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TNPSC Free Notes History – Maratha Administration

இந்தக் கட்டுரையில், TNPSC குரூப் 1, குரூப் 2, குரூப் 2A, குரூப் 4 மாநிலப் போட்டித் தேர்வுகளான TNUSRB, TRB, TET, TNEB போன்றவற்றுக்கான  முறைகள் இலவசக் குறிப்புகளைப் பெறுவீர்கள்.தேர்வுக்கு தயாராவோர் இங்குள்ள பாடக்குறிப்புகளை படித்து பயன்பெற வாழ்த்துகிறோம்.

Maratha Administration

Central Government
 Shivaji was a not only a great warrior but a good administrator too.
 He had an advisory council to assist him in his day-to-day administration.
 This council of eight ministers was known as Ashta Pradhan. Its functions were advisory.
The eight ministers were:
 The Mukhya Pradhan or Peshwa or Prime Minister whose duty was to look after the
general welfare and interests of the State. He officiated for the King in his absence.

 The Amatya or Finance Minister checked and countersigned all public accounts of
the kingdom.
 The Walkia-Nawis or Mantri maintained the records of the King’s activities and the
proceedings in the court.
 Summant or Dabir or Foreign Secretary was to advise the King on all matters of war
and peace and to receive ambassadors and envoys from other countries.
 Sachiv or Shuru Nawis or Home Secretary was to look after the correspondence of
the King with the power to revise the drafts. He also checked the accounts of the
 Pandit Rao or Danadhyaksha or Sadar or Muhtasib or ecclesiastical head was in
charge of religion, ceremonies and charities. He was the judge of canon law and
censor of public morals.
 Nyayadhish or Chief Justice was responsible for civil and military justice.
 Sari Naubat or Commander-in-Chief was in charge of recruitment, organization and
discipline of the Army.
 With the exception of the Nyayadhish and Pandit Rao, all the other ministers were to
command armies and lead expeditions.
 All royal letters, charters and treaties had to get the seal of the King and the Peshwa and
the endorsement of the four ministers other than the Danadyaksha, Nyayadhisha and
 There were eighteen departments under the charge of the various ministers.
Provincial Government
 For the sake of administrative convenience, Shivaji divided the kingdom into four
provinces, each under a Viceroy.
 The provinces were divided into a number of Pranths. The practice of granting jagirs was
abandoned and all officers were paid in cash.
 Even when the revenues of a particular place were assigned to any official, his only link
was with the income generated from the property. He had no control over the people
associated with it.
 No office was to be hereditary. The fort was the nerve-centre of the activities of the
 The lowest unit of the Government was the village in which the traditional system of
administration prevailed.
Revenue System
 The revenue administration of Shivaji was humane and beneficent to the cultivators.
The lands were carefully surveyed and assessed.

 The state demand was fixed at 30% of the gross produce to be payable in cash or kind.
 Later, the tax was raised to 40%. The amount of money to be paid was fixed.
 In times of famine, the Government advanced money and grain to the cultivators which
were to be paid back in instalments later.
 Liberal loans were also advanced to the peasants for purchasing cattle, seed, etc.
Chauth and Sardeshmukhi
 As the revenue collected from the State was insufficient to meet its requirements,
Shivaji collected two taxes, Chauth and Sardeshmukhi, from the adjoining territories of
his empire, the Mughal provinces and the territories of the Sultan of Bijapur.
 Chauth was one-fourth of the revenue of the district conquered by the Marthas.
 Sardeshmukhi was an additional 10% of the revenue which Shivaji collected by virtue of
his position as Sardeshmukh.
 Sardeshmukh was the superior head of many Desais or Deshmukhs. Shivaji claimed that
he was the hereditary Sardeshmukh of his country.
Military Organization
 Shivaji organized a standing army. As we have seen, he discouraged the practice of
granting jagirs and making hereditary appointments.
 Quarters were provided to the soldiers. The soldiers were given regular salaries. The
army consisted of four divisions: infantry, cavalry, an elephant corps and artillery.
 Though the soldiers were good at guerrilla methods of warfare, at a later stage they
were also trained in conventional warfare.
 The infantry was divided into regiments and brigades. The smallest unit with nine
soldiers was headed by a Naik (corporal).
 Each unit with 25 horsemen was placed under one havildar (equivalent to the rank of a
 Over five havildars were placed under one jamaladar and over ten jamaladars under one
hazari. Sari Naubat was the supreme commander of the cavalry.
 The cavalry was divided into two classes: the bargirs (soldiers whose horses were given
by the state) and the shiledars (mercenary horsemen who had to find their own horses).
There were water-carriers and farriers too.
 The administration of justice was of a rudimentary nature. There were no regular courts
and regular procedures.
 The panchayats functioned in the villages. The system of ordeals was common.
 Criminal cases were tried by the Patels.

