Shivaji the Tiger and Avzal the Bear


Alright so this one is the story about how Shivaji survived an assissination attempt. He was going to meet Babur Khan, or was it Avzal Khan haan haan yes it was Avzal Khan! So Shivaji was going to discuss a truce with Avzal Khan. They were going to meet in a place where no weapons were allowed so it would be safe.

But here’s the thing ha, Avzal Khan was a huge man and had arms as big as logs and a chest as big as an elephant’s. So Shivaji was on his way to meet him… and uh… on the way one of Shivaji’s spies came to Shivaji in the dead of night and told him that Avzal was planning on strangling Shivaji to death when they met by giving him a deathly bear hug. Now, here’s the thing ok. Shivaji was extremely clever. He was very smart and knew that something like this would happen. So he said okay to his spy and continued on his journey to the location… of the… of the meeting. 

Anyway, all the while, Shivaji grew out his fingernails and sharpened them so that they were very very sharp. On the day of the meeting, Shivaji cleverly wore a plate mail armour under his clothes. So when the meeting came, Avzal Khan hugged Shivaji and tried to crush him but he couldn’t because of the chain mail. Then Shivaji used his tiger claw hands to tear open Avzal Khan’s chest and killed him instead. 


Shivaji was a warrior king and the founder of the Maratha empire. He is idolized in Maharashtra, a state in India, amongst the people of the state. There are tons of stories, books, and films that center around Shivaji’s cunning, bravery and wit. The antagonists of these stories are the Mughal emperors who are depicted as cruel and evil in most of the stories. This is a story from the vast folklore around Shivaji.


My family is Maharashtrian and this is an example of one of the many stories that my father told me about our heritage when I was growing up. 


It is unfortunate that the main antagonists of the stories are generally Muslim mughals. This has caused a lot of Islamophobia in modern day Maharashtra which has led to some unfortunate political circumstances. This story would probably be told much differently by the descendants of the Mughal empire.