Peshwa Period




Peshwa Period:

After Balaji Vishwanath, his son, Bajirao I was appointed as the Peshwa. Balaji was the first of a series of hereditary Peshwas hailing from the Bhat family who gained effective control of the Maratha Empire during the 18th century. Balaji Vishwanath assisted a young Maratha Emperor Shahu to consolidate his grip on a kingdom that had been racked by civil war and persistently intruded on by the Mughals under Aurangzeb. He was called the Second Founder of the Maratha State. Later, his son Bajirao I became the Peshwa. He expanded the Maratha empire up to Malwa, Rajasthan, and Bundelkhand. He defeated the Nizam. After Bajirao I, Balaji Bajirao alias Nanasaheb was appointed as the Peshwa. Meanwhile, the Marathas were defeated in the third battle of Panipat. The Maratha rule became weak. Madhavrao Peshwa tried to re-establish the Maratha power. The Marathas were successful in overcoming the great defeat at Panipat and create a politically strong position for themselves in the politics of the north. This factor was very important. Malharrao Holkar, Ahilyabai Holkar, Raghuji Bhosale, Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadanvis played a great role in the re-establishment of Maratha influence. Malharrao was the founder of the Holkar State at Indore. He served the Maratha power for a long time. He had a great share in establishing the Maratha prestige in the north.

After the death of Khanderao, the son of Malharrao. Ahilyabai Holkar assumed the reins of Indore administration. Maheshwar was the seat of administration under her. She built temples, ghats, Dharamshala, and drinking water facilities at various pilgrim centers. She was a capable, astute, and an excellent administrator. Raghuji Bhosale was the most capable ruler among the Bhosales of Nagpur. After the miserable defeat of the Marathas at Panipat, Mahadji Shinde was instrumental in reestablishing the Maratha supremacy and prestige in North India. He trained his Army and modernised his artillery under the guidance of French military expert, Benoit de Boigne. Mahadji managed the difficult affairs with strong determination and remained in charge of Delhi affairs from 1771 C.E. to 1794 C.E. Nana Phadanvis and Mahadji Shinde set the affairs of the state right after the death of Peshwa Madhavrao. The two Peshwas who succeeded Peshwa Madhavrao, namely Narayanrao and Sawai Madhavrao, did not live long. Their untimely death set the decline of Maratha power. Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the British and the British established their supremacy over India. The British brought entire India under their Dominance.

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