Friday, July 6, 2012

Centuries old feud between Peshwas and Mastanis ends

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Centuries old feud between Peshwas and Mastanis ends

Families that have been warring ever since Baji Rao Peshwa I married Muslim girl Mastani come together, make peace over kaju katlis and rasagullas

In Pune When he knocked on the heavy wooden front door of the sprawling bungalow on Prabhat Road, Umar Ali Bahadur could barely contain his excitement. When the door was opened by the elegant septuagenarian Vinayak Vishwanath Peshwa, Bahadur felt an immediate connect. Before the door opened he tried to imagine how his host would look.

"The man before me looked just like Bade Abba - my father's elder brother," Bahadur beams. "He embraced me with affection and I could feel it was my blood," recalls Bahadur. All of 25, Bahadur has come to Pune in search of his roots and this meeting on Monday night was momentous. He was meeting family.
Image result for Umar Ali Bahadur (below) met Vinayak Vishwanath Peshwa at his residence on Prabhat Roadvinayak
 Umar Ali Bahadur (below) met Vinayak Vishwanath Peshwa at his residence on Prabhat Road

The 73-year-old Vinayak Vishwanath Peshwa, a practising Hindu Brahmin in Pune and Bahadur, a devout Muslim from Bhopal are both eighth generation descendants of Baji Rao Peshwa I, a noted general who served as the Prime Minister (or Peshwa) of the fourth Maratha emperor (Chhatrapati) Shahu, between 1720 and 1740 (when he died). The two trace their lineage to the two wives of Baji Rao: Kashibai and Mastani.

The two families have had little to do with each other over the past generations, as Baji Rao's Hindu family disapproved of his marriage to a Muslim woman. Legend has it that Baji Rao's mother Radhabai connived with his brother Chimanji Appa and tried to send her into exile.

Baji Rao's son Balaji too put Mastani under house arrest when he was away on a military campaign. Baji Rao lived with Mastani in his palace - Shaniwar Wada - for a while but later moved her out to a house he built in Kothrud. Earmarking this site, today, is a Mrutyunjay temple on one of the city's thoroughfare - Karve Road.

There are various versions both about Mastani's origin and death. The most accepted (now even by both sides of the family) is that she was the daughter of Maharaja Chattrasal of Bundelkhand and his Persian wife. She was offered in marriage to Baji Rao, along with a third of her father's kingdom (including Jhansi, Sagar and Kalpi) after the Peshwa saved her father from a Mughal invader - Mohammad Khan Bangash.

Similarly, while it’s known that Mastani died soon after Baji Rao's death, there are stories that she either committed suicide by consuming poison or jumping into his funeral pyre.

Cut to present day. History and generations have erased any bitterness that may remain between the two families. Bahadur is a sales officer at DSK Motors Ltd, at Hadapsar. His distant cousin Peshwa is a Remote Sensing Consultant to the Government of Maharashtra, Irrigation and Seismicity Projects. Bahadur had called Peshwa on Sunday to set up the meeting.

Peshwa did offer him dinner, but having already had his dinner on his way back from work, Bahadur preferred to concentrate on catching up on lost time. He called his elders back in his village - Pihor - 35 kms from Bhopal and got them talking to Peshwa. This was done over a box of kaju katli that Bahadur had brought with him and the rasagullas his host offered.

"It was a meeting that took place as Umar was keen to meet me. He and his family members are part of the Peshwa family," says Peshwa. He enthusiastically introduced his son to Bahadur. "We knew that Mastani family has been living in and around their ancestral home in Bundelkhand, but we had no communication." What changed this was a book on Mastani by Kusum Chopra. Bahadur met Chopra at the Peshwa family's Ganpati temple at Sarabaug. It was she who gave him Peshwa's contact.

Mastani(died 1740) was the wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I (1699–1740), an Indian general and prime minister to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahuji. She is said to have been one of the most beautiful women in the history of India. 

File:Peshwa Baji Rao I riding horse.jpg
Mastani(died 1740) was the wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I (1699–1740), an Indian general and prime minister to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahuji. She is said to have been one of the most beautiful women in the history of India. 
Peshwa Bajirao 2 Masatani real photographanother painting of mastani from internet

"The Peshwa has promised me full support in restoration of Mastani shrine at Pabal. Besides he has pledged support to me in all my endeavours to preserve the shrine of Mastani and Peshwas, which are in dilapidated conditions," Bahadur adds. "I want that the interactions of our family must increase further and our age old ties to strengthen every day. The marriage of Bajirao with Mastani itself the set the trend of liberalism in India and we are proud to cherish the legacy each day," he adds.

Peshwa has now invited Bahadur to attend Baji Rao's birthday celebrations at Sarasbaug next Sunday. "We have invited him for our family meeting in the temple as Umar is our family member," he said.

Bahadur, who calls himself a Konkanastha Brahmin Muslim, is all ready for the big day.

Shaniwar Wada - The seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire

 Shaniwar wada was the first magnificent & safety mansion built chiefly as the residence of the Peshwas. The Foundation of the Original residence was laid by Bajirao in 1730 A.D and the construction completed in 1732 A.D at a cost of 16130 INR. The successors of Bajirao mad several additions such as fortification walls with bastions and Gates court halls and other buildings fountains and reservoir. In 1828 A.D however a fire gutted the building, In this palace what now remains are their fortification wall with five gates two each on the north and east and one on the south.The principal gate is known as the Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate), the other gates being Mastani or alibahadur Darwaza, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaza and Narayan Darwaza.

                                                           Mastani Darwaza
Mastani Darwaza or Alibahadur Darwaza: The Mastani Darwaza (Mastani’s Gate) faces north and was used by Bajirao’s mistress Mastani while going out of the palace’s perimeter wall


Image result for Umar Ali Bahadur (below) met Vinayak Vishwanath Peshwa at his residence on Prabhat RoadCenturies old feud between Peshwas and Mastanis ends

Bahadur, who calls himself a Konkanastha Brahmin Muslim, is all ready for the big day.

Bombay Photo Images[ Mumbai]: 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012

In 1802, the British secured the Treaty of Bassein with Peshwa Baji Rao II, which allowed British forces to be stationed in Maratha territory.


Heirs to Peshwas seek ASI nod for ritual

PUNE: The tenth generation of the Peshwas, settled in the city, has sought the Archaeological Survey of India's permission for performing a private vedic ritual inside the historic Shaniwarwada.

Tenth generation Peshwas Krishnarao, his brother, Vinayakrao — descendants of the first Peshwa, Balaji Vishwanath — said they wanted to bring peace to the monument, which had been deserted for a long period between 1818 and 1998, during which it was acquired by the British and witnessed many a major fire. Krishnarao Peshwa, a consulting geologist and gemmologist, said that Bajirao-I built the wada in 1732.

It was deserted by Bajirao-II in 1817 because of the British invasion, but not before it witnessed the deaths of two other Peshwas — Sawai Madhavrao and Narayanrao. "As per vedic beliefs, a peace ritual should be performed at vastus which remain deserted for long periods," he said, adding that the ritual involved udak shant (pouring sacred water on the structure), vedic chanting and havan.

Krishnarao said the ritual, if permitted, would be attended by the entire Peshwa family and some close relatives. "Since the function will be a private one, it will not be publicised and the expenditure on it will be borne by us," he said. He thanked the Pune municipal corporation and Shaniwarwada advisory committee chairman B.G. Deshmukh for reviving the glory of the Peshwas through the Shaniwarwada festival. Interestingly, Deshmukh has recommended that the ASI consider the Peshwas' request. "The Shaniwarwada was the Peshwas' residence.

