Shivaji and Aurangzeb

There was a great Hindu king who fought against the Moghuls. In every way, he was a hero supreme, and he was appreciated, admired and adored by all Indians without exception. His name was Shivaji. He wanted to have freedom for his country, especially for the part where he was born, which is called Maharashtra.

In 1666 Shivaji received a letter from Emperor Aurangzeb inviting him to come to the royal court at Agra. Although Shivaji knew that the Emperor was capable of treachery, he accepted the invitation because he did not want to appear to be afraid of Aurangzeb. Shivaji arrived in Agra with his eldest son, Shambhuji, and a small contingent of soldiers on the 12th of May, which happened to be the Emperor's 50th birthday.

When Shivaji entered the Audience Hall and placed his offerings before Aurangzeb, the Emperor did not speak a single word of welcome to him. Instead, Shivaji was led to an inferior position at the back of the hall. It now became obvious that the great Maratha hero had been led into a trap. He and his son were captives of the Emperor.

Shivaji and his son were imprisoned in the Moghul capital for several months. However, Shivaji did not despair, but began making plans for his escape. One evening Shivaji and Shambhuji hid inside two huge fruit baskets. Shivaji had arranged for the baskets to be taken out of the palace and left at a lonely spot outside the city. Shivaji and Shambhuji waited until the porters had gone and then they emerged from the fruit baskets. They besmeared their bodies with ashes and made their way back to their own kingdom disguised as mendicants.