Rise of Afghans & Third Battle of Panipat

In June 1747 Ahamad Shah Durrani or Ahamad Shah Abdali rose to power and established the Durrani Empire in Afghanistan. He crossed Indus river in 1748 and annexed Lahore. In 1749, the Mughal Empire lost Sindh and Punjab. In 1757 there was another attack and he sacked Delhi, Agra, Mathura, Vrandavan etc. The Mughals accepted this formidable Afghans’ suzerainty. He installed Alamgir II on the throne of Delhi. The East India Company also accepted his suzerainty.

But the Marathas did not accept them. Balaji Bajirao sent Raghunath Rao to counter the Afghans. Raghunath Rao was able to throw out Timur Shah (son of Ahamad Shah Abdali and Governor of Lahore, Multan and Kashmir) and brought the Lahore, Multan and Kashmir under the Marathas.

The rise of this new Hindu Kingdom was not acceptable to the Mughals and Afghans. The afghan hero raised a Holy war against the Infidels and warriors from Pashtun & other tribes answered his call. This culminated in the Third Battle of Panipat which paved the way for British Rule in India.

Third Battle of Panipat 1761

Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. This was the largest war of the 18th century. The Marathas were led by Sadashivrao Bhau. The battle followed a two months seige and skirmishes. The Marathas were badly defeated in the war suffering a life of around 60-70 thousand warriors. They lost their ablest commanders. Balaji Baji Rao could not absorb this shock and died soon afterwards.