Sambhaji Maharaj(14 May 1657 – 11 March 1689)
Shrimant Maharajadhiraj Chhatrapati Sambhaji Shivaji Raje Bhosle was the eldest son and successor of Emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire and his first Empress consort Sayeebai.
Sambhaji was born at Purandar fort Sambhaji lost his mother Sai bai at the age of 2. After her death, his paternal grandmother Jijabai looked after him. Initially his stepmother, Soyarabai, also doted on him a lot. In 1666, he was married to Yesu bai, and later the couple had a son – Shahu. He was 17 years old when his father Shivaji was crowned in 1674. On June 6th, 1674 at the time of the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj, he was declared the prince of the Sovereign Maratha Kingdom.
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 frm 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 India again. However, because of Sambhaji Maharaj’s 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 Maharaj fought against the Portuguese in Goa who were very active in the forceful conversions of Hindus through various means like the ‘Inquisition’. He was very angry with them due to these conversions & the demolition of Hindu Temples in Goa. The Portuguese were very frightened of being assaulted by Sambhaji Maharaj,
Sambhaji Maharaj had established a separate department in his province for the ‘reconversion ceremony’ of the Hindus who had earlier converted in to other religions. There is a story of a Brahmin named ‘Kulkarni’ of Harsul village in the history of Sambhaji Maharaj. Kulkarni had been forcibly converted to Islam by the Mughals. He tried to reconvert in to Hinduism, but local Brahmins in his village did not pay any heed to him. In the end, Kulkarni met Sambhaji Maharaj and told him about his misery. Sambhaji Maharaj immediately arranged for his reconversion ceremony and reconverted him in to a Hindu.This noble initiative of Sambhaji Maharaj helped many converted Hindus to reconvert back in to Hinduism.
In early 1689, Sambhaji called his commanders for a strategic meeting at Sangameshwar in Konkan. In a meticulously planned operation, Ganoji Shirke (brother of Sambhaji’s wife Yesubai) and Aurangzeb’s commander, Mukarrab Khan attacked Sangameshwar when Sambhaji was about to leave the town. A small ambush followed and Sambhaji was captured by Mughal troops on 1 Feb, 1689. He and his advisor, Kavi Kalash were taken to Bahadurgad. Aurangzeb humiliated them by parading them wearing clown’s clothes. Later, Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were tied upside down to camels with Mughal soldiers throwing stones, mud, and cow dung at them.
When they were brought face to face with Aurangzeb, the latter offered to let Sambhaji live if he surrendered all the Maratha forts, turned over all his hidden treasures and disclosed the names of all the Mughal officers who had helped him. Sambhaji refused, and instead sang the praises of Mahadev (Lord Shiva). Aurangzeb ordered him and Kavi Kalash to be tortured to death. Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were brutally tortured for over a fortnight. The torture involved plucking out their eyes and tongue and pulling out their nails. The later part involved removing their skin. On March 11, 1689, Sambhaji was finally killed, reportedly by tearing him apart frm the front and back with ‘Wagh Nakhe’ (‘Tiger claws’, a kind of weapon), and was beheaded with an axe. This grievous death was given to him at Vadhu on the banks of the Bhima river, near Pune.
After every torture, Aurangzeb would ask him if he had had enough and wanted to convert – but the courageous king kept refusing. By doing so he earned the title of Dharmaveer (Protector of Dharma) by which he is known to this day. Aurangzeb ordered for Sambhaji’s body to be cut in to pieces and be thrown in to the river. Residents of the nearby village named ‘Vadhu’ collected as many pieces of his body as they could find, sewed them together and performed the final rites on his body. These villagers later went on to use the surname ‘Shivle’ or ‘Shivale’, as per spelling preference, which means ‘sewing’ in the Marathi language.
Sambhaji is considered as a capable ruler and true leagacy of Chatrapati Shivaji.
Powada on ‘Dharmaveer Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj’ by Shahir Yogesh
देश धरम पर मिटने वाला। शेर शिवा का छावा था ।।
महापराक्रमी परम प्रतापी। एक ही शंभू राजा था ।।
तेज:पुंज तेजस्वी आँखें। निकलगयीं पर झुकी नहीं ।।
दृष्टि गयी पर राष्ट्रोन्नति का। दिव्य स्वप्न तो मिटा नहीं ।।
दोनो पैर कटे शंभू के। ध्येय मार्ग से हटा नहीं ।।
हाथ कटे तो क्या हुआ?। सत्कर्म कभी छुटा नहीं ।।
जिव्हा कटी, खून बहाया। धरम का सौदा किया नहीं ।।
शिवाजी का बेटा था वह। गलत राह पर चला नहीं ।।
वर्ष तीन सौ बीत गये अब। शंभू के बलिदान को ।।
कौन जीता, कौन हारा। पूछ लो संसार को ।।
कोटि कोटि कंठो में तेरा। आज जयजयकार है ।।
अमर शंभू तू अमर हो गया। तेरी जयजयकार है ।।
मातृभूमि के चरण कमलपर। जीवन पुष्प चढाया था ।।
है दुजा दुनिया में कोई। जैसा शंभू राजा था? ।।