Zitierweise / cite as:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 9. Zum Beispiel: 'Alī Ibrāhīm Khān: Tārīkh-i Ibrāhīm Khān (A.D. 1786) <Auszüge>. -- Fassung vom 2008-05-18. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen149.htm
Erstmals publiziert als:
The history of India, as told by its own historians : The Muhammadan period / edited from the posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. [Henry Miers] Elliot [1808 - 1853], by John Dowson [1820 - 1881]. -- London : Trübner, 1867-77. -- 8 Bde. ; 23 cm. -- Bde. 4-8 Titel: " ... The posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. Elliot ... edited and continued by Professor John Dowson." -- Bd. 8. -- S. 257 - 297. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-06
Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-05-18
Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008
©opyright: Public domain.
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As the comprehension of the design of this work is dependent on a previous acquaintance with the origin and genealogy of [S. 258] Bālājī Rāo, the eloquent pen will first proceed to the discussion of that subject.
Abb.: Das Mahratta-Reich um 1760 (in gelb)
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Be it not hidden, that in the language of the people of the Dakhin, these territories and their dependencies are called "Dihast," and the inhabitants of the region are styled "Mahrattas." The Mahrattī dialect is adopted exclusively by these classes, and the chieftainship of the Mahrattas is centred in the Bhonsla tribe. The lineage of the Bhonslas is derived from the Ūdīpūr Rājas, who bear the title of Rānā; and the first of these, according to popular tradition, was one of the descendants of Naushīrwān. At the time when the holy warriors of the army of Islām subverted the realms of Īrān, Naushīrwān's descendants were scattered in every direction; and one of them, having repaired to Hindūstān, was promoted to the dignity of a Rāja. In a word, one of the Rānā's progeny afterwards quitted the territory of Ūdīpūr, in consequence of the menacing and disordered aspect of his affairs, and having proceeded to the country of the Dakhin, fixed his abode in the Carnatic. The chiefs of the Dakhin, regarding the majesty of his family with respect and reverence, entered into the most amicable relations with him. His descendants separated into two families; one the Aholias, the other the Bhonslas.
Sāhūjī was first inrolled among the number of Nizām Shāh's retainers, but afterwards entered into the service of Ibrāhīm 'Ādil Shāh, who was the ruler of the Kokan. In return for the faithful discharge of his duties, he received in jāgīr the parganas of Pūnā, etc., where he made a permanent settlement after the manner of the zamīndārs. Towards the close of his life, having attained the high honour of serving the Emperor Jahāngīr, he was constantly in attendance on him, while his son Sivajī stayed [S. 259] at the jāgīr. As Ibrāhīm 'Ādil Shāh for the space of two years was threatened with impending death, great disorder and confusion prevailed in his territories from the long duration of his illness; and the troops and retainers, whom he had stationed here and there, for the purpose of garrisoning the forts, and protecting the frontier of the Kokan, abandoned themselves to neglect in consequence of their master's indisposition.
* * Ultimately, the Emperor Aurangzeb, the bulwark of religion, resolved upon proceeding to the Dakhin, and in the year 1093 A.H. bestowed fresh lustre on the city of Aurangābād by the favour of his august presence. For a period of twenty-five years he strove to subvert the Mahratta rule; but as several valiant chieftains displayed the utmost zeal and activity in upholding their dynasty, their extermination could not be satisfactorily accomplished. Towards the close of His Majesty's lifetime, a truce was concluded with the Mahrattas, on these terms, viz. that three per cent. out of the revenues drawn from the Imperial dominions in the Dakhin should be allotted to them by way of sar deshmukhī; and accordingly Ahsan Khān, commonly called Mīr Malik, set out from the threshold of royalty with the documents confirming this grant to the Mahrattas, in order that, after the treaty had been duly ratified, he might bring the chiefs of that tribe to the court of the monarch of the world. However, before he had had time to deliver these documents into their custody, a royal mandate was issued, directing him to return and bring back the papers in question with him. About this time, His Majesty Aurangzeb 'Ālamgīr hastened to the eternal gardens of Paradise, at which period his successor Shāh 'Ālam (Bahādur Shāh) was gracing the Dakhin with his presence. The latter settled ten per cent. out of the produce belonging to the peasantry as sar deshmukhī on the Mahrattas, and furnished them with the necessary documents confirming the grant. [S. 260]
When Shāh 'Ālam (Bahādur Shāh) returned from the Dakhin to the metropolis, Dāūd Khān remained behind to officiate for Amīru-l umarā Zū-l fikār Khān in the government of the provinces. He cultivated a good understanding with the Mahrattas, and concluded an amicable treaty on the following footing, viz. that in addition to the above-mentioned grant of a tithe as sar deshmukhī, a fourth of whatever amount was collected in the country should be their property, while the other three-fourths should be paid into the royal exchequer. This system of division was accordingly put in practice; but no regular deed granting the fourth share, which in the dialect of the Dakhin is called chauth, was delivered to the Mahrattas. When Muhammad Farrukh Siyar sat as Emperor on the throne of Dehlī, he entertained the worst suspicions against Amīru-l umarā Saiyid Husain 'Alī Khān, the chief of the Bārha Saiyids. He dismissed him to a distance from his presence by appointing him to the control of the province of the Dakhin. On reaching his destination, the latter applied himself rigorously to the task of organizing the affairs of that kingdom; but royal letters were incessantly despatched to the address of the chief of the Mahrattas, and more especially to Rāja Sāhū, urging him to persist in hostilities with Amīru-l umarā. * *
In the year 1129 A.H. (1717 A.D.), by the intervention of Muhammad Anwar Khān Burhānpūrī and Sankarājī Malhār, he concluded a peace with the Mahrattas, on condition that they would refrain from committing depredations and robberies, and would always maintain 18,000 horsemen out of their tribe wholly at the service of the Nāzim of the Dakhin. At the time that this treaty was ratified, he sealed and delivered the documents confirming the grant of the fourth of the revenues, and the sar deshmukhī of the province of the Dakhin, as well as the proceeds of the Kokan and other territories, which were designated as their ancient dominions. At the same period Rāja Sāhū appointed Bālājī, son of Basū Nāth (Biswa Nāth), who belonged [S. 261] to the class of Kokanī Brahmins, to fill the post of his vakīl at the Court of the Emperor; and in all the districts of the six provinces of the Dakhin he appointed two revenue commissioners of his own, one to collect the sar deshmukhī, and the other to receive the fourth share or chauth. * *
Amīru-l umarā Husain 'Alī, having increased the mansabs held by Bālājī, the son of Basū Nāth, and Sankarājī Malhār, deputed them to superintend the affairs of the Dakhin, and sent them to join 'Ālim 'Alī Khān. * * After the death of Bālājī, the son of Basū Nāth, his son, named Bājī Rāo, became his successor, and Holkar, who was a servant of Bālājī Rāo, having urged the steed of daring, at his master's instigation, at full speed from the Dakhin towards Mālwā, put the (subadār) Giridhar Bahādur to death on the field of battle. After this occurrence, the government of that province was conferred on Muhammad Khān Bangash; but owing to the turbulence of the Mahrattas, he was unable to restore it to proper order. On his removal from office, the administration of that region was entrusted to Rāja Jai Singh Sawāi. Unity of faith and religion strengthened the bonds of amity between Bājī Rāo and Rāja Jai Singh; and this circumstance was a source of additional power and influence to the former, insomuch that during the year 1146 (1733 A.D.) he had the audacity to advance and make an inroad into the confines of Hindūstān. The grand wazīr 'Itimādu-d daula Kamru-d dīn Khān was first selected by the Emperor Muhammad Shāh to oppose him, and on the second occasion Muzaffar Khān, the brother of Samsāmu-d daula Khān-daurān. These two, having entered the province of Mālwā, pushed on as far as Sironj, but Bājī Rāo returned to the Dakhin without hazarding an engagement. * *
In the second year after the above-mentioned date, Bājī Rāo attempted another invasion of Hindūstān, when the wazīr 'Itimādu-d daula Kamru-d dīn Khān Bahādur and the Nawāb Khān-daurān Khān went forth from Dehlī to give him battle. * * On this occasion several engagements took place, but [S. 262] victory fell to the lot of the wazīr; and peace having been ultimately concluded, they both returned to Dehlī.