As such, it but natural that they have an emotional attachment to it," he said. When pointed out that no religious activity is allowed inside historic monuments, Deshmukh said, "The Peshwas' case is different and should be considered as an exception."

Some of the popular spooky myths of Pune:

Shaniwarwada "Kaka! Mala Vachva!"

The origins of this myth go back to the era of the Peshwas. Raghunathrao had hopes of becoming Peshwa himself, but his young nephew Narayanrao was nominated instead. Differences between the two resulted Raghunathrao in hiring mercenaries to depose Narayanrao, but they killed him instead. As they chased him through the corridors of the Palace, Narayanrao appealed to his uncle for rescue, "Kaka, mala vachva! (Uncle, save me!)"

Overcome by guilt, Raghunathrao could still hear his nephew's cries and the legend was born. It is believed that the cries can still be heard.

Raghunathrao - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Raghunathrao Balaji
Ragonath Row Ballajee.jpg
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Peshwa of Maratha Empire
In office
Monarch Rajaram II
Preceded by Narayanrao
Succeeded by Madhavarao Narayan
Personal details
Born December 8, 1734
Died December 11, 1783 (aged 49)
Religion Hinduism

Raghunath Rao (b. 18 Aug.1734 – d. 11 Dec.1783) was Peshwa of the Maratha Empire from 1773 to 1774. He was instrumental in the downfall of the Peshwa ..

Narayanrao Peshwa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Narayanrao was made Diwan of Peshwa from 1770. Madhavrao knew that it would be difficult for Narayanrao to work as Peshwa in presence of Raghunathrao
oImage result for narayanrao peshwa
  1. Narayanrao Peshwa
  2. Narayan Rao was the fifth Peshwa or ruler of the Maratha Empire from November 1772 until his murder in August 1773. He married Gangabai Sathe who later gave birth to Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa. Wikipedia

  3. Born: August 10, 1755
  4. Died: August 30, 1773

Marathas and the English Company 1707-1818 by ...
Kam Baksh had also crowned himself but remained in the Deccan. ..... tax revenues, and he made the mistake of appointing young Imad-ul-mulk as chief bakshi. ... Malhar Rao Holkar and Raghunath Rao (Ragoba) led campaigns in the north and won ..... and had his nephew murdered in August 1773, becoming peshwa.

Maratha history- A regicide - The Frustrated Indian
4 days ago - Since the boy was young, his Uncle, Raghunathrao was appointed as the regent. ... acumen proved to be a serious impediment in his ability to establish himself. ... On Anant Chaturdashi, 1773, Peshwa Narayanrao took to his heels, trying to ... He died full 10 years after he had had his nephew murdered.
Image result for narayanrao peshwa

Peshwa Madhu Rao Narayan in Poona, 1792. (Painting by James Wales)

Sawai Madhavrao Peshwe in the center at Ganesh Bhavan in Shaniwar Wada[Peshwa Madhavrao II in his court in 1790, concluding a treaty with British][Sir Charles Warre Malet, Concluding a Treaty in 1790 in Durbar with the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, oil on cancas painting by Thomas Daniell, 1805, Tate Gallery]

Maratha Empire
Maratha Confederacy

Territory under Maratha control in 1760 (yellow), without its vassals.
Capital Raigad (Maharashtra) Gingee (Tamil Nadu)[1] Satara and Pune (Maharashtra)
Languages Marathi, Sanskrit[2]
Religion Hinduism
Government Monarchy
 -  1674–1680 Shivaji (first)
 -  1808–1818 Pratapsingh (last)
 -  1674–1689 Moropant Pingle (first)
 -  1795–1818 Baji Rao II (last)
Legislature Ashta Pradhan
 -  Deccan Wars 1674
 -  Anglo-Maratha War 1818

Maratha Helmet
Maratha Armory
Maratha Armor
Signature Maratha helmet with curved back.
Maratha Armour from Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

Battle of Assaye during the Second Anglo-Maratha War.

Peshwa Baji Rao II signing of the Treaty of Bassein with the British.

Maratha Court
Gold coins minted during Shivaji's era, 17th century
Maratha kingdom at the time of Shivaji's death (shown here in green)

Maratha Empire, 1758 (in orange) was the paramount power in the Indian sub-continent in 18th and early 19th century, until it was usurped by the British East India Company.
Maratha Empire in 1765 (yellow)

Maratha Empire in 1805 (yellow)

Thanjavur Maratha palace

Maratha Gurabs (Grabs) and Galbats (Gallivats) attacking an British East India Company ship

                                           Arms of Maratha

Sadashivrao Bhau

The Sati of Ramabai, Wife of Madhavrao Peshwa (reigned 1761-1772)

Royal Houses


  • Shahu I (r.1708 - 1749) (alias Shivaji II, son of Chhatrapati Sambhaji)
  • Ramaraja II (nominally, grandson of Chhatrapati Rajaram and Queen Tarabai) (r.1749 - 1777)
  • Shahu II (r.1777 - 1808)
  • Pratap Singh (r.1808 - 1839)

  • Queen Tarabai (1675–1761) (wife of Chhatrapati Rajaram) in the name of her son Shivaji II
  • Shivaji II (1700–1714)
  • Shivaji III (1760–1812) (adopted from the family of Khanwilkar)
  • Rajaram I (1866–1870) (adopted from the family of Patankar)
  • Shivaji V (1870–1883)
  • Shahaji II (1883–1922) (adopted from the family of Ghatge)
  • Rajaram II (1922–1940)
  • Shahoji II (1947–1949), titular Maharaja 1949–1983 (adopted from the family of Pawar)


The Sati of Ramabai, wife of Peshwa Madhavrao I.


Maps showing the Maratha Empire at different stages of history

Thanjavur Maratha Kingdom (Tamil Nadu)

Main article: Thanjavur Marathas
Thanjavur Marathas were the rulers of Thanjavur principality of Tamil Nadu between the 17th to the 19th century C.E. Their native language was Thanjavur Marathi. Venkoji was the founder of the dynasty.
Thanjavur Maratha dynasty :


Battles involving the Maratha Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Imperial Maratha Conquests were a series of conquests in the Indian subcontinent which led to the building of the Maratha Empire. These conquests were started by Shivaji in 1659 from the victory at the Battle of Pratapgad. The conquests ended with the eventual fall of the Maratha empire after the second and the third Anglo-Maratha Wars.

Maratha Empire in orange (Political Map of South Asia around 1758 AD).



