Peshva Balaji Bajirav.
The next five years saw the extension of the Maratha influence in the Karnatak. The affairs of Salabat Jung who was a mere puppeti in the hands of his successive regents gave the Marathas an oppourtunity to invade his possessions. Nizam Ali, the younger brother of Salabat Jung and the Governar of Berar, in the monsoon of 1757 arrived in Aurangabad. The Marathas also moved from Poona towards Aurangabad. Severe fighting took place before Sindkhed
from December 12 to 16, 1757. On December 17 Nizam Ali acknowledged defeat and sued for peace. Territory worth 25 lacs along with the fort of Naldurg was ceded to the Marathas. The peace was
however, short-lived and hostilities again broke out in 1759. The Marathas had gained added strength due to the employment of Ibrahim Khan Gardi who had been dismissed by Nizam Ali A vast Maratha army under the Pesva s brother Raghunathrav and cousin Sadasivrav, with Ibrahim Khan's artillery, began the invasion of Nizam's territory. The fort of Ahmadnagar was seized by the Marathas. Fighting commenced between the two forces in the vicinity of Udgir in which the forces of Nizam-ul-mulk Salabat Jung and Nizam Ali were routed (3rd February 1760). The army of Salabat Jung was in no condition to fight and peace was concluded on his agreeing to cede territory with an income of 60 lacs of rupees in the province of Aurangabad, half of Bijapur and Bidar, the forts of Asir, Daulatabad and Mulher and the cities of Bijapur and Burhanpur (13th February 1760). In the following year the Marathas were defeated at Panipat by Ahmad Sah Abdali. Pesva Balaji Bajirav died soon after. These events considerably weakened the Maratha position in the Deccan. Taking advantage of this Nizam Ali who had usurped power from his brother Nizam-ul-mulk Salabat Jung invaded the Maratha territory in November 1761.
The new Pesva and his uncle Raghunathrav marched with a force of Madhavrav. about 70,000. Raghunathrav, the uncle of the Pesva, had other intentions and instead of imposing harsher terms upon Nizam Ali, he ceded territory worth 40 lacs of rupees to Nizam Ali in return for the jagirs which Ramcandra Jadhav had held from the Nizam and who had now joined the Marathas. This was done to secure the friendship of Nizam Ali. The rift between the Pesva Madhavrav and his uncle Raghunathrav came into the open resulting in the battle fought at Aleganv on 12th November 1762 between the two. Nizam Ali extended his full support to Raghunathrav and demanded territory worth sixty lacs surrendered at Udgir Raghunathrav agreed to return the major portion together with the fort of Daulatabad but before the actual exchange of territory took place, hostilities broke out between the Marathas and the Nizam. Raghunathrav effected many changes in the administration of the State and by his action made enemies of the Patvardhans and the Pratinidhi. He soon received the news of the coalition of these officers with Janoji Bhosle and Nizam Ali. Nizam Ali made heavy and insulting demands upon the Pesva. The first shot was fired by Nizam Ali who started ravaging the Maratha territory. Marathas retaliated by attacking the possessions of the Nizam. The Pesva now tried to seduce the Maratha alies of Nizam. He succeeded in detaching Janoji Bhosle, Gopalrav Patvardhan and others. This considerably weakened the position of Nizam Ali who started retreating towards Aurangabad, being hotly pursued by the Marathas. He crossed the Godavarl leaving the bulk of his army at Raksasbhuvan. The Marathas fell upon this army and totally destroyed it. Nizam Ali, after protracted negotiations agreed to surrender to the Pesva territory worth 82 lacs, that is, all that had already been secured at Udgir but which Raghunathrav had agreed to give back at Uruli and Aleganv. Madhavrav who was reconciled to Raghunathrav now returned
triumphant to Poona. During 1764 and 1765 the Pesva was busy with his campaign in the Karnatak against Haider Ali. On his return from the campaign a meeting took place between the Pesva and Nizam Ali lasting for ten days (5th to 14th February), 1766.[When these events were taking place a pretender of Sadashivraobhau, who was killed in the battle of Panipat, appeared in Northern India. In 1764 he crossed the Narmada and appeared in the Deccan on January 14, 1765. Madhavrao issued orders for an enquiry to verify the truth or falsity of the statement of the man who called himself Sukhlal. Accordingly Malharrao Holkar held an enquiry at Sultanpur on 12th August 1765 and declared that he was not the real Bhausaheb. The impostor was arrested and put in confine ment.].