In the third year from the aforesaid date, through the mediation of Amīru-l umarā Khān-daurān Khān Bahādur, the government of Mālwā was bestowed on Bājī Rāo, whereby his power and influence was increased twofold. The Rāo in question, having entered Mālwā with a numerous force, soon reduced the province to a satisfactory state of order. About the same time he attacked the Rāja of Bhadāwar, and after putting him to flight, devastated his territory. From thence he despatched Pīlājī with the view of subduing the kingdom of Antarbed (Doāb), which is situated between the Ganges and Jumna. At that very time Nawāb Burhānu-l Mulk had moved out of his own province, and advanced through Antarbed to the vicinity of Āgra. Pīlājī therefore crossed the Jumna, and engaged in active hostilities against the above-named Nawāb; but having been vanquished in battle, he was forced to take to flight, and rejoin Bājī Rāo. An immense number of his army were drowned while crossing the Jumna; but as for those who were captured or taken prisoners, the Nawāb presented each one with two rupees and a cloth, and gave him permission to depart. Bājī Rāo, becoming downcast and dispirited after meeting with this ignominious defeat, turned his face from that quarter, and proceeded towards Dehlī. * *
Samsāmu-d daula Amīru-l umarā Bahādur, after considerable deliberation, sallied forth from Shāh-Jahānābād with intent to check the enemy; but Bājī Rāo, not deeming it expedient at the time to kindle the flame of war, retired towards Āgra, and Amīru-l umarā, considering himself fortunate enough in having effected so much, re-entered the metropolis. This was the first occasion on which the Mahrattas extended their aggressions so far as to threaten the environs of the metropolis. Though most of the men in the Mahratta army are unendowed with the excellence of noble and illustrious birth, and husbandmen, carpenters, and shopkeepers abound among their soldiery, yet, as they undergo all sorts of toil and fatigue in prosecuting a guerilla warfare, they [S. 263] prove superior to the easy and effeminate troops of Hind, who for the most part are of more honourable birth and calling. If this class were to apply their energies with equal zeal to the profession, and free themselves from the trammels of indolence, their prowess would excel that of their rivals, for the aristocracy ever possess more spirit than the vulgar herd. The free-booters who form the vanguard of the Mahratta forces, and marching in advance of their main body, ravage the enemy's country, are called puīkārahs (pūīkārahs?); the troops who are stationed here and there by way of picquets at a distance from the army, for the purpose of keeping a vigilant watch, are styled mātī, and chhāppah is synonymous in their dialect with a night-attack. Their food consists chiefly of cakes made of jawār, or bājrā, dāl, arhad, with a little butter and red pepper; and hence it is that, owing to the irascibility of their tempers, gentleness is never met with in their dispositions. The ordinary dress worn by these people comprises a turban, tunic, selah (loose mantle), and jānghiah (short drawers). Among their horses are many mares, and among the offensive weapons used by this tribe there are but few fire-arms, most of the men being armed with swords, spears, or arrows instead. The system of military service established among them is this: each man, according to his grade, receives a fixed salary in cash and clothes every year. They call their stables pāgāh, and the horsemen who are mounted on chargers belonging to a superior officer are styled bārgīrs. * *
When Bājī Rāo, in the year 1153 A.H. (1740 A.D.), on the banks of the river Nerbadda, bore the burden of his existence to the shores of non-entity, his son, Bālājī Rāo, became his successor, and after the manner of his father, engaged vigorously in the prosecution of hostilities, the organization and equipment of a large army, and the preparation of all the munitions of [S. 264] war. His son continued to pass his days, sometimes at war, and at other times at peace, with the Nawāb Āsaf Jāh. At length, in the year 1163 (1750 A.D.), Sāhū Rāo, the successor of Sambhājī, passed away, and the supreme authority departed out of the direct line of the Bhonslas. Bālājī Rāo selected another individual of that family, in place of Sāhū's son, to occupy the post of Rāja, and seated him on the throne, whilst he reserved for himself the entire administration of all the affairs of the kingdom. Having then degraded the ancient chieftains from the lofty position they had held, he denuded them of their dignity and influence, and began aggrandizing the Kokanī Brahmins, who were of the same caste as himself. He also constituted his cousin, Sadāsheo Rāo, commonly called Bhāo Rāo, his chief agent and prime minister. The individual in question was of acute understanding, and thoroughly conversant with the proper method of government. Through the influence of his energetic counsels, many undertakings were constantly brought to a successful issue, the recital of which would lead to too great prolixity. In short, besides holding the fortress of Bījāpūr, he took possession anew of Daulatābād, the seat of government of the illustrious sovereigns, together with districts yielding sixty lacs of rupees, after forcibly wresting it out of the hands of Nizāmu-l Mulk Nizām 'Alī Khān Bahādur. He likewise took into his service Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī, who had a well-organized train of European artillery with him.
Ahmad Shāh Abdālī, in the year 1171 A.H. (1757-8 A.D.), came from the country of Kandahār to Hindūstān, and on the 7th of Jumāda-l awwal of that year, had an interview with the Emperor 'Ālamgīr II., at the palace of Shāh-Jahānābād; he exercised all kinds of severity and oppression on the inhabitants of that city, and united the daughter of A'azzu-d dīn, own brother to His Majesty, in the bonds of wedlock with his own son, Tīmūr Shāh. After an [S. 265] interval of a month, he set out to coerce Rāja Sūraj Mal Jāt, who, from a distant period, had extended his sway over the province of Āgra, as far as the environs of the city of Dehlī. In three days he captured Balamgarh, situated at a distance of fifteen kos from Dehlī, which was furnished with all the requisites for standing a siege, and was well manned by Sūraj Mal's followers. After causing a general massacre of the garrison, he hastened towards Mathurā, and having razed that ancient sanctuary of the Hindūs to the ground, made all the idolators fall a prey to his relentless sword. Then he returned to Āgra, and deputed his Commander-in-Chief, Jahān Khān, to reduce all the forts belonging to the Jāt chieftain. At this time a dreadful pestilence broke out with great virulence in the Shāh's army, so that he was forced to abandon his intention of chastising Sūraj Mal, and unwillingly made up his mind to repair to his own kingdom.
On his return, as soon as he reached Dehlī, the Emperor 'Ālamgīr went forth with Najību-d daula Bahādur, and had an interview with him on the margin of the Maksūdābād lake, when he preferred sore complaints against 'Imādu-l Mulk Ghāzīu-d dīn Khān Bahādur, who was at that time at Farrukh-ābād, engaged in exciting seditious tumults. The Shāh, after forming a matrimonial alliance with the daughter of his late Majesty Muhammad Shāh, and investing Najību-d daula with the title of Amīru-l umarā and the dignified post of bakhshī, set out for Lāhore. As soon as he had planted his sublime standard on that spot, he conferred both the government of Lāhore and Multān on his son, Tīmūr Shāh, and leaving Jahān Khān behind with him, proceeded himself to Kandahār.
Jahān Khān despatched a warrant to Adīna Beg Khān, who at that time had taken up his residence at Lakhī Jangal, investing him with the supreme control of the territory of the Doāb, along with a khil'at of immense value, and adopted the most conciliatory measures towards him, whereupon the latter, esteeming this amicable attention as a mark of good fortune, applied himself zealously to the proper administration of the [S. 266] Doāb. When Jahān Khān, however, summoned him to his presence, he did not consider it to his advantage to wait upon him; so, quitting the territory of the Doāb, he retired into the hill-country. After this occurrence, Jahān Khān appointed a person named Murād Khān to the charge of the Doāb, and sent Sarbu-land Khān and Sarfarāz Khān, of the Abdālī tribe, along with him to assist him. Adīna Beg Khān, having united the Sikh nation to his own forces, advanced to give battle to Murād Khān, when Sarbuland Khān quaffed the cup of martyrdom on the field of action, and Murād Khān and Sarfarāz Khān, seeing no resource left them but flight, returned to Jahān Khān, and the Sikhs ravaged all the districts of the Doāb.
As soon as active hostilities were commenced between Najību-d daula and 'Imādu-l Mulk, the latter set out from Farrukhābād towards Dehlī, to oppose the former, and forwarded letters to Bālājī Rāo and his cousin Bhāo, soliciting aid, and inviting the Mahratta army to espouse his cause. Bhāo, who was always cherishing plans in his head for the national aggrandizement, counselled Bālājī Rāo to despatch an army for the conquest of the territories of Hindūstān, which he affirmed to be then, as it were, an assembly unworthy of reverence, and a rose devoid of thorns.
In 1171 A.H. (1757-8 A.D.) Raghunāth Rāo, a brother of Bālājī Rāo, accompanied by Malhār Rāo Holkar, Shamsher Bahādur, and Jayajī Sindhia, started from the Dakhin towards Dehlī at the head of a gallant and irresistible army, to subdue the dominions of Hindūstān. As soon as they reached Āgra, they turned off to Shāh-Jahānābād in company with 'Imādu-l Mulk, the wazīr, who was the instigator of the irruption made by this torrent of destruction. After a sanguinary engagement, they ejected Najību-d daula from the city of Dehlī, and consigned the management of the affairs of government to the care of 'Imādu-l Mulk, the wazīr. [S. 267]
Raghunāth Rāo and the rest of the Mahratta chiefs set out from Dehlī towards Lāhore, at the solicitation of Adīna Beg Khān, of whom mention has been briefly made above. After leaving the suburbs of Dehlī, they arrived first at Sirhind, where they fought an action with 'Abdu-s Samad Khān, who had been installed in the government of that place by the Abdālī Shāh, and took him prisoner. Turning away from thence, they pushed on to Lāhore, and got ready for a conflict with Jahān Khān, who was stationed there. The latter, however, being alarmed at the paucity of his troops in comparison with the multitude of the enemy, resolved at once to seek safety in flight. Accordingly, in the month of Sha'bān, 1171 A.H. (April, 1758 A.D.), he pursued the road to Kābul with the utmost speed, accompanied by Tīmūr Shāh, and made a present to the enemy of the heavy baggage and property that he had accumulated during his administration of that region. The Mahratta chieftains followed in pursuit of Tīmūr Shāh as far as the river [S. 268] Attock, and then retraced their steps to Lāhore. This time the Mahrattas extended their sway up to Multān. As the rainy season had commenced, they delivered over the province of Lāhore to Adīna Beg Khān, on his promising to pay a tributary offering of seventy-five lacs of rupees; and made up their minds to return to the Dakhin, being anxious to behold again their beloved families at home.
