PESHWA (Prime Ministers)

TITLE: Peshwa (Prime Minister)
ANNEXATION: 3rd June 1818
LOCATION: Pune DYNASTY: Bhat (Smartha Brahmin, Chitpawan sub-caste) RELIGION: Hindu

PREDECESSORS and SHORT HISTORY: The Peshwa were Brahmin Prime Ministers to the Maratha Chattrapatis (Kings), who began commanding Maratha armies and later became the hereditary rulers of the Maratha empire of central India from 1749 to 1818. They oversaw the greatest expansion of the Maratha Empire around 1760, and also its eventual annexation by the British East India Company in 1818. The word Peshwa may have originated in Persian, meaning "foremost", and was introduced in Deccan by the Muslim rulers. After his coronation as a Maratha Chhatrapati in 1674, the founder of the Maratha Empire, Shivaji appointed Moropant Trimbak Pingle as the first Peshwa. Duties and authorities of a Peshwa were equal to that of a Prime Minister. The position moved to the Bhat family of Shri Vardhan in the Konkan region, upon appointment of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat as Peshwa by the fourth Chattrapati Shahu in 1713. It was the appointment of his son, Baji Rao I as Peshwa in 1719 by Shahu that made the position hereditary in the Bhat family. Shahu, who also appointed Baji Rao's son as Peshwa in 1740, gave considerable authority to the Peshwas to command the Maratha armies, and they responded well during his reigns.By the time of Shahu's death in 1749, the Bhat Peshwas were the effective rulers of the Maratha state, and they moved their administrative capital from Satara to the new city ofPune. The first Bhat family Peshwa was Balaji Vishwanath Bhat, a Chitpawan Brahmin. He was succeeded as Peshwa by his son Baji Rao I, who never lost a battle. Baji Rao and his son, Balaji Baji Rao, oversaw the period of greatest Maratha expansion, brought to an end by the Maratha's defeat by an Afghan army at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. The last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British East India Company in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818. The Peshwa's territory in central Maharashtra was annexed to the British East India Company's Bombay province, and he was pensioned off.
  • Shrimant Moropant Trimbak Pingle, 1st appointed Peshwa 1674/1683, a Deshastha Brahmin, he was appointed Peshwa by Shivaji Bhonsle, after his coronation as Maratha Emperor in 1674; married and had issue.
    • Shrimant Moreshwar Pingle (qv)
  • Shrimant Moreshwar Pingle, 2nd appointed Peshwa 1683/1689
  • Shrimant Ramchandra Nilkanth Pant Amatya, 3rd appointed Peshwa 1689/1708, he was a sound administrator who rose from the level of a local Kulkarni to the ranks of Ashtapradhan, he recaptured many forts from the Mughals during the period 1690–1694, he also competently managed the affairs of the Maratha Empire in the absence of Chatrapati Rajaram, he remained loyal to Rani Tarabai, after the death of Rajaram and was replaced as Peshwa, by Chatrapati Shahu. He died 1716 at Panhala fort.
  • Shrimant Bahiroji Pingale, 4th appointed Peshwa 1708/1711
  • Shrimant Parshuram Trimbak Kulkarni, 5th appointed Peshwa 1711/1713
  • Shrimant BALAJI VISHWANATH BHAT, 1st Peshwa [16.11.1713] - [2.4.1719], born 1st January 1662, son of Vishwanathpant (Visaji) Bhat, a Chitpawan Brahmin, he became the first hereditary Peshwa on 16th November 1713, he initially worked as a petty clerk at the salt works at Chiplun, then as revenue official from 1689, and as Sar-subhedar at Pune 1699/1703, as mutaliq or deputy to Amburao Hunmante, Amatya of Shahu from 1708, appointed as Senakarta (Army Commander) on 20th August 1711, he was successful in capturing most of the Konkan coast for which he was appointed Peshwa on 16th November 1713, married, Rani Radhabai (née Barve), born 1700, died 1752, and had issue. He died 2nd April 1719.
    • Shrimant Baji Rao I (by Rani Radhabai)(qv)
    • Shrimant Bhiubai Sahiba, married Shrimant Abaji Joshi of Baramati.
