Episode 18 – The Maratha Empire

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode, Prathamesh Godbole and Amit Paranjpe discuss the Maratha empire – spanning from its humble origins as a Jagir of Adilshahi to the largest power in the subcontinent before the British conquest. We discuss the great maratha rulers Shivaji Raje, Sambhaji Raje and the Peshwas.

Postscript (from Omar): At 1 hour 27 minutes on the youtube recording I was asked how they are perceived in Pakistan and i went on about their role against Tipu, but I should have mentioned Panipat first. THAT is, of course, taught as a great Muslim victory, but without too much background information.

Solstice at Panipat, Era of Bajirao, Epoch of Nanasaheb Peshwa, Mastery of Hindustan – Uday Kulkarni
A New History of Marathas, Volumes I-III by G.S Sardesai
Shivbharat – Shivaji Raje’s biography in Sanskrit by a court historian – has been translated to English
History of Marathas- Grant Duff
History of the Maratha People – Kincaid
Translations done by Prathamesh, of selected letters from multiple Marathi sources regarding battles, diplomatic exchanges and other military matters.
Its about ~300 pages equivalent, and covers 1720-1803.
Itihasachi Sadhane some 20 volumes- Rajwade
Peshwe Daftar- 40 volumes
Aitihasik Lekh Sangraha – 15 volumes
About 20 different Bakhars, Eg: Panipat – chronicles written by prominent nobles and about major battles. Not always fully reliable, but still a useful source.

Published by


Skeptic | Aspiring writer | Wildlife enthusiast

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

A few points perhaps should have been touched on:
* The real winners of the Third Battle of Panipat were the Sikhs. They harassed and looted the returning Afghan army which was taking away enslaved Marathas and whatever ever loot they could find. The retreat of the Afghans left a vacuum was filled by Sikh chieftains.
* One facet that was missing from Maratha elite was an awareness of the world outside South Asia. Yes, Shivaji had the foresight to found the first serious naval force in South Asia after political Islam enters South Asia. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan showed more vision and foresight in trying to play Europeans against each other.
* Maratha war doctrine was based on highly mobile light cavalry, and infantry that could take advantage of the rugged terrain of the Western Ghats. Marathas lagged behind in embracing artillery and understanding the revolution that European trained armies had brought about in South Asia. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan are once again an exception in this regard in South Asia. Later armies of the Shindes and Holkars did succeed in embracing this revolution in arms. So much so, that the tussle for power between the EIC and the Marathas was not a foregone conclusion.

1 year ago
Reply to  J T

Isn’t it that one of the reasons Marathas lost in panipat because they did not have local Hindu/dharmic allies and they were cut off from supplies?

Rana Tunga
Rana Tunga
1 year ago

Nice podcast. I don’t know much about Maratha history so I have a few questions how did Aurangzeb captured Shahu and did Aurangzeb made Shahu promised to look after the Mughal empire

1 year ago
Reply to  GauravL

Sambhaji and Shahu were captured because Ganoji Shirke(Brother in law of Sambhaji) informed his location to Muqarrab Khan a Mughal commander. Sambhaji and 25 of his advisors were captured by the Mughal forces of Muqarrab Khan in a skirmish at Sangameshwar in February 1689. [Wikipedia.]

Good old betrayal.

1 year ago
Reply to  Rana Tunga

Shahu was seen as a perfect future Mughal vassal.

Plus i think had he faced any serious issue with Tarabai to get the throne back, he would have entertained getting Mughal support and become their vassal. The way he gained the throne with minimal civil war sort of emboldened him to steer clear of Mughal support

Brown Pundits