On reaching Dehlī in the course of their return, they made straight for their destination, after leaving one of their warlike chieftains, named Jankū, at the head of a formidable army in the vicinity of the metropolis. It chanced that in the year 1172 A.H. (1758-9 A.D.) Adīna Beg Khān passed away; whereupon Jankūjī entrusted the government of the province of Lāhore to a Mahratta, called Sāmā, whom he despatched thither. He also appointed Sādik Beg Khān, one of Adīna Beg Khān's followers, to the administration of Sirhind, and gave the management of the Doāb to Adīna Beg Khān's widow. Sāmā, after reaching Lāhore, applied himself to the task of government, and pushed on his troops as far as the river Attock. In the meanwhile, 'Imādu-l Mulk, the wazīr, caused Shāh 'Ālamgīr II. to suffer martyrdom, in retaliation for an ancient grudge, and placed the son of Muhi'u-s Sunnat, son of Kām Bakhsh, son of Aurangzeb 'Ālamgīr, on the throne of Dehlī.
Dattā Sindhia, Jankūjī's uncle, about that time formed the design of invading the kingdom of the Rohillas; whereupon Najību-d daula and other Rohilla chiefs, becoming cognizant of this fact, and perceiving the image of ultimate misfortune reflected in the mirror of the very beginning, wrote numerous letters to the Abdālī Shāh, and used every persuasion to induce him to come to Hindūstān. The Shāh, who was vexed at heart on account of Tīmūr Shāh and Jahān Khān having been compelled to take to flight, and was brooding over plans of revenge, accounted this friendly overture a signal advantage, and set himself at once in motion.
Dattā, in company with his nephew Jankū, after crossing the Jumna, advanced against Najību-d daula, and 'Imādu-l Mulk, the wazīr, hastened to Dattā's support, agreeably to his request. As the number of the Mahratta troops amounted to nearly 80,000 horse, Najību-d daula, finding his strength inadequate to risk an open battle, threw up intrenchments at Sakartāl, one of the places belonging to Antarbed (the Doāb), situated on the bank of the river Ganges, and there held himself in readiness to oppose the enemy. As the rainy season presented an insurmountable obstacle to Dattā's movements, he was forced to suspend military operations, and in the interim Najību-d daula despatched several letters to Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula, begging his assistance.
The Nawāb, urged by the promptings of valour and gallantry, started from Lucknow in the height of the rains, which fell with greater violence than in ordinary years, and having with the utmost spirit and resolution traversed the intervening roads, which were [S. 269] all in a wretched muddy condition, made Shāhābād the site of his camp. Till the conclusion of the rainy season, however, he was unable to unite with Najību-d daula, owing to the overflowing of the river Ganges.
No sooner had the rains come to an end, than one of the Mahratta chieftains, who bore the appellation of Gobind Pandit, forded the stream at Dattā's command, with a party of 20,000 cavalry, and allowed no portion of Chāndpūr and many other populous places to escape conflagration and plunder. He then betook himself to the spot where Sa'du-llah Khān, Dūndī Khān, and Hāfiz Rahmat Khān had assembled, after having risen up in arms and quitted their abodes, to afford succour to Najību-d daula. These three, finding themselves unable to cope with him, took refuge in the forests on the Kamāūn hills.
Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula, being apprised of this circumstance, mounted the fleet steed of resolution, and in Rabī'u-l awwal, 1173 A.H. (Oct. Nov. 1759 A.D.), taking his troops resembling the stars in his train, he repaired on the wings of speed to Chāndpūr, close to the locality where Najību-d daula was stationed. As Gobind Pandit had reduced the latter's force as well as his companions to great straits, by cutting off their supply of provisions, Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur despatched 10,000 cavalry, consisting of Mughals and others, under the command of Mirzā Najaf Khān Bahādur, Mīr Bākar Himmatī and other leaders, to attack the Pandit's camp. He also afterwards sent off Anūpgar Gusāīn, and Rāj Indar Gusāīn in rear of these. The leaders in question having fought with becoming gallantry, and performed the most valiant deeds, succeeded in routing the enemy. Out of the whole of Gobind Pandit's force, 200 were left weltering in blood, and as many more were captured alive, whilst a vast number were overwhelmed in the waters of the Ganges. Immense booty also fell into the hands of the victors, comprising every description of valuable goods, together with horses and cattle. Gobind Pandit, who after suffering this total defeat had escaped from the field of battle across the river Ganges, gave himself up to despair, [S. 270] and took to a precipitate flight. As soon as this intelligence reached the ears of Hāfiz Rahmat Khān and the rest of the Rohilla chieftains, they sallied forth from the forests of Kamāūn, and repaired to Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula's camp. Meanwhile Najību-d daula was released from the perils and misfortunes of his position.
Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur assembled the Rohilla chiefs, and offered them advice in the following strain: "The enemy has an innumerable army, his military prowess is formidable, and he has gained possession of most of the districts in your territory; it is therefore better for you to make overtures for peace." Every one, both high and low, applauded the Nawāb's judicious counsel, and voted that pacific negociations should be immediately entered into with Dattā; but the truce had not yet been established on a secure basis, when the news of Ahmad Shāh Abdālī's approach, and of his arrival on this side of Lāhore, astonished the ears of all. Dattā, with the arrogance that ever filled his head, would not allow the preliminaries of peace to be brought to a conclusion; but haughtily discarding the amicable relations that he was in process of contracting, moved with a resolute step along the road to Dehlī, with a view to encounter the Abdālī Shāh. He was accompanied at that time by 80,000 horsemen, well armed and equipped.
When the Shāh set out from Lāhore in the direction of Dehlī, he thought to himself that on the direct road between these two places, owing to the passage to and fro of the Mahratta troops, it would be difficult to find any thriving villages, and grain and forage would be almost unprocurable. Consequently, in the month of Rabī'u-l awwal, 1173 A.H., he crossed the river Jumna, and entered Antarbed. Be it not unknown, that Antarbed is the name given to the land lying between the Ganges and Jumna, its frontier being Hardwār and the Kamāūn hills, which are situated in the northern quarter of Hind. * *
In short, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī entered Antarbed, and Najību-d daula and the other Rohilla chiefs, whose territories were situated [S. 271] in that kingdom, came to join the Shāh. They likewise brought sums of money, as well as grain and provisions, to whatever extent they could procure them, and delivered them over for the Shāh's use. Through this cordial support of the Rohilla chiefs, the Shāh acquired redoubled strength, and having directed his corps of Durrānīs, who were employed in the campaign on skirmishing duties, to pursue the ordinary route, and be in readiness for an engagement with Dattā, proceeded himself to the eastward, by way of Antarbed.
On this side too, Dattā, travelling with the speed of wind and lightning, conducted his army to Sirhind, where he happened to fall in with the Shāh's skirmishing parties. As the Durrānīs are decidedly superior to the Mahratta troops in the rapidity of their evolutions, and in their system of predatory warfare, the moment they confronted each other, Dattā's army was unable to hold its ground. Being compelled to give way, he retired to Dehlī, keeping up a running fight all the way, and took up a position in the plain of Bāwalī, which lies in the vicinity of Shah-Jahānābād. At that juncture, Jankūjī proposed to his nephew with haughty pride, that they should try and extricate themselves from their critical situation, and Jankūjī at once did exactly what his respected uncle suggested. In fact, Dattā and his troops dismounted from their horses after the manner of the inhabitants of Hind about to sacrifice their lives, and boldly maintained their footing on the field of battle. The Durrānīs assailed the enemy with arrows, matchlocks, and swords, and so overpowered them as not to allow a single individual to escape in safety from the scene of action. This event took place in Jumāda-l awwal, 1173 A.H. (Jan. 1760 A.D.).
