After Rajaram’s death, his widow, took up the reins of government, having crowned her four-year old son as Shivaji III. She infused a new zeal into the hearts of the people and waged a relentless war against the Mughals.
She herself commanded the troops in the battle-field and moved from place to place, fortress to fortress never taking life easy. She re-organized the administration and silenced the discordant chiefs.
Even Khafi Khan admits that she was a “clever, intelligent woman and had obtained reputation during her husband’s lifetime for her knowledge of civil and military matters.” Aurangzeb failed to subdue the Marathas who now carried on raids not only in Deccan but also in northern India.
They recaptured the forts of Parli, Panhala and Satara and in 1704-5 even Singarh, Raigarh and Torna were occupied. The Marathas sacked Baroda, raided Gujarat and threatened Aurangzeb’s camp at Ahmadnagar.
Manucci, the Italian traveller, observed in 1704: “These (Maratha) leaders and their troops move in these days with much confidence, because they have cowed the Mughal commanders and inspired them with fear.
At present time they possess artillery, musketry, bows and arrows, with elephants and camels for all their baggage and tents.” Thus the Marathas became stronger and stronger and established their rule over southern Karnataka.
Aurangzeb now realized the hopelessness of his task. It was not possible to wipe out the Marathas. Sick at heart, the aged Emperor died at Ahmadnagar on 3 March, 1707.