Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Asian History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Asian History Asian History Forum - China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific Region


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old January 14th, 2011, 09:04 PM   #1

The Imperial's Avatar
MentalManja
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: 3rd rock from Sol
Posts: 4,252
Blog Entries: 1
How would be the world today if the Marathas had won at the Battle of Panipat


Quote:
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat (Haryana State, India), about 60 miles (95.5 km) north of Delhi. The battle pitted the French-supplied[1] artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry and mounted artillery(zamburak and jizail) of the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. The battle is considered one of the largest battles fought in the 18th century.[2]
The decline of the Mughal Empire had led to territorial gains for the Maratha Confederacy. Ahmad Shah Abdali, amongst others, was unwilling to allow the Marathas' gains to go unchecked. In 1759, he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes and made several gains against the smaller garrisons. The Marathas, under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau, responded by gathering an army of between 70,000-100,000[3] people with which they ransacked the Mughal capital of Delhi. There followed a series of skirmishes along the banks of the river Yamuna at Karnal and Kunjpura which eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas.
The specific site of the battle itself is disputed by historians but most consider it to have occurred somewhere near modern day Kaalaa Aamb and Sanauli Road. The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 men. Protracted skirmishes occurred, with losses and gains on both sides. The forces led by Ahmad Shah Durrani came out victorious after destroying several Maratha flanks. The extent of the losses on both sides is heavily disputed by historians, but it is believed that between 60,000–70,000 were killed in fighting, while numbers of the injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. The result of the battle was the halting of the Maratha advances in the North.
Reasons for the outcome

Quote:
Peshwas decision of appointing Sadashivrao Bhau as the Supreme Commander instead of appointing Malharrao Holkar or Raghunathrao proved to be an unfortunate choice as Sadashivrao was totally ignorant of the Political and Military situation of North India. [16]
The main reason for the failure of Marathas was that they went to war without good allies. Though their infantry was based on European style contingent and had some of the best French made guns of the times, their artillery was static and lacked mobility against the fast moving Afghan forces.[17]
The Marathas had interfered in the internal affairs of the Rajputana states (present day Rajasthan) and levied heavy taxes and huge fines on them. They had also made huge territorial and monetary claims upon Awadh. Their raids in the Sikh territory had resulted in the loss of trust of Sikh chiefs like Ala Singh and the Jat chiefs. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies alone.
Moreover, the senior Maratha chiefs constantly bickered with one another. Each one of them had ambitions of carving out their independent states and had no interest in fighting against a common enemy.[18] Some of them didn't support the idea of a round battle and wanted to battle using Guerilla tactics charging the enemy head-on.[8]
The Maratha Army was also burdened with 150,000 pilgrims who wished to worship at Hindu places of worship like Mathura, Prayag, Kashi, etc. The pilgrims wanted to go with the army as they would be secure with them.[8]
Before the battle, the Marathas along with all the horses, elephants and cattles were forced to fast for many days and thus fought the battle of Panipat on an empty stomach. Moreover, it took many more days for the Marathas to reach the North due to the constant halting of pilgrims at the places of worship. If not for these pilgrims, the Marathas would have reached the North in the scheduled number of days and would have been in a better position to face Abdali.[8]
Najib, Shuja and the Rohillas knew North India very well and most of North India had allied with Abdali, thus, it can be said that there wasn't any hostility against Abdali. However, the Afghans too started the battle with some disadvantages, facing a well trained, western equipped Army, that was undefeated and led by a single leader. Ahmad Shah Abdali compensated for this by his use of shaturnals, camels with mobile artillery pieces at his disposal. He was also diplomatic striking up agreements with Hindu leaders, especially the Jats and Rajputs, and former rivals like the Nawab of Awadh appealing to him in the name of religion.[8] He also had better intelligence on the movements of his enemy, which played a crucial role in his encirclement of the enemy army. Abdali had also kept a fresh force in reserve, which he used when his existing force was being slaughtered.