After a lifetime of guerrilla warfare with Adilshah of Bijapur and Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Shivaji founded an independent Hindu Maratha kingdom in 1674 with Raigad as its capital. Shivaji died in 1680, leaving behind a large, but vulnerable kingdom. The Mughals invaded, fighting an unsuccessful War of 27 years from 1681 to 1707. Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji, ruled as emperor until 1749. During his reign, Shahu appointed the first Peshwa as head of the government, under certain conditions. After the death of Shahu, the Peshwas became the de facto leaders of the Empire from 1749 to 1761, while Shivaji's successors continued as nominal rulers from their base in Satara. Covering a large part of the subcontinent, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces at bay during the 18th century, until internal relations between the Peshwas and their sardars (army commanders) deteriorated, provoking its gradual downfall.
The Maratha Empire was at its height in the 18th century under Shahu and the Peshwa Baji Rao I. Losses at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 suspended further expansion of the empire in the North-west and reduced the power of the Peshwas. In 1761, after severe losses in the Panipat war, the Peshwas slowly started losing the control of the kingdom. Many military chiefs of the Maratha Empire like Shinde, Holkar, Gaikwad, PantPratinidhi, Bhosale of Nagpur, Pandit of Bhor, Patwardhan, and Newalkar started to work towards their ambition of becoming kings in their respective regions. However, under Madhavrao Peshwa, Maratha authority in North India was restored, 10 years after the battle of Panipat. After the death of Madhavrao, the empire gave way to a loose Confederacy, with political power resting in a 'pentarchy' of five mostly Maratha dynasties: the Peshwas of Pune; the Sindhias (originally "Shindes") of Malwa and Gwalior; the Holkars of Indore; the Bhonsles of Nagpur; and the Gaekwads of Baroda. A rivalry between the Sindhia and Holkar dominated the confederation's affairs into the early 19th century, as did the clashes with the British and the British East India Company in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars. In the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British in 1818. Most of the former Maratha Empire was absorbed by British India, although some of the Maratha states persisted as quasi-independent princely states until India became independent in 1947.

Battles under Shivaji

Battle of Pratapgad

Main article: Battle of Pratapgad
The battle of Pratapgad was the first Maratha conquest. Shivaji vanquished Afzal Khan in the battle of Pratapgad which was fought on 30 November 1659.

Battle of Kolhapur

Main article: Battle of Kolhapur
The second Maratha victory came on the battle of Kolhapur fought on 28 December 1659.

Battle of Pavan Khind

Main article: Battle of Pavan Khind
Adil Shah sent an Abyssinian general of repute, Siddi Jauhar in 1660. Shivaji took up a position at Panhala fort, near present day Kolhapur, on the borders of his dominion. However Panhala was surrendered to Siddi Jauhar.

Battle of Chakan

Main article: Battle of Chakan
The Battle of Chakan was fought between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire in the year 1660. The battle resulted in a Mughal victory.[1]

Conquest of Konkan

Main article: Battle of Umberkhind
An Uzbek general, Kartalab Khan, was sent on a mission to attack and reduce Shivaji's forts in the Konkan on 3 February 1661. He left Pune with 30,000 troops. This time the Mughals did not march openly, since they wanted to surprise Shivaji. But Shivaji took them by surprise at a pass known as 'Umber Khind', near present-day Penn,[disambiguation needed] and attacked them from all sides.

Sacking of Surat

Main article: Battle of Surat
In the Battle of Surat, Shivaji challenged Mughal Fauzdar of Surat. The town was attacked and put under sack for nearly 3 weeks, in which the Maratha army looted all possible wealth from Mughal and Portuguese trading centers.

Battle of Purandar

Main article: Battle of Purandar
The Battle of Purandar was fought between the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire in 1665. The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, sent his generals Dilir Khan and Jai Singh to besiege Shivaji's fortress at Purandar. After Mughal forces killed Maratha General Murar Baji Prabhu on June 2, 1665, Shivaji surrendered and gave up 23 of his fortresses. The battle resulted in a Mughal victory.[2]

Battle of Sinhagad

Main article: Battle of Sinhagad
One fort on the outskirts of Pune, Kondana, was still under the control of a Mughal general. On 4 February 1670 Shivaji deputed one of his most senior and trusted generals, Tanaji Malusare, to head a mission to capture Kondana. In the Battle of Sinhagad, the fort was scaled during the dead of the night, but victory was secured with loss of Tanaji.

Battle of Kalyan

Main article: Battle of Kalyan
The Battle of Kalyan occurred between the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire between 1682 and 1683. Bahadur Khan of the Mughal Empire defeated the Maratha army and took over Kalyan. The Marathas attempted a counter offensive, but failed and they were repulsed by Mughal forces.[3]

Battle of Bhupalgarh

Main article: Battle of Bhupalgarh
The Battle of Bhupalgarh occurred between the Mughal and Maratha empires in 1679. The battle resulted in the razing of the fort of Bhupalgarh and subsequent defeat of the Marathas under Shivaji by the Mughal forces.[4]

Battle of Sangamner

Main article: Battle of Sangamner
The Battle of Sangamner was fought between the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire in 1679. This was the last battle in which the Maratha King Shivaji fought. The Mughals had attacked Shivaji when he was returning from a sack on Jalna. The Marathas engaged in battle with the Mughals for three days until Maratha General, Sidhoji Nimbalkar was killed alongside 2,000 Maratha soldiers. The Marathas were largely decimated, however Shivaji managed to flee with 500 men.[2][5]

Battle of Salher

Main article: Battle of Salher
The fort of Salher dominated the route between Surat and the realms of Shivaji. There was a fierce battle between the Marathas and the Mughal army.[6] It was one of the earliest face to face battles fought by Marathas against the Mughals. The Marathas defeated the Mughals.[7]

Battle of Nesari

Main article: Prataprao Gujar
Balol Khan was sent by Adil Shah to get rid of Shivaji. So, Shivaji sent Prataprao Gujar (the then Commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces) to take care of him. This was late 1673 or 1674.

Southern Conquest

At the end of 1676, Shivaji launched a wave of conquests in southern India with a massive force of 50,000 (30,000 cavalry & 20,000 infantry). He defeated and captured the forts at Vellore and Jinji in modern-day Tamil Nadu. He also signed a friendship treaty with the Kutubshah of Golconda. These victories proved quite crucial during future wars. Jinjee served as Maratha capital for 9 years during 27 years of war.

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj lead the Marathas in War of 27 years for the first nine years.

Battles after Shivaji

War of 27 Years

Main article: War of 27 years
War of 27 years was a series of battles fought between Marathas and Mughals from 1681 to 1707 in the Indian subcontinent. It was a series of battles. The war started in 1680 with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s invasion of the Maratha enclave in Bijapur established by Shivaji.[8]
The war can be broken down into three distinct phases :
  • Marathas under Sambhaji (1681–1689).
  • Marathas under Rajaram (1689–1699).
  • Marathas under Tarabai (1699–1707).
It was a long snakes and ladders war game involving a quarter of a century and innumerable long and short battles. The war ended with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. It also paved the way for the Maratha expansion in the North.[9]

Battles of the Peshwa

The Peshwas controlled the Maratha army and they later became the hereditary rulers of the Maratha Empire from 1749 to 1818. During their rein, the Maratha empire reached its zenith ruling most of the Indian Subcontinent. Prior to 1700 one Peshwa received the status of king for eight or nine years. They oversaw the greatest expansion of the Maratha Empire around 1760 with the help of Sardars (Generals) like Holkar, Scindia, Bhosale, Pantpratinidhi, Gaekwad (Dhane), Panse, Vinchurkar, Wable, Pethe, Raste, Phadke, Patwardhan, Pawar, Pandit and Purandare,Pingle and also its eventual annexation by the British East India Company in 1818.

Battle of Palkhed

Main article: Battle of Palkhed
Battle of Palkhed was a land battle that took place on 28 February 1728 at the village of Palkhed, near the city of Nashik, Maharashtra, India between the Maratha Peshwa, Baji Rao I and the Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad. The Marathas defeated the Nizam. The battle is considered an example of brilliant execution of military strategy.[10]

Engraving of a Maratha Soldier by James Forbes 1813.

