MARATHA EMPIRE 1674-1818
Q1. Who was the founder of the Maratha Empire?
Q2. Where was Shivaji born and who were his parents?
Shivaji was born at the Shivneri Fort at Junnar near Pune on 19.2.1627. His parents were Shahaji Raje Bhosle and Jijabai. He was named so after the local Goddess Shivai.
Q3. How did Shivaji come to form the Maratha Empire?
His father Shahaji, at the time of his death, left a Jagir ( an area ) of Pune, in 1637.As Shivaji was a minor, he and the area were taken care of by a guardian named Dadaji Konda Deo till 1647, when he died. Then Shivaji took over the administration and expanded the territory by various conquests to form the Maratha Empire in 1674. In fact by 1645 itself, he became a major, but allowed the administration to continue as such till his guardian's death.
Q4. Where did Shivaji took the oath of "Swarajya" before assuming the throne?
At the temple of Raireshwar - Pune.
Q5. What was the capital of Maratha Empire during Shivaji's period?
RAIGAD - Maharashtra, which he conquered.
Q6. What are the military conquests of Shivaji?
1. Conquered Raigarh, Kondana and Toma regions from the Bijapur kingdom during 1645-47 when he was just 18 years old.
2. Conquered Javli (Maharashtra) from a Maratha Chief Chanda Rao More in 1656 which made him the master the highlands area of Mavala and helped himself to strengthen the foot soldiers army with the Mavali force.
3. BATTLE OF PRATAPGARH - November 1659 - During 1657-1658, Shivaji attached some territories of Adil Shahi. In revenge, Adil Shahi deputed Afzal Khan to punish Shivaji. But, Afzal Khan was killed and Shivaji gained about 200 Kms of Adil Shahi region.
4. BATTLE OF KOLHAPUR -Immediately after Pratapgarh battle, this one took place in December 1659. This battle was against the Bijapur kingdom led by Rustem Jaman and again Shivaji won the battle.
5. BATTLE OF PAWANKHIND - 1660 - When Shivaji was camping at Panhala Fort, a strong force led by Siddhi Johad of Adil Shahi waged a battle against Shivaji suddenly. Unprepared Shivaji, escaped to Vishalgad Fort with some of his forces. While this was happening, Aurangazeb also deputed Shaishta Khan, Governor of Deccan to fight Shivaji from North. In the process, Shivaji lost his able general Bhaji Prabhudas Deshpande. All these took palce between 1660-1663 and Shivaji faced defeats. Having faced these loses, Shaivaji made bold attack on Shaista's camp and plundered them, in the disguise of wedding party and chased out Shaishta Khan from Pune and captured it.
6. 1664 - Shivaji looted Surat and took away lot of wealth in retaliation to Shaishta Khan's action of looting in his territory.
7. 1665 - Aurangazeb directed Mirsa Raje Jaisingh of Amber, a Hindu general, with a big army, to attach Shivaji. Unable to withstand the onslaught, Shivaji agreed for peace and entered into "Treaty of Purandhara" which had the following conditions. i) Shivaji had to surrender 23 forts and the areas around them. ii)The Mughals recognized Shivaji's right to certain areas including that in Bijapur kingdom and the right to conquer any other regions. iii)Grant of a "Mansaab" of 5000 was to be effected in favour of Shivaji's son.
8.1666 - Upon invitation from Aurangazeb, Shivaji attended the 50th Birth Day of Aurangazeb at Agra. But, he was imprisoned and jailed. However, he managed to escape within a few days and chose to remain silent for sometime.
9.1670 - In February Shivaji deputed his most trusted general Tanaji Malusare to capture Fort Kondana, Pune. Although the fort was captured, he lost his general. Upon this Shivaji quoted, " Won the Fort, but, lost the lion". In remembrance of this general, he named the fort as Simhagad meaning Lion's Fort.
10.End of this year, Shivaji made a southern expedition and captured Gingee and Vellore and used Gingee as his capital for 9 years, during his 27 years of war against the Mughals, which he defended successfully. For his success, he took the support of Qutub Shahis of Golconda.
Q7. What are Shivaji's architectural/cultural contributions?
