Remembering #Shivaji’s greatest #battle

The Battle of Pratapgad can be termed the turning point in Indian history as it interrupted the continuous chain of Muslim successes on the battlefield.
Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) remembers the Great Maratha Warrior King on his birth anniversary.

We have a family tradition of hailing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj every time we step out on a journey. This is our small tribute to the legend to whom, Indian civilisation owes a debt of gratitude.

Faced with a determined onslaught by the Mughal-Rajput combine in 17th century, India could well have met the fate of Persia. Like the Parsees, Indians would have been forced to flee the land of their ancestors to preserve their culture and civilisation.

Between possible Islamisation of India and destruction of our civilisation stood Chhatrapati Shivaji and his valiant Marathas.

Militarily speaking, the difficult terrain of Maharashtra was a major contributing factor (the advantage not available to Sikhs or Jats who also showed equal valour). But it needed the military genius of Shivaji to exploit this advantage and halt the Mughal empire’s march to Peninsular India.

On February 19, as we celebrate his birth anniversary, we will do well to remember his greatest battle — the victory at Pratapgad.

The classic example of Shivaji’s approach to war and his doctrine of total war is the battle of Pratapgad.

In this single decisive engagement, Shivaji destroyed the military foundations of the sultan of Bijapur. The subsequent survival of the sultanate of Bijapur owes more to the Maratha need to keep the Mughals engaged rather than any residual power of the Bijapur regime.

In June-July 1659, Afzal Khan with a huge army numbering over 20,000, with 75 large and 300 to 400 small cannons, entered Shivaji’s domain from the south.

For four months Afzal Khan went on a rampage in the Maratha territory.

He had come with the clear intention of taking Shivaji, dead or alive, to Bijapur.

All this while, Shivaji continued to stay in Pratapgad which is located on the edge of a steep and jungle-clad river valley.

Afzal Khan knew the area well and tried very hard to lure Shivaji into the plains.

Contrary to the usually tolerant policy of Bijapur, Afjal Khan deliberately destroyed temples including the famous Durga shrine at Tuljapur (Shivaji’s family deity).

Afzal Khan had an unsavoury reputation of using deceit against his adversaries. After long negotiations, Shivaji convinced Afzal Khan that he was ‘hiding’ in Pratapgad as he was too scared to face the Bijapur army.

Afzal Khan fell prey to the ruse and walked into Shivaji’s trap.

As the route to Pratapgad was through a narrow defile, most of Afzal Khan’s heavy baggage and guns were left at Wai in the plains.

But the army that continued with him was still formidable enough.

However, it was further divided as there was inadequate camping space.

On Shivaji’s instructions, the villagers of the area had cleared small areas near the river Koyna to serve as ready camping sites.

The camp sites were so located that they were out of sight of one another due to intervening spurs (see sketch below).

Thus, by the time Khan reached Pratapgad, his huge army was already divided into four parts and he was looking forward to the prospect of an easy victory.

Shivaji had no illusions about the fate that awaited him should he surrender and had planned beforehand to destroy the Bijapur army.

To this end, days before the scheduled meeting of November 10, 1659, three divisions of his army, each numbering over 3,000, two-thirds of which was cavalry, led by Netaji Palkar, Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar, had hidden themselves in the jungles surrounding the invading army.

As the Bijapur army advanced deep into the jungles, the Marathas blocked all escape routes by felling trees.

On the night of November 9, Shivaji sent a generous supply of food and liquor for the enemy soldiers. Many of his soldiers in the disguise of entertainers had penetrated Khan’s camp.

During the night of November 9, the Bijapur army was busy celebrating their impending victory over Shivaji, prematurely as it turned out.

In a meeting that took place in the afternoon, halfway up the hill to the fort, Shivaji — a diminutive man — risked personal combat with the tall and powerful Afzal Khan and killed him with his bare hands as per the plan.

At the signal of a gunshot from the fort, the Maratha army swooped down on the Bijapur army.

The Bijapur soldiers were taken totally by surprise and there was virtually no resistance.

Only on reaching Wai, did Fazal Khan, Afzal’s younger brother, realise the disaster that had befallen his army.