From now on till the death of the Pesva on 18th November 1772 the Marathas reestablished their lost prestige in the north. Gohad was invested in June 1766. Agra and Mathura were occupied in April 1770. Etwa was captured on December 15, 1770. With the capture of Najibabad on April 14, 1772 the Marathas recovered the spoils of Panipat and their lost glory too. The death of Madhavrav. spread a gloom over the Maratha State. Narayanrav, his brother succeeded him as Pesva. But he was soon after murdered (August 30, 1773) with the connivance of Raghunathrav who now assumed the robes of Pesvaship (October 10, 1773). The Poona ministers, however, declined to support him and declared him an usurper. Raghunathrav now became a fugitive and moved towards Pandharpur with Trimbakrav Pethe closely upon his track. The dispute in the Maratha court gave the English an opportunity to attack the Maratha possession of Thana and take it by assault. The Marathas, however, soon retaliated by blockading the English trade. This respite gave Raghunathrav an opportunity to regroup his forces and attack Pethe near Kasegahv and defeat him. But the flush of his victory was short-lived and he had to beat a hasty retreat against the determined assault of Haripant Phadke who was joined by the forces of Bhosle and Nizam Ali. In the middle of April 1774 he crossed the Godavari and fled to Burhanpur and thence to Narmada. The Poona ministers' hands were strengthened by the birth of a son to Gangabai, the wife of the late Pesva on 18th April 1774.
Peshva Madhavrav II.
The new born child was invested with the robes of Pesvaship on the 40th day of its life. Haripant Phadke who was pursuing Raghunathrav could not overtake him and established his base camp at Burhanpur. Raghunathrav tried to secure help from Sinde and Holkar and failing in his attempts, sought the assistance of the English at Bombay. Sinde and Holkar dissuaded him from adopting such a course and invited him for a conference in the vicinity of Burhanpur. Raghunathrav agreed. He, however, suddenly marched towards Bhopal. He was, however, forcibly brought back by Sinde and Holkar, and together they crossed. the Narmada at the end of July 1774. Nana Phadnis left for Burhanpur for a conference with Raghunathrav. When the talk were going on, Raghunathrav becoming suspicious, escaped to Gujarat on the night of December 10 1774. He was, how ever, overtaken by Haripant and routed near Vasad on 17th February 1775. Raghunathrav took to flight and joined the English
at Surat where he signed with them an ignominious treaty on 6th March 1775. A force of 2500 was given to Raghunathrav by the English to help him oppose the Maratha army in Gujarat and eventually to reach Poona. An indecisive action was fought between the two at Adas in which the English lost 300 of their men. Haripant retired to Songad. At this time, Warren Hastings who had been appointed as the Governor General of English possessions in India, disapproved of the action of Bombay authorities and sent his own ambassador Upton to negotiate a settlement with the Marathas. The Poona court was intrigued at this diversity of policies of the English authorities at Bombay and Calcutta. The Poona ministers unsuccessfully tried to settle with Raghunathrav directly. He, however, could not be conciliated. On the contrary he excited the Kolis of Khandes to rebel and encouraged Gulzar Khan of Ranala to commit depredations against the Maratha government in the same region. The negotiations between the Marathas and the English taking place at Purandar failed to yield any result due to the unreasonable attitude of the English and hostilities were resumed. However, the ministers were forced to come to terms with the English due to the escape of the pretender of Sadasivrav Bhau from Ratnagiri on 18th February 1776 and the treaty of Purandar was signed on 1st March 1776. The terms of the treaty were favourable to the English. The English at first agreed to withdraw protection to Raghunathrav. They, however, refused to surrender him as demanded by the Marathas. The discomfiture of the Poona ministers encouraged the enemies of the Marathas such as Nizam Ali, Haider Ah, the Kolhapur Raja, the Pratinidhi, the Kolis of Khandes and a number of other vassals of the Maratha State to rise in all directions and endanger the very existence of the Maratha State. The English decided to take advantage of the situation, to break the treaty of Purandar and to reinstate Raghunathrav at Poona. The Poona ministers took up the challenge and decided to fight it out with the English. The matters soon came to a crisis and the Marathas inflicted a crushing defeat upon the English at Vadganv in January 1779. Warren Hastings had dispatched general Goddard commanding the Bengal forces to reinforce the English troops fighting the Marathas. Before Goddard reached Burhanpur he learned of the disaster that had befallen the English forces at Vadganv and the proceeded to Surat from Burhanpur with a view to crippling the Marathas in Gujarat. Under the convention of Vadganv, the English agreed to surrender Raghunathrav and return Salsette, Thana and the territory captured by them in Gujarat. Raghunathrav after much hesitation signed and took oath on an agreement acknowledging Madhavrav Narayan as Pesva, relinquishing his claim to that post and retiring from public affairs and reside at Jhansi. Raghunathrav accordingly left for Jhansi on 24th February 1779. He was restless and discomfited at the restraints placed upon him by the Poona ministers. On his way he instigated some of his ardent followers, Manaji Phakde, Bajirav Barve, Kero Krsna Datar and others to gather their forces in north Khandes where some rebellious elements such as the local Kolis, Gulzar Khan of
