(Last Updated on : 16-08-2019)
The eldest son of Maloji Bhonsle, Shahaji, who was also known as Shahaji Raje Bhonsle was the Raja of Verul and a general in the court of Adil Shah
, the Sultan of Bijapur
. He was an excellent Maratha
general and an early exponent of guerrilla warfare. It was due to Shahaji that the Bhonsle house gained prominence.
Early Life of Shahaji
Born on 18th March, 1594, Shahaji was the eldest son of the Maratha warrior, Maloji Bhonsle. Shahaji also had a brother named Sharifji. It is believed that Maloji had two sons after he sought blessings from a Sufi Muslim, after whom he named his sons.
Shahaji got married at an early age to Jijabai
, the daughter of Lakhuji Jadhav, another Maratha general in the service of Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar
. In the later years, he was married again to Tukabai and Narsabai. He had five sons, Sambhaji, Shivaji, who was the founder of the Maratha Empire, Ekoji, Koyaji and Santaji.
Achievements of Shahaji
The ultimate aim of Shahaji was to set up an independent kingdom of the Marathas. For this he allied himself with Adil Shah of Bijapur, Nizam Shah
of Ahmednagar and the Mughals at various points of time. He tried on two occasions, first one after the brutal murder of his father-in-law Lakhuji Rao Jadhav and second in 1636, which was a formidable challenge. Shahaji was a most successful commander and accomplished a lot in his military pursuits.
During the Mughal
invasion of Deccan, he joined alliance with the Mughals and served the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
for awhile. Eventually in 1632, he defeated the Bijapur Sultanate and regained control over Pune
and Supe. And finally in 1638, he received the jagir of Bengaluru
after Bijapur's invasion of Kempe Gowda III's territories. Shahaji thus became the chief general of Bijapur and oversaw its expansion.
Shahaji died on 23rd January in the year 1664. His death was an accident as he fell off his horse on a hunting expedition. Currently, Shahajis tomb is located at Hodigere near Channagiri
in the Indian state