Dharmveer Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj - 14 May 1647

Dharmveer Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj,  or Shambhu Raje as he was fondly called, was the eldest son of the legendary Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was born on 14 May 1647 at Fort Purander.  

Sambhaji was called Dharmveer because he kept Aurangzeb engaged for many years and refused to convert himself to Islam when Sambhaji was captivated by Aurangzeb.  Sambhaji was tortured for more than forty  days, but did not succumb to the pressure. The last three days were the cruelest of all. Aurangzeb ordered the Sambhaji's tongue to be pulled out, his eyes were gouged out, and his limbs were severed. On the third day, his head was taken off his shoulders. 

Sambhaji  was a true Hindu martyr, one who preferred death to an ignoble life of subservience by Islamic terrorists like Aurangzeb. In modern days too, we have seen how the Jihadis behead the infidels. This is the same age old 6th century   mindset which is endangering the entire humanity,  even today.

Sambhaji's mother was Saibai, from the family of the Nimbalkars of Phaltan. She died early,   at Fort Rajgad,  after a brief illness, leaving young Sambhaji in the care of his grandmother, Jijabai. Shivaji was away on various expeditions, so the young Sambhaji was reared by his grandmother and his stepmothers.

On June 6th, 1674 at the time of the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj, he was declared the prince of the Sovereign Maratha Kingdom. As a prince, Sambhaji proved his bravery and military brilliance on more than one occasion. He led and won his first war at Ramnagar at the age of 16. 

The politics fuelled by the wife Soyarabai, of Shivaji Maharaj, with some other courtiers led to Sambhaji’s estrangement. For almost one year, Sambhaji left Shivaji’s kingdom and joined Aurangzeb’s commander, Diler Khan as part of politics. This came as a rude and extremely sad shock to Shivaji. Thereafter Sambhaji was not even informed of the sudden death of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj a few days. 

Soyarabai and her supporters plotted to arrest Sambhaji at the fort of Panhala, where he was staying at the time of Shivaji’s death. They wanted to crown Rajaram and not allow Sambhaji to become the Maratha emperor. However Sarnobat (the Supreme Commander of the Maratha forces) and Soyarabai’s brother, Hambirrao Mohite supported Sambhaji since he was the rightful heir to the throne. At the time of Shivaji’s death, there was news of an impending attack of Aurangzeb’s army on Maharashtra and at such a crucial juncture, a strong leader like Sambhaji was the need of the hour. Therefore Hambirrao did not support his own sister and sided instead with Sambhaji. It was chiefly because of Hambirrao’s support that Sambhaji was able to ascend to his rightful place on the Maratha throne in 1681.

Sambhaji Maharaj kept Aurangzeb away from North Bharat ( aka India ) for 27 years

Sambhaji's first campaign was in May 1680. He openly challenged the Mughal viceroy, Khan Jehan, alias Bahadur Khan Koka. The Maratha forces split into three, one attacking the Mughal territory of Surat, the second raiding Khandesh, while the third took on the imperial forces at Aurangabad. The attacks proved a success for the Marathas.  Sambhaji's second campaign was a daring attempt to capture the sea fort of Janjira, which unfortunately proved a failure. 

Meanwhile, the Portuguese had aligned themselves with the Mughals. The Portuguese viceroy, Alvor, had allowed the Mughals to set up their naval base in Portuguese territory. To punish the viceroy, Sambhaji attacked Portuguese territory (1683-84), and at one point surrounded Alvor himself. But as fate would have it, Aurangzeb sent a large army to take on the Marathas, forcing Sambhaji to retreat.

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 Bharat ( aka India ) again. However, because of Sambhaji Maharaj and other Maratha ruler’s (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's capture and execution

Kavi Kalash (Kalash the poet) was from Kannuaj and Sambhaji's closest confidante and adviser. At Kavi Kalash's insistence, Sambhaji decided to spend the hot summer of 1688 in a palace that had been built by Kavi Kalash at Sangameshwar, a small but climatically cool township thirty-two kilometres north of Vishalgad, and thirty-five kilometres to the north-east of Ratnagiri.

The news of Sambhaji's whereabouts soon reached the Mughals. The Mughal commander, Muqarrab Khan, then devised a daring plan to capture him in person. He was helped in his endeavour by the estranged brother-in-law of Sambhaji, Ganoji Shirke, who showed the Mughal army the way through the adjoining dense forests, simultaneously providing the Mughals with logistics and information about Sambhaji's movements.

Aurangzeb wanted to punish Sambhaji for harbouring his rebel son Jalaluddin ( aka Akbar, the ordinary ). In February 1688, Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were surrounded and captured. They were brought before Aurangzeb, who had himself encamped at Akluj (near Pandharpur).

They were both humiliated in public and paraded before the crowds. Aurangzeb then offered Sambhaji an insulting proposition. Sambhaji should surrender all his forts and the amassed Maratha treasure to the Mughals. Secondly, he should reveal the names of all Mughal officers who were secretly colluding with the Marathas, and thirdly Sambhaji should convert himself to Islam and serve the emperor for the near future. In return Aurangzeb would spare Sambhaji's life.

But the fearless Maratha king scornfully retorted that he would accept the emperor's conditions only if Aurangzeb agreed to marry off his daughter to him. Sambhaji then exchanged insult for insult. This audacity incensed the emperor no end and he ordered Sambhaji's execution. For three days Sambhaji was tortured at Vadu, on the banks of the River Bhima, near Pune. Aurangzeb ordered the Sambhaji's tongue to be pulled out, his eyes were gouged out, and his limbs were severed.

Sambhaji was subjected to a very horrific ordeal. But he bore it bravely until, on the third day, his head was taken off his shoulders.

So ended the life of a brave king on 11 March 1689. This great warrrior martyr, inspired Marathas for a  fightback.

After Sambhaji's death, all of the Maratha nobles forgot their differences, united under the banner of Chatrapati Rajaram (Sambhaji's half-brother), and continued their struggle against the Mughals.

Dharmveer Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Ki Jai !!!

English : vishvabharat


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