Chatrapati Rajaram Bhosale was the youngest son of
Shivaji. He was born in 1661 at Fort Raigad.
When his elder (half) brother, Sambhaji, was
executed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Rajaram was under house
arrest (on the orders of his brother, after his mother Soyrabai had
tried an unsuccessful coup attempt against Sambhaji). However, after
Sambhaji's execution, the Marathas felt the need for unifying their
ranks against the Mughals.
After the coronation of her infant son
Shahuji as the next king, Sambhaji's widow Yesubai ordered the
immediate release of Rajaram. She also magnanimously requested that
Rajaram be made regent.
In 1689, a traitor by the name of Suryaji
Pisal, who was the killedar of Fort Raigad, surrendered the fort
(along with Queen Yesubai and the infant king Shahu) to the Mughals.
Rajaram was then at Fort Vishalgadh.
With both the queen mother and the young
king being taken away as captives by the Mughals, the Maratha
ministers (such as Ramchandrapant Bavdekar, Prahlad Niraji, Khando
Ballal Chitnis, Hanmante, etc) felt the need for an immediate
succession in order to fill the leadership vacuum. Rajaram was soon
declared the next king in 1681.
Rajaram has been described as a person
with a congenial demeanour, someone who was flexible in his approach and
accommodating towards one and all. He wasn't a warrior in the real
sense like his predecessors, but was able to evoke the loyalty of
Rajaram was married to Jankibai, the daughter of Prataprao Gujar.
His second wife was Tarabai, the daughter of Hambirao Mohite, and thirdly
he married Rajabai, from the family of Ghatges of Kagal.
Rajaram's resistance to the Mughals was carried forward by his two
commanders, Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav. On
one occasion in 1689, Santaji even conducted a daring raid into the
at Tulapur, where Aurangzeb himself was staying. Aurangzeb managed to escape with his life.
Rajaram, shown in this print from the museum in the New Palace,
September 1689: the Mughal commander, Sheikh Nizam,
was routed by Santaji Dhanaji at Fort Panhala.
25 May 1690: Sarzakhan, also known as Rustamkhan, was defeated and captured by
Ramchandrapant, Santaji, and Dhanaji at Satara.
1692: Rajgad (led by Shankar Narayan Gandekar), Panhala (led by
Parshuram Trimbak) was recaptured by the Marathas.
8 October 1692: Dharwad in Karnataka was captured by Santaji Dhanaji.
14 December 1692: Santaji defeated Alimardan Khan and took him captive
9 January 1693: Santaji defeats and captures Ismailkhan Makha,
Janisaar Khan for ransom.
5 January 1693: the Mughal camp at Desur was looted by Santaji Dhanaji.
21 November 1693: Santaji defeats Himmat Khan.
Fort Panhala was the scene of the route of the Mughal army in 1689
1693: Sidhoji Gujar, the sarkhel (naval admiral), captured the naval
forts of Suvarnadurg and Vijaydurg .
1693: Vishalgad was retaken by Parshuram Trimbak.
July 1695: Santaji traps the Mughal army at Khatav.
20 November 1695: Qasim Khan is killed by Santaji at Doderi.
1699: Parsoji Bhosale of Nagpur, Haibatrao Nimbalkar, Nemaji
Shinde, and Atole, along with Rajaram, overwhelmed the Mughal force at
Dhanaji Jadhav defeated a Mughal contingent at Pandharpur.
Shankar Narayan cleared another contingent led by one Sarzekhan near
Fort Raigad was handed over to the Mughals by its commander, or
 After Sidhoji Gujar, the mantle of sarkhel was
passed on to the famous Kanhoji Angre.
Later Santaji fell out with Rajaram and Dhanaji, and was
murdered in July 1697, by a man named Nagoji Mane, who bore a grudge against
Santaji. (It is rumoured that Nagoji Mane murdered Santaji on the
behest of Dhanaji Jadhav, who had fallen out with Santaji Ghorpade.)
Following were Rajaram's ministers: Nilo Pant Pingale (son of
Moropant Pingale) the Peshwa or finance minister, Janardhan Hanmante
(son of Raghunath Hanmante ex-governor Jinji) the Amatya or finance
minister, Ramchandra Bavdekar, the viceroy of Maharashtra, Shankar
Malhar Nargundkar was the Pant Sachiv or accountant general, Shamji
Pinde was the Mantri or home minister, Shrikaracharya Kalgavkar was
the Panditrao or chief priest, Mahadji Gadadhar was the Sumant or
foreign minister, Niraji Ravji was Sarnyayadhish or chief justice, Santaji Ghorpade (later Dhanaji Jadhav) was the Sarsenapati or army
commander in chief, Parsoji Bhoosale became governor of Berar,
Nemaji Shinde the governor of Khandesh, and finally Khanderao Dabhade, the
governor of Nasik.
Aurangzeb was determined to crush the Maratha resistance.
To achieve this, he had himself encamped in the Deccan with a huge force. Due
to continuous Mughal onslaughts, Rajaram escaped in 1689, to Jinji
in Tamil Nadu (a fort captured early by Shivaji). From there he
continued with the Maratha struggle until the fall of Jinji in 1698.
Rajaram managed to escape the clutches of the Mughals led by
But his life was cut short because of illness in 1700. He died at
Fort Sinhagadh, near Pune.
Yesubai Sambhaji, one of the wives of Sambhaji who was captured
along with her son, the new king, in 1689
Rajaram left behind two sons and one daughter, Shivaji by Tarabai,
Sambhaji by Rajasabai, and the daughter, Soyrabai, by Jankibai. His youngest
wife, Ambikabai, whose only daughter had died, became a Sati. There was
also said to be an illegitimate son, Raja Karna (from a mistress
The war continues
Rajaram's feisty wife Tarabai took over the reins of the Maratha army
and continued the resistance against Aurangzeb, until the release of
Shahu (the son of Sambhaji and Rajaram's nephew) from Mughal prison.
What followed was a brief power struggle for Maratha leadership
between Tarabai and Shahu, which was eventually won by Shahu.
Shahu was declared king with Satara as his capital.
Bendre, W S and Patil, Vishwas - Works on
Duff, James Grant - History of the
Mahrattas, Associated Publishing House, New Delhi, 1971
Kincaid G A - A History of the
Maratha People, Oxford University Press, London, 1918