Name: Sambhaji Bhosale
Empire: Maratha Empire
Reign: 16th January 1681-11th March 1689
Predecessor: Shivaji 1
Successor: Rajaram 1
Coronation: 20th July 1680 Panhala or 16th January 1681 Raigad Fort
Born: 14th May 1657, Purandar Fort
Death: 11 March 1689,
Children: Bhavani Bai, Shahu Bai
Father: Shivaji 1
Sambhaji Bhosale, also known as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire, a vast Indian Dynasty. Sambhaji was born in 1657 and succeeded his father as the second Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire after Shivaji's death in 1680. He was the second ruler of the Maratha Empire who ruled from 1681-1689.
Sambhaji's reign was marked by numerous challenges and conflicts. Shortly after assuming the throne, he faced aggression from the Mughal Empire under Emperor Aurangzeb, who sought to crush the rising Maratha power. Sambhaji engaged in military campaigns and successfully defended Maratha territories against Mughal invasions. He adopted guerrilla warfare tactics and led a highly mobile army, making it difficult for the Mughals to capture him. He also had to face problems from his neighboring rulers like Wadiyars of Mysore, Abyssinians of Janjira and Portuguese empire in Goa.
Despite his military successes, Sambhaji faced internal opposition and conspiracies within his own kingdom. He had to deal with discontent among some nobles and faced challenges in maintaining control over various regions of the Maratha Empire. In 1689, he was captured by the Mughals due to a betrayal by one of his own generals, and he was subsequently executed in a brutal manner.
Sambhaji Bhosale was born on May 14, 1657 at Purandar fort, near Pune, India. He was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his first wife, Saibai. Being born into the powerful Bhosale-Maratha family, Sambhaji was destined for a significant role in the Maratha Empire. His mother Saibai died when Sambhaji was just two years old. He was raised by his paternal grandmother Jijabai.
From a young age, Sambhaji received a rigorous education in military strategy, politics, and administration. He was trained in martial arts, horse riding, and the use of weapons. Shivaji Maharaj, his father, recognized his potential and involved him in various military campaigns and administrative matters, grooming him to be his successor.
Sambhaji accompanied Shivaji on several expeditions and witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by the Marathas in their quest for independence. He gained valuable experience and exposure to governance and military affairs during these formative years.
When Sambhaji was just nine years old he was sent to stay as a political hostage with Raja Jai Singh of Amber. This was done to ensure that he would comply with the Treaty of Purandar that Shivaji had signed with the Mughals on 11th June 1665. Due to this treaty Sambhaji became a Mughal Mansabdar. Aurangzeb later put both Shivaji and his father under house arrest when they had gone to his court at Agra on 12th May 1666. However, they escaped on 22nd July 1666. There was a short period of reconciliation between the Mughals and the Marathas when Sambhaji helped his father to support the Mughals against the British Sultans.
After the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1680, there were a lot of conspiracies against Sambhaji. Soyrabai who was the second wife of Shivaji along with some ministers made Rajaram as the King. Rajaram was the step brother of Sambhaji.
Sambhaji, who was still captive at Panhala fort plotted his escape from the fort and took possession of the throne on 27th April 1680. On 18th June he took control of Raigad fort. He was later crowned as Chhatrapati on 20th July 1680. Both Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai and mother Soyarabai were arrested and sent to jail. After taking control over the throne, Sambhaji started his military campaigns against various kingdoms. Sambhaji was married to Jivubai and as per Maratha custom she took the name as Yesubai. She was the daughter of Pilaji Shirke. She had two children Daughter Bhavani Bai and then a son Shahu who later became Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire.
Sambhaji Bhosale's administration as the Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire was relatively short but marked by various initiatives and policies aimed at strengthening the empire and its governance. Despite the challenges he faced, including conflicts with internal factors and the constant threat of the Mughal Empire, Sambhaji implemented several administrative measures during his reign. He was able to centralize the administration and improve the revenue collection system.
He implemented various measures to improve the revenue administration and taxation systems. However due to constant warfare and instability it was difficult to maintain a stable revenue system during his period. Like his father Shivaji, Sambhaji was a patron of arts, literature and culture. He encouraged and supported poets, scholars and artists during his period. Sambhaji paid attention to infrastructure development within the Maratha Empire.
He initiated the construction and repair of forts, bridges, and roads to facilitate trade and movement of troops. These infrastructure projects aimed to strengthen the empire's defense and economic capabilities. Sambhaji recognized the importance of a strong military to defend the Maratha Empire. He continued his father's emphasis on military preparedness and expanded the Maratha army. He encouraged recruitment, training, and modernization of the military forces, improving their effectiveness in battle.
During his reign as the Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire, Sambhaji Bhosale led several military expeditions and faced numerous conflicts. The primary military engagements and conflicts during his rule were:
Mughal invasion of Konkan:
It was a part of the Deccan Wars. It was a campaign led by Aurangzeb against the Marathas. The Mughals were badly defeated due to the strong Maratha guerilla strategy and harsh climate in Konkan region.
Sacking of Burhanpur:
The sacking of Burhanpur refers to the looting of the wealthy city of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh by the Maratha ruler Sambhaji. The Maratha army commanded by Sambhaji and Hambirrao Mohite attacked and plundered the city for three days. The city was heavily fortified and guarded by a force of 8,000. The fort was very important as it was an important trade route and also had a strong treasury.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji ascended the throne in 1680. In order to expand his territory and to replenish the lost treasury decided to attack Burhanpur. In 1681, Burhanpur was sacked by Sambhaji along with his Hambirrao Mohite and tortured the Muslim population. A total estimated loot was around 2 crores. The Marathas also captured the fort and arrested Kakar Khan. Bahadurkhan who had gone to Aurangabad along with 3,000 army men to attend a wedding of his nephew left for Burhanpur immediately when he heard the news of Marathas sacking the place.
