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YoungBites. Dated: 4/21/2017 11:22:41 AM


Jijabai Shahaji Bhosale(12 January 1598 – 17 June 1674), sometimes referred to as Rajmata Jijabai or even simply Jijai, was the mother of Shivaji, founder of Maratha Empire. Jijabai was born on 12 January 1598 as the daughter of Lakhojirao Jadhav of Deulgaon near Sindkhed in present-day Buldhana district of Maharashtra State. Her mother's name was Mhalsabai. As per the customs of that age, Jijabai was married at an early age to Sha, son of Maloji Bhonsle of Verul village, a military commander serving under the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur Sultanate in present-day Karnataka. The wedding was held in Sindkhed on 5 Nov 1605, when Jijabai was eight years old; her husband was hardly twelve years old and she was his first wife. As per custom, Jijabai remained with her parents for several years before joining her husband.
Jijabai's father-in-law, Maloji Bhonsle, had begun his career as a shilledar serving under the command of her father, Lakhojirao Jadhav. Her natal family(the Jadhav family) was of relatively high standing in the region, whereas her husband's family were just rising into importance newly and according to some accounts, they had risen from the ranks of the Kunbi caste of cultivators. This difference in background and status meant that Jijabai's father had not been very happy to give his daughter in marriage to Shahaji, son of Maloji Bhonsle. He had wanted that his daughter should be given in marriage to an even higher house and he had agreed to the proposal made by Maloji only after some pressure. Jijabai bore Shahaji as many as eight children, six daughters and two sons. All the daughters died in infancy and only the two sons, Sambhaji and Shivaji, reached adulthood. In 1630, three years after Shivaji's birth, Jijabai received a co-wife into her household after Shahaji married Tukabai, daughter of Sardar Bajirao Mohite Pongwadikar of Bijapur, who was Shahaji's close friend and, like him, also a commander serving the sultan of Bijapur. By this time, Shahaji had achieved a certain status and importance as a commander and his new wife came from a friendly family with no hang-ups about status or background. She was also much younger than him, and Shahaji could patronize and indulge her without being made to feel inadequate. He found acceptance and comfort in his second wife and developed a close rapport with her. Within a few years, Shahaji separated his household, granting his estates located near Pune to Shivaji. Jijabai and her younger son Shivaji then moved to these estates near Pune, while her elder son Sambhaji remained with Shahaji because he was the elder son and heir to his father. Shahaji remained in Karnataka with his second wife Tukabai, her growing family and Sambhaji, his eldest son(born of Jijabai). Jijamata died on 17 June 1676.
She wholeheartedly supported her husband's cause. Shahaji had tried to establish a state on the ruins of the erstwhile Nizamshahi sultanate. However, he was defeated by the combined forces of Mughals and Adilshahi. Later, Shahaji became a sardar in Adilshah's army. He settled in Karnataka and got married again. As per the treaty, he was forced to move south. In order to continue the struggle, he deputed her as queen regent.


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