A Hindu kid in the 21st century living in India, or Hindustan, will proudly say that Hinduism was revived because of the bravery of Shivaji Maharaj, who built his kingdom from zero and went on to become a hero amidst constant attack from the Islamic invaders whose prime motive was to convert Hindus.
But we don’t know much about Shivaji Maharaj’s eldest son Sambhaji, who died at the hands of enemies because he refused to convert to Islam. When he breathed his last breath, he was just 31 years old.
Sambhaji lost his mother Saibai when he was just two years old. Since then his responsibilities fell on to the shoulders of Jijabai, Shivaji’s mother. Sambhaji who was born on May 14th, 1657 had inculcated variously skilled at a very tender age.
When we go through the stories of several kings, we hear that the kings were brave when it came to expanding their territory. But there are only few kings in the history who were experts in both fighting skills and knowledge. Yes, Shambhaji was not only a brave warrior but also well versed with scriptures. He had written several books when he was in his early teens.
When Shambhaji was just 12 years, he lost his father Shivaji and since then the mammoth task of handling the Maratha kingdom was his responsibility. Note that at that time, he was covered with enemies at all the corners of his kingdom.
Since his early age, Sambhaji was trained by his guru Keshav Pandit a.k.a Keshav Bhatta of Shringarpur. Under his guidance, Sambhaji learnt several languages and attained proficiency in Sanskrit too. Historical books suggested that Keshav Pandit taught science and music that were authored by ancient scholars in Sanskrit.
As mentioned earlier, Sambhaji had written several books and his most popular and praised book was “Budhbhushanam” written in Sanskrit language, where he had written poetry on politics. Nayikabhed, Saatsatak and Nakhshikha were the other books written in Hindi.
The tragic death of Sambhaji:
History says us that several Hindu kingdoms fell at the hands of Islamic invaders because someone from within had betrayed the king. For example, Prithviraj Chauhan was taken captive due to Jai Chand; and the same was the case with Sambhaji Maharaj.
Due to the betrayal of an insider, Sambhaji was captured one day by the soldiers led by Muqarrab Khan at Sangameshwa. Along with Sambhaji, even his advisor Kavi Kalash was captured by the Mughuls. What followed was a series of acts of torture and humiliation.
Sambhaji and his adviser were tied to chains and paraded to the court of Aurangzeb like wild animals. Before taking to Aurangzeb, they both were dressed up like buffoons and were tortured by spitting and urinating on them. Few even poked them with spears.
When confronted, Aurangzeb gave Sambhaji Maharaj an offer. It was to accept Islam, give the location of the hidden treasure and reveal the details of the Maratha officers, who were his secret agents. But brave Sambhaji refused to do so even though he knew the repercussion.
Later on, their eyes were removed with hot iron rods, tongues were cut off and other forms of tortures followed. Amidst this, the conversion offer was still on but both the brave men refused it. With every passing day, the degree of torture increased and even their limb were cut off.
On 11th March, 1689, the life of 31 year old Sambhaji Maharaj and his adviser came to an end after their head were chopped off.
Maasir-i-Alamgiri– A History of Emperor Aurangzeb mentioned “Therefore, after the arrival of the Emperor (Aurangzeb) at Koregaon on Sunday the 3rd March, he was executed along with Kavi Kalas with the sword on Monday, the 11th March 1689”.
Persian history (Fatuhat I Alamgiri) states “At last the case was reported to the Emperor and by his order Shambaji was taken to the place of execution and his limbs were hacked off one after the other- his severed head was publicly exposed across the Empire and taken to Delhi and hung on the gate of that city”.
Aurangzeb might have cunningly conquered Sambhaji Maharaj but he couldn’t force him to do what he wanted, till Sambhaji had life in his. Since then he is in the hearts and minds of millions and millions of Hindus.