Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chatrapati Rajaram

Chatrapati Rajaram Bhosale was the youngest son of Shivaji. He was born on 1670 at fort Raigad.
When his elder (half) brother, Sambhaji was executed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Rajaram was under house arrest (at the orders of his brother, after his mother Soyrabai had tried an unsuccessfull coup against Sambhaji). However, after Sambhajis execution, the Marathas felt a need for unifying ranks against the mughals.
After the coronation of her infant son Shahuji as the next king, Sambhajis widow Yesubai asked for the immediate release of Rajaram (from an house arrest ordered by his elder brother). She also magnanimously requested Rajaram to be made the Regent.
In 1689, a traitor by the name of Suryaji Pisal, who was the killedar of fort Raigad, surrendered the fort (along with Queen Yesubai and infant king Shahu) to the Mughals. Rajaram was then at fort Vishalgadh.
With both the Queen mother and the young king being taken away captive by the mughals , the Maratha ministers (like Ramchandrapant Bavdekar,Prahlad Niraji,Khando Ballal Chitnis,Hanmante, etc) felt the need for an immediate succession in order to fill up the leadership vacuum. Rajaram was soon declared as the next King in waiting in 1681.
Rajaram has been described as a person with a congenial demeanour , flexible in his approach and accomadative towards one and all. He wasn’t a warrior in the real sense like his predecessors, but was nevertheless able to evoke the loyalty in his men. 

Rajaram departed from his fathers policy of not granting 'chauth and sardeshmukhi' rights to his nobles. It can be said that he was compelled to do the same to match up with the wealthy Mughals who were buying away the loyalties of the various Maratha nobles by granting them lands and feifs.

Rajarams wives
Rajaram was married to Jankibai the daughter of Prataprao Gujar, secondly to Tarabai the daughter of Hambirao Mohite and thirdly to Rajasbai ,from the family of Ghatges of Kagal.

Victorious battles during Rajarams rule
Rajarams resistance to the mughals was carried forward by his two commandants , Santaji Ghorpade (son of Sarsenapati Mhaloji Ghorpade who was killed in the skirmish at Sangamehwar which led to the capture of Ch.Sambhaji) and Dhanaji Jadhav (the cousin of Ch.Sambhaji and Ch.Rajaram, hailing from the Jadhav family of Sindhkhed from where their grandmother Jijabai also hailed. Note, Dhanaji was brought up by Jijabai herself after his father Sambhaji was killed in the battle of Pavankhind. Earlier Sambhajis father Santaji Jadhav was also brought up by Jijabai after Achloji Jadhav, Jijabais brother was assasinated in the Ahmednagar court along with her father). 

Santaji had on one occasion(1689) even conducted a daring raid into the mughal camp at Tulapur, where Aurangzeb himself was staying. Aurangzeb had then managed to escape with his life.
Sept 1689.Mughal commander,Sheikh Nizam routed by Santaji Dhanaji at fort Panhala.
25th May 1690. Sarzakhan aka Rustamkhan defeated and captured by Ramchandrapant,Santaji,Dhanaji at Satara.
1692, Rajgad (led by Shankar Narayan Gandekar), Panhala(led by Parshuram Trimbak) recaptured by Marathas.
8th Oct 1692, Dharwad in Karnataka was captured by Santaji Dhanaji.
14th Dec 1692, Santaji defeated Alimardan Khan and took him captive to Jinji.
9th Jan 1693, Santaji defeats and captures Ismailkhan Makha, Janisaar Khan for ransom.
5th Jan 1693, Mughal camp at Desur looted by Santaji Dhanaji.
21 Nov 1693 Santaji defeats Himmat Khan.
1693, Sidhoji Gujar , the Sarkhel or Admiral, captured the naval forts of Suvarnadurg and Vijaydurg.
Note:after Sidhoji Gujar, the mantle of Sarkhel was passed on to the famous Kanhoji Angre.1693, Vishalgad was retaken by Parshuram Trimbak.
July 1695, Santaji traps mughal army at Khatav.
20th Nov 1695, Qasim khan is killed by Santaji at Doderi.
1699, Parsoji Bhosale of Nagpur,Haibatrao Nimbalkar,Nemaji Shinde,Atole along with Rajaram overwhelmed the Mughal force at Godavari valley.
Dhanaji Jadhav defeated a mughal contingent at Pandharpur.
Shankar Narayan cleared another contingent led by one Sarzekhan near Pune.
But later Santaji fell out with Rajaram. Dhanaji Jadhav attacked Santajis force. Many of Santajis men deserted him and Santaji was isolated and managed to flee. He would have escaped if not pursued (July 1697), by one Nagoji Mane, who bore a grudge against Santaji for having killed his relative on an earlier occasion.When Santaji (having felt that he had shaken of Dhanajis men) dismounted from his horse to cleanse himself in the river, Nagoji beheaded him.

