The Maratha Affairs 1773-1802

The Maratha Affairs 1773-1802

The First Anglo-Maratha war ended in 1782 and for the next two decades there was no important war between the British and the Marathas.

While the next 20 years were put in good use by the British in making Indian rulers crippled one by one, it was Maratha confederacy which despite of being the most formidable power in Deccan and Central India decayed itself to extinction because of the internal dissensions.

In these 20 years the most dangerous enemy of British, Tipu Sultan had been eliminated and British were teaming with vigor and energy, both morally and financially.

The last signed treaty of importance between British and Marathas was Treaty of Salbai (1782) which left the British Protégé Raghunath Rao retire on a pension. The British got Salsette and Elephana and Mahad Ji Scindia got the land which was west of Yamuna River, making a border between the British and Marathas. The Marathas were still rocking from Attock (now in Pakistan) to Cuttack
(Cuttack was under Bhosle).

These twenty years mark the rise and fall of Nana Fadnavis.

Nana Fadnavis, one of the 12 conspirators (12 Bhai) was present in the Third Battle of Panipat but he escaped death and fled from there. Under his leadership the Barabhai opposed the Raghunathrao and forestalled Narayanrao’s posthumous son Madhav Rao Narayan as Peshwa in 1774.

He became the chief minister of this Peshva and ran the affairs of Marathas practically. But his position was opposed by Mahad Ji Scindia. In 1794 Mahad Ji Scindia died and thus Nana’s most formidable opponent was now no more. He then administered Maratha affairs with undisputed authority.

The young Peshva Madhav Rao Narayan got impatient of the control of Nana Fadnavis and committed suicide.

In 1796, Baji Rao II, who was son of the retired British Protégé Raghunath Rao, was made next Peshva by Nana Fadnavis et al. But he was hostile to Nana Fadnavis since beginning. Neither Baji Rao II nor Nana Fadnavis had any military skills but the contest for power was developed between the two. In 1800 Nana Fadnavis died and the Maratha Confederacy came on the brink of defunctness.

The remaining Maratha veterans were Yashwant Rao Holkar of Indore and Daulat Rao Scindia of Gwalior, who was grandson of Mahadji Scindia’s brother, as Mahadji left no heir. These veterans contested for power and their rivalry made the British come alive. The result was that the Maratha veterans fought with each other in the Battle of Poona.

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