Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peshwas (Part 5) : Decline of the Peshwas

Refer previous Peshwa articles to get a sense of continuity viz. Peshwas Part 1: Early Peshwas (Sonopant,Shyampant,Moropant,Nilopant,Bahirojipant,Ramchandrapant and Balaji Vishwanath Bhat), Part 2: Glory of the Peshwas (Bajirao I), Part 3: Peak of the Peshwas and Debacle at Panipat(Balaji Bajirao), Part 4: Strife within (Madhavrao, Narayanrao,Raghunathrao,Sawai Madhavrao), Part 5: Decline of the Peshwas (Bajirao II, Amritrao, Nanasahib).

The late 18th century marked the decline of the maratha empire. The premature death of Madhavrao Peshwa had left behind a great void in the maratha empire. He was probably the last unifying force amongst the marathas. Stalwarts like Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadanvis etc did try to sustain the empire , but they were not cohesive enough to provide a unified command to the marathas. Thereafter the empire was wrecked by individual vested interests who were more interested in furthering their own small causes rather than that of the maratha empire as a whole. During this period was born Bajirao II who only proved to be a product of his times.

Peshwa Bajirao II (b.1775 in Dhar,M.P , rule: 4 Dec.1796-3 Jun.1818, d.28th Jan 1851) was the eldest son of Raghunathrao Peshwa and Anandibai. During this time his father was at Surat allied with the English.

Political intrigues before accession

The ailing Peshwa Madhavrao II on his deathbed had named (allegedly)  his uncle, Bajirao II, as his heir.
Note, earlier Bajirao II had started communication with his cousin and gained his sympathy by using the name of Nana Phadanvis as their common cause of discomfort. It was done through Balwantrao Vamorik whom Nana himself had posted to keep a watch on Bajirao II. But Balwantrao developed a tilt towards Bajirao II. When Nana got the whiff of this, he had Balwantrao arrested.
But his old regent Nana Phadnavis was never comfortable with the idea of Bajirao II as the next Peshwa.
Nana knew very well that Bajirao resented him and would try his utmost to undermine his authority.
Nana therefore convinced Madhavraos widow to adopt a son whom, Nana would then anoint as the next Peshwa, thus continuing to rule as a regent on his behalf.
But Bajirao II (who was in prison) had other plans. He wooed over Sardar Baloba Tatya Pagnis, the influential minister of Daulatrao Shinde (anglicized as ‘Scindia’), by promising him Nana's position. In return, Pagnis was to persuade Scindia to throw in his might behind Bajirao II in the race for Peshwa's seat.
But Nana got the whiff of Bajirao's clandestine plans and started planning his counter move.
Nana  knew very well that he could never match Scindia's might. So he thought it would be prudent if he came to an understanding with Bajirao II. Subsequently, Nana had Bajirao released from prison.
Thereafter, Nana made a pact with Bajirao whereby Bajirao would be made the next Peshwa and in return Bajirao would allow Nana to continue as the chief minister.
Bajirao too agreed with the proposal, as he knew that having the duo of Baloba Pagnis and Scindia around him for too long would also be counterproductive in the long run. He knew the duo would never allow Bajirao to function freely as the Peshwa, so he thought it was best that he for the time being agree to Nana's proposal.
Thus Bajirao II  was declared the next Peshwa. In return, Bajirao withdrew his original commitment to Sardar Pagnis and declared that Nana would continue as his chief minister.
However, Nana was well aware that Baloba Pagnis would never take this lying down and would instigate Scindia to dislodge Bajirao and himself from their posts.
Thus before Scindia's forces (led by an disgruntled Baloba Pagnis) could march onto Pune, Nana took refuge in the fort of Purander on the outskirts of Pune.
Predictably, Sardar Pagnis urged Daulatrao Scindia to appoint Bajirao II's younger brother Chimnaji Appa as the next Peshwa.
The wily Nana Phadanvis who had by now shifted base to Mahad, began secret negotiations directly with Daulatrao Scindia (Nana also sought help from the English,Nizam,Tipu,Nagpukar Bhosales,Holkars,Karveerkars to isolate Scindia and put pressure on him via what is now famously known as Mahad conspiracy).
Nana tacitly gave his approval for the appointment of Chimnaji as the next Peshwa, in return for his continuation as the chief minister.
Note, initially Nana had wanted to declare Shahu II of Satara as the king and rule as his prime minister. But due to Shahus uncertainties, Nana extended his support to Chimnaji  (younger brother of Bajirao II) as the next Peshwa.Chimnaji was thereby adopted by Yashodabai, the widow of Sawai Madhavrao and he was declared the Peshwa and Bajirao II was once again confined to prison.
Meanwhile, Sardar Pagnis who would settle for nothing short of replacing Nana Phadanvis, was making plans of seizing Nana. He had already started poisoning Scindias mind against Nana.
Nana on his part also never underestimated Pagnis's influence over Scindia. So in anticpation of a possible imprisonment, Nana went underground once again.
He renewed his pact with Bajirao to get him released from prison and make him the Peshwa, but both knew this wasnt possible without the approval of Daulatrao Scindia.
They knew, they had to wean away Daulatrao Scindia from Pagnis's side and over to their own .
They therefore utilised the offices Sardar Sakharam Ghatges (of Kagal) . They persuaded Ghatge to send the marraige proposal of his beautiful daughter Baijabai, to Daulatrao Scindia.
In return they promised him a greater say in the affairs of Pune. As per their expectations Daulatrao accepted the marraige proposal. Thus Sakharam Ghatges influence over Daulatrao Scindia increased considerably.This isolated Sardar Pagnis.

Note: But Sarjerao Ghatge also became notoriously famous for taking advantage of the situation and looting Pune in 1797. When Bajirao II couldnt cough up the promised sum to Daulatrao Shinde, he let loose his father in law on the happless city of Pune. What followed was a period of  absolute cruelty. Ghatge looted Pune with glee abandon. He threatened all of  Nana Phadanvis's supporters to not lend him funds or financial support. He extracted lakhs from them and rendered them all financially weak so as not to be in a position to support Nana. Later Daulatrao Scindia captured Nana by deceit in connivance with Peshwa Bajirao II and imprisoned him at Ahmednagar fort.

Thus Bajirao II was declared the new Peshwa with Daulatraos support and Nana Phadanvis remained his prime minister.
But heart in heart , Bajirao II was never in favour of Nana Phadanvis. He held Nana responsible for his father Raghunathrao's ouster from the Peshwaship. Hence once Bajirao felt himself  in control, their old rivalry resurfaced .
Bajirao II induced Sardar Sakharam Ghatge to put Nana Phadanvis behind bars and instead promised him Nanas authority. Thus several charges were levelled against Nana and he was imprisoned in the fort of Ahmednagar.
But in a matter of time,Bajirao realised that this wasnt such a wise move afterall.
He was finding Daulatrao Scindia's (and Sakhatam Ghatge's) behaviour overbearing and beyond his control.
This was the time he realised the value of Nana's wise counsel.
Thus Bajirao II  had his rival Nana Phadanvis released from prison, and reinstated him in his old position albeit with much lesser authority.
By now, Nana Phadanvis was a tired man . His days in prison had also taken a toll on his health and he soon died in a couple of years time in 1800, leaving Bajirao II back to his dependency on Daulatrao Scindia.
Treaty of Bassein
Meanwhile Tukoji Holkar had died at Indore leaving behind two sons Kashirao and Malharrao II and two illegitimate sons Jaswantrao (Yeshwantrao) and Vithoji. Kashirao being the elder was made Tukojis successor, but was challenged by Malharrao. Even the illegitimate brothers Jaswantrao and Vithoji supported the cause of Malharrao .But Kashirao asked Daulatrao Scindia for his help.Daulatrao tried to seize Malharrao in person and in the fight that ensued Malharrao II was killed. His son Khanderao was then taken as a prisoner to Pune. Jaswantrao fled to Nagpur while Vithoji fled to Kolhapur. Vithoji was later captured near Bhamburda and taken to Pune. Jaswantrao meanwhile built a large army and planned an attack on Scindia who had seated himself at Pune (much to the Peshwas dismay as the latter was in his control). Scindia sensing an attack by Jaswantrao , extracted fourty seven lakhs from the Peshwa, marched out from Pune. Both Scindia and Jaswantraos armies clashed, and after a fierce battle Jaswantrao was forced to retreat.
Meanwhile Peshwa Bajirao II now feeling free from Daulatrao Scindias stranglehold, now desired to establish his complete control over Pune. He first decided to eliminate those families whom he considered his rivals (like Raste family) or those that were in opposition to his father Raghunathrao (self aggrandisment at the expense of his nobles may have been another motive). The vindictive Bajirao II was merciless with his enemies. Even Vithoji Holkar +(brother of Jaswantrao Holkar) and a friend of Nana Phadanvis ( and someone whom Bajirao believed fancied Amritrao as a Peshwa rather than Bajirao II) , was tied to an elephants leg and dragged through the streets of Pune , till he died . (ref.Kincaid).

