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chapter 5 Fauj-e-Hind, the Army of Hindustan With the destruction of Mysore the Marathas remained the only significant indigenous military threat to British hegemony on the subcontinent. Following the disastrous campaign against the Indo-Afghan alliance, however, the Marathas underwent a period of political upheaval and resurgence. Peshwa Nana Saheb died soon after the battle of Panipat. His second son, Madhavrao, succeeded him in July 1761 at the age of seventeen. An energetic and worthy heir, the young peshwa quickly suffered endless intrigues at the Maratha court. The chief instigator of these plots was Madhavrao’s father’s brother, Raghunathrao, also known as Raghoba. Madhavrao soon managed to subdue Raghunathrao (he imprisoned him in 1768) and turned his attention to reestablishing Maratha power in North India. Following the disaster at Panipat the local zamindars, or landlords, south of the Yamuna and the Chambal had stopped paying revenues and tribute to the Marathas and had even dared to occupy Maratha-administered villages. Madhavrao sent Malharao Holkar, one of the few Maratha leaders to survive Panipat, to subdue the north. During his campaign Holkar captured Gangurni in Malwa in June 1761 and defeated the Jaipur army of Raja Madho Singh on the 29th at Mangrol.1 The powerful Jats proved to be more problematic, especiallyafter the aged Holkar died on 20 May 1766. However, Maratha forces under Mahadji Sindhia and Tukoji Holkar renewed the northern offensives in early 1769, defeating the Rohillas in 1770 and gradually subduing the Jats.2 Madhavrao’s biggest success came when he succeeded in inducing the Mughal emperor Shah Alam to leave British ‘‘protection’’ and return to Delhi to Maratha ‘‘protection,’’ upon which the unfortunate Shah Alam became a virtual prisonerof the Marathas.3 Unfortunately, the young peshwa died in 1772 as a result of an accident and was succeeded by his brother Narayanrao. He toowas subject to plots hatched by Raghunathrao, who succeeded in having the new peshwa and ten of his associates murdered on 13 August 1773. Raghunathrao then declared himself peshwa, but a coalition led by Nana Phadnavis (spelled Farnavis by the 89 Fauj-e-Hind, the Army of Hindustan British), Trimbakrao Pethe, Haripant Phadke, and others opposed him. His cause received a further blow when Narayanrao’s widow, Ganga Bai, gave birth to a son, Savai Madhavrao. Nana Phadnavis and his associates, known as the Barbhais, or seniors, ordered the arrest of Raghunathrao and invested theyoung infant as the peshwa. Raghunathrao immediately fled to the British and sought their protection. They readily provided sanctuary in exchange for the Treaty of Surat, which stated that the British would help Raghunathrao regain the office of peshwa in return for substantial monetary and territorial gains. In the wake of this treaty, a period of brief skirmishing followed that resulted in the Treaty of Purandhar in March 1776. However, in March 1778 Raghunathrao’s meddling once again forced the British into war against the Poona government. This time the Marathas, under Nana Phadnavis’s able leadership, easily defeated the British at the battle of Vadgaon on 19 January 1799.4 A series of skirmishes followed in which the Marathas thoroughly defeated the British. Finally, under severe pressure from London, the British sought peace.5 A new treaty, the Treaty of Salbai, was signed on 17 May 1782. It forced the British to return territory they had gained after the Treaty of Purandhar .6 However, Nana Phadnavis, who ran the Poona government, agreed not to ally himself with other European powers.7 In Hindustan to the north, however, Maratha power once again expanded under the aegis of Mahadji Sindhia, Dattaji Sindhia’s nephew and successor .8 It was Mahadji Sindhia who became Shah Alam’s chief protector and who managed to crush all opposition in Delhi from Muslim chiefs such as Ismail Baig and the Rajputs.9 During these struggles Mahadji raised a force of European-trained infantry under a remarkable European mercenary, Beno ît de Boigne. The success of his forces, which soon came to be known as Fauj-e-Hind, the Army of Hindustan, became the focus of other Maratha chieftains’ envy. Maratha leaders, especially Tukoji Holkar, soon became resentful of Mahadji’s tremendous success in North India.The latter sought to thwart Mahadji’s attempts to control this region, and the two fought a battle at Lakheri in May 1793, during which Mahadji’s infantry-based army under de Boigne thoroughly trounced Holkar’s forces. WhileTukoji Holkarand Mahadji fought...


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