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Sunday, August 9, 2020

THE MARATHAS - HISTORY

THE MARATHAS 

The Marathas Kingdom was constituted in the 17th century in western Deccan.

In the 18th century, it became the nucleus of the much wider Maratha swarajya (sovereign state). The Marathas were the most significant of all the regional powers. The first part of the 18th century saw the decline of the Mughals, last part saw the rise of British & the middle part saw the swaying political fortunes of the Marathas, the lone Indian power strong enough to offer an alternative to the Mughal Rule.

After the Mughals retreated from the Deccan, the Marathas grew as a confederacy of military leaders called - Maratha Sardar.

  • Originally, the Marathas Sardars only held temporary assignments of land revenue.
  • But, in practice, the landed to become hereditary once they established themselves.
  • But, the Marathas Sardars lacked unity & vision for founding an all India Empire. However, the successfully waged continuous struggle against the Mughals until they were destroyed.

The glance of Marathas Kingdom:

 

(A.) Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath (1713 - 20):

  • Known as "the second founder of the Maratha State".
  • He supported Shahu against Tara Bai in the Maratha Civil war; in return, Shahu appointed him as his Peshwa (Prime Minister).
  • He launched the period of Peshwa domination during which the Maratha State transformed into an Empire.
  • 1719: Balaji helped the Sayyid brothers remove Farrukhsiyar.
  • As a reward, he secured the Mughal Sanad of 1719, known as the "Magna Carta of the Maratha dominion". The Maratha king became the Sardeshmukh of the entire Deccan & Karanataka.
  • He laid the foundation of the Maratha Confederacy.
(B.) Peshwa Baji Rao II (1720 - 40):
  • Known as 'Fighting Peshwa'.
  • He sermonized the idea of "Hindu padpadshahi".
  • 1773: defeated the Sidis of Janjira Island.
(C.) Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao II (1740 - 61):
  • Know as "Nana Sahib".
  • It was his reign that Raja Ram executed the Sangola Agreement (also known as Constitutional revolution of 1750) which transferred the supreme power from the Chhatrapati --> Peshwa.
  • Maratha power reached its terrestrial zenith.
  • 1761: Third Battle of Panipat- defeated by Abdali.
  • The Marathas fought under the nominal command of his son Vishwas Rao, but the actual command was in hands of Peshwa's cousin Sadashiv Rao Bhau.
  • Maratha army had a contingent of European style infantry & artillery commanded by Ibrahim Khan Gardi.
(D.) Peshwa Madhav Rao (1761 - 72):
  • He restored the lost fortunes of the Maratha Empire, a phenomenon known as - Maratha Resurrection, with the help of his able minister, Nana Phadnavis.
  • 1771: the Maratha re-installed Emperor Shah Alam to Delhi.
(E.) Narayan Rao (1772 - 73):
  • He succumbed to the intrigues of his uncle, Raghu Nath Rao.
(F.) Raghu Nath Rao (1773 - 74):
  • He was deposed by Nana Phadnis & 11 other administrations (Baarbhai) in what is known as - 'the Baarbhai Conspiracy'.
  • Baarbhai included influential Sardars Mahadji Shinde & Tukojirao Holkar.
(G.) Sawai Madhav (1774 - 95):
  • His succession frustrated Raghunath Rao who now went over to British & tried to capture with their help, resulting in the First Anglo-Marath War.
  • Taking advantage of the weakening of central authority, the big Maratha Sardars carved out semi-independent States: Holkar (Indore), Scindia (Gwalior), Gaekwad (Baroda), Bhonsle (Nagpur).
  • 1795: Sawai Madhav Rao committed suicide.
(H.) Peshwa Baji Rao II (1796 - 1818):
  • 1803 - 05: Second Anglo-Maratha War- Maratha defeated.
  • 1817 - 18: Third Anglo-Maratha War- Maratha defeated.
  • The seat of Peshwa was extinguished.
  • 1818: Peshwa was dethroned by East India Company (EIC) & pensioned off and ordered to spend his last days in Bithoor near Kanpur.

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