Jijabai Bhosale

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 ceremony.  Part 2

Jijabai’s 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).
The 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.
A 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.
There 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 background.
As 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 2