UPSC IAS exam preparation - Europeans in India and important personalities - Lecture 2


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The Maratha Empire - Shivaji & Peshwa Dynasty

[हिंदी में पढ़ें ]

1.0 Origin

That word "Marhatta” is a geographical term in Prakrit which was used for all the people of Maharashtra. Ancient Maharashtra consisted of nearly all the parts of Deccan. Now the word is used for all the warrior people of Maharashtra.

The name Maharashtra first appeared in a Chinese traveler's account and in a 7th century inscription. One theory about the origin of the term is that it originated from rathi, meaning "chariot driver" and referring to builders and drivers of chariots who formed a maharathis, a "fighting force." In 90 A.D., King Vedishri made Junnar the capital of his kingdom. Junnar is located 30 miles north of Pune. This may have brought it into prominence.

During the Bhakti movement, Maharashtra was one of the main channels that helped the Bhakti school of Hinduism spread from southern to northern India, thanks to the prioneering work of Saint Jnanesvara (1271-1296) whose commentary on the Bhagwad Gita, the Jnanesvari, was significantly written in the spoken language of the day, Marathi, as opposed to classical Sanskrit. The most famous of contemporary poet-saints was the tailor Namdev (1270-1350). His devotional hymns caught the popular imagination. The tradition they established continued to flourish, even when forced underground by Islam, reaching its zenith in the simple faith of the anguished Tukaram (1598-1650), whose wife and son died in a famine, and Ramdas, the "Servant of Rama" (1608-1681). Ramdas, both ascetic and political activist, provided the philosophical foundation behind the campaigns of Maharashtra's greatest warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

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1.1 Beginning of the Maratha reign

Regional Muslim powers like Nizamshahi, Adilshahi, and Qutubshahi established their prominence in the Deccan region in the sixteenth century (Deccan = Southern or Dakshini). Though they served the Mughal empire, they were autonomous to an extent. The Nizamshahi was located in Ahmednagar, a town 95 miles east of Pune. Maloji Bhosle, Shivaji's grandfather served for the Nizam as a Sardar. In 1595, Bahadur Nizam II honored him as 'Raja' for his courage in a battle with Mughals and gave him the estates of Pune and the fort of Chakan, near Pune. This is generally considered as the starting point of the Maratha history.

1.2 The reign of Shivaji (1627-1680)

Shivaji Bhosle, founder of the Maratha empire, was born in 1627, in the fort of Shivneri, 40 miles north of Pune. Shivaji's father Shahaji, who had succeeded his father Maloji, in Pune and Chakan, disengaged himself from the service of the Nizamshahi in 1629. In 1635 the Nizam's army attacked Pune. Shahaji surrendered and his estates were returned to him. Shahaji put Dadoji Kondadev in charge of Pune, and as a caretaker for the Shivaji while he joined the Adilshahi in Vijapur (Bijapur). The Adilshahi soon emerged as the most important power in the region as the other local powers slowly diminished.

At the age of sixteen (1643 AD), Shivaji stirred up his friends' hopes and nursed the thought of becoming an independent ruler. He took the oath to make the land free at the fort Torna at the age of sixteen. This was the start of his legendary lifelong struggle against Mughals and other Muslim powers. By 1647, Shivaji had captured two forts and had the complete charge of Pune. In 1657, he committed his first act of hostility against the Adilshahi by plundering a large booty in Ahmednagar. Thus, began a sequence of attacks on the Adilshahi. He slowly started capturing forts in the region, Purandar, Rajgad, Torna being most notable of his first achievements.

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Disturbed by his continuing success, Adilshahi sent his famous general, Afzal Khan to destroy Shivaji. Afzal Khan knew that Shivaji's army, which was much smaller than his huge force would be unable to fight him on open land. He tried all the tricks in the book to make him fight on plains, but Shivaji was no less clever. He convinced Khan that he was very much afraid of him and requested him for a meeting at a place near Vai (100 miles south of Pune) which was a densely wooded, mountainous region, and ideal for his army to fight. Khan still had plans to kill him in the meeting and Shivaji knew it well. Ultimately it was Khan who was killed by Shivaji in a deadly embrace (using his tiger claws studded hidden weapon) and his unsuspecting army was completed washed out by. After this, Shivaji went on a winning spree and spread his reach till Panhala near Kolhapur.

