After the disintegration of Bahamani kingdom, the five powers of Deccan ruled, relying heavily upon the local chieftains. Major amongst these were the Jadhav and Bhosale. The history of the Bhosale family since MalojiRaje is well documented. MalojiRaje was one of the Chief Mansubdars of Nijamshah. He had two sons, Shahaji and Sharifji. Shahaji’s wife was Jijabai who was the daughter of another prominent chieftain, Lakhuji Jadhavrao. ShahajiRaje and Jijabai had two sons: SambhajiRaje and ShivajiRaje. ShahajiRaje shot to fame after the battle of Bhatavdi. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: the Founder of an Independent State:
(Ever increasing like the new moon and saluted by the world,
this seal of Shivaji, Shahaji’s son, stands for the welfare of all)
Shivaji and the Moghuls:
An important instance in the ShivajiRaje and Moghul confrontation is the defeat of Shaistekhan. Moghul emperor Aurangazeb sent his maternal uncle Shaistekhan to curb ShivajiRaje. Shaistekhan established base in Lal Mahal, ShivajiRaje’s childhood home. Putting his life at stake, ShivajiRaje attacked Lal Mahal with a handful of soldiers. Shaistekhan was taken by surprise in his bedroom and started to flee out the window. But ShivajRaje managed to swing his sword just in time to slice his fingers off. Immediately after this incident ShivajiRaje looted Surat, Aurangazeb’s financial capital, targeting the non-local traders who cheated the locals.
Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj and Maharani Tarabai:
All these years Aurangazeb won several battles but he could not win the war. Rajaram Maharaj passed away on 3rd March 1700 making it a critical point in time. The Maratha resistance was in a grave danger. The heir to the throne, SambhajiRaje’s son, Shahu was in Moghul captivity. At this juncture Rajaram Maharaj’s queen Tarabai shouldered the responsibility. She valiantly fought Aurangazeb. She opened the war against Aurangazeb on several fronts simultaneously. In the face-to-face combats, Aurangazeb could not capture the forts, hence he attempted to ‘buy’ the forts. The Moghul emperor died on 20th February 1707 at the age of ninety, defeated and lonely. He was the only Moghul Emperor to die while on a campaign.