Jijabai (12 January 1598 - 17 June 1674) also known as Rajmata Jijabai, was the mother of Shivaji, founder of the Maratha Empire.
Jijabai was born on 12 January 1598 and a daughter of Lakhojirao Jadhav in present-day Buldhana district of Maharashtra State. As per the customs of that age, she was wed at an early age to Shahaji Bhosale, a nobleman and military commander under the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur in present-day Karnataka. She was his first wife.
Jijabai gave birth to eight children, six daughters and two sons. Of these only the two sons, Sambhaji and Shivaji, survived while the rest died in infancy.
She wholeheartedly supported her husband's cause. Shahaji had tried to establish a Hindu state on the ruins of the erstwhile Nizamshahi sultanate. However he was defeated by the combined forces of the Mughals and Adilshahi. Shahaji became a sardar in Adilshaha's army. He settled in Karnataka and got married again. As per the treaty he was forced to move south. In order to continue the struggle, he deputed her as queen regent.
The elder son Sambhaji remained with their father. Shivaji left Bangalore along with his mother, a council of ministers and chosen military commanders. When they arrived in Pune it was full of jungles and wild beasts.She encouraged cultivators to settle. She renovated the kasaba ganapati temple. A Red sandstone palace of moderate size known as lal mahal was also built. She has given a number of decisions in legal and administrative matter known as majhars.
Jijau was a very pious and intelligent woman with great vision for independent kingdom. She inspired Shivaji Maharaj by telling stories from Ramayan, Mahabharat,Balaraja. Inspired by her, Shivaji Maharaj took Oath of Independence in fort temple of lord Raireshwar in 1645 when he was 17.In Shivaji,s impeccable, spotless character and courage Jijabai,s contribution is enormous. Had jijabai been not there a diamond wouldn't had come out of the coal.
Jijau's elder son Sambhaji was killed while on a military expedition in Karnataka by Afzal Khan. When Shahaji died, Jijabai tried to commit sati - committing suicide by burning oneself in the husband's pyre, but Shivaji stopped her from doing so by his request. Jijabai is widely credited with raising Shivaji in a manner that led to his future greatness. She died soon after coronation of Shivaji on 17 June 1674.Shivaji was heartbroken by her death.