Santaji Ghorpade: The Brave Warrior
Santaji Mahaloji Ghorpade was the Chief General of the Maratha Empire during Rajaram’s regime. Santaji was a great warrior, his tells of bravery are still praised among historians, and his capability of warfare, especially Guerilla Warfare, was of the highest level.
He was a great swordsman and expert in hand-to-hand combat. Ghorpade’s life was full of the courage of his brave stints and fights with Moguls.
Santaji Ghorpade got accolades by Maratha Empire and honoured by prestigious awards for his services and bravery.
Ghorpade served the Maratha Empire throughout his life and always loyal to different Maratha Kings during his services. He serves on every post of the Maratha Empire from a mere soldier to its highest position. His name had scribbled in the books of history as one of the greatest and bravest Maratha warriors.
About Santaji Ghorpade
Santaji Ghorpade was born in the year 1645, his real date of birth is unknown, he was the eldest son of Mhaloji Ghorpade; Mhaloji Ghorpade was the General of Sambhaji. Santaji Ghorpade was the elder of three sons of Mhaloji Ghorpade.
He belongs to the Ghorpade family, a branch of Bhosale Clan. Santaji trained and rose to ranks under the guidance of Hambirrao Mohite.
Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav together attack Moguls Army continuously from 1689 to 1696; the man had known as one of the most fearsome warriors among the Maratha Army and an inspiration for many Maratha soldiers.
Santaji Ghorpade was the descendent of the royal Bhosale clan; he had two younger brothers named Bahirji and Maloji. Mhaloji Ghorpade was the father of Santaji, and his Grandfather was Baji Ghorpade, who was killed by Shivaji for contrived with Afzal Khan.
Santaji Ghorpade had three sons, and his eldest son Ranoji was a general in Maratha Army and died on the battleground in 1701. Santaji’s other two sons Yeshoji and Tukoji, continue their military activities against Mogul Army.
Descendants of Santaji are still live in Sandur and Guti, Karnataka, and other princely states of Maharashtra. Santaji Ghorpade died in 1697, killed by Nagojirao Mane.
Santaji Ghorpade has always remembered as a fearsome warrior in the history of the Maratha Empire. His tactics help the Maratha Empire win many battles against Mogul Army.
He was usually an expert in Guerilla Warfare, and he was a continuous threat to the Mogul Empire throughout his life. Santaji and Dhonaji made a perfect combination of brutality and tactics when they attacked the Mogul Empire during their Guerrilla Warfare Activities.
Santaji Ghorpade was considered a dreadful commander and trampled anyone from his army if they have done the slightest fault. The Mogul Empire announced a massive bounty on Santaji Ghorpade’s death, making him more dreadful than before.
However, because of his dreadful punishment methods and aloofness with Kings of Marathas, he was made enemies within Maratha Empires and armies. His partner Dhanaji was the sheer minded and politically well-learned man.
Still, Santaji had acted in a confrontation manner. He did not possess a smooth tongue like other chieftains of the Maratha Empire, thus always engaging in confrontations with the Kings he serves.
In the end, he was still standing with the cause of Selvaraj. But his tongue and benevolent personality led him to conflicts with his kings.
As a result, once when he was in a meeting with his King Rajaram, he profoundly said that “The Chatrapattis exist because of me and I can make and dethrone Chatrapattis at will.” that dreadful dialogue caused for his departure from Maratha Empire and a declaration of bounty for him. After which both Maratha and Mogul were searching for him to kill or punish him.
In his absence, Dhanaji made the new Master of Cavalry, which made Santaji even angrier. Rajaram orders Dhanaji to attack Santaji and punish him for his rebellion.
Once during an attack on Santaji, Dhanaji lost the battle and escaped. Still, Rajaram was captured by Santaji when Santa appeared before his King Rajaram, who was bounded at that time and said to him, “I am the same loyal servant (as before).
My anger was due to this that you wanted to make Dhana my equal and reach Jingi with his help. I shall now do whatever you bid me”. Then he released Rajaram.
Overall, Santaji was full of valor, courage, bravery, military tactics, but he was not an expert on political rivalries, counsels, etc. He was loyal to Maratha’s cause of Savaraj but was not able to suave his Kings and said what he wants to say.
A historian was well put on his personality in his book and writes about Santaji. That “He was a master of Guerilla tactics, he can make night marches and surprise attacks on the enemy.
He was able to cover long distances quickly and can able to command larger militaries during these long quick marches; he was punctual and accurate during incredible movements.”
Battles with Moguls
Santaji Ghorpade received the rank of PanchaHajari Officer (commander of 5000 soldiers) during Rajaram’s reign.
Throughout his life, Santaji Ghorpade fought a continuous battle with Moguls; he was regularly engaging in skirmishes, attack on their camps, engage through Guerilla warfare, and many more. However, some of his recognizable campaigns were:
- In 1689, along with Dhanaji Santaji, attacked Aurangzeb’s general Sheikh Nizam and beaten him in the war.
- In May 1690, Santaji and his team defeated Sarza Khan Alias in Satara, which proved to be a significant setback for Moguls.
- On 14 December 1692, Santaji defeated Alimardan Khan, Aurangzeb’s General
- On 5 January 1693, Santaji looted Mogul’s treasure, weapons, and livestock at Desur.
- In July 1695, Santaji attacked Mogul camp and harassed them with his attacks.
- On 20 November 1695, Santaji defeated and killed Aurangzeb’s commanding general Kasim Khan in Doderi, Karnataka.
These are some battles and skirmishes won by Santaji and gave hard times to Mogul Army. All of these attacks play an essential role in contaminating the Mogul Army and preventing further control over the Maratha region.
For his service to the Maratha empire, he was made Chief General of Maratha Army under Rajaram’s reign and gave the title of Mamalakatt Madara. Rajaram also rewarded him with the title of Deshmukh of Miraj.