Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev
|Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev|
|Rajadnya to HRH Emperor Chhatrapati Sambhaji of the Maratha Empire,
Sacheev of the Maratha Empire,
Sardar of Bhor
(Pune District, Maharashtra)
(Hingoli District, Maharashtra)
|Religion||Hindu, Deshastha Brahmin|
Shankaraji Narayan Sacheev (1665–1707), also known as Shankaraji Narayan, was a popular Minister (Pradhan) and Count (Sardar) of the Maratha Empire. He also served as Imperial Secretary (Sacheev) during Emperor Chhatrapati Rajaram’s reign. He also served as Deputy to the Crown (Rajadnya) under Emperor Sambhaji. His contribution to the war of independence against Mughal rule is considered to be immensely supportive. He was also the founder of the princely state of Bhor located in Pune district.
Early life and career
Shankaraji was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family in or around 1665. His grandfather was an Officer-in-confidence of Shivaji's father Shahaji, and his father Naro Mukund was a Sabnis of Fort Sudhagad during Shivaji’s regime. Being friendly and watchful since childhood, Shankraji became well conversant with the people and geography of the Maval region of Maharashtra at a very early age. In 1677, he started his career under Peshwa Moropant Pingale, and soon he was engrossed by Ramchandra Pant Amatya for the purpose of some special assignments in the Maval region. During Sambhaji’s reign, he was awarded the post of Deputy to the Crown (Rajadnya) for his excellent performance in his field.
Contribution to the Maratha War of Independence
After the assassination of Sambhaji by Aurangzeb in 1689, Shankaraji gathered his soldiers in Maval and started attacking nearby Mughal forces. Initially, he conquered the forts of Wai and Rajgad. Thereafter, jointly with Ramchandra Pant Amatya, he captured the forts of Pratapgad, Rohida, Torna and Purandar. Aurangzeb’s General Shaikh Nijam was also defeated by him near Sangameshwar. Jointly with Ramchandra Pant, Santaji and Dhanaji, he attacked another Mughal General Sarjah Khan near Satara and vanquished his army. Rajaram was so delighted with his victories that he conferred on him the post of Sacheeva (Secretary) in October 1690 and, additionally, he was given charge of the entire Konkan region. Thenceforth, Dhanaji was directed to work under his supervision. He was also responsible for Rajaram’s Zanana (Queens) at fort Karigad. As mentioned in the Jedhe Shakawali, he quickly shifted the Zanana to fort Sudhagad during the capture of Karigad by Alibaig, the Mughal Officer at Junnar, and later on recaptured the fort. He also captured Fort Siddhgad located near Bhimashankar through his subordinate Gunaji Sawant.
Later career and death
After Rajaram’s death in 1700, Shankaraji became one of the closest advisors of Rajaram's Queen Tarabai. Jointly with Parshuram Pant Pratinidhi, he helped Tarabai to enable her son Shivaji II to occupy the vacant throne of Rajaram. In 1705, he captured fort Rohida and re-annexed fort Rajgad to the Maratha Empire. In 1707 after Shahu’s release from Mughal camp civil war between Shahu and Tarabai commenced. Shahu appealed Shankaraji to join him or face the consequences. Shankaraji who was loyal to Tarabai was caught into a great perplexity and depression and ultimately committed suicide in November 1707 at Ambawde near Nagnath. A deeply moved Shahu appointed Shankaraji's orphan son Naro Shankar on his vacant post.