Legacy

Quote:
The Third Battle of Panipat saw an enormous number of casualties and deaths in a single day of battle. It was the last major battle between indigenous South Asian military powers, until the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
To save their kingdom, the Mughals once again changed sides and welcomed the Afghans to Delhi. The Mughals remained in nominal control over small areas of India, but were never a force again. The empire officially ended in 1857 when its last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was accused of being involved in the Sepoy Mutiny and exiled.
The Marathas' expansion was stopped in the battle, and soon broke into infighting within their empire. They never regained any unity. They recovered their position under the next Peshwa Madhavrao I and by 1772 were back in control of the north, finally occupying Delhi. However, after the death of Madhavrao, due to infighting and increasing pressure from the British, their claims to empire only officially ended in 1818 after three wars with the British.
Meanwhile the Sikhs, the original reason Ahmad invaded, were left largely untouched by the battle. They soon retook Lahore. When Ahmad Shah returned in March 1764 he was forced to break off his siege after only two weeks due to rebellion in Afghanistan. He returned again in 1767, but was unable to win any decisive battle. With his own troops arguing over a lack of pay, he eventually abandoned the district to the Sikhs, who remained in control until 1849.
The Marathi term "Sankrant Kosalali"(सक्रांत कोसळली), meaning "Sankranti has befallen us", is said to have originated from the events of the battle.[27] There are some verbs in Marathi language related to this loss as "Panipat zale"(पानिपत झाले)[a major loss has happened] This verb is even today used in Marathi language. A common pun is "Aamchaa Vishwaas Panipataat gela" (आमचा विश्वास पानीपतात गेला) [we lost our own (Vishwas) faith since Panipat]. Many historians, including British historians of the time, have argued that had it not been for the weakening of the Maratha power at Panipat, the British might never have had a strong foothold in India.
The battle proved the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's poem "With Scindia to Delhi".
It is however also remembered as a scene of valour on both sides - Sadashiv Bhau was found with almost twenty dead Afghans around him. Santaji Wagh's corpse was found with over forty mortal wounds. Vishwa Rao, the Peshwas son's bravery was acknowledged even by the Afghans.[28] Yashwantrao Pawar also fought with great courage killing many Afghans. He killed Ataikhan, the grandson of the Wazir of Abdali by climbing onto the latter’s elephant.[8]
The strength of Afghan military prowess was to both inspire hope in many orthodox Muslims, Mughal royalists and fear in the British. However the real truth of so many battle hardened Afghans killed in the struggle with the Marathas never allowed them to dream of controlling the Mughal Empire realistically again. On the other side, Marathas, possibly one of the only two real Indian military powers left capable of challenging the British were fatally weakened by the defeat and could not mount a serious challenge in the Anglo-Maratha wars 50 years later.
The result of this battle would have changed the course of the world (if the Marathas had won)-
-Maratha Empire would be the pre dominant force in the sub continent.
(the Marathas were Hindu nationalistics, who opposed the foreigners especially Mughals and the British)
-The British could never have gained a foothold in India, and India would not have been a colony.
-Without British having India, it would have changed the dominance of the British in the West.
-India, along with the Chinese and Japanese would have closed their doors on the outside world (as the Marathas were similar minded)
-This scenario would have created a totally different history today.

What do you think?
The Imperial is offline  
Remove Ads
Old January 14th, 2011, 09:24 PM   #2

Toltec's Avatar
Fiddling as Rome Burns
 
Joined: Apr 2008
From: Hyperborea
Posts: 7,923

It's a possible outcome, but the British and French were also taking the south of India and that would most likely still have fallen. /It is however unlikely Britain would have fought the Maratha wars when they did, but 40 years later maybe Britain could have attacked frrom the south with a good chance of conquest.
Toltec is offline  
Old January 14th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #3

XBulletGuruX's Avatar
Citizen
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: The exact center of Earth.
Posts: 32

I don't think that success would last, it would either have turned into another China, not actually under the West's control, but pretty much under there control. Or the British and more and more allies would have come back, divided it up, and then fought over what they had divided up for a while, very little for the Indian people would have been different.
XBulletGuruX is offline  
Old January 15th, 2011, 03:10 AM   #4

The Imperial's Avatar
MentalManja
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: 3rd rock from Sol
Posts: 4,252
Blog Entries: 1

Click the image to open in full size.
An approximate political map of the Indian subcontinent in 1758 AD. Maratha Empire was at its Zenith. They lost in North India in Battle of Panipat (1761).

As you see, the British East India company occupied Bengal and Mumbai, in the South were indigenous kingodms- Mysore(held by Hyder Ali and later by Tippu Sultan both could have allied with the Marathas as even they hated foreigners in India and sshared similar ethics) and Nizam(he was an enemy of the Marathas but could have been subdued with Mysore). In the North were the enemies of Marathas- Oudh(they would have been conquered had the Marathas won the Battle of Panipat). And the Portuguese werent a major problem. The only problem were the Afghans, who could have been pushed back with a victory in the BoP. And French would have helped the Marathas ion driving out the British out of India.

Later the country would have been unified as the Maratha Empire, and an empire cant be divided and ruled And the Marathas in their quest to rise to power had already were a pretty powerful and efficient empire even before the BoP.

That would mean the Europeans would not have gained a significant foothold in Asia (South East Asia-idk), and Pakistan would not have been created.
The Imperial is offline  
Old January 15th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #5

Toltec's Avatar
Fiddling as Rome Burns
 
Joined: Apr 2008
From: Hyperborea
Posts: 7,923

Quote:
Originally Posted by XBulletGuruX View Post
I don't think that success would last, it would either have turned into another China, .
Britain and France had no trouble walking into Beijing and that was much bigger fish. The gap would have been so wide between the Marathas Confed and the empire in military power it would most likely be just as easy in India.
Toltec is offline  
Old January 16th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #6

Lord_of_Gauda's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Nov 2009
From: Canada
Posts: 6,518

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
Britain and France had no trouble walking into Beijing and that was much bigger fish. The gap would have been so wide between the Marathas Confed and the empire in military power it would most likely be just as easy in India.
I don't think a Maratha dominated India would've been as easy as Qing China to walk into: The Marathas did have the latest rifles and cannons going around, purchased from the French and extensively trained in their usage. If the Marathas had prevailed, they might've comissioned so many field guns and rifles that the European powers would've had a serious enemy at their hands.

