Title: The Legend of Bahirji Naik – Siege of Panhala
Author: Shreyas Bhave
Publisher: One Point Six Technologies Pvt Ltd
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Publication: 2023
Book Summary: The Legend of Bahirji Naik – Siege of Panhala by Shreyas Bhave
MARATHA SWARAJYA, 1665
The Fort of Purandar is under siege by a huge Mughal army, led by the ruthless Afghan leader Dilerkhan, and the much feted Rajput Commander, Mirza Raje Jaysingh. All seems lost for the fledgling Maratha nation. Surrounded on all sides, Raje Shivaji debates with his advisors the wisest course of action.
But history is wont to repeat itself. The Mughal and Adilshahi forces, under the slave-general Siddi Jauhar, had earlier surrounded the Swarajya, trapping Raje himself on Panhalgad Fort. Desperate times call for desperate measures and a dangerous plan had been concocted for his escape under cover of night, right under the noses of the enemy. The thrilling tale of that famous escape to Vishalgad, and the ensuing Battle of Umberkhind, which destroyed the Mughal army, unfolds through the eyes of Shivaji Raje’s famous Guptachars or intelligence team – Bahirji-Naik. What transpired remains one of the greatest examples of guerilla warfare the world has ever witnessed. And once again, the Guptachars prepare to outmaneuver the Mughal Army against impossible odds.
But not all battles are fought on the battlefield. A temporary peace is achieved through shrewd diplomacy in the Treaty of Purandar. But every peace has its price. The Badshah Alamgir Aurangzeb commands Shivaji Raje to appear before him at his durbar in Agra. The Guptachars are thus faced with the daunting task of safeguarding the Maratha Chhatrapati on his visit to the Mughal capital and his safe passage out of the lion’s den.
Book Two of The Legend of Bahirji-Naik picks up the story of how these famed Guptachars came into Swarajya’s fold, while relating two of the greatest achievements of their eventful career; that saved both their King and the Maratha nation from mortal danger.
Book Review: The Legend of Bahirji Naik – Siege of Panhala by Shreyas Bhave
In the grand tapestry of history, there dwell those enigmatic souls who, though they cloak themselves in the shadows, wield immense influence over empires, etching their indelible mark upon the pages of time. Bahirji-Naik is one such unsung luminary, a maestro of espionage and a pivotal figure in the vibrant canvas of Maratha history. His tale, though oft relegated to the obscure margins of historical chronicles, unfolds as an unassuming yet indomitable force that steered the clandestine maneuvers of Shivaji Raje’s astute intelligence ensemble. A shroud of mystique enshrouds his legend, and it takes center stage in Shreyas Bhave’s “The Legend of Bahirji-Naik: Siege of Panhala.” Within this spellbinding historical fiction series, Bhave resurrects this unsung champion, casting a radiant spotlight upon his indispensable role within the annals of Maratha history.
As we embark on this literary journey, we are transported to the tempestuous year of 1665, where the destiny of Maratha Swarajya teeters on a precarious precipice. The formidable Fort of Purandar finds itself besieged by a colossal Mughal army, led by the relentless Afghan commander, Dilerkhan, and the celebrated Rajput Commander, Mirza Raje Jaysingh. Surrounded on all sides, Raje Shivaji faces a perilous conundrum, and his advisors grapple with the weighty decision that may chart the destiny of the burgeoning Maratha nation.
History has a penchant for resonance and recurrence, and this narrative is no exception. The Mughal and Adilshahi forces, under the command of the slave-general Siddi Jauhar, had formerly ensnared the Swarajya, leaving Raje himself ensconced within the impregnable Panhalgad Fort. In the face of dire circumstances, when the odds appeared insurmountable, a daring and perilous stratagem was conceived—a audacious escape veiled by the cloak of night, executed right under the very noses of the enemy.
The saga of this audacious escape to Vishalgad, and the cataclysmic Battle of Umberkhind that ensued, materializes as one of the world’s most magnificent examples of guerilla warfare. Through the discerning eyes of Shivaji Raje’s illustrious Guptachars, particularly Bahirji-Naik, this narrative unveils a world where valor and cunning coalesce, where survival pivots on the brilliance of covert operations and audacious stratagems.
While the narrative is undeniably steeped in military strategy, battles of wit, and blood-soaked skirmishes, it subtly underscores the fact that not all conflicts transpire on the battlefields. Diplomacy, often concealed in the shadows, plays a pivotal role in shaping the narrative. The Treaty of Purandar, a strategic pause amidst the chaos, reveals the intricacies of negotiations in a time of war. It’s a poignant reminder that even in moments of peace, there are concealed dangers, and compromises come at their own price.
The true strength of “The Legend of Bahirji-Naik: Siege of Panhala” lies in its ability to breathe life into historical figures, making them not just relics of the past but vibrant, three-dimensional characters. Shivaji Raje, the visionary leader, emerges as a multi-faceted personality, his struggles and motivations etched in human complexities, rendering him remarkably relatable.
Nonetheless, it is Bahirji-Naik and his counterparts who seize the spotlight in this narrative. Shreyas Bhave’s intricate character development brings these individuals to life, shedding the shroud of obscurity to reveal their rich, inner worlds. Their emotional landscapes, their fears, and their audacious dreams create a profound connection with the reader, reminding us that history’s unsung heroes have stories just as compelling as the marquee figures.
The historical accuracy and meticulous attention to detail, from the customs of the era to the major events that shaped the course of history, enrich the narrative. It’s more than just storytelling; it’s a journey back in time, a vivid portal to an epoch when the ebb and flow of history was palpable.
Shreyas Bhave’s “The Legend of Bahirji-Naik: Siege of Panhala” emerges as a harmonious crescendo of valor and cunning. It’s an ode to resilience, a testament to the audacious spirit of individuals who, while veiled in shadows, were instrumental in shaping destinies. This book is a treasure for history enthusiasts, a revelation for fans of historical fiction, and an entrancing narrative for anyone who seeks to traverse the corridors of history. As the story unfolds, readers find themselves perched at the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the climactic finale in “Escape from Agra.” The destiny of Maratha Swarajya hangs in precarious balance, and Shreyas Bhave has firmly established his position as a master storyteller in the realm of historical fiction. Through this narrative, Bahirji-Naik reclaims his rightful place in history, and readers embark on a journey through a world where history and fiction converge to create a gripping, authentic story.