4th February, 1670, the fort of Kondhana was witness to one of the fiercest battles in the history of Bharatvarsha. On one side was the Maratha general and one of the most trusted military commanders of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Subedar Tanaji Malusare. On the other hand was Uday Bhan Rathod, the fortkeeper of Kondhana fort for the Mughal Empire, armed with the state of the art artillery and a huge force of 2500 soldiers.
This battle was nothing less than a Dharmyuddh, since a loss for the Marathas meant the extension of Mughal Empire throughout the undivided India. Despite facing many odds, the Maratha Mavlas won the battle. Tanaji Malusare, however, had to make the ultimate sacrifice, but not before reclaiming Kondhana fort and setting the stage for the decline of the Mughal Empire through the same.
Today, after 350 years, the martyrdom of Tanaji Malusare has not gone in vain. The entire nation has given an iconic tribute to the valor of Tanaji Malusare by making Om Raut directed ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’, a movie based on his exploits, an All Time Blockbuster. Tanhaji earned a staggering total of Rs. 253 crore rupees at the domestic box offices, and almost Rs. 341 crores worldwide, making the movie a Blockbuster both domestically and internationally.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that such love showered on this biopic is perhaps one of the best tributes to Narveer Subedar Tanaji Malusare on the 350th anniversary of his martyrdom. The man, whose tale was suppressed by the leftist historians, has been resurrected by people like Ajay Devgn and Om Raut once again. Young or old, almost everyone in India is praising ‘Tanhaji’ for an authentic portrayal of the valor of the Maratha forces, under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
For those unaware, Subedar Tanaji Malusare was one of the most trusted military commanders of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who had taken part with him in many of his legendary campaigns, be it the surprise attack on Shaista Khan and his Mughal forces, or the iconic escape of Shivaji Maharaj from Agra. Tanaji was preparing for the marriage of his son Rayaba, when he was summoned by the royal court. Rajmata Jijabai entrusted him with the task of liberating Kondhana fort from the control of the Mughals. Being one of the most loyal friends to him, Chhatrapati Shivaji didn’t want to disrupt Tanaji’s wedding celebrations. However, putting everything at stake, Tanaji Malusare declared, as mentioned beautifully in ‘Tanhaji’ , “Pehle Shaadi Kondhaana Ki, Phir Mere Rayaba Ki” [First Kondhana shall be liberated, then my Rayaba will be married]
In the wee hours of 4th February, 1670, Tanaji set out to reclaim Kondhana fort with the help of 800 Maratha Mavlas. Tanaji took the more difficult but lesser watched western front to climb Kondhana fort with 300 other Maratha Mavlas, and soon created havoc amongst the Mughal garrison stationed within the fort.
The 300 Mavlas bought enough time for Tanaji’s younger brother Suryaji Malusare to attack the fort from the central front. Tanaji engaged in a fierce clash with Uday Bhan Rathod, during which Tanaji’s shield also got broken. However, Tanaji did not stop until he vanquished Uday Bhan and liberated Kondhana. However, he succumbed to his injuries soon enough. When Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj reached Kondhana, and he received the news, all he could say in a choked voice was, ‘Gadh Ala Pan Sinh Gela’ [The fort is ours but the lion is lost]
The way this battle was portrayed in ‘Tanhaji’, the audience wasn’t only mesmerized, but was also left in tears with the on screen death of Tanaji in the movie. Our film industry has often been accused of not staying true to the real Indian history. However, ‘Tanhaji’ is among those films, who don’t mock our indigenous heritage for the sake of cheap popularity.
This has been proved umpteen times through Ajay Devgn’s own admission in many interviews. While being interviewed upon the topic by Rajeev Masand, Ajay mentioned, “Some people are enraged that we did not disclose the caste of Tanhaji, I want to ask that why the caste is important as Tanhaji fought for the nation.” Ajay alluded to this nationalistic laurel of the great Maratha warrior while terming that warriors cannot be perceived in terms of caste.
However, this is not all. Ajay Devgn has contributed to the reclamation of Indian history in his own humble way by giving a new ray of hope to the popular comic book publishing partner Amar Chitra Katha by choosing them as his movie’s promotional partner. To quote a tweet about the same, “History may not repeat itself but lessons of bravery & valour from our shur-veer yoddhas like Tanaji are a great example for our children. I’m happy to announce a special edition of Amar Chitra Katha featuring Tanhaji. Get your copy soon.” –
History may not repeat itself but lessons of bravery & valour from our shur-veer yoddhas like Tanaji are a great example for our children. I'm happy to announce a special edition of Amar Chitra Katha featuring Tanhaji. Get your copy soon.#ChildrensDay2019#TanhajiTrailerOnNov19 pic.twitter.com/OGS5iFadO9
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) November 14, 2019
Also, going by Ajay Devgn’s own admission, it seems that his job is not over yet. In an interview to Mumbai Mirror, Ajay Devgn had opened up about his plan to extend the franchise of ‘Unsung Warriors’, with Tanhaji being the first installment in the same. He has already announced his next project in the form of Veer Suheldev, who not only defeated Sultan Mahmud’s [who destroyed Somnath Temple] nephew at the Battle of Bahraich, but also terrorized the invaders to the extent that they dare not set their feet in India for another 140 years.
Apart from that, Ajay Devgn is also working on bringing to light the struggles of Syed Abdul Rahim, the coach of Indian football team during the golden days of Indian football through ‘Maidaan’. Not only that, Ajay Devgn shall bring forth the life of Akhand Bharat’s modern creator and the main brains behind the Mauryan Empire, Acharya Chanakya through the Neeraj Pandey directed biopic on the same. Frankly speaking, wherever Subedar Tanaji Malusare is, he would be overwhelmed at the way he is being remembered for his sacrifices, and no words would be enough to thank Om Raut and Ajay Devgn for restoring his legacy.