Rajarams ministers
Following were Rajarams ministers: Nilo Pant Pingale (son of Moropant Pingale) the Peshwa or Finance Minister,Janardhan Hanmante (son of Raghunath Hanmante ex governor Jinji) the Amatya or Finance minister ,Ramchandra Bavdekar the viceroy of Maharashtra,Shankar Malhar Nargundkar was the Pant Sachiv or Accountant General,Shamji Pinde was the Mantri or Home minister,Shrikaracharya Kalgavkar was the Panditrao or chief priest,Mahadji Gadadhar was the Sumant or Foreign minister,Niraji Ravji was Sarnyayadhish or Chief Justice, Santaji Ghorpade(later Dhanaji Jadhav) was the Sarsenapati or army commander in chief, Parsoji Bhosale became governor of Berar, Nemaji Shinde the governor of Khandesh,Khanderao Dabhade the governor of Nasik.

Rajarams escape to and from Jinji (Gingee),Tamil Nadu
Aurangzeb was determined to crush the Maratha resistance. For the same, he had himself encamped in the Deccan with a huge force. Due to continuous Mughal onslaughts, Rajaram escaped in 1689, to Jinji in Tamil Nadu (a fort captured early by Shivaji). From there he continued with the Maratha struggle until the fall of Jinji in 1698 (nine year seige- marathas continued to harass mughals during the seige). Rajaram managed to escape the clutches of the mughals led by Zulfikar Khan.Some say that the Jinji seige was a stalemate and Rajaram had reached a secret understanding with the Mughal commander Zulfikar Khan to escape Jinji. Afterwards the fort was captured by the mughals.

But his life was cut short because of fatigue and illness in 1700. He died at fort Sinhagadh near Pune.
Rajaram left behind two sons and one daughter, Shivaji by Tarabai, Sambhaji by Rajasbai, daughter Soyrabai by Jankibai. His youngest wife Ambikabai whose only daughter had died attained Sati. There was also said to be an illegitimate son Raja Karna (from a mistress Sagunabai).

War carried forward by Rajarams widow, Queen Tarabai
Rajarams feisty wife Tarabai took over the reins of the Maratha army and continued the resistance against Aurangzeb, until the release of Shahu (son of Sambhaji and Rajarams nephew) from the mughal prison. What followed was a brief power struggle for Maratha leadership between Tarabai and Shahu, which was eventually won by Shahu.
Shahu was declared king with Satara as his capital.


  1. It is unfortunate that there were traitors among followers of Shivaji Maharaj and Marathas. Ganoji Sherke betrayed Sambhaji Maharaj to Mughals.He joined Mughals and he was bought by Maratha commanders to facilitate escape of Rajaram Chatrapathi from jinjee.He was granted his feifdom. Then Suryaji Pisal betrayed Queen Yesubai and prince Sahu to Mughals in 1689 at Rajgad. Why such betrayals took place? Probably this was due to abolition of Feifdoms by Sambhaji Maharaj. Mughals could bUy betrayers that caused great suffering to Maratha race.