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Shivaji's success perturbed the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb greatly. It became clear to him that local Muslim powers were unable to stop him. He sent a huge Army, led by Mirza Raje Jaisingh (a Rajput chieftain) to defeat Shivaji in 1666. Jaisingh's army was much stronger than Shivaji and soon he lost most of his important forts. Shivaji realized that he was fighting a losing battle and hence agreed to sign a treaty with Mirza. In the treaty, he agreed to serve Aurangzeb and in return, his young son, Sambhaji was made a general. Shivaji went to Delhi with Mirza to meet Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb humiliated him and on some pretext, and put him under house imprisonment. But, Shivaji escaped.

This incident proved to be the turning point. After this, Shivaji never looked back and slowly regained his lost glory. By 1673, he had conquered most of western Maharashtra and had made 'Raigad' (Dist. Raigad, 150 miles southwest of Pune) his capital. He was ceremoniously anointed as Chhatrapati in 1673. By 1680, the year of Shivaji's death, nearly whole of the Deccan belonged to his kingdom. He had developed an efficient administration and a powerful army. He also encouraged a spirit of independence among the Marathas that enabled them to withstand for 150 years all attempts to conquer them. Shivaji's achievements amongst monumental difficulties were really spectacular and that is why he holds the highest place in Maratha, and eventually, the Indian martial history.

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1.3 The period of instability (1680-1707)

Shivaji’s early death was a bad omen. He was succeeded by his son Sambhaji. He showed the same vigor as his father, but was taken prisoner by Mughals, tortured and executed by Aurangzeb in 1689. His death and the circumstances surrounding it still invoke strong passions among the people. Sambhaji was succeeded by his younger brother Rajaram as Sambhaji's son, Shahu was still a minor. The death of Rajaram in 1700 seemed to end the power of the Marathas, but Tarabai, the elder widow of Rajaram, put her young son Shahu, who was only ten years old at that time, on the throne and continued the struggle against Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb had come to south with the sole purpose of destroying Maratha kingdom. Between 1700 and 1703, Aurangzeb captured the fort of Sinhagad, near Pune. During the siege, his son prince Muhuil-Mulk died; so Aurangzeb changed Pune's name to Muhiabad, in the prince's honor. Shahu continued to fight against the Mughals and captured Rajgad, the former capital of the Maratha territory. The death of  Aurangzeb in 1707 marks another turning point in Maratha history. After Aurangzeb, Mughals lost their status as main power in India and the power scales tilted towards the Marathas, which was soon to be controlled by Peshwas.

1.4 Shivaji' Navy

Shivaji's navy building activities commenced in 1657-58. By this time he was increasing his possessions in the Konkan region which necessitated this exercise. A number of number of coastal fortresses such as Padmadurg, Vijaydurg, Suvarnadurg, Sindhudurg were built to afford protection to his coastal navy & to watch & to curb the activities of the Portuguese. The other powers of that time, Mughals and the southern sultanates were a land based power. They always neglected building up a navy. Their pilgrim & merchant ships depended on Europeans in the sea. Under such circumstances Shivaji's stress on naval activities reveals his far-sightedness.

According to Krisnaji Anant Sabhasad, Shivaji's fleet had two squadrons, each having two hundred ships of different class. Malhar Rao Chitnis mentions four to five hundred ships. The notices in English, Portuguese and Dutch records mention the number of Maratha ships on particular occasions but do not give the full strength of Shivaji's Navy. As new ships continued to be built and added to the Navy, from time to time, it seems that Sabhasad's figures of 400 ships is not exaggerated. The Maratha Navy had different types of fighting ships: Gurabs, Galbats or Gallivats, Pals and Manjhuas.