Sultanpur, Khanderav Pavar of Dhar and others had been already creating troubles for the Poona government. Anandibai, the wife of Raghunathrav was residing at Mndalesvar. She travelled to Burhanpur to join her husband and kept a close contact with general Goddard. Raghunathrav reached the vicinity of Burhanpur in April
1779 and the bank of the Narmada in May. While in the camp Raghunathrav suddenly fired his guns upon the guards, killed his keeper Hari Babaji and made good his escape to Goddard at Surat where he was readily welcomed. Goddard won over Fatesinh Gaikvad of Baroda and together they started a fresh war in Gujarat against the Maratha government of Poona. [Goddard on his march from central
India to Surat found Khandesh most prosperous. Many of the grain carts collected at Burhanpur were left behind by the speed at which the army moved (300 miles in ninety days), and the troops had to depend for provisions on the villages along their line of march. The supply was abundant, and the people, industrious, happy and humane, did not fly from their villages, but voluntarily offered provisions and grain. For eighty miles west of Burhanpur, the country was full of villages, fertile prosperous, and well tilled. [Account of Bombay (1781), 289, 290.] This consequently meant the repudiation by the English of the convention of Vadganv. To oppose the English in distant Gujarat with the Gaikvad joining hands with them and with Khandes in open rebellion against them was a difficult task for the Marathas. Nana Phadnis rose to the occasion and in consultation with Mahadaji Sinde and Tukoji Holkar formed what is known as the grand quadruple alliance composed of the Marathas, Nizam Ali, Haider Ali and the Bhosle of Nagpur against the English, Hastings succeeded in detaching Nizam Ali and the Bhosle from the alliance but the confederacy was strengthened by the Siddi, the Portuguese and the French joining the combination. Nana Phadnis undaunted by the weaning away of two of the important members of the confederacy by the English formed plans to oppose the English in Gujarat. Mahadaji Sinde and Tukoji Holkar moved towards Gujarat through Khandes. They put down to troublesome elements such as the Kolis, Candrarav Pavar and others on the way. Ganes-pant Behere and Visaji Appaji, the two commanders of the Pesva co-operated with Sinde and Holkar and fought several actions in Khandes. In one of the actions Candrarav Pavar, the youngest son of Udaji Pavar was killed (December 1780). Gulzar Khan of Sultanpur who was an ally of Raghunathrav was also humbled and made innocuous. The hostilities continued during February and March
1780 when Mahadaji played for time by offering a negotiated settlement. The stalemate continued and when rainy season approached Goddard retired to Surat while Mahadaji and Tukoji returned to Malva. In the meanwhile Haider Ali worked havoc in the English possessions in the coastal plain of Madras. Warrent Hastings sent reinforcements by sea to Madras and by land through Bundelkhand and Malva. Nana Phadnis advised Mahadaji who was on his way to Malva to canton for the monsoon in Khandes between Burhanpur and the famous pass known as Kondai about 50 miles west of Dhulia. Mahadaji as an experienced general refused on the ground that the best way to defend Deccan was to prevent any reinforcement reaching the English from Bengal, and Malva was the proper place to do
so. He wrote to Nana Phadnis to defend Gujarat and Konkan with the help of the southern chiefs and advised him to allow Tukoji Holkar to hold Khandes. The war continued and places changed hands. Bassein fell to the English who now proposed an attack on Poona under Goddard and Hartley. Haripant Phadke and Patvardhan advanced to oppose them. While Mahadaji stayed in Malva, Tukoji Holkar came through Khandes to support the Poona forces in north Konkan. The English campaign, however, failed due to the guerilla tactics of the Marathas and Goddard had to retire to Bombay in May 1781. The stubborn fighting by Mahadaji Sinde in Malva made the position of the English worse in that region. Negotiations for settlement were initiated by the English and after pro tracted negotiations the treaty of Salbye was concluded on 17th May
1782 on terms favourable to the Marathas. Raghunathrav did not live
long after the treaty of Salbye and died on 17th December
1783 at Khandesvar. The next few years saw intense Maratha
activity in the north under Mahadaji Sinde and concerted action by
the Marathas and Nizam Ali against Tipu Sultan of Mysore. On
June 1, 1790 the Marathas, the English and Nizam Ali formed
tripartite alliance against Tipu resulting in the defeat and submission
of Tipu on February 11, 1792. However, cracks now began to
appear in the friendship that existed between the Marathas and
Nizam Ali on the question of payment of Cauth. Nizam Ali refused
to pay the dues which had accumulated since, the treaty of Salbye
Negotiations failed to solve the dispute and both the parties had
recourse to arms. The English maintained a strictly neutral attitude
in this conflict. This was based on an appraisal of Nizam's weakness
and the strength of the Marathas. Nizam Ali suffered a crushing
defeat in the battle fought at Kharda on 11th March 1795. In
Khandes after grants had been made to the great Maratha chiefs,
especially to Holkar and Sinde, the part left to the Pesva was
formed into a separate charge or Subha which was composed of
Galna, Khandes proper, Mewar Bijagad, Pal Nemad and Hindia
(Handia). [Hamilton's Description of Hindostan, II, 95.] The Pesva Madhavrav died shortly afterwards on
October 27, 1795. There were only three surviving members form
the Pesva family viz., Bajirav, Cimnaji and Amrtrav, all sons of
Raghunathrav. Nana PhadnTs favoured Cimnaji. However, Bajirav
who longed to acquire Pesvaship which had evaded his father won
to his side Daulatrav Sinde.