  2. Dr Rao, there are many reasons as to why people acted treacherously. Yes money, land was one of the main reasons. As also family feuds, hurt egoes, revenge. Ganoji Shirke was in fact Sambhaji's brother in law, yet he acted the way he did. Some say, Sambhaji ordered the genocide of some of his relatives (Shirkan as mentioned in Parasnis-Kincaids book). Later it is said that this very Shirke used his good offices to help Sambhajis younger brother Rajaram escape from the Gingee seige. Human psycology is sometimes very difficult to understand.

  3. Thanks Mr Ace for your commnets. True betrayals took place in our history many times. It is happening even now a days too.One of the greatest betrayal was dislodging of Atal bihari Bajpai as PM by Indira Gandhi by one vote some time ago. She also betrayed Chaudhry Charan singhji again. Gilani brothers betrayed Aliya Rama raya in tallikota battle. there is no end.

  4. Sambhaji Maharaj created enemies for himself during his reign. He got into the bad company of Kavi kulash. Ganoji Shirke was deprived of his feifdom earlier as Maratha policy. This helped Mughals to buy Marathas and Shirke was bought by them. There were some Brahmin Maharashtrians in the service of Bijapur kings. A section of Brahmins did not apprive Shivajis coronation as they did not accept him as Kashatriya. Some Brahins were aos very aggressive against Sambhaji as they claimed that a Brahmin girl was undone by him. History has strong evidence to come to conclusion that Sambhaji Mharaj in his youth was pleasure seeking and got into bad company. However as a Chatrapathi he fought Mughals tooth and nail. On the intellectual front he was a sanscrit scolor and wrote poetry that was not accepted by a section of Brahmins. The courage shown by Samvbhaji Maharaj in the face of death after his capture was very great and he faced death willingly and becamea Dhrma veer. Thus he became an immortal. Wahtever sins he committed earlier ( If ) were washed off with this sacrifice. It is a tragedy that Marathas with so many great warriors and stalwarts could not get Sambhaji released after capture at sangameswar.. More research may be required to know why he could not be got released by using all the forces avaialble to Marathas. A doubt no doubt exists that there was no unity among Maratha ranks when he was captured and taken away by Mughals.

    1. Please get your facts right. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was NOT a pleasure seeker, NOR did he harass any brahmin girl.
      All these FAKE stories were spread by the Brahmins because Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was a scholor or Sanskrit and the vedas which were only supoyto be studied by Bhramins at that time, thus the Bhramins became furious as how can a Kshatriya maratha can overpower them. This, they started spreading hatred towards Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj.

    2. Please do not blame the Brahmins for this, those where few corrupt people and not the entire Brahmin cast. In that case Shrike was Kshatriya, so would you blame the entire Kshatriya for Raje's death. Bajirao and the entire Peshwa family fought to complete Shivaji maharaj's dream.

      This is how people divide us. Do not follow rumors and stupid people.

    3. Tejas Pawar it is correct that Sambhaji maharaj is wrongly portrayed in history. He was a great administrator great fighter and accepted an heroic death at the end. It is true that he had differences with the "Ashtapradhan" many of whom were brahmins and some of them tried to corrupt Sambhaji Maharaj's image. But entire Brahmin community cannot be blamed for that. Neither one should blame Kavi Kalash. People have painted Kalash as black magician, devil etc but don't forget he also accompanied Sambhaji Maharaj till end with same torture and death given to him. He could have accepted Islam and escaped for that matter but he didn't.

  5. Mr. Rao can you please explain how Kavi Kalash company was bad for Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj ?. He was the saver of Shambhuraje in agra escape. He was brought in Swarajya by Shivaji Maharaj. He was philosopher, writer, and fighter too.

