Birth: 12 January 1598
Rajmata Jijau was born to Mhalsabai and Lakhojiraje Jadhavrav, a commanding officer in charge of the Sindakhed territory (a part of Buldhana district today). Jijau was exposed to her courageous father's accomplishments right from birth.
In an age when young girls play with dolls to prepare themselves for a married life, Jijau was immersed in learning the fine art of sword fighting. Her mother Mhalsai nurtured Jijau's courageousness by telling her tales of valour. Excited and inspired by these tales, Jijau compelled her father to send her for armament training.
The prevalent situation in the country was appalling. Hindus were supposed to be servants whose sole purpose in life was to loyally serve the Mughal,Adilshah,Nijamshah dynasty and at the most become commanding officers of territories. They were forced to loot their own communities for the enemy and even give an account of it to Mughal,Adilshah,Nijamshah rulers. Artists were forced to sing the glory of the enemy and the disparagement of their own people before the Mughal,Adilshah,Nijamshah.
As the daughter of a Marathi knight in Muslim employ, Jijabai Bhosle was raised to learn the ways of diplomacy and war lords. Jijau was married to ShahajiRaje Bhosle in 1605. She could see the turmoil of her accomplished husband. She could sense her husband being undervalued despite his great feats of valour under the reign of various Muslim rulers like Adilshah, Nizamshah and the Mughal. Jijau realised that though there was power, it was still just servitude under the Muslim ruler, with no recognition, security or benefit of the community.
It is a credit to her teachings and activities under guidance of Shahaji raje that her son became the first Maratha king. Shahaaji was a brave and capable knight who had tried twice, but failed, to create an independent nation. In the end, he was in effect exiled to Bangalore a city that was hundreds of miles away from Pune , the headquarters of Shahaaji's "nation." His wife, Jijabai, stayed in Maharashtra and raised Shivaji Maharaj on her own.
The Muslim officers would assault the Hindu women. Young girls were being auctioned. A society, who had forgotten self rule and self-esteem, had become mute spectators to all this debauchery. The farmers were in an equally bad state. All their efforts went into filling the coffers of the those rulers, leaving their own stomachs empty. Jijau could not bear to see this pathetic state of affairs. She wanted a courageous person who could fight against this injustice and debauchery.
Goddess Bhavani had to fulfil Jijau's appeal since she too shared Jijau's sorrow in the extended assault on her land. Her religion was drowning; her temples destroyed and idols broken. She too was looking for a capable mother who could appropriately nurture an accomplished son. Both therefore shared the same goal and requirement. Both shared the same dream of Swarajya. The result of this dream was the birth of Shivaji Maharaj and thus was laid the foundation of Swarajya.
Jijau told Shivaji Maharaj tales which started in subjugation but ended in freedom. The accomplishment of King Ram in vanquishing Ravana who kidnapped Sita, the accomplishment of Bhim who vanquished Bakasur and freed the people of his atrocities, and innumerable such tales which idolized the accomplished man and in which freedom was the moral and ultimate goal.
She taught her son ShivajiRaje that every accomplished person has a single purpose in life - to free the subjugated. And after every tale ended was the perception that the community, including herself and Shivaji Maharaj, were subjugated. It was the result of this nurturing that ShivajiRaje resolved that acquiring freedom was the only path and purpose in his life.
While sparking the flame of accomplishment in ShivajiRaje's mind, Jijau also taught him politics. She developed in him the mind-set to deliver equal justice for all and the courage to declare the hardest punishment to the unjust. Jijau herself minutely supervised his armament training. ShivajiRaje benefited from Jijau's guidance in innumerable incidents like ShahajiRaje's captivity and escape, Afzhal Khan's predicament, escape from Agra, etc. When ShivajiRaje was away on a campaign, Jijau herself minutely oversaw the administration of the State.
Children normally learn affection and moral behaviour from the mother and aptitude for accomplishment from the father,ShivajiRaje became perfect under guidance of Maharaja Shahaji and Jijau.
On the strength of her lessons, Chatrapati Shivaji vanquished the thousand year old monarchy and established the Swarajya. Lovingly encouraging, guiding and commending her son's accomplishments, Jijau courageously strived till she saw the coronation of her son. Exactly twelve days after Shivaji Maharaj's coronation at Raigad fort, she breathed her last on 17th June 1674 in the independent Hindavi Swarajya.
Her samadhi is in Pachad village at the foothill of Raigad fort.