Of his naval expeditions, four are more prominently mentioned. In February 1665 he himself set out for Basrur with his army in a fleet, which, according to English Factory Records had 85 frigates and three great ships. In November 1670, a fleet of 160 sail was assembled at Nandgaon (in Kolaba district) under Daria Sarang, the Admiral of the Fleet. In 1675 Shivaji sent 40 vessels full of war material by sea to be used in the capture of Phonda, which, along with Karwar, were two important posts south of Goa. Sometime later, his naval forces occupied island of Kenery, but all attempts to subdue the island Janjira, the stronghold of the Siddis, from where thry carried out plundering raids against the mainland, failed.

Kanhoji Angre (1667-1729), was the first notable chief of the Maratha Navy and popularly known as "Samudratla Shivaji" (Shivaji of Indian ocean). For four decades he tormented the maritime powers of the western coast and led his sailors from victory to victory. He raised the naval prestige of Maharashtra to an unprecedented height. Kanhoji Angre's name struck the terror in the hearts of all the European Trading Companies which were active in India in the 17th and 18th centuries. The fishermen community on the western coast who knew the sea-coast like the palms of their hands and who were born seamen provided excellent material for the Maratha navy.

The Marathas were said to be the first and perhaps the only to employ a navy; indeed, as the saying still goes that Shivaji Maharaj carried the capital of his empire on the high seas.

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2.1 Balaji Vishwanath –  1712-1721

In 1712, Shahu died of smallpox and his minister, or Peshwa, Balaji Vishwanath took over the throne.

Negotiations between the Mughal court of Delhi and Balaji Vishwanath enabled him to send a large Maratha delegation to Delhi to assist the Mughals. The year 1718 marked the beginning of the Maratha influence in Delhi, to which they remained closely acquainted, till 1803. Balaji Vishwanath's health had suffered considerably, and he died in 1721.

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2.2 Bajirao Peshwa (Bajirao I) – 1721 to 1740

Bajirao, Balaji Vishwanath's elder son, was awarded the title of Peshwa after the death of his father. Bajirao's dream was to extend the Maratha empire to North India. By this time, Pune had regained its status as capital of Maratha Kingdom from Raigad. It was made a capital by Shivaji because it was high in the mountainous, wooded area and was considered to be strategically safe. Pune was in the plains which was always a threat. Pune remained the capital till the end of Maratha empire in 1818.

In 1734, Bajirao captured the Malwa territory in the north, and in 1739, his brother Chimnaji drove out the Portuguese from almost all their possessions in the northern Western Ghats. Bajirao died in 1740 and left three sons behind him. It was Bajirao who built the 'Shanivarwada', the residence and ruling place for the Peshwas.

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2.3 Balaji Bajirao (Nanasaheb Peshwa) – 1740 to 1761

Nanasaheb succeeded Bajirao as Peshwa in 1740. Nanasaheb was an ambitious and multifaceted person. In 1741, when his uncle Chimnaji died, Nanasaheb returned from the northern districts and spent nearly a year improving the civil administration of Pune. The period between 1741 and 1745 was of comparative calm in the Deccan. Nanasaheb encouraged agriculture, protected the villagers and brought about a marked improvement in the state of the territory.

The Mughals, supported by the French, advanced towards Pune in 1751, totally destroying every village in their way. The Marathas fought with great determination. The French artillery saved the Mughals from total defeat. In 1754, Raghunathrao, Nanasaheb's brother started on an expedition to conquer Gujarat, the state north of Bombay. In 1756, Nanasaheb marched south to attack Karnatak. In the meantime, news spread that the war had broken out between the English and the French, in Europe.

In 1756, the fall of the formidable navy formed by Shivaji gave British their chance to regain importance in the region. The navy was headed by Kanhoji Angre and its destruction was a crucial blow to Maratha sea power. It was a sad outcome of neglect of navy by Marathas which turned out to be a horrible mistake. Marathas never regained control of the sea after that.

On 14th January 1761, the Marathas were defeated at the third Battle of Panipat against Ahmadshah Abdali, a marauding warrior from Afganistan. Marathas were fighting to save the Delhi Sultanat and consequently their power in the north. Najib-ud-daulah was the person responsible for calling Ahmedshah Abdali to India. This was a crucial blow to the rising Maratha power from which they never recovered. They lost more than 100,000 men and dozens of important Sardars in the battle. Nanasaheb Peshwe (Balaji Bajirao) lost his brother, Sadashivrao (after whom Sadashiv Peth in Pune is named), and also his first son, Vishwasrao, in this battle. This news shattered Balaji Bajirao, who died shortly afterwards, in the temple on Parvati hill in Pune. The Maratha power was at the zenith of its glory during Balaji Bajirao's (also called Nana Saheb Peshwa) reign. It never fully recovered from the crushing defeat at Panipat.