+[Vithoji Holkar had managed to stir a rebellion against Bajirao II around the Pune region while his brother Yeshwantrao (Jaswantrao) managed the affairs in central India]

Jaswantrao Holkar when he heard about his brothers death was furious and swore revenge on the Peshwa . He once again gathered his forces and marched onto Pune. He dodged Scindias forces on the way and made way to Pune. The Peshwa Bajirao II immediately fled Pune and sought refuge on its outskirts at the fort Sinhagad.(Bajirao did not want to seek help from Scindia, as that would be inviting his control over Pune, once again, so he decided to seek help from the English). From Sinhagad, he fled to the Konkan, where he boarded a English ship at Rewandada and sailed to the port town of Bassein (present day Vasai).There he signed a treaty (6th Dec 1802, Treaty of Bassein) with the English seeking their protection against his enemies.
Note: Earlier in 1791, the Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao had flirted with the English, when he supported them in their battle against Tipu Sultan of Mysore. For his services the Peshwa had been suitably rewarded with vast lands of Tipu’s territory.

Meanwhile Jaswantrao Holkar had sacked Pune and after installing the Peshwas brother Amritrao (as per some reports Amritraos son Vinayakrao) in the place of Bajirao II, he had left for Indore. 

Note: Amritrao had been adopted by Raghunathrao after the death of his sons in infancy and the next offspring being a daughter. But subsequently Bajirao II was born followed by Chimnaji.

The British army accompanying Bajirao II entered Pune. The British army was led by General Arthur Wellesely (brother of , the Governor General) . 
On the way they were joined by Peshwas aides like Patwardhan,Bapu Ganesh Gokhale,Appa Nipanikar,Patankar and Vinchurkar (grandson of Vithal Shivdev Vinchurkar). 
Amritrao was pensioned off by the English to Benaras with his family to Varanasi.
 Bajirao II was once again reinstated as the Peshwa at Pune.

Note: Amritrao's son Vinayakrao maintained good relations with the English. He lived in Varanasi 
(later Karvi in Banda state) with a comfortable princely amount sanctioned by the English. Vinayakrao adopted a son Narayanrao. But later relations soured between the father and his adopted son and another son Madhavrao was adopted. But the family lost a major chunk of their wealth when in 1857 they were suspected by the British of colluding with the mutineers.

Defeat of the Scindias and the Holkars
Scindia did not appreciate Peshwas proximity to the English and nor did Raghuji Bhosale of Nagpur.
Rather both resented the the fact that Bajirao had preferred a foreigners help over their own, not to mention decrease in their clout over Pune.
They also felt that the English were unnecessarily interfering in what they considered the Maratha affairs . They therefore decided to punish the English and collected an large army to take them on headlong.
Scindia was confident of a victory over the English, mainly because of his strong artillery and cavalry cultivated and commanded by a Frenchman called De Boigne.
Jaswantrao Holkar who had a disdain for both Scindia and Bajirao stayed neutral.
But Daulatrao Scindia soon realized that he had underestimated the English.
Scindias army were the first to face defeat (at the battle of Assaye on 21st Sept 1803).
Raghuji Bhosale followed next at Argaon in Berar (on 29th Nov 1803, forcing Raghuji to sign the treaty of Devgaon).
Scindias army were also defeated by Col.Woodington at Bharuch, Champaner,and by Col Lake at Aligad , Delhi and Laswari .
Bundelkhand was reduced by Col Powell.
Finally Daulatrao Scindia accepted defeat and on 30th Dec 1803 signed the Treaty of Surji Anjangaon. Scindia ceded all his lands between rivers Jamuna and Ganga and control of his lands in Rajputana. Ahmednagar and Bharuch forts were also given away to the English.
The treaty of Surji Anandgaon was supplemented by the treaty of Burhanpur on 27th Feb 1804, whereby Scindia became an ally of the English.
Meanwhile successes of the English alarmed Jaswantrao Holkar, who feared for his own possessions. He probably feared that if Scindia allied with the English, then it was possible that they collectively might encroach on his dominions.
 Jaswantrao Holkar started planning an preemptive attack on the English. He raised an army and attacked the English divisions. But he was isolated against the collective might of the English.
General Wellesely and his troops clashed with the forces of Holkar and soon Holkar too was subdued.
On 14th Dec 1805,Jaswantrao Holkar too became an ally of the English vide the treaty of Beas. But the treaty weighed heavily on his mind . He tried uniting the Marathas against the British until his premature death by a brain stroke on 20th Oct 1811 at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. He was just thirty five.
Note:Jaswantrao Holkar allegedly (as per British historians like Kincaid and Duff ) went insane and had his brother Kashirao and his nephew Khanderao killed.Though some historians mention Khanderao dying of Cholera.
 Jaswantrao was succeeded by Malharrao Holkar III under the regency of Jaswantraos widow. But the English allegedly plotted her death. Malharrao III and his later wife Bhimabai continued their struggle against the English inspite of a defeat at Mahidpur. Indore was later incorporated by the English as a princely state in the Central India Agency.

Bajirao II’s reign and friction with the English
Bajiraos reign was marked by vindictiveness and perfidy. His entire exercise seemed to be acquiring the estates of his nobles, sometimes over the flimsiest of pretexts. Earlier it had been the estates of Sardar Raste , Nana Phadanvis.
It was followed by the estates of the Pant Pratinidhi and Pant Sachiv. Bajirao also unsuccessfully tried to acquire the estates of the Sawantwadi nobles, when the latter were fighting with the Raja of Kolhapur.
Bajirao II imprisoned Baburao Phadke the son of gallant warrior Hari Ballal Phadke who had so courageously served the Maratha kingdom.He confined Baburao at Bassein fort where he died.Thereby the Peshwa attached his property.
Peshwa even attached some lands of Gaekwads of Baroda over a revenue dispute. The English then intervened and had the Gaekwads send a representative to negotiate matters with the Peshwa. But the Peshwas aide Trimbakji Dengale (as alleged by the English chroniclers) had Gangadhar Shastri, the representative of the Gaekwads, murdered.
The English were incensed becaused of this act and arrested Trimbakji. But the man broke free from the Thana prison and gathered a small army around himself. Bajirao too was beginning to dislike the regular interference of the English in his affairs and actively encouraged Trimbakji Dengale.
Then the Resident Monstuart Elphinstone, openly asked for the arrest of Trimbakji Dengale and the surrender of forts like Sinhagad,Purander and Raigad. When Bajirao refused, Pune was encircled by the English troops forcing the Peshwa too sign the treaty of Puna on 8th May 1817. Along with the forts the English also forced the Peshwa to give up all the estates of his nobles which he had acquired in these years.Bajirao was even asked to dismantle his forces.
Note: To the credit of Bajirao II, he never surrendered Trimbakrao Dengale to the English, though the latter was captured shortly near Khandesh.

