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TARABAI ( 1675-1761)


Tarabai was a Maratha regent queen. She was the daughter of Hambirao Mohite, descended from the Chalukya kings, and Shivaji’s commander-in-chief. She was married to Shivaji’s second son Rajaram. In 1700 the Maratha capital of Satara was threatened by the Mughals, and the nobles were forced to flee to Central India. Rajaram died around this time, leaving Tarabai the guardian and regent for their minor son Sambhaji II. They made a stand at Tonk Thoda, but were forced to fall back once more to Bednore. The prince of Bednore, Jaimall, asked to marry Tarabai, and she responded that he would have her hand if he drove the Muslims out of Thoda. Jaimall was, however, killed by Hambirao Mohite for presuming to aspire to marry his daughter. By 1705, the Maratha army under Tarabai’s command had crossed the Narmada and entered Malwa, which was in Mughal possession. There they defeated several Mughal garrisons. Many well-known commanders, including Udaji Pawar and Hybatrao Nimbalkar, excelled in this offensive. This aggressive Maratha strategy reduced the Mughals and during the retreat, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb died at Aurangabad. Later, in order to sow discord in the Maratha nation, the Mughals released her nephew Shahu from captivity and restored him to the throne, thus sidelining Tarabai. She established a rival court at Kolhapur in 1713. She was known as Bhadrakali.
 
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