As soon as this intelligence reached the quick ear of Malhār Rāo Holkar, who at that time was staying at Makandara, he consigned the surrounding districts to the flames, and making up [S. 272] his mind, proceeded in extreme haste to Sūraj Mal Jāt, and importuned that Rāja to join him in the war against the Durrānī Shāh. The latter, however, strongly objected to comply with his request, stating that he was unable to advance out of his own territory to engage in hostilities with them, as he had not sufficient strength to risk a pitched battle; and that if the enemy were to make an attack upon him, he would seek refuge within his forts. In the interview, it came to Holkar's knowledge, that the Afghāns of Antarbed had moved out of their villages with treasure and provisions, with intent to convey them to the Shāh's camp, and had arrived as far as Sikandra, which is one of the dependencies of Antarbed, situated at a distance of twenty kos from Dehlī towards the east. He consequently pursued them with the utmost celerity, and having fallen upon them, delivered them up to indiscriminate plunder.
The Abdālī Shāh, having been apprised of this circumstance, deputed Shāh Kalandar Khān and Shāh Pasand Khān Durrānī, at the head of 15,000 horse, to chastise Holkar. The individuals in question, having reached Dehlī from Nār-naul, a distance of seventy kos, in twenty-four hours, and having halted during the day to recover from their fatigues, effected a rapid passage across the Jumna, as soon as half the night was over, and by using the utmost expedition, succeeded in reaching Sikandra by sunrise. They then encompassed Holkar's army, and made a vast number of his men fall a prey to their relentless swords. Holkar found himself reduced to great straits; he had not even sufficient leisure to fasten a saddle on his horse, but was compelled to mount with merely a saddle-cloth under him, and flee for his life. Three hundred more horsemen also followed after him in the same destitute plight, but the remainder of his troops, being completely hemmed in, were either slain or captured, and an immense quantity of property and household goods, as well as numbers of horses, fell into the hands of the Durrānīs. About this time, too, the Shāh arrived at Dehlī from Nārnaul, and took up his quarters in the city. [S. 273]
In the year 1172 A.H. (1758-9 A.D.), Raghunāth Rāo, the brother of Bālājī Rāo, after confiding the provinces of Lāhore and Multān to Adīna Beg Khān, and leaving Jankūjī with a formidable army in the vicinity of the metropolis of Dehlī, arrived at the city of Pūnā along with Shamsher Bahādur, Malhār Rāo Holkar, and Jayājī Sindhiya. Sadāsheo Rāo Bhāojī, who was Bālājī Rāo's cousin, and his chief agent and prime minister, began instituting inquiries as to the receipts and disbursements made during the invasion of Hind. As soon as it became apparent, that after spending the revenue that had been levied from the country, and the proceeds arising from the plundered booty, the pay of the soldiery, amounting to about sixty lacs of rupees, was due; the vain illusion was dissipated from Bhāojī's brain. The latter's dislike to Raghunāth Rāo, moreover, had now broken into open contumely and discord, and Bālājī Rāo, vexed and disgusted at finding his own brother despised and disparaged, sent a letter to Bhāojī, declaring that it was essentially requisite for him now to unfurl the standard of invasion in person against Hindūstān, and endure the fatigues of the campaign, since he was so admirably fitted for the undertaking. Bhāo, without positively refusing to consent to his wishes, managed to evade compliance for a whole year, by having recourse to prevarication and subterfuge.
Biswās Rāo, Bālājī Rāo's eldest son, who was seventeen years old, solicited the command of the army from his father; and though the latter was in reality displeased with his request, yet in the year 1173 A.H. (1759-60 A.D.) he sent him off with Bhāojī in company. Malhār Rāo, Pīlājī Jādaun, Jān Rāo Dhamadsarī, Shamsher Bahādur, Sabūlī Dādājī Rāo, Jaswant Rāo Bewār, Balwant Rāo, Ganesh Rāo, and other famous and warlike leaders, along with a force of 35,000 cavalry, were also associated with Bhāo. Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī, who was the superintendent [S. 274] of the European artillery, likewise accompanied him. Owing to the extreme sultriness of the hot season, they were obliged to rest every other day, and thus by alternate marches and halts, they at length reached Gwālior.
As soon as the story of 'Imādu-l Mulk and Jankūjī Sindhia's having sought refuge in the forts belonging to Sūraj Mal Jāt, and the particulars of Dattā's death and Holkar's defeat, as well as the rout and spoliation of both their forces, were poured into the ears of Biswās Rāo and Bhāojī by the reporters of news and the detailers of intelligence, vast excitement arose, so that a sojourn of two months took place at Gwālior. Malhār Rāo Holkar, who had escaped with his life from the battle with the Durrānīs, and in the mean time had joined Biswās Rāo's camp, then started from Gwālior for Shāh-Jahānābād by Bhāo's order, at the head of a formidable army, and having reached Āgra, took Jankūjī Sindhia along with him from thence, and drew near to his destination.
Ahmad Shāh Abdālī, on ascertaining this news, sallied out from the city of Dehlī to encounter him; but the latter, finding himself unable to resist, merely made some dashing excursions to the right and left for a few days, after the guerilla fashion. As the Shāh, however, would never once refrain from pursuing him, he was ultimately forced to make an ignominious retreat back along the road he had come, and having returned to Gwālior, went and rejoined Bhāojī. The rainy season was coming on, * * so Ahmad Shāh crossed the river Jumna, and having encamped at Sikandra, gave instructions to the officers of his army, to prepare houses of wood and grass for themselves, in place of tents and pavilions.
Bhāo and Biswās Rāo, having marched from Gwālior, after travelling many stages, and traversing long distances, as soon as they reached Akbarābād; Holkar and Jankūjī, at Bhāo's instigation, betook themselves to Rāja Sūraj Mal Jāt, and brought him along with them to have an interview with Bhāo. The latter went out a kos from camp to meet him, and 'Imādu-l [S. 275] Mulk, the wazīr, also held a conference with Bhāo through Sūraj Mal's mediation. Sūraj Mal proposed that the campaign should be conducted on the following plan, viz. that they should deposit their extra baggage and heavy guns, together with their female relatives, in the fort of Jhānsī, by the side of the river Chambal; and then proceed to wage a predatory and desultory style of warfare against the enemy, as is the usual practice of the Mahratta troops; for under these circumstances their own territory would be behind their backs, and a constant supply of provisions would not fail to reach their camp in safety. Bhāo and the other leaders, after hearing Sūraj Mal's observations, approved of his decision; but Biswās Rāo, who was an inexperienced youth, intoxicated with the wine of arrogance, would not follow his advice. Bhāo accordingly carried on operations in conformity with Biswās Rāo's directions, and set out from Akbarābād towards Dehlī with the force that he had at his disposal. On Tuesday, the 9th of Zī-l hijja, 1173 A.H. (23 Sept. 1760 A.D.), about the time of rising of the world-illumining sun, he enjoyed the felicity of beholding the fort of Dehlī. The command of the garrison there was at that time entrusted to Ya'kūb 'Alī Khān Bahmanzāi, brother to Shāh Walī Khān, the prime minister of the Durrānī Shāh; who, in spite of the multitude of his enemies, would not succumb, and spared no exertions to protect the fort with the few martial spirits that he had with him.
Bhāo, conjecturing that the fort of Dehlī would be devoid of the protection of any garrison, and would therefore, immediately on being besieged, fall under his subjection, went and took up a position near Sa'du-llah Khān's mansion, with a multitude of troops. * * Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī, who was a confederate of Bhāo, and had the superintendence of the European artillery, planted his thundering cannon, with their skilful gunners, [S. 276] opposite the fort on the side of the sandy plain, and having made the battlements of the Octagon Tower and the Asad Burj a mark for his lightning-darting guns, overturned many of the royal edifices. Every day the tumultuous noise of attack on all sides of the fort filled the minds of the garrison with alarm and apprehension. The overflowing of the Jumna presented an insurmountable obstacle to the crossing of the Durrānī Shāh's army, and hindered it from affording any succour to the besieged. The provisions in the fort were very nearly expended, and Ya'kūb 'Alī Khān was forced to enter into negociations for peace. He first removed, with his female relatives and property, from the fort to the domicile of 'Alī Mardān Khān, and then, having crossed the river Jumna from thence on board a boat, betook himself to the Shāh's camp. On the 19th of the aforesaid month and year, Bhāo entered the fort along with Biswās Rāo, and took possession of all the property and goods that he could find in the old repositories of the royal family. He also broke in pieces the silver ceiling of the Dīuān-i Khāss, from which he extracted so much of the precious metal as to be able to coin seventeen lacs of rupees out of it. Nārad Shankar Brahmin was then appointed by Bhāo to the post of governor of the fort.
The Durrānī Shāh, after his engagement with Dattā, which terminated in the destruction of the latter, had despatched Najību-d daula to the province of Oudh with a conciliatory epistle, which was as it were a treaty of friendship, for the purpose of fetching Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur. Najību-d daula accordingly betook himself by way of Etāwa to Kanauj; and about the same time Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula marched from Lucknow, and made the ferry of Mahdipūr, which is one of the places in Etāwa situated on this side the river Ganges, the site of his camp. An interview took place in that locality, and as soon as the friendly document had been perused, and the Nawāb's heart had been comforted by its sincere promises, he came to the fixed determination of waiting on the Shāh, and he sent back Rāja Benī Bahādur, who at that time possessed greater power and [S. 277] influence than his other followers, to rule as viceroy over the kingdom during his absence. When Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula approached the Shāh's army, the prime minister, Shāh Walī Khān, hastened out to meet him, and, having brought him along with him in the most courteous and respectful manner, afforded him the gratification, on the 4th of Zī-l hijja, 1173 A.H. (18th July, 1760 A.D.), of paying his respects to the Shāh, and of folding the son of the latter, Tīmūr Shāh, in his embrace.
