History Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 11 - Question 2
90 Days History Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 21-Jan-2019
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21-Jan-2019 - Question 2
How will you view the Maratha policy of expansion? Delineate. (2017) (20 Marks, 300 words)
For Question 1 - Click Here
Marathas are a group of warrior castes residing in the present Maharashtra state of India. Initially, Marathas were scattered and a number of Maratha chiefs were serving either Deccani Sultans or Mughals. In the 17th century, Marathas were organized under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji and carved out the first Maratha empire which was further expanded under the Peshwas. The Maratha policy of expansion is divided into three phases viz. i)1680 (after Shivaji’s death) -1719 ii) 1720-1741(Peshwa Bajirao’s reign) iii) 1741-1761(3rd battle of Panipat)
The Maratha expansion was not based on socio-religious reforms but it sees itself in Shivaji’s policy of Swarajya and in the policy of Hindu Pad Padshahi.
In the first phase of Maratha expansion, Maratha chief took individual effort without any central leadership and tried to occupy Mughal territories. These Maratha sardars came from very humble families, some of them without any proper education and they are not
concerned with the socio-religious reforms or with the peasants, unless it touches their own interest.
Bajirao became Peshwa in 1719 and adopted a distinct policy of expansion. He opined that Mughal empire is a old tree and we should strike over its trunk and the whole tree will fall down. Bajirao had a distinct policy for southern kingdoms also. he has stated that the Maratha policy should be to plunder the rich areas of the north to get the
financial strength and ultimately the Marathas will plant their flag on the bank of the Indus.
Bajirao was a very practical person and he realized that it is not possible to plant a Hindu in the throne of Delhi. Bajirao wanted to use the Mughal emperor to increase his own demands and increase his own prestige. It is to this policy that Bajirao adhered to.
In 1741 after the death of Bajirao, Nana Sahib becomes Peshwa. He was far more practical in diplomacy but he did not know much of the situation in North India. he was a very poor general and the problem for him was that he wanted not to fight in Northern India because that would involve money. In 1761 the third battle of Panipat was fought between Marthas and the forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali. The defeat of the Maratha army practically ended their expansion policy.
Nature of Martha expansion policy:
Marthas were interested in only collecting Chauth and Sardeshmukhi from the region and often did not exercise direct control.
The expansion policy was not formulated by a central body rather it was done mainly by feudal chiefs. The Maratha King was only nominal head and power was exercised by Peshwa.
No institutional set up was established in the captured region and even masses were plundered heavily, that's why they never won the support of people.
Establishment of Swarjya and Hindu Pad Padshahi were guiding principles of Maratha expansion policy but a practical policy of expansion was followed.
It can be said that Maratha expansion policy had followed the principles of the great Shivaji and captured a large territory but failed to establish a lasting empire due to the inherent faults.