Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a stellar name in history. But relatively few people know about Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, his son. On May 14, his birth anniversary, a look at the ‘tiger cub’s life may prove to be inspirational for many.
Shivaji Maharaj, the visionary Maratha king laid the foundation of Maratha empire. But his death in the year 1680 left a void at the very top echelon of Maratha power. Shivaji Maharaj’s arch-nemesis, Mughal Badshah Aurangzeb was very much alive and had now started to think that death of Shivaji Maharaj meant death of Maratha empire.
This is when Sambhaji Maharaj assumed control and defended the fledgling empire.
Sambhaji Maharaj (born May 15, 1657) was not only a warrior but an accomplished writer as well. He wrote three volumes of ‘Bhudhbhushan’ when he was just 14 years old. The book deals with various aspects of statecraft.
Sambhaji Maharaj fought 120 battles against the then-mighty Mughals and other enemies of Marathas. He did not lose a single one.
The only time when he faced defeat was at battle of Sangameshwar. It is said that he was captured by Aurangzeb due to treachery in his own ranks.
Sambhaji Maharaj was brutally tortured for weeks. The ‘tiger cub’ remained unflinching in spite of unimaginable suffering. He passed away on March 11, 1689.
Killing of Sambhaji is considered to be a huge political mistake committed by Aurangzeb Badshah. The Badshah had thought that with another top leader dead, the Maratha power would wither in no time.
However, death of Sambhaji had exactly the opposite effect. Brutal end of their beloved king enraged Maratha chieftains and they closed ranks to form a formidable opposition that saw them fighting Aurangzeb tooth and nail for next 20 years. The Maratha power did not wither as Badshah had thought but had now become even greater a problem for the Mughal Empire. After the death of Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal Badshah, there was no stopping the Marathas who rapidly captured territory in central and north India to form a huge empire and ultimately make Mughal Empire a puppet regime under their influence.
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