By now Bajiraos dislike for the English had turned into intense hatred. He soon started building an army for himself under the guidance of his confidante Bapu Gokhale. He also tried to seduce the Indian guards in the English army with emoluments. On 5th Nov 1817, the Peshwas troops and the English troops clashed at what we now know as the battle of Khadki. Peshwa himself retreated to the temple of Parvati at a hill top and watched the entire proceedings of the battle. But seeing his army being routed, the Peshwa fled from battle (earning him the nickname ‘Palputaa’ or the ‘Fleeing one’). Rest of the period was spent running from fort to fort (Satara,Nagpur,Kopargaon,Chanda), pursued furiously by the English forces.
Finally on 3rd June 1818, Peshwa Bajirao II surrendered to Col John Malcolm at Mhaw near Indore.
The British were careful so as not to humiliate the Peshwa, or imprison or execute him, lest he rebels, or is able to generate sympathy (as in the case of Ch.Sambhaji) which leads to other marathas rallying under a common banner. Col Malcolm himself has outlined the British policy to be followed in India. they preffered to purchase the individual loyalties of each maratha sardar, divide them and thus rule by proxy.
 The English exiled the Peshwa to the town of Bhramhavarta or Bithur near Kanpur on the banks of the Ganges, which was to be his jagir for retirement. He was sanctioned an princely pension to meet his royal expenses.

Bajiraos family Bajirao II had eleven wives, but none could produce an male heir (his only son through his eldest wife Varanasibai had died in his infancy). Therefore on 6th June 1827, Bajirao II adopted a boy, Dhondopant Narayan Bhat, a son of a priest from Venegaon near Bhor ghat. Subsequently he adopted Dhondopants brothers Sadashivarao and Gangadharrao. Dhondopant succeeded Bajirao II as the next Peshwa and came to be known as Nanasaheb. Bajirao's daughter Bayabai was probably the last survivor amongst his children.
Death Bajirao II died in 1851 at a ripe age of eighty.
An estimation of Bajiraos character
Bajirao II remains one of the most controversial Peshwas in Maratha history. Most denounce him as vindictive, cruel, greedy, extremely money minded, myopic and cowardly (known as ‘Palputaa Bajirao’ or the ‘Fleeing Bajirao’), while some term him as a victim of circumstances.
Most of Bajirao IIs formative years were spent in prison. Thus his administrative/political education was neglected , perhaps deliberately (but he was said to be keen on outdoor activities like wrestling , malkhamb, knowledge of arms-archery,spear throwing,swordsmanship ref.Grant Duff. Bajirao was also said to be good in the shastras and was a ardent Shivbhakt) and due to the constant hostilities surrounding him, he grew up to be a very suspicious and vengeful person. He never had the chance to hone up the qualities of a good ruler, let alone be a capable general like his forefathers. His personal life was also no different than the princes of those times and quite amorous. His rule has been largely criticised for the prevailing lawlessness, nepotism, casteism and wasteful expenditure in superstitions and rituals. 
Because of his nature , Bajirao II lost several supporters (his equation with his foster brother was also one of suspicion and they never got along. Bajirao had even imprisoned his younger brother Chimnaji for he feared that someone might use him as a tool to upstage him) and eventually he was isolated and forced with no other option but to seek the help of the English, which paved the way for their rule in the country.

In the words of Grant Duff ' No other empire was so foolishly lost '.

Nanasahib Peshwa (b.1824) a.k.a Dhundiraj a.k.a Dhondopant, is remembered in the pages of history as the last Peshwa.
Nanasahib was the adopted son of Peshwa Bajirao II. Dhondopant was the biological son of an priest, Narayan Bhat and Gangabai.
Nanasahib was declared the next Peshwa after the death of Bajirao II.

Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 
Though Nanasahib outwardly professed loyalty to the English, he always resented their sway over the Maratha dominions. Moreso, he was incensed when he was refused (1853) the title of the Peshwa (he was known simply as the Maharaja of Bitthur) and his entitlement to the pension by the English Governor General Lord Dalhousie. The British also started interfering in the Peshwa's financial and internal matters (On one occassion a property case was filed on the Peshwa indirectly by the British and the womenfolk in the Peshwas household were summoned to the court).This infuriated Nanasaheb to no end.
Opportunity to get back at the English came his way, when in 1857 the Indian Sepoy Mutiny broke out in India.
Nanasahib collected a fifteen hundred strong contingent, maintaining that it was for the protection of the English lest the rebellion spreads to Kanpur. But on 5th June 1857, he surrounded the 53 Native Infantry division of the British East India Company and declared himself on the side of the mutineers.

Note: As per some reports Nanasahib was a reluctant leader and was forced to take charge by the mutineers. Acc. to reports neither was Nanasahib trained  militarily nor did he have the basic requisites to be a general. Since the British treasury and arms at Kanpur were in his temporary charge, he was forced by the mutineers to join in the rebellion.

Nanasahib then proceeded to loot the treasury.He then came across an contingent of mutineers who were on their way to Delhi. They were soon induced to his cause. He attacked the British entrenchment led by General Wheeler, the next morning. The English held on to the entrenchment till June 26th. Thereafter they surrendered to Nanasahibs army on an assurance that he would give them an safe passage to Allahabad.

Satichaura Ghat and Bibighar Massacare
On 27th June, the English column consisting of soldiers and their families reached the Satichaura Ghat, from where they were to proceed by boat. For reasons unknown some India boatmen jumbed in the waters and started swimming to the banks. In the process some lanterns were knocked off setting some boats ablaze. This led to a lot of confusion. Someone fired the first shot, and soon there was exchange of fire between the mutineers and the English soldiers. Tatya Tope an aide of Nanasahib was leading the mutineers that fired upon the English. Many Englishmen were massacared that day. The women and the children were pulled away and taken prisoners to the Savada House, and later to Bibighar House (under the supervision of a prostitute by the name of Begum Hussaini Khanum), where they were united with the other English imprisoned womenfolk from Fatehgad.
Meanwhile a strong English contingent (consisting of Sikh soldiers) led by General Havelock had set out from Allahbad to take on the mutineers at Kanpur and Lucknow. They defeated Nanasahibs army at Fatehgad. They further defeated the army led by Nanasahibs brother Balarao at Aong on 15th July. They were also said to be perpetrating atrocities against the Indian villagers on the way.
When this news reached Nanasahibs camp, the mutineers were furious. They wrecked their anger against the hapless women and children at Bibighar. They were mercilessly gunned down (despite Nanasahebs protests).
This sordid incident goes down in history as the Bibighar massacare.
The English forces soon reached Kanpur and captured the town. Nanasahib and his men escaped to Bithur. The English who by now had gotten to know about the Bibighar massacare went on a rampage, indulging in arson,loot and killing.
The English troops later entered Bithur. But found that Nanasahib had escaped from there as well.
Nanasahibs general Tatya Tope continued offer a stiff resistance to the English.
It is said that Nanasahibs confidantes like Tatya Tope, Rani Laxmibai and Raosaheb (Nanasahibs nephew and close associate) met at Gwalior (June 1858) and declared Nanasahib as their Peshwa and vowed to continue their fight against the English.
But Rani Laxmibai met her valorous end at Jhansi .Tatya Tope also led an brave gureilla campaign against the English until his alleged capture and execution at Shivpuri.

NoteTatya Tope (b.1814-d.1859) was the son of Pandurangrao Tope, an courtier of Bajirao II. Tatya was born at Yeola in Maharashtra. He along with Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi were the childhood friends of Nanasahib Peshwe. He became the commander in chief of Nanasahibs forces and led an extensive gureilla campaign against the English forces. His skills in gureilla strategemns were praised even by his enemies.He was captured because of betrayal by a friend and finally executed.

