Subedar Tanaji Malusare was a military leader in the Maratha Empire of Chhatrapati Shivaji. He is remembered for his role in the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670.
Tanaji Malusare was born in the year 1600 (age 70 years at the time of death) in Godavli, Javali Taluka (Satara, Maharashtra, India).
Family, Caste & Wife
Tanaji was born into a Maratha family.  His father’s name is Sardar Kaloji and mother’s name is Parvatibai. He had a brother- Sardar Suryaji. He got married to ‘Savitri Malusare,’ and their son’s name is Rayaba Malusare.
History of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Tanaji Malusare
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Tanaji Malusare were close friends, and during their childhood, they used to make strategies to capture the forts. Later, Shivaji won many battles with the help of Tanaji, Baji Prabhu, and thousands of Maratha warriors. Tanaji became eternal in history for fighting the battle of Sinhagad 1670. Tanaji was preparing for his son’s wedding when Shivaji called him for the battle. He left his son’s wedding and followed Shivaji. Tanaji fought bravely till his last breath and died in the battle. Shivaji was deeply affected by his friend’s death, and on his death, he said,
‘Gad ala pan sinh gela’ which means ‘The fort was captured but the lion was dead.’
Battle of Sinhagad 1670
In the year 1670, Tanaji was summoned by Shivaji for a meeting, in which Shivaji told him that he had to recapture Kondana fort near Pune from the Mughals. It was a matter of honour for him. Tanaji replied that he would liberate the fort from the Mughals at any cost. The Mughal leader ‘Udaybhan Rathore,’ who was leading 5 thousand Mughal soldiers to guard the fort was a Hindu, but due to his selfish motives, he joined the Mughal army. The whole fort was guarded by the Mughals except the western part of the fort which was covered by high rocks. Tanaji decided to invade the fort through this route for which he took the help of a Bengal Monitor Lizard (Ghorpad) named ‘Yashwanti.’ They tied a rope to a lizard and went crawling up to the fort. He successfully entered the fort with the help of 342 soldiers.
Tanaji’s brother ‘Suryaji’ with 300 Mavalas moved close to the gates of the fort- Kalyan Darwaja. Tanaji and Udaybhan fought fiercely in which Udaybhan broke Tanaji’s Dhal, but Tanaji continued the fight by tying a cloth on his left hand for protection. Udaybhan deceived Tanaji and killed him. Suryaji and Shelar Mama (an old Sardar in his 70s) retreated to this and killed Udaybhan. The Marathas were successful in recapturing the fort from the Mughals.
He died in 1670, Sinhagad Fort, Thoptewadi while fighting with the Mughal leader Udaybhan.
- After recapturing the Kondana fort, Chhatrapati Shivaji renamed the fort to Sinhagad in the memory of Tanaji.
- In the honour of Tanaji, the ‘Wakadewadi’ in Pune city was renamed as ‘Narbir Tanaji Wadi.’
- In the medieval era, the popular poet, Tulsidas composed the poem ‘Powada’ depicting Tanaji’s bravery.
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar wrote a ballad ‘Bajiprabhu,’ depicting the bravery story of Tanaji.
- A book named ‘Garh Ala Pan Singh Galla’ was published in 1903.
- Now, the Kondana Fort has become one of the best tourist places of Maharashtra.
- Reportedly, the original memorial of the legendary warrior, Tanaji Malusare was found in the Sinhagad Fort, during the restoration work. Dr Tejas Garge, director of the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Maharashtra, said that,
While we were restoring a memorial of Tanaji, which was built in the 1940s and comprised of a base, bronze statue and a concrete canopy, we stumbled upon the original memorial stone below the current base.”
- In 1933, a Marathi film named ‘Sinhagad’ was released in which actor ‘Shankarrao Bhosle’ played the character of Tanaji.
- In 2019, the release date of ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior,’ based on the life of Tanaji was announced. The star cast of the film included- Ajay Devgan as Tanaji Malusare, Kajol as Tanaji’s wife, Sharad Kelkar as Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Saif Ali Khan as Udaybhan, Jagapathi Babu as Shelaar Mama, and Devdatta Nage as Suryaji Malusare.