Rajaram II of Satara
|Rajaram II Bhonsle|
|Chhatrapati of Maratha Empire|
|Reign||15 December 1749 - 11 December 1777|
|Died||11 December 1777 (aged 51)
Rajaram II Bhonsle, also known as Ramaraja, was the 6th monarch of the Maratha Empire. He was an adopted son of Chhattrapati Shahu. Tarabai had presented him to Shahu as her own grandson, and used him to grab power after Shahu's death. However, after being sidelined, she stated that Rajaram II was only an impostor. Nevertheless, Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao retained him as the titular Chhatrapati. In reality, Peshwa and other chiefs had all the executive power, while Rajaram II was only a figurehead.
In the 1740s, during the last years of Shahu's life, Tarabai brought Rajaram II to him. She presented the child as her grandson, and therefore, as a direct descendant of Shivaji through her husband Rajaram. She claimed that he had been concealed after his birth for his protection, and had been raised by the wife of a Rajput soldier. Consequently, Shahu adopted him as a child.
After Shahu's death, Rajaram II was appointed as the new Chhatrapati, the king of the Marathas. When Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao left for the Mughal frontier, Tarabai urged Rajaram II to remove him from the post of Peshwa. When Rajaram refused, she imprisoned him in a dungeon at Satara, on 24 November 1750. She claimed that he was an impostor from Gondhali caste, and she had falsely presented him as her grandson to Shahu. His health deteriorated considerably during this imprisonment. Tarabai later signed a peace treaty with the Peshwa, acknowledging his superiority. On 14 September 1752, Tarabai and the Peshwa took an oath at Khandoba temple in Jejuri, promising mutual peace. At this oath ceremony, Tarabai also swore that Rajaram II was not her grandson, but an impostor from the Gondhali caste. Nevertheless, the Peshwa retained Rajaram II as the titular Chhhatrapati and a powerless figurehead.
During Rajaram II's reign, the power of the Chhatrapati based in Satara was almost totally overshadowed by his hereditary Peshwas belonging to the Bhat family in Pune and other commanders of the empire such as the Holkars, Gaekwad, Scindia and Bhonsale (Nagpur). During this period, the Marathas were engaged in a continual conflict with the Durranis based in Afghanistan.
- V.S. Kadam, 1993. Maratha Confederacy: A Study in its Origin and Development. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi.
- Biswamoy Pati, ed. (2000). Issues in Modern Indian History. Popular. p. 30. ISBN 9788171546589.
- Charles Augustus Kincaid and Dattatray Balwant Parasnis (1918). A History of the Maratha People Volume 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 2–10.
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