However, he decided in the end to
come to a compromise with Nana Phadnis. Under the agreement
Bajirav was to become the Pesva and Nana, his principal minister.
This enraged Daulatrav who adopted an intransigent attitude. Nana
fearing danger to his life escaped to Mahad. Nana now approached
Nizam Ali for help. This aliented Nana, from Sinde and Parasurambhau Patvardhan. Nizam Ali agreed to help Nana with the latter
agreeing to barter away all the hard won gains of Kharda. Nana.
however, won over several Maratha chiefs and gained the sympathy
of the rulers of the neighbouring States. To crown it all he got
Bajirav to his side. Tables were turned now against Daulatrav who
in rage plundered Poona, Nana introduced one more evil genius, Sarzarav Ghatge into Sinde's camp, to his own advantage. The matters now came to a head and Parasurambhau, the partisan of Cimnaji was attacked by Holkar and captured. Cimnaji was removed from palace. No sooner he got this news than Nana left Mahad for Poona which he reached on 25th November 1796. Bajirav was now proclaimed Pesva with Nana as his chief minister. The ceremony of installation took place on 5th December 1796. These disturbances which followed the death of Pesva Madhavrav II were two years later increased by the disputes among the sons of Tukoji Holkar who had died on August 15, 1797. Tukoji had four sons Kasirav, Malharrav, Vithoji and Yesvantrav. Of these Kasirav was supported by Daulatrav Sinde, whereas the other three made a common cause against Kasirav and enlisted the support of Nana Phadnls. On 14th September 1797 Daulatrav sent a detachment to secure the person of Malharrav. Malharrav was suddenly attacked and killed with a few of his followers. It is said that Kasirav incited Daulatrav to this deed by a bribe of Rs. 3,50,000. On this Vithoji and Yesvantrav fled and took to a life of brigandage devastating Sinde's territory. They gathered a band of freebooters, laid waste the Khandes Narmada districts, ravaged the hill country between the Narmada and the Tapi, took Indore and succeeded in driving Kasirav into exile. Daulatrav managed to take possession of Jijabai, the wife of Malharrav along with her infant son Khanderav and kept them secure in his camp.
Affair of the ladies.
This episode was symptomatic of the trouble that plagued the families of the leading chiefs of the Maratha State. It may be recalled that Mahadaji Sinde had left behind him three wives viz., Laksmibai, Yamunabai and Bhagirathibai. They demanded independent maintenance from Daulatrav. On his refusal they took up arms against Daulatrav and marched upon Poona. On this many of their partisans were arrested and Nana Phadnls was removed from the scene altogether and confined in the fort of Ahmadnagar on 6th April 1798. Daulatrav met the ladies. He arranged for their residence at Burhanpur. They, however, refused to move and demanded their property and the surrender of Saizarav. Muzaffar Khan, another military chief of Sinde joined the ladies party and a civil war broke out on the outskirts of Poona. Neither party agreed to budge an inch from the positions taken by it. Daulatrav and Bajirav felt that Nana Phadnis alone could set the matters right. Nana was brought back. He insisted upon the departure of Sinde to the north. Bajirav, however, could not allow such an eventuality to take place due to his insecure position and fear of Nana's ability. The ladies' affair was still unsettled. They started depredations southwards making common cause with the Satara and Kolhapur Rajas. Two of their followers, Yesvantrav Sivaji and Balaji Krsna, started independent depredations in the Pesva's districts of Nasik and Khandes. Joining in the struggle between Daulatrav Sinde and the ladies, Yesvantrav attacked Daulatrav's
forces, plundered their camp and drove them from
Khandes. He wandered through the wild regions of Tapi and Narmada. He collected a faithful band of Bhil followers and commenced raiding the territories of Sultanpur and Nandurbar in north Khandes. He moved to Dhar when he heard that his brother Kasirav was marching against him. He had to leave that place when Daulatrav Sinde instigated the Raja of Dhar, Anandrav Pavar, to expel him. He was, however, determined to fight a war against Sinde. He proclaimed Khanderav as the rightful heir of the Holkar estate and thus won over many of the old servants of the Holkar house. One of the ladies, Yamunabai was stabbed on 14th January 1800 and in desperation the ladies moved to the north to renew hostilities there. Yesvantrav paid them a visit and offered them help against Daulatrav. In the meanwhile attempts of the raja of Satara to achieve independence