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Shrimant Baji Rao Vishwanath Bhatt (August 18, 1699- April 25, 1740), also known as Baji Rao I, was a noted general who served as Peshwa (Prime Minister) to the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (King) Shahu between 1719 until Baji Rao’s death. He is also known as Thorala (Marathi for Elder) Baji Rao.
Baji Rao was the son of the first Bhatt family Peshwa – Balaji Vishwanath. At the tender age of 17,he was appointed by Shahu as Peshwa upon the death of his father, keeping aside all other claimants.Thus making the position of Peshwa hereditary in the Bhatt family.It is quite clear from this appointement that Shahu recognised the talent of this boy and reared him as peshwa.Bajirao was well trained by the maratha cavalry generals who have distinguished in the war of 27 years.Perhaps his early association with these maratha cavalry made him a part and parcel of them.Like Shivaji or Dhanaji Jadhav, Bajirao was popular with his soldiers and even today his name is a honorable one in countryside.
- Baji Rao, who fought over 36 battles, is reputed to have never lost one.
- He was one of the first to understand and exploit the fragmenting Mughal Empire, following the footsteps of his father. The declining influence of the Sayyid brothers at the Imperial court was another factor influencing his decision to attack.
- The later Kingdoms of Scindias (Ranoji) of Gwalior, Holkars (Malharrao) of Indore, Gaekwads (Pilaji) of Baroda, and Pawars (Udaiji) of Dhar were Baji Rao’s creation of a Maratha confederacy as he wreaked havoc on the disintegrating Mughal Empire and set up his jahagirdars (governors).
- He moved the administrative capital of the Maratha Empire from Satara to the new city of Pune in 1728 with permission of his master. His general, Bapuji Shripat persuaded some of the richer families of Satara to settle in the new city, which was divided into 18 peths (boroughs).
His famous quotes are –
“Remember that night has nothing to do with sleep. It was created by God, to raid territory held by your enemy. The night is your shield, your screen against the cannons and swords of vastly superior enemy forces.”
Download this fantastic book – a_history_of_the_mahrattas
Info courtesy – Wikipedia.
My bows to the founder of Hindavi Swaraaj and Marathi Empire. Jai Shivaji.