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MALOJI THE SON OF BAJEE RAJA

EARLY HISTORY OF THE FAMILY, MUDHOL

THE SERVICE UNDER THE BAHAMANI KINGS

THE ADILSHAHAS OF BIJAPUR

PRATAPSINH

BAJEE RAJE GHORPADE.

MALOJI THE SON OF BAJEE RAJA

MALOJI III

A BIRD'S EYE VIEW

        These sons, viz., Maloji and Shankraji (alias Jaisinh) became famous personages in the history of the Deccan. Both the brothers lived near the Emperor till they attained majority when they began to look to the ministerial duties of their father. They were considered among the foremost of the Adilshahi Sardars of their time and they were not slow in distinguishing themselves as famous generals of the Bijapur armies. Both the brothers fought for Bijapur, once against the Moghuls only and again against the Moghuls and Shivaji's forces combined.  Alli Adilshaha was much pleased with the unprecedented loyalty of Bajee Raja and the valour of his sons and as a mark of pleasure ceded the whole of the Jahagir territories as a separate kingdom to the Ghorpadas (H.1081). But, however, the Ghorpadas continued as the generals of seven thousand for the maintenance of which additional Jahagirs in other provinces were given.

        The Ghorpada brothers Maloji and Shankraji became famous for their deeds of valour during the well-known attack of Bijapur by Mirza Raja Jayasing. When this expedition came to an end the Bijapur forces had to fight Shivaji who had joined hands with Moghuls against Bijapur. The Emperor of Bijapur himself personally fought in front of his forces during this warfare. Shivaji was subdued for a time by the onslaught of the Bijapur forces. A bloody battle with Shivaji was fought in the Jahagir in the Ben Prant. There at the battle of Tasgaon Shankraji was killed.  In this way the invasion of Jayasing against Bijapur was rendered fruitless and the impending danger to the Adilshahi Dynasty was warded off.  After the invasion of Jayasing during the reign of Adilshaha II Shivaji's dominions were successfully invaded by the Bijapur forces; consequently the Bijapur Emperors came in possession of many important places. Alli Adilshaha subdued the Shiddi of Kurnul also and thus brought stability, strength and splendour to the State. The Prime Minister Abdul Ahmad did his duty loyally and honestly. Consequently it was hoped that the Bijapur Kingdom which was almost ruined would attain its former glory again.

        It is already mentioned that Shankraji died fighting against Shivaji near Tasgaon, A.D.1666-67. Maloji then took the command of the army and was instrumental in many important acts of the State. Then, as already mentioned, the Emperor being pleased with Maloji's services, allowed the five Mahals under Mudhol given as Jahagir by the Bahamani Kings to be considered as a separate and independent kingdom of the Ghorpadas.  Henceforth the Ghorpadas of Mudhol were paramount in their kingdom owing no allegiance to anybody for the same (H.1081; A.D.1670). But unfortunately the hopes of the return of glory to the Bijapur Dynasty were frustrated by the untimely death of Alli Adilshaha. The Emperor had a sudden attack of paralysis. He was bed-ridden and there were no hopes of his recovery. He asked his nobles to enthrone his young son Shikandar after him. He began to lose the powers of his brains and expired shortly afterwards.

        Abdul Ahmad the faithful Minister of Alli Adilshaha, should have carried out the wishes of Alli Adilshaha, but he declined to undertake the responsibility. Therefore Khavaskhan shouldered it. Not long afterwards there was chaos in the Court owing to internal quarrels. Khavaskhan made common cause with the insignificant menials of Alli Adilshaha and through them usurped the management of the State. Even well-known Generals were not given possession of their Jahagirs. There was discontent everywhere owing to these internal disputes.  The enemies of the kingdom took advantage of this state of affairs. Alumgir, the Emperor of Delhi, sent his Subhedar, Khan Jahan Bahadur, to invest Bijapur. Khavaskhan undertook to give the sister of Shikandarshaha in marriage to the son of the Delhi Emperor. He also promised to send the Bijapur troops to fight against Shivaji in combination with the Moghul forces. As both these promises were unredeemed Khan Jahan took advantage of the internal enmities and attacked Bijapur.  Bahilolkhan, the Bijapur General, met the attack forcibly and defeated the Moghul army.  Maloji distinguished himself during his attack and got the Jahagir of Paragane Mankhed.