were put down by Bajirav with the help of Daulatrav Sinde. On March 13, 1800 Nana Phadnis died. With his death was removed one of the great personalities from the Maratha political scene. Daulatrav, on hearing of the depredations of Yesvantrav, left Poona in December 1800, appointing Balaji Kunjar and Sarzarav Ghatge to look after the administration and safety of Bajirav. Yesvantrav Holkar now returned to the Narmada to face the advancing army of Daulatrav Sinde. When Yesvantrav moved like lightning his brother Vithoji did not remain idle. He carried fire and sword through Maharastra, having been joined by all the refractory elements that had so long suffered at the hands of Bajirav and Daulatrav. The region between Khandes and the Krsna became one general scene of anarchy and chaos. Plunder and fire raged everywhere and no vestiges of organised rule could be seen. Vithoji Holkar declared Bajirav as incompetent and proclaimed himself as the agent of Amrtrav. Vithoji was, however, captured by a contingent sent by Bajirav under Bapu Gokhale. Vithoji was done to death by Bajirav. When these events were taking place in Poona, Yesvantrav Holkar was engaged in a fierce struggle with Daulatrav on the banks of the Narmada. Daulatrav had reached the Narmada at the end of May 1801 and the fight continued for four months. He sent repeated summons to Sarzarav to come to his help. Sarzarav reached there on 9th October leaving behind him a trail of plunder and devastation. Both of them defeated Yesvantrav Holkar. However in another action fought on 30th October, Yesvantrav inflicted a crushing defeat upon Sarzarav. Daulatrav now offered to negotiate. Yesvantrav refused and collecting round him a band of devoted followers started the year (1802) with resounding exploits. He had already secured the person of Kasirav, his brother, and now desired the custody of his nephew Khanderav who was in the possession of Daulatrav. Bajirav now directed him to take up his residence at Thalner in Khandes and accordingly Yesvantrav pitched his camp on the banks of Tapi. Yesvantrav now demanded of Bajirav a redress of his grievances. Foolishly Bajirav refused to listen. Yesvantrav now sent two of his chiefs Fatesinh Mane and Sahamat Khan to exact retribution from Bajirav's domains. He himself moved south from Thalner. Forgetting the assassination of his
brother Vithojl, Yesvantrav demanded the surrender of Khanderav. Bajirav, to add fuel, to the fire, confiscated the estates of Holkar and paid no heed to the advice rendered by Parasar Dadaji and Ahilya bai's trusted secretary Govindpant Ganu to conciliate Yesvantrav. On the contrary Sarzarav put Khanderav with a few others in fetters in the fort of Asirgad. To checkmate Yesvantrav, Daulatrav marched from the north. Thoroughly exasperated, Yesvantrav moved south from Thalner where he learnt of the arrival of the Sinde's army at Burhanpur. Yesvantrav again wrote a respectful letter to Bajirav requesting him to undo the wrong. Bajirav sent an evasive reply asking Holkar to withdraw. Yesvantrav moved on, crossing the Kasarbari pass near Calisganv. Bajirav perhaps wanted to gain time pending the arrival of the disciplined troops of Sinde to his succour. Yesvantrav realised the trick and pressed on to the Godavari. Passing through west Khandes, Yesvantrav utterly ruined and laid it waste. He descended upon Ahmadnagar and sacked it with great fury. The helpless and terror stricken Bajirav wanted to send an agent to Yesvantrav with dresses, for negotiations but was prevented from his task by the strong protestations of Sinde. Sadasiv Bhaskar, the Baksi of Sinde arrived in Poona on 22nd October 1802. In the meanwhile Yesvantrav had arrived at Baramati. He informed Bajirav of his desire to negotiate, adding that his enmity was not with the Pesva but with Daulatrav Sinde and that he (Pesva) should act as the master. But all this proved to be of no avail and the issue was settled on the battle-field at Hadapsar when Holkar completely overwhelmed Sinde (25th October 1802). Bajirav fled from Poona and inspite of the hand of friendship again offered by Yesvantrav, sought the protection of the English. Yesvantrav Holkar, with the support and backing of all the Maratha chiefs except the Gaikvad, declared Amrtrav as the Pesva replacing Bajirav. A council consisting of Holkar, Bhosle and Patvardhan was proposed with a place for Sinde. Appeals were sent to Bajirav to refrain from taking any unilateral decisions with the English. But Bajirav would have none of it and he practically surrendered the sovereignty bassein Maratha State to the English by the treaty of Bassein which was concluded on 31st December 1802.