Rani Laxmibai a.k.a Manikarnika a.k.a Manu (19 November 1828 – 17 June 1858) was the Queen of Jhansi.She was the daughter of Moropant Tambe an courtier of Peshwa Bajirao II. She married Gangadharrao Newalkar, the Raja of Jhansi. Her son died in his infancy and was soon followed by her husband. She having no son wanted her adopted son Damodar rao to succeed her. But the English wouldn’t allow it.When the English led siege to the Jhansi fort, Rani escaped and she joined the cause of the mutineers in 1858. They captured the fort of Gwalior and carried on its defense with the other rebels. This brave woman preffered to fight the English rather than surrender and met her glorious death in battlefield at Kotah ki Serai,Phoolbagh near Gwalior. General Sir Hugh Rose commented upon her death that the Rani "remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance" had been "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders”.
Both Rani Laxmibai and Tatya Tope are revered as the icons of the First Indian Freedom Movement against the British

Disappearance of Nanasahib

Nanasahibs whereabouts were never known. Some reported that he escaped with his family to Nepal and died a fugitive in that country. While some claimed sighting him at Constantinople, while there were also rumours of him having escaped to Tibet. An person resembling Nanasahib was also caught at Gwalior by Maharajah Scindia, but its veracity was never confirmed. A ascetic alleged to have been Nanasaheb was also said to be living in the whereabouts of Sihor, Gujrat. In recent years there were even documents produced by a family living in Gujrat claiming to be the descendents of Nannasaheb.But none of these reports could be substantially confirmed.
The last Peshwa of the Marathas seemed to have disappeared in thin air.


1. Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1701-1813 .Jaswant Lal Mehta (New Dawn Press - New Delhi )
2. New Cambridge History of India: The Marathas, 1600-1818 By Stewart Gordon, Cambridge University Press.
3. A History of the Maratha People by G.A.Kincaid and Rao Bahadur D.B.Parasnis (Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press).
4. History of the Mahrathas by James Grant Duff (Exchange Press, Bombay)

Peshwas (Part 4) : A Strife Within

Refer previous Peshwa articles to get a sense of continuity viz. Peshwas Part 1:Early Peshwas (Sonopant,Shyampant,Moropant,Nilopant,Bahirojipant,Ramchandrapant and Balaji Vishwanath Bhat), Part 2: Glory of the Peshwas (Bajirao I), Part 3: Peak of the Peshwas and Debacle at Panipat(Balaji Bajirao), Part 4: Strife within (Madhavrao, Narayanrao,Raghunathrao,Sawai Madhavrao), Part 5: Decline of the Peshwas (Bajirao II, Amritrao, Nanasahib).

Peshwa Madhavrao I a.k.a Madhavrao Ballal a.k.a Thorale Madhavrao (b.15th Feb.1745-rule starts 1761-d.18th Nov.1772) was the second son of Balaji Bajirao from his wife Gopikabai.
Succession Differences The Post of Peshwa, by now had become heridatory . After the death of Balaji Bajiraos eldest son Vishwasrao at Panipat, there were differences as to who should succeed the Peshwa.
A camp led by Gopikabai (widow of Balaji Bajirao) and her brother Sardar Raste, wanted the second son Madhavrao to succeed, whereas another camp led by Anandibai (wife of Raghunathrao) and Sakharambapu Bhagwant Bokil (a friend of Raghunathrao and the Kulkarni of Hivare) wanted the Peshwas younger brother Raghunathrao to become the next Peshwa.
Both Gopikabai and Anandibai were cousins. Also, both , inspite of their little education in statecraft were ambitious and wanted to control the affairs through their respective nominees.
And both were to play a dishonorable role (moreso Anandibai) in the years to come.
Eventually it was decided that Madhavrao Peshwa would be the next Peshwa and his uncle Raghunathrao would act as the Regent and Sakharambapu as the Diwan.
Initially, matters went on smoothly, until Madhavrao attained maturity.
At the bidding of Gopikabai, Madhavrao started looking over the matters of the state personally. This was the start of the friction between the nephew and his uncle.
Note: Both the nephew and the uncle had their own coteries. Madhavraos camp consisted of Gopalrao Govind Patwardhan (Sangli), Triambakrao (Mama)Vishwanath Pethe (Maternal uncle of Sadashivraobhau), Baburao Phadnis, Balaji Janardhan Bhanu (Nana Phadanvis),Hari Ballal Phadke and Ramshastri Prabhune.
 Whereas on Raghunathraos side were Sakharambapu Bokil, Gulabrao and Gangoba Tatya.

Start of the reign and his subsequent campaigns
Because of the defeat at Panipat, the Maratha treasury was virtually bankrupt and heavy in debt. To top it all the women in the household (especially Gopikabai) were indulging in daily religious rituals which were draining the already strained exchequer.
Madhavrao first started discipline from his own home. He first curtailed the household expenditure on daily religious practices.

Later when Madhavrao started demanding more say in the matters of the government, both Raghunathrao and Sakharambapu resigned from office to put pressure on the young Peshwa (hoping that Madhavrao will feel powerless without them).
But they had underestimated Madhavrao. He filled in the post of Regent with his own man Trimbakrao Pethe and made Nana Phadanvis and Hari Ballal Phadke his secretaries. Ramshastri prabhune was made the chief justice. Sakharambapu who though the diwan was sidelined as he was Raghunathraos loyalist.

Note: Earlier when the Nizam presuming the depleted might of the marathas attacked them , but was repelled by the marathas. Raghunathrao had an oppurtunity to exterminate the threat of the Nizam once and for all, but he rather let him off with leniency, ostensibly because of the advice by his aide Sakharambapu Bokil. The idea was to use the Nizams services in the future, incase he came into direct confrntation with his nephew the Peshwa.

That was when Raghunathrao (assisted by Janoji Bhosale) secretly sought the help of Nizam Ali (who had by then deposed his brother Salabat Jang to become the Nizam ul Mulk) to help him overthrow his nephew.
The Nizams army launched a surprise attack on Pune.
The forces under Raghunathrao also looked the otherway, as Nizams army reached the outskirts of Pune.
The Peshwas army , already divided because of Raghunathrao couldnt match up to this surprise attack.
The biggest sufferers were the residents of Pune. They were robbed and harrased by the invading army.

Eventually Madhavrao deciding to put an end to the quarrel, himself rode to his uncles camp and put him at his mercy.
Blood being thicker, Raghunathrao too treated his nephew with due courtesy. But he removed all the Peshwas men from their offices and confiscated their properties.
But soon Nizam Ali revealed his true intentions. Through his agent, Vithal Sundar, he led both Janoji Bhosale and the king of Kolhapur to believe that he was giving them the regency of the Maratha kingdom by displacing the Bhat Peshwas.
When Raghunathrao heard this, he once again reconciled with his nephew Madhavrao. Their collective armies then besieged Nizam Alis forces. Nizam Ali when he he realized that his plan had been exposed, quickly begged forgiveness from Raghunathrao (blaming his agent Vithal sundar for ill advice),something which a rather naïve Raghunathrao bought hook , line and sinker.
Madhavrao was reinstalled as the Peshwa by Raghunathrao while Madhavrao reinstated his uncle to his original position.
Madhavrao also on his part agreed to give due credence to the authority of Raghunathrao.

