Bhonsle dynasty claims descent from the Sisodia clan of
Rajputs, the same descent as the ancient rulers of
Chittor and later of Udaipur. Shahaji Raje Bhonsle,
common ancestor to the Rajas of Satara, Kolhapur and
Tanjore, entered the service of the Muslim Kings of
Bijapur. He rose to high rank in their service,
eventually serving as Regent of the kingdom, receiving
substantial grants of land and the title of Raja. His
second son, Shivaji the Great, rose to prominence and
substantially added to his father's domains through sheer
military genius. After a lifetime of war, he succeeded
established an independent kingdom in Central India I
1674. His successors continued in a state of almost
permanent warfare, until a succession dispute sapped
their authority in 1707. Shahu Shivaji, Heir Apparent to
the Mahratta kingdom, captured by the Mughals at the age
of nine, remained their prisoner at the death of his
father in 1700. The Dowager Maharani Tara Bai proclaimed
his younger half-brother, and her son, Shahu Sambhaji as
Chhatrapati Maharaj under her regency. The Mughals
released Shahu Shivaji under certain conditions in 1707,
and he returned to claim his inheritance. Defeating the
regent at the battle of Khed, he established himself at
Satara and forced her to retire with her son to Kholapur.
By 1710 two separate principalities had become an
established fact, and this was eventually confirmed by
the Treaty of Warna in 1731. After the death of Shahu
Shivaji in 1749, his successors fell under the control of
the hereditary Peishwas, or Chief Ministers. The latter
came to exercise power, maintaining the Rajas as
figureheads in virtual confinement. The centre of power
shifted from Satara to Poona, the stronghold of the
Peishwas. The Mahrattas were defeated by the British at
the battle of Ashti in 1818, after which, Satara came
under the protection of the HEIC. The state was annexed
to the Presidency of Bombay on the failure of natural
heirs in 1849, under the terms of the doctrine of lapse,
then in force. Although the state ceased as a separate
entity, the adoptive heirs and successors continued to
enjoy certain styles and titles, together with direct
control over their substantial private properties until
independence in 1947.
The head of the family: Shrimant Chhatrapati (personal
name) (father's name) Maharaj Bhonsle, Raja
The consort of the head of the family: Shrimant Akhand
Soubhagyavati (personal name) Raje Sahib Bhonsle,
Rani of Satara.
The Heir Apparent: Shrimant Yuvaraj (personal name)
(father's name) Raje Bhonsle.
The younger sons of the head of the family: Shrimant (personal
name) (father's name) Raje Bhonsle.
The daughters of the head of the family: Shrimant (personal
name) Raje Sahib Bhonsle.
The grandsons of the head of the family, in the male
line: Shrimant (personal name) (father's name)
The granddaughters of the head of the family, in the male
line: Shrimant (personal name) Bhonsle.
Male primogeniture, the head of the family, or his widow,
having the right to adopt a son an heir in the absence of
GLOSSARY: Amatya: Sanskrit version of Majmudar. Amir ul-Umrao: Prince of Nobles, or Commander of
Commanders. Ashta Pradhan: "the council of eight",
the ministry at the head of affairs of state. Chhatrapati: Lord of the Parasol. Dabir: the sixth minister. Himmat Bahadur: Brave Warrior. Kshatriya Kulawatasana: The Head of the Kshatriya
race. Majmudar: the second minister. Mamalakat Madar: Pillar of the State. Mantri: Sanskrit version of Waqnis. Mukhya Pradhan: Sanskrit version of Peshwa. Nyayadhish: the seventh minister. Nyaya Shastri: the eighth minister. Peshwa: the first minister. Sachiv: Sanskrit version of Surnis. Sarnaubat: the fifth minister. Senapati: Sanskrit version of Sarnaubat. Sinhasanadhishwar: the enthroned King. Sumanta: Sanskrit version of Dabir. Surnis: the third minister. Waqnis: the fourth minister.
Manohar Malgonkar, Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. Popular
Prakashan, Bombay, 1971.
Shalini V. Patil, Maharani Tarabai of Kolhapur (c.
1675-1761 AD). S. Chand & Company (Pvt) Ltd, New
Govind Sakharam Sardesai, New History of the Mahrathas.
Volumes I, II and III. K.B. Dhawale, Girgaon, Bombay,
Damayanti Raje Bhonsle
Abhijit Malwade, Mumbai, India.
would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have
changes, corrections or additions to contribute. If you
do, please be kind enough to send me an e-mail using the
contact details at: Copyrightę Christopher Buyers