Treaty of Bassein.
The issue was not now confined as a mere conflict between the Sinde and the Holkar. It assumed the nature of a struggle between the English and the Maratha State. The English forces now advanced against Poona under Colonel Wellesley. Wellesley informed Yesvantrav that he would not be disturbed if he withdrew from Poona. Holkar had suffered heavily in his recent clash with Sinde. In the absence of a firm support from Sinde or any other Maratha chief, he thought it wise to agree and accordingly withdrew from Poona. Passing through east Khandes on his way north, Holkar ruined it as utterly as he had before ruined the west. The English plan was to temporarily oppose Holkar and make him innocuous, lull Bajirav into inactivity and destroy Sinde whose power was yet to be reckoned with. Wellesley reached Poona on 20th April 1803 and on 13th May Bajirav was installed as Pesva. Sinde was at this time at Burhanpur. He decided
a plan of concerted action with Bhosle of Nagpur against the English but valuable time was lost before these chiefs could come together, in the meanwhile the English succeeded in detaching Amrtrav from the coalition formed against them by giving him a permanent provision. Bajirav on the other hand, when the Maratha State was faced with the grim realities of the intentions of the English, failed to take the cue and wasted his life in pleasure and merry-making. Neither the English nor any of his so-called followers trusted him. He wanted the Holkar to be punished. He wanted to free himself from British thraldom. But he neither had the capacity to face the situation or the ingenuity to organise the rescoures of the State against the English. The English motives were clear. They wanted to destroy Maratha independence and disarm the principal chiefs of the Maratha State viz., Bhosle, Holkar and Sinde. A messenger, Colonel Collins, was sent to the Sinde's camp at Burhanpur who reached there on 27th February 1803. An unsuccessful dialogue went between the two about Sinde accepting the treaty of Bassein. On 4th May 1803 Sinde left Burhanpur to meet the forces of Bhosle who had moved from Nagpur. The English prepared for war at the same time waiting for a definite reply from Sinde and Bhosle who met at Bodvad on 4th June 1803. The wranglings went on till 31st July 1803. The English ultimately declared war on Sinde and Bhosle. Sinde and Bhosle sent a communication to Holkar to join the alliance against the English. Vesvantrav in his reply to Raghuji Bhosle said " I have already explained my requirements to your vakils at Poona and have repeated the same to you in writing. I have kept myself perfectly ready to join you in defence of our State and religion. Instead of complying with my request you simply asked me to return from Khandes to Candvad. I at once came back. You know how during the last few months I have been begging you for the restoration of the Holkar territories seized by Sinde. As soon as he satisfies this request I am ready to join you. I await your reply at Bhikanganv."[Aitihasik Patravyavahar, 373] Daulatrav failed to satisfy these demands and by his duplicity alienated Holkar who left for Malva. Hostilities now started and the English won a decisive victory over Sinde and Bhosle in the battle fought at Asai on 23rd September 1803 at an enormous cost. The English under Stevenson entered Khandes and captured Burhanpur (15th October 1803) and the fort of Asirgad (21st October 1803). After the further defeat at Adganv (28th November 1803) Sinde was forced to sue for peace. Under the terms of the treaty then made a portion of his territory in Khandes was restored to Sinde.
Treaty of surji-Aniangaon.
Another portion was given to the Pesva. The treaty is known as the treaty of Surji-Anjanganv. It was signed on 30th December 1803. The power of Sinde was so much reduced that within two months of the treaty of Surji-Anjanganv, Daulatrav begged the English to supply him with a subsidiary force. For this a supplementary treaty was concluded on 27th February 1804 which is known as the treaty of Burhanpur. A separate treaty known as the treaty of Devgaon was made with Raghuji Bhosle on 17th December 1803.
Treaty of Devgaon.