In 1764, there was a provocation from Hyder ali of Mysore. In response to which the young Peshwa led an assault on the Mysore forces .
Again he had a altercation with his uncle Raghunathrao, who himself wanted to lead the forces. But Madhavrao eventually had it his way. He and his forces completely routed Hyder Alis army, and returned back victorious.
Hyder Ali sought escape by coming into an understanding with Raghunathrao, who prevailed upon his nephew to forgive Hyder Ali.
Reluctantly, to placate his uncle, the young Peshwa agreed.
Meanwhile Janoji Bhosale (who had earlier assisted Raghunathrao and Nizam Ali), whom the Peshwa had publicly rebuked, tried to stir a revolt against the Peshwa. But the Peshwas vigilant secret service got a whiff of this. Peshwa then conspired with Janojis old ally Nizam Ali and raided Berar provinces of Janoji Bhosale.
Note:The perfidious Nizam Ali even offered help for the Marathas against Hyder Ali, at the same time conspiring with the English to defeat both Hyder Ali and the Marathas.To top it all , Nizam Ali offered help to Hyder Ali to gain Arcot from Muhammed Ali. In 1766, Madhavrao again led successfull campaigns against Hyder Ali who had gone back on his earlier promises. Meanwhile Madhavraos successes couldn’t be matched by Raghunathrao who had engaged in his own campaigns in the north.
Envious of his nephews success , Raghunathrao once again fell back to the evil advice of his wife Anandibai, who asked him to demand from Madhavrao, half the kingdom .
Madhavrao predictably refused.
As a result Raghunathraos forces (in assistance from Janoji Bhosale) and Madhavraos forces again clashed at Dhodap fort near Nasik. Raghunathraos army was badly mauled and he himself was taken a prisoner and sent to house arrest at Shanivarwada in Pune. Janoji Bhosale too was forced to sue for peace and pay a war indemnity of five lakhs and accept allegience to the Peshwa.
In 1769, Hyder Ali again provoked the Marathas by breaking his treaty.
Madhavrao , then marched with his army to the Karnataka regions. His army reached Bangalore without opposition. He then took Kolar, Nandidurg,Mulwagar by forced assault.
In June 1770, Madhavrao was struck by illness and had to return back to Puna, and sent Trimbakrao Pethe and Appa Balwant Mehendale against Hyder Ali.
In Jan 1771, Hyder Alis army was subdued at Balapur. Pethe then proceded ,taking over one district of Mysore after another.
In March 1771, Pethe inflicted another defeat on Hyder Ali at Cherkoli Hills.
In June 1772, Maratha army reached Srirangapattam, which was the capital of Hyder Ali.
Hyder Ali finally sued for peace.
He ceded Kolar,Bangalore,Ouskota,Balapur ,Mudgiri,Gurukonda to the Marathas and thirty six lakhs as war indemnity and an annual tribute of fourteen lakhs per annum.
Note:But when the deposed king of Mysore, Nandaraj tried to appeal to the Marathas to have him instated on the Mysore throne, Hyder Ali had him murdered in his bathtub and replaced him with his brother Chamraj instead.
Note1: On one occasion there was an attempt on the life of Madhavrao by one of his men Ramsingh.Madhavrao had escaped with a bruise on his shoulder. But Madhavrao believed it to be done at the behest of his uncle. As there was no proof, Raghunathrao went unpunished, but Ramsingh was excecuted. 

Scene at Delhi after Panipat
Meanwhile, Abdali had left for Afghanistan(22nd Mar 1761).
Note: Between 1762-67, the Sikhs thwarted Abdali's attempts to gain control of Punjab.
April 14th,1772, Abdali dies. [courtesy Ambareesh Phadanvis]
The Mughal Emperor had sought refuge with Shujaud daullah the Nawab of Awadh, while Najib ud daullah Khan(agent of Abdali) ruled Delhi in his absence. After the fall of Awadh(Oct 1764) to the English(at Buxar), the Emperor sought the protection of the East India Company. Suraj Mal the Jat king tried to take over Delhi, but was killed in the fight with Najib. But the war between the Jats and the Rohillas continued through their respective sons.
Malharrao Holkar had already died in 1766. His predeceased son’s (Khanderao’s) widow Ahilyabai had adopted one Tukoji Holkar,no immediate kin,but one of Malharraos trusted officers, to succeed the Holkars.
Ranoji Scindia too was dead and his successor was an illegitimate son, Mahadji Scindia, who had already distinguished himself in Panipat.
Peshwa Madhavrao wanted to extract revenge of Panipat . He therefore sent a huge Maratha army under the command of Visaji Krishna Biniwala and assisted by Tukoji Holkar and Mahadji Scindia.
The Maratha armies swept across the north.
First the levied ten lakhs as a tribute from Rajputana.
Then they extorted the Jats to cough out sixty five lakhs.
Then they turned their wrath against the Rohillas. They ravaged the Rohilla land between Ganga and Jamuna and captured the Etawah fortress of Doab. Soon entire Rohilkhand fell to the Marathas.
This prompted the Mughal emperor Shah Alam to switch sides from the English, over to the Marathas.
Shah Alam was once again restored to the throne of Delhi by the Marathas (in the leadership of Mahadji Shinde) .
The Rohilla chief Najib ud daullah Khan had died by then and he was succeeded by his son Zabita Khan.
 The Marathas held Rohilakhand (along with its harem) for huge ransom and returned its possession to Zabita khan (who had fled to the hills) only after the ransom was paid.
Note: Sequence of events in the north (courtesy Ambareesh Phadanvis)
1769 - Marathas proceed Northwards
April 5 1770 - Battle of Govardhan, Marathas victorious, take possession of Agra and Mathura. Marathas enter Doab against Bangash Nawab and encamp at Ramghat
Sept 1770 - Treaty of peace with Jats.
Feb 10, 1771 - Mahadaji takes possession of Delhi
March 4, 1771 - Mahadaji captures Shukratal
April 14 1772 - Abdali dies. Marathas capture Najibabad, spoils of Panipat recovered by Marathas. Mahadaji and Visaji Krishna arrange affairs of Delhi

Death of the Peshwa
The Peshwa who had returned to Puna cutting short his Karnataka expedition, met an premature end by Tuberculosis on 18 th Nov 1772. The great Peshwa died at the precincts of the Chintamani temple at Theur near Puna. Madhavrao was just twenty eight at the time of his death.
An promising life was snatched by the clutches of death.
Madhavraos wife Ramabai  (daughter of Shivaji Joshi Ballal , killedar of Solapur fort) keeping the traditions attained Sati.
Contributions of Madhavrao Peshwa
In his very short tenure Madhavrao, inspite of opposition, contributed tremendously to the Maratha kingdom. Madhavrao was an symbol of equanimity. He was an astute judge of character , an efficient administrator and a brave general.
After the debacle of Panipat, he rekindled the Maratha spirit by his unwavering leadership. He resurrected a flagging economy and replenished the treasury of the Maratha kingdom through various expeditions. Madhavrao was known to be a benevolent Peshwa who cared for his subjects. He ensured every man in his kingdom was heard and proper justice was meted to all.
 Inspite of differences with his uncle, he always was respectfull at a personal level. Though he had kept his interfering mother Gopikabai at a distance (at Nasik), he was always respectful towards her and was always enquiring about her well being.
He was never vindictive towards his enemies. Like in the case of Janoji Bhosale, whom he had severely reprimanded, but never humiliated beyond a point, nor were his personal possessions every taken away by the Peshwa inspite of repeated provocations.That was an indication of the magnanimity of Madhavraos character.
Note: Sardar Jivajipant Khazgiwale an noble in the court of Madhavrao had developed Ganesh Peth (Pune) in 1775 ,named after Lord Ganesha. 
Madhavrao redeveloped Mohitabad and renamed it Budwar Peth (Pune). 