        After this invasion of the Moghuls many events came to happen in the Bijapur Court. Shivaji Raja and Abu Hussein, the Emperor of Goalkonda, combined. They wanted Maloji on their side for the purpose of capturing the Bijapur dominions.  With this view they tried to induce Maloji to side with them and even sent word to Maloji offering half the kingdom.  Two letters, one written by Shivaji and the other written by Abu Hussein himself, testify to this fact. But Maloji did not fall a prey to the above mentioned enticement even in such difficult times.  He kept up the prestige of his family of serving their masters loyally. Words fall short if one tries to describe and praise such loyalty.  Those were the times when the stars of the Pathan Sardars and their mercenary armies were in the ascendant. The Deccani, Rajaput and the Karnatic Sardars were ignominiously neglected.  Almost all Sardars were disgusted with the strange conduct of the Pathans and joined the forces of either Shivaji or the Moghuls with indecent haste. Some went to their Jahagirs and became inactive. Maloji Raja Ghorpade, Manikji and Sarjerao were the only Sardars who, true to their salt, remained ready in the service of their Emperor. In this way the Bijapur Dynasty was on the decline. After some time, at the intervention of Abdul Hasan Kutubshaha, the Pathans were subdued and Bahilolkhan and his Pathan followers were eventually driven out of Bijapur. Akkanna the brother of Maddanna was appointed on behalf of Kutubshaha to help in the affairs of state in the Bijapur Court and Shiddi Masud accepted the post of Prime Minister. It can be safely stated that Shiddi Masud was completely powerless because the Pathans, the followers of Bahilolkhan, were still creating disturbances in the kingdom.  Thus they got an opportunity to interfere in the affairs of the State.  They laid down their terms and wanted all their former demands to be complied with. None could do anything owing to the unsettled state of affairs. Army as such there was none. There was no possibility of mobilising an army.  At last Badshaha Bibi, the sister of Shikandar Adilshaha, was forcibly sent for the purpose of giving her in marriage to the son of Aurangzeb.

        The Moghuls still remained unsatisfied. They began their attacks afresh. Masud requested Shivaji for help. He immediately sent his general to the succour of Bijapur and himself with a large army invested the Moghul territory, committing plunder and pillage. This frustrated the plans of Dilirkhan, the Moghul General. His army could do nothing by keeping up the siege of Bijapur.  Owing to their internal quarrels there was no army in the fort. The only The services troops which could be called as such belonged to Maloji Ghorpada.  These troops sallied out and attacked the Moghul army twice or thrice, killing a large number of them. The Ghorpada troops pursued Dilirkhan as far as Sagar and attacked his army and commissaries.  There was a comparative calm for the next two years though the internal petty quarrels had never ceased.  Shivaji was dead and there was no disturbance from that quarter. Shortly afterward; in A.D.1682 (H.1094) the second Moghul invasion began. Prince Ajam was the commander of the Moghul armies. He laid waste big tracts of lands but somehow did not march towards the capital Bijapur.