Yesvantrav continued his predatory activities in the north by collecting Cauth and claiming it to be his traditional right. War was therefore declared upon Holkar. While Yesvantrav was occupied in the north all his possessions in the south, viz., Candvad, Lasalganv, Dhodap, Galna and his share of Khandes were occupied by the English during September and October 1804. It may be noted that the Maratha chiefs had accepted the terms of treaty under duress. Daulatrav Sinde became restive. He left Burhanpur and proceeded to Bundelkhand with a view to joining Holkar and organizing an anti-British confederacy. Sinde and Holkar met at Sabalgad. The offensive and aggressive policy of the G. G. Lord Wellesly was regarded as mainly responsible for the state of disorder that prevailed in the country. He was recalled and Lord Cornwallis was appointed as the new G. G. Comwallis started for the upper provinces and it was left to Malcolm and Lake to restore the situation. A threatening letter to Sinde separated him from Holkar. He was immediately reconciled by the confirmation of the treaty of Surji-Anjanganv by a fresh treaty. The English agreed not to enter into any engagement with Sinde's tributaries and not to interfere in his conquests from Holkar between the Tapi and the Cambal. This treaty is known as the treaty of Mustafapur. It was concluded on 21st November, 1805. The conflict with Yesvantrav, however, was protracted. The English offensive against him was tarnished by Colonel Manson's retreat and by the failure of the siege of Bharatpur. Ultimately Holkar sued for peace receiving back all his land south of the Cambal. The treaty was concluded on 24th December 1805 and is known as the treaty of Rajghat. The elimination of the alliance against the English and the signing of separate treaties with the three principal Maratha chiefs ended all semblance of Pesva's control over them. He became one like them. His jurisdiction extended to Khandes in the north and the river Tungabhadra in the south.
Khandes was now in a miserable plight. On the top of the ruin wrought by Holkar came a failure of rains. No harvest was reaped, the whole stock of cattle perished and the people dying or flying to Gujarat left many parts of the district desolate. It was depopulated and the roads were not practicable except with a guard that might almost be called an army. The Bhils who were among the chief hill tribes and who had before lived with the other inhabitants now commanded the passes where their power was considerable [Hamilton, Description of Hindostan, II, 96. ]. They had worked as village watchmen and had been the great instruments of policing the area. They retired to the hills. The whole range of hills was subject to the command of their chieftains who had not only the aboriginal Bhil race at their command but generally a few Arab and Hindustani soldiers whom they retained to assist in enforcing contributions from merchants and travellers.
It was through these hills that marauders penetrated, and pillaged the rich
plain villages and escaped, the hills were almost inaccessible to detachments of
troops. Against such an enemy no weapons were thought too cruel or too base. In 1808 at Koperganv one Balaji Laksman tempted from the hills a large body of the Candor Bhils. He then surrounded and massacred them. This treachery only made the Bhils fierce, and the Maratha officers retaliated by most cruel massacres at Calisganv, Dharanganv and Antur. Unable to protect themselves, the chiefs and large land-holders called in the aid of Arab mercenaries. These foreigners soon rose to power. Saving their pay and giving it out at interest they became the chief money-lenders of the district, levying large sums both from their employers and from the general body of the people. Besides the Bhil plunderers and Arab usurpers, the district suffered from the exactions of its fiscal officers, who farming the revenues for a year or for a short term of years left no means untried in their efforts to wring money from the people.
There were also the Karnatak mercenaries, entertained by every petty proprietor, who had made themselves very obnoxious. Gulzar Khan Thoke, the holder of the strong fort of Lasur, enlisted a body of Arabs to oppose them Unable to pay or control his Arabs, he used to let them loose on the country around, till at last the other proprietors, entering into a league against him, bribed his Arabs to assassinate him in Lasur, and his eldest son, Alliyar Khan in Copda. A second son, Alif Khan, escaping from Lasur, took refuge with Suryajirav Nimbalkar of Yaval. Returning to Lasur with some Karnatak mercenaries lent him by Nimbalkar, Alif Khan, on pretence of paying the Arabs their arrears, entered the fort with the Karnatak troops, and seizing the Arabs, put them to death. Instead of being in possession of his fort, Alif Khan found that the Karnatak troops had orders to hold the fort for their master. Nimbalkar. Driven to despair Alif Khan allied himself with the Bhils and plundered without mercy. At last Nimbajkar agreed to give up the fort for a money payment of Rs. 10,000 [This sum Captain Briggs advanced to the Thoke family and occupied the fort with British troops. Bom. Gaz. XII, 454-55.]
Nasirabad, locally known as Sol Nimbhora, from its having sixteen villages under it, was several times plundered by the Satmala Bhils. In 1807 it was plundered by a freebooter named Juba, and again, just before the great famine of 1803, by one of Pesvas officers. [After this the village wall was built by one of the Purandares
to whom the town was given in grant. Bom. Gaz. XII, 460.] Thalner was made over to Holkar by the Pesva but Holkar, in about 1800, pledged it to Nimbalkar.