Bhāo remained some time in the fort of Shāh-Jahānābād, in consequence of the rainy season, which prevented the horses from stirring a foot, and deprived the cavalry of the power of fighting; he sent a person named Bhawānī Shankar Pandit to Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula, with the following message: "If it is inconvenient for you to contract an alliance with your friends, you should at least keep aloof from the enemy, and remain perfectly neutral to both parties." The above-named Pandit, having crossed the river Jumna, went to Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur, and delivered this message. The latter, after ascertaining its drift, despatched his eunuch Yākūt Khān, who was one of the oldest and most confidential servants of his government, in company with Bhawānī Shankar Pandit, and returned an answer of this description: "As the Rājas of this empire and the Rohilla chiefs were reduced to the last extremity by the violent aggressions of Raghunāth Rāo, Dattā, Holkar, and their subordinates, they solicited the Abdālī Shāh to come to Hindūstān, with the view of saving themselves from ruin. ‘The seed that they sowed has now begun to bear fruit.’ Nevertheless, if peace be agreeable to you, from true regard for our ancient friendship, my best endeavours shall be used towards concluding one." Eventually, Bhāo proposed that as far as Sirhind should be under the Shāh's dominion, and all on this side of it should belong to him; but the whole rainy season was spent in negocia-tion, and no peace was established.
In the interim, Rāja Sūraj Mal Jāt, who discerned the speedy downfall of the Mahratta power, having moved with his troops, [S. 278] in company with 'Imādu-l Mulk, the wazīr, from his position at Sarai Badarpūr, which is situated at a distance of six kos from Dehlī on the eastern side, and traversed fifty kos in one night, without informing Bhāo betook himself to Balamgarh, which is one of his forts.
As the Mahratta troops made repeated complaints to Bhāo regarding the scarcity of grain and forage, the latter, on the 29th of the month of Safar, 1174 A.H. (9th October, 1760 A.D.), removed Shāh Jahān, son of Muhi'u-s Sunnat, son of Kām Bakhsh, son of Aurangzeb 'Ālamgīr, and having seated the illustrious Prince, Mirzā Jawān Bakht, the grandson of 'Ālamgīr II., on the throne of Dehlī, publicly conferred the dignity of wazīr on Shujā'u-d daula. His object was this, that the Durrānī Shāh might become averse to and suspicious of the Nawāb in question. Leaving Nārad Shankar Brahmin, of whom mention has been made above, behind in the fort of Shāh-Jahānābād, he himself set out, with all his partisans and retainers, in the direction of Kunjpūra. This place is fifty-four kos to the west of Dehlī, and seven to the north of the pargana of Karnāl, and it is a district the original cultivators of which were the Rohillas.
Bhāo, on the 10th of Rabī'u-l awwal, 1174 A.H. (19th October, 1760), encompassed the fort of Kunjpūra with his troops, and subdued it in the twinkling of an eye by the fire of his thundering cannon. Several chiefs were in the fort, one of whom was 'Abdu-s Samad Khān Abdālī, governor of Sirhind, who had been taken prisoner by Raghunāth Rāo in 1170 A.H. (1756-7), but had ultimately obtained his release, as was related in the narrative of Adīna Beg Khān's proceedings. There were, besides, Kutb Khān Rohilla, Dalīl Khān, and Nijābat Khān, all zamīndārs of places [S. 279] in Antarbed, who had been guilty of conveying supplies to the Abdālī Shāh's camp. After reducing the fort, Bhāo made 'Abdu-s Samad Khān and Kutb Khān undergo capital punishment, and kept the rest in confinement; whilst he allowed Kunjpūra itself to be sacked by his predatory hordes.
As soon as this intelligence reached the Shāh's ear, the sea of his wrath was deeply agitated; and notwithstanding that the stream of the Jumna had not yet subsided sufficiently to admit of its being forded, a royal edict was promulgated, directing his troops to pay no regard to the current, but cross at once from one bank to the other. As there was no help but to comply with this mandate, on the 16th of the month of Rabī'u-l awwal, 1174 A.H. (25th October, 1760 A.D.), near Shāh-Jahānābād, on the road to Pākpat, which is situated fifteen kos to the north of Dehlī, they resigned themselves to fate, and succeeded in crossing. A number were swallowed up by the waves, and a small portion of the baggage and quadrupeds belonging to the army was lost in the passage. As soon as the intelligence reached Bhāo's ear, that a party of Durrānīs had crossed, * * he sounded the drum of retreat from Kunjpūra, and with his force of 40,000 well-mounted and veteran cavalry, and a powerful train of European artillery, under the superintendence of Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī, he repaired expeditiously to Pānīpat, which lies forty kos from Dehlī towards the west.
The Abdālī Shāh, after crossing the river Jumna at the ghāt of Pākpat, proceeded in a westerly direction, and commanded that Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur and Najību-d daula should pitch their tents on the left of the royal army, and Dūndī Khān, Hāfizu-l Mulk Hāfiz Rahmat Khān, and Ahmad Khān Bangash on the right. As Bhāo perceived that it was difficult to contend against the Durrānīs in the open field, by the advice of his counsellors he made a permanent encampment of his troops in the outskirts of the city of Pānīpat, and having intrenched [S. 280] it all round with his artillery, took up his quarters in this formidable position. * *
In the interim Gobind Pandit, who was the tahsīldār of the district of Shukohābād, etc., betook himself to Dehlī at Bhāo's suggestion, with a body of 10,000 cavalry, and intercepted the transport of supplies to the Durrānī Shāh's army. * *
When the basis of the enemy's power had been overthrown (at Pānīpat), and the surface of the plain had been relieved of the insolent foe, the triumphant champions of the victorious army proceeded eagerly to pillage the Mahratta camp, and succeeded in gaining possession of an unlimited quantity of silver and jewels, 500 enormous elephants, 50,000 horses, 1000 camels, and two lacs of bullocks, with a vast amount of goods and chattels, and a countless assortment of camp equipage. Nearly 30,000 labourers too, who drew their origin from the Dakhin, fell into captivity. Towards evening the Abdālī Shāh went out to look at the bodies of the slain, and found great heaps of corpses, and running streams produced by the flood of gore. * * Thirty-two mounds of slain were counted, and the ditch, protected by artillery, of such immense length that it could contain several lacs of human beings, besides cattle and baggage, was completely filled with dead bodies.
Rāo Kāshī Nāth, on seeing Jankūjī, who was a youth of twenty, with a handsome countenance, and at that time had his wounded hand hanging in a sling from his neck, became deeply grieved, and the tears started from his eyes. * * Jankūjī raised his head and exclaimed: "It is better to die with one's friends than to live among one's enemies."
The Nawāb, in unison with Shāh Walī Khān, solicited the Shāh to spare Jankūjī's life; whereupon, the Shāh summoned Barkhūrdār Khān, and consulted him on the propriety of the [S. 281] step, to which the Khān in question returned a decided negative. At the same time, one of the Durrānīs, at Barkhūrdār Khān's suggestion, went and cut Jankūjī's throat, and buried him under ground inside the very tent in which he was imprisoned.
Shujā'u Kulī Khān, a powerful and influential servant of the Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur, having captured Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī on the field of battle, kept him with the said Nawāb's cognizance in his own tent. No sooner did this intelligence become public, than the Durrānīs began in a body to raise a violent tumult, and clamorously congregating round the door of the Shāh's tent, declared that Ibrāhīm Gārdī's neck was answerable for the loss of so many thousands of their fellow-countrymen, and that whoever sought to protect him would incur the penalty of their resentment. Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula, feeling that one seeking refuge cannot be slain, prepared for a contest with the Durrānī forces, whereupon there ensued a frightful disturbance. At length, Shāh Walī Khān took Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula aside privately, and addressing him in a friendly and affectionate tone, proposed, that he should deliver up Ibrāhīm Khān Gārdī to him, for the sake of appeasing the wrath of the Durrānīs; and after a week, when their evil passions had been allayed, he would restore to him the individual entrusted to his care. In short, Ashrafu-l Wuzrā (Shāh Walī Khān), having obtained him from the Nawāb, applied a poisonous plaister to his wounds; so that, by the expiration of a week, his career was brought to a close.
