Rise of Marathas in Deccan

The Rise of Marathas in Deccan

The Deccan was never betrothed by nature to Hindustan. The triple line of natural boundaries made by Vindhya and Satpura Mountains and Narmada River was enough to keep the sovereign of Delhi in their own countries. But the fertile lands, fabulous wealth in diamonds and Gold induced every ruler of the northern India to this land. But conquering Deccan was a risk to lose the northern country. For Aurangzeb, the affairs of Deccan were not new thing has he had been viceroy of the province twice. Aurangzeb after becoming emperor overlooked the state of affairs in Deccan and meanwhile a new power had arisen, which sprang from a very insignificant beginning to an impregnable dominance in the future.

The modest beginning

The Marathas had never made any mark in the history of India before the reign of Shah Jahan. They were the peaceful peasants like any other Hindu castes and never gave trouble to the rulers of Delhi. The King of Bijapur was responsible for educating this hardworking race. The Marathas were a large proportion of his subjects and their language Marathi, which was an offshoot of Sanskrit became the language of the revenue department of the Kingdom of Bijapur. The Marathas started getting recruited into the light infantry, then cavalry in which they showed their extraordinary aptitude. They rose to prominence in Bijapur and Golconda.

  • The Muslim ruler of Bijapur Ibrahim Adil Shah appointed these Marathas in key position and changed the language of the court from Persian to Marathi.

One of these officers was Shah Ji Bhosle who rebelled against Shah Jahan in 1634. Shahaji Raje Bhosle, the extremely ambitious and capable general of the Sultan of Bijapur was the early exponent of the Guerilla warfare. He brought the house of Bhosle in prominence which later became the most dominant power in Deccan under his son Shivaji.