Before Bahadurkhan could move out of Aurangabad, Sambhaji had left the place with heavy loot. Bahadur Khan along with 20,000 forces decided to attack Sambhaji and took back the loot. There were three routes to reach Raigad fort. Bahadurkhan was waiting at the first route. However, Sambhaji disguised himself and was able to reach the Raigad fort along with the loot safely.
Siege of Ramsej:
Sambhaji always had the threat of Mughals during his rule. In 1682, Aurangzeb sent Sahabuddin along with artillery, 40,000 army men to attack and siege Ramsej fort. The Marathas, who were numerically less in army, fought bravely and kept the Mughals away for many months by a fierce range of slingshots, huge boulders even though they had no cannons to fight in the fort. But the Mughals who did break the walls of the fort thought it would be easy now to capture the fort. However, the entire 600 Marathas put their lives and built the broken wall within a day.
Aurangzeb was frustrated and angry as he could not take control of the fort. Aurangzeb built a wooden platform to enter the fort. But Marathas who were good thinkers used animal skin and wood to make wooden cannons in the fort. The ammunition and the wooden cannons caused heavy damage to the Mughal army. Frustrated, Aurangzeb left the responsibility to Bahadur Khan Kokaltash and fled to Junnar.
Bahadur tried to fool the Marathas by making them believe that the Mughals would attack from the front. However Bahadur had sent his best 200 soldiers on the rear side to attack the Marathas. When these 200 soldiers climbed the rope to enter the fort, the commander in chief of the Marathas cut the rope and all the 200 soldiers fell in the valley and died.
The fight went on for months and there was shortage of supply of food to these strong Maratha soldiers. Sambhaji was worried on seeing this situation and sent Rupaji Bhosle and Manaji along with 8,000 soldiers to assist them to fight. Bahadur Khan, who believed the Marathas were doing black magic and had a ghost, took the help of a mantrik to attack the Marathas. But the Maratha soldier disguised himself as a mantrik and attacked the Mughals with deadly ambush. FInally Aurangzeb sent Kasim Khan Kirmani to take control of the fort. After six long years of fierce fighting the Mughals were able to hoist their flag at the top of the fort.
Siege of Janjira:
Sambhaji engaged in several military campaigns against the Siddis of Janjira, a powerful naval force along the western coast of India. He sought to weaken their influence and expand Maratha control over coastal regions. These campaigns included naval battles and sieges of Janjira forts. Siddis had formed an alliance with the Mughals during the rule of Sambhaji. Sambhaji personally attacked Janjira in 1682 along with 20,000 strong army , 300 maratha navy ships along with artillery. He attacked the island for 30 days but failed to breach the defense of Janijira. Even after several attempts, Sambhaji was not able to take control of Janjira. However, the Marathas had caused huge damage to the fort and the siddis stopped their activities in the Maratha region.
Maratha Mysore war of 1682:
The Mysore Maratha War of 1682 was a military conflict between the Kingdom of Mysore, led by its ruler Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, and the Maratha Empire, under the command of its founder, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The war took place in the region of present-day Karnataka, India.
The Mysore Maratha War was a series of wars fought between Marathas and the Mysore kingdom. The conflict between Mysore and the Marathas was primarily driven by territorial disputes and control over strategic regions. The Marathas, who were expanding their empire across central and western India, sought to extend their influence into the Deccan region, including Mysore.
The war began in 1682 when the Marathas launched an invasion into Mysore. They initially made significant gains, capturing several strategic forts and territories. However, the Mysore forces, under the leadership of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, put up a resilient defense and managed to resist the Maratha advance.
The war lasted for several years, characterized by a series of military engagements between the two powers. The Mysore forces employed guerrilla warfare tactics, taking advantage of the difficult terrain and the knowledge of the local environment to launch surprise attacks on the Marathas.
In 1686, the war came to a temporary halt when Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar and Shivaji Maharaj agreed to a treaty. As per the agreement, the Marathas recognized Mysore's sovereignty over its territories, and both sides pledged not to interfere in each other's affairs. In the treaty of Srirangapatanam Chikkadevaraya paid 1 crore Honas to Sambhaji as a war tribute.
Campaigns in Southern India: Sambhaji aimed to expand Maratha influence in southern India. He launched military expeditions against the Nayakas of Gingee, Tanjore, and Madurai. While some of these campaigns were successful in gaining temporary control over certain regions, the Marathas faced challenges in maintaining long-term control.
Capture and Execution:
Capture and Execution: In 1689, Sambhaji and his poet Kavi Kailash were captured by the Mughals. Both were taken to Bahadurgad in the present-day Ahmednagar district. Aurangzeb humiliated both of them by making them wear clown clothes. There are various stories in respect to his death Some says that he was taken to the Mughal court, where Emperor Aurangzeb subjected him to severe torture and humiliation. Sambhaji endured weeks of torture but refused to convert to Islam, which Aurangzeb had demanded. Ultimately, he was executed by beheading on March 11, 1689, at Tulapur.
After the death of Sambhaji, the Maratha Empire was in complete state of disorganization. his younger brother Rajaram I took control over the throne. After taking control over the throne, he changed the capital to Jinji. After the death of Sambhaji, Raigad Fort fell to Mughals and his widow Yesubai, son Shahu were captures. Even Sakvarbai who was the widow of Shivaji was captured. Shahu remained in the prison for 18 years until the death of Aurangzeb. He was later set free by Mughal Emperor Muhammad Azam Shah. but the Mughals kept Yesubai under captive so that Shahu adhere to the terms of his release. She was released in 1719 when Marathas regained the strength under Shahu and Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath.
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