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Maratha and Delhi

Maratha and capture of Delhi

Why didn’t the Marathas overthrow the Mughals & take Delhi? Why didn’t they avenge Panipat? Well, actually they did. Marathas captured Delhi four times and held it for over a 100 years!

  1. 1719 - First capture. Under Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj & Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath a campaign was launched on Delhi with the support of Sayed Brothers and Maharaja Ajit Singh. Mughal Emperor Farukhsiyar was dethroned and puppet Rafi Ul Darjat was appointed.
  2. 1737 - Peshwa Bajirao I gave a final death blow to the Mughal Empire & destroyed Delhi. Defeated General Dauran Khan & Mir Bakshi the Governor of Oudh. Any ruler who ever sat on the Mughal throne after this only sat by taking Maratha approval.
  3. 1760 - Battles of Kunjpura, Sadashivrao Bhau conquered the Red Fort at Delhi and stripped its gold and silver ceiling to generate funds for the Maratha Army. Sadashivrao Bhau declined the Delhi throne & preferred to keep Shah Alam as a puppet.
  4. In 1761 - the Third Battle of Panipat, the Maratha Empire suffered a serious blow at the hands of the of the Durrani Empire, Nawab of Awadh, and Rohillas under Najib. But yet again by 1771, Delhi was captured by Marathas led by Mahadaji Shinde with Shah Alam II as a puppet.
  5. After taking control of Delhi, Marathas sent a large army in 1772 to “punish” Afghan Rohillas for siding with the Durrani Empire at Panipat a decade ago. Maratha army fully devastated Rohilkhand and took the members of royal family as captives.

Thus you see that Marathas held Delhi for over 100 years till British finally defeated them in 1818. But never sat on the throne as it was deemed unimportant. Deccan was the center of the universe. Delhi was just another province with a puppet for collecting taxes.