FAMOUS EMPERORS OF INDIA

YoungBites. Dated: 4/20/2017 9:48:08 AM


Queen Tarabai


Tarabai Bhosale (1675-December 09, 1761 at Satara) was the regent of the Maratha empire of India from 1700 until 1708. She was the queen of Chhatrapati Rajaram Bhosale, son of the empire's founder Shivaji and mother of Shivaji II. She is acclaimed for her role in keeping alive the resistance against Mughal occupation of Maratha territories after the death of her spouse, and acted as regent during the minority of her son. Tarabai was daughter of famed Maratha general Hambirao Mohite. She also was the niece of Soyarabai and therefore a cousin of her husband, Rajaram. On Rajaram's death in 1700, she proclaimed her infant son, Shivaji II as Rajaram's successor and herself as the regent.
As the regent, she took charge of the war against Aurangzeb's forces. Tarabai was skilled in cavalry movement and made strategic movements herself during wars. She personally led the war and continued the insurgency against the Mughals. A truce was offered to the Mughals in such a way that it was promptly rejected by the Mughal emperor and Tarabai continued the Maratha resistance. By 1705, Marathas had crossed the Narmada River and made small incursions in Malwa, retreating immediately. The Maratha country was relieved at the news of the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who died at Khuldabad in Aurangabad. Of the years 1700-1707, Jadunath Sarkar has opined: "During this period, the supreme guiding force in Maharashtra was not any minister but the dowager queen Tara Bai Mohite. Her administrative genius and strength of character saved the nation in that awful crisis."
In order to divide the Maratha onslaught, the Mughals released Shahuji, Sambhaji's son and Tarabai's nephew, on certain conditions. He immediately challenged Tarabai and Shivaji II for leadership of the Maratha polity. Shahu eventually prevailed thanks to his legal position and in part to the Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath's diplomacy and Tarabai was sidelined. She established a rival court in Kolhapur in 1709 but was deposed by Rajaram's other widow, Rajasabai, who put her own son, Sambhaji II, on the throne. Tarabai and her son were imprisoned by Sambhaji II. Shivaji II died in 1726. Tarabai afterwards reconciled with Chhattrapati Shahu in 1730 and went to live in Satara but without any political power. In 1740s, during the last years of Shahu's life, Tarabai brought a child to him: Rajaram II (also known as Ramaraja). She presented the child as her grandson, and thus, a direct descendant of Shivaji. She claimed that he had been concealed after his birth for his protection and had been raised by the wife of a Rajput soldier. The child was adopted by Shahu who did not have a son of his own. After Shahu's death in 1749, Rajaram II succeeded him as the Chhatrapati. When Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao left for the Mughal frontier, Tarabai urged Rajaram II to remove him from the post of Peshwa. When Rajaram refused, she imprisoned him in a dungeon at Satara, on November 24, 1750. She claimed that he was an impostor from Gondhali caste and she had falsely presented him as her grandson to Shahu. Tarabai urged other ministers, such as the Pratinidhi and the Pant Sachiv, to rebel against the Peshwa, but they refused to help her. She also sought help from Ramdas, a Brahmin in the service of Nizam Salabat Jung, offering him to make the Peshwa.

 

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