Narayanrao Peshwa (b.10 aug.1755,rule started on:13th Dec 1772, d. 30 aug.1773)
Madhavrao having no son , was succeeded by his brother Narayanrao.
Narayanrao continued with Sakharambapu as the diwan, and other advisers like Nana Phadanvis, Moroba Phadanvis, Hari Ballal Phadke (military) and Babaji Barve.
A very brief reign
Narayanrao, unlike his brother lacked the fortitude of character. Soon he found himself completely under the sway of his mother Gopikabai, who since the death of her son Madhavrao had resumed her stay at Puna (from Nasik, where she had been kept by Madhavrao to prevent her interference in the daily affairs of the state). Raghunathrao who had escaped from Shanivarwada had been rearrested and confined to prison by Madhavrao, but soon released after he got a solemn oath from his uncle, that he would accept Narayanrao as a heir. Initially Raghunathrao kept his promise, but soon differences started arising between Narayanraos mother Gopikabai and her cousin Anandibai, the wife of Raghunathrao (who in turn was completely enamoured by his wife).Raghunathrao for his treacherous ways was captured and imprisoned.
 However on Gopikabais instructions (and much against the wishes of Nana Phadanvis), Narayanrao turned Raghunathraos imprisonment into a house arrest at Shanivarwada.
Note: Narayanrao's youthful  impetuousness (as also certain policies e.g mainly towards the Kayathas, whom he refused to recognise on par with the Brahmins) also inadvertently led to antagonising some nobles who crossed over to Raghunathraos side. Even the Peshwas closest advisers, Nana Phadanvis and Sakharambapu were not very happy with the immature Peshwas conduct. It is also possible that the young Peshwa was trying to assert himself much to the chagrin of his nobles who had wanted to control him. The nobles may have also wanted to replace Narayanrao with Raghunathrao.
Hyder Ali and his son Tipu were witnessing the strife in the Maratha kingdom and wanted to take advantage of it. So they started raiding the Mysore regions. Narayanrao therefore decided to launch an offensive in Karnatak. So he recalled Visaji Krishna Biniwala, his agent in the north back to Pune with his army. As a result Maratha stranglehold in the north collapsed. Other enemies of the Marathas like Nizam Ali, Najaf Khan, Shuja ud Daullah also started raising their tentacles.
Narayanraos Murder The women of the Peshwa household especially Gopikabai, used to perform a lot of daily religious rituals and spent huge amounts of money in giving away alms to the Brahmins. This hampered the treasury leading to non payment of the soldiers and other employees. There was discontent amongst many including the ‘Gardis’ a community who were the traditional bodyguards of the Peshwas. Raghunathrao sent them overtures promising them higher payscales provided he was assured of their help.
Raghunathrao sent the chief of the Gardis a letter stating that he would intervene and settle the pay dispute. But for the same Narayanrao should be seized (‘dharaa’ in Marathi) and be produced before him. But as the legend of the bakhar goes (though there are no conclusive documents to prove the same), the letter was forged by Anandibai , who changed the word ‘dharaa’ to ‘maaraa’ meaning ‘to kill’.

Note: Anandibai always maintained that she had nothing to do with the Peshwas murder and she was being wrongly maligned.
On the fatefull night of 30th August 1773, the Gardis swarmed in Shanivarwada , hacking down anyone who came in their way. Two of Narayanraos servants by the names of Chaphaji Tilekar and Naroba Phatak who tried to shield the Peshwa were hacked down. The panicky Peshwa Narayanrao then fled to his uncles quarters and implored him to save him. But it was all in vain, for the Gardis (sumersingh, Kharaksingh,Mohommed Yusuf and Tuloji Pawar a servant of Raghunathrao) wasted no moment in striking down the young Peshwa.
Narayanrao left behind him a wife Gangabai (daughter of Krishnarao Sathe) , who was pregnant with his son Madhavrao II. His body was secretly taken away through the Narayan gate of Shanivar wada and cremated near Lakdi pul, where his samadhi exists.
Contribution of Narayanrao
Narayanrao constructed a residential locality in Pune by the name of Narayan Peth, which exists till date.

Raghunathrao Peshwa a.k.a Raghobadada a.k.a Ragho Ballal a.k.a Raghobharaari (b.18 Aug.1734, rule. 5 Dec.1773-1774, d. 11 Dec.1783) was the younger son of Bajirao I and the brother of Balaji Bajirao.
Seizing the moment of his nephew Peshwa Narayanraos death, Raghunathrao made himself the next Peshwa.
He confirmed Sakharambapu Bokil as his diwan, and made Chinto Vithal Rairikar and Sakharam Hari Gupte his chief confidantes.
But Raghunathrao met opposition in the form of Nana Phadanvis, and the Chief Justice Ram Shastri Prabhune (who even passed the death penalty against the ruling Peshwa for the murder of his nephew, and relinquished his post and left Pune, when his decree wasnt obeyed), Trimbakrao Pethe,Hari Ballal Phadke etc who soon deposed Raghunathrao as the Peshwa.

Note: Though many nobles wanted Narayanrao to be replaced by Raghunathrao, they did not wish for Narayanrao's murder. Also they found that the matured Raghunathrao was not as pliant as they desired.

The conspirators later instated Madhavrao II, the infant son of Narayanrao on the Peshwas seat and themselves formed a council which would serve as a regency council for the child Peshwa. This council came to be known as the Barbhai (twelve brothers) council. The council included (besides Nana ) Hari Ballal Phadke, Moroba Phadnis, Sakarambapu Bokil (who joined in after resenting the ascension of Sakharam Gupte in Raghunathraos inner circle), Trimbakrao mama Pethe, Mahadji Shinde, Tukojirao Holkar, Phaltankar, Bhagwanrao Pratinidhi, Maloji Ghorpade,Sardar Raste and Babuji Naik.

Note: Nana Phadanvis managed to sway Sakharambapu over to his side by accepting his seniority in the Barbhai council. However with time, friction between the two resumed and eventually when Bapu tried to rejoin Raghunathraos side (as also support Nanas enemies like his cousin Moroba etc), but was imprisoned by Nana on charges of treason. Bapu died behind bars.

First Anglo Maratha war
In April 1774, Raghunathrao entered into an alliance with the English (Bombay Government). Skirmishes between the English forces and the Marathas started. But just then,on 19th Oct 1774, a supreme council (led by Warren Hastings and Col.Clavering,Col Monson,Philip Francis, Richard Barvel )authorized by the English parliament to take charge of all English dominions ,arrived on the shores of Calcutta. They declared the treaty between the Bombay government and Raghunathrao as invalid and instead sent their own envoy Col Upton to negotiate with the Barbhai council. They signed the treaty of Purandar in Dec 1775, whereby Raghunathrao was to be surrendered to the Marathas an in return Bassein ,Salsette,revenue of Bharuch were to be handed over to the English along with twelve lakhs to be paid to the Bombay government for war yaexpenses.
But Raghunathrao was never handed over to the Marathas and he continued enjoying the asylum of Bombay government at Surat.
Meanwhile , due to internal rivalry some members (Moroba Phadanvis, Sakharam bapu,Tukoji Holkar) of the Barbhai council had broken away. They conspired with Raghunathraos avowed well wishers like Bajaba Purandare, Sakharam Gupte,Chinto Rairikar to bring back Raghunathrao to the seat of the Peshwa.
But Nana Phadanvis artfully managed to wreck the conspiracy.Most of the conspirators were chained and put behind bars. Some died in prison and some were killed.
But on 23rd Dec 1778, the Bombay Government disregarding the treaty between the supreme council and the Marathas, launched an offensive against the latter.
But by 13 th Jan 1779, the Bombay Governments forces faced defeat at Wadgaon.the English sued for peace and returned everything they had gained from the treaty of Purandar.
But English offensives renewed at the behest of Warren Hastings (Governor Genreal at Calcutta) , who wanted to wipe out the disgrace of Wadgaon. English forces led by General Goddard defeated the forces of Mahadji Shinde and other Maratha commanders at various places like Gwalior,Ahmedabad, and pushed down Mahadji Shinde upto the town of Sipri. There were heavy losses on both sides.
Mahadji Shinde (due to loss of his central territories) eventually prevailed upon the Marathas to conduct the treaty of Salbai on 17th May 1782, whereby the English would forsake all support to Raghunathrao and recognize Sawai Madhavrao (Madhavrao II) as the true Peshwa. In return the Marathas promised the English all help in their fight against Hyder Ali. This treaty was ratified by Hastings in June 1782 and by Nana Phadanvis in February 1783. The treaty also returned to Shinde all his territories west of the Yamuna. It also guaranteed peace between the two sides for twenty years and thus ending the first Anglo Maratha war.
* Barbhais sought Nizam and Hyder Alis help against the English. Nizam stayed neutral, but while making the peace treaty with the Marathas, the English specifically asked the marathas to keep away from Hyder Ali. Due to pressure from Mahadji Shinde, Nana Phadanvis had to oblige. But Hyder Ali felt very slighted and the marathas lost on a potential friend.

