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Shivaji - Meeting with Afzal Khan

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Shivaji and Afzal KhanShivaji was born on February 19, 1630 at Shivneri fort, Junnar, about 60 kilometers north of Pune. His mother Jijabai named him Shiva after the Goddess Shivai. At this time the major players in the Deccan were the Nizamshahs of Ahmednagar, Mughals of Delhi and the Adilshah of Bijapur. Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor attacked Nizamshah. Nizamshah was defeated and the war weakened the Ahmednagar kingdom. Shahaji tried to raise the banner of his independence but was crushed by the combined forces of Mughals and Adilshahi. After the defeat, he was inducted into the Adilshahi and was allowed to keep his old land tenures around Pune. Shivaji was born during these turbulent times. At the age of 17, Shivaji carried his first attack on Bijapur and captured the Torana fort in 1645. By 1647, he captured Rajgadh and Kondana forts and had complete control of Pune region. Of all his exploits my favorite has always been the Battle of Pratapgadh when he defeated and killed Afzal Khan.

Shivaji - Meeting with Afzal Khan

Gandhiji's Faith

Gandhiji's full name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. As a child he was called Mohan, short for his first name Mohandas. Like all small children little Mohan was frightened of the dark. The ghosts and the monsters always seem to be hiding in the dark. In those days when Mohan was little, electricity was not available to all the small towns and villages. In the evening, everyone began lighting lamps. Imagine what we do when there is a power outage. It was that way every night in those days.

Tonight was dark like any other night and Mohan was frightened as always. He was afraid there were ghosts lurking in the corner ready to spring on him. The lamp in the hallway had died down. It was so dark that you could barely see your own hand and Mohan had go from one room to another.

As he stepped out of the room he bumped into some thing large, perhaps it was a monster. His feet turned so heavy like they were made of stone and his heart was pounding like a drum. It was Rambha the old Nanny who was standing by the door. “What's the matter son?” she asked. “I am frightened, Dai,” Mohan answered. “Frightened my boy, frightened of what?” “See how dark it is. There are many monsters and ghosts lurking in the darkness. I am frightened one of them will get me.” Mohan said in a very small terrified voice.

Rambha patted his head affectionately and said, “Well, you don't have to be afraid of anything anymore. Listen to me very carefully. Think of Rama and no ghost or monster will dare come near you. They will not even try to touch your hair. Rama will protect you always, have faith.” Those words of faith gave Mohan courage that lasted his life time. He went from one room to another chanting “Hey Rama” Throughout his life this faith remained strong and when Gandhiji died, the last words on his lips were “Hey Rama”.

Gandhiji's Faith

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