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3.1 Pre-battle movements

After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 the Mughal domination declined and the Marathas soon become the major power in the Deccan region. However, they had started influencing politics in Delhi also and acquired a nationwide domination. During the same time, Nadir Shah's general Ahmad Shah Abdali also had his sights on the Mughal Empire. A conflict between the two became inevitable. Under Peshwa Baji Rao the Marathas gained control of Gujarat, Malwa and Rajputana. In 1737, Baji Rao defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi which firmle established Maratha control over a lot of Mughal territories. Baji Rao's son, Balaji Baji Rao (popularly known as Nana Saheb) invaded Punjab in 1758 and further increased the territory under Maratha control. They also took control of Lahore and Peshawar forcing Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Abdali, out of Punjab and Kashmir. This brought the Marathas into direct confrontation with the Durrani empire of Ahmad Shah Abdali. In 1759 he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes and Baloch tribes and made several gains against the smaller Maratha garrisons in Punjab. He then joined with his Indian allies-the Rohilla Afghans of the Gangetic Doab - forming a broad coalition against the Marathas.

In 1759 Abdali and his allies had reached upto Lahore and Delhi. The Maratha chieftain Sadashivrao Bhau responded by heading north towards Delhi with a large army of 1,00,000 men that was strengthened by other Maratha forces on the way. However the Maratha plans suffered a setback when their potential allies, the Jats, withdrew from the battle. In one of the initial battles Abdali's forces defeated and killed the Maratha warrior Dattaji Shinde.

But the Marathas retaliated at other places such as Kunjpura on the banks of a flooded Yamuna, where they easily defeated the Afghan forces. Abdali who was stuck on the other side of the river crossed it after finding a safer route. There were several tactical manoeuvres from both sides but eventually the Marathas were encircled and their supply lines disrupted. The Maratha generals hoped they could confront the enemy with some of their new French-built artillery. Smaller battles continued through the months and forces from both sides amassed for the final assault. 

But Abdali had successfully managed to cut the supply line of the Marathas which caused a food crisis. Moreover, the Marathas were fighting far away from their capital cities which made them vulnerable. Some historians have mentioned that the Maratha camp contained a lot of people who were not soldiers but pilgrims who were travelling with the army for security reasons. In a scenario of dwindling food stocks these factors became major disadvantages.

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3.2 The battle

The battle began on 14th January 1761 at 9:00 AM. In the first three hours the Marathas, in spite of some tactical mistakes were able to crush a large part of Abdali's army and were moving towards victory. However, in the next three hours the tide turned. 

Ibrahim Khan led the initial Maratha attack and advanced his infantry in formation against the Rohillas and Shah Pasand Khan. The first salvos from the Maratha artillery went over the Afghans' heads and did very little damage. The first Afghan attack was broken by Maratha bowmen and pikemen, along with a unit of the famed Gardi musketeers stationed close to the artillery positions. The second and subsequent salvos were fired at point-blank range into the Afghan ranks. The resulting carnage sent the Rohillas reeling back to their lines, leaving the battlefield in the hands of Ibrahim for the next three hours, during which the 8,000 Gardi musketeers killed about 12,000 Rohillas.

In the second phase, Sadashivbhau himself led the charge against the left-of-center Afghan forces, under the Afghan Vizier Shah Wali Khan. The sheer force of the attack nearly broke the Afghan lines, and soldiers started to desert their positions in the confusion. Desperately trying to rally his forces, Shah Wali appealed to Shuja ud Daulah for assistance. However, the Nawab did not break from his position, effectively splitting the Afghan force's center. However overall the attack failed due to a phenomeneon called Dakshinayan. On that day, the sunlight shone directly into the eyes of the attackers' horses, many of them half-starved Maratha mounts who were exhausted long before they had traveled the two kilometers to the Afghan lines; some simply collapsed.

