Knowledge makes you best of the men.
Unparalleled in the universe are your Intellect and strength.
Even the pair of Aurangzeb’s son Moajjim and Jaswant Singh could not bring Deccan under control successfully. The famous Amber king Jai Singh was selected to take over the land as resident with support of a valiant Afghan army chief named Dilwar Khan. Jai Singh arrived at Puna by the end of March 1665. He didn’t sit effortless like Shaista Khan. He ordered Dilwar Khan to attack Purandar fort and himself proceeded to Rajgarh crossing Sinhagarh leading own force.
Shivaji was reluctant to fight against a Hindu king. He was dejected since the beginning of this battle and kept on sending proposal for a treaty to Jai Singh again and again, but the pragmatic Jai Singh did not rely on any of these. Finally Shivaji’s trusted minister Raghunathpanth Nyaysastri met him as an emissary and could successfully convince him that Shivaji was not playing a trick.
One day Jai Singh was in his court in the morning. One sentry entered with the news of Maharaj Shivaji’s arrival. The abruptness of the information shocked everyone in the court. Jai Singh hurriedly got up from seat to welcome the honourable guest. After formal greetings Shivaji clarified his intention without delay, “Your Majesty, Raghunathpanth Nyaysastri told me about some propositions of yours. That is why I came to meet you – I too feel honoured having a chance to meet you.”
Jai Singh, “Yes, I remember what I promised Nyaysastri. The Emperor of Delhi will pardon you if you surrender, he will protect and reward you properly.”
Shivaji looked grim. Still he had to discuss the embarrassing proposition – only because it came from the prominent leader of a Hindu kingdom who he respected.
Jai Singh understood his discontent. He assured, “You do not need to surrender if my proposition upsets you. You came here while you trust me. I won’t spoil your trust. You may leave taking any horse from my stable. You will go back as safely as you came. Consider your safety as my responsibility. Later, we may face each other in a battle. Even if I can’t win the battle, I won’t mind. To me, following the principle of a Kshatriya is purpose of life.” Himself a chivalrous warrior, he understood the mind of an independent leader.
Shivaji: “I consider myself already defeated by your kind of a great warrior; I am not sorry for that. I am sorry because my fight to protect Hindu honour, which I took up in my childhood, is going to end with my surrender today. Anyway I had to take a hard decision before coming, so I am not worried any longer.”
Jai Singh: “Then what are you sceptical?”
Shivaji: “I used to sing ballads describing your glory in my childhood. I thought truth, principle and brilliance truly symbolise Rajput life. I know how much Rajput yarns for independence. Then how is it possible that a Rajput started working as a commander under foreigner Aurangzeb. How come a Rajput leader requests a Hindu ally to surrender before a foreigner?”
Jai Singh: “You are right – it’s unfortunate. But Rajput did not surrender without resisting. They fought against the invaders from Delhi – finally lost their independence losing in the battle.”
Shivaji: “That is what makes me curious. What makes you so keen to execute the plan of those outsiders irrespective of the long grown hostility between them and your kinsmen?”
Jai Singh: “As long as I accepted the role of a commander under the Delhi ruler, I am obliged to fulfil my responsibility at any cost.”
Shivaji: “Does the obligation to remain truthful supersede everything else in the world? Why shall we be truthful to people who are against our country and who fight against our principles?”
Jai Singh: “Then study the history of Rajputana – we are fighting against Mohammedans since hundreds of years. We have won at times, and at times defeated, but never renounced the path of commitment. True we have lost our independence, but we are still recognised as follower of truth. To a Rajput, the word given is equal to a contract. Promises are breached in politics, but a Rajput never violates commitment.”
Shivaji: “On the other hand King Jaswant Singh became a faithful guardian of Hindu rule in this land. He denied fighting against Hindus.”
Jai Singh: “True Jaswant Singh is a great warrior. He comes from the land surrounded by desert called Marwar. He is a leader of a strong and valiant army there. I could praise him if he tried to protect that land deploying that army in that desert. Being in the role of a commander under the Emperor of Delhi, he is obligated to remain loyal to him. He violated own integrity being a Kshatriya – his disrepute supervene upon his reputation. Perhaps losing the battle against Aurangzeb on the bank of Shipra sent him into the depth of despair…”
Intelligent Shivaji realised the difference between Jai Singh and Jaswant Singh. He took a long pause before throwing the next question, “Do you mean his supporting another Hindu considering the highest spirit of brotherhood was unfair?”
Jai Singh responded, “I did not mean that. But Jaswant Singh could join you taking an oath in the name of God openly leaving Aurangzeb’s service.”
Shivaji: “The Emperor of Delhi could have sent a larger army against us if he joined me in open. Both of us could be defeated and killed!”
Jai Singh: “A Kshatriya’s life is graceful if he dies in battleground. Treachery is his disgrace.
His words left Shivaji red-faced. Still he continued stating his sincere desire to achieve freedom even at the cost of his own life in battlefield.”
Jai Singh was listening to him attentively; noticed the teary eyes of the emotional leader. His answer emerged from his inner calm, “If the Hindu glory is not saved by truth, it cannot be saved by deception. If the blood of a hero fails to sprout the seed of freedom, it cannot be sprouted using a filthy trick.”
Shivaji felt overpowered; found no other word to argue against that. Still he expressed his doubt once again, “But if I submit myself to Aurangzeb as you expect me to do today, how shall I teach my nation the value of independence?”
Jai Singh: “Victory and defeat are not static in war. Today I have victory over you; tomorrow you may win. Today you became subsidiary of Aurangzeb; tomorrow you may become independent.”
Shivaji: “May Your Majesty live long! Today I am not going to surrender, but soon I will. Probably we will work together to capture some forts from the hand of Bijapur rulers. As you said, nothing is static in politics.”
The leader of Maharashtra departed knowing that he had won a great friend who had been fighting on behalf of his enemies since long.