Prataprao Gujar


Prataprao Gujar ( Sarnaubat )    

Prataprao Bargujar (actual name Kudtoji Bargujar) was the third royal Sarnaubat (Commander-in-chief) of Shivaji's army, which was probably the most successful guerilla force in 17th century India. He was given the pseudonym of Prataprao (The brave) by Shivaji in acknowledgement of his bravery in the war against Mirza Raje Jaisingh.

He was a highly gifted aristocratic general, who enjoyed the trust of his king and the loyalty of his troops. He defeated mughals in a famous battle of Salher. This was a major battle between mughals and marathas. His major drawback was his impulsive emotional nature.

A few months before Shivaji's coronation in 1674, Prataprao Bargujar was sent to deal with the invading force led by the Adilshahi general, Bahalol Khan. The Maratha army surrounded the camp of Bahalol Khan at the place of Naesari. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle. In spite of specific warnings against doing so by Shivaji, Prataprao released Bahalol Khan along troops and the seized war material, when Bahalol Khan promised not to invade Shivaji's territories again. Days after his release Bahalol Khan started preparing for a fresh invasion.

When Shivaji heard of about Prataprao decision, he was incensed and wrote an angry letter to Prataprao refusing him permission to see him till such time, Bahlol Khan was re-captured. Prataprao Gujar was very unhappy.One day he learnt of Bahlol Khan camping nearby. Prataprao attacked Bahalol's camp near Nesari but unfortunately was killed by Adilshahi Army. Maratha army took revenge of Prataprao's death under the leadership of Anaji and Hambirao Mohite.

Shivaji was deeply greived on hearing of Pratprao's death. He married his second son, Rajaram, to the daughter of Prataprao Bargujar, who was later to be the Queen of the Maratha Empire, Maharani Tarabai.

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