Shivaji is said to have sent Afzal’s severed head to his mother 40 km away in Rajgarh. This was his way to deal with a treacherous enemy who had imprisoned and humiliated his father.

Afzal Khan’s headless body lies buried near Pratapgad and Shivaji himself built a respectable tomb in honour of the fallen general.

By severing Afzal Khan’s head, Shivaji not merely killed an enemy general, but forever destroyed the myth of Muslim superiority in the battlefield.

As time passed, the Marathas gave a taste of their fighting prowess to the mighty Mughal army. There arose a new myth, the seeming invincibility of the Marathas.

The fear of the Marathas was later enhanced by the exploits of Maratha Generals Dhanaji Jadhav and Santaji Ghorpade against Aurangzeb when Maratha horsemen became legends.

The decisive Battle of Pratapgad can be termed the turning point in Indian history as it interrupted the continuous chain of Muslim successes on the battlefield.

Immediately after the Battle of Pratapgad, Shivaji launched a hot pursuit of the routed army and taking advantage of the disarray in the enemy camp, recovered the entire territory earlier captured by Afzal Khan.

His strategy of exploitation of victory and relentless offensive action mark a major change from the earlier Indian approach to war that entailed priority for celebrations of victory over immediate pursuit of the enemy.

Shivaji believed in the doctrine of ‘total war’ and never shirked away from achieving annihilation of the enemy.

If he had to make compromises and truce, it was clearly due to the exigencies of the situation and not as matter of choice.,In this respect, Shivaji was a true revolutionary.

Over a long period of peace, Indians had virtually accepted that wars were mainly ‘limited’ in aim.

It is this notion that ensured a misplaced chivalry and lack of pursuit of victory made them lose every single war when faced with an enemy who was intent on ‘total war’.

As India faces multiple security challenges today, it is worthwhile to remember the valour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) is a military historian.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Amit20081980/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Rediff News

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Now you can #WhatsApp #money

Put your money where your words are, now literally. You can now send money while chatting on your phone. The possibilities are endless. Here’s how you can do it:

Other than irritating forwards, sickly-sweet homilies and bawdy jokes, Whatsapp will now carry money. Many users have already received this update and are sending money over this messaging app. An official announcement is still pending. India is the largest market for WhatsApp with over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2017, reported PTI. Soon, they will be able to send and receive money while chatting on this app.

However, to be able to do this, you must be able to make use of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). If you have never used UPI, here is how you can set it up on your phone. Also, before you begin, ensure that the version of WhatsApp on your phone has this payment option.

Step 1: find the payment option

Open WhatsApp. If you use an Android phone, click the three dots on the top right of the app screen. In the pop-up that opens up, one of the options would be Payments. Click it. On the Payments screen, you will be prompted to link your bank account to WhatsApp. If you use an iPhone, the Settings option is at the bottom of the app.

Step 2: Link your bank account

Click ‘Add new account’ option in the Payments screen. This will take you to the Terms & Conditions page. Once you accept these, you will be asked to verify your phone number. Provide the number that is linked to your bank account. The verification will happen over SMS. Once verified, WhatsApp will display the names of banks linked to UPI. Once you choose the bank, you will get the details of the account linked to your phone number. For security purposes, the entire account number will not be displayed. Typically, you would see the bank name and last four digits of your bank account displayed. If you have multiple accounts with the same bank, all of them will be shown. Choose the one you want to link to the app. Next, verify your debit card details, using the last six digits of your debit card and its expiry date.

Step 3: Set up UPI

After you verify the details, you will be prompted to set up a PIN for UPI, and the bank will send you a one-time password (OTP) to do this. The OTP for doing this is usually a six-digit number, which will reach you over an SMS. In the next page, enter your OTP and your new UPI PIN. You will have to create a four-digit UPI PIN.

After you create and confirm the PIN, you will get a message that your UPI set-up is complete. You will also get a confirmation via SMS. From here on, your Payments screen under the Settings option will display the bank details linked for payment. You can then start sending and receiving money.

Do you have #plans of #rekindling your #friendship?