    • Shrimant Anubai Sahiba, married Shrimant Venkatrao Narayanrao Ghorpade of Ichalkaranji, and had issue.
    • Shrimant Chimnaji Appa Rao, born 1707, he was an able military commander who defeated the Portuguese in the capture of Vasai Fort in February 1739, the capital of the provincial government of Portugal's northern Indian possessions; married 1stly, Rani Sitabai, married 2ndly, Rani Annapurnabai, married 3rdly, Rani Rakhmabai, died August/September 1730, and had issue, one son. He died 1741 (aged 42!).
      • Shrimant Sadashiv Rao [Bhau Saheb] (by Rani Annapurnabai), born 4th August 1730 in Saswad near Pune, his first campaign was in 1746, after which he was made Diwan to the Peshwa, he was successful in the Battle of Udgir against the Nizam of Hyderabad, and succeeded in recapturing Delhi in May 1760 from the occupying Afghan forces, he was made the Sarsenapati (Commander-in-Chief) of the Maratha forces, in the ill-fated Maratha campaign against Durrani forces led by Ahmed Shah Abdali, married 1stly, Rani Umabai, died 1750, married 2ndly, Rani Parvatibai, born 6th April 1734 in Phaltan, died 23rd September 1763 in Satara, daughter of the Kolhatkar family of Pen, and had issue, two sons (died young). He died 14th January 1761 in the Third Battle of Panipat.
  • Shrimant BAJI RAO I [Baji Rao Vishwanath Bhatt], 2nd Peshwa [2.4.1719] - [25.4.1740], born 18th August 1700, he is said to have fought in 41 battles without losing one, and is noted for his rapid tactical movements in battle using his cavalry; he moved the administrative capital of the Maratha Empire from Satara to the city of Pune in 1728, he moved the administrative capital of the Maratha Empire from Satara to the new city of Pune in 1728; married 1stly, 11th March 1719, Rani Kashibai, married 2ndly, about 1728, Mastani (#1), died 1740 at Parbal village near Pune, daughter of Maharaja Chhatrasal of Orchha, and his Persian concubine, and had issue. He died 25th April 1740 and was cremated on 28th April 1740 at Raverkhed on the Narmada river.
    • Shrimant Balaji Baji Rao [Nana Saheb] (by Rani Kashibai) (qv)
    • Shrimant Raghunath Rao (by Rani Kashibai)(qv)
    • Shrimant Janardan Rao, died young.
    • Shrimant Krishna Rao (by Mastani), born 1734, his father wanted him to be accepted as a Brahmin, but the priests refused and he was brought up as a Muslim with the name of Shamsher Bahadur, afterwards he was granted the title of Nawab, married Mehrambai (aka Lal Kunwar), daughter of Lakshadhir Dalpatrai, and had issue (see Banda). He died 14th Janaury 1761 in the Third Battle of Panipat.
      • Nawab Ali Bahadur I, Nawab of Banda 1790/1802, born 1758, married and had issue. He died 1802.
        • Nawab Shamsher Bahadur II, Nawab of Banda 1802/1825, died 1823/1825.
        • Nawab Zulfikar Ali, Nawab of Banda in 1802 and 1825/1850, married and had issue.
          • Nawab Ali Bahadur II, Nawab of Banda 1850/1858, married and had issue, three sons. He died 1873.
        • [?Raja Jagat Bahadur fl.1833]
  • Shrimant BALAJI BAJI RAO [Nana Saheb], 3rd Peshwa [25.4.1740] - [23.6.1761], born 8th December 1721, a vigorous builder, he transformed the village of Pune from a village into a large city, establishing many new neighbourhoods, he constructed the Parvati Temple, and the first permanent bridge over the Mutha River, he also established a reservoir at the nearby town of Katraj to provide clean running water to the city (which is still functioning); Maratha power reached its peak under his rule, but after his death it gradually declined; he married (amongst others), 11th January 1730, Rani Gopikabai [née Raste], born 20th December 1724 in Supa near Pune, died 11th August 1778 in Nashik, daughter of Bhikaji Naik Raste of Wai (she was also the cousin of Rani Anandi Bai, see below), and had issue. He died 23rd June 1761.
