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A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW
It is in the first quarter of the 14th century that we find Sujansinha leaving
his native land in search of fortune. History has amply proved that he found his
luck in the Deccan. The Musalmans had become permanent residents of India so
far so that Rajputs were quite ready to serve as generals of Musalman Kings.
The annals of the Bahamani Empire give abundant proofs that the non-Musalmans
were never debarred from any post of honour or responsibility on account of
their caste. In the Bahamani as well as the Adilshahi Kingdoms we find the
descendants of Sujansinha holding responsible posts. Up till the time of
Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Kingdom in the Deccan, we find every one of
Sujansinha's family serving his Mohammedan masters loyally and faithfully. Even
at the time of Shivaji we find many Hindu families still persisting in the loyal
service of Mohammedans.
Ugrasen alias Indrasen, the sixth descendant from Sujansinha, had two sons Karansinha and Shubhakrishna. The line of the famous Shivaji owes its origin to Shubhakrishna and the Rajas of Mudhol are descended from Karansinha, the elder son of Ugrasen. The branch of Karansinha served the Bahamani Kings up to the time of the foundation of the Adilshahi at Bijapur. The third descendant from Sujansinha was named Bhosaji. The family is known as the family of Bhosales after this Bhosaji. Some say that they got the surname Bhosla because they lived in a fort of that name for a long time. Anyhow the surname sticks to the family.
But the branch of Karansinha very soon acquired another surname by dint of its daring and valour. Karansinha and his son Bhimsinha used an iguana called Ghorpad in Marathi for scaling an enemy's impregnable fort. Karansinha died in the battle in the fort but his son Bhimsinha got the title of Raja Ghorpada Bahadur. He and his descendants began to use "Raja" instead of "Rana" behind their names and Ghorpade as their surname. These changes of names and affixes have sometimes misled writers into forgetting the connection of the Bhosales and Ghorpadas to the Sisodia Rajputs of Chitor. The branch of the family which acquired the name of Ghorpadas is mentioned by the British historians by the compound name of Bhosale-Ghorpadas.
If we read the histories of the Bahamani and the Adilshahi Kingdoms more closely we find that there is always a conflict between the Deccani generals and their troops on the one side and the foreign generals and their troops on the other for ascendancy. The generals in the troops from Northern India were considered foreigners. Even as late as the time of Ibrahim Adilshaha we find the Ghorpadas and their army included among the foreigners, even after two centuries from the time of Sujansinha.
We know from history how and why the father and uncle of Shivaji were named Shahaji and Sarifji, but the names Vithoji, Vyankoji or Govind Rao which are the names of the Gods in the Deccan lead one to believe that the Bhosales and Ghorpadas are the natives of Deccan. If we take into consideration that they got their Jahagirs and Saranjams in Karnatic and also in some parts of the Maharastra, we would not be surprised to find their names after the presiding deities of those parts of the country. If a historian takes the names of the Princes as his guide for deciding the country of their origin the name of Cholraj Ghorpada will surely lead him to the southernmost part of India whereas a larger number of names in the family is clearly Rajput in its origin. The above words are superfluous in the presence of authentic historical proofs; but they are written here to show how the historians usually fall into unhappy errors. The Ghorpade families descended from Sujansinha have spread all over Maharastra; but there remain three or four branches which are sufficiently important. In the foregoing pages Cholraj Ghorpada is stated as having three sons. From the eldest son Pilaji the family of the Mudholkars is descended. The famous Santaji Ghorpada, the famous General of Rajaram, was descended from Vallabhasinha, the second son of Cholraj. The Royal families of Kapsi and Gajendragad owe their origin to Vallabhasinha and the Chiefs of Sondur are descended from the third son of Cholraj.
