Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra State Board

After Bajirao I, Shahu Maharaj appointed his son Balaji Bajirao alias Nanasaheb the Peshwa. Following the invasion of Nadirshah, there was instability in Delhi. In these circumstances, Nanasaheb tried to stabilize the Maratha rule in the North. Ahmadshah Abdali posed a challenge to the Marathas at Panipat. We shall learn about these developments in this chapter.

The Situation in the North:
The region to the northwest of Ayodhya province at the foothills of the Himalayas was called Rohilkhand in the 18th century. The Pathans who had migrated from Afghanistan had settled in this region. They were known as Rohillas. The Rohillas had wrought havoc in the Doab region of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The Nawab of Ayodhya invited the Marathas to subdue the Rohillas. The Marathas chastised the Rohillas.

Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Conflict with the Afghans:
Ahmadshah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan, was attracted by the riches of India. He marched on the Punjab in 1751 CE. There was anarchy in the Mughal territory. The Mughals were facing the threat of Abdali’s invasion. In these circumstances, the Mughals found it necessary for their own protection, to seek the help of the Marathas. The Emperor was sure of the Maratha’s strength and integrity. There was no other power strong enough to protect Delhi. Therefore, the Emperor entered into a treaty with the Marathas in April 1752. According to this treaty, the Marathas agreed to protect the Mughal power from enemies like the Rohillas, the Jats, the Rajputs, and the Afghans. In return, the Marathas were to get cash money, the right to collect chauthai in the territories of the Punjab, Multan, Rajputana, Sindh, and Rohilkhand, and the Subhedari of Ajmer and Agra provinces.

As per the treaty, the Peshwa sent the Shinde-Holkar armies for the protection of Delhi on behalf of the Chhatrapati. When Abdali learned that the Marathas were marching to Delhi, he went back to his country. Because the threat of Abdali was thus thwarted due to the Marathas, the Emperor gave them Chauthai rights to the Mughal Subhas. These subhas included Kabul, Kandahar, and Peshawar. Though the Subhas were previously a part of the Mughal empire, now they were part of Abdali’s Afghanistan. As per the treaty, it was the duty of the Marathas to win the Subhas back from Abdali and annex them to the Mughal Empire. Abdali however, wanted to bring under Afghan control, the region up to the Punjab. So a conflict between the Marathas and Abdali was imminent and inevitable.
Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 1
Raghunathrao, brother of the Peshwa Nanasaheb, accompanied by Jayappa Shinde and Malharrao Holkar, undertook the campaign of North India to combat Abdali. The local rulers in the north saw the Marathas from the South as their competitors. They did not take into account the broad vision of the Marathas and remained neutral, offering no help to the Marathas. They did not like the Maratha supremacy and interventions in the Delhi court. Surajmal Jat and Rani Kishori were the only ones who helped the Marathas wounded in the battle of Panipat.

Also, some of the orthodox sects in the North saw Marathas as people belonging to other religions. They, too, left aside the broad vision of the Marathas. They persuaded Abdali to invade India with a view to reducing the Maratha might. They expected that Abdali would defeat the Marathas and drive them away back to the South, beyond the river Narmada.

The Maratha Standard on Attock:
Najibkhan was a Rohilla chief. He found it hard to tolerate the Maratha supremacy in the North. At the behest of Najibkhan, Abdali invaded India again. This was the fifth time he had invaded India. He captured Delhi. He returned to Afghanistan with a huge booty. Raghunathrao and Malharrao Holkar marched to the North again. They captured Delhi. Then, driving out Abdali’s officers, they captured the Punjab. The Marathas pursued Abdali’s soldiers right up to Attock in 1758 CE. The Maratha standard was raised at Attock. Attock is in present-day Pakistan. From Attock, the Marathas pushed the campaign up to Peshawar. However, they did not make proper arrangements to look after this newly conquered territory.

Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Dattaji’s Valour:
To get a firm hold over the Punjab and crush Najibkhan, the Peshwa sent Dattaji Shinde and Janakoji Shinde to the North. Dattaji went to the North. Keeping Dattaji engaged in negotiations, Najibkhan established contacts with Abdali. He requested Abdali to come to his help. On receiving the message from Najibkhan, Abdali invaded India again. Dattaji and Abdali confronted each other at Buradi Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna. A fierce fight ensued. Dattaji showed tremendous valour. He met with a heroic death in this battle.

