Tarabai Bhonsle – War with Peshwa Nanasaheb – Queen of Maratha Empire 14 April 1675 – 9th December 1761 – Queen of Chhatrapathi Rajaram Bhonsle – Mother of Shivaji II

 Tarabai Bhonsle – Early Life

Tarabai was the daughter of the Maratha general Hambirao Mohite and niece of Soyarabai, second wife of Chhatrapathi Shivaji. After the death of Rajaram and imprisonment of Shahu (Chhatrapati Rajaram’s Elder Brother) Tarabai Bhonsle became the de facto head of government and assigning the crown to her son Shivaji II at the age of 25. Tarabai Bhonsle was a bold women and capable of making wise decisions.

Tarabai Bhonsle – Queen of Maratha Empire – Queen of Chhatrapathi Rajaram Bhonsle – Mother of Shivaji II

Tarabai Bhonsle – Commander of Maratha Force

Under the leadership of Rani Tarabai, the Marathas became stronger and Aurangzeb was forced to be on the defensive. Aurangzeb’s dream of a Pan-India Empire was halted in the hills and forts of the Western Ghats by Tarabai. And she made a surprise attack against Mughals with unusual aggression. Marathas destroyed Burhanpur, Surat, Broach and other rich towns of the western coast. Maratha also established their rule over Southern Karnataka. Maratha Expansion even eased when Aurangzeb died March 2, 1707.

Tarabai Bhonsle – Battle against Chhatrapati Shahu

Shahu, the son of Sambhaji and nephew of Tarabai released from prison after the death of Aurangzeb in order to divide Mughals power. Tarabai, was not willing to give place to Shahu and prepared for a war, Maratha senapathi Dhanaji Jadhav was sent by Tarabai to attack Shahu. Instead, Dhanaji Jadhav despatched Balaji Vishwanath personally to verify Shahu was not a pretender. So Balaji Vishwanath, Dhanaji Jadhav with few others ministers helped Shahu to attain the control. Shahu won a battle against Tarabai troops at Khed, and he finally triumphantly entered Satara and was crowned in 1708.

In 1713, Chhatrapati Shahu made Balaji Vishwanath his Peshwa (Chief Minister) who managed to win over Tarabai’s most powerful supporter, Kanhoji Angre. Rajaram’s other wife Rajasbai and son Sambhaji II, given power in the Southern Kingdom of Kolhapur. Tarabai and her son Shivaji II were sent to Panhala’s prison, where she spent 16 years, and her son, Shivaji II died after 12 years.

Tarabai Bhonsle – Release from Prison and Conflict with Peshwa Bajirao I

Chhatrapati Shahu was without a heir and Tarabai bought her grandson Rajaram II to the throne of Satara. Chhatrapati Shahu adopted him as his child and died at 1747. Tarabai asked Rajaram II to remove Nanasaheb (Son of Peshwa Bajirao I) from the post of Peshwa. But Rajaram II refused because he was close to Nanasaheb, so Tarabai imprisoned Rajaram II in a dungeon at Satara, on 24 November 1750. Tarabai claimed that Rajaram II was an impostor from Gondhali caste, and she falsely pretended him as her grandson to Shahu. Tarabai had met Umabhai Dabhade to help her against Peshwa Nanasaheb. Umabhai Dabhade helped Tarabai by sending 15000 war troops but war resulted in huge losses. Tarabai later realized that she would not able to fight Peshwa Nanasaheb, and agreed to meet him in Pune for a peace agreement. Rajaram II was released and agreed as a powerless head.

Tarabai – Queen of Marathas – Final Days

Tarabai proved that age, time, circumstance were not the limitation. Tarabai Bhonsle died at the age of 86 in 1761 after a great change in Maratha kingdom. This was the same year when Maratha Nanasaheb fought the Third Battle of Panipath against Afghan Ahmed Shah Abdali.


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