Sultanpur was a handsome town as late as 1803. The local story of the destruction of Sultanpur is that Yesvantrav Holkar, escaping from Poona, came to Sultanpur, then part of Holkar's dominions and forming an alliance with the Bhils, plundered such of the people as would not acknowledge him as their king. Among those who refused allegiance was Laksmanrav Desai, the chief man of Sultanpur. Taking up his quarters at Cikli [A village about six miles west of Sultanpur.] whose Bhil chieftain Jugar Naik was
his friend, Holkar sent a letter to Laksmanrav, calling on him to pay Rs. 500. Laksmanrav replied by scoffing at Holkar's caste and taunting him with illegitimate birth. Hearing of this and fearing Holkar's vengeance, Krparam Dagaram, a rich banker, went to Holkar and offered him the tribute of Rs. 500. Satisfied by this that he might rely on a party in Sultanpur, Holkar, with his Bhil ally, entered the town and winning over the garrison, plundered the Desai's house. Then the Bhils were let loose, the town was laid waste. Except one man all the people fled. [Bom. Gaz. XII, 471-72. ] Raver, too, was ravaged by Yesvantrav in 1800. It was, shortly after, taken by Suryajirav Nimbalkar.[Ibid. 468. ] In the ruin that fell on the Khandes in 1803, Dhulia was utterly deserted. In the following year Balaji Balvant, a dependent of Vithal Narsirig Vincurkar, re-peopled the village and in return received from Vincurkar deed granting him certain lands and privileges. [The deed states that the district had been ruined, first by rebels and then by a famine, that the few inhabitants had fled, that the country round was overgrown with brushwood, and that Balaji had cleared the thickets and brought traders and husbandmen to settle, had helped them with money to build houses, had established a mart and in other respects made the town habitable, Bom. Gaz. XII, 442 c/f Mr. Pollen c. s. ] At the same time the fort was repaired Being afterwards entrusted with the entire management of the districts of Songir and Laling, Balaji Balvant fixed his headquarters at Dhulia and continued to exercise his authority till 1818, when the country passed to the British.
In 1816 a new enemy fell on Khandes. The Pendharis, under the guidance of the Musalman Bhils of the eastern hills entered by the Asirgad pass. With no troops to oppose them, they plundered' at leisure, causing more misery than either the Bhils or Arabs. In 1816, every village in the neighbourhood was in ruins. The Pendhari leader, Ghodji Bhosle, even in the early years, had plundered Gandhi, [Six miles north-east of Amalner. ] the first place of the Gujarat Sravak Varus in Khandes. But the year 1817 had dawned and the British Government were feverishly preparing for operations against the Pendharis. [During the two years 1815 and 1816 the Pendharis had traversed the whole of Peninsular India twice.] The Governor-General opened the campaign on 16th October 1817. Lieutenant Davies with a body of the Nizam's horse, dispersed and drove the Pendharis from Khandes. Citu, the most formidable of the Pendhari chiefs, was hunted with restless and relentless vigour until he was driven into a jungle near Asirgad, where he was devoured by a tiger.
Still the district was in great disorder. The condition of Khandes was highly anarchical almost unexampled, as Elphinstone observed, '" even in Asia "'.[Shashi Bhushan Chaudhuri, " Civil Disturbances during the British Rule in India (1765-1857)", 157, c/f Elphinstone's letter to T. H. Villiers (pp. 1831-32 (commons), Vol, XIV, paper 735-VI, p. 154).] Thus driven by war and pestilence of the plains
against which there was no protection, the Bhils became refractory by temperament, and retired to their mountain fastnesses where they entrenched themselves strongly under the leadership of their chiefs, in " hive-like habitations" crested at the top of each hill, throwing strong defences around. This being the situation, the occupation of Khandes by the British in 1818 was calculated to increase the restlessness of the people. Graham noted with characteristic accuracy, smarting also under the repeatedly broken pledges of the former Native Government, and rendered savage from the wholesale slaughter of their families and relations, the Bhils were more than usually suspicious of a new government of foreigners, and less than ever inclined to submit to the bonds of order and restraint.[Historical sketch of the Bhil Tribes of Khandesh
(1843) 4. Chaudhuri, o.c.157.]
In the north, the Satpudas vere the nest of these disaffected Bhils, in the south, Satmala and Ajanta Bhils, in different organised groups, were led by 32 leaders, and started up in every direction with fire and sword. In the insurrection of 1817, in Khandes, the complicity of Trimbakji was suspected by the British authorities. It appears that after his escape from the fort of Thana, he sought security in the Bhil settlement and excited a rising there by engaging the Bhils in their predatory incursions. Elphinstone asked the Pesva to secure the seizure and arrest of the rebel minister, but Bajirav asserted that Trimbakji had never been with the insurgents, to which Elphinstone was obliged to reply: " Many persons had seen Trimbakji, and that his two nephews, Godaji Dengle and Malupa Dengle were now at the head of the insurrection in Khandes, and that the number of the insurgents was about 8,000." [Chaudhuri, o. c. 157.]