  6. Good blog, You missed on a very important aspect of Rajaram's escape to Jigni,It was Keladi Chennama who gave refuge to Rajaram and Aurangazeb waged war on Keladi,she fought the Mughal and defeated him which ended in a treaty between Keladi and Mughal for the first time in the history of Mughals where they kneeled down to an Indian ruler.If Keladi Chennamma had not given refuge to Rajaram the fate of Rajaram would have been ended before reaching Jigni.

  7. Good blog, You missed on a very important aspect of Rajaram's escape to Jigni,It was Keladi Chennama who gave refuge to Rajaram and Aurangazeb waged war on Keladi,she fought the Mughal and defeated him which ended in a treaty between Keladi and Mughal for the first time in the history of Mughals where they kneeled down to an Indian ruler.If Keladi Chennamma had not given refuge to Rajaram the fate of Rajaram would have been ended before reaching Jigni.

  8. Mr. Rao please explain your views on Mr. Roshan's comment.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was born in Purandar fort on 14th May 1657. Saibai was mother of Sambhaji. Grandmother Jijamata took care of Sambhaji because of death of Saibai when he was just 2 years old. Sambhaji Maharaj in Marathi is also known as Chhava, which means Cub of a Lion. He was a scholar of Sanskrit and eight other languages.

    The remarkable things that Sambhaji Maharaj achieved in his short life had far-reaching effects on the whole of India. Every Hindu should be grateful to him for that. He valiantly faced the 8 lakh strong army of Aurangzeb and defeated several Mughal chieftains in the battlefield forcing them to retreat. Because of this, Aurangzeb remained engaged in battles in Maharashtra, thus keeping the rest of India free from Aurangzeb’s tyranny for a long time. This can be considered as the greatest achievement of Sambhaji Maharaj. If Sambhaji Maharaj would have arrived at a settlement with Aurangzeb and accepted his proposal of being a tributary prince, then within the next 2 or 3 years Aurangzeb would have captured North India again. However, because of Sambhaji Maharaj and other Maratha ruler’s (later on Rajaram and Mahraani Tarabai) struggle, Aurangzeb was stuck in battles in South India for 27 years. This helped in the establishment of new Hindu kingdoms in the provinces of Bundelkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan in North India; thus providing safety to the Hindu society there.

    Sambhaji got the title of Dharamveer, the warrior of Dharma due his unending love and pride for Hinduism.

    1. Ganesh chavan, the Aurangzebs forces were only five lacks not eight lacks, According historian
      Vishwas Patil four lakh was only supply for the campaign, only 1lacks was army, But still this no comparison between young Chatrapati Sambhaji and his forces,Marathas are known to handle the big numbers of mughlas at many time half army in number that double number of mughals, and Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was fighting five enemies, at once they were all together against Sambhaj Maharaj.
      English, Portugees, Sddies and and mughals.

  11. All lies are spread about Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. He grew under the leadership, care, value, and love of Jija mata. Just imagine a mother jija matawho can enrich his son to become one of the greatest man in history is incapable to make Sambhaji a good human being. All lies are spread against Sambhaji Mahraj. He was as better as his father and even more great. He was a warrior, poet, Sanskrit scholar, king, and a father. Where will he have a time to do all these nonsense stuff for which he is blamed for. A debauch person will never poses qualities such as chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj.

    Please just do not read history try to understand it.

    1. Totally agree with's a pity that some people like Dr Rao believe in stories than rather trying to study or read the facts, it's a human tendency to believe bad things easily.....
      Sambhaji Raje was one of the greatest warrior in the history of India, having fought 120 battles in his short rule of nine years...
      the son of Shivaji Maharaj who grew up under the guidance of Jija mata was full of principles ,knowledge, bravery and patroitism , he was introduced and induced to battle field ever since a very young age of 14-16 yrs, where was there any time available with him to develop bad habits and bad company ? do you mean to say that the teachings of Shivaji Maharaj and Jijamata could so easily be forgotten or abandoned ?

