The History Marathas in India

  • Rose to prominence under Shivaji.?
  • He was born to Shahji Bhonsle and Jijabai in 1627 at fortress of Shivner in Shahji was a military officer in the state of Bijapur and he owned the territory of Poona as a jagir.
  • He was highly impressed by his mother, Dadaji Kondadeo (his guardian), Guru Ramdas Samarth and Tuka Ram, both Bhakti
  • From 1656, he started capturing many forts from the local officer?s of Bijapur
  • Ali Adil Shah, sultan of Bijapur sent Afzal Khan to teach Shivaji a lesson in But Shivaji killed him in a meeting with his tiger claws.
  • Ultimately, in 1662, the Sultan of Bijapur made peace with Shivaji and acknowledged him as an independent ruler of his conquered?territories.
  • Aurangzeb got worried by Shivaji?s extensive He sent Shaista Khan (Viceroy of Mughal Deccan) to kill him. Here again, in a daring manner, Shivaji attacked Shaista Khan?s camp in night, injuring him.
  • Then Aurangzeb sent Raja Jai Singh (of Amber) who forced him to sign the Treaty of Purandar in Under the treaty, Shivaji had to surrender 23 of his major forts out of the total 35 forts. Shivaji also agreed to help the Mughals in their attack of Bijapur.
  • Shivaji visited Agra with his son Sambhaji in There he was put on a house arrest. But he escaped from there, concealing in a basket of sweets.
  • He very soon conquered all the forts which he had surrendered to the
  • He defeated a Mughal force in the Battle of Salher?in 1672.
  • He was crowned in? 1674? at? Raigarh? and? assumed? the? title? of? ? He? became? the? sovereign ruler of Maharashtra.
  • Unfortunately, Shivaji didn?t live long.?He died in 1680 at the age of 53.

Marathas after Shivaji?

  • After Shivaji, his son Sambhaji (1680 ? 89) succeeded throne (although a lot many supported his step-brother, Rajaram). He was a man of loose character and spent all his time in merry ? making.
  • When Aurangzeb was busy in his campaigns against Bijapur and Golconda, he and his followers did not take full advantage of the opportunity. When Sambhaji gave shelter to Aurangzeb?s rebel son, Akbar, he was executed and his infant son, Shivaji II, better known as Shahu, was taken captive by Aurangzeb.
  • Sambhaji was succeeded by Rajaram in Rajaram also lacked the qualities of his father. He was hardly ten?when his father died and he was kept a prisoner by his brother Sambhaji. The result was that he failed to get the education which was necessary for his status.
  • However, he was fortunate in having brilliant advisors and helpers. Initially, he was successful against the But he was killed in 1700 when Aurangzeb himself conducted an expedition against him. After Raja Ram?s death, his widow Tarabai put her infant son, Shivaji III on the throne.
  • After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughals tried to divide the Marathas. Shahu was released by?Aurangzeb?s successor, Bahadur Shah I. now he claimed the government. His release led to the Maratha civil war between Shahu and Tarabai. In the civil war Shahu emerged victorious (Battle of Khed) with the help of Balaji Vishwanath, the founder of the line of Peshwas. After the battle, Tarabai retired to Kolhapur with her ?son.
  • In the reign of Shahu, the Peshwa or Prime Minister, Balaji Vishwanath, virtually became the ruler of the

From now onwards began the rule of the Peshwas who had their seat of power at Poona. (Shahu?s capital was Satara).

  • In all, there were seven Peshwas, namely :
  1. Balaji Vishwanath (1713 ? 20)
  2. Balaji Baji Rao I (1720 ? 40)
  3. Balaji Baji Rao (1740 ? 61) Madho Rao (1761 ? 72)
  4. Narayan Rao (1772 ? 73)
  5. Madho Rao Narayan (1773 ? 95) Baji Rao II (1795 ? 1818)
  • Of these seven Peshwas, the ablest was Baji Rao I and the weakest and most incompetent was Baji Rao
  • Baji Rao II signed the Treaty of Bassein in 1802 with the British, which gave the British effective control of not only the Maratha region but also of the Deccan and western
  • Under Peshwas, Maratha kingdom transformed into an empire based on the principle of confederacy, in which prominent Maratha chiefs were assigned a territory as their ?sphere of influence?, which they were supposed to conquer on their own and which they can administer
  • Consequently, several Maratha families became prominent in different parts of India :
  1. Gaekwad in Baroda
  2. Bhonsle at Nagpur
  3. Holkar at Indore
  4. Scindia at Gwalior
  5. Peshwa at Poona

Maratha Administration?

  • Besides the land revenue, Chauth or 1/4th land revenue was the main
  • Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10% on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal
  • Shivaji was helped by 8 ministers or Ashta
  1. Peshwa or Mukhya Pradhan (Prime Minister).
  2. Majumdar or Amatya (Finance Minister).
  3. Mantri or Waqianavis (Personal safety of king).
  4. Sachiva or Surunavis (In charge of royal secretariat).
  5. Samant or Dabir (Foreign Minister) a Senapati (Commander in Chief).
  6. Pandit Rao (Chief Religious Advisor).
  7. Nyayadhish (Administration of justice).
  • With the exception of Nyayadhish and Pandit Rao, all other ministers were required to command armies and lead
  • Later, Rajaram created a new post of Pratinidhi, thus taking the total ministers to


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