Netaji Palkar

Netaji Palkar ( Sarnaubat )   

Netaji Palkar was Sarnaubat (Commander-in-chief) in the army of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire in western India.

Netaji's father who was from the Kayastha community was in the services of Shivaji's father Shahaji. Shivaji's 3rd queen Putalabai was also from Palkar's Family so it is said that he was her uncle. During the period of the rise of Shivaji from 1645 to 1665, Netaji was given charge of many expeditions which he successfully completed. His greatest success was the campaign against the Adilshah of Bijapur that followed the killing of Afzal Khan. His standing among the local population was such that he was known as Prati Shivaji (Image of Shivaji). After an agreement of Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Shivaji, Shivaji was made to give 23 forts to the Mughals and also fight against the Adilshah of Bijapur. During this period, Netali Palkar was confidentially forced by Shivaji to join the Bijapur forces and weaken the Mughals by counter-attacking using Adilshah's army. In turn, Shivaji used Mirzaraja Jai Singh's army to weaken the Adilshahi.

After Shivaji's meeting with Aurangzeb at Agra, Netaji Palkar joined the service of Mirza Raja Jaisingh. When Shivaji escaped from Agra, Mirza Raje fell out of favour of Aurangzeb. Netaji was among many people who were arrested and sent to Agra where he was tortured and forced to convert to Islam. His wives were thereafter brought to Delhi and also converted for him to remarry them in the Islamic way. Taking up the name of Muhammed Kuli Khan, Netaji Palkar was appointed as Garrison commander of the Kandahar fort. He tried to escape but was trapped at Lahore. Thereafter in the fields of Kandhar and Kabul, he fought for the Mughals against rebel Pathans. He gained the good faith of Aurangzeb and was sent to the Deccan along with Commander Diler Khan to conquer Shivaji's territory. However, after entering Maharashtra, Netaji joined Shivaji's troops and went to Raigad. Thus after a decade Netaji turned up at the court of Shivaji, asking to be taken back into the Hindu fold. Shivaji arranged for reconversion of Netaji at Raigad. This was done after acceptance of Judges and all senior members in Shivaji's court.

Netaji led battles against the Adilshah at Panhala, Shahapur, Tikoteparyant and Vijapur in 1660 and at Khatav, Mangalvedha, Phaltan, Taathvada and Vijapur in 1665.

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