Marathi Culture and Festivals

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Jijabai [ Mother of Shivaji Maharaj ]


Jijabai was born on 12 January 1598 and a daughter of Lakhojirao Jadhav in present-day Buldhana district of Maharashtra State. As per the customs of that age, she got married at an early age to Shahaji Bhosale, a nobleman and military commander under the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur in present-day Karnataka. She was his first wife.


Jijabai gave birth to eight children, six daughters and two sons. Of these only the two sons, Sambhaji and Shivaji, survived while the rest died in infancy.


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 the Mughals and Adilshahi. Shahaji became a sardar in Adilshahi 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.


The elder son Sambhaji remained with their father. Shivaji left Bangalore along with his mother, a council of ministers and chosen military commanders. When they arrived in Pune it was full of jungles and wild beasts.She encouraged cultivators to settle. She renovated the kasba ganapati temple. A red sandstone palace of moderate size known as lal mahal was also built. She gave a number of decisions in legal and administrative matter known as majhars.


Jijabai was a very pious and intelligent woman with great vision for independent kingdom. She inspired Shivaji by telling stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Balaraja. Inspired by her, Shivaji took the Oath of Independence  in the fort temple of lord Raireshwar in 1645 when he was 17. In Shivaji's impeccable, spotless character and courage, Jijabai's contribution is enormous.


  She died soon after coronation of Shivaji on 17 June 1674.