In the final phase the Marathas, under Scindia, attacked Najib. Najib successfully fought a defensive action, however, keeping Scindia's forces at bay. By noon it looked as though Bhau would clinch victory for the Marathas once again. However Ahmad Shah Abdali had a system called Shaturnal in place. In this style of attack, cannons were place on the top of camels which could fire directly at the enemy over the heads of their own soldiers. The Maratha artillery could not respond to the joint combined force of the shathurnals and the cavalry charge. Some 7,000 Maratha cavalry and infantry were killed before the hand-to-hand fighting began at around 14:00. By 16:00 the tired Maratha infantry began to succumb to the onslaught of attacks from fresh Afghan reserves, protected by armoured leather jackets.

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Sadashivrao Bhau had made another mistake by not keeping any reserves. Seeing his forward lines dwindling and Vishwasrao disappear in the midst of the fighting, he felt he had no choice but to come down from his elephant and lead the battle. Taking advantage of this, some Afghan soldiers who had been captured by the Marathas earlier during the siege of Kunjpura revolted. This brought confusion and great consternation to loyal Maratha soldiers, who thought that the enemy had attacked from their rear. Some Maratha troops panicked and began to flee because they could not see their general atop his elephant.The Afghans pursued the fleeing Maratha army and civilians. The Maratha front lines remained largely intact, with some of their artillery units fighting until sunset. Choosing not to launch a night attack, many Maratha troops escaped that night. Bhau's wife Parvatibai, who was assisting in the administration of the Maratha camp, escaped to Pune with her bodyguard (Janu Bhintada).

Thus ended the third battle of Panipat. The defeat came as a crushing below to the Marathas however they soon built up the power and became a powerful force again. Ahmad shah Abdali could not enjoy his victory for any period of time. While returning back to various factions of his army were attacked by the Sikhs whom he had earlier defeated. Hence, it is said that the third battle of Panipat did not decide who will rule Delhi but who will not rule it. The British occupied this void very effectively.


4.1 'Thorale' Madhavrao Peshwa – 1761-1772

Madhavrao, the second son of Nanasaheb took over after the third battle of Panipat, but had to constantly face administrative disputes with his uncle, Raghunathrao. Despite of this, he achieved many remarkable victories and restored the shattered Maratha confidence to a large extent. His outstanding achievements included defeat of Nizam (Hyderabad), Hyder (Karnataka) and Bhosle of Nagpur. He also had to fight wars with Raghunathrao whose greed for power never waned. Ultimately, Madhavrao took Raghunathrao prisoner in 1768. In the same year the Nizam attacked Pune but was eventually defeated. Madhavrao is also called 'Thorale' or Greatest Madhavrao, is entitled to special praise for supporting the poor and for his sense of justice. Ramshastri Prabhune, the chief justice, has become a legend for his work. The people who rose to power in his rule were Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadnis and Haribhau Phadke who became the key figures in the power structure after his death. He took ill in 1771 and died in 1772 at an early age of 27, causing yet another blow to recovering Maratha power.

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4.2 Narayanrao Peshwa – 1772-1773

Narayanrao, Balaji Bajirao's third son succeeded the throne at Shaniwarwada as the next Peshwa. He neither had the courage to take any bold decisions nor administrative skills and soon became very unpopular among the people. In 1773, Raghunathrao, who had been imprisoned by Madhavrao, in a room in the palace in Pune, escaped with the help of the Gardi people. Narayanrao was murdered at the Shaniwar wada, owing to a conspiracy by Anandibai, Raghunathrao's wife.

