WHY MARATHAS DID NOT ESTABLISH PAD PADSHAHI AT DELHI WHEN
THEY WERE CAPABLE?
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
India lost its Hindu rule after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at tarain in 13 th century at the hands of Mohd Ghori, the brigand and ruler of Kabul. The slave dynasty was established under Kutubuddin Aibek. Slave dynasty was followed by Khiljis, Tughlaqs, and Lodhis. Delhi sultanate continued to rule till they were vanquished by Baber in 1527 at battle of Panipat when Baber defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodhi the ruler of Delhi.. The Mughal rule was established with a succession of rulers and Mughals remained powerful rulers till the death of Aurangzeb the last great Mughal in 1707 in Deccan at Ahmed nagar. Infact Aurangzeb remained in Deccan fighting the Marathas and Deccani Muslim sultans of Bijapur and Golconda for 25 long years. After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal rule was weakened. This is because Aurangzeb never trusted any one and did not develop his sons to succeed him. In his life time, he was too suspicious of his own sons and kept them at bay. He imprisoned his eldest son and he died in prison. Another son prince Akbar was hounded out of India after he rebelled against his rule and then took refuge with Chatrapthi Sambhaji maharaj the son of great Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. Akbar finally escaped to Persia after his futile rebellion. Bahdur Shah succeeded Aurangzeb at advanced age and ruled for 7 years. There was hardly any time for him to prove and strengthen the empire. After Bahadur Shah, the musical chair for the throne started. Series of rulers followed and Sayyad brothers at Delhi became king makers. Zahandar shah, Farukh siyar, Rafi ud darjat, Rafiud dowla became rulers at Delhi one after the other and were done to death soon. Then came Mohd Shah rangila ( Ali gaur) who eliminated Sayyad brothers and ruled for 24 years. The successive rulers were just nominal emperors and lost their hold and their authority was limited to few areas around Delhi. Mughal dynasty was terminated with the arrest of Bahadur shah II after the 1857 war and he was sent to Rangoon prison where he died in captivity. It is seen that Although Mughal rulers existed for 150 years after the death of Aurangzeb the great last Mughal, the empire rapidly weakened. There was not a single emperor in the dynasty after Aurangzeb who could put all stones in one bag and restore the lost authority. Its authority rapidly crumbled. With rise of the English men in north India after the battle of Plassey in 1757, Mughal authority lost its complete authority and they were rather at the mercy of the East India company. Maratha power in the mean time was growing rapidly and they made in roads into north India convincingly defeating Mughal troops repeatedly.
INNER CONFLICTS AFTER SAMBHAJIS DEATH AND RISE OF SAHU
As stated, Mughal Empire was precariously struggling for survival after the death of Bahadur shah and it was further weakened as years grew. At the same time Marathas under Peshwa became very strong. Although Sahu became the Maratha ruler after Raja ram having been released in 1707 from Mughal captivity since1689, there was great inner fight among Tarabai wife of late Chatrapathi Raja ram and Sahu for supremacy. Finally sahu succeed and became Chatrapathi. Marathas became powerful only during the reign of Peshwa. Sahu for all purposes handed over authority to Peshwa Although a nominal Maratha Chatrapathi remained at Kolhapur, Peshwa was the real power and commanded great authority. Marathas dictated terms to Delhi during the rule of greater Mughals. If they wanted they could throw out Mughal nominal emperor. Then why it did not happen? Certain aspects need carful attention. Politics in Maratha country and contemporary situation played great part in rise of Maratha power. Yet they had limitations.
