Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa (18th August, 1700 – Forever)
Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa was the only Maratha warrior to shake the throne of Delhi. He was appointed Peshwa (Prime Minister to the Maratha King) at the young age of nineteen on 17th April, 1720. With his sharp mind, great valour and strategic planning, he expanded the Maratha rule outside Maharashtra within a short span of twenty years. His ambition was to establish sovereignty of the Maratha rule in southern India and to expand the rule in the northern India in the whole of Bundelkhand.
Peshwa Bajirao, the great Maratha general and statesman, changed the map of India in the mid-eighteenth century. His military campaigns were classic examples of his genius. In the havoc of the religious intolerance continued by the tottering Mughals after Aurangzeb, Bajirao stood out as the champion of Hinduism as he protected Hindu Dharma from the onslaught of Islamic rulers.
Bajirao established the Maratha leadership in southern India between the years 1725 to 1727. He had to abandon the Gujarat campaign when the Nizam of Hyderabad attacked Pune. Bajirao made a tactical move and instead of heading to Pune he attacked the Nizam’s territory. To save his kingdom the Nizam had to flee Pune. The Nizam was badly defeated at Palkhed in 1728 and had to sign the Mungi-Shegaon peace treaty. This battle established Bajirao’s reputation as a guerrilla fighter. In the year 1738, the Nizam, who was called upon to help protect the throne of Delhi, once again faced the wrath of Bajirao. His army was severely routed at Bhopal which forced him into signing a treaty with Bajirao – a treaty which made him surrender a large chunk of land at Narmada and Chambal. The victory of Bhopal was the zenith of his achievements. He was known as the lion of Maharashtra after the Palkhed-Dabhai victory; but his victory at Bhopal earned him the epithet of the lion of Hind (a large portion of today’s India and some part of Pakistan).
Bajirao is thus acknowledged as one of the greatest warriors of Hindu Dharma and the most famous ruler in the history of Bharat. He was a noted general who served as Peshwa (Prime Minister) to the fourth Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu.
Baji Rao, who fought over 41 battles, is reputed to have never lost one.
Baji Rao was married to Kashibai, and had three sons of whom, Nanasaheb, was appointed Peshwa by Shahu in 1740. His second son from Kashibai was named Raghunathrao and the third son’s name was Shamsher Bahadur from Mastani(his second wife).
This brave Maratha warrior passed away at Raverkhedi, a village on the banks of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, on 28th April 1740 at the young age of forty. We celebrate May 4 as his Death anniversary as per Hindu Almanac.
A collection by Upendra kumar.