 Appeals in both civil and criminal cases were heard by the Nyayadhish (Chief Justice)
with the guidance of the smritis.
 Hazir Majlim was the final court of appeal.
Rule of the Peshwas
 Peshwa is a Persian word which means “Foremost” or the “First Minister”.
 The Peshwa or the prime minister was the foremost minister in the Ashta Pradhan, the
council of ministers of Shivaji.
 The Peshwas gained more powers and became dominant in the eighteenth century.
Balaji Viswanath was the first powerful Peshwa.
Balaji Viswanath (1713 — 1720)
 Balaji Viswanath assisted the Maratha Emperor Shahu to consolidate his control over
the kingdom that had been plagued by civil war.
 Kanhoji Angre was the most powerful naval chief on the western coast. During the civil
war, Kanhoji had supported Tarabai.
 The Peshwa convinced him of the common danger from the Europeans and secured his
loyalty to Shahu.
 The practice of granting jagirs was revived. And the office of Peshwa was made
Baji Rao I (1720 — 1740)
 After Balaji Viswanath, his son Baji Rao I was appointed Peshwa in 1720 by Shahu.
 Baji Rao enhanced the power and prestige of the Maratha Empire by defeating the
Nizam of Hyderabad, the Rajput Governor of Malwa and the Governor of Gujarat.
 He freed Bundelkhand from the control of Mughals and for this, the Marathas got one-
third of the territories from its ruler.
 The Commander-in-Chief, Trimbak Rao, who troubled the Peshwa, was defeated and
killed in the battle of Dabhai near Baroda in 1731 and the Peshwa assumed the office of
the Commander-in-Chief also.
 By the treaty of Warna signed in 1731, Sambhaji of Kolhapur was forced to accept the
sovereignty of Shahu.
 Thana, Salsette and Bassein were captured from the Portuguese in 1738 and they were
driven out of the Konkan coast.
Balaji Baji Rao (1740–1761)

Balaji Baji Rao succeeded as the Peshwa after the death of his father Baji Rao I. Known as Nana
Sahib, he proved to be a good administrator and an expert in handling financial matters.
Carnatic Expedition
 Chanda Sahib, son-in-law of the Nawab of Arcot, after capturing Tiruchirappalli
threatened to lay siege to Thanjavur. Its Maratha ruler appealed to Shahu for help in
 Responding to this appeal, the Peshwa sent Raghoji Bhonsle (Sahu’s brother-in-law) to
Thanjavur. Raghoji Bhonsle defeated and killed the Nawab of Arcot, Dost Ali, in 1740.
 Tiruchirappalli was captured and Chanda Sahib imprisoned.
 As the Peshwa was subsequently engaged in military expeditions in Bundelkhand and
Bengal, Mohammed Ali, who succeeded Dost Ali, could easily retake Arcot and
recapture Tiruchirappalli in 1743.
Battle of Udgir
 A war of succession broke out after the death of Nizam Asaf Jah in 1748.
 Peshwa supported the eldest son of the Nizam.
 The army sent by Peshwa under Sadasiva Rao won the battle of Udgir in 1760. This
success marked the climax of Maratha military might.
 The Peshwa took over Bijapur, Aurangabad, Dulatabad, Ahmednagar and Burhanpur.
Maratha Control over India
 The Marathas had brought Rajaputana under their domination after six expeditions
between 1741 and 1748.
 In 1751, the Nawab of Bengal had to cede Orissa and pay an annual tribute to the
 As the Marathas were always after the Mughal throne they entered Delhi in 1752 to
drive out the Afghans and Rohillas from Delhi. Imad-ul-Mulk who was made the Wazir
with the help of Marathas became a puppet in their hands.
 After bringing Punjab under their control, they expelled the representative of Ahmad
Shah Abdali, the founder of the Durani Empire in Afghanistan.
 A major conflict with Ahmad Shah Abdali became therefore inevitable.
Ahmed Shah Abdali
 The Marathas tried to find allies among the powers in the north-west. But their earlier
deeds had antagonized all of them.
 The Sikhs, Jat chiefs and Muslims did not trust them.