Sahu spent 18 years in captivity of Mughals after he and his mother were captured along with Sambhaji Maharaj at sangamner by Mughal forces. Yesu Bai mother of sahu was very well treated at the palace of Auragzeb by Jeenatunisa second daughter of Aurangzeb. Her son was brought up as prince and the emperor sweetly called him Sahu meaning prince. Sambhaji was executed earlier after capture. Rajaram succeeded to the throne and the war was conducted against Mughals. Tarabai the wife of Raja ram was very brave and effective. She led Maratha forces valiantly after the death of Raja ram with the help of very brave Maratha generals Santaji Ghorpade, Danaji Jadhav, Prahlad Nirji,. It was an intense guerilla war conducted against Aurangzeb and he was put to great embarrassment and humiliation till he died in frustration unable to succeed against Marathas in 1707. Surviving eldest son Bahadur Shah succeeded him after defeating his brothers in various battles. They were slain in these battles. He was prudent and on clever advise he released Sahu from detention at palace. It was hoped that once Sahu was released, he would cross swords with Tarabai in an effort to claim the throne of Marathas. This happened as expected. Sahu defeate Tarabai at Khed near Pune. Maratha nobles such as Dhanaji dal and khanado ballar shifted oyalties nad changed over to sahu. . sau captured important forts chandan nandan, satara, parli from Tarabai and he assumed authority as Chatrapathi on 12 January 1708 at Satara It is believed that an assurance was taken by mughals from sahu that he would be vassal to Mughal empire. Sahu thus had soft corners for Mughals who brought him up at their palace as a prince and his mother Yesu bai was well honored at the palace. She was released from Delhi at a later date at the request of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath who infact took part in palace intrigues along with his 10000 strong troops at Delhi that resulted in the deposing of emperor Farukhsiyar and Mohammed Shah ( rangila) ascended the Delhi throne. Farukh siyar perished in prison in most pathetic way. Thus there was no question of challenging Mughal authority by Sahu in near future. He remained passive towards Mughals and most of the time he spent sorting out feuds among Marathas and sorting out his house. . Balaji vishwanath was appointed as Peshwa in1713. Although Tarabai was defeated at Kheda, she escaped to Panhala fort and instigated and tried to sow seeds of discontentment in the powerful nobles from the clans of Ghorpade, Chavas, Dhabde and Thorat. Sahu captured panhala and Tarabai escaped to Rangna and then to malwan. Sahu did not press on and soon Tarabai recovered Panhala and established it as her center . Sahu captured Raigar in 1711. Shivaji III the son of Tarabai claimant to the throne died and she was deposed from authority by Rajas Bai second wife of Raja ram. Sambhaji the son of Rajas bai was put on the throne opposing sahu. This was termed as Palace revolution. Finally sahu accepted Sambhaji ( Junior) as the ruler of Kolhapur as independent ruler in 1731.
ACCESSION OF PESHWAS
Peshwa Balaji vishwa nath was a very wise man and he overcame all efforts of Deccan Subedar of Mughals Nizamul Mulk to interfere in Maratha politics. Although Marathas kept away from Delhi politics, soon they were involved in the Delhi activities. In fact the Sayyad brothers sought help of Marathas in 1717 in view of Delhi political scene. This was agreed to and Marathas were given following powers under a pact made in 1718:-
1. Al the areas that were formerly in the kingdom of Chatrapathi Shivaji and occupied by Mughals were to be given back to Marathas.Areas that were conquered by Marathas in the regions of Gondwana, Derar, Hyderabad and Karnatak shall belong to Marathas.
2. Maraths were empowered to collect chauth and sardeshmukhi in six districts of Mughals and in exachnge 15000 Maratha troops would be kept under the command of Mughal commanders when necessitated by Mughals.
3. Maratha s would pay 10 Lakhs rupees every year as Peshkash to the Mughal emperor
4. Sahu agreed to drive out the Sambhaji ( junior) and his followers who attacked Mughal districts
The Delhi political scene changed rapidly and therefore the Peshwa thought it was wise to get approval of Mughal emperor and he proceeded to Delhi. He was soon involved in the fight between Sayyad brothers and Farukh siyar and it resulted in the defeat of Farukhsiyar and he was deposed. Peshwa stayed in Delhi till 1719 and he secured three important orders from the emperor Mohammed Shah. Sahu was the power to decide Chauth and sardeshmukhi and he was recognized independent in his kingdom. These developments strengthened the position of Sahu in the Maratha kingdom. His son Baji Rao I accompanied Peshwa vishwa nath to Delhi and there he studied political situation. Baji Rao became the Peshwa after the death of Balaji Viswanath and grew to be an outstanding leader in years to come. The three sanads obtained by Peshwa from the Mughals are subjected to criticism by the historians. Some claim that by these Sanads, Marathas were reduced to the position of a Vassal and in fact have lost independence. The supporters of Tarabai claim that she fought for independence of Marathas and claim that Sahu bartered Maratha independence to the Mughals. Of course it is a question of intense debate.
