Sambhaji (May 14, 1657 – March 11, 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.
His mother died when he was two years old and he was raised by his paternal grandmother Jijabai.
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, and succeeded by his brother Rajaram.
Sambhaji was married to Jivubai in a marriage of political alliance; per Maratha custom she took the name Yesubai. Jivubai was the daughter of Pilajirao Shirke.
When Shivaji died in the first week of April 1680, Sambhaji was still held captive at Panhala fort.
Some of the influential Sardars including ministers Annaji Datto and Peshawa Moropant Pingale
conspired against Sambhaji, hatched by Soyarabai, to deprive his legitimate right to succeed as a Chhatrapati.
Shivaji's widow and Sambhaji's stepmother, Soyrabai after her husband's death installed the couple's
son, Rajaram, a lad of 10, on the throne on April 21, 1680.
Upon hearing this news, Sambhaji plotted his escape and took possession of the Panhala fort on April 27 after
killing the fort commander. On June 18, he acquired control of Raigad fort. Sambhaji formally ascended the throne on
July 20, 1680. Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai and mother Soyarabai were imprisoned.
Soon after their another conspiracy attempt against Sambhaji using prince Akbar, Aurangzeb's 4th son, Soyarabai,
from the Shirke family and some of Shivaji's ministers such as Annaji Datto were executed on charges of conspiracy.
Sambhaji was sophisticated, educated and well-versed in a few languages other than Marathi.
Keshav Pandit was employed for Sambhaji's education. Keshav Pandit, alias Keshav Bhatta of Shringarpur, was an erudite
scholar in the Nitishastra and Sanskrit language and literature. He seems to have deeper knowledge of the different forms
of Sanskrit literature; Hindu jurisprudence and the Puranas. He also seems to have made Sambhaji
familiar with the famous works of different sciences and music written by ancient scholars in the Sanskrit language.
There are several books by Sambhaji. The most notable is Budhbhushanam which is in Sanskrit and
three other known books Nayikabhed, Saatsatak, Nakhshikha are in Hindi language. In Budhbhushanam, Sambhaji
wrote poetry on politics. In the book Sambhaji writes about dos and don'ts for a king and discusses military tactics. The first few slokas are praises for Shahaji (his grandfather) and his father Shivaji.
In Budhbhushan Sambhaji considers Shivaji to be the incarnation that saved the earth and restored righteousness.
Aurangzeb ordered Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash to be tortured to death.
Sambhaji was finally killed on March 11, 1689, at Tulapur on the banks of the Bhima river near Pune.