A Sketchy Note on Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817 – 1818)

Sansar LochanUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Within almost ten years of the treaty of peace (1805) by which the second Anglo-Maratha war was concluded, the relation between Maratha power and the Britishers deteriorated again. The Marathas once again failed uneasy and were in no mood to serve as a subordinate power to the British. The sentiments of the Marathas rose to the highest point under Peshwa Baji Rao II. He was able to mobilise all important Maratha clans to fight the Britishers. A series of battles ensued, which is called Third Anglo-Maratha War. However, the fortunes favoured the foreign forces and in the battle of Mahidpur (1817) the supremacy of Maratha was fatally damaged.

Baji Rao II

Baji Rao II was an intriguing and restless man all his life. He had secured the throne as Peshwa by serving himself from other Mahratta chieftains, and forming a subsidiary alliance with the British at the time of Lord Wellesley, and he struggled to throw off the yoke which he had thus imposed on himself. At last in November, 1817, he threw off all disguise and attacked the British force at Khirki. This was his first and last battle with the British. His attack was repulsed, and he then fled from Poona, and for six months continued his fight and escaped his pursuers.

The other Maratha powers made common cause with the Peshwa. The Maratha general of Nagpur attacked the British force at Sitabadli, but was repulsed and fled. Holkar’s troops also shared the feeling of hostility against the British power. They beheaded their queen, Tulasi Bai, who was willing to come to terms, and attacked the British army. They were routed by Sir John Malcolm in the battle of Mahidpur.

Lord Hastings now extinguished the power of the Peshwa and annexed all his dominions, which now form the Bombay Presidency. The fugitive, Baji Rao II, was at last surrounded by the troops of Sir John Malcolm, and surrendered himself to the mercy of the British. He retired on a pension, and was permitted to live at Bithur, near Kanpur.

Thus ended the rule of the Peshwas in 1818, exactly a hundred years from the date on which the first Peshwa had obtained great and important concessions from Delhi in 1718. The houses of Scindia and Holkar, Gaekwar and Bhonsle, were still permitted to rule their respective dominions.

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