 The Marathas did not help Siraj-ud-Daulah in the battle of Plassey in 1757. So no help
was forthcoming from Bengal either.
 A move on the part of the Peshwa against the British, both in Karnataka and Bengal,
would have probably checked their advance.
 But the Peshwa’s undue interests in Delhi earned the enmity of various regional powers.
 Ahmad Shah Abdali brought about the disaster at Panipat in 1761.
Battle circumstances
 This prompted Nadir Shah, the then ruler of Afghanistan, to invade India. In spite of his
repeated demands, the Mughal ruler, Muhammad Shah provided asylum to the Afghan
 So, his invasions started in 1739. Delhi was plundered. The Kohinoor diamond and the
valuable peacock throne were taken away by Nadir Shah.
 When Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747, one of his military generals, Ahmad Shah
Abdali became an independent ruler of Afghanistan.
 The Mughal emperor made peace with him by ceding Multan and Punjab.
 Mir Mannu, appointed by the Mughal Emperor as the Governor of Punjab, was to act
only as an agent of Ahmad Shah Abdali.
 On Mir Mannu’s death, the widow of Mir Mannu, with the help of the Wazir of Delhi,
Imad-ul- Mulk, appointed Mir Munim as the Governor of Punjab, without the consent of
Abdali. Pursuing him, Abdali captured Delhi and pillaged it in January 1757. Mathura and
Brindavan were desecrated.
 Before leaving Delhi, Abdali appointed Mir Bakshi as his agent in Delhi. Timur Shah, his
son, was made the Viceroy of Lahore.
 An expedition under Malhar Rao Holkar and Raghunatha Rao reached Delhi after Abdali
had left. They removed the agent of Abdali at Delhi and appointed a man of their choice
as the Wazir.
 Thereafter they captured Sirhind and Lahore in 1758. The Afghan forces were defeated,
and Timur Shah deposed.
Panipat and Anglo-Maratha Wars
Third Battle of Panipat
 Abdali returned to India in October 1759 and recovered Punjab. The Marathas were
forced to withdraw from Lahore, Multan and Sirhind.
 The wildest anarchy prevailed in the region. So, the Peshwa sent Dattaji Scindia, the
brother of Mahadhaji Scindia, to Punjab to set matters right. But Abdali defeated and
killed him in the battle (1760).

 Malhar Rao Holkar was also defeated at Sikandara.
 Thereupon the Peshwa recruited a huge army under the command of Sadasiva Rao.
 Abdali responded by forming an alliance with Najib-ud-Daulah of Rohilkhand and Shuja-
ud-Daulah of Oudh.
 The Maratha army was under the nominal command of Vishwas Rao, the young son of
the Peshwa. The real command, however, was in the hands of Sadasiva Rao.
 On their way, they were joined by the Holkar, Scindia and Gaikwar.
 Around this time, Alamgir II, the Mughal Emperor had been assassinated and his eldest
son crowned himself as Shah Alam II.
 After the preliminaries were settled, Sadasiva Rao, instead of attacking the forces of
Abdali, remained quiet for a long time, until the scarcity of food became acute.
 Abdali stationed his troops in the fertile doab from where he could get food without
 The third battle of Panipat was fought on 14 January 1761. The Maratha army was
completely routed.
 The Peshwa’s son Viswas Rao, Sadasiva Rao and numerous Maratha commanders were
 Holkar fled and the contingents of Scindia followed him.
 The Peshwa was stunned by the tragic news. The Peshwa died broken-hearted in June
 The Marathas, though they received a severe blow initially, managed to restore their
power within ten years in the north by becoming the guardian of the Mughal Emperor
Shah Alam.
Madhav Rao I (1761 – 1772)
 Madhav Rao tried to regain the Maratha power, which was lost in the battle of Panipat.
 In 1763 a fierce battle was fought with the Nizam of Hyderabad. His expeditions
(1765–1767) against Haider Ali of Mysore were successful.
 However, Haider Ali soon recovered almost all his lost territories. But Madhav Rao
regained them in 1772 and Haider Ali was forced to sign a humiliating treaty.
 Shah Alam II, the fugitive Emperor, was in Allahabad under the protection of the British.
In 1771, the Marathas brought him back to Delhi.
 As Madhav Rao I had no sons, his younger brother Narayan Rao became Peshwa in
1772. But he was murdered the next year.
 His posthumous son Sawai Madhav Rao (Madhav Rao II) was proclaimed Peshwa on the
40 th day of his birth.

