Shivaji’s light infantry.

The battle was last man stand battle and lasted about 15 hours. The outcome of battle was all 300 soldiers died at battlefield and sultan lost 4,000 of his infantry and 8000 deadly injured.

Baji Prabhu Deshpande got angry and more fierce swaying two dand-pattas in his hands slicing dozens of army moving forward to him. Fazal Khan moved behind seeing this Lionic side of Baji Prabhu, he allowed his army to face the attack of our Hindu warrior. Baji Prabhu was surrounded by dozens of mughal army, when they failed to control him, they used matchlock arquebus to fire bullet, he was severely wounded but carried on fighting to secure his position.

Five hours after the battle started, the cannons were fired signalling Shivaji maharaj's safe return to Vishalgad. With a huge call of Jai Bhawani, Baji Prabhu Deshpande left the earthly abode still having two swords firmly in his hands during dying moments of his life. Hindu soldiers carried the mortal remains of Baji Prabhu Deshpande back to Vishalgad.

 Shivaji Maharaj renamed this gorge, narrow pass, to Pawan khind (meaning purified by the blood of great Hindu Maratha)

Shivaji Maharaj personally visited the house of slain Baji Prabhu, situated in the village of Kasabe Sindh near Bhor in the Pune district. His elder son was offered job as chief of a section. Other 7 sons were given honour of the Palkhi. 

Sambhaji Jadhav, Dhanaji Jadhav was inducted in the forces.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also gave “manache pahile paan” (“Honor of the Court") to Baji Prabhu family.

Article By : Spritual Indian Girl

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