The Rise of the Marathas

 Various factors contributed to the rise of Marathas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
 The physical environment of the Maratha country shaped certain peculiar qualities among the Marathas.
 The mountainous region and dense forests made them brave soldiers and adopt guerilla tactics.
 They built a number of forts on the mountains
 The spread of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra inculcated a spirit of religious unity among them
 The spiritual leaders like Tukkaram, Ramdas, Vaman Pandit and Eknath fostered social unity
 The political unity was conferred by Shivaji. The Marathas held important positions in the administrative and military systems of Deccan Sultanates of Bijapur and Ahmadnagar
 There were a number of influential Maratha families such as the Mores and Nimbalkers.
 Credit of establishing a powerful Maratha state goes to Shahji Bhonsle and his son Shivaji

Shivaji (1627-1680)

His Life and Conquest

 Shivaji was born at Shivner in 1627. His father was Shahji Bhonsle and mother Jija Bai.
 He inherited the jagir of Poona from his father in 1637.
 After the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadev in 1647, Shivaji assumed full charge of his jagir.
 He captured Javli from a Maratha chief, Chanda Rao More. This made him the master of
Mavala region.
 In 1657, he attacked the Bijapur kingdom and captured a number of hill forts in the Konkan region
 The Sultan of Bijapur sent Afzal Khan against Shivaji. But Afzal Khan was murdered by Shivaji in 1659 in a daring manner. Shivaji suffered a defeat at the hands of the Mughal forces and lost Poona
 But Shivaji once again made a bold attack on Shaista Khan‘s (Mughal governor of Deccan)
military camp at Poona in 1663, killed his son and wounded Khan.
 This time Aurangazeb sent Raja Jai Singh of Amber to fight against Shivaji.
 He made elaborate preparations and succeeded in besieging the Purander fort where Shivaji

lodged his family and treasure
 Shivaji opened negotiations with Jai Singh and the Treaty of Purander was signed in 1665.
 According to the treaty, Shivaji had to surrender 23 forts to the Mughals out of 35 forts held by him.
 The remaining 12 forts were to be left to Shivaji on condition of service and loyalty to Mughal
 As Shivaji asked to exempt him from personal service to the Mughals, his minor son
Shambaji was granted a mansab of 5000
 Shivaji visited Agra in 1666 but he was imprisoned there. But, he managed to escape from prison and made military preparations for another four years.
 Surat was plundered by him for the second time in 1670
 He also captured all his lost territories by his conquests
 In 1674 Shivaji crowned himself at Raigarh and assumed the title Chatrapathi.
 Then he led an expedition into the Carnatic region and captured Ginjee and Vellore.
 After his return from this expedition, Shivaji died in 1680.

Shivaji’s Ad min istration

• He was assisted by a council of ministers called Ashtapradhan
• Peshwa – Finance and general administration. Later he became the prime minister.
• Sar-i-Naubator Senapati – Military commander, an honorary post
• Amatya – Accountant General.
• Waqenavis – Intelligence, posts and household affairs
• Sachiv – Correspondence.
• Sumanta – Master of ceremonies.
• Nyayadish – Justice
• Panditarao – Charities and religious administration
• Most of the administrative reforms of Shivaji were based on the practices of the Deccan sultanates.
• The revenue system of Shivaji was based on that of Malik Amber of Ahmadnagar.
• Lands were measured by using the measuring rod called kathi.
• He reduced the powers of the existing deshmuks and kulkarni
• He appointed his own revenue officials called karkuns.
• Chauth and sardeshmukhi were the taxes collected not in the Maratha kingdom but in the neighbouring territories of the Mughal Empire or Deccan sultanates
• Chauth was one fourth of the land revenue paid to the Marathas in order to avoid the Maratha raids
• Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of ten percent on those lands which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights
• Shivaji was a man of military genius and his army was well organized
• The regular army consisted of about 30000 to 40000 cavalry supervised by havaildars.
• Shivaji also maintained a navy
• The forts played an important role in the military operations of the Marathas
• By the end of his reign, Shivaji had about 240 forts
• Shivaji was really a constructive genius and nation-builder
• His rise from jagirdar to Chatrapathi was spectacular.

Successors of Shivaji

 There ensued a war of succession after the death of Shivaji between his sons, Shambaji and

 Shambaji emerged victorious but later he was captured and executed by the Mughals
 Shambaji emerged victorious but later he was captured and executed by the Mughals
 . He died at Satara.
 He was succeeded by his minor son Shivaji II with his mother Tara Bai as regent
 The next ruler was Shahu in whose reign the Peshwas rose to power

The Peshwas (1713-1818)

1. Balaji Viswanath (1713-1720)
2. Balaji Viswanath began his career as a small revenue official and became Peshwa in 1713
3. As Peshwa, he made his position the most important and powerful as well as hereditary.
4. He played a crucial role in the civil war and finally made Shahu as the Maratha ruler.

Baji Rao I (1720-1740)

 Baji Rao was the eldest son of Balaji Viswanath
 He succeeded his father as Peshwa at the age young age of twenty.
 The Maratha power reached its zenith under him.
 He initiated the system of confederacy among the Maratha chiefs
 Under this system, each Maratha chief was assigned a territory which could be administered autonomously.
 As a result, many Maratha families became prominent and established their authority in
different parts of India.
 As a result, many Maratha families became prominent and established their authority in different parts of India.
 They were the Gaekwad at Baroda, the Bhonsle at Nagpur, the Holkars at Indore, the
Scindias at Gwalior, and the Peshwas at Poona

Balaji Baji Rao (1740-1761)

 Balaji Baji Rao succeeded his father as Peshwa at the young age of nineteen.
 The Maratha king Shahu died in 1749 without issue
 His nominated successor Ramraja was imprisoned by the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao at Satara.
 Peshwa gave assurance to the Mughal Emperor that he would protect the Mughal Empire from internal and external enemies
 For which the Chauth of the northwest provinces and the total revenue of the Agra and
Ajmer provinces would be collected by the Marathas.
 Thus when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India, it became the responsibility of the Marathas to protect India.
 The Marathas fought very bravely against Ahmad Shah Abdali in the Third Battle of Panipat in
 The Marathas fought very bravely against Ahmad Shah Abdali in the Third Battle of Panipat in
 Balaji Baji Rao also died on hearing the sad end of this battle.
 This battle gave a death blow to the Maratha power
 The Marathas emerged a great power in India but they could not succeed in preventing the establishment of British power in India.
 The important causes for the downfall were that there was lack of unity among the Maratha
chiefs like Holkar, Scindia and Bhonsle.

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