The Queen held a conference, which was attended by her ministers, and military generals where the military position of Bijapur State was reviewed. The story was quite grim. The Marathas under Shivaji ware marching on, regardless of the sovereignty of Bijapur State. Shivaji had taken fort after fort and moved without much resistance into district after district. He had induced the state officials to defect in their loyalty to the Sultan. He had wiped out the Hindu chief of Javli, Chandrarao More, and his whole family. Other Hindu deshmukhs and subedars, frightened by the terror this young Maratha inspired, had changed over their allegiance to Shivaji and the few loyal subjects of the Sultan who had resisted in the name of the Sultan had been mowed down.
Concerned by the state of affairs, the queen pleaded with her people to take some steps towards curbing Shivaji. She pointed out that there was a lull in the war with the Mughals because Aurangzeb had moved to the North. This was the respite during which they could tackle Shivaji, of whose strength she had heard but whose power she was not able to gauge. The entire congregation remained mute and it was finally Afzal Khan who volunteered to take up this task and capture Shivaji. Robes of honour were then presented to Afzal Khan at the bidding of the Dowager Queen. Twelve thousand horsemen were ordered to be got ready for this hazardous expedition for which Afzal Khan had volunteered. In addition, Afzal Khan requisitioned a large force of infantry, artillery and equipment. The camel corps was also commissioned into service as also the supplies of war, cannon fodder and provisions. Not all the men were Muslim soldiers. Afzal Khan had shrewdly collected a force of a few thousand Mavalis for use as his vanguard in the regions of Maval for they were fleet-footed and knew the territory better than anyone else. Money could buy the Mavalis just as Shivaji had done, Afzal Khan believed, and there was to be no stinting of funds on this campaign which, in no circumstance should be allowed to fail.
With his troops ready, Afzal Khan started out on his new assignment, the capture of Shivaji. As the latter stood for the revival of Hinduism, the Bijapur General was of the opinion that on the way to his objective he must destroy the sacred landmarks of this religious faith. Afzal Khan was determined to tackle this menace at its roots. From Bijapur, Afzal Khan moved with his freshly equipped forces to Tuljapur where he encamped. In this old town was the temple of Bhavani, the goddess who had inspired Shivaji and his Mavali bands. She was the patron saint of the area, the deity to whom the Bhonsles looked for guidance and protection. Afzal Khan heard tales of the legend, which told how she appeared to Maloji in a vision. These stories were deemed as superstition, the temple was pulled down, and the idol smashed. The Bijapur troops marched on to Pandharpur at an angle from their destination for the shorter cut over the Ghats was not easily traversable by a large army. To encamp, Afzal Khan chose the banks of the nearby Bhima River, with Pandharpur only a few miles ahead and while resting there, he heard from his men of yet another nearby temple of the Hindus, that of Vithoba which he again ordered to be razed to the ground. He destroyed shrine after shrine on his way to Pune.
At Rajgad, Shivaji heard the news of the Khan's acts of vandalism. Shivaji himself was quite disturbed. He realised that the forces of Afzal Khan were quite superior to his own. He held a conference and men of influence and rank gathered around to help him discuss the problem. Opinions differed at this meeting of the Mavali clan. The one suggestion on which all were agreed was that Shivaji should move to the inaccessible pinnacle of Pratapgad for access to this fortification was almost impossible for any army. If a trickle of armed men were to attempt to climb the steep slope, they could easily be forced back. The road to Pratapgad was narrow and treacherous. The only other way up was by a circuitous route, which no one could risk for fear of being ambushed. While at Pratapgad fort, Shivaji saw an image of Goddess Bhavani and this vision of the Goddess inspired in him a lot of confidence.
As Shivaji moved to Pratapgad, Afzal Khan changed the route of his march. Instead of heading for the plateau of Poona, he turned his army to Wai, the ghat halfway to Pratapgad. At Wai Afzal Khan sought to rally local support. However, these efforts to gather local support were not intended to assist in the capture of Shivaji. They were intended to ensure against local agitation on his way to his objective. The strength of Khan's forces was getting stronger. The army at his command was big enough to tackle the job with which he had been entrusted. Shivaji was aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Maratha army, and with these weaknesses in mind he chalked out his plans against Afzal Khan. He decided to openly show support and acceptance to the Sultan and sent his messengers with this message. Afzal Khan replied through his emissaries that he was happy to hear the Maratha's stand, and that he would be taken good care of under the over lordship of the Sultan just as his father had been looked after. On the question of who should meet whom, Shivaji managed to convince the Khan that they should meet midway at Javali.
Shivaji had proposed that their meeting should take place with no more than two companions in attendance on either side. As the meeting was to take place on an open plain, there was no need for any troops on either side. On the day the meeting was to take place, Shivaji wore a long white robe, white being the colour of peace. Under it, he wore a dress of armour; a steel scull cap covered his head beneath his white turban. Two other items completed his attire; one was a dagger in his right sleeve, the other a pair of bagnakhs, tigers claws which he wore on two fingers of his left hand. As his sleeves were full and long and he walked with clasped hands, nothing could be seen. Afzal Khan came dressed in a full-skirted thin muslin robe, carrying only his sword by his side. Then with firm and decisive steps Khan came marching into the pavilion where he took his seat on the richly decorated couch which had been made ready for him. In slow steps Shivaji descended from the ramparts, his men following him part of the way. Then they halted and Shivaji went, with only two escorts, into the pavilion.
Afzal Khan, who was seated, arose and with quick strides approached the little Maratha, his arms extended ready for a warm embrace. Shivaji moved almost imperceptibly forward, and his hands were still clasped together under the ample sleeves of his flowing robe. Thereafter, no one can tell what really happened or who made the first aggressive move in the first moments of embrace. The attempts of chroniclers to name one or the other as the first aggressor can only be surmises based on their preference for either man. Nevertheless, the gist of the matter is that Shivaji drove his tigers claws into Afzal Khan when they embraced and thus came the end of the Sultan. Historically it is an accepted fact that of the two men, it was the Khan who came out of the embrace, dead. There was no third person in the embrace, nor could the Khan, dexterous in handling weapons, have killed himself by the faulty use of his own dagger or sword.
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