CONTRIBUTION OF BAJI RAO I
Baji Rao became the Peshwa at the age of 27 years in 1720 and he adopted a forward policy. After understanding Mughal political scene he realized that Mughal power greatly declined and he wanted to expand Maratha kingdom by occupying Mughal territories in Malwa and other north Indian provinces. However he was restrained by Sripath Rao, holding the post of Pratinidhi and argued that it was not advisable to have enmity with the Mughals. However he accepted the occupation of Deccan provinces that were not originally under Mughal authority. Yet sahu who was much impressed by Baji Rao permitted him to go ahead with his forward policy. Through out his life Baji Rao struggled to implement this police and it was Baji Rao who coined the idea of Hindu pad padshahi. It was he who really went ahead an occupied many Mughal provinces right under their nose.
However Qamruddin Chikhilij khan Deccan Subedar and later Nizam I became a great obstacle to his efforts in this direction. He objected to the authority of sahu to collect chauth and sardeshmukhi from Mughal districts as per the sanads granted to him by the emperor and he suppressed the revenue officials of Sahu. He befriended Sambhaji ( junior), the opponent of sahu in Maratha kingdom and ruler of Kolhapur and also Chadrasen jadhal ( son of dhanaji jadhal who left sahu and joined Tarabai). Baji Rao soon clashed with Baji Rao at Parad near Pune and Baji Rao was defeated. Rao rambha nimbalkar who was a Mughal commander and seeing his proess, Deccan Subedar Nizamul mulk befriended him and it prospered. Nizamulmulk stayed as Subedar in Deccan for only two years from 1713 to 1715. He was sent to Malwa as Subedar and this gave great relief to Baji Rao and he was again collecting the taxes from Mughal provinces. Syed Hussain ali khan, Amir ul umra ( first ameer) was appointed as Subedar of deccan while his brother Syed Abdullah khan was the Wazir at Delhi court. In 1715 Nizamululk proeeded to Delhi and he was vexed with the rotten politics of the ourt and he decided to go to deccan. He crossed Narmada river and captured AsirGarh and.occupied Burhanpur.Maratha general Nimbalkar, Sambhaji( junior), Chadrasen Jadhav and few more joined Nizammulk . In the ensuing battle with Alim Alikhan the representative Syed Adulla Khan at Balapur on 720 July 21, nizammulk emerged victorious and ali Khan was slain and with this the power of Sayyad brothers at Delhi collapsed. Soon Emperor Mohammed Shah eliminated them. The emperor reappointed Nizammulk as Subedar of Deccan. He again had to go to Delhi to stabilize the political situation. But was very much frustrated at the court. Mohammed Shah the emperor was always in company of concubines, nauch girls, eunuchs and women of ill repute. Their conduct towards the nobles was highly repulsive. Although Nizmmulk tried his best to set order, he was frustrated and he left Delhi for Deccan. Authority at Delhi was dwindling fast. The emperor was playing double game and he asked Hyderabad governor Mubariz khan to take over as Subedar. The Peshwa was also requested to lend help to Mubariz Khan. However Nizammulk could convince Peshwa and obtained his support. . the troops of Mubariz Khan and the combined troops of the Peswa and Nizammulk met at shaker Kheda and in the ensuing quick battle Mubariz Khan was slain and his cead was cut off and sent to the emperor at Delhi. Thus a signal was sent to the emperor that Nizammulk was prepared to contest his right and face all situations. The emperor relented and appointed Nizammulk as Subedar of Deccan with a highest title Asif Jah.Peshwa was also honored appropriately by the Nizam. Thus Nizammulk emerged as a strong opponent to Peshwa in Deccan. However he could not prevent rise of Maratha power in north India apart from subduing Marathas in their own territories that once belonged to Mughals. Marathas were rising but time was not yet appropriate for taking over Delhi to establish Hindu rule. Mughals were still powerful to some extent and Subedars like Nizam I were still with Mughals.
To be Continued