        During the last three or four years owing to the culpable mismanagement of the State the Government had become powerless. Aurangzeb began his invasion in A.D.1685 (H. I097). He picked a quarrel somehow and sent his troops to invade the Bijapur dominion. The Bijapur army successfully attacked the Moghul army twice or thrice. Inspite of these defeats the advance of the Moghul army continued uninterrupted and it reached the fort walls of the city itself. Though the fort was besieged Maloji Raja and other Sardars could leave the fort, take their armies and attack the enemy.  They were successful in harassing the Moghul army twice by plundering their food-stuffs. The Moghuls were advancing slowly and surely. The siege was begun in right earnest. The horses of the besieged Sardars died for want of food and fodder. Some time after not a single horse could be found. Some people began to think of surrendering Bijapur to the Moghuls. Sarjekhan sent word to the Emperor that they would surrender to the enemy even against the wishes of all the Sardars. In this way in A.D. 1687 (H. 1098), the kingdom of Bijapur went into the hands of the Moghuls. The Moghuls took into their service all the Sardars that were present at the time of the surrender. Their Mansubs were continued intact.  Maloji Raja had gone out from the besieged city when Bijapur was captured.  He also was sent for from Mudhol and welcomed with great honours. His territory and honours were continued to him as before. Maloji Raja was ordered to go on an expedition against the Marathas and the Palegars who had been creating disturbances in the South at this juncture.  He at once joined with his seven thousand cavalry and marched with the Moghul army. The conjoint forces marched towards Goalkonda in the first instance. After the capture: of Goalkonda the armies were ordered to go to the South where the Marathas had been active in their deeds of pillage. Rahulakhan besieged Adonee. At Kurumkonda in the South a large body of the Marathas attacked the army of Zulfikarkhan, but Zulfikarkhan's small army defeated the large army of the Marathas. Almost all the Deccani Sardars were taken in the service of the Moghuls. During the famous siege of Jinjee by the Moghul Commander Zulfikarkhan Maloji served under the Moghul banner with his contingent.  The dubious behavior of Zulfikarkhan led Aurangzeb to think that a prince of royal blood should be entrusted with the work. Accordingly Prince Kambux was sent with a large army. Maloji, who had already become conspicuous by his valour under Zulfikarkhan, was, in company with Rao Dalpunt Bundela, Rao Gopalsing Chandavat and Siddi Salimkhan, entrusted with the duty of escorting and guarding the treasury and provisions for the Moghul army. After the return of the Moghul army to its headquarters, Maloji under the orders of the Moghul Subedar was engaged in guarding the Moghul territories from the depredations of the Maratha hordes. Shortly afterwards Maloji died in A.D. 1700 and was succeeded by his son Akhayaji. Being among the foremost Sardars of the Bijapur Kingdom in its heyday Maloji was equally honoured by the Moghul Emperor. The fact that he did not join the Maratha Confederacy was a sufficient certificate of his loyalty.

        Akhayaji the son of Maloji was trusted even more by the Moghul Emperors. He was the Governor of Bijapur. A Sanad testifies that as Governor Akhayaji was given territory for maintaining a cavalry of five thousand, he had a bodyguard of 2,500 men who were paid from the Imperial treasury. In addition to this the Governor received a pay of 5,000/-. It seems that while residing at Bijapur Akhayaji or his troops occupied the big caravanserai of Nabab Mustafakhan, which is converted into the District prison now. The caravanserai until recently was known as Akkoji's Sarai,

        It was during Akhayaji's time that Chandrasen, the son of the famous Dhanaji Jadhav, marched against Karnatic with the double intention of levying Chauth in Karnatic and also taking revenge on the family of Santaji Ghorpade by invading the territories belonging to that family.  The Ghorpade families of Akhayaji and Santaji including the other branches of Gajendragad and Gutti formed a confederacy of their own and gave a bold front to Chandrasen. He had at last to leave the Ghorpadas unmolested and undisturbed in their possessions.

        For a long time after this the Ghorpadas remained peacefully in their possessions, They came into prominence again during the conflict between Shahu of Satara and Tarabai's son.  During that conflict the Ghorpadas are seen siding with the Kolhapur branch headed by Sambhaji. Grant Duff explains the situation in the following terms (vide page 311 para 2, Vol.  ):--" As Nizamulmulkh favoured the Kolhapur party, Sambhaji's influence was increased and that of Shahu diminished.   Shidhaji Ghorpade, the son of Bahirji, the nephew of the famous Santaji and the youngest brother of the first Murarrao of Gutti, was induced to declare for Sambhaji by whom he was dignified with the title of Senapati and several of the Ghorpadas both of Kapsi and of Mudhol joined the Kolhapur party." Akhayaji held the post of the Governor of Bijapur till his death in A.D. 1734 He was succeeded by his son Piraji but   unfortunately Piraji was murdered by his brother Baji.  Then there ensued a quarrel between the young Maloji the son of Piraji and his uncle Baji. The dispute for the Governorship of Bijapur, the Principality of Mudhol and the Jahagirs and allowance attached to that post was referred to and settled by Muhammadshaha, the Emperor of Delhi, in A.D. 1738. A Farman was issued in favour of Maloji appointing him to the post of the Governor of Bijapur together with all the emoluments enjoyed by his father and grand-father before him.  The murderer Baji took refuge with the Marathas. He was pursued and killed in an action with Maloji's troops while planning depredations in the Moghul territory.

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