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Statue of Sambhaji Maharaj in Tulapur.jpg

Sambhaji Bhosale (14 May 1657 – 11 March 1689) was the second ruler of the Maratha kingdom. He was the eldest son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire and his first wife Saibai. He was successor of the realm after his father's death, and ruled it for nine years. Sambhaji's rule was largely shaped by the ongoing wars between the Maratha kingdom and Mughal Empire as well as other neighbouring powers such as the Siddis, Mysore and the Portuguese in Goa. In 1689, Sambhaji was captured, tortured and executed by the Mughals. He was succeeded by his brother Rajaram I.


  • In South India when the Maratha King Sambhaji and his minister Kavikalash were taken prisoner, "that very night his (Sambhaji's) eyes were blinded and the next day the tongue of Kavikalash was cut out. After a fortnight's torture their limbs were hacked one by one and their flesh thrown to the dogs"
    • About Sambhaji's death. (March 1689). Quoted in Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • He (Sambhaji) was ordered by the Emperor to embrace Islam. He refused and was made to run the gauntlet of the whole Imperial army. Tattered and bleeding he was brought before the Emperor and repeated his refusal. His tongue was torn and again the question was put. He called for writing material and wrote 'Not even if the emperor bribed me with his daughter!' So then he was put to death by torture.
    • Dennis Kincaid quoted in Y. G. Bhave (1 January 2000). From the Death of Shivaji to the Death of Aurangzeb: The Critical Years. Northern Book Centre. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-81-7211-100-7. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  • Manucci described Sambhaji’s tragic end shortly afterwards (1689 ck) at the hands of Aurangzeb, Aurangzeb ordered him to be bound strongly upon a camel, and on his head was placed a long cap covered with little bells and rattles. This was meant for mockery of the Hindu princes and the Brahmans, who usually wear pointed caps, but without rattles. ... The camel was made to run, so that the rattles made a great noise and aroused everyone’s curiosity, and thus men issued from their tents to see who it was coming. In the course of the procession they made the camel turn from time to time with such suddenness, that the person on it looked as if he must fall from the various movements he made, but the cords with which he was bound prevented it and at the same time wearied him out. Finally, when the perambulation of the royal camp had been completed, the tyrant ordered him to be dragged into his presence. When there he ordered his side to be cloven open with an axe and his heart to be extracted. The body was then flung on a dunghill and abandoned to the tender mercies of the dogs .
    • (Manucci Vol. II 1907: 311-312) in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.283
    Shri Shambhu Raja craves your friendship and after enquiring about your welfare communicates to Your Highness his own words in this letter.
    We have received your communication and understand your object to mean that no opposition should be offered to the Emperor of Delhi…
    Thereafter you came to know how your son Krishna Singh met his ruin for having intrigued with Sultan Akbar ; and after full consideration of the political situation you again wrote to us in laudable terms that we acted rightly in offering shelter in our dominion to Sultan Akbar, that you approved the course we followed and that as we are Hindus, you signified your readiness to execute whatever was considered expedient in the circumstances.
    If such indeed is your real intention, then you yourself ought to take take lead in this affair. The present wicked Emperor believes that we Hindus have all become effeminate and tint we have lost all regard for our religion. Such an attitude on the part of the Emperor we cannot any longer endure. We cannot put up with anything derogatory to our character as soldiers (Kshatriyas). The Vedas and the codes enjoin certain injunctions of religion…which we cannot allow to be trampled underfoot, nor can we neglect our own duty as kings to our subjects. We are prepared to sacrifice everything, our treasure, our land, our forts, in waging war against this satanic Emperor. We have killed many a brave captain of the Emperor, imprisoned several, released some after exacting ransom, and some out of compassion; several effected their escape by offering bribes. In this way the imperial commanders have proved themselves utterly incompetent. The moment has now arrived when the Emperor himself can be captured and made prisoner with the result that we can rebuild our temples and restore our religious practices. We strongly assure you that we have resolved to execute all this in the near future.
    But we are in comparison with you young and inexperienced. We have seen and heard so much about your valour and your zeal for religion. You at present fully possess the seven arms of kingship, so that if you muster courage and co-operate with us in the task of annihilating the power of this Emperor, we can accomplish anything! When we ponder on this situation, we feel extremely surprised to find that you keep yourself so quiet and so unmindful of your religion.
    We are planning to dispatch [Muhammad] Akbar…into Gujarat, so that you on your side must courageously execute whatever is possible. Shah Abbas of Persia has signified his willingness to support the cause of Akbar; but it does not…behove us to accept Muslim help in this cause and enable Abbas to gain the credit. Was it not your own revered father Jai Singh who gained the honour of helping Aurangzeb to capture the throne of Delhi? You can now follow the same example and obtain the same credit by helping Akbar (to the throne). If he becomes the Emperor of Delhi with the help of the Muslims of Persia, they will gain predominance. It is necessary to prevent such a contingency. If you and we join our forces and place Akbar on the throne, we shall get the opportunity of protecting our religion and on your part, you will shed lustre on the house of Jai Singh.
    My ministers Kavi-kalash and Janardan Pandit are writing to you separately at length…
    • Excerpts of Sambhaji's Letter as quoted in [1]

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