Note: Mahadji Shinde ( Shinde is anglicized as Scindia) a.k.a Madhavrao I Sindhia a.k.a Patil bua (b.1730-d.1794)was the illegitimate son (born from a Rajput concubine Chimabai) of Ranoji Shinde (son of Jankoji Shinde, the Patil of Kanherkhed). Ranoji Shinde was entrusted by Bajirao I , the charge of Malwa, where he made Ujjain his headquarters. Ranoji was succeeded by his son Jayappa who died at Panipat. Hence the mantle of the family was passed on to Mahadji Shinde. Mahadji had already distinguished himself at Panipat where he received a leg wound that would last him for life. Mahadji Shinde succeeded in bringing all Rajput (Medtya, Ratangarh, Lalgarh, Bikaner, Laswari, Lachhmangarh, Kumher and Deeg and the states with territory of Jaipur and Jodhpur)and Jat (except Bharatpur and Vijaynagar) states under Maratha suzerainty.he also conquered Mathura in 1755. After the treaty of Salbai in 1782, Mahadji took full advantage of his neutrality with the English and exercised full control over north India. He shifted his capital to Gwalior after he won it fom the Jats of Gohad. Mahadji Shinde was responsible for reinstating Shah Alam II on the Mughal throne at Delhi (after the emperor was blinded and deposed by the Rohillas) and ruled as his Regent. Mahadji had increased his army to three brigades under the captainship of Benoit de Boigne, a French mercenary, and developed it into a disciplined force with added artillery and cavalry power. Mahadji Shinde was also responsible for decimating the influence of Nizam of Hyderabad.the great Mahadji Shinde died without an heir and was succeeded by his brothers(Tukaram Shindes) grandson Daulatrao Scindia.
However because of Mahadjis growing influence in the north, Nana Phadanvis grew suspicious. When Mahadji supported the cause of Ahilyabai Holkar (d.i.l of Malharrao), Nana unduly tried to raise the importance of Ahilyabai's commander Tukoji Holkar (this also sowed seeds of discontent between Ahilyabai and Tukoji). Nana even sent over Alibahaddur (grandson of Bajirao I) to reduce the relience on Mahadji in the north (and Bhosales were sent to the east). Mahadji on his part also tried to to reduce Nanas power in Pune by trying to woo away Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao, accusing Nana's man an minister of Pant Sachiv of corruption.

Note: While her husband had taken refuge with the Surat English, Anandibai stayed at fort Dhar ( her son Raobaji was born at Dhar while her foster son Amritrao stayed with their father at Surat) and tried to fight the Barbhais albiet unsuccessfully . Relations between husband and wife though they were on speaking terms were not the best . Raghunathrao resented Anandibai trying to influence him all the time.
Barbhais had assigned Visaji Govind Athavle and Khanderao Trimbak Odhekar to rein in Anandibai. Eventually she escaped and went via Mandleshwar to fort Maheshwari under the protection of the Holkars.She stayed their for two years and later joined her husband in Burhanpur. Later after the Salbhai treaty the entire family shifted to Kopargaon.

Thus seeing all hopes to (once again) becoming the Peshwa wither away, Raghunathrao retired with his famiy to Kopargaon at the banks of river Godavari, where he breathed his last (11th dec 1783) at Kacheshwar.
Raghunathrao left behind his wife Anandibai, a son Bajirao II , an adopted son Amritrao (10 years older to Bajirao II or Raobaji) and a posthumous son born to Anandibai named Chimnaji Appa (9 years younger to Bajirao II). 

Raghunathraos character
Raghunathrao was a brave warrior and military commander who carried the Maratha flag right upto Attock (presently in Pakistan and under his leadership, the Marathas had held sway over Punjab, Kashmir and Northwest frontier for over a year Mar 1758-Nov 1759) . But he lacked the prerequisites of a good ruler. He was myopic and impetuous. Moreover, he was almost completely under the sway of his ambitious wife Anandibai. He shared a love and hate relationship with his nephew Madhavrao. Though both loved and respected each other, personal ambitions ruined a fruitfull relationship between the two.


Peshwa Madhavrao II a.k.a Sawai Madhavrao a.k.a Madhurao Narayan (b.18 Apr.1774,Rule start:13th Dec 1774, d. 27 Oct.1795) was the posthumous son of Peshwa Narayanrao and his wife Gangabai. He was born amidst the political intrigues following Narayanraos murder.
An infant Sawai Madhavrao was declared the Peshwa after deposing Raghunathrao, who managed Peshwa ship for a few months before being displaced by the Barbhai regency council led by Nana Phadanvis.
He more or less ruled under the guidance of Nana Phadanvis the Maratha Machiavelli and the Barbhai regency council. Sawai Madhavrao was a witness to Raghunathraos treachery, when the latter brought the English to the forefront of the Maratha politics. Raghunathrao tried to remove Sawai Madhavrao from the post of the Peshwa with English help. But Sawai Madhavrao was gallantly defended by the Barbhais.
Though, by the treaty of Salbai (1782), the English recognized Sawai Madhavrao as the true Peshwa abandoning the aspirations of Raghunathrao.

Note: When he came of age, Sawai Madhavrao did try to assert his authority against his adviser Nana Phadanvis , whom he felt was becoming overbearing. It was once in the case of the despotic police inspector of Pune, the infamous Ghashiram Kotwal (a trusted aide of Nana, n younger brother of the equally notorious prior Kotwal, Anandrao).
Note1: Nana was rumoured to have an eye for the fairer sex (though many historians like Pagadi have rejected this as mere speculation and without any authentic historical proofs and more of a imagination by certain fiction authors). 
 It was rumoured that Nana Phadanvis made Ghashiram the Kotwal (Pagadi has stated that appointment of a kotwal/police chief was outside Nanas jurisdiction and more of that of Sakharambapu Bokil's) as he had fallen n love with the latters beautiful daughter (Pagadi has stated that Ghashiram Savaldas the kotwal, never had a daughter in the first place). Ghashiram became very unpopular amongst the Puneites for his cruel ways. One day he imprisoned some dakshini brahmins(Ghashiram himselm was a Kanauji brahmin), who later suffocated to death. When this matter came to the notice of Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao, he handed over Ghashiram to the people of Pune who stoned him to death.) and secondly when the Peshwa asked Nana Phadanvis to release his cousins (Bajirao II, Chimnajiappa,Amritrao viz. sons of Raghunathrao) from prison. But Nana Phadanvis had overruled the Peshwa, as he felt the Peshwa was being misled by his rivals. But mainly because Nana Phadanvis never trusted the sons of Raghunathrao, whom he believed wouldn’t hesitate to depose the Peshwa at the slightest opportunity. However, the Peshwa it is said, felt humiliated and went into a depression. Soon he contracted a disease considered Tuberculosis, which rendered him in severe bouts of fever.

