Saturday, 26 December 2015

Marathas the protectors of our Nation

With the spread of Maratha empire  a small amount of  Marathi population came out  of the present day Maharastra and settled in the region of North India  like Benaras . Rani Lakshmibai and Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar ’s ansestors were from Maharastra .
The ancestors of Gangadhar Rao hailed from Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra and Lakshmibai's father  Moropant Tambe and her mother Bhagirathi Sapre (Bhagirathi Bai) came from Maharashtra. A Marathi Scholar Sakharam Ganesh Desukar who was proficient in Bengali, provided a link between the revolutionaries of Bengal and Maharashtra. His  grandfather Sadashiva  , Ratnagiri Maharashtrian Brahmin came from Maharastra and settled in Deoghar of Santhal Pargana . He was born in Kabogram near Baidyanathdham . He published his book " Desher Katha" in 1905. The British Govt. banned the book in 1910. During anti-partition movement of and later in National movement this book caused tremendous inspiration to countrymen. He analysed in this book the effect of suppression of British Colonial Rule on the Indian trade and industry. He wrote that the King has every right of expansion till the subjects came under its rule - is the idea of British Authority. His important work is "mukti kon Pathe" (1906).


The Marathas in general had no hatred towards North Indians. Chatrapati Maharaj gave shelter to the poet  Kavi Bhushan who wrote the following praise of Shivaji :
"Kashiji ki kalaa jaati, Mathura masjid hoti | Shivaji na hote to sunnat hoti sab ki ||"
(Had not there been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would have been turned into a mosque and all would have been circumcised.)
Bhusan presented many of his poems on the occasion of the grand coronation of Shivaji; many of these poems are still remembered in Maharashtra. One such poem is "Shivbavani", which was written about Shivaji.


 Shivaji is said to have very good relationship with Rajput King JaiSingh of Jaipur and Maharaj Chatrasal of Bundelkhand. It was he and not any Hindu King of North who wrote the famous letter to Aurangjeb in protest of ‘Jazia’ .



His wise policy was also carried forward by his successor like Shambhaji who had very cordial relations with Durgadas Rathod  of Rajputana .  After Shambhaji when the rule was passed on to Chatrapati Shahu who gave huge responsibilities to his Brahman ministers called Peshwas . When Jai Singh  II was for the last time, appointed Subahdar of Malwa (1732–1737), during which time he advocated Muhammad Shah, to compromise with the Marathas under Bajirao .  Jai Singh is also believed to have secretly informed Peshwa Bajirao that it was a good time to subdue the weakening Mughal emperor

Peshwa Bajirao too addressed Maharaj Chatrasal as ‘kaka Shaheb’  and came to his succor in a very heroic fashion . When Bajirao’s son Balajirao became the peshwa after strengthening his position in south India and after the death of Chatrapati Sahu ,who had a soft corner for Mughals .He took aggressive steps to regain hindu places of worship in North India .

Sardesai writes :
The object of the Marathas in all these undertakings was religious as well as political. They particularly intended to get the holy places of Prayag and Kashi back into Hindu possession. On 18th June 1751 a Maratha agent writes, “Malharrao has pitched his monsoon camp in the Doab. He intended to pull down the grand Masjid  built by Aurangzeb at Benares and restore the original temple - of Kashi-Vishveshwar. The Brahmans of Kashi feel extremely terrified at such a move, for they realize the Muslim strength in these places. What the holy Ganges and the Protector Vishveshwar can ordain will come true. The Brahmans are going to send a strong appeal to the Peshwa against any such attempt by his Sardars.”

The Peshwa's aim all along was not to seize the territory of others, but only to levy contributions in return for the protection he extended to them and to release the holy places from Muslim control. Muslim sentiment, however, proved too strong in this respect. The Muslim possession of the Hindu places was a matter of long standing prestige of conquest. Even Safdar Jang, otherwise so friendly to the Marathas and his son Shuja-ud-Daula, proved most unbending on this point of surrendering the holy places of the Hindus; and although they dared not give a flat refusal, knowing the strength of the Marathas, they usually bided their time by putting forth paltry excuses for not granting demand. At the present day the question has only an academic interest.
Jadunath Sarkar writes
On 25 Oct. 1754, the Emperor issued orders abolishing the taxes on Hindu pilgrims at Gaya and Kurukshetra. [DC], He transferred them to the Peshwa, who appointed his Delhi agent Damodar M. Hingane as his tax-collector there, 9 Feb-1755. [Rajwade, vi. 328.] But Benares and Allahabad were under the control of the subahdar of Oudh, who clung to his levy at these holy places.

In  Peshwa's letter to Ramaji Anant (the manager of the Sindhias),  dated 23 Feb. 1759 .Peshwa writes :

“There are two or three undertakings to be achieved in connection with Shuja-ud-daulah. Take Benares, Ajodhya and Allahabad from him. He had promised to Dada [in 1757] to cede Benares and Ajodhya, but the case of Allahabad is still under discussion. If a settlement on the last point can be easily reached, make it.”
And in a similar letter  dated  21st March 1759 to Dattaji and Jankoji Sindhia Peshwa  writes ,  :


“Formerly, when Dada was near Delhi, Mansur Ali Khan's son had voluntarily offered to cede Benares to us. If he is now made wazir [by us], he must cede both Benares and Allahabad and pay 50 lakhs”


“if the wazir refuses to leave Delhi [for Bihar ]then you should go and join Shuja, take from him Benares and Allahabad only but do not demand a money contribution “.


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