Battle of Pratapgarh was fought on November 10, 1659 at ‘Fort of Pratapgad’ near Satara, Maharashtra. It was fought between Shivaji and the General Afzal Khan from Adilshahi dynasty. Adilshahi forces were defeated by Marathas in spite of more resources and people. The battle was Maratha’s first major win against a regional power, leading to final establishment of the Maratha Empire.
The killing of Afzal Khan
The battle is known for the manner in which Afzal Khan was killed by Chhatrapati Shivaji. Afzal Khan had also killed Shivaji’s brother in a battle. Shivaji had sent an emissary saying that he did not want war. Even though a meeting was arranged, both of them were deeply suspicious of each other’s intentions. It was agreed that the two would meet unarmed but both were prepared for treachery. Afzal Khan had hidden a small dagger and Shivaji wore armour underneath his clothes with a concealed weapon in one hand.
Afzal Khan tried to stab Shivaji in the back while trying to embrace him. The dagger was deflected by Shivaji’s armour who responded by disembowelling Khan. Khan was later chased and beheaded by one of Shivaji’s lieutenants. The severed head was later sent to Rajgad to be shown to Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai who wanted vengeance for maltreatment of Shahaji (Shivaji’s father) and death of her elder son, Sambhaji.