Jijabai Shahaji Bhosale was the mother of Shivaji, the Maratha king who established one of the largest empires in the history of India. Herself a fierce warrior and administrator, she was instrumental in Shivaji’s quests to establish the Maratha Empire. She served as the queen regent in her son’s kingdom for which she is commonly known as Rajmata Jijabai. A champion of Hind Swaraj who stood against the Mughal Empire, the lady is one of the most inspirational historical figures of the country. On her birth anniversary, let us recall some interesting facts about Rajmata Jijabai.
Jijabai was born to Lakhuji Jadhavrao, an eminent Maratha Sardar and Malasa Bai on January 12, 1598 in the Sindhkhed town of Maharashtra. Jadhavrao was a proud Maratha who served the NizamShahi of Ahmednagar.
Jijabai was married at a very young age to Shahaji Bhosle, son of Maloji Shiledar. Her husband also served the Nizam Shah. They had eight children, including six daughters and two sons. One of them was Shivaji.
Jijabai’s prayers were answered as Shivaji became an independent ruler of the Maratha clan. She, who served as his advisor, had a major role in his accomplishments.
She encouraged Shivaji to avenge the death of her eldest son Sambhaji at the hands of Afzal Khan, which Shivaji fulfilled.
Jijabai was known for her virtue, valour and foresight, traits which she passed down to her son Shivaji. She was also a skilled horse rider and had a way with swords that would put decent fighters to shame.
As the queen regent, she managed her husband’s jagir in Poona and saw to its development. She established the Kasbapeth Ganpati temple and renovated the Keverreshwar temple and Tambdi Jogeshwari temple.
She championed the cause of Swaraj or freedom from the Mughal rulers and helped Shivaji unite the Maratha factions and establish the ‘Hindavi Swaraj’.
She passed away in 1674 in the village of Pachad near Fort Rajgad, a mere twelve days after Shivaji’s coronation.