Hemant Shesh
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Hemant Shesh, IAS (Retd.) is a renowned Indian Poet, Art-Critic, Editor, Painter and a keen Photographer. - (Dr.M.Sharma, Ph.D.)
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Prithviraj killed mohd.ghauri with his shabdhbhedi baan. After killing mohd.ghauri with his skills of shabdhbhedi baan vidya. Prithviraj and Chand bardai commited suicide.

Dendrocalamus strictus is a bamboo species belonging to the Dendrocalamus genus. The culms (stems) are often solid. Common names include male bamboo, solid bamboo, and Calcutta bamboo. It is a tall, dull green-colored bamboo species, which grows in thickets consisting of a large number of heavily branched, closely growing culms. It reaches a height of 6-18 m. Culms are green covered with white blooms, which become dull green when mature and turn brown on drying. Young shoots are brown in color covered with white blooms. Culms are straight. Branching occurs from the base to midculm. Aerial roots reach up to a few nodes above the ground. Internode length is 20-30 cm, and diameter is 2.5-12 cm. Culm walls are very thick. Nodes are not prominent.

Culm sheaths are green in young, and turn brown when mature, and are cylindrical. The sheath proper is 18-22 cm in length and 10-17 cm wide. Blade length is 3.5-6.5 cm. Auricles are absent. Upper surfaces of the sheath may or may not be covered with brown hairs. Lower surfaces of the sheath are not hairy. Sheaths fall early.They are used for making house frames, rafters, tent poles, concrete reinforcement, walls, scaffolding, and fences. The leaves are used for thatching. Used by the British army in India for making lance shafts. Pratapgah district is rich in this variety. These photos were taken in my own bugalow's garden....

Dear stepwells You are welcome to use any of my pics including the one under reference. Regards,

Nice property created by the Temple Board, located very close to the temple. It is more or less an ideal blend of a fine dharamsala and a 3 star hotel. 2 and 3 beded Rooms are sufficiently huge in size and quite clean like all other mid-range hotels with cable TV AC and hot water facilities. Large Balconies provide a very good view of the town-houses.

Dhanywad. Kaise ho ap?

By far the greater portion of the district is covered by the basaltic and amygdular lavas which have come to the surface and spread over very vast areas of the then Central India configuration of land at the commencement of the Tertiary or Cenozoic Era, nearly 60 to 100 million years ago. These lavas are spread in the form of horizontal sheets or beds. Because of their tendency to form plateaux and their dominantly basic composition, the lava flows are generally called " Plateau basalts." As these basaltic lava flows cover almost the entire Deccan region and frequently present a step-like or terraced feature on the hills, they are termed as " Deccan basalts " or more commonly the "Deccan traps."

The Deccan traps, as mentioned earlier, cover almost the whole of the district and constitute the innumerable rugged and bold, flat-topped hills, forming extensive plateaux of the entire Western Ghats. They also constitute the small hill ranges in the eastern and central parts of the district. Besides, lava flows also blanket the plains with a soil covering of varied thickness.

A remarkable feature of the traps is their horizontal disposition and considerable lateral extension over a wide area; sometimes a single flow covering nearly 300-400 square miles or even more. In places it also shows slight dip. The traps attain their maximum thickness near Mahabaleshwar and around Helvak amounting nearly 2,000 to 3,500 feet. The individual flows; vary greatly in thickness from a few feet to as much as 120 feet although the average-thickness is about 40 feet. The hills consist of several lava flows of different thinckness. In a single hill a number of lava flows, sometimes as many as 12 to 15 or even more, are seen resting nearly horizontally one above the other and these can be distinguished from a distance by the flow lines. At places these successive lava beds have thin inter-calations of a red ferruginous clay bed called " red bole." Characteristic vertical, prismatic and columnar jointings are commonly observed in the hard and compact basalts. The traps weather in concentric layers giving rise to a soft, greenish grey, friable murum leaving a hard, rounded bouldery core in the centre, known as spheroidal weathering.

Although no sedimentary inter-trappean beds have so far been reported from the district it is likely that such beds will be encountered during future detailed geological investigations. These inter-trappean beds represent the lacustrine or fresh water formations deposited during the interval of time between the outpouring of two successive lava flows and are usually represented by clay or limestone beds and occasionally, sandstones.

