Colonialism Vs. the Maratha Empire - French and Maratha Empire




French and Maratha Empire:

In 1668, the French established their factory at Rajapur by seeking permission from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. They supplied ammunition to Swarajya in return. The Marathas remaining true to their friendly relations with the French left the French factory unharmed during their second attack on Surat. In return, the French paid a big tribute to them. In 1677, Francois Martin, the Governor-General of Pondicherry obtained permission for opening a factory there and assurance of its safety. After the southern campaign by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maratha supremacy was established on the coast of Coromandel (Cholamandalam). Later, the rivalry between the British and the French got extended to their colonies in India as well. They competed for dominance on various Indian territories. Both began to interfere in the administration of the local kingdoms. The French gained entry into the courts of Nizam under the pretext of imparting military training.

Ibrahim Khan Gardi, a mercenary trained under the French was hired by Sadashivraobhau Peshwa in the Maratha army as the chief of artillery. In the Third Battle of Panipat, Mahadji Shinde had observed Ibrahim Khan’s skills. Inspired by it, he built a trained army with the help of de Boigne, a French military trainer, and also established well-equipped artillery. Backed by his trained army, Mahadaji Shinde could establish Maratha power in north India. He was also successful in keeping the British under control.

Ibrahim Khan Gardi was tortured and executed by enraged Afghan soldiers. The Marathas never fully recovered from the loss at Panipat, but they remained the predominant military power and the largest empire in the Indian subcontinent and managed to retake Delhi ten years later. However, their claim over all of India ended with the three Anglo-Maratha Wars, almost 50 years after Panipat, in the early 1800s.

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