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4.3 'Sawai' Madhaorao Peshwa – 1774-1795

Raghunathrao was proclaimed the next Peshwa, although he was not heir to the title. Narayanrao's widow gave birth to a son, Sawai Madhavrao, who was legally the next Peshwa. Raghunathrao relied heavily on the English for manpower in exchange for money and territory. However his plans did not succeed. He was displaced from power by a clever plot by the 12 Maratha Sardars - "Barambhainche karasthaan" (plot by 12 people). Sawai Madhavrao who was only a year old was then declared the next Peshwa. Nana Phadnis became the main administrator with Phadke, Shinde and Holkar taking care of military duties. These people handled the Peshwai well and with great unity till the premature death of Sawai Madhaorao in 1795. They defeated the rising British Power in 1784, near Pune and halted their advancements, temporarily. Sawai Madhaorao's death was the last blow to the Maratha empire and all the unity among its leaders vanished after his death causing a downfall of Peshwai in a short time.

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4.4 'Second' Bajirao Peshwa – 1795-1802

Raghunathrao died in 1782, leaving behind him, two sons; Bajirao, who in 1817 confronted the British at the Battle of Kirkee, in Pune; and the younger, Chimnaji Appa. Bajirao became the next Peshwa after Madhaorao's death. Nana was still the administrator and the Peshwai remained in stable condition till his death owing to his superb administrative skills. Nana died in 1800 and Pune fell into the hands of the Scindias (Shinde); the former chiefs of Nana's army. They remained in power for a short while. In 1802, Bajirao reestablished himself in Pune, by signing the treaty of Bassein with the British. This essentially ended Peshwai, establishing British supremacy in the region. The capturing of the Ahmednagar fort in 1803, proved British supremacy in the Deccan. In 1804, General Wellesly proclaimed the Deccan in a state of chaos, established military rule and the Peshwas remained rulers for  namesake.

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The shock defeat of the Marathas at the third battle of Panipat could not be withstood by Peshwa Balaji Bajirao and he passed away on June 23, 1761. He was succeeded by his son Madhav Rao. He kept in check the ambition of his brother Raghunath Rao, maintained unity among the Maratha chiefs and nobles and very soon recovered the power and prestige of the Marathas which they had lost in the Third Battle of Panipat. The English became conscious of the growing power of the Marathas and wanted to crush their re-establishment. They got this opportunity very soon after the death of Madhav Rao in 1772.

Madhavrao's brother Narayanrao became Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. However, Raghunathrao, Narayanrao's uncle, had his nephew assassinated in a palace conspiracy that resulted in Raghunathrao becoming Peshwa, although he was not the legal heir. Narayanrao's widow, Gangabai, gave birth to a posthumous son, who was legal heir to the throne. The newborn infant was named 'Sawai' Madhavrao (Sawai means "One and a Quarter"). Twelve Maratha chiefs, led by Nana Phadnavis initiated an effort to name the infant as the new Peshwa and rule under him as regents. However Raghunathrao was unwilling to give up his position of power and sought the help from the British who were stationed at Bombay. The Treaty of Surat was signed on 6the March 1775. According to the treaty, Raghunathrao ceded the territories of Salsette and Bassein to the British, along with part of the revenues from Surat and Bharuch districts. In return, the British promised to provide Raghunathrao with 2,500 soldiers.

However  the Treaty of Purandhar (1 March 1776) annulled that of Surat, Raghunathrao was pensioned and his cause abandoned, but the revenues of Salsette and Broach districts were retained by the British. The Bombay government rejected this new treaty and gave refuge to Raghunathrao.

The First Anglo Maratha War (1775-1782): British troops under the command of Colonel Keating left Surat on March 15, 1775 for Pune. But they were checked by Haripant Phadke at Adas and were totally defeated on May 18, 1775. Warren Hastings estimated that direct actions against Pune would be detrimental and the British Calcutta Council condemned the Treaty of Surat, sending Colonel Upton to Pune to annul it and make a new treaty with the regency. An agreement between Upton and the ministers of Pune called Treaty of Purandar was signed on March 1, 1776.

In the battle of Wadgaon, the Marathas cut off the British supply lines of the British who were marching from Bombay. The Britsh soldiers learnt about this and halted at Talegaon. They tried to withdraw in the middle of the night but were attacked by the Marathas and were forced to halt in  the village of Wadgaon. 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.