Petrologically, the Deccan traps are mainly basalts which are generally uniform in composition and texture. They vary from dark grey to dark greenish grey and brownish to purple in colour, and are hard, compact, tough and medium to fine grained in texture with an average specific gravity of 2.9. This type generally forms the hill and plateau tops. The vesicular and amygdular varieties occupying the lower regions are comparatively soft, like quartz, calcite, varieties of zeolites and amorphous quartz as cavity fillings. Seoreaceous, tuffaceous and breccia beds and volcanic ash are not uncommon among this type of lavas. Porphyritic trap with phenoervsts of felspars is also noticed at places.

The chief mineral constituents of the basalts are labradorite and augite, the two forming the bulk of the rock. Volcanic glass which invariably alters to palagonite, chlorophaeite. etc.. and magnetite and titaniferous iron occur in minor proportions. Olivine is present in certain varieties of trap.

Laterite occurs extensively covering almost all the plateaux of the Western Ghats- and also in the north and central portions of the district. Although laterite is noticed at different elevations there are a few notable exceptions. For instance, north of Helvak the laterite is found at 8,400 feet above sea level while the 4,177 feet high plateau of the Pandavgad fort does not exhibit any laterite formation. Malcolm Peth plateau is no less than 4,710 feel above sea level and is completely capped by laterite.

Laterite rock is ferruginous, hard, massive and generally varies in colour from dark red to yellowish and dark brown to dirty brown. A typical laterite invariably shows a red and yellow mottled appearance exhibiting a vesicular and tubular structure with a dark brown limonitic coating. A freshly cut surface of the laterite bed is usually soft but becomes very hard and tough, on exposure to atmosphere. Most of the laterite beds in the district are categorised as ferruginous laterite or a very low-grade aluminous laterite. These are considered to have been formed by the chemical alteration of the underlyine traps by a process of concentration of iron, alumina and titanium oxides with the leaching out of silica and manganese. At places, as in the Panchgani plateau, the laterite is seen to pass downwards through a zone of lithomarge into an altered trap. The laterite deposits are considered to be sub-recent in geological age.

The laterite covered plateaux which hardly support any vegetation present a very desolate and dreary appearance in the summer months. The slopes or scarps generally support some vegetation. Accumulation of big massive, dislodged masses and blocks of laterite along the slopes and foot of the hills and ridges is a common feature in the Ghat section and at other places. The laterite, ultimately yields a red to reddish-brown ferruginous soil.

Kankar is noticed at different localities in the district, especially, in the areas covered by highly decomposed traps. It usually occurs in dry streams and nala sections or in the soil mantle covering the traps. Such kankar deposits are formed by concentration of the leached out calcareous solutions from the decomposed traps in the form of tabular and rounded nodules, concretions and lumps.

The trappean country is usually characterised by a rich and fertile black soil, generally called as Regur. It is highly argillaceous and somewhat calcareous in composition and very fine grained in texture. The soil is highly plastic when wet and develops numerous deep polygonal cracks on drying. At places, the soil is also loamy. A gradual transition from a highly weathered and decomposed, greyish-green, friable murum to reddish-brown and black soil is frequently seen in the field.