    • Shrimant Vishvas Rao (eldest son, by Rani Gopikabai), born 7th March 1741 in Supa, educated in administrative matters and was exposed to military training early in his life, he took part in the Third Battle of Panipat and was killed, engaged in 1749 to, Shrimant Radhikabai, born 4th July 1745, died 29th November 1798 at Hardwar, daughter of Sardar Gupte of Nashik (also niece of Rani Parvatibai, see above), she received training in archery, armoury and handling court matters. He died sp on 14th January 1761 at the Third Battle of Panipat.
    • Peshwa Madhav Rao I [Madhu Rao Narayan, Madhavrao Ballal Bhat] (by Rani Gopikabai) (qv)
    • Peshwa Narayan Rao (by Rani Gopikabai) (qv)
  • Shrimant MADHAV RAO I, 4th Peshwa [23.6.1761] - [18.11.1772], born 16th February 1745 in Savanur, early in his reign he came into conflict with his uncle, Raghunathrao, who openly attacked and defeated him in November 1762; the following year on 10th August 1763 in the Battle of Rakshasbhuvan near Aurangabad, he inflicted heavy losses on the Nizam's army and was acclaimed on his return to Pune; in January 1764, he set out to battle with Hyder Ali, but after a year of minor skirmishes in and around Karnataka, he failed in his objective; in June 1768, he once again did battle with his uncle, this time he defeated him and placed him under house arrest; an assasination attempt was made on him in September 1769, and in June 1770, he again tried to defeat Hyder Ali, but had to turn back due to the effects of tuberculosis, from which he died at the Ganesha Chintamani Temple, he was one of the most able administrators amongst the Peshwas, and bought radical revolutions in the Maratha Empire in terms of efficiency and honesty, discipline was enforced and the judicial system was impartial; married, 8th December 1753 in Pune, Rani Ramabai, she committed sati on 18th November 1772. He died sp on 18th November 1772 and was cremated on the banks of the river which was about half a mile from the temple.
  • Shrimant NARAYAN RAO, 5th Peshwa [18.11.1772] - [30.8.1773], born 11th August 1749 (1755), he quarrelled with his uncle who constantly interfered in the administration, married (a), Rani Ganga Bai, died July 1777, married (b), a daughter of Sardar Bhikaji Naik, and had issue. He was murdered by the bodyguard of his uncle on 30th August 1773 in Shaniwarwada, Pune.
    • Shrimant Madhav Rao II (by Rani Ganga Bai)(qv)
  • Shrimant RAGHUNATH RAO, 6th Peshwa [30.8.1773] - [1774], born 1st August 1734 in Mahuli near Satara, he was instrumental in expanding the Maratha empire up to Attock (in present day Pakistan) to 1760; after his brother's death in 1761, he was appointed as regent for the new Peshwa but intrigued against his nephew and soon fell out of favour, a conspiracy with the Nizam of Hyderabad was discovered and he was imprisoned and released only after Peshwa Madhav Rao's death in 1772, after the murder of his nephew, he became the new Peshwa but he was shortly overthrown by Nana Phadnis and 11 other administrators in what is called "The Baarbhaai Conspiracy" (Conspiracy by the Twelve); he sought the help of the British and Portuguese, but his claim to the Peshwaship was ignored, he married 1stly, Rani Janaki Bai (née Barwe), died in August 1755, married 2ndly, in December 1756, Rani Anandi Bai, died 12th March 1794 at Marad, daughter of Raghu Mahadeva Oake of Guhgarh (and cousin of Rani Gopikabai, see above), and had issue. He died 24th February 1784 or 11th December 1783 or 1782.
    • Shrimant Amrit Rao, married and had issue.
      • Shrimant Vinayakrao, married [Rajkumari Malatibai, daughter of Meherban Raja Vinayakrao Hariharrao [Nana Saheb] Patwardhan of Kurundwad Jnr, and his wife, Rani Gangabai], and had adoptive issue, two sons (neither was recognized by the British Government and the jagir was resumed). He died 1853.
