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Yesubai was the daughter of Pilajirao Shirke, an illustrious Maratha sardar (chieftain), who was in the services of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Yesubai was by various accounts extremely beautiful, wise and prudent. She was fiercely loyal to the goals of her father-in-law, Shivaji, of establishing and perpetuating the Maratha Empire. It is said that she aided her husband, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in the daily affairs of state, giving just and wise suggestions. She was extremely loyal to her husband Sambhaji, and was very proud of his audacity and other qualities. She did not hesitate to go against her own brother when he unjustly demanded of Sambhaji a vatan. She was the most favourite wife of Sambhaji Maharaj, and was his lifelong faithful companion, friend and beloved. They had a son called Shahaji, but he was renamed by Aurangzeb as Shahu to obliterate any memories of his grandfather, Shahaji Maharaj. She was very honest woman. After her husband's death, she herself came up with a sipirtual mind and took the responsibilities of the Maratha power. She, even being a woman, fought with the Britishers and won against them. She was a very courageous woman.
She suffered a lot when Raigad was captured. She was made prisoner along with 50-60 people from the fort and seat of the Maratha government. Aurangzeb never looked after them although they were carried with him, place to place. He paid Yesubai a very low amount for their basic needs. But she never complained. In her life she asked only one thing to Aurangzeb and that too to see her army general- Santaji's dead head. Aurangzeb accepted her wish of seeing the head of Santaji. When Santaji's head was bought to the Darbar, Aurangzeb was touched to see that Yesubai telling her young son to pay homeage to Santaji`s head .