 After the death of Madhav Rao II, Baji Rao II, the son of Raghunath Rao became the
Peshwa and was the last Peshwa.
The First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-1782)
 Madhav Rao Narayan was an infant Peshwa under the regency of Nana Fadnavis.
 The usurping of power by Ragunath Rao, uncle of the former Peshwa Madhava Rao I,
provided the scope for the Company administration to fish in the troubled waters.
 The Company administration in Bombay supported Ragunath Rao in return for getting
Salsette and Bassein.
 As Mahadaji Scindia and the Bhonsle of Nagpur turned pro-British, the Marathas had to
concede Thane and Salsette to the latter.
 By the treaty of Salbai, in 1782, Ragunath Rao was pensioned off. Following this, peace
prevailed between the Company and the Marathas for about two decades.
The Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1806)
 The death of Nana Fadnavis resulted in a scramble for his huge possessions. Peshwa Baji
Rao II was dethroned. In the then trying circumstances, he had to accept the help of the
 Wellesley, the then Governor-General, forced the Subsidiary Alliance on the Peshwa.
 The treaty of Bassein was signed in 1802.
 According to the treaty, the territory to be ceaded should fetch an income of Rs. 26
 The leading Maratha States regarded the treaty as humiliating and hence decided to
defy it. So the second Anglo- Maratha war broke out.
 In spite of the brave resistance put up by the Marathas, the Maratha leaders were
completely routed.
 The Subsidiary Alliance was accepted. The British got Doab, Ahmednagar, Broach and all
of the hilly regions.
The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1819)
 Peshwa Baji Rao II became anti-British, as the Prime Minister of the Gaikwar (ruler) of
Baroda Gangadhar Sastri was killed by Trimbakji, a favourite of Peshwa.
 At the instance of the Resident at Poona, Mount Stuart Elphinstone, Trimabakji was
 The murderer, however, managed to escape from the prison with the assistance of the

 Peshwa was also charged with creating the Maratha confederacy and plotting with
Scindia, Bhonsle and Holkar against the British. So, the British forced the Peshwa to sign
a new treaty at Poona in 1817.
 The Peshwa resigned the headship of the Maratha confederacy. Ceded Konkan to the
British and recognised the independence of the Gaikwar.
 Baji Rao was not reconciled to this humiliation. So when the British were busily engaged
in the suppression of the Pindaris, Baji Rao II burnt down the Poona Residency.
 General Smith rushed to Poona and captured it, with the Peshwa fleeing to Satara,
which was also captured by General Smith. Baji Rao fled from place to place.
 General Smith defeated his forces at Ashta, Kirkee and Korgaon. Finally, Baji Rao
surrendered to Elphinstone in 1818.
 The British abolished the Peshwai (office of the Peshwa) and annexed all the Peshwa’s
dominions. But the jagirs of the fief holders were restored.
 Until his death in 1851 Baji Rao II remained a prisoner with an annual pension.
 Pratap Singh, a descendent of Shivaji, was made the king of a small kingdom carved
around Satara.
 The Maratha Confederacy organised by Baji Rao I comprising Bhonsle, Holkar and
Scindia was dissolved.
 Mount Stuart Elphinstone, who had been Resident at Poona, became Governor of
Maratha Administration under Peshwas
Central Secretariat
 The centre of the Maratha administration was the Peshwa Secretariat at Poona.
 It dealt with the revenues and expenditure of all the districts, the accounts submitted by
the village and district officials.
 The pay and rights of all grades of public servants and the budgets under civil, military
and religious heads were also handled.
 The daily register recorded all revenues, all grants and the payments received from
foreign territories.
 Larger provinces were under the provincial governors called Sar-subahdars.
 The divisions in the provinces were termed as Subahs and Pranths.
 The Mamlatdar and Kamavistar were Peshwa’s representatives in the districts. They
were responsible for every branch of district administration.

