Dhanaji Shambhusinha Jadhav
), popularly known as Dhanaji Jadhav
, was one of the great warriors of the Maratha Empire
. His name became inseparable from the name of Santaji Ghorpade
with whom he made terrifying campaigns against Mughal
army continuously from 1689
. After Santaji, Dhanaji became the chief of the Maratha army in 1696
and remained on the post until his death in 1708
Dhanaji was born in or around 1650
, to the historical Jadhav family from Sindkhed claiming to have been descended from the Yadavas of devagiri
. Dhanaji’s grandfather Santaji was brought up by Shivaji
’s mother Jijabai after assassination of his father Achloji who was Jijabai’s brother. Santaji’s son Shambhusinha (Sambhaji) also was brought up by Jijabai with her son Shivaji after his death during the battle at Pavan Khind, He sacrificed his life. He was one more great Maratha whose name is not much known in history. (This was the battle where Veer Baji Prabhu Deshpande also sacrificed his life.)
At an early age, Dhanaji joined Maratha army under Shivaji’s Military Chief Prataprao Gujar
In the battles at Umbrani and Nesari, Dhanaji’s performance attracted attention of Shivaji for the first time.
He was named by Shivaji on his death bed among six pillars of Maratha Empire who would save the kingdom in hard times.
Contribution to War of Independence
At the beginning of the Rajaram
’s regime, Dhanaji was a Pancha Hajari
, a chief of 5,000 soldiers.
In September 1689 along with Santaji, Dhanaji attacked Aurangzeb
’s General Shekh Nizam who had blocked fort Panhala
. Nizam was severely beaten and his treasure, horses and elephants were captured.
, Santaji and Dhanaji were directed to prevent the Mughal
army in Maharashtra
to enter into Karnataka
’s flight to Gingee
On 25 May 1690
, Sarjahkhan alias Rustamkhan was defeated and captured near Satara by Ramchandra Pant Amatya
, Shankaraji Narayan
and Dhanaji which proved to be a big blow to Aurangzeb
In the month of December in the same year, Santaji and Dhanaji were promoted and were placed respectively under the supervision of Ramchandra Pant Amatya
and Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev
In the last quarter of 1692
, Dhanaji and Santaji were sent to Karnataka
to release the Mughal pressure around Gingee
On the way to Karnataka
on 8 October 1692
was captured by 7000 Maratha
soldiers under both of them.
In December 1692
, the Mughal army under Zulfikhar Ali Khan
around fort Gingee
was blocked and beaten by Santaji
and Dhanaji as a result of which Zulfikhar Ali Khan had to approach to Rajaram
On 9 January 1693
, Dhanaji captured Aurangazeb
’s General Ismailkhan Makha, arrested him and took him to Gingee
After lengthy negotiations with Rajaram, Zulfikhar Ali Khan was granted a safe way out in March 1693
did not like. He argued with Rajaram
and left the place without his permission as a result of which Dhanaji was given tentative charge of the army chief. Santaji
, however, soon resumed his duties.
In September 1695 during a great tussle at Chandan Vandan, Dhanaji lost one of his sons on the battlefield.
On 20 November 1695
, Kasimkhan; Aurangzeb’s powerful General in Karnataka
, was attacked, defeated and killed by Santaji and Dhanaji at Doderi near Chitradurga
In December 1695, Dhanaji was defeated in a battle near Vellore
by Zulfikhar Ali Khan.
In June 1696, by order of Rajaram, Dhanaji attacked Santaji for his rebellion near Vriddhachalam but was forced to retreat.
Soon thereafter Santaji was officially sacked and his charge was given to Dhanaji again.
In March 1697, Dhanaji defeated Santaji at Dahigaon with the help of Hanmantrao Nimbalkar.
Later career and death
after the death of Rajaram, his illegitimate son Raja Karna was placed on his throne by his Ministers with the help of Dhanaji. However, Raja Karna died of smallpox within 3 weeks.
In November 1703
, Aurangzeb opened talks with Dhanaji through his son Kambaksh to handover Shahu
to him. The talks, however, could not be succeeded due to the so-called extravagant demands by Dhanaji made on behalf of the Maratha king.
, Maratha army containing about 40,000 soldiers headed by Dhanaji, Dado Malhar and Rambhaji Nimbalkar smashed into Surat
and looted entire region of Gujrat
up to Bharoch
Dhanaji also vanquished the Mughal army under Nazar Ali, the Nawab of Baroda
, at Ratanpur and brought huge treasure to Maharashtra
, with mediation by his assistant Balaji Vishwanath
(who would later become Peshwa in 1713
) Dhanaji left Tarabai
and joined hands with Shahu at Khed.
Soon thereafter he died. Subsequently, his son Chandrasen was placed on his post.
Category : History of Maharashtra