The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra State Board

At the beginning of the Maratha War of Independence, the Mughals were on the offensive whereas the Marathas were on the defensive. This situation however was reversed at the end of the War of Independence. The Mughals were thrown on the defensive against the Marathas. In the latter half of the eighteenth century, the Marathas subdued the Mughals and extended the Maratha power to cover practically the whole of India. We shall study this in the present chapter.

Release of Shahu Maharaj:
After the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, there ensued a struggle among his sons for the throne of Delhi. Prince Azamshah was in the South. At once, he marched towards Delhi to seize the imperial throne. Prince Shahu was in his captivity. Azamshah believed that if Shahu Maharaj was released, there would arise a conflict between him and Maharani Tarabai for the gadi of the Maratha Chhatrapati. Azamshah felt that this would sap the Maratha’s strength and therefore, released Shahu Maharaj.

The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Coronation of Shahu Maharaj:
Immediately after his release, Shahu Maharaj marched towards Maharashtra. He was joined by some Maratha Sardars, but Maharani Tarabai did not accept his claim to the throne. The armies of Shahu Maharaj and Maharani Tarabai fought a battle at Khed on the bank of the Bheema. Shahu Maharaj won the battle. He captured Satara. He got himself crowned. Satara became the capital of the Maratha kingdom.
The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 1
For a while, the mutual opposition between Maharani Tarabai and Shahu Maharaj continued. Maharani Tarabai proclaimed her minor son Shivaji II as the Chhatrapati at Pahnala in 1710 CE. This gave rise to an independent Maratha Kingdom at Kolhapur besides the one at Satara.

The early part of Shahu Maharaj’s life was spent in Mughal camps. So, he had seen Mughal politics from close quarters. He knew the finer points of Mughal and especially North Indian politics. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Mughal empire very well. Also, he was acquainted with the influential people in the Mughal Court. All these factors helped him decide the new direction of Maratha politics in the changing circumstances.

Aurangzeb’s successors had given up his policy of destroying the Maratha power. So the Marathas adopted a new policy. Instead of fighting with the Mughal power, they decided to protect it and expand their own empire in that role. They believed that restoring an old temple is as good as building a new one.

The Mughal power faced the threat of the Irani and Afghani invaders from the northwest and also of the local Pathan, Rajput, Jat, and Rohilas rulers. The internal competition and tussle in the court had also weakened the Mughal power. Due to all these, the Delhi Court needed the help of the Marathas.

The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Balaji Vishwanath:
After Shahu Maharaj was released by the Mughals, he made Balaji Vishwanath, a Peshwa. Balaji hailed from Shrivardhan, in Konkan. He was competent and experienced. He convinced many Sardars that Shahu Maharaj was the real heir of the Maratha empire and made them join hands with him.

Kanhoji Angre was the chief of the Maratha Navy. He chose to side with Maharani Tarabai and attacked the territories of Shahu Maharaj. This gave rise to a difficult situation. Under these circumstances, Shahu Maharaj sent Balaji to fight against Kanhoji Angre. Balaji avoided the war and won Kanhoji over to Shahu Maharaj’s side.

Chauthai and Sardeshmukhi Rights:
After strengthening the position of Shahu Maharaj in Maharashtra, Balaji turned his attention to the politics in the North. The Delhi court, after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, was marked by bickering and confusion. The Sayyid brothers, Abdulla (Hasan) and Hussein Ali had become very influential. With their help, in 1719 CE Balaji obtained from the Mughal Emperor, the grants or sands to collect chauthai and sardeshmukhi from the Mughal territory in the Deccan. These sanads gave the Marathas the right to collect one-fourth part (chauthai) and one-tenth part (sardeshmukhi) of the revenue from the Mughal territory in the Deccan.

Bajirao I:
After the death of Balaji Vishwanath, Shahu Maharaj appointed Balaji’s son, Bajirao I the Peshwa in 1720 CE. He expanded the Maratha Empire during his term of 20 years.
The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board 2

Nizam’s Defeat at Palkhed:
The Mughal emperor Farukhsear appointed Nizam-ul-Mulk the Subhedar of Deccan. In 1713 CE Nizam tried to establish his separate existence at Hyderabad. The Emperor had given the Marathas the right to recover Chauthai-Sardeshmukhi from the Mughal areas. Nizam was against it. He captured some parts of the Pune Pargana. Bajirao decided to checkmate the Nizam. He defeated the Nizam at Palkhed near Aurangabad. The Nizam accepted the Maratha right to collect Chauthai Sardeshmukhi. As the Mughal power had become weak, Bajirao knew that there was more scope to expand the empire towards the northern side. Shahu Maharaj supported his policy.

Malwa in today’s Madhya Pradesh was part of the Mughal empire. Bajirao sent Malharrao Holkar, Ranoji Shinde, and Udaji Pawar under the leadership of his brother Chimajiappa to Malwa. There, they strengthened the posts.

The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Bundelkhand means some parts of today’s Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh – areas around Jhansi, Panna, and Sagar. King Chhatrasal had established his own kingdom in Bundelkhand. The Mughal Subhedar Mohmmad Khan Bangush of Allahabad attacked Bundelkhand and defeated Chhatrasal. Chhatrasal appealed to Bajirao for help. Bajirao took a large army and went to Bundelkhand. He defeated Bangush.

Chhatrasal honoured Bajirao. This is how Marathas established their supremacy in Malwa and Bundelkhand. Bajirao demanded from the Emperor the office of the Subhedar of Malwa. As the Emperor declined this demand, Bajirao marched on Delhi in 1737 CE. The Mughals were taken by surprise. Chhatrasal wrote a letter to Bajirao. In that he wrote, जो गत आह गजें री वह गत आई है आज. बाजी जान बुंदेल की, बाजी राखो लाज. (My situation is like the elephant whose leg is caught by the crocodile. You are the only one who can save me.)

The Battle of Bhopal:
The Emperor felt uneasy on account of Bajirao’s Delhi expedition. He invited the Nizam to protect Delhi. Nijam marched against Bajirao with his huge army. Bajirao defeated him at Bhopal. Nizam agreed to secure the sanad of Malwa subhedari for the Marathas from the Badshah.

The Defeat of the Portuguese:
The territories of Vasai and Thane on the Konkan coast were in the possession of the Portuguese. The Portuguese rulers oppressed their subjects. Bajirao sent his brother Chimajiappa to subdue the Portuguese. Chimaji conquered Thane and the adjacent areas. In 1739 CE, he laid siege to the Vasai fort. The fort was very strong. The Portuguese had a powerful artillery. In spite of all this, Chimaji continued the siege with perseverance and forced the Portuguese to surrender. The fort of Vasai and large parts of the Portuguese territory passed into the hands of the Marathas.

Death of Bajirao:
Nadirshah, the Emperor of Iran, invaded India. Following the order of Shahu Maharaj, Bajirao set out for the North with a big army to defend the Mughal power. By the time he reached Burhanpur, Nadirshah had returned to Iran with an enormous booty looted from Delhi. In April 1740, Bajirao breathed his last at Raverkhedi on the banks of the Narmada.

The Expansion of the Maratha Power Class 7 History Notes Maharashtra Board

Bajirao was a great General. With his valour, he established the Maratha supremacy in the North. He won status for the Maratha power as a formidable power in the whole of India. In his time, the Shinde, Holkar, Pawar, and Gaikwad families attained prominence.

Good Maharashtra State Board Class 7 History Notes The Expansion of the Maratha Power can simplify complex concepts and make studying more efficient.

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