  12. Rohan I totally agree with you

  13. Does anyone know how dhanaji jadhav died?

    1. dhanaji jadhav dies in panipat war against abdali

  14. There are divrgent views on Sambhaji maharaj in the available information. One fact is clear. He was put under house arrest by his father Cghtrapathi shivaji maharaj in a separate fort annoyed by his behaviour and this can not be negated by readers. Shivaji maharaj was prudent, fair and posessed very high character. this no one can deny. It also indicated that there were short comings with the young Shambhaji which his father did not overlook. Regarding Brahmin girl some Brahamins no doubt blamed him. As it is Brahmins were divided on Shivajis coronation and right to be the king. No doubt shambhaji was a sanskrit scholor and was very very brave even braver than his father.He became immortal after his sacrifice. Available information does not glorify Kavi Kulash. It is believed that Sambhaji believed in the magical powers of Kavi kulash and however no magical powers of kavi kulash could prevent capture of sambhaji by Mughals.Plesae remeber that for a coin there are two sides. The information available is divided. However Published history by forein authors indicates short comings in shambhaji. There is also a truth in readers saying that some Brahmin sections spread wrong information about Sambhajis character and vices. Even today sections are at logger heads in maharshtra over satues of jija bai and Kond dev etc at some place and it was in news.

    1. true sir, there are stories of bad deed...but there are more facts about good behaviour and bravery. The stories about bad deeds were purposely being spread by a section of people who were supported by a close family member due to personal interest....
      there are no facts available to prove about any bad deeds...
      kavi Kalash too was a learned pandit and very brave too...he himself had led some battle fronts and won them for the maratha kingdom, he was the one who gave Sambhaji Raje to the very last...
      pl do not believe in rumors which were spread that time without any concrete proof

    2. Dr. Rao have you observed the names of people and their association, who had made movies on Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji maharaj and their lineage? I will request you to do so. Today whatever information available in public domain about the Marath's are wrong.

      Its a well known fact, what happens when Indians are united! The Kshatriyas, Bharamins, Harijan's, Sikhs, and even few Muslims who fought united with Shivaji Maharaj created an entire beautiful world within a short span of time.

      Actually, the first world war was fought by Shivaji where he faced enemies from middle east and Europe. The french, British, Dutch, Portugal, Adilshai, Mughals, Qutubshi, Nizamshahi, Arabs, Afghanistan and also few other small European and middle east countries invaded India. However, the Marathas successfully protected India until its last breath. Don't forget the Alexander who was successfully defeated in his first battle and is still known as Alexander the great even after facing defeat.

      Tell me which country men has fought war for more than 800 years day and night and triumphed, ITS US!

      So please be united which ever cast, religion or faith you follow.

      Rumors and hypothesis are created to divide us and rule over us. You have no idea what atrocities our people have faced they are far worst then "Schindler's list" or the Nazi holocaust.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. How Chhatrapati Rajaram actually escaped from Raigad is still not clear and did he hide the Maratha Thronesome where on Raigad before escaping? Some say that Zulphikar broke it but it is said that in there is no note in Mughal letters regarding this capture or destruction of Thorne

  16. I wanted to know the death or kill of that rascal Ganoji shirke. If any one know plz write on blog.

  17. Feeling very bad as Mr Rao put his negative view. My heart shakes everytime I read about Raje Sambhaji's death. It feels as if history should repeat and i would save Raje till the last drop of my blood.

  18. Dear Abhijit,
    You claim to be a person fascinated by history & thus write blogs. It's definitely a good initiative & must be encouraged. However, you should be careful that the history is correct & not distorted. You flip-flop in relationship between Sambhaji Jadhav & Dhanani Jadhav.

    Also, I have noticed that some of the comments are deleted by you, which may not be in a good taste & I agree. However, you seems to be OK with what Prabhakar Rao writes about Dharmveer Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. Please introspect. Thanks