Built around nearly 300 Forts, along the western Ghats and elsewhere. Notable among them are, Raigad, Pratapgarh, Gingee, Sindhu Durg (see "Forts" under Miscelleaneaous Chapter for more information). While he was a Hindu, he patronized all religions especially the Sufi Islamism and visited Sufi Saints' mausoleums. He took keen interest and named all the forts he built by Sanskrit names.
Q8. How were the Council of Ministers of Shivaji, collectively and individually known?
Collectively they were known as "Ashtapradhans" meaning eight ministers. Individually,
PESHWA - Prime Minister, Finance and General Administration - an important person with no military powers.
SAR I NAUBHAT - Senapati/Military Commander.
MAJUMDAR/AMATYA - Accountant General/Revenue, Finance Minister.
WAQENAVIS - Intelligence and Home Affairs.
SURUNAVIS/SACHIV - Also called Chitnis - looked after correspondence.
DABIR/SUMANTA - Master of ceremonies.
NYAYADISH - Justice.
PANDIT RAO - Charities and religious affairs.
Q9. When and Where did Shivaji die?
He died on 3.4.1680 at Raigad when he was 53 years old.
Q10. Shivaji was married to?
Eight wives. Through them he had two sons and six daughters. The sons were Sambhaji and Rajaram.
Q11. Who succeeded Shivaji?
Despite certain family disputes over his ascending the throne, Sambhaji succeeded Shivaji and ruled between 1680-1689. As for his military achievements, he captured Burhanpur from the Mughals, immediately after taking over the reign. He attempted to capture the Janjira fort from the Siddis, but had to abort the attempt due to the deployment of heavy artillery force by Aurangazeb to capture Raigad. Conquered Chikkaraja Deva of Mysore. Finally, he was near successful in capturing Goa from the Portuguese but for the intervention of Aurangezeb with a huge force.
Q12. How did Sambhaji die?
While he was holding a meeting with his general about the strategies to oust Aurangezeb from the Deccan region, he was surrounded by Mughal forces and was captured. His own brother in law was the culprit of playing a traitor in the capture of Sambhaji. After capturing, he was tortured for nearly 40 days before he was executed by the Mughals on 3rd February 1689. There are also other theories like he was torturned for not not agreeing to convert to Islam and also for protecting Akbar II, son of Aurangazeb who rebelled against him.
Q13. Who succeeded Sambhaji to the throne of Maratha Empire?
Rajaram Shivaji Raje Bhosle. Due to regular incursion and invasion by the Mughal forces Rajaram could not continue his stay in Raigad. Therefore, he shifted himself, with the family and forces to Gingee in South. In the meantime Raigad also fell to the Mughals. After three failed attempts, the Mughals finally managed to capture Gingee in 1698. Rajaram fled to Visalgarh - Singahad Fort and remained there till his death in 1700.
Q14. Who were the other Maratha rulers to follow till it disintegrated?
TARABHAI - 1700-1707 - She succeeded the throne as a Regent for the empire as the children of Sambhaji were minor. One of the Children was in captive with the Mughals until he attained the age of 25. He was helped to escape to his kingdom when the war of succession of Aurangazeb was seriously contested among the children. During her regime, Tarabhai managed to protect the empire and could not prevent the split into two.
SHAHU - 1707-1749 - Shahu, son of Sambhaji, who was captured and and kept under arrest by the Mughals, was relased by Bahadur Shah. On his arrival, Shahu and Tarabhai fought against each other for nearly 7 years between 1707-1714 for the power. However, Tarabhai was defeated in the Battle of Khed, imprisoned and Satara was occupied by Shahu. Thereafter the great Maratha empire split into two one to be Shahu from Satara and the other from Kolhapur by the descendants of Rajaram, Shivaji II and later Sambhaji II which later became princely states during British rule. Shahu's reign saw the rise of Peshwaship and transformed the Maratha kingdom into a confederacy. Shahu died in 1749.
Q15. After Shahu's death in 1749, what happened to the Maratha Empire?
After Shahu, in 1749 few more rulers were there to carry on the Maratha empire in small independent kingdoms and a confederacy. However, finally the Maratha empire broke into five independent dynasties like:
PESHWAS - Controlling Pune and its surroundings;
SCINDIAS - Controlling Malwa and Gwalior;
HOLKARS - Controlling Indore;
BHONSLES - Controlling Nagpur.
GAEKWAD - Controlling Baroda. Infighting and rivalry between them facilitated the British to eliminate them one by one and capture the Maratha empire. Of the five, few chose to remain loyal to the British and continued as Princely States until independence.
