The struggles for political supremacy and territorial expansion between the Indian states gave the East India Company a golden opportunity to intervene in the internal affairs of these states. As far as the Marathas region is concerned, the main reason for British intervention here was commercial.
The cotton trade with China in 1784 and the sudden increase in trade off the coast of Gujarat and Bombay greatly increased the political ambitions of the British. The quarrels between the Maratha chieftains gave the British the opportunity they were looking for. After the death of Peshwa Narayan Rao, Raghunath Rao presented his claim to the post of Peshwa and opposed Nana Phadnavis and Madhavrao.
First Anglo-Maratha War (1755-82
Raghunath Rao made a treaty with the English governor of Bombay in 1775 AD. The English Government of Bombay did not consider it necessary to get the prior consent of the Governor-General and his Council.
According to the treaty signed between Raghunath Rao and the Government of Bombay on 7 March 1775, the British would give military support to Raghunath Rao to be appointed to the Peshwa post, instead of the British on the income of Salsette and Basin and the income of Bharuch and Surat. Will have authority. One of the 16 conditions included in this treaty was that Marathas would not invade Bengal and Karnataka.
The First Anglo Maratha War lasted for about 7 years. The English army led by Colonel Keating invaded Surat. The initial war took place on May 18, 1775, in the ‘plain of Ars’. The British were victorious in this war. The Marathas managed to retain their control over Poona. Finally, in 1782 AD, the Treaty of Salabi ended the war between the two sides.
Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-05)
After the death of Nana Fadnavis in 1800, the Poona Darbar became the center of conspiracies. Lord Wellesley believed that the only way for India to escape Napoleon’s danger was to acquire all the Indian states. To achieve this objective, it developed its subsidiary system of treaties. Nana Fadnavis was familiar with the British notoriety, so he kept the Marathas away from the subsidiary treaty. But after his death, Peshwa Bajirao showed his true form. In 1801, Peshwa Bajirao Drithi killed Jaswant Rao Holkar’s brother Biththu and attacked Poona, and defeated the army of Peshwa and Scindia. Holkar came to control Poona. Bajirao Driti fled and took refuge in Basin. On 31 September 1802, the Treaty of Bassein (Treaty of Bassein, 1802) was signed between Bajirao II and the British.
Following are the main points of the Treaty of Basin:
The company got Surat Nagar.
The Peshwa accepted English patronage.
The Peshwa accepted keeping the English army at Poona.
The Peshwa gave the British the right to recover Chauth from the Nizam and promised not to fight against Gaekwad.
Peshwa subordinated his foreign affairs to the company.
The Peshwa agreed not to keep any of the company’s European enemies.
Tritiya Anglo-Maratha War (1817-18 AD) (Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-18))
After 1805, the few years of peace that the Marathas had received, they used them to destroy their conspiracy and discord, in contrast to strengthening their power. After Lord Hesitz’s arrival as Governor General of India, he took a repressive stand against the Indian powers to establish English nobility.
The Hastings began their campaign against Pindario, challenging the dominance of the Marathas. Tensions between the two sides increased which made the conflict inevitable. This conflict culminated in the Third Anglo-Maratha War against the direct action of the Hesitzings against Pindario.
Oppression of Pindaris
Pindari served as unpaid soldiers in the Maratha army. These were in the form of plundering parties whose appointment started during Bajirao-I. They participated in the war on behalf of the Marathas, in return for which they were given a fixed share of the loot. After the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat, he joined the army of Scindia and Holkar and settled in the region of Malwa. There was communal unity in his party, which means that he included both Hindus and Muslims. Their main leaders were Vasil Muhammad, Cheetu, Karim Khan, etc.
In the first half of the 19th century, they attacked Mirzapur, Shahabad, Nizam, etc., and looted there. Lord Hastings sent forces to suppress Pindario. This conflict turned into the Third Anglo-Maratha War. Modern research has proved that the Marathas were troubled by their plunder and used their army only to suppress Pindario.
Reasons for Marathas’ Defeat
The counter-ideology of the Marathas establishing their independent existence weakened the central Maratha power, which the British took full advantage of.
The conspiracy and lack of unity among the Maratha chieftains gave the British an opportunity to intervene.
The stable economic policy of the Marathas and their sources of limited income also weakened their position compared to the British.
The administration continued to try to divide personal fidelity, caste, and other social considerations, which led to the lack of synergy in Maratha administration and the formation of several factions.
Lack of clear political goals and lack of a good intelligence system also made the defeat of the Marathas inevitable.