SHIVAJI & AURANGZEB, both were kings in thier own accord. The met only once during their lifetime, at Agra. And that only for a few minutes! What transpired between them? Did these two titans really clash with each other? Read on!
From one original letter written by Ramsingh, elder son of MirzarajaJaisingh, to Shivaji, it seems that Shivaji was supposed to meet Aurangzeb on 11th May 1666. However, he actually reached Agra on 11th May evening. And therefore, the scheduled meeting did not take place on that day. Shivaji informed Ramsingh of his arrival through a messenger and Ramsingh sent one of his men to meet and greet Shivaji, in the late evening.
The next day, i.e., 12 May 1666, there was Aurangzeb's monthly birthday celebration and a special darbar was convened. Ramsingh had been given the responsibility of guarding the darbar premises on that day. He left the fort after making the guarding arramgements, and therefore was delayed. He had sent one of his men to fetch Shivaji and his important men to the darbar. Shivaji had started to go to the fort and met Ramsingh on the way. He directed the elephants in Shivaji's entourage to be diverted to a convenient place for rest, because the street to the fort was very crowded. Shivaji met Ramsingh (for the first time) in the street while still riding his horse. Then Ramsingh took Shivaji, his son Sambhaji and his office-bearers - Niraji Raoji, Raghunathpant Korde, and others to the fort.
By the time theey all reached the fort entrance, the darbar for the general public in Diwan-i-am hall was over and the darbar for mansabdars in Diwan-i-khas hall had started. So they all proceeded to Diwan-i-khas.
TITANS FACE EACH OTHER -For the First and the Last Time!
When they reached Diwan-i-khas, Aurangzeb sent one of his high officers, Asadkhan to meet and greet Shivaji and his men. Shivaji and his son Sambhaji were presented before Aurangzeb, who was sitting on his high throne in a white dress and wearing a variety of ornaments. Also, a good sword had been kept beside him. The custom of the darbar did not demand any dialog from Aurangzeb or Shivaji. Shivaji and Sambhaji presented their gifts in front of Aurangzeb, who just bent his head in acceptance. Then, Shivaji and Sambhaji were made to stand behind Jaswantsingh, a senior mansabdar of Aurangzeb, who had been defeated by Shivaji at Sinhagad near Pune, about two year before! It should be noted here that according to the custom of Moghul darbar, only the emperor used to sit on a high throne and all the mansabdars were supposed to stand in rows around the throne in the order of their position - e.g., saptahazari mansabdars in the front row and panchhazari mansabdars in the rows behind them, etc. So when the presentations were finished, Asadkhan guided them to the panchhazari mansabdars' row, since Sambhaji was a panchhazari mansabdar! Shivaji had not been given any post at that time, but since he was father of Sambhaji, he was made to stand near Sambhaji! They both were given Vida (betel leaf). Some senior mansabdars were given a Saropa (valuable dress) to honour them on the occasion of the birthday ceremony. Shivaji and Sambhaji did not receive this. It is necessary to see these events in light of the customs of the darbar, to understand the misunderstandings of Shivaji later!
THE EXPLOSION !!
Shivaji and Sambhaji were standing in probably fifth or sixth row from the front and Aurangzeb could see Shivaji clearly. After some time, Shivaji's eyes and face became red with rage and he became uneasy. Aurangzeb noticed this and sent Ramsingh to inquire what was the matter with Shivaji. Ramsingh must have been standing nearer to Aurangzeb, since he was representing his father Jaisingh, a mansabdar and a senior officer of Moghul empire. Ramsingh went to Shivaji and asked Shivaji what was the matter. Shivaji became angry and said, " You saw and your father also saw, what type of a person I am. I came here as king of equal stature. I am not a person who had been defeated in war. And you have made me stand for all this time, behind Jaswantsingh, who showed me his back near Sinhagad. You give him saropa and not to me. I do not want any honours from you. I throw away all that you have offered me." In rage, Shivaji probably talked in Marathi language. Then he turned away from the emperor and walked out of the darbar along with Sambhaji, an act considered to be an insult of the emperor! Ramsingh tried to pacify him in vain and later went to Aurangzeb and informed him about the incidence. Aurangzeb sent Ramsingh and two other senior mansabdars to pacify Shivaji, who had walked out of Diwan-i-khas and was sitting on a chair. He was talking in rage and frustration, his eyes had become moist. The senoir officers tried to tame Shivaji but could not. The they went to Aurangzeb and informed him. He ordered Ramsingh to take Shivaji and others to their residence.
THE TITANS TURNED AWAY FROM EACH OTHER, NEVER TO COME FACE TO FACE AGAIN!
In the latter fortnight, there were several events which influenced the fate of Shivaji. Due to Shivaji's unethical behavior in the Mughal darbar on 12 May 1666, several senior mansabdars including Jaswantsingh, said that Aurangzeb should punish Shivaji! And also impressed upon Aurangzeb that Shivaji was a dangerous person. Probably due to this campaign, Aurangzeb decided to hand over Shivaji to the most feared of his mansabdars - Radandazkhan, who was incharge of Agra fort at that time! News of this reached to Ramsingh, who had the responsibility to keep and return Shivaji safely to the Deccan. Ramsingh was disturbed and he approached Vazir Jafarkhan for influencing Aurangzeb to take mercy on Shivaji. Ramsingh thought that Radandazkhan will kill Shivaji on some pretext. He went along with Jafarkhan to Aurangzeb on the eve of 14 May 1666, and took oath to take full repsonsibility of Shivaji, not allowing him to leave Agra, and to stear him away from bad behaviour.
On the morning of the next day, Ramsingh called Shivaji to his house and put Shivaji under oath to behave properly and not to run away from Agra without Aurangzeb's permission!
By this time, Shivaji probably realized that he had made some mistake in getting angry at the darbar. It seems he and therefore the writers of Marathi bakhars did not know that the darbar was specially convened for Aurangzeb's birthday! That's why there is no mention of Aurangzeb's birthday in the Marathi bakhars! Shivaji assumed that the special darbar was convened in his honour. He did not know or was not made aware of the slow, time-consuming, customs of the Moghul darbar. That's why making him stand along with Sambhaji made him angry! He probably realized his misunderstanding and calmed down.
In the coming days, Shivaji met jafarkhan and other mansabdars of the darbar and presented them with valuable gifts. On 20th May 1666, Jafarkhan put up Shivaji's request for pardon and Aurangzeb granted it! The next few days went off peacefully. In the North-West province of the Mughal empire (now Afganistan), some local chieftains were campaining against the Mughals. First report of this rising came to Agra during these days. Aurangzeb ordered Shivaji to be posted to Kabul to suppress the rising. Shivaji refused and asked for an assignment in his own territory, the Deccan. After a couple of days, Shivaji applied for leave to go back to his home country. Aurangzeb got angry, "How can he be released?" and then ordered one of his mansabdars, Fauladkhan who was incharge of Agra city, to keep Shivaji under house arrest!
Thus, the Hindu king of the Deccan was put under house arrest by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on 29 May 1666!