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Old November 11th, 2010, 05:30 AM
ashdoc ashdoc is offline
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Re: Expedition to disaster--marathas at panipat

Marathas conquer delhi and punjab--

the peshwa sent his brother raghunathrao ( popularly called raghoba ) with a powerful force into north india.

raghoba immediately captured delhi ,and najib khan became a prisoner in his hands. this was the right moment to kill najib ,as he was one who was inviting abdally , and could invite again. besides ,he had the blood of innocent people of mathura on his hands.

but najib paid malhar-rao holkar , the maratha ruler of malwa ,huge bribes to
save his life. malhar-rao prevailed upon raghoba to spare najib ,and najib was set free !!......this was greatest mistake of raghoba ,as the treacherous najib was to invite abdali again into india.

now raghoba made a surprising decision -- he invaded punjab ,which was directly abdali's ( afghan) territory. his forces conquered lahore ,and then advanced on to attock on the indus, which was considered by hindus to be the boundary of india .abdali's son taimur ,the afghan governor of punjab was defeated in battle and he fled.

according to the historian grant duff , this was a glorious episode in the history of marathas --- '' the deccan horse had slaked their thirst in the waters of the indus !!'' ,he has said.....

in the maratha capital pune ,their was wild jubilation , and the peshwa talked of capturing kabul--kandahar with ambassadors sent by iran on hearing this news.

but this actually made abdali the deadly enemy of marathas , for punjab was the breadbasket of his empire ,which was otherwise made of arid regions like afghanistan and baluchistan.

having captured punjab , raghoba however could not face the biting cold of lahore as winter came , and decamped back to the deccan with the majority of his army, leaving only 15,000 troops behind.

sabaji scindia was sent as governor-- he went even further ,capturing peshawar ,and garrisoning it with 10,000 men, this bringing actual pathans under his control

but the total troops that remained in the province numbered only 32,000---hardly enough to face abdali if he came in full force.thus the peshwa had sanctioned a provocative frontier extending to peshawar---but left not enough troops to garrison it.

truth was that the marathas did not have enough troops to man punjab , as they had created enemies in india without destroying them -- like the nizam of hyderabad ,najib khan ,hyder ali of mysore ( tipu's father ).........so troops were needed to garrison other parts of the empire --defence of maharashtra from hyderabad itself required 70,000 troops.

so in hindsight raghoba's expedition to capture punjab must be called a mad expedition.......

abdali was ready for a policy of ' live and let live '---his ambassadors made it clear that he was ready to accept maratha domination over delhi ,haryana , western UP ,if they gave up punjab---- but the maratha ambition was boundless , and they rejected this.

marathas did another mistake by not properly taking the help of the sikhs who were natural allies for them --- but the maratha--sikh co-operation was haphazard , primarily due to maratha ignorance of sikhs.

abdali first sent his general jahan khan with an army to invade punjab , but sabaji scindia gave this force a crushing defeat ,killing jahan's son ,and wounding jahan.

then abdali himself decided to invade........
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Last edited by ashdoc; January 13th, 2011 at 04:40 PM.
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