Battle of Mandsaur

The Battle of Mandsaur took place in Mandsaur, modern day Madhya Pradesh between Marathas, commanded by Malharrao Holkar, and Jai Singh of Rajputs, in which Jai Singh was defeated in February, 1733. Malhar Rao Holkar then conquered Bundelkhand and Bundi.[11]

Battle of Vasai

Main article: Battle of Vasai
The Battle of Vasai was fought between the Marathas and the Portuguese rulers of Vasai, a village lying near Bombay in the present-day state of Maharashtra, India. The Marathas were led by Chimaji Appa, a brother of Peshwa Baji Rao I. Maratha victory in this war was a major achievement of Baji Rao I reign.

Battle of Delhi, 1737

Main article: First Battle of Delhi
The First Battle of Delhi took place on 28 March 1737 between Maratha Empire and the Mughals in Delhi, the Mughal capital. The Marathas were victorious in the battle and the Mughal emperor signed a treaty promising Malwa province, tributes of the region between Narmada and Chambal and 50 lakh rupees as war expenses to the Marathas.

Battle of Bhopal

Main article: Battle of Bhopal
The Battle of Bhopal was fought between the Mughal and Maratha empires near Bhopal in India in December 1737, and was arguably the largest pitched battle fought in India in the 18th century. The battle resulted in decisive Maratha victory mainly through the swift tactics of Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao. The Mughal Empire was left in a wrecked position and was unable to face the later invasion of Nadir Shah.

Raghuji Bhonsle

Battle of Trichinopolly

Raghuji Bhonsle, Maharaja of Nagpur kingdom of the Maratha Empire, was required to undertake an expedition to Karnataka at the order of Chhatrapati Shahu. It was mainly intended to punish Chanda Saheb who had usurped the kingdom of Trichinopoly by deceiving its Rani Minakshi, and was casting his eyes on the Maratha principality of Tanjore. Raja Pratapsingh of Thanjavur, Shahu's cousin, appealed to him for help when harassed by Chanda Saheb. Chhatrapati Shahu dispatched a large force under Raghuji and Fatesingh Bhonsle of Akkalkot in 1739.
In 1740, the Maratha forces came down upon Arcot. They attacked the Nawab, Dost Ali in the pass of Damalcherry. In the war that followed, Dost Ali, one of his sons Hasan Ali, and a number of prominent persons lost their lives. This initial success at once enhanced Maratha prestige in the south. From Damalcherry the Marathas proceeded to Arcot. Then, Raghuji invested Trichinopoly in December 1740.

First Battle of Katwa

Main article: First Battle of Katwa
The Battle of Katwa occurred between the Nawab of Bengal and Maratha Empire in 1742. The Maratha's initially attacked and captured Katwa and Hooghly, in Bengal. The Nawab of Bengal Ali Vardi Khan responded with a direct attack at the Maratha camp at Katwa and devastated them so much that the entire Maratha army was driven out of Bengal on September 17, 1742.[12]

Second Battle of Katwa

Main article: Second Battle of Katwa
The Second Battle of Katwa occurred between the Nawab of Bengal and Maratha Empire in 1745. After the initial loss of the Maratha's at the First Battle of Katwa, the Maratha General, Raghuji Bhonsle attempted, once again, to conquer Katwa. Bhonsle, with 20,000 horsemen attacked Murshidabad then moved onwards to Katwa, where Nawab of Bengal Ali Vardi Khan once again defeated Raghuji and his men, sending them out of Bengal.[12]

Battle of Burdwan

Main article: Battle of Burdwan
The Battle of Burdwan occurred between the Nawab of Bengal and Maratha empires in 1747. After the dismissal of Mir Jafar by Ali Vardi Khan, an army was amassed to defend against the invading Maratha forces of Janoji Bhonsle at Orissa. Ali Vardi Khan managed to heavily repulse and defeat the Maratha's in this battle.[4]

Expeditions in Bengal

After the successful campaign of Karnatak and Battle of Trichinopolly, Raghuji returned from Karnatak. He undertook six expeditions in Bengal from 1741-1748. Raghuji was able to annex Orissa to his kingdom permanently as he successfully exploited the chaotic conditions prevailing in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa after the death of their Governor Murshid Quli Khan in 1727.
Constantly harassed by the Bhonsles, Orissa or Katak, Bengal and parts of Bihar were economically ruined. Alivardi Khan made peace with Raghuji in 1751 ceding in perpetuity Katak up to the river Suvarnarekha, and agreeing to pay Rs.12 lakh annually in lieu of the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar. The smaller States of Raipur, Ratanpur, Bilaspur and Sambalpur belonging to Chhattisgad territory were conquered by Bhaskar Ram, and were placed in charge of Mohansingh, an illegitimate son of Raghuji. Towards the end of his career, Raghuji had conquered the whole of Berar; the Gond kingdoms of Devgad including Nagpur, Gadha-Mandla and Chandrapur; the Subha of Cuttack; and the smaller states spreading between Nagpur and Cuttack.

Battle of Udgir

The Battle of Udgir was fought between the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau and Nizam of Hyderabad in Udgirin 1760. The battle was waged by the Nizam, who wanted to take back his lost territories in Deccan. However, he completely failed in his objective and was decisively defeated. As a result of defeat, he was forced to sign a treaty with Marathas which promised to cede the Marathas the forts of Daulatabad, Sewenree, Bijapur, a part of Bidar and the subah of Aurangabad except the main city and two of its parghanas, Sittara and Harole. The territories which were to be given to Marathas yielded an annual income of 62 lakh rupees.

Holkars and Shindes

Malhar Rao Holkar of the Maratha Confederacy inflicted defeat upon the emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur at the First Battle of Sikandarabad (1754), he was later defeated during the Second Battle of Sikandarabad (1760) by the forces of Ahmad Shah Durrani.
Ranoji Shinde (founder of princely Gwalior State of Shindes) had conquered territories in the Malwa and Gird regions from the Mughals, eventually establishing a state which was initially based at Ujjain, but was named after the strategic fortress of Gwalior.
Kumher fort under Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur was attacked by the Marathas on 20 January 1754 AD. They besieged the Fort till 18 May 1754. The war continued for about four months. The fort which was about to be conquered by the Marathas was saved due to the diplomatic efforts of Maharani Kishori who tried to take advantage of the internal differences between Holkars and Shindes. Diwan Roop Ram Katara was a friend of Jayappa Sindhia. Maharani Kishori requested Diwan Roop Ram Katara to take a letter from Maharaja Suraj Mal proposing a treaty. Jayappa Sindhia assured Suraj Mal of assistance and contacted Raghunathrao. Raghunathrao in turn advised Holkar to sign a treaty with Suraj Mal. Malhar Rao Holkar assessed the situation and consented for the treaty due to possibility of isolation. This led to a treaty between both rulers on 18 May 1754.
In 1740, the Marathas were successful in defeating the Nizam of Hyderabad. Mahadji Scindia (who was then aged 10) accompanied Dattajirao Shinde and Trimbak Kinnad on this campaign. In 1742, the Marathas were attacked by the Nizam of Hyderabad at Berar and Belur. Mahadji accompanied the forces sent by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao who drove away the invaders. Between 1745 and 1761, Mahadji fought in around 50 wars, including those in Malwa, Rajputana, Bundelkhand, Brij, Doab, Rohilkhand, Delhi, Kunjpur, and in the Battle of Panipat. Among the campaigns which Mahadji assisted, the notable ones include the ones at Chandravati Ganj (1746), Fatehabad (1746), Badi Sadri (1747), Marwar (1747), and Himat Nagar (1748).
The army of Malharrao Holkar joined the Shinde army to bring all the Rajput states under Maratha control and force them to accept Maratha suzerainty, as directed by the Peshwa. Under this campaign, several city states were added to the Maratha Empire such as Medtya, Ratangarh, Lalgarh, Bikaner, Laswari, Lachhmangarh, Kumher and Deeg and the states with territory of Jaipur and Jodhpur agreed to become vassals of the Maratha Empire. All the Jat states except Bharatpur and Vijaynagar too were conquered. Mathura which was under Mughal rule was conquered by Mahadji in 1755. When the Maratha army crossed the Narmada in February 1770, the Jat king Nawal Singh of Bharatpur opposed them. However, in the battle on 6 April 1770 Mahadji defeated him and Maratha supremacy over the North was re-established. In 1777, Mahadji provided military assistance to the Peshwas against the Maratha army of Kolhapur. Mahadji besieged and attacked the town of Karvir in Kolhapur.

