As the daughter of a Marathi knight
in Moslem employ, Jijabai Bhosale was raised to learn the ways of diplomacy
and war lords. Jijabai married another Marathi knight in Moslem employ,
Shahaaji . It is a credit to her teachings and activities
that her son became the first Marathi king.
Shahaaji was a brave and capable knight who had tried
twice, but failed, to create an independent nation. In the end, he was
in effect exiled to Bangalore – a city that was hundreds of miles away
from Pune – the headquarters of Shahaaji’s "nation." His wife, Jijabai,
stayed in Maharashtra and raised Shivaji on her own. In today’s terminology,
Shivaji was raised in a single-parent household.
When Shahaaji was forced to stay in Bangalore, he
entrusted Jijabai to lead Shivaji towards fulfilling his dream – that of
establishing an independent nation. To a large extent, Shivaji adopted
his policies from Jijabai. The fact that her own sister-in-law was abducted
by the Moslem rulers was a sufficient motivation for her quest for independent
rule. This fact also made her a strong proponent of women’s dignity. She
provided Shivaji with a vision of a Hindavi Swarajya
(nation). She used Lord Krishna's life to illustrate how properly employed
diplomacy can win against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Since the Kingdoms of Vijapur and Dilli
(Delhi) were very strong and could amass large armies at will, there
was no question of carrying on open warfare – at least not at the start
of Shivaji’s career. Instead, Shivaji was to engage in guerrilla warfare
against the mighty armies of Vijapur and Delhi. Success for this type of
warfare requires: 1) justifiable and sustainable vision; 2) strong support
by the citizens even in the face of hardships and self-sacrifices; 3) belief
in the incorruptibility of the leadership; and 4) early successes as evidence
of long-term sustainability of the movement.
Jijabai provided Shivaji with the long-term vision,
Hindavi Swarajya, against the intolerance and cruelties of the rulers
at that time . Jijabai herself was very much accessible to local populace
for resolving conflicts, providing equitable justice and protecting women
against assaults and rapes by local chieftains, etc. Through Daadoji
KondaDev , a special administrator sent by Shahaaji, she also established
a "rule of justice for all". Both Jijabai and Dadoji, and following their
examples, Shivaji, was known to be incorruptible. By capturing otherwise
neglected forts, Torana and Rajgad, and beating early attempts
by Vijapur to recapture those forts, the long-term survivability of their
nation was established in the citizens’ minds.
Jijabai was more than just an inspiration. She was
also a ruler and defender of the nation whenever Shivaji could not be.
For instance, she ruled when he was surrounded in the Panhala fort
near Kolhapur by the armies of Siddi Jowhar, when he was in the
Agra Jail of AurangJeb, when he was defeated by MirzaRaja JaiSingh
or when Shivaji had to fight far away from RajGad, his capital. In each
case, when Shivaji returned, he found that his rule had not only prevailed
but his boundaries had been widened due to the wise leadership of Jijabai.
Though Shahaaji could not be present on a daily basis,
Jijabai and Shahaaji were a loving couple. When Shahaaji died in a hunting
accident, Jijabai was set to enter ritual fire and thus end her life. Shiavji
convinced her to live and continue the task of guiding him in the completion
of a Hindavi Swaraj.
Jijabai deserved to be the Royal mother. She lived
to see her dream fulfilled in 1,674. She died within a month of the coronation
father, Lakhooji Jadhav, was an important knight in the service of the
Moslem ruler at Daulatabad. This is somewhat ironic. The family name, Jadhav
is a variation on the name, Yadav, the family name of Lord Krishna – the
cousin, dear friend and diplomatic advisor of Arjuna on whose behalf Lord
Krishna delivered Geeta. Yadav dynasty ruled from DevaGiri – until it was
captured by the first Moslem conqueror who destroyed the dynasty and renamed
the fort, DaulataaBaad (the abode of wealth).
name, Shahaaji, honors a Moslem saint. Shahaaji’s parents felt that they
received their two sons, Shahaaji and Piraaji, as boons from that saint.
Hence their Moslem names.
Hindavi Swarajya means a self-governing rule of all those who believe in
the traditions and philosophies of Hindusthan – original name of India
prior to the advent of the British rule. In short, it was the concept of
self rule as applicable in the 17th century.
are a number of documented stories of abduction of Hindu women by Moslem
rulers and their eventual sale into slavery. Historical documents include
prices set on the basis of fair look, membership in the original high class,
etc. Jijabai’s own sister-in-law was abducted this way. She was rescued
after payment of a substantial sum. Hindu men were not free from abduction
and servitude either. The commoners were therefore hoping to find a savior.
The concept of a Hindavi Swarajya was very appealing given this social
will be evident throughout this series, Shahaaji actively supported his
wife and son in their enterprise of creating an independent nation by sending
his trusted assistants as advisors to Jijabai and Shivaji. Indeed, one
of them had the title of Peshava (Prime Minister)! Clearly, Shahaaji expected
his son to become a king. Part