[Modern History] Marathas (Peshwas) : One of 8 ministers (Aastpradhan)

Marathas(Peshwas) Peshwas (One of 8 ministers (Aastpradhan)) :
18th centaury age was   the age of supremacy for Marathas this was facilitated by decline of Mughals. Post of Peshwas was initially as the Keeper of Records ".

All Peshwas were Brahmin & during 18th centaury they became the real rulers of Maratha State as Reflected by Sangola Agreement of 1750 by which the Peshwas got civil & military powers in an
effective manner (Pune – Head Quarters)


Balaji  Vishwanath (Ist peshwa) because  of his military & diplomatic achievements raised its status much above other ministers. He transformed Peshwaship into life of that of Prime Minister which became hereditary in nature later on.


(1)   Balaji  Vishwanath  (1713-1720)
Great Grandfather
       Original Name – Bhairon Pant Pingle
Played imp role in not only in release of Shau  Maharaj but also in protecting Marathas Financial Interests  by getting rights of revenue collection from Mughal ruler popularly known as “Treaty of Delhi” or Magna Carta of Maratha Dominance.

(2)   Peshwa Bajiro/Bajirao –I(Grand Father) (1720-1740) – Son of Balaji Vishwanath.
Known as Real Founder of Maratha Confideracy – because  he helped in establishment of different houses, like at Gwalior there was Ranoji Scindia, At indore there was Malhar Rao Holkar together these both influenced Malwa.
Bajirao-I outlined goal & vision of future Maratha Empire & sensed weakness if Mughal Empire. He outlined & proposed concept of Hindu Pad PadShahi. So as to bring all hindu rulers under one head & to create an all India empire. In 1739 Bajirao-I defeated Portuguese got control over Bassien.

(3)   Balaji Baji Rao or NanaSaheb(father) (1740 - 1761)  
In this period Maratha power reached his peak, there was healthy rival vary between different Maratha rulers to extend their territory at expense of neighboring states. E.g Holkar displaced military attack in Bundelkhand.

Similarly the Peshwa himself invaded Mysore & Karnataka region. Maratha got victory in Battle of Udgir & they got control over different forces like Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Bijapur & Ahmednagar among others.

Downfall – He used policy of indiscriminate attack in different region & Marathas were defeated in 3rd battle of Panipat in 1761, so in short Nanasaheb was not able to consolidate Marathas achievement by good administration.

(4)   Madhav rao(1761-1772)(son) (Also known as Black Prince of Maharashtra)

2nd son of Nanasaheb was initially under the regency of his uncle Raghunath Rao . Soon asserted himself by defeating Nizam of Hyderabad (twice) & Hyder Ali of Mysore.
Took steps to bring efficiency into administration, accounts & treasury also discouraged superstitious religious practices.

The was also a jurist Ram Shastri known as supreme pillar of justice. (like present day Supreme court of India)

(5)   Narayan Rao(brother)  (1772 - 1774)
3rd son of Nanasaheb.  Madhavrao-I died in 1772 and was succeeded by seventeen-year-old Narayanrao with his uncle Raghunathrao acting as regent.  Madhav Rao as killed by, this was instrumental in bringing down fall of peshwas because Raghunath Rao himself wanted to become Peshwa, that is why Rahgunath Rao approached British & signed treaty of Surat and promosied British to give Salsette island & Bassien(vasai - mumbai).

But there was a battle of ARRAS won by British, so at that time the  peshwas was being looked after by the minister Nana Phadnavis – who approached British in Kolkata & offered Salsette in return for British military support.

But court of directors (EAST India companys main decision making body) accepted treaty of Surat supporting Rahgunath Rao. Confident British were defeated by Maratha & they were forced to sign “convention of wadgaon” and this whole episode was ended in 1782 by treaty of Salbai.

This period between 1775-1782 is known as First Anglo-Maratha War. In this period Peshwa was Madhav Rao Narayan or Madhav –II  (SON of Narayan Rao) & Peshwa court was divided into number of groups, most powerful was Barabhai or 12 brothers, alliance headed by Nana Phadvanis(who also defeated Nizam in battle of Karda in 1795). He also helped Bajirao-II to become next Peshwa (son of Raghunath Rao).

(6)   Bajirao-II(Son of uncle Raghunath Rao) (1796-1818)
After the death of Phadnavis in 1800, the Maratha leaders Yashwantrao Holkar of Indore and Daulat Rao Sindhia of Gwalior contested for control of the empire; their rivalry made its way to Pune, seat of the Peshwa

 Holkar ultimately triumphed, and Baji Rao fled west to Bombay in September 1802 to seek the willing hands of the British who were waiting for this opportunity with great patience. There, he concluded the Treaty of Bassein in December 1802, in which the British agreed to reinstate Baji Rao in return for the Marathas allowing British troops in Maratha territory and paying for their maintenance, and acceptance of a British political agent (Resident) at Pune.

Holkar and Sindhia resisted the British intrusion on Maratha affairs, which resulted in the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-1805 in which forces of Arthur Wellesley defeated forces of both Scindia & Bhonsle in battle of Assaye in Sept 1803. Arthur Wellesley also occupied Ahmednagar. Defeated bhonsle in battle of Arragaon & forced him to sign Treaty of Devgaon
Similarly in North India General Lake captured Aligarh, Agra & Delhi. He also defeated Scindia forces in Battle of Laswari & concluded treaty of Surji-Anjangaon.

Holkar remained quite for some time & but his forces were defeated by Arthur Wellesely , by Murray in Gujrat & General Lake in north ( 3 sided attack for Holkar). Similarly there was again resistance & revolt by 3rd Anglo Maratha War(1817-1819) in which again Marathas were defeated in which again Marathas were defeated including peshwa forces in battle of Kirkee/Ashti/Koregaon.

Now Maratha confederacy was dissolved . Peshwaship was abolished & Bajirao-II was sent to Bittur where he passed away in 1853 & British stopped privilages to his adopted son “Nanasaheb/dhondu panth” = Doctrine of Lapse. Hence Dhondupanth was a leader of Revolt of 1857, who escaped to Nepal later. Thereby ending the illustrious legacy of Marathas.

Note – All relationships are exclusively against the previous name. Hope there’s no confusion over there.

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