The termination of Bhāojī's career has been differently related. Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula, having mounted after the victory, took Shishā Dhar Pandit, Ganesh Pandit, and other associates of Bhāojī along with him, and began wandering over the field of battle, searching for the corpses of the Mahratta chiefs, and more [S. 282] especially for Bhāojī's dead body. They accordingly recognized the persons of Jaswant Rāo Balwār, Pīlājī, and Sabhājī Nāth who had received forty sword-cuts, lying on the scene of action; and, in like manner, those of other famous characters also came in view. Bhāo's corpse had not been found, when from beneath a dead body three valuable gems unexpectedly shone forth. The Nawāb presented those pearls to the Pandits mentioned above, and directed them to try and recognize that lifeless form. They succeeded in doing so through the scar of a gunshot wound in the foot, and another on the side behind the back, which Bhāo had received in former days. With their eyes bathed in tears they exclaimed: "This is Bhāo, the ruler of the Dakhin." Some entertain an opinion, that Bhāo, after Biswās Rāo's death, performed prodigies of valour, and then disappeared from sight, and no one ever saw him afterwards. Two individuals consequently, both natives of the Dakhin, have publicly assumed the name of Bhāo, and dragged a number of people into their deceitful snare. As a falsehood cannot bear the light, one was eventually put to death somewhere in the Dakhin by order of the chiefs in that quarter; and the other, having excited an insurrection at Benares, was confined for some time in the fort of Chunār. After his release, despairing of the success of his project, he died in the suburbs of Gorakhpūr in the year 1193 A.H.
Nawāb Shujā'u-d daula Bahādur, having obtained permission of the Shāh to burn the bodies [of the Bhāo and other chiefs], deputed Rāja Himmat Bahādur and Rāo Kāshī Nāth, his principal attendants, to perform the task of cremation. Out of all those hapless and unfortunate beings [who survived the battle], a number maintained a precarious existence against the violent assaults of death for some days; but notwithstanding that they used the most strenuous exertions to effect their escape in divers directions from Pānīpat, not a single one was saved from being slain and plundered by the zamīndārs of that quarter. Out of the whole of the celebrated chiefs too, with the exception of [S. 283] Malhār Rāo Holkar, 'Appājī Gaikawār and Bithal Sudeo, not another was ever able to reach the Dakhin.
Bhāo's wife, in company with Shamsher Bahādur, half-brother to Bālājī Rāo, and a party of confidential attendants, traversed a long distance with the utmost celerity, and betook herself to the fortress of Dīg. There that broken-hearted lady remained for two or three days mourning the loss of her husband, and having then made up her mind to prepare for an expedition to the Dakhin, Rāja Sūraj Mal Jāt gave her one morning a suitable escort to attend her, and bade her adieu. She accordingly reached the Dakhin; but Shamsher Bahādur, who was severely wounded, died after arriving at Dīg.
Shortly before the occurrence of these disasters, Bālājī Rāo had marched from Pūnā. He had only proceeded as far as Bhīlsa, when, having been informed of the event, he grew tired of existence, and shed tears of blood lamenting the loss of a son and a brother. He then moved from where he was to Sironj, and about that very time a messenger reached him from the Abdālī Shāh, with a mourning khil'at. The Rāo, feigning obedience to his commands, humbly dressed his person in the Shāh's khil'at, and turning away from Sironj, re-entered Pūnā. From excess of grief and woe, however, he remained for two months afflicted with a harrowing disease; and as he perceived the image of death reflected from the mirror of his condition, he sent for his brother, Raghunāth Rāo, to whom he gave in charge his best beloved son, the younger brother of the lately slain Biswās Rāo, who bore the name of Mādhū Rāo, and had just entered his twelfth year, exclaiming: "Fulfil all the duties of [S. 284] goodwill towards this fatherless child, treating him as if he were your own son, and do not permit any harm to come upon him." Having said this, he departed from the world on the 9th of Zī-l ka'da, 1174 A.H. (14th June, 1761 A.D.), and the period of his reign was twenty-one years.
Mādhū Rāo, after the demise of his father, was installed in the throne of sovereignty at Pūnā; and Raghunāth Rāo conducted the administration of affairs as prime minister, after the manner of the late Bhāo.
One of the remarkable incidents that occurred in Mādhū Rāo's reign was the appearance of a counterfeit Bhāo, who, in the year 1175 A.H. (1762-3 A.D.), having induced a number of refractory characters to flock to his standard, and having collected together a small amount of baggage and effects, with camp equipage and cattle, excited an insurrection near the fort of Karāza, which is situated at a distance of twelve kos from Jhānsī towards the west. He gave intimation to the governor of the fort, who held his appointment of the Pūnā chiefs, as to his name and pretensions, and summoned him by threats and promises into his presence. The latter, who, up to that time, had been in doubt whether Bhāo was dead or alive, being apprehensive lest this individual should in reality prove to be Bhāo, proceeded to wait upon him, and presented some cash and valuables by way of offering. After that, the Bhāo in question sent letters into other parganas, and having summoned the revenue officers from all quarters, commenced seizing and appropriating all the cash, property and goods. Whatever horses, elephants, or camels he found with any one, he immediately sent for, and kept in his own possession.
This pretender to the name of Bhāo always kept his face [S. 285] half covered under a veil, both in public and private, on the plea that the wound on his visage was still unhealed, and people were completely deceived by the stratagem; no one could have the impudence to scrutinize his features. In short, for six months he persevered in his imposture, until the news reached Pūnā, when some spies went over to him to examine strictly into the case, and discovered that he was not Bhāo.
About the same period, Malhār Rāo Holkar was moving from the Dakhin towards Hindūstān, and his road happened to lie through the spot where the pretender in question had pitched his tents. The above-mentioned spies disclosed the particulars of the case to Malhār Rāo, who thought to himself, that until Pārbatī Bāi, the late Bhāo's wife, had seen this individual with her own eyes, and all her doubts had been removed, it would not do to inflict capital punishment on the impostor, for fear the lady should think in her heart that he had killed her husband out of spite and malice. For this reason, Malhār Rāo merely took the impostor prisoner, and having appointed thirty or forty horsemen to take care of him, forwarded him from thence to Pūnā. The few weak-minded beings, who had gathered round him, were allowed to depart to their several homes, and Holkar proceeded to his destination. When the pretender was brought to Pūnā, Mādhū Rāo likewise, out of regard for the feelings of the late Bhāo's wife, deemed it proper to defer his execution, and kept him confined in one of the forts within his own dominions. Strange to say, the silly people in that fort did not discover the falseness of the impostor's claims, and leagued themselves with him, so that a fresh riot was very nearly being set on foot. Mādhū Rāo, however, having been apprised of the circumstances, despatched him from that fort to another stronghold; and in the same way his removal and transfer was constantly taking place from various forts in succession, till he was finally confined in a stronghold, that lies contiguous to the sea on the island of Kolāba, which is a dependency of the Kokan territory. [S. 286]
The following is another of the events of Mādhū Rāo's reign: Bithal, dīwān of Nawāb Nizām 'Alī Khān Bahādur, advised his master, that as the Mahrattas were then devoid of influence, and the supreme authority was vested in an inexperienced child, it would be advisable to ravage Pūnā. Jānūjī Bhonsla Rāja of Nāgpūr, Gopāl Rāo a servant of the Peshwa, and some more chiefs of the Mahratta nation, approved of the dīwān's suggestion, and led their forces in a compact mass towards Pūnā. When they drew near its frontier, Raghunāth Rāo, who was Mādhū Rāo's chief agent and prime minister, got terrified at the enemy's numbers, and finding himself incompetent to cope with them, retired with his master from Pūnā. Nawāb Nizām 'Alī Khān Bahādur then entered the city, and did not spare any efforts in completing its destruction.
After some time, Raghunāth Rāo recovered himself, and having entered into friendly communication with Jānūjī Bhonsla and the other chiefs of his own tribe, by opening an epistolary correspondence with them, he alienated the minds of these men from the Nawāb. In short, the above-named chiefs separated from the Nawāb on the pretence of its being the rainy season, and returned to their own territories. In the interim, Raghunāth Rāo and Mādhū Rāo set out to engage Nawāb Nizām 'Alī Khān Bahā-dur, who, deeming it expedient to proceed to his original quarters, beat a retreat from the position he was occupying. When the bank of the river Godāverī became the site of his encampment, an order was issued for the troops to cross over. Half the matériel of the army was still on this side, and half on that; when Raghunāth, considering it a favourable opportunity, commenced a furious onslaught. The six remaining chiefs of the Nawāb's army were slain, and about 7000 Afghāns, etc., acquired eternal renown by gallantly sacrificing their lives. After this sanguinary conflict, the Nawāb hastily crossed the river, and extricated himself from his perilous position. As soon as the flame of strife had been [S. 287] extinguished, a peace was established through the intervention of Malhār Rāo Holkar, who had escaped with his life in safety from the battle with Abdālī Shāh. Both parties concurring in the advantages of an amicable understanding, returned to their respective quarters.