I think the Europeans would've won, simply because of their dominance of the seas but it would've been far more expensive(in actual and human terms) to expand their Indian enterprise.

On the other hand, Panipat was not a crushing defeat of Maratha power: they were the apex power in India essentially till the first Anglo-maratha wars. The weakeness of the Maratha was that they were a confederacy, not an empire: Indeed, the weakening of Maratha power started when their Peshwa(Prime Minister of sorts) lost control of all the feudetories and these feudetories started to hold back support- monetary and in recruits- from the main body of Maratha armies.
They were also not an unifying force through India, as the non-marathas hated the maratha high-handedness: they levied crushing taxes on the Rajputs for a perceived 'slight' of Maratha glory, embargoed Oudh and got into continuous border skirmish with the Nizam over petty issues.
Victory at Panipat may not have changed these crippling administrative issues of the Marathas.
Lord_of_Gauda is offline  
Old January 16th, 2011, 08:02 PM   #7
Academician
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 57

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord_of_Gauda View Post
I don't think a Maratha dominated India would've been as easy as Qing China to walk into: The Marathas did have the latest rifles and cannons going around, purchased from the French and extensively trained in their usage. If the Marathas had prevailed, they might've comissioned so many field guns and rifles that the European powers would've had a serious enemy at their hands.

I think the Europeans would've won, simply because of their dominance of the seas but it would've been far more expensive(in actual and human terms) to expand their Indian enterprise.

On the other hand, Panipat was not a crushing defeat of Maratha power: they were the apex power in India essentially till the first Anglo-maratha wars. The weakeness of the Maratha was that they were a confederacy, not an empire: Indeed, the weakening of Maratha power started when their Peshwa(Prime Minister of sorts) lost control of all the feudetories and these feudetories started to hold back support- monetary and in recruits- from the main body of Maratha armies.
They were also not an unifying force through India, as the non-marathas hated the maratha high-handedness: they levied crushing taxes on the Rajputs for a perceived 'slight' of Maratha glory, embargoed Oudh and got into continuous border skirmish with the Nizam over petty issues.
Victory at Panipat may not have changed these crippling administrative issues of the Marathas.
Then probably we are looking at another Ottoman Empire? Yeah Qing China had a weak government it was a joke, but countries like China and India cannot be conquered from the sea, at most you can take over the port cities.
nomooon is offline  
Old January 16th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #8

Toltec's Avatar
Fiddling as Rome Burns
 
Joined: Apr 2008
From: Hyperborea
Posts: 7,923

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord_of_Gauda View Post
The Marathas did have the latest rifles and cannons going around, purchased from the French and extensively trained in their usage. If the Marathas had prevailed, they might've comissioned so many field guns and rifles that the European powers would've had a serious enemy at their hands. .
The British army did come up against something far superior to what you describe in the first Sikh war but prevailed.
Toltec is offline  
Old January 16th, 2011, 11:30 PM   #9

Lord_of_Gauda's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Nov 2009
From: Canada
Posts: 6,518

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
The British army did come up against something far superior to what you describe in the first Sikh war but prevailed.
Correct me if i am wrong, but didn't one of the two sikh armies simply stand down ? IIRC, there was little fighting and lot of intreagues involved in the Anglo-Sikh wars, with one of the most decorated and senior Sikh generals simply refusing to engage the british and eventually accused of being 'bought off' by the Brits.
Lord_of_Gauda is offline  
Old January 17th, 2011, 12:20 AM   #10

Toltec's Avatar
Fiddling as Rome Burns
 
Joined: Apr 2008
From: Hyperborea
Posts: 7,923

The Sikh Wars were pretty bloody, the British Commander Gough only had one tactic, gung ho! and couldn't see the point of shooting, guns or artillery, he just believed in the bayonet (maybe he thought he was Suvarov). The Sikh's armies outclassed and outnumbered the British army so completely in every way, except inept generals, some people have suggested something underhand happened, how could the generals be so inept and such a good army perform so poorly?

Incidently Wellington rated the Marathas better than the French.
Toltec is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > Asian History

Tags
battle, marathas, panipat, today, won


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Today in World History Wobomagonda General History 82 January 15th, 2014 06:43 AM
How could Pompey have won the Battle of Pharsalus? Sargon of Akkad Speculative History 40 April 10th, 2012 04:01 PM
Could World War 2 have been won by the allies without the Soviet Union? mementomori War and Military History 354 February 8th, 2011 02:40 PM
What would it be like today if the Soviets won the Cold War? hangar Speculative History 4 January 8th, 2010 01:31 PM
What if Hannibal won the battle of Zama mister Speculative History 5 May 9th, 2009 05:00 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.