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Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja: The epitome of adherence towards Motherland

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja was the second emperor or Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire who ruled from 1681 to 1689. Sambhaji Maharaja was born at Purandar Fort on May 14, 1657, to Shivaji Maharaj the founder of the Maratha Empire and Sai Bai. Sambhaji Maharaj considers for his bravery, strength, and adherence towards his Motherland and Religion.

Sambhaji’s mother Sai Bai died when he was only two years old, later his paternal grandmother Jijabai raised him and makes him a warrior and true devotee of the motherland like his father Shivaji. At the age of 9, Sambhaji was sent to live with Maharaja Jai Singh I at Aamer Fort as a political hostage for the conformity of Treaty of Purandar with Mughal where he became Mughal Mansabdar.

 

Sambhaji was married to Jivubai daughter of Pilajirao Shirke and marriage was related to the political alliance later she changed her name to Yesubai. This marriage results in strengthening the power of the Maratha Empire as the marriage give Shivaji access to the Konkan coastal belt. Sambhji and Yeshubai issued a daughter named Bhavani Bai and a son named Shahu I who later became the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire.


Chhatrapati Sambhaji’s life was largely influenced by the ongoing wars of Maratha’s with Mughal, Portuguese, Siddis, and Mysore which prove him a great warrior. Sambhaji’ Father Shivaji led the foundation of the Maratha Empire and the Emergence of Hindutva Ideology again when the nation was covered with the Mughal and Nizam, which he continued till his last breath. 


Accession and Confrontation within Bhosale family over Throne


Sambhaji was held captured at Panhala Fort at the time of Shivaji’s death by Soyarabai Sambhaji’s stepmother and Shivaji’s second wife and her influential Sardar's like Annaji Datto, to prevent him from succeeding the throne. Soyarabai intended to install her 10 years old son over the Throne and got succeeded in the plan on 21 April 1680. 


Sambhaji plotted his escape from the fort and killed the fort commander (Kiledar) and successfully took possession of the Panhala Fort. Sambhaji finally captured the Rajgargh Fort and imprisoning Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, Soyarabai, and all those who conspired against him.


The second attempt of Soyarabai to poison Sambhaji was also failed and as a result of that Sambhaji executed Soyarabai, Annaji Datto, henchman of Soyarabai’s and Yeshubai’s Shirke family on the charges of conspiracy against the ruler.


Governance and Literacy work:


The Administration of Sambhaji Maharaja constitutes eight councils of the minister in it along with Chandogamatya. He was recognized to be a great administrator of his times as he delivers unprejudiced justice to his subjects. He works on the principles of his father Shivaji Maharaja by inheriting the system and policies established by his father.


Sambhaji was well known for his progressive policies in the field of agriculture as he promoted the small farmers with his decisions of water storage, irrigation, and advancing crop patterns during times of famine or drought. He also focused on increasing the income of small farmers by promoting agricultural activities into his reign.


Sambhaji was very well literate and well versed. He attains expertise in around 8-9 languages including Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, and many more. Sambhaji also wrote several books like Budhbhushanam which was written in Sanskrit and talks about Politics and Military tactics. Nayikabhed, Saatsatak, and Nakhshikha were the books written by him in the Hindi language.


During the Mysore campaign, the creative or scientific nature of Sambhaji explored as he discovered the leather jackets for his army so that they can remain protected from the lethal arrows fired by the enemy forces. The Sambhaji also had the concept of building the causeway of 800 meters on the sea from Rajapuri and Janjira so that army can surpass and defeat the Siddis of Janjira.


Military Career of Sambhaji Maharaja: 

  

Sambhaji Maharaja along with his father escaped the Mughal’s prison in a very astonishing way as some theories stated that they escaped through a basket full of flowers. The other theories confirm that they escaped by enacting as a priest. This incident shows the brilliance of Sambhaji at a very small age.


During the Mughal campaign, the Aurangzeb shifted to the Deccan as he faced tough competition from the Maratha’s and their influence over Maratha’s is diminishing day-by-day. Aurangzeb’s fourth son Akbar also joined Sambhaji including some mansabdar’s of Mughal Court by attaining his trust. Sambhaji helped Akbar to flee to Persia.


The Maratha’s under the leadership of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja decisively defeated the numerically strong Mughal army in the campaign by using Guerilla warfare tactics and Small military combats. This result in a reduction in hope of Aurangzeb in attaining the Deccan from Maratha’s and forcefully withdrew him from the Deccan. 


Sambhaji Maharaja also led the successful campaign against the Portuguese, Siddis, and Mysore during his reign. He also invades and looted the Burhanpur where Mughal’s use to collect Jaziya taxes from devotees. 


Execution of Sambhaji Maharaja:


The Battle of Wai results in the weakening of the Maratha Forces as a prominent Maratha leader Hambirao Mohite was killed in the battle. The Sambhaji while making the strategy with his prominent military commanders to conquer the Mughal’s at the Skirmish at Sangameshwar in February 1689, one of his brother-in-law betrayed the Maratha’s by locating the current position of the Maratha’s to the Mughal Commander Muqarrab Khan. The Maratha’s were surrounded from all sides and as a result of that Sambhaji got captured by the Mughal’s. 

 

The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Sambhaji to embrace Islam but he refused to do it only to protect three things that are Dev, Desh, and Dharma (God, Country, and Religion).


The Sambhaji in Mughal Court when presented an offer to become Mughal General and accept Islam but at the first time his tongue torn off on refusal, again the question was put he refused by writing and said “No Never” and then tortured to death. The nails were torn off, was made wearing the clown’s clothes where Mughal soldiers urinated upon him, when asked again to accept Islam he again refused as a result his eyes were gouged out, he again refused his skin was removed from the body and with each passing day one of his body parts were taken out as a result of this torture he lost his life on March 11, 1689. 


Succession


After the tortures death of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja, Rajaram his half-brother succeeded him and transfer the capital far south to Jinji whereas Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav continue to avenge the death of Sambhaji Maharaja by harassing the Mughal Army.    

Later, under the leadership of Sambhaji’s son Shahu Maharaja fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha empire again become strong by capturing most of the Mughal territories.


Therefore, on the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaja let us remember the one who sacrifices his life by torture for his Country, God, and Religion. The Government of India also planning to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar to present a tribute to one who protected the dignity of the Hindu religion.

 

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