Afzul Khan. The Bijapur government, awakened by the significant deeds of Shivaji in the Konkan and on the Ghauts, saw the necessity of making a supreme effort to subdue him. They therefore resolved to send a strong army against Shivaji, and appointed Afzul Khan, a famous general of Bijapur, to its command. The expedition of Afzul Khan against Shivaji was a momentous event in the history of the Marathas, and has been described by Grant Duff at some length. He appears to have relied more on Persian tawarikhs than on original Marathi bakhars. The authentic version of this historical episode as given in a Marathi bakhar written by the Shedgaonkar Bhonsles, descendants of Sharfoji, Shivaji's uncle, and preserved in the Satara Palace, appears to be more reliable.* From that account, it is evidently clear that Afzul Khan, who in open darbar proudly professed that he would return to Bijapur with the insignificant and impudent rebel Shivaji in chains, was more than a match for Shivaji. He started from Bijapur, early in 1659, with an armed force fully equipped with guns and rockets, a number of swivels mounted on camels, and ample stores. On his way having desecied at- the well-known Hindu temples of Pandharpur and Tuljapur and having broken their idols, he reached Wai and encamped with his huge army in the fertile Krishna valley. Shivaji perceived the gravity of the situation and prepared to face it boldly. He invoked the Goddess Bhavani, and favoured' with her divine blessings, resolved to meet his great enemy. He did not intend to risk a battle but took up a position at Pratapgad. Afzul Khan, who was proud of his large army and almost certain that Shivaji could not face him in the field, was bent pon catching him in his mountain selter and taking him in triumph to Bjapur. Shivaji perceiving the difficult ituation made offers of submission to the Khan, who deputed his confidential agent, Krishnaji Bhaskar, to open negotiations with Shivaji. This man was gained over by Shivaji through Pantoji Gopinath Bokil, and with his assistance Afzul Khan was easily led to believe that Shivaji was in a state of great alarm and willing to surrender,, provided pardon was granted to him for his past actions. The Khan, aware of the natural difficulties of the mountainous country, in spite of his hatred and contempt for his foe, consented to accept Shivaji's. submission in a personal interview. Shivaji knew the Khan's physical strength as well as his real motive. He therefore implored Krishnaji Bhaskar to bring the Khan to the place of meeting without any attendants. The Khan acceded to this request. Dressed in a plain muslin robe, he came to the interview in a palanquin armed with a straight sword, accompanied by one attendant, named Syed Banda. Shivaji, taking into consideration the seriousness of the occasion, wore a-steel cap under his turban, a chain armour beneath his cotton gown, concealed a dagger in his right sleeve, and fastened on the fingers of his left hand, wagh-nakhs or tiger-claws ( sharp hooks of steel that lie concealed in the closed hand ). Thus prepared for any emergency, he slowly descended from the fort. The Khan arrived from the valley below in his palanquin to the spot, which was richly decorated and specially fitted for the memorable interview. In the customary embrace, it is stated in the Marathi chronicles, the stalwart Khan first seized Shivaji's neck with his left hand and struck him with the sword.*As soon as the Khan's treacherous object was manifested, Shivaji plunged his wagh-nakhs into the side of the Khan in self-defence. The Mamomedan chroniclers charge Shivaji with treachery, and allege that it was Shivaji who first struck Afzul Khan fiercely in the stomach with the concealed tiger-claws, and despatched him with an expeditious blow of the dagger, before the Khan could recover himself from his surprise. Thus, the Hindu and Mahomedan chroniclers differ vastly in their accounts. Consequently, all attempts at disinterring the truth from under the debris of racial prejudices are bound to failure more or less complete. Besides, it may be borne in mind, that when two capable and ambitious political opponents, suspicious of each other's motives and determined to nonplus each other, meet in a secret conference and one of them is found dead and the other remaining almost unscathed it is the survivor who is generally accused of treachery. At any rate that is the fate of Shivaji. One cannot, however, help remarking that the Shivaji -Afzul Khan episode is one of those historical mysteries that bid fair to remain unsolved till the end of time. The success of Shivaji in the combat -against Afzul Khan raised him to the position of a national hero ; the sword and the wagh-nakhs, with which he killed Afzul Khan, are worshipped to this day by his descendants. "That very tiger's claw," writes Sir Richard Temple, late Governor of Bombay, "that very sword, that very coat of mail, that very muslin dress, are to this day religiously preserved from generation to generation by the Marathas. Never were the sword or the hat or any of the relics of Napolean or Frederick the Great of Prussia venerated so much by the French or Germans, as these relics of Shivaji are to this day by the Marathas." "He (Shivaji) was," says Sir Edward Sullivan, another well-known English author, "almost worshipped as a god, and the renown of his deeds, his eagle glances and long arms, his rapid marches and secret forays, are to this day the most popular themes of the wandering Gursees, or minstrels of the Deccan. Even his weapons were reverenced as holy, and his good sword Bhowanee has been to the bards of the Deccan, what the Joyeuse and Duranel of Charlemagne and Roland, and the Askalon of our own patron saint, were to the wandering troubadours of Europe."f * Oriental Experience by Sir Richard Temple, p. 368. t Princes of India by Sir Edward SulUran, p. 460. After the death of Afzul Khan, Shivaji's men attacked and routed the Bijapur army. It is worthy of note that Shivaji, on this occasion, showed great kindness and humanity to the prisoners and gave them honourable treatment. It was indeed a gracious act on the part of Shivaji to have erected a tomb over the remains of Afzul Khan and built a tower in his honour, which is still known by the name 'Afzul Buruj' at Pratapgad. The sword of Afzul Khan was preserved as a valued trophy in the armoury of Shivaji and his descendants. The golden cones " of his tent were presented to the temple of the God Mahabaleshwar, and their lustre yet shines brilliantly through the charming hills in the neighbourhood.

  • See the extract of this iahhar published in the " Itihas Sangraha.' Vol. TI., Nos. 4-5-6, page 62.24 **Extract from the Satara Bakhar, ' Itihas Sangrah,' Vol. VI,Nos. 4-5-6. page 70, and also Marathi Bakhare by Chitnis, Sabhasad and others.
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