Capture of Delhi, 1757

Main article: Siege of Delhi, 1757
After a victorious Battle of Narela on 16 January 1757 Maratha Army lead by Antaji Mankeshwar and an advance column of Ahmad Shah Abdali's army,[13] the Battle of Delhi was a battle fought on 11 August 1757 between Maratha Empire under the command of Raghunath Rao and Rohilla Afghans under Najib-ud-Daula. The battle was waged by the Marathas for the control of Delhi, the former Mughal capital which was now under the control of Rohilla chief Najib-ud-Daula, as a consequence of fourth invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali. The Marathas were victorious in the battle, the Mughal capital Delhi came under Maratha control.

Maratha conquest of Northwest India

Malharrao Holkar, Raghunathrao, Shamsher Bahadur, Gangadhar Tatya, Sakharambapu, Naroshankar and Maujiram Bania attacked Delhi on 11 August 1757 and defeated Najib Khan and Ahmed Khan became the Mir Bakshi in his place. In March, 1758, they conquered Sarhind. On 20 April 1758, Malharrao Holkar and Raghunathrao attacked and conquered Lahore. Tukojirao Holkar conquered Attock and Peshawar. In Lahore, as in Delhi, the Marathas were now major players. The Maratha Empire had reached its peak, the empire's territories covered much of South Asia. By 1760, with defeat of the Nizam in the Deccan, Maratha power under Chhatrapati Shahu reached its zenith with a territory of over 2,800,000 km2.
This was followed by the third battle of Panipat. Losses at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 suspended further expansion of the empire in the North-west of India and reduced the power of the Peshwas.

Third Battle of Panipat

Maratha Light Horseman
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761 at Panipat (Haryana State, India), about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi. The battle pitted the French-supplied artillery of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry of the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. The battle is considered one of the largest battles fought in the 18th century. Marathas were defeated with heavy casualties on both sides and retreat of Maratha army and civilians from Punjab to Delhi.

Peshwa Madhavrao

Restoration of Maratha suzerainty in the North

Main article: Maratha Resurrection
Under Madhavrao Peshwa, Maratha authority in North India (including Delhi) was restored ten years after the battle of Panipat. The Rohillas were defeated and were forced to pay a heavy war indemnity. Delhi was captured by Mahadji Scindia in late 1770 and restored Mughal emperor Shah Alam to the throne of Delhi in 1772.

Battle of Alegaon

Main article: Battle of Alegaon
The Battle of Alegaon was fought between Nizam Ali Khan of Mysore and Raghunathrao of the Maratha Empire against Peshwa Madhavrao of the Maratha Empire.[14] Raghunathrao had established an alliance with Nizam Ali Khan of Hyderabad.[14] When conflict arose between Raghunathrao and Madhavrao I, a joint campaign between Nizam Ali Khan and Raghunathrao resulted in Madhavrao I being heavily defeated.[14] Peshwa Madhavrao surrendered on November 12, 1762.[15] Nizam Ali Khan got all of his previously lost territories that were lost at the Battle of Udgir.[14] Peshwa Madhavrao submitted to his uncle, Raghunathrao.[14]

Battle of Rakshasbhuvan

The Battle of Rakshasbhuvan was fought on 10 August 1763.[16] While the Marathas were fighting amongst themselves during a civil war, the Nizam decided to attack.[17] The Nizam however failed. The Nizam gave up territory he gained during the Battle of Alegaon in an attempt to sue for peace.[17]

Clash with Hyder Ali

Then Hyder Ali of Mysore tried to conquer the Maratha dominions in Karnataka. To frustrate Hyder's attempts, Madhavrao fought three wars against Hyder Ali between 1764–1772.
After the death of Madhavrao, the empire gave way to a loose Confederacy, with political power resting in a 'pentarchy' of five mostly Maratha dynasties: the Peshwas of Pune; the Sindhias (originally "Shindes") of Malwa and Gwalior; the Holkars of Indore; the Bhonsles of Nagpur; and the Gaekwads of Baroda.

Defeat of Nawal Singh Jat, 1770

Mahadji Shinde defeated Nawal Singh Jat of Mathura and annihilated his power.

Capture of Delhi, 1771

Main article: Capture of Delhi, 1771
The forces of Mahadji Shinde captured Delhi in 1771 and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II was restored to the throne.

Marathas in Rohilkhand

After taking control of Delhi, Marathas sent a large army in 1772 to "punish" Afghan Rohillas for Panipat. Maratha army devastated Rohilkhand by looting and plundering and also took the members of royal family as captives. Maratha general Mahadaji was “very much pleased with the revenge taken by his men” for Panipat[18]

Battle of Saunshi

Main article: Battle of Saunshi
Hyder Ali of Mysore attempted to try to regain his lost territories of Malabar and Coorg from the Marathas. Tipu Sultan who was the Emperor of Mysore decided to attack the Marathas at Saunshi. Tipu Sultan decided to send his General, Muhammad Ali to attack the Maratha position. The result of the battle was a victory for Mysore against the Maratha forces. Maratha Chief Konher Rao was killed and Padurang Rao was caught by the Mysore forces.[19]


First Anglo Maratha War (1775 - 1783)

Battle of Wadgaon

Main article: Battle of Wadgaon
The East India Company's force from Bombay consisted of about 3,900 men (about 600 Europeans, the rest Asian) accompanied by many thousands of servants and specialist workers. They were joined on the way by Raghunath's forces, adding several thousand more soldiers, and more artillery. The Maratha army included forces contributed by all the partners in the federation, tens of thousands in all, commanded by Tukojirao Holkar and General Mahadji Shinde (also known as Mahadji Sindia). Mahadji slowed down the British march and sent forces west to cut off its supply lines. When they found out about this, the British halted at Talegaon, a few hours' brisk march from Pune, but days away for the thousands of support staff with their ox-drawn carts. Now the Maratha cavalry harassed the enemy from all sides. The Marathas also utilized a scorched earth policy, burning farmland and poisoning wells. The British began to withdraw from Talegaon in the middle of the night, but the Marathas attacked, forcing them to halt in the village of Wadgaon (now called Vadgaon or Vadgaon Maval), where the British force was surrounded on 12 January 1779. By the end of the next day, the British were ready to discuss surrender terms, and on 16 January signed the Treaty of Wadgaon that forced the Bombay government to relinquish all territories acquired by the Bombay office of the East India Company since 1773.[20]

Siege of Nargund

Main article: Siege of Nargund
The Siege of Nargund occurred when the Kingdom of Mysore sent its General, Burhanuddin to besiege Nargund. In 1778, Tipu Sultan defeated the Marathas and captured Nargund.

