Archive by Author

The Marathas Part 18 The March to Destruction: 50 Years of Chaos Section I: Early English Invasions

Canberra, 23 June 2022 Moroba Phadnavis who was the prime plotter in the repeated attempts to capture the infant Peshwa, his mother and the senior ministers of the Federation had not been chastened and remained at large to further pursue his nefarious activities, brought on by his intense jealousy of his cousin Nana Phadnavis, the […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 17 The Supreme Council of Calcutta: English Interlude

Canberra, 23 June 2022 In April 1774, when he started his retreat from his march towards Pune, Raghunath Rao entered into negotiations with the English East India Company through their Bombay Government. The English, still basking in the glow of the resounding victory Robert Clive had achieved in Bengal, readily grasped at the overtures although […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 16 Raghunath Rao: Ambition Knows no Bounds

Canberra, 11 June 2022 As mentioned in the previous chapter, in June 1770 Madhav Rao was forced to hand over the Carnatic expedition to Trimbak Rao and return to Pune on account of his illness. He had inherited the tendency to be afflicted with consumption that had affected his father and grandfather and gradually the […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 15 Peshwa Madhav Rao Section II The Mysore Wars

Canberra, 30 May 2022 While the Marathas were focusing on North India and playing the role of the king-maker, in the Carnatic, Haidar Ali’s power in Mysore was growing. The continuing internal struggles of the Marathas facilitated the rise of a new Muslim power on the ruins of the older Hindu dynasty that had so […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 15 Peshwa Madhav Rao Section I: Accession, Rebellions and Consolidation

Canberra, 22nd May 2022 In 1761, the Maratha polity was reeling from the defeat in a battle that need not have been fought. The disaster was the culmination of extended ambition, unwanted hubris, inexperience in diplomacy, strategy, operational art and tactics and flawed command and control arrangements. The defeat of the magnificent Maratha army continues […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section IV: The Battle of Panipat

4. MAJOR REASONS FOR THE MARATHA DEBACLE Canberra, 10th May 2022 The Maratha high command had not fully thought through the expedition to North India, before despatching Sadashiv Rao Bhau with an army and instructions that were ambiguous to achieve some vague and ill-defined objectives. The aim of the expedition can, at best, be described […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section IV: The Battle of Panipat

THE AFTERMATH Canberra, 18 March 2022 Peshwa Balaji Rao’s Circumstances News from the North Indian expedition was slow to reach Pune. The Peshwa was sanguine under the illusion that he had provided all resources required for Sadashiv Rao Bhau to succeed in his mission. A few favourable titbits reached Pune, such as the easy victory […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section IV The Battle of Panipat

A Fateful Day Canberra, 9 March 2022 After their easy victory at Kunjpura, the Marathas camped at Pasina Kalan, anticipating that Abdali would attempt to cross River Yamuna upstream. However, the Afghans crossed the river at Bhagpat, between the Maratha camp and Delhi. Although they suffered some losses during the crossing, the entire army was […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section IV The Battle of Panipat

Canberra, 28 February 2022 The Inexorable March to the Debacle The army that was put together to avenge Maratha honour consisted at the core of the Peshwa’s personal soldiers who were surrounded and supported by soldiers owing allegiance to other Maratha sardars, chiefs. The total fighting strength was around 25,000. When Sadashiv Rao Bhau left […]

Continue reading

The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section III North India Beckons

Canberra, 21 February 2022 Punjab was in political turmoil throughout the 1740s, destabilised by different claimants to its governorship, inevitably in conflict with each other. Further, the Sikhs were in open rebellion. In the broader Indian political scene, between 1748–49, three influential ‘chiefs’ died: chiefs who were men of old values and traditions; chiefs who […]

Continue reading