When you get busy, your friendships fall by the wayside. But does it mean that you can’t revive your friendship? Says relationship counsellor Parul Hedge says, “Even if time has elapsed, you must go out of your way to nurture your friendship because you know your friends are going to be there for you always, whether you ask them or not.”
But justwanting to rekindle your friendship isn’t enough; you need to work towards it to make it into a success, and reconnect with old friends too. Here are some ways to do it…

Touch base through social network

One of the best ways to reconnect with old friends is by catching up on social networking sites. Says 27-year-old advertising professional Shriya Shroff, “I had lost touch with one of my closest college friends for over seven years, ever since I started working. But recently we got in touch through social network and have now met a couple of times. It feels great to get in touch with her again and share old memories.”

It’s always better to start with some information about how busy you’ve been and then encourage your friend to reply with the same openness.

Reconnect over a favourite pastime/place

Once you’ve touched base with your friend, always make it a point to meet them in person if you reside in the same city. You can do an activity that you used to do together to rev up your stalled friendship. This would help bring back the same closeness that you once shared and also help break the ice and rebuild the bond.

Call/text him or her

Hearing your friend’s voice after a long time is a great way to reconnect. Give your friend an unexpected call — but make sure that you are not calling him or her during work hours. When you text someone or call them not only does it give out positive energies but it also helps you stay in touch again.

Do something unexpected and kind

Preparing a small surprise like sending a handmade present or her favourite chocolate can go a long way in rekindling your friendship. But make sure that you don’t go overboard with gifting him or her; but a nice gesture is the best bet to rekindling your friendship.

Call her/him over dinner

Chances are that the two of you plan to catch up after work but end up getting stuck for some reason or the other. That’s why one of the best ways to make the meeting happen is by calling your friend over to some place or your house for dinner.

Is #drinking #water from #copper #bottles actually #healthy?

1. Drinking water from a copper vessel is a good habit!

Copper is considered an essential mineral for the human body. According to Ayurveda, water stored in a copper vessel has the ability to balance all the three doshas (vata, kapha and pitta). According to health experts, it does so by positively charging the water. The water stored in a copper vessel is known as ‘Tamara Jal’ and is meant to be consumed only after at least eight hours. But, the point is, what are the benefits of drinking water from a copper vessel? Listed below are the reasons that make it a healthy habit to be followed by people of all age groups. For instance, copper fights off free radicals that cause ageing. Packed with strong anti-oxidant and cell forming properties, copper helps avoid the formation of fine lines and leads to the production of new healthy skin cells. Also, it helps in eliminating extra body fat efficiently; fine-tunes the digestive system and thus helps in losing the extra kilos. Even in homeopathy, drinking water stored in a copper vessel has been highly recommended. According to the American Cancer Society, copper has been found to help regulate blood pressure, heart rate and lowers one’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These are just a few benefits, read below to know what all copper can do to your body.

2. Infection fighter

Copper is ‘Oligodynamic’ in nature (the sterilizing effect of metals on bacteria). It destroys all sorts of bacteria effectively and thus prevents common water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, and jaundice.

3. Better digestion

Copper helps in cleansing and detoxifying stomach. It also regulates the working of liver and kidneys. It increases the absorption of nutrients from food too.

4. Fights cancer and hypertension

According to the American Cancer Society, copper has been found to help regulate blood pressure, heart rate and lowers one’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

5. Controls ageing

Copper fights off free radicals that cause ageing. Packed with strong anti-oxidant and cell forming properties, copper helps avoid the formation of fine lines and causes the production of new healthy skin cells.

6. Regulates thyroid gland

According to health experts, people suffering from thyroid diseases, usually have low levels of copper. Drinking water from the copper vessel helps maintain the required thyroid hormones level and prevent hyperthyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone).

7. Beats anemia

Interestingly, copper is an essential mineral required in the body. In the entire process of absorbing and using iron in the body, copper helps boost the levels of haeme (iron) also regulates its flow in the blood vessels.

8. Weight loss

It helps in eliminating extra body fat efficiently. It also fine tunes the digestive system and thus helps in losing extra kilos.

9. Helps heal wounds faster

Copper is high on anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and that’s the reason is considered a great tool for healing wounds quickly. Also, it is known to strengthen the immune system and helps in the production of new cells.