Note1: Nanas court rival was Mahadji Scindia, who even tried releasing Nana's treacherous cousin Moroba from prison and replacing Nana with him. But Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao rejected this move. 
Nana was always suspicious about Mahadjis activities in the north especially when the Emperor of Delhi decided to award Mahadji with the title Vakil e Mutalik (above that of the Peshwa). Though time and again Mahadji tried to explain that he would always be subservient to the Peshwa, Nana was never convinced about it and sent over Alibahadur (grandson of Peshwa Bajirao I) on the pretext of helping Holkars in their affairs, but the real reason was always to keep a check on Mahadjis activities.
Note2: It is said that due to Nana's over protective nature towards the Peshwa which perhaps bordered on being overbearing, Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao displayed very cranky and whimsical behaviour at times. As he grew up he tried to be rebellious, which started creating friction between him and Nana.
+ Gopikabai the grandmother of Sawai Madhavrao never trusted Nana and believed that he did not provide the right guidance to Sawai Madhavrao (same charge has been levied on Nana by Anandibai vis a vis her son Bajirao II) thus deliberately keeping him weak and uncultured. She prefffered staying away from her grandson because of her discontent with his upbringing.

*Nana Phadanvis sought the help of Hyder Ali of Mysore and the Nizam against the English. But at the last moment Nizam withdrew and the Maratha sardars like the Nagpur Bhosales etc delayed attacking the English (citing lack of funds to pay their army) thus isolating Hyder Ali (much to the chagrin of Nana Phadanvis who had gathered all the three powers to face the English).
* During the reign of Sawai Madhavrao , Tipu Sultan of Mysore attacked some maratha territories which his father had earlier surrendered to the marathas, as a result the Marathas sought English help in curbing Tipu (as Tipus army was trained in modern warfare by the French).
* The first English resident in the Peshwas court was Sir Charles Malet. The available paintings of Sawai Madhavrao, Nana Phadanvis, Mahadji Scindia etc have been painted by artist James Wells the father in law of Sir Malet. Malets sons also were distinguished diplomats in the service of the British East India Company. One of his sons Hugh is credited to the discovery and recreation of Matheran a famous hill station in Maharashtra.

Sawai Madhavrao died under mysterious circumstances. Though there were rumours that he commited suicide by jumping from the high walls of Shanivarwada , some even speculated murder. But the popular story is, he was running high fever and in delirium lost balance and fell down from his window/balcony.
As per historians like Duff and Kincaid, in his dying declaration, Sawai Madhavrao named his cousin Bajirao II as his successor ,much to the chagrin of Nana Phadanvis. Nana had earlier asked Yashodabai (daughter of Ganesh Vishwanath Gokhale of Vijaydurg), the widow of Sawai Madhavrao to adopt Chimaji, the youngest son of Raghunathrao, so that someone from the family would become the Peshwa, and because of Chimajis young age, Nana could continue as the regent for the new Peshwa. But now because of Sawai Madhavraos will and also because of the opposition from the other courtiers to this arrangement Nana had to back out. Apparently the fact that Chimaji a brother in law of Yashodabai be adopted as a son did not go down well with the courtiers, and also many resented the fact that this would give Nana another stint as a regent).
Note: The Shanivarwada complex had a beautiful sixteen-petal-lotus shaped fountain: the Hazaari Kaaranje (fountain of a thousand jets). This unique fountain, was constructed for the pleasure of the infant Sawai Madhavrao. With the form of a sixteen petal lotus, each petal having sixteen jets with an eighty foot arch each.
Nihal Peth, a residential colony in Pune during the reign of Sawai Madhavrao, was renamed Nana Peth after Nana Phadanvis.
Nana Phadanvis also converted Bhawani Peth (previously known as Borevan) an residential colony built by Sambhajiraje into a commercial place and invited many traders to set up their storage facilities in that area.
Sardar Anandrao Laxmanrao Raste built Rasta Peth in Pune during the reign of Sawai Madhavrao. 

Note1: Nana Phadanvis a.k.a Balaji Janardhan Bhanu was an old friend and confidante of the Bhat Peshwas. He was born at Satara. His family hailed from Velas, an village near Shrivardhan (Konkan region) , the ancestral village of the Bhat Peshwas. His grandfather, Balaji Mahadji Bhanu  (He was killed in a skirmish in the north while accompanying Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath to Delhi when attacked by the forces of Aminkhan) was promoted to the title of Phadanvis (Finance secretary) at the behest of Balaji Vishwanath Peshwe. Nana inherited the title from his grandfather during the time of Madhavrao (due to Nana's intelligence , competrancy and loyalty towards Madhavrao) Peshwe and was a die hard loyalist of that royal line. Nana virtually saved Sawai Madhavrao from the evil machinations of the Raghunathrao camp , as a result of which his reputation enchanced to a great extent. Nana Phadanvis acted as the regent of Sawai Madhavrao and was virtually the main decision maker of the Maratha kingdom during that time. It was then that the Maratha forces had inflicted a crushing defeat over the Nizam of Hyderabad at Kharda, when the latter had refused to honour his financial commitments to the Marathas.
Nana Phadanvs was a person of frail disposition, but was an astute diplomat, responsible for keeping the Maratha kingdom afloat by providing leadership at a difficult juncture. A extremely religious person by nature, he was also very meticulous in his habits and was an extremely hardworking person.
He understood the dangers of foreign powers like English and along with Hyder Ali and Nizam he tried to briddle them. However due to a lack of unity and coordination between the Indian powers the English proved to be difficult to handle. Due to Nanas role in upstaging Raghunathrao, he was always hated by Raghunathraos son Bajirao II. Nana had once virtually imprisoned the sons of Raghunathrao at Shivner ,after the death of their mother Anandibai at Nasik ,in Apr,1794, lest they become instruments in the hands of his rivals. Moreover he distrusted the eldest son Bajirao II, because of the latters inert deviousness. This also added to Bajiraos dislike for Nana Phadanvis. Nana Phadanvis was imprisoned by Sardar Sakharam Ghatge and Peshwa Bajirao II in 1797, at Ahmednagar fort amidst political intrigues following the death of Madahvarao II (apparently Bajirao II had promised Daulatrao Scindia , huge amounts of money to stay put in Pune , as he feared that once Daulatrao leaves for Gwalior, Nana would once gain dethrone him. Bajirao II therefore advised Daulatrao to collect the promised sum from Nana, whom he accused of hoarding a lot of illicit wealth).But once Daulatrao discovered that he had been misled by Bajirao II, he once gain diverted his pressure towards him.
Bajirao II now had no choice but to get Nana released (also because of some pressure exerted by Nanas allies like the Nizam) and reconcile with him. 
But the prison term had made Nana Phadanvis very weary and he was no longer his old self. Also, he never regained his old position thereafter.
Nana Phadanvis died on 13th March 1800 at Pune.

Note: Nana and Daulatrao Scindia always shared an uncomfortable relationship and due to the latters pressure he had to resign from office for sometime and take solace at Mahad. But the wily Nana was not a person to give up and used his diplomatic channels like Nizam,Tipu etc to once again get himself reseated as the Peshwas primary advisier.

Note:Bajirao also imprisoned Yashodabai , his dead cousins widow, first at Purandar and later in Raigad. She later died in prison in 1811. 
Nana Phadanvis was called the ‘Indian Machiavelli’, by Grant Duff in his treatise on the Marathas, because of Nanas political manoueverings to maintain the sanctity of the seat of the Peshwas. Nana Phadanvis left behind two wives (Nana Phadanvis had married nine times. Only Bagubai and the fourteen year old Jiubai remained. Bagubai died within a month of her husbands death) , but no son (none of his children had survived infancy). After Nanas death the Peshwa Bajirao II had attached Nanas estates and confined his fourteen year old wife,Jiubai at Shanivar wada (Jiubai was later freed by Yashwantrao Holkar. She later came under the protection of the English who ensured her a pension.In 1827, she even adoped a son Madhavrao Bhanu).

During the time of Sawai Madhavrao the maratha kingdom was at its peak, mainly due to the competance of his nobles like Nana Phadanvis and Mahadji Shinde.

Sources: 1. Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1701-1813 .Jaswant Lal Mehta (New Dawn Press - New Delhi )
2. New Cambridge History of India: The Marathas, 1600-1818 By Stewart Gordon, Cambridge University Press.3. A History of the Maratha People by G.A.Kincaid and Rao Bahadur D.B.Parasnis (Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press).