The Marathas relationship with Bengal, Hyderabad, Mysore, Rajasthan and Mughals

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The nature of Maratha relations with other powers. At the relations with Bengal, Hyderabad, Mysore, Rajasthan, the Mughals and the East India Company are:

i. Bengal:

Shortly after Nadir Shah’s invasion in 1740 the Mughal province of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa not long after Alivardi Khan sought the help of the Peshwa against his rival who sought the backing of Raghuji Bhonsle. In 1743 the Peshwa was promised Chauth over the provinces in return for his help. Later, however, on Raghuji’s appeal Shahu assigned chauth and Sardeshmukhi in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to Raghuji Bhonsle.

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In 1751 the Nawab concluded a treaty to pay 12 lakhs of rupees in lieu of the chauth of Bengal and Bihar and a stipulated part of the revenue of Orissa to the Bhonsle of Nagpur.

ii. Hyderabad:

The Nizam resisted the Maratha claims for Chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan and was constantly at war with them. Around 1720 he encouraged agrarian and revenue officials to obstruct collection by the Marathas. In 1724 he agreed to such collection in return for the Peshwa’s help against a rival. The entente fell through in 1725-26 when the Peshwa invaded Karnataka. The Nizam therefore replaced Sambhaji of Kolhapur as the collector of the Deccan subas. Only after the Peshwa defeated him at Palkhed in 1728 he didn’t agree on giving back Kolhapur.

At the height of the Poona-Hyderabad clashes in 1752, the Marathas extracted the western half of Berar between Godavari and Tapti.

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iii. Mysore:

The Marathas who expanded up to the Tungabhadra. Were in constant conflict with Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan of Mysore and exacted tribute from Mysore in 1726. The Peshwa made successful expeditions against Haider Ali in 1764-65 and 1769-72 and by the peace of 1772 Haider lost territory south of the Tungabhadra.

After 1776, however, Haider Ali made incursions into the Maratha territories in the Krishna-Tungabhadra Doab. Only in 1780 was Mysore allied briefly with the Marathas against the British.

iv. ‘Rajasthan:

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The Marathas did not establish any regular direct administration. However, occasionally in the second quarter of the 18th century they interfered in internal disputes among the Rajputs, in particular in Bundi, Jaipur and Marwar. Before Baji Rao’s visit in 1735 only the smaller states paid chauth, but therefore even Udaipur and Mewar fell in line. Collections were neglected in the aftermath after Panipat but were taken up again by Holkar and after his death by Sindia on behalf of the Peshwa and the Mughal Emperor.’

v. Mughals:

In 1752 when Ahmad Shah Abdali annexed Lahore and Multan, the Mughal Emperor sought Maratha protections. He entered into an agreement with Malhar Rao Holkar and Jayappa Sindia in 1752 granting them chauth of Punjab and Sindh and the Doab in addition to the subadari of Ajmer and Agra. All this was in exchange for protection against external enemies and disloyal subjects.

The Marathas, however, could not match Ahmad Shah Abdali and were defeated at Panipat in 1761. Punjab and Rajasthan soon slipped out of their control. In 1784 Shah Alam turned over the management of Delhi and Agra to Sindia in return for a monthly allowance. The Peshwa was given the title of regent and Sindia that of deputy regent. These titles were renewed in 1788 when Sindia reinstated Shah Alam who has temporarily been dislodged by the Rohilla chief, Ghulam Kadir Khan.

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The Sindia however, derived very little from this power as the area was mostly held by Mughal chiefs who were nominally under the Emperor. Therefore, Sindia concentrated on stepping up his demands on the Rajputs.

vi. East India Company:

When the Marathas took Basein from the Portuguese in 1739; the Bombay Council of the Company decided to fortify Bombay sent envoys to Shahu and negotiated a treaty which conceded to the Company the right to free trade in the Maratha dominions.

Tensions in the Maratha confederacy and factional disputes between members of the Peshwa’s family were used by the Company to intervene in Maratha affairs. They did so and ultimately shackled the northern saranjamdars as well as raise their powers.

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