The Bhosales or the Ghorpadas, both descended from Sujansinha, distinguished themselves as brave generals under one or the other of the Muhammedan Kingdoms in the Deccan. They fought on the side of their masters loyally and faithfully though they had sometimes to come face to face with their cousins in blood. However, after Shahaji Bhosale's taking service under the Adilshahi Kings, an unhappy event happened. During a siege in Karnatic Shahaji was suspected of treachery and his arrest was ordered. It fell to the lot of Bajee Raje, a kinsman of Shahaji, to pursue and arrest him in open fight. Many historians have erroneously stated that Bajee Raje arrested Shahaji treacherously at a dinner party as Shahaji was suspected of secretly supporting his son Shivaji. But the authentic state of things is given in the foregoing pages. Bajee Ghorpada is guilty not of treachery but of serving his master faithfully.
The history of the Ghorpada family up to recent times is a long series of martial deeds and loyal services. A majority of Ghorpadas have met their deaths on the battlefield. It should have been a sight worth seeing when the males of the Ghorpada family came together. The stalwart warriors with their sunburnt handsome faces scarred by the wounds of the enemy's sword or spear must have been looked upon with awe and fear. The battlefield was their play-ground as well as their death-bed and the Ghorpadas have faced either with equal eagerness and boldness.
That the Ghorpadas were up to the mark in the civil affairs of state also is testified by the circumstance that Pratapsinha and two of his successors were Revenue Ministers under the Adilshahas of Bijapur about the middle and end of the I7th century. Even after the extinction of the Bijapur Dynasty we find Akhayaji and his grandson Maloji holding the responsible post of the Governors of Bijapur during the first half of the I8th century.
The loyalty of the Ghorpadas is unquestioned. Many a time they have endangered their lives to save that of their masters; besides this they have remained above temptations. When the Bijapur Dynasty under the last Emperor Shikandar Adilshaha was crumbling to pieces Maloji II had a fine opportunity and offer from Shivaji to increase his territories; but this he could have done at the sacrifice of his master. He chose to remain faithful though poor.
Again, after the conquest of the Moghul territory in the Deccan by the Peshwas, Maloji III was faithful to the Moghuls to the last. He remained aloof from the Maratha Confederacy for a long time and joined it at last as an ally. Maloji III crowns his life with glory when he fights face to face with his son Govindrao who in his turn does his duty by the Nizam. In the Peshwas' Court at Poona Maloji III was a terror to back-sliders and treacherous sycophants. The old warrior went at the age of 92 to fight the refractory Holkar and got his quota of wounds.
The Jahagir of Mudhol was given to Bahiravaji or Bhosaji ( from whom the surname Bhosale is derived ) by the Bahamani Emperor Ferozshaha in H.800. It was continued in the family by the Adilshahas. During the reign of Ismail Adilshaha Mahaloji or Maloji I got exemption from the customary salute (the Muzra Kurnisat or taslim) and also he got the right of using Morchals. Even before this the title of Raja was acquired by Bhimsinha about A.D.1469. Then it was in A.D.1670 during the reign of Alli Adilshaha II that Maloji II was given paramount rights over his Jahagir of Mudhol; and the services which his family rendered to the Adilshahas after this, were rendered in lieu of additional territories given to the family for military expenses.
Henceforth the family scrupulously guards and asserts its right to independence wherever necessary. Maloji III resisted the Peshwas' right to Chauth (one-fourth share) to the last and preferred to serve as an ally on payment of his expenses instead of paying the Chauth.
On account of this family pride and love of independence Maloji III refused to receive any Jahagir at the hands of the Peshwas. After the battle of Vadgaon in A.D.I779 when the Peshwas were ready to give a Jahagir, Maloji asked them to give the Jahagirs to his other relatives. He himself was afraid of losing his independence by the acceptance of a Jahagir. He is satisfied with a share in the Deshmukhi Vatan granted by the Bahamani Kings. The pride and integrity of the family have withstood it through thick and thin at any sacrifice.
During the latter part of the 19th century the Rajput blood running in the veins of the Ghorpadas has found no occasion to manifest itself. However, the Ghorpada of the present times reading the annals of his forefathers which are resplendent with martial faith and honours bright star may rightly think that he also can make his life sublime.
OM SHANTIH !!!
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