 Deshmukhs and Deshpandes were district officers who were in charge of accounts and
were to observe the activities of Mamlatdars and Kamavistars.
 It was a system of checks and balances.
 In order to prevent misappropriation of public money, the Maratha government
collected a heavy sum (Rasad) from the Mamlatdars and other officials.
 It was collected on their first appointment to a district.
 In Baji Rao II’s time, these offices were auctioned off.
 The clerks and menials were paid for 10 or 11 months in a year.
Village Administration
 The village was the basic unit of administration and was self-supportive.
 The Patel was the chief village officer and was responsible for remitting revenue
collections to the centre. He was not paid by the government. His post was hereditary.
 The Patel was helped by the Kulkarni or accountant and record-keeper. There were
hereditary village servants who had to perform the communal functions.
 The carpenters, blacksmiths and other village artisans gave begar or compulsory labour.
 In towns and cities the chief officer was the Kotwal. The maintenance of peace and
order, regulation of prices, settling civil disputes and sending of monthly accounts to the
governments were his main duties.
 He was the head of the city police and also functioned as the magistrate.
Sources of Revenue
 Land revenue was the main source of income. The Peshwas gave up the system of
sharing the produce of the agricultural land followed under Shivaji’s rule.
 The fertility the land was assessed for fixation of taxes. Income was derived from the
 Permits were given on the payment of a fee for cutting trees and using pastures.
Revenue was derived even from the sale of grass, bamboo, fuelwood, honey and the
 Other sources of revenue were Chauth and Sardeshmukhi.
 Miscellaneous taxes were also collected.
 It included
 Tax on land, held by Deshmukhs and Deshpandes.
 Tax on land kept for the village Mahars.
 Tax on the lands irrigated by wells.
 House tax from all except Brahmins and village officials.
 Annual fee for the testing of weights and measures.
 Tax on the remarriage of widows.

 Tax on sheep and buffaloes.
 Pasture fee.
 Tax on melon cultivation in river beds.
 Succession duty.
 Duty on the sale of horses, etc.
Police System
 Watchmen, generally the Mahars, were employed in every village. But whenever crime
was on the rise, government sent forces from the irregular infantry to control crimes.
 The residents of the disturbed area had to pay an additional house tax to meet the
expenditure arising out of maintaining these armed forces.
 Baji Rao II appointed additional police officers to detect and seize offenders.
 In the urban areas, magisterial and police powers were given to the Kotwal.
 Their additional duties were to monitor the prices, take a census of the inhabitants, and
conduct trials on civil cases, supply labour to the government and levy fees from the
professional duties given to the Nagarka or police superintendent.
Judicial System
 The Judicial System was very imperfect. There was no codified law. There were no rules
of procedure.
 Arbitration was given high priority. If it failed, then the case was transferred for decision
to a panchayat appointed by the Patel in the village and by the leading merchants in
 The panchayat was a powerful institution. Re-trial also took place. Appeals were made
to the Mamlatdar.
 In criminal cases, there was a hierarchy of the judicial officers. At the top was the Raja
Chhatrapati and below him were the Peshwa, Deputy Subahdar, the Mamlatdar and the
 Flogging and torture were inflicted to extort confession.
 The Maratha military system under the Peshwas was modelled on the Mughal military
 The mode of recruitment, payment of salaries, provisions for the families of the soldiers,
and the importance given to the cavalry showed a strong resemblance to the Mughal
military system.

 The Peshwas gave up the notable features of the military system followed under Shivaji.
Shivaji had recruited soldiers locally from Maratha region. But the Peshwas drafted
soldiers from all parts of India and from all social groups.
 The army had Arabs, Abyssinians, Rajputs, Rohillas and Sikhs. The Peshwa’s army
comprised mercenaries of the feudal chieftains.
 As the fiefs of the rival chiefs were in the same area, there were lots of internal
disputes. It affected the solidarity of the people of the Maratha state.
 The cavalry was naturally the main strength of the Maratha army. Every jagirdar had to
bring a stipulated number of horsemen for a general muster, every year. The horsemen
were divided into three classes based on the quality of the horses they kept.
 The Marathas preferred to serve in the cavalry. So men for infantry were recruited from
other parts of the country. The Arabs, Rohillas, Sikhs and Sindhis in the Maratha infantry
were paid a higher salary compared to the Maratha soldiers.
 The Maratha artillery was manned mostly by the Portuguese and Indian Christians. Later
on, the English were also recruited.
 The Maratha navy was built for the purpose of guarding the Maratha ports, thereby
checking piracy, and collecting customs duties from the incoming and outgoing ships.
 Balaji Vishwanath built naval bases at Konkan, Khanderi and Vijayadurg. Dockyard
facilities were also developed.


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