When Raghunāth Rāo began to usurp greater authority over the administration of affairs; Gopikā Bāi, Mādhū Rāo's mother, growing envious of his influence, inspired her son with evil suspicions against him, and planned several stratagems, whereby their mutual friendship might result in hatred and animosity, till at length Raghunāth Rāo became convinced that he would some day be imprisoned. Consequently, he mounted his horse one night, and fled precipitately from Pūnā with only a few adherents. Stopping at Nāsik, which lies at a distance of eight stages from Pūnā, he fixed upon that town as his place of refuge and abode, and employed himself in collecting troops; insomuch that Nāradjī Sankar, the revenue collector of Jhānsī, Jaswant Rāo Lūd, Sakhā Rām Bāpū and Nīlkanth Mahādeo, volunteered to join him, and eagerly engaged in active hostilities against Mādhū Rāo. As soon as Raghunāth Rāo arrived in this condition close to Pūnā, Mādhū Rāo was also obliged to sally forth from it in company with Trimbak Rāo, Bāpūjī Mānik, Gopāl Rāo and Bhīmjī Lamdī. When the line of battle began to be formed, Raghunāth Rāo assumed the initiative in attacking his adversaries, and succeeded in routing Mādhū Rāo's force by a series of overwhelming assaults; and even captured the Rāo himself, together with Nar Singh Rāo. After gaining this agreeable victory, as he perceived Mādhū Rāo to be in safety, and his malicious antagonists overthrown, he could not contain himself for joy. As soon as he returned from the battle-field to his encampment, he seated Mādhū Rāo on a throne, and remained himself standing in front of him, after the manner of slaves. By fawning and coaxing, [S. 288] he then removed every trace of annoyance from Mādhū Rāo's mind, and requested him to return to Pūnā. After dismissing him to that city, he himself went with his retinue and soldiery to Nāsik.
After the lapse of some years of Mādhū Rāo's reign, a vast disturbance arose in the Dakhin. Haidar Nāik having assembled some bold and ferocious troops, * * with intent to subdue the territory of the Mahrattas, set out in the direction of Pūnā. Mādhū Rāo came out from Pūnā, and summoned Raghunāth Rāo to his assistance from Nāsik, whereupon the latter joined him with a body of 20,000 of his cavalry. In short, they marched with their combined forces against the enemy; and on several occasions encounters took place, in which the lives of vast multitudes were destroyed. Although Haidar Nāik's army proved themselves superior in the field, yet peace was ultimately concluded on the cession and surrender of some few tracts in the royal dominions; after which Haidar Nāik refrained from hostilities, and returned to his own territory; whilst Mādhū Rāo retired to Pūnā, and Raghunāth Rāo to Nāsik.
When a short time had elapsed after this, the idea of organizing the affairs of Hindūstān entered into Raghunāth Rāo's mind. For the sake of preserving outward propriety, therefore, he first gave intimation to Mādhū Rāo of his intention, and asked his sanction. The Rāo in question, who did not feel himself secure from Raghunāth Rāo, and considered any increase to his power a source of greater weakness to himself, addressed him a reply couched in these terms: "It were better for you to remain where you are, in the enjoyment of repose." * * Raghunāth Rāo would not listen to these words, but marched out of Nāsik in company with Mahājī Sindhia, taking three powerful armies along with him. [S. 289]
As soon as he reached Gwālior, he commenced hostilities against Rānā Chattar Singh, who possessed all the country round Gohad, and laid siege to the town itself. Godh is the name of a city, founded by the aforesaid Rānā. It is fortified with earthen towers and battlements, and is situated eighteen kos from Gwālior. Mādhū Rāo, during the continuance of the siege, kept constantly sending messages to Rānā Chattar Singh, telling him to persist in his opposition to Raghunāth with a stout heart, as the army of the Dakhin should not be despatched to his kingdom to reinforce the latter. In a word, for the period of a year they used the most arduous endeavours to capture Gohad, but failed in attaining their object. During this campaign, the sum of thirty-two lacs of rupees, taken from the pay of the troops and the purses of the wealthy bankers, was incurred by Raghunāth Rāo as a debt to be duly repaid. He then returned to the Dakhin distressed and overwhelmed with shame, and entered the city of Nāsik, whither Mādhū Rāo also repaired about the same time, to see and inquire after his fortunes. In the course of the interview, he expressed the deepest regret for the toils and disappointment that the Rāo had endured, and ultimately returned in haste to Pūnā, after thus sprinkling salt on the galling wound. Shortly after this, Kankumā Tāntiā and his other friends persuaded Raghunāth Rāo to adopt a Brahmin's son. * * Accordingly the Rāo attended to the advice of his foolish counsellors, and selected an individual for adoption. He constituted Amrat Rāo his heir.
Mādhū Rāo no sooner became cognizant of this fact, than he felt certain that Raghunāth Rāo was meditating mischief and rebellion, and seeking to usurp a share in the sovereignty of the realm. He consequently set out for Nāsik with a force of 25,000 horsemen, whilst, on the other hand, Raghunāth Rāo also organized his troops, and got ready for warfare. Just about that [S. 290] period, however, Kankumā Tāntiā and Takūjī Holkar, who were two of the most powerful and influential men in Raghunāth's army, declared to him that it was necessary for them to respect their former obligations to Mādhū Rāo, and therefore improper to draw the sword upon him. After a long altercation, they left the Rāo where he was, and departed from Nāsik. Raghunāth, from the paucity of his troops, not deeming it advantageous to fight, preferred enduring disgrace, and fled with 2000 adherents to the fort of Dhūdhat.
Mādhū Rāo then entered Nāsik, and commenced sequestrating his property and imprisoning his partisans; after which he pitched his camp at the foot of the above-named fort, and placed Raghunāth in a most precarious position. For two or three days the incessant discharge of artillery and musketry caused the flames of war to blaze high, but pacific negocia-tions were subsequently opened, and a firm treaty of friendship entered into, whereupon the said Rāo came down from the fort, and had an interview with Mādhū Rāo. The latter then placed his head upon the other's feet, and asked pardon for his offences. Next day, having mounted Raghunāth Rāo on his own private elephant, he himself occupied the seat usually assigned to the attendants, and continued for several days travelling in this fashion the distance to Pūnā. As soon as they entered Pūnā, Mādhū Rāo, imitating the behaviour of an inferior to a superior, exceeded all bounds in his kind and consoling attentions towards Raghunāth Rāo. After that he selected a small quantity of goods and a moderate equipment of horses and elephants, out of his own establishment, and having deposited them all together in one of the most lofty and spacious apartments, solicited Raghunāth Rāo in a respectful manner to take up his abode there. The latter then became aware of his being a prisoner with the semblance of freedom, and reluctantly complied with Mādhū Rāo's requisition. [S. 291]
As soon as Mādhū Rāo had delivered his mind from all apprehension regarding Raghunāth Rāo, he led his army in the direction of Nāgpūr, in order to avenge himself on Jānūjī Bhonsla, the Rāja of that place, who had been an ally and auxiliary of Raghunāth Rāo, in one of his engagements. The Rāja in question, not finding himself capable of resisting him, fled from his original residence; so that for a period of three months Mādhū Rāo was actively engaged in pursuing his adversary, and that unfortunate outcast from his native land was constantly fleeing before him. Ultimately, having presented an offering of fifteen lacs of rupees, he drew back his foot from the path of flight, and set out in safety and security for his own home.