Siege of Adoni

Main article: Siege of Adoni
The Siege of Adoni occurred between the forces of Tipu Sultan of the Kingdom of Mysore and the Maratha Empire allied with the Nizam of Hyderabad.[21] Tipu Sultan surprised Haripant when he decided to advance for Adoni. Tipu Sultan came out victorious.

Siege of Bahadur Benda

Main article: Siege of Bahadur Benda
The Siege of Bahadur Benda happened between the forces of Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the Maratha forces of Haripant. Tipu Sultan defeated the Maratha forces.

Battle of Medtya, 1790

Main article: Battle of Medtya
The forces of Mahadji Shinde under de Boigne routed the Marwar army.

Battle of Patan

Main article: Battle of Patan
The Battle of Patan was fought on June 20, 1790 between the Maratha Empire and the Rajputs of Jaipur and their Mughal allies. Many Rajput kingdoms like those of Jaipur and Malwa were threatened by the Marathas. In early 1790, hoping to completely rid the Rajputana off Maratha interference, Rajput nobility allied with Mughal general Ismail Beg. Marathas crushed the allied Rajput-Mughal army. The European armed and trained Marathas conquered the Rajput states one after the other. Marathas managed to conquer Ajmer and Malwa from Rajputs. Marathas recovered over 105 pieces of artillery from the enemy, along with 21 elephants, 1300 camels and 300 horses. Rajputs lost over 5 battalions and 3000 Rathore horsemen.

Capture of Ajmer, 1790

The forces of Mahadji Shinde captured Ajmer.

Capture of Shimoga

Main article: Capture of Shimoga
The Capture of Shimoga, a town and fortress held by forces of the Kingdom of Mysore, occurred on 3 January 1792 after a preliminary battle with the attacking forces of the British East India Company and the Marathas not far from the town on 29 December had scattered much of its defending army. The defenders surrendered after the fort's walls were breached. The battle was part of a campaign during the Third Anglo-Mysore War by Maratha leader Purseram Bhow to recover Maratha territories taken by Hyder Ali in an earlier conflict between Mysore and the Marathas. By the end of the siege Reza Sahib a leading Mysore commander was among the captured.

Battle of Kharda

Main article: Battle of Kharda
The Battle of Kharda took place in February 1795 between the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah II and Peshwa Madhavrao II, in which Nizam was badly defeated. Governor General John Shore followed the policy of non-intervention despite that Nizam was under his protection. So this led to the loss of trust with British and rout of the Hyderabad army. This was the last battle fought together by all Maratha warlords.

Second Anglo Maratha War (1803 - 1805)

Battle of Delhi, 1803

Main article: Battle of Delhi, 1803
The Battle of Delhi took place on 11 September 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, between British troops under General Lake, and Marathas of Scindia's army under French General Louis Bourquin. The battle was fought at Patparganj, right across Yamuna River from Humayun's Tomb, also giving the battle its local name.
The Marathas occupied a strong position with the Jumna in their rear, and Lake, feigning a retreat, drew them from their lines, and then turning upon them drove them with the bayonet into the river, inflicting more losses upon them. The city of Delhi surrendered three days later. A monument was later erected at the site in Patparganj, marked out by a surrounding ditch, commemorating Cornet Sanguine and British soldiers who fell during the battle.

Yashwantrao Holkar

Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar defeated the British army, led by Colonel Fawcett, at Kunch, in Bundelkhand. On 8 June 1804, the Governor General, in a letter to Lord Lake, wrote that the defeat caused a great insult to the British prestige in India. On 8 July 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar defeated the army of Colonel Manson and Leukan at Mukundare and Kota. Bapuji Scindia surrendered before Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar. From June till September 1804, he defeated the British at different battles. On 8 October 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar attacked Delhi to free Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, who was imprisoned by the British. He attacked the army of Colonel Actorloni and Berne. The battle lasted for a week, but Yashwantrao Holkar could not succeed as Lord Lake came to help Colonel Actorloni.
On 16 November 1804, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar reached Deeg by defeating the army of Major Frazer. After the death of Major Frazer, Manson took the charge of the British army. In Farrukhabad, Lord Lake was a mute spectator, watching Yashwantrao Holkar proceeding towards Deeg; he didn't attack Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar. Lord Lake attacked Deeg on 13 December 1804 (see- Battle of Bharatpur); the army of Holkar and Jat resisted successfully and reached the Bharatpur Durg. Lord Lake attacked Bharatpur on 3 January 1805, along with General Manson, Colonel Marey, Colonel Don, Colonel Berne, Major General Jones, General Smith, Colonel Jetland, Setan, and others. However, Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar had to leave Bharatpur as the Jat King Ranjit Singh of Bharatpur signed a treaty with the British on 17 April 1805, when they had nearly won the war.
Covering a large part of the subcontinent, the Maratha Empire kept the British forces at bay during the 18th century, until dissension between the Peshwas and their sardars (army commanders) saw a gradual downfall of the empire with the eventual defeat in the third Anglo-Maratha war the First Anglo-Maratha War ended in a stalemate with both sides signing the treaty of Salbai. This led to a period of relative peace between the two powers till the decisive second Anglo-Maratha war took place.

Third Anglo-Maratha War

The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of Maratha territory by 110,400 British East India Company troops, the largest such British controlled force amassed in India. The troops were led by the Governor General Hastings and he was supported by a force under General Thomas Hislop. It resulted in the formal end of the Maratha empire and firm establishment of the British East India Company in entire India.

Tagged Under | Peshwas | disinheritance | descendants | royalty | Pune
It is a well-documented fact that as the Peshwas battled the British tooth and nail (Photo: Rahul Chandawarkar)