However, The British Governor-General in Bengal, Warren Hastings, rejected the treaty on the grounds that the Bombay officials had no legal power to sign it, and ordered Goddard to secure British interests in the area. Goddard captured Ahmedabad on 15th February 1779 and Bassein on December 11, 1780. Before Mahdaji Shinde could make adequate preparations, another Bengal detachment led by Captain Popham captured Gwalior on 4ht August 1780. After capturing Bassein, Goddard marched towards Pune. But he was routed at Borghat - Parshurambha in April 1781 by Haripant Phadke and Tukoji Holkar. After a series of battle at various places, Mahadaji Shinde decisively crushed the forces of Murre on July 1, 1781. At the same time the British invasion on Konkan was thoroughly defeated.

After this defeat the treaty of Salbai was signed between Warren Hastings and Majadji Scinida. Under this treaty Salsette and Bassein were given to the British. Raghunath Rao was pensioned off. The treaty established the British influence on Indian politics.

The Second Anglo Maratha War (1803-1805): On 31st December 1802  the treaty of Bassein was signed between the last Peshwa of the Marathas, Baji Rao II and the The main provisions of this Treaty were the recognition of Peshwa's claim in Poona, acceptance of Subsidiary Alliance by Baji Rao II and relinquishing of all rights to Surat by Baji Rao to the British.

For Marathas, Treaty of Bassein was nothing short of surrender of national honour. Holkar and Scindia stopped fighting. Scindia and Bhonsle combined forces against the British but Holkar and Gaikwad remained aloof. Scindia and Bhonsle were asked by the English to withdraw their troops to the north of the Naramada River but they refused. This led to the second Anglo Maratha War. Both Scindia and Peshwa had accepted the sovereignty of the English. The Scindia and the Bhonsle entered into the subsidiary alliance by concluding the Treaty of Surje-Arjangaon and the Treaty of Deogaon respectively. Now Holkar alone was left in the field who still avoided their supremacy. Wellesley, now turned his attention towards Holkar, but Yeshwant Rao Holkar proved more than a match for the British. The company made peace with Holkar in January 1806 by the Treaty of Rajgat giving back to the latter the greater part of his territories.

The Third Anglo Maratha War (1817-1818): The third Anglo Maratha was a last attempt by the Marathas to regain their independence and prestige. This led in organising a united front of the Maratha chiefs and was taken over by the Peshwa who was smarting under the rigid control exercised by the British Resident. 

On 5 November, 1817, the Third Anglo-Maratha War or conflict began. Bapu Gokhale suffered defeat at the hands of the English in two successive battles. Peshwa Baji Rao II fled to Purandar. At this stage, Appa Sahib Bhonsle and Malhar Rao Holkar, the son of Jaswant Rao Holkar, declared war against the English. On 27 December, 1817, the English defeated Bhonsle in the battle of Sitabaldi and defeated Holkar on 21 December in the same year. On January 6, 1818, Holkar was compelled to accept Subsidiary Alliance by the terms of the Treaty of Mandasore.

Holkar also left his claim over the Rajput territories and gave the entire region situated in the south of the river Narmada to the English. The English also annexed the kingdom of Appa Sahib Bhonsle. The Peshwa fought two more battles with the English - at Koregaon on January 1, 1818, and at Peshti on February 20, 1818. He suffered defeat in both the battles and his able general Bapu Gokhale died in the second. On 3 June, 1818, Peshwa Baji Rao II surrendered to the English. Baji Rao II had to stay on a pension of 8 lakhs a year. His dominions were placed under the English contrail. Satara was given to Pratap, a descendant of Sivaji. With the suppression of the Marathas there was no power left to resist the growth of the British power in India. 

The British now reigned supreme.

PT's IAS Academy, PT education, IAS, CSE, UPSC, Prelims, Mains, exam coaching, exam prep, Civil Services   test

PT's IAS Academy, PT education, IAS, CSE, UPSC, Prelims, Mains, exam coaching, exam prep, Civil Services   test

PT's IAS Academy, PT education, IAS, CSE, UPSC, Prelims, Mains, exam coaching, exam prep, Civil Services   test



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PT's IAS Academy: UPSC IAS exam preparation - Europeans in India and important personalities - Lecture 2
UPSC IAS exam preparation - Europeans in India and important personalities - Lecture 2
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PT's IAS Academy
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