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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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The Marathas Part 13 Peshwa Baji Rao I Section I: Taking Charge

Canberra, 24 November 2021 Two weeks after his father’s death, 22-year-old Baji Rao succeeded as the Peshwa, assuming office on 17th April 1720. There was opposition to his appointment because of his extreme youth and a demonstrated penchant for military adventures. He was also known for his characteristically open and direct manner of dealing with […]

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The Marathas Part 12 The Rise of the Peshwas: Balaji Viswanath Bhat

Canberra, 12 November 2021 Bringing Kanhoji Angre into Shahu’s fold without bloodshed was a great triumph of Balaji’s diplomacy. The most powerful chieftain from the rival camp was now a supporter of Shahu, which further strengthened the foundations of the Maratha kingdom that was being built. The new policy, enunciated by the Peshwa and fully […]

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The Marathas Part 11 Beginning of the Maratha Confederacy

Canberra, 30 October 2021 Aurangzeb’s death initiated the inevitable succession struggle. Shah Alam, the eldest surviving son based in Peshawar, reached Delhi first and claimed the throne after taking over the treasury. Azam Shah from Ahmednagar opposed him and started the march north, without concluding any formal agreement with the marauding Marathas. On the advice […]

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The Marathas Part 10 The Mughal – Maratha Hopscotch

Canberra, 25 October 2021 THE VACILLATING MUGHAL DECCAN POLICY During his long tenures as the viceroy of the Deccan during his father’s reign, and subsequently as the emperor, Aurangzeb had felt the deep-seated mistrust of the Deccan kingdoms towards the Mughals. In the two decades that he had been away from the Deccan, initially during […]

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The Marathas Part 9 Triumph of the Marathas

Canberra, 16 October 2021 Sambhaji’s brutal execution and Rajaram’s hurried flight to Ginji were events that severely shocked the Maratha psyche. However, the Marathas are one of the most resilient of peoples, oriented towards action and therefore, the despondency did not linger for long. In May 1690 a combined Maratha army, commanded by many military […]

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The Marathas Part 8 The Regency of Rajaram: Taking on the Mughals

Canberra, 07 October 2021 Even though there was no denial of Sambhaji’s character flaws and grave faults in his behaviour pattern, the Maratha nobles fully resented the way he had been treated by the Mughal emperor—after all, he was the king of the Marathas. Sambhaji left behind his wife Yesubai and a six-year-old son Shahu, […]

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The Marathas Part 7 Sambhaji Bhonsle Section II: Capture and Execution

Canberra The decline of power under Sambhaji was such that the Marathas were in no position to offer any meaningful resistance to the Mughals when Aurangzeb arrived in the Deccan. At the end of the monsoon rains in 1684, the Mughal armies began to move. An army under Shahabuddin Khan advanced towards Raigarh with the […]

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The Marathas Part 7 Sambhaji Bhonsle Section I: Accession and Early Rule

Canberra, 28 September 2021 On hearing of his father’s illness, Sambhaji hurried from Panhala to Raigarh but could not reach the fort before Shivaji’s death. He carried out the last rites and then returned to Panhala. The mourning period was followed by a short, but vicious power struggle for succession. The 23-year-old Sambhaji, as the […]

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The Marathas Part 6 Shivaji Bhonsle Section VII: A Panegyric

Canberra, 7 September 2021 The account of Shivaji’s activities and achievements, described in the previous few chapters, is only a concise narrative of the main events of his life. Even such a short description proves the genius that he possessed. However, unfortunately and for some unfathomable reason, Shivaji is perhaps the most under-appreciated, misunderstood and […]

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