        • Shrimant (name unknown) Bai, married and had adoptive issue.
          • (A) Shrimant Rao Balwant Rao, head of the family at Karwi, born 1828, his two uncles joined in the rebellion of 1857, and their estates were confiscated, and themselves deported, married and had adoptive issue. He died 1902.
            • (A) Shrimant Rao Moreshwar Rao Balwant Jog, born 17th August 1872, he was the son of Ram Chand Sho Ram of the Vaischampain family of Maharasthra Brahmins; married and had issue. He died 19th April 1927.
              • Shrimant Rao Ram Hari Rao Moreshwar Jog, of Karwi, born 17th August 1906, he succeeded to the estate and the dignity as Head of the Peshwa family on 19th April 1927.
              • Shrimant Vithal Hari Jog
        • (A) Shrimant Narayanrao, died sp in 1860 in cinfinement at Hazaribagh.
        • (A) Shrimant Madhavrao, educated at Government College, Bareilly; in 1877 he was receiving a pension of Rs 2,000 per mensem from the Government; married and had issue, two sons.
          • Meherban Shrimant Krishnarao Madhavrao, married and had issue.
            • Shrimant Saubhagyavati Thakutaisaheb, married Raja Meherban Madhavrao Hariharrao alias Babasaheb Patwardhan, Raja of Miraj-Junior, and had issue.
    • Shrimant Durga Bai (by Rani Anandi Bai)
    • Shrimant Bhaskar Rao (by Rani Anandi Bai), born 26th February 1762.
    • Shrimant Chimnaji Appa Rao II (qv)
    • Shrimant Baji Rao II (by Rani Anandi Bai) (qv)
    • Shrimant Jaysinh Rao (illegitimate by concubine, Radha), he was imprisoned in Kolaba Fort by Rani Anandaibai, but escaped and eventually caused her to flee.
  • Shrimant MADHAV RAO II, 7th Peshwa [18.4.1774] - [25.10.1795], born posthumously on 18th April 1774, he was brought to power by the treaty of Salbai in 1782, but his reign was dominated by the political intrigues of Nana Phadnis; married Rani Yasoda Bai (she adopted Peshwa Chimnaji Appa Rao). He died sp on 25th October 1795.
  • Shrimant CHIMNAJI APPA RAO II, 8th Peshwa [25.10.1795] - [6.12.1796], born 1783, died 1830.
  • Shrimant BAJI RAO II, 9th Peshwa [6.12.1796] - [3.6.1818], born 10th January 1775 in Dhar, the last Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, concluded the Treaty of Bassein in December 1802 with the British, who utlimately triumphed in the Second and Third Anglo Maratha Wars, the Peshwa surrendered to Sir John Malcolm on 3rd June 1818 and was made to retire at Bithur near Kanpur on a pension, married (amongst others), 6thly, Rani Saraswati Bai Pendse, and had issue, as well as adoptive issue. He died 1851 at Bithur.
    • Shrimant Vaman Rao, born 1810, died 1811.
    • Shrimant Gangadhar Rao
    • Shrimant Dada Saheb Peshwe, married and had issue.
      • Shrimant Pandurangrao Peshwe, he was executed for rebellion at Cawnpore.
    • Shrimant Baija Bai (by Rani Saraswati Bai), married the son of Sardar Babasaheb Apte of Gwalior.
    • Rani Saraswatibai [Yogabai], born 1843, married 1855, Meherban Raja Ganpatrao I Hariharrao [Bapu Saheb] Patwardhan of Kurundwad Jnr., and had adoptive issue. She died 1858.
    • (A) Shrimant Govind Dhondu Pant [Nana Saheb], born 1824, died about 1859, possibly in Nepal.

1. There are several theories as to her origins, she was either a daughter of the Nizam of Hyderabad or just a singer at his court, the most likely origin being as given above. She is generally referred to as the mistress of the Peshwa but was a legally married wife, though in contravention of Brahmin traditional law.*