After chastising the Rāja of Nāgpūr, Mādhū Rāo entered Pūnā with immense pomp and splendour, and amused himself with gay and festive entertainments. But he was attacked with a fatal disease, and * * his life was in danger. On one occasion he laid his head on Raghunāth Rāo's feet, and * * asked forgiveness for the faults of bygone days. Raghunāth Rāo grieved deeply on account of his youth. * * He applied himself zealously to the cure of the invalid, and whenever he found a trace, in any quarter or direction, of austere Brahmins and skilful Pandits, he sent for them to administer medicines for his recovery. At length, when the sick man began to despair of living, he imitated the example of his deceased father, and placed his younger brother, whose name was Narāin Rāo, under the charge of Raghunāth Rāo, and having performed the duty of recommending him to his care, yielded up his soul in the year 1186 A.H. (1772 A.D.). The duration of his reign was twelve years. [S. 292]
Narāin Rāo, after being seated on the throne of sovereignty, owing to his tender age, committed various acts that produced an ill-feeling among his adherents, both great and small, at Pūnā; more especially in Raghunāth Rāo, on whom he inflicted unbecoming indignities. Although Mādhū Rāo had not behaved towards his uncle with the respect due to such a relative, yet, beyond this much, that he would not grant him permission to move away from Pūnā, he had treated him with no other incivility; but used always, till the day of his death, to show him the attention due from an inferior to a superior; and supplied him with wealth and property far exceeding the limits of his wants. In short, Raghunāth Rāo, having begun to form plans for taking Narāin Rāo prisoner, first disclosed his secret to Sakhā Rām Bāpū, who was Mādhū Rāo's prime minister, and having seduced that artless courtier from his allegiance, made him an accomplice in his treacherous designs. Secondly, having induced Kharak Singh and Shamsher Singh, the chiefs of the body of Gārdīs, to join his conspiracy, he raised the standard of insurrection. Accordingly, those two faithless wretches one day, under the pretence of demanding pay for the troops, made an assault on the door of Narāin Rāo's apartment, and reduced him to great distress. That helpless being, who had not the slightest cognizance of the deceitful stratagems of the conspirators, despatched a few simple-minded adherents to oppose the insurgents, and then stealthily repaired to Raghunāth Rāo's house. Kharak Singh and Shamsher Singh, being apprised of the circumstance, hurried after him, and, unsheathing their swords, rushed into Raghunāth Rāo's domicile. Raghunāth Rāo first fell wounded in the affray, and subsequently Narāin Rāo was slain. This event took place in the year 1187 A.H., so that the period of Narāin Rāo's reign was one year. [S. 293]
Kharak Singh and Shamsher Singh, through whose brains the fumes of arrogance had spread, in consequence of their control over the whole train of European artillery, with wilful and headstrong insolence seated Raghunāth Rāo on the throne of sovereignty, without the concurrence of the other chiefs; and the said Rāo continued to live for two months at Pūnā after the manner of rightful rulers. After Narāin Rāo had been put to death, a certain degree of shame and remorse came over the Pūnā chiefs, and the dread of their own overthrow entered their minds. Sakhā Rām Bāpū consequently, in unison with Trimbak Rāo, commonly called Mātamādharī Balhah, and others, deemed it advisable to persuade Raghunāth Rāo that he should go forth from Pūnā, and employ himself in settling the kingdom. The said Rāo accordingly acted upon their suggestion, and marched out of Pūnā, attended by the Mahratta chiefs. As soon as he had got to the distance of two or three stages from the city, the wily chiefs, by alleging some excuse, obtained leave from Raghunāth Rāo to return, and repaired from the camp to the city. They then summoned to them in private all the commanders of the army, both great and small; when they came to the unanimous decision, that it was incompatible with justice to acquiesce in Raghunāth Rāo's being invested with the supreme authority, and that it would be better, as Narāin Rāo's wife was six months advanced in pregnancy, providing she gave birth to a male child, to invest that infant with the sovereignty, and conduct the affairs of government agreeably to the details of prudence. As soon as they had unanimously settled the question after this fashion, a few of the chiefs took up a position in the outskirts of the city of Pūnā, by way of protection, and formed a sturdy barrier against the Magog of turbulence. Raghunāth Rāo, having become aware of the designs of the conspirators, remained with a slender party [S. 294] in his encampment. Having brooded over his troubles, he saw no remedy left but that of forsaking the country, and was consequently forced to retire towards the Carnatic. His object was to collect a sufficient force round him, with which he might return to Pūnā and resume hostilities. However, owing to the vulgar report that attributed Narāin Rāo's murder to him, every blade of grass that sprung from the ground was ready to plunge a dagger into his blood. For this reason, he found it impossible either to stay or reside in the Carnatic, so he hastened away to Surat.
The direst confusion had found its way into the kingdom, in consequence of the report of Narāin Rāo's death. At that critical juncture the pretender Bhāo, who was confined in a stronghold in the Kokan territory, lying adjacent to the salt ocean, seized the opportunity of escaping by fraud and stratagem out of his prison, and having induced a party of men to place themselves under his orders, took possession of some of the forts and districts of that country. He was just on the point of waging open war, had not Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur set out in the interim from Pūnā to the Kokan territory for the purpose of coercing him. On reaching his destination, he engaged in hostilities with the aforesaid Bhāo, whereupon the latter's associates took to flight, and departed each by his own road. As Bhāo was thus left alone, he went on board a ship in utter consternation with a view to save his life from that vortex of perdition; but death granted him no respite, and he fell alive into the hands of the heroes who accompanied Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur. The latter brought him along with him to Pūnā, and removed the dust of uncertainty from the mirror of every mind. Ultimately he caused the ill-fated wretch to be bound to a camel's foot, and paraded round the whole town; after which he put him to death. [S. 295]
The Peshwā Sāhib, the rightful heir of Narāin Rāo, at the time of his father's murder, was dwelling in his mother's womb. * * When she had completed the time of her pregnancy, a child, in the year 1188 A.H. (1774 A.D.), shed a grace over the bosom of its nurse, and bestowed comfort on the illustrious chiefs. * * He was invested with the appellation of Sawāi Mādhū Rāo.
Raghunāth Rāo, having reached Surat, turned towards the leaders of the English army, who dwelt on the borders of the sea, and offered to take upon himself the responsibility of showing the way over the various routes into the Dakhin, and to subjugate that kingdom so teeming with difficulties. As the commanders of the English army were possessed of adequate means for making an invasion, and had their heads inflamed with the intoxication of boldness and intrepidity, they took Raghunāth Rāo along with them, and moving away from Surat with their valiant troops experienced in war, and their lion-hearted forces active as tigers, they set out to conquer and annex the Dakhin territories.
Having traversed the intervening stages at a resolute pace, they arrived at Nūrghāt, which is situated at a distance of twenty kos from Pūnā. The Mahratta chieftains also sallied forth from Pūnā with a vast body of retainers, and opposed their advance with the utmost perseverance at Nūrghāt; whereupon a tremendous contest and a frightful slaughter ensued, until the combatants on both sides had neither the power nor the inclination left to assail each other any more. At length, by the intervention of the obscurity of night, the tumult of war subsided, and the world-consuming fire of guns and matchlocks, whose flames arose to the highest heavens, hid its face in the ashes of night; so that the soldiery on either side were obliged [S. 296] to retire to their respective quarters. During that night, the prudent belligerents made up their minds to a peace; and in the morning, the chiefs of the rival forces obtained an interview and enjoyed a conference. The English leaders, after negociating a truce and consolidating the basis of friendship, delivered up Raghunāth Rāo, who had been the instigator of this conflict and the originator of this hostile movement, to the Mahratta chiefs, on condition of their granting him a jāgīr, and treating him with kindness and consideration. They then turned away from that quarter with all their troops and followers, and repaired to their usual place of abode.
The Mahratta chiefs had formed the fixed determination in their minds of taking vengeance on the ill-fated Raghunāth Rāo; but Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur, prompted by his manly and generous feelings, diverted them from their headlong and cruel purposes, so that the matter was managed mercifully and kindly, and the Rāo in question, having been presented with a jāgīr, received permission to remain at large. The unfortunate wretch, however, departed from the pleasant vale of existence to the desert of non-entity, without reaching his destination, for the career of the wicked never ends well.
When the fourth year from the birth of Sawāi Mādhū Rāo, surnamed the Peshwā Sāhib, had elapsed, and security and repose had settled on the minds of high and low throughout the territories of the Dakhin, Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur, who was distinguished among all the Pūnā chiefs for his gallantry and daring, sagacity and intelligence, having satisfied his mind as to the settlement of that kingdom, set out to conquer Gohad. He succeeded in taking prisoner Rānā Chattar Singh, who was in the citadel, after a siege attended with hard fighting, and took possession of the surrounding districts, along with the fortress of Gwālior, which is a mountain stronghold.
About the same time, a mutual feeling of envy and hatred [S. 297] had become firmly implanted in the minds of Mirzā Muhammad Shafī' Khān and Muhammad Beg Khān Hamadānī,—who had been the chief officers of State to the late Amīru-l umarā Mirzā Najaf Khān Bahādur, and after his death had been partners in the government of the province of Āgra,—owing to their each craving after an increase of power and dignity, which is ever a hindrance to the existence of friendship and good feeling among equals and contemporaries. At last, Muhammad Beg Khān Hamadānī seized the opportunity, during an interview, of putting Muhammad Shafī' Khān to death; and on this account, Afrāsiyāb Khān, who was the Imperial Mīr-i ātish, and one of Amīru-l umarā Mirzā Najaf Khān Bahādur's protegés, becoming alarmed, demanded succour of Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur. The latter had firmly resolved in his mind on repairing to the sublime threshold, but had not yet fulfilled the duty of paying his respects, when, under the influence of Sindhia Bahādur's destiny, Afrāsiyāb Khān was killed by the hand of an assassin.
Sindhia Bahādur's army having overshadowed the metropolis by its arrival, he brought Muhammad Beg Khān Hamadānī, after a siege, completely under his subjection, and in the year 1199 A.H. traversed the streets of the metropolis. When he obtained the good fortune of saluting the threshold * * of His Majesty, the shadow of God, the Emperor Shāh 'Ālam, * * he was loaded with princely favours, and distinguished by royal marks of regard, so that he became the chief of the supporters of government, and His Majesty's most staunch and influential adherent. * *
As Mādhū Rāo, the Peshwā Sāhib, at the present auspicious period, pursues, in contradistinction to his uncle, the path of obedience to the monarch of Islām, and Mahājī Sindhia Bahādur is one of those who are constantly attached to the ever-triumphant train, hence it happens that the plant of this nation's prosperity has struck root firmly into the earth of good fortune, and their affairs flourish agreeably to their wishes.