Q16. What was the first Maratha region to be taken over by the British?
Satara from the descendants of Shahu, in 1839.
Q17. Who were Peshwas?
Peshwas were actually Prime Ministers and held an important place in the administration of Maratha empire. However, after the disintegration of Maratha empire, they took over the control of Pune region and ruled from 1713 to 1858 when it was taken over by the British.
Q18. Who were the notable Peshwa rulers?
BALAJI VISWANATH - 1713-1720 - Beginning his career as a smalltime revenue official, he became a Peshwa in 1713 and made it powerful and hereditary. He helped Shahu to control the civil war and his final victory over all the Maratha Sardars. He concluded a treaty with the Sayyid Brothers by which the Mughals recognized Shahu as the King of Swarajya and allowed the Marattas to collect revenue taxes from six mughal provinces of Deccan. He died in 1719.
BAJI RAO 1720-1740 -Succeeded Balaji Viswanath. He was considered the greatest among the Peshwas after Shivaji. He was the one to grant powers to territorial administration to prominent Maratha Chiefs in different regions which later to become 1. Gaekwads of Baroda, 2.Bhonsles of Nagpur, 3. Scindias of Gwalior, 4. Holkars of Indore and 5.Peshwas of Pune. His military conquests were: 1. Defeated and expelled the Siddis from Janjira fort in 1722. 2. Conquered Bassein and Salcette from the Portuguese in 1733. 3. Defeated Nizam ul Mulk near Bhopal and concluded the Treaty of "Durai Sarai" and got control of Malwa and Bundelkhand in 1737. 4. He also made conclusive inroads into the Mughal regions in north India and made Maratha Empire a Supreme power in India.
BALAJI BAJI RAO - 1740-1761 - Also called " Nana Saheb". During his tenure, he entered into an agreement with the Mughal Emperor Ahamad Shah in 1752, to support the Mughals in the event of any military aggression from inside or from outside India, in return for tax collections from Mughal provinces like Agra and Ajmer. However, this agreement brought direct conflict between the Marathas and Ahamad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. Thus came the III Battle of Panipat in 1761.
Q19. Between whom the III Battle of Panipat was fought and what was the outcome?
The battle was between Ahamad Shah Abdali and the Marathas. In this battle the Marathas besides facing a massive defeat, also lost Viswas Rao (Balaji Baji Rao's son) and cousin Sadashiv Rao Bhau, and also number of Maratha leaders and nearly 28000 Maratha troops. This battle was a decisive one in the history of India, which decided who was destined not to rule India rather than who was to rule. Thus this battle is one of historical imporatance for India.
Q20. Who were the other Peshwas to continue till 1818?
The later Peshwas were not as effective as their predecessors, but managed to rule. They were:
MADHAV RAO - 1761-1772: Considered to be one of the ablest administrator and warrior. He was successful in defeating the Nizams in a war in 1763 and later made a few attempts to take on Hyder Ali of Mysore, all of them were neither failure nor success, as his own uncle Raghunatha Rao was instrumental for this situation. His inability to gain control over Hyder Ali was a great set back on his health. He was such a bold ruler that he refused to accede to the request of the British to set up army posts near Vasai in 1767. Despite being a good administrator, great human being and an able warrior, all his efforts to expand the kingdom, proved futile because of his uncle's treacherous attitude throughout his association in the family. Finally, Madhav Rao was ill with tuberculosis and died in 1772.
NARAYAN RAO - 1772-1773: He succeeded Madhav Rao and had to face more of internal problems with his uncle rather an any external threats. His uncle Raghunatha Rao, who aspired to become the Peshwa, unable to succeed, continued to give internally lot of problems to his nephew even colluding within the Maratha army ranks and from out siders like Portuguese and neighbouring states. In collusion with his wife Raghunatha Rao conspired to kill Narayan Rao, which he escaped with grievous injuries. However, he was later murdered in 1773.
SAWAI MADHAV RAO - 1773-1795: His rule was very brief and he committed suicide in 1795.
BAJI RAO II-1795-1818: His rule was one of confrontations with the British it went through out his tenure. Unable to muster enough strength of his own and support from allies to form a formidable offence against the mighty British, he finally surrended in 1818 and was pensioned off. With him came the end of Peshwa Marathas.