I may be a Peshwa descendant, but does it really mean anything in 2009? When a traffic policeman stops me today and checks my driving licence, he does not even raise an eyebrow. The name Peshwa means nothing to him. He couldn’t care less. And this, in Pune, a city from where my forefathers ruled large parts of India for nearly a hundred years.
Why just the policeman. I am a non-entity even at the Parvati hill temple, which houses the family’s Lord Shiva deity. I am not allowed to enter the sanctum to perform a puja, despite the temple being run by the Dev Deveshwar Sansthan trust started by Nanasaheb Peshwa, my forefather in 1749. Today, none of my family members is on the five-man committee and this prevents us from performing even a puja.
We have filed a case with the Charity Commissioner in Pune in 2001 demanding permanent places for at least two Peshwas on the committee, given the history of the trust. However, as is typical in India, no decision has been forthcoming from the commissioner for eight long years.
It is a well-documented fact that as the Peshwas battled the British tooth and nail, the British confiscated and destroyed all the Peshwa property in Pune, except the Parvati hill temple run by the Dev Deveshwar Sansthan.
Presently, the only property that our family owns is in far away Varanasi, where we have two small ghats and two temples, one dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other to Lord Ganesha. These temples and ghats were built by another of my forefathers, Amrutrao Peshwa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa II in 1807. I  go on an annual pilgrimage to Varanasi every winter. It is the best time of the year to visit, as the weather is cool.
Presently, my father and his brother, as direct descendants of the Peshwas get a pension of Rs 13,360 per annum each from the Government of India treasury in Allahabad. This amount is the interest calculated at 4 per cent on the promissory notes deposited by the Peshwas with the British in 1855.
According to my father, Krishnarao, the British confiscated 90 per cent of the promissory notes and all the gems and jewellery belonging to the Peshwas in 1855. We have been requesting the government to release the balance amount in the treasury or at least increase the rate of interest, but our requests have fallen on deaf ears so far.
However, in spite of all this, I am proud to be a Peshwa. Our forefathers ruled large parts of the country and it feels special to be part of a clan with so much history.
Today, I live in a modest apartment in the Karvenagar area of Pune with my wife and teenaged, college-going daughter. No luxury and riches for us. I ride an old scooter and when the family has to go out together, I use my father’s old, beat-up Maruti Suzuki 800 car. I also personally shop for vegetables, milk, bread and groceries every day.
In any case, there is nothing amiss here. The Peshwas themselves were never given to creature comforts. While Bajirao Peshwa I, did construct the Shaniwar wada, home and headquarters of the Peshwas in central Pune, not many Peshwas managed to enjoy its comforts. Least of all Bajirao Peshwa I himself. It is a well-known fact that Bajirao I,  was more on horseback fighting the enemy than relaxing at his home in Pune. Ditto with a majority of Peshwas who were always on the battlefield, fighting the enemy. Don’t forget that the Peshwa army actually went past Attock in present-day Pakistan.
I work as an engineering consultant and am an expert on special purpose machines. In all probability, you will find me rushing from one shop floor to the other on any given day, trying to attend to my clients’ complaints. Like the Peshwas of yore, no creature comforts for me, thank you. The only problem is that my clients and customers assume that I am a rich man and often tease me, saying, “You are a Peshwa, why do you need the money?”
As a child, I grew up on a diet of tales depicting Peshwa Bajirao I’s courage and valour. So quite naturally, he is my hero. Within a short span of just 20 years, he managed to take Shivaji’s concept of Swarajya ( freedom) and convert it to Samrajya (empire). Bajirao I, was the first Peshwa to take the Maratha army past Delhi and bring almost 70 per cent of India under Maharashtrian rule. He is also the only Peshwa to have never lost a battle.
Just how astute Bajirao was, can be gleaned from the manner in which he convincingly outwitted the Nizam of Hyderabad in the battle of Palkhed. A master strategist, Bajirao, with far less manpower and resources than the Nizam, managed to surround the Hyderabad ruler so completely, that the Hyderabadi ruler was forced to surrender without a drop of blood being shed.
I did my initial schooling in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, a cantonment town where we had several friends in both the army and the air force. Coming from the Peshwa family, it was natural for me to be attracted to a career in the armed forces. I was a sergeant in the junior National Cadet Corps (NCC) in my military school in Pune, where I was adept at horse riding and shooting.
However, certain family circumstances prevented me from actually taking up a career in the armed forces after I completed school. I regret that even today. So much so, that if given even half a chance today, I would join the army in a flash.
The present state of Indian politics is simply revolting. I don’t like the manner in which this country is being run. If Bajirao I were to visit Pune today, he would have been appalled by the traffic congestion and the utter lack of town planning. He would also be aghast at the countless loopholes that exist in our policing system. Successive Peshwas, starting with him, had put in place a well worked-out system and plan for Pune.
He would have also been hurt by the class divide that exists in Maharashtra between the Brahmins and Marathas today, created by modern day politicians. In his time, the Peshwa army was not just made up of Marathas, Muslims were also part of it.
The class divide has reached such ridiculous proportions now that when present-day Maharashtrian politicians make speeches, they fast-forward directly from the era of Chhatrapati Shivaji to that of Mahatma Phule, as if the 100-year reign by the Brahmin Peshwas never even happened. Isn’t that downright ridiculous?
I was never really attracted to politics and hence, have never harboured any personal political ambitions. However, among the many political parties in India, I would be more inclined to vote for the BJP.
Nowadays, I get true solace whenever I visit the Shaniwar wada with friends and family for the ‘sound and light’ show depicting the history of the wada and the life of the Peshwas. It leaves me with a lump in the throat every single time. Much like watching the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

It is a well-documented fact that as the Peshwas battled the British tooth and nail (Photo: Rahul Chandawarkar)I may be a Peshwa descendant, but does it

Third Battle of Panipat
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Friday, 1 January 2016

My Article on Shamsher Bahadur ( Son of Bajirao - Mastani)

Shamsher Bahadur was the son of Peshwa Bajirao and his second wife Mastani .The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity. Tradition makes her the offspring of a Hindu father probably Maharaja Chattrasal and a Muhammadan mother. Some consider her the daughter of the Nizam, while others refer to her as a courtesan of the court of some Muslim chief . Tarikh-i-Muhammadshahi mentions that “she was a Kanchani (a dancing girl) skilled in riding and handling the sword and spear. She always accompanied Baji rao in his campaigns and rode stirrup to stirrup with him” . The first mention of her name in authentic papers occurs in the accounts of the marriage ceremony of Bajirao's eldest son Balajirao which took place on 11th  January 1730. In the same year Bajirao built his Shaniwar palace in Poona and later added to it a portion named after Mastani , Mastani Mahal  (shaniwarwada's north-east corner) and had its own external doorway called Mastani darwaza. 
In 1734 she bore him a son who was named Krishnarao . But the brahmins of Poona refused to conduct the thread ceremony of Krishnarao , him being born from of a muslim woman. As a result the boy was brought up as a Muslim, by name Shamsher Bahadur. His mother and father both died in the year 1740 . But before his death Bajirao gave few districts of Bundelkhand to Shamsher Bahadur as his jagir  yielding 33 lakhs , which he himself had got as present from Maharaja Chattrasal . Shamsher Bahadur made Banda his chief town of residence and loyally served his half –brother Peshwa Balajirao . Shamsher bahadur was married to Mehrambai (or Lal Kunwar), the daughter of Lakshadhir Dalpatrai . A son was born to the couple in the year 1758 and he was named Krishna Singh alias Ali Bahadur. The descendents of Shamsher Bahadur later assumed the title of Nawab of Banda .
Shamsher Bahadur not only managed the affairs of Bundelkhand but also served the Peshwa in his campaigns against the Nizam . On 20th November , 1751 in a stiff action  with the Nizam near Parner (Ahmednagar District) Shamsher Bahadur's mare was wounded with a spear . Shamsher Bahadur also conducted land operations against Tulaji  Angre in 1756 during the Vijayadurg campaign .Shamsher Bahadur also accompanied Raghunathrao  in his first campaign to north in 1753 . Sahmsher Bahadur along with  Yashwantrao Pawar was dispatched to help the Sindhias in Marwad on 29th September , 1755 from Pune with an army of ten thousand . These two Maratha chiefs arrived bit late and  joined Dattaji (21st April 1756) in  the siege of Rupnagar in Rajputana after the Sindhias had ended their Marwar campaign . Bahadur Singh of Rupnagar State, submitted to the Marathas  and yielded the  city to his elder brother Samant Singh, whom he had ousted and whose cause had been taken up by Ram Singh and the Marathas. On reaching Kota , they besieged the fort and placed Ajitsingh on the throne.
In 1757 when Antaji was pushed to Mathura by Abdali’s men he requested the Maratha chiefs of Bundelkhand like Naro Shankar and Shamsher Bahadur to unite and drive off Abdali but he received no positive response .When Raghunathrao came to north India Shamsher Bahadur joined him in Rajputana, towards the end of July Raghunathrao began his march upon Delhi  . Shamsher Bahadur with the artillery and the advanced division reached Rewari on 27th July . He was ordered  to make a base at this city and occupy the Mughal possessions  in the district around . Prince Ali Jah (the Emperor's second son), who had come a few days earlier to Rewari for wresting the district from the hands of usurpers, was made prisoner on 30th July by Shamsher Bahadur. Raghunathrao and Malharrao towards the end of July, reached  Rewari and together they marched to Delhi . Where the Marathas ousted the domination of Najib Khan and restored Imad-ul-Mulkh to power .
In 1758 Raja Hindupat of Panna ,( Bundelkhand)  got his brother Amansingh murdered, usurped the throne of Panna  and banished his younger brother Khetsingh .On 1st July 1758 Shamsher Bahadur and Govind Pant went to meet   Hindupat  . Due to the efforts of these Maratha chiefs some portion of the kingdom of Panna was given to Khetsingh and Hindupat agreed to present 5 lakhs and one thousand to peshwa within three years and to finance the Maratha armies in his territories .Peshwa acknowledged  Raja Hindupat as the King of Panna and Shamsher Bahadur after making necessary arrangements at Kehciwada left for Puna on 3rd August 1758.
During the campaign of Panipat Shamsher Bahadur accompanied the Maratha armies to north with his 3,000 horsemen . In the finale battle of Panipat Shamsher Bahadur was positioned in the right wing of Marathas ,  when Viswasrao fell by the bullet shot Shamsher Bahadur rushed into Maratha centre and joined Bhausaheb in his finale combat .When Shah Pasand Khan left his position on the imperial road of Panipat , Shamsher Bahadur had every opportunity to abandon the battle field and escape unhurt  but instead he chose to join the action in the Maratha centre . The author of Bhausaheb’s Bakhar mentions that Bhausaheb took Shamsher Bahadur along with him and entered the mele killing many Afghans. In the end Shamsher Bahadur managed to reach Kumbher in a highly wounded condition where he was hospitably received by Jat King Surajmal , but he died of his wounds. Probably when he would have been separated from Bhausaheb in the crowd of Afghans and his only option would have been a retreat southwards . It is said that he died crying “Where will i go now ? To whom will i show my face now .... Bhau ! Bhau !” .