Dattaji fought very bravely. At last, he was severely wounded and collapsed on the battleground. Najib Khan Rohilla’s adviser Qutub Shah stepped down from his elephant and came towards Dattaji. He asked Dattaji, ‘क्ो पटेलजी, हमारे साथ तुम और भी लढेंे?’ Dattaji was in a wounded state. But after hearing these words of Qutub Shah, he replied with pride, ‘हाँ, बचेंे तो और भी लढेंे।’

Nanasaheb sent his cousin Sadashivraobhau and eldest son Vishwasrao to the North to crush Abdali. Sadashivraobhau was Chimajiappa’s son. He had with him, a huge army and powerful artillery. Ibrahimkhan Gardi was the chief of the artillery. He had defeated the Nizam in the battle of Udgir in 1760 CE, on the strength of this artillery.
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The Battle of Panipat:
In his campaign of the North, Sadashivraobhau captured Delhi. The armies of the Marathas and Abdali confronted each other at Panipat. On 14 January 1761, the Marathas opened the battle by attacking Abdali’s army. This was the Third Battle of Panipat. Vishwasrao fell victim to an enemy bullet in the battle. When Sadashivraobhau learned this, he fiercely attacked the enemy in a frenzy. He disappeared in the battle fray. Seeing that their leader had disappeared, the Maratha soldiers lost courage.
Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 3
At that very moment, the reserve contingents of Abdali launched an attack on the Marathas with fresh vigour. The Marathas were defeated. A whole generation of young men in Maharashtra was killed. Many brave Sardars fell on the battlefield. The Marathas believed that an outsider like Abdali had no moral right to rule here. The Marathas fought at Panipat with the broad perspective that India is for Indians.

Approximately 1,50,000 people were killed in the battle of Panipat. One letter describes this in a poetic way.
‘‘दोन मोत्े गळाली. सततावीस मोहोरा हरवल्ा! आवण रू्े, खुदाम वकती गेल्ा ्ाचीगणतीच नाही.’’

Sadashivraobhau had explained the broad, all-inclusive viewpoint of the Marathas in his correspondence with the rulers in the North, saying that they were all native to the land and Abdali was an enemy from a foreign country. However, the rulers in the North did not respond favorably to him and took a neutral attitude. Naturally, the Marathas had to shoulder the responsibility of protecting India. We can say that the Marathas were the first in our history to realize that India was one country and it was necessary for all to lend support to the king irrespective of his religion.

Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Peshwa Madhavrao:
After the death of Peshwa Nanasaheb, his son Madhavrao succeeded him to the office of the Peshwa. Madhavrao kept the Nizam and Hyder Ali at bay. He established the supremacy of the Marathas in the North again. After the defeat of the Marathas at Panipat, the Nizam once again resumed his anti-Maratha activities. He invaded the Maratha territory. Madhavrao defeated the Nizam at Rakshasbhuvan near Paithan.
Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 4
Hyder Ali was the Sultan of Mysore. Taking advantage of the Maratha defeat at Panipat, Hyder Ali attacked their territory in Karnataka. The Marathas defeated Hyder in a battle at Moti Talav near Srirangapattan. He then agreed to cede the region north of the river Tungabhadra to the Marathas. Peshwa Madhavrao died in 1772 CE. In the history of the Marathas, he is described as an honest, hard-working, determined administrator who was keen on public welfare. The death of this capable Peshwa was an irreparable loss to the Maratha State.

Peshwa Madhavrao provided special attention to the welfare of farmers. He dug many wells in Pune and increased the water supply to the city. Administrators like Nana Phadnavis and judges like Ramshastri Prabhune emerged under his rule. He reformed the judiciary for better justice for the common people. He started artillery and ammunition factories. He also established a mint to make coins.

The two Peshwas who succeeded Peshwa Madhavrao, namely Narayanrao and Sawai Madhavrao, did not live long. During their term, Peshwa was in the grip of family feuds. Raghunathrao, who had once raised the Maratha standard at Attock, sought shelter with the British to satisfy his greed for power. This led to a war between the Marathas and the British.

Hyder Ali died in 1782 CE. After him, his son Tipu became the Sultan of Mysore. He was a skilled warrior, a scholar, and a poet. He used his competence to increase the might of his Kingdom. He established contact with the French and shook the foundation of British supremacy. He died in 1799 CE in a battle against the British.

Marathas – The Protectors of the Nation Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

The Maratha Supremacy Rises Once Again:
The Maratha prestige in the North had suffered a severe setback because of the debacle at Panipat. Madhavrao dispatched Mahadji Shinde, Tukoji Holkar, Ramchandra Kanade, and Visajipant Biniwale to re-establish the Maratha rule in the North. The Maratha army defeated the Jats, the Rohillas, and the Rajputs. The Marathas restored Emperor Shah Alam to the throne of Delhi under their own protection. The Maratha power was revived in the North.

The Marathas suffered a heavy loss in the battle of Panipat. Abdali’s army also suffered losses. He did not benefit financially in the battle. In fact, Abdali or his descendants did not muster enough courage to invade India again. They realized that only the Marathas had the strength and capacity to control the anarchy in the North. They expressed their wish that the Marathas should protect the Empire. They sent a messenger to Pune to establish cordial relations. It is important to note that the Marathas overcame the great defeat at Panipat and successfully revived their supremacy in the politics of the North. Malharrao Holkar, Ahilyabai Holkar, and Mahadji Shinde had a lion’s share in all this.

The Family Tree of the Peshwas
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