It has been a period of hectic upheavals in personal life, the upheavals are fortunately bringing in good fortunes and satisfaction, so no complaining on that front. It has been a period of clash over mind and heart. The mind being very practical in nature rushes after the worldly goods while the heart, soft as ever wants other vocation. In this conflict, the mind took over the control of the heart for long duration, in a mad rush to complete targets, earn more, set new targets and then again run after it, the innocent art of writing and expressing took a backseat, for the last couple of months, or even more a period, i was away from blogging, i did not checked in my blog or read the blogs of my friends, a heartfelt apologies for the same, now that my heart has again regained control.
Continuous work and more work meant that i found very little time for any other activities howsoever, i may yearn to do them. After many a days, finally, i managed a luxury to squeeze in a break of couple of days. We colleagues, equally burdened with work pressure, wanted to ease in for a while, we decided to visit some hill station for a break. To sweeten the break, this time around i took my wife, mother and my kid with me, so did my colleagues. We decided to visit this fort hill station Panhala in Kolhapur.
Somehow, history has been my favorite topic of interest, though a Commerce Graduate, i was always inclined into reading and accessing all kind of available material relating to our History in general and the History of the great maratha warrior King Shivaji Maharaj. For five centuries now, this King has ruled over the hearts of millions. I have read many a literature on the life and times of this great king. So missing this opportunity to visit a fort where the king once stayed and escaped from the seige of Siddhi Johar was just impossible for me.
The fort is still as strong as it must have been then, strong and impregnable it looks. We reached the fort in the night, so could not see much outside, we checked in one of the hotels in the night. The next morning we set out of our hotel at around 09 am to do sightseeing. The hotel staff advised us to take our vehicle as the fort was huge and one must have his own vehicle to see the points. We followed suit.
The driver took us to the first point and there we met one man, a slim frail man who introduced himself as a guide and offered his services to us. Nobody in the group of 15 showed any kind of enthusiasm to avail his services, so the man turned away, but, somewhere, i wanted to know more about this fort, wanted to see the route, the direction, from where shivaji maharaj escaped the deadly seige that rainy night and travelled 80 kms to reach another fort Vishalgad. Wanted to know more about the place “Pavankhind” where the valorous Baji Prabhu Deshpande laid his life defending the route with his 300 men and laid his life to ensure that Shivaji Maharaj reach Vishalgad safely. I wanted to know from where the man called Shiva Kashid, a Barber by profession, who was a look alike of Shivaji Maharaj, waylaid the storming troops to a wrong direction, giving the King that much of breathing space to escape from the clutches of a sure death. This Shiva Kashid, had joined the services for only eight months, he knew well that he would be caught, arrested and killed, but he gave the supreme sacrifice for his king.
The Guide was walking away looking for some other groups, i ran to him and asked him to join us and guide us, he quoted his charges, i was ok with it, and he toured the entire fort with us, it took around three long hours to visit see all the points. I was like childish, i was inquisite, i wanted to know more, i knew many a tales and i could easily relate with him. He too felt it good to share the information available with him.
The man while parting gave a shocker to all of us, he said, today, we people have marginalized this great king, he is termed as a king of the hindus, or not even hindus, just the king of the marathas. Shivaji Maharaj, he said, was never against any religion, his commander, his trusted aides were all muslims. He was against injustice, the guide went on to say. He said, see folks dont take my words lightly think over it, do you know who I am, I am a muslim by religion my name is Bashir Ahmad. The entire gathering was stunned by this sudden disclosure. For the kind of hue this visionary king is now shaded into, majority of muslims do not find themselves comfortable.
And yes, our guide was right, he was absolutely right. Shivaji Maharaj did not discriminate on basis of religion, caste creed or sex. He did not show any kind of nepotism or fear or favor. He was one of the best kings our nation ever had. The current rulers for their narrow political gains painted this great ruler and minimized his reach. Today, we have compartmentalized our national heroes. Shivaji represents Maratha community, Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar remained the sole proprietory of the Dalits, Dadoji Konddev became the icon of the Brahmins and so on and so forth. The fact remains that the greed of our current crop of rulers are undoing the great work done by these people who were way way ahead of their times. The pygmies are trying to convert these marvellous people into pygmies alike.