Balwantrao Mehendele : The right Hand man of Bhausaheb
Aug 20, 2012 - Blog Archive. ▻ 2016 (1). ▻ January (1). ▻ 2015 (7). ▻ December (7). ▻ 2014 (1). ▻ September (1) ... Simple template. Powered by Blogger.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Balwantrao Mehendele : The right Hand man of Bhausaheb

Balwantrao Mehendele was the right hand man of Sadashivrao Bhau . He was also a Chitpawan Brahaman and was the maternal uncle of Nana Phadnavis  and his  father's mother was the sister of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath. He was also the brother of the first wife of Sadshivrao , Umabai.  Balwantrao was married to Laxmibai who accompanied her husband in the Panipat campaign . She bore him a son who survived the disaster at Panipat and became famous by the name Appa Balwant.
Balwantrao’s carrer was given a push by Peshwa Balajirao. He accompanied Peshwa and Sadashivrao in a number of expeditions in South India and stood by the side of Peshwa in all the wars against Tarabai and Damaji Gaikwad . In the Karnatak campaign of 1757 Peshwa returned in May after leaving Balawantrao as his deputy to finish the remaining work of the expedition .Nawab of  Kadappa, which claimed the districts of Kolar, Hoskot and Balapur once forming the Jagir of Sahahji the father of Shivaji , was subjugated by the prowess of Balavantrao Mehendale. Abdul Majid Khan the Nawab of Kadappa was a man of valour and resources. In the fierce engagement fought between Sidhout and Kadappa on 24th September 1757, the Khan was killed along with four hundred of his men. The same night Kadappa was captured. Balwantrao then  levied contributions from the Palegars round about Sira, Hoskote, Mulbagal and other places . He was ordered to capture Bednur and Chitradurg , but growing tension between the Marathas and Nizams which led to the battle of Sindakhed (December -1757) called him away northwards . After the Maratha victory at Sindakhed Balwantrao along with Gopalrao Patwardhan and Visaji Krishna Biniwale led a campaign in South India upto the seas on the eastern coast of India. In the battle of Udgir , Balwantrao played a very important role and acted as the deputy of Sadashivrao . It was he who  used to lead  the troops of Huzarat as the right hand man of Sadashivrao  .When Sadashivrao was chosen to lead the Panipat campaign , Balwantrao  accompanied him to North India. Like Sadshivrao this was also the first campaign of Balwantrao in North India.
Almost all Marathi chronicles of Panipat campaign like Bhausahebanchi Bakhar and Bhausahebanchi Kaifiyat accuse Balwantrao of being  arrogant, hot headed and abusive. He is said to be making fun of old Malharrao Holkar and Jankoji Sindhia  on various occasions  and has been portrayed as a villain in the Panipat Campaign  . Infact  Balwantrao was a man of sharp tongue  and these accusations cannot be termed totally wrong .  It was he who insisted on crossing river Chambal and proceeding to North India rejecting the advice of Malhararo . Balwantrao was dispatched from Mathura along with Imad-ul-Mulk and Surajmal Jat to capture Delhi .Balwantrao captured the city but failed to capture the Red Fort. It was actually  the cannons of Ibrahim Khan which forced the Afghan keeper to deliver the fort.
He accompanied Sadashivrao and Maratha army to Kunjpura and thence to Panipat .In the surprise attack of Jankoji Sindhia on 22nd November , Balwantrao failed to render timely support and was so criticised on this point . On 7th December 1760 the Rohillas led by Najib Khan’s brother Sultan Khan fell upon the Marathas. The assailants reached the very edge of the Maratha trenches . The Rohilla foot soldiers took advantage of intense darkness of that night  and penetrated inside the trenches . The Gardi musketeers and Balwantrao with the Huzurat horses fell heavily on the Afghans and drove them back with great slaughter. Najib‘s uncle Khali-ul-Rehman  was killed in the battle and over three thousand of the Rohilla infantry fell in the field and even among those that survived most were wounded very badly . Unhappily in the moment of victory a chance bullet struck Balwantrao Mehendale at around 7 PM at night, who was leading the charge . He fell down from his horse with a bullet in his chest while trying to stem the flight of his men by galloping up to the exposed front line during the first Afghan onrush. The Rohillas crowded upon the fallen General ; one slashed at his face ; another began to sever his head in order to carry it away in triumph. But half a dozen Maratha horsemen galloped up to the spot and rescued their chief's body from mutilation, though with the neck half cut through. The engagement ceased about three hours after nightfall. His body was saved from mutilation by Khanderao Nimbalkar. Sadashivrao felt deeply the loss of Balwantrao, who was his staunch supporter and advisor .After this incident the morale of the Maratha army deteriorated day by day and never again was any serious offensive attack carried out by the Marathas. The loss of this Brahman General was never compensated .  Had Balwantrao lived till the battle of Panipat , he must have led the charge of the Huzarat instead of Viswasrao and the panic created after Viswasrao was shot must have had  less effect . Balwantrao's widow Laxmibai committed sati and was burnt with her husband's body leaving behind a son of 14 years named Krishnarao under the care of Bhau The boy survived the disaster and was later famous by the name Appa Balwant .

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