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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section II The Second Phase – Coming of Age

Canberra, 23 January 2022 While the Persian adventurer Ahmad Shah Abdali was repeatedly attempting to make inroads into North India, and the French were laying the foundations upon which the English would later build their Eastern Empire, the Maratha king Shahu continued to dither as an indecisive head of the greatest power of the time […]

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The Marathas Part 14 Peshwa Balaji Rao Section I: A Hesitant Start

Canberra, 7 January 2022 On the untimely death of Baji Rao, the Deccan faction in the Maratha court once again attempted to stop the hereditary appointment of the Chitpavan Brahmin Bhat family as Peshwas. This faction was led by Raghuji Bhonsle, who was also one of King Shahu’s favourite nobles. Raghuji had been at loggerheads […]

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The Marathas Part 13 Peshwa Baji Rao I Section IV A Peshwa Fades Away

Canberra, 26 December 2021 The Marathas always faced obstacles in establishing strong control over the coastal region of Konkan. The Sidis, and later the Portugues, individually contested the control over this narrow, but strategically important coastal strip. The control of Konkan translated to the control of the lucrative seaborne trade that also included horses and […]

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The Marathas Part 13 Peshwa Baji Rao I Section III Visions of Northward Conquests

Canberra, 22 December 2021 As soon as the Peshwa returned to the Deccan, the Mughals started to push back, and the negotiations were broken. The Mughal emperor withdrew forces that were guarding the north-western borders and passes to reinforce the contingent fighting in Central India. This decision was to have disastrous consequences for the empire […]

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The Marathas Part 13 Peshwa Baji Rao Section II: The Maratha Expansion

Canberra, 5 December 2021 The 18th century witnessed a change of the first magnitude in the geo-political circumstances in the Indian sub-continent—the rise of Maratha power to eminence in the sub-continental political developments. The Mughal acceptance of the Maratha collection of Chauth and Sardeshmukhi, although made to look like concessions given to Raja Shahu on […]

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