Forgotten Indian history: The brutal Maratha invasions of Bengal


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
New Delhi, India
Why? I have not concentrated on Maratha history. But what I read is that the armies of Maratha Confederation were plunderers. They treated Hindus and Muslims in the same way. That is why they lost the Battle of Panipat. Nobody helped them.
Oct 2015
Why? I have not concentrated on Maratha history. But what I read is that the armies of Maratha Confederation were plunderers. They treated Hindus and Muslims in the same way. That is why they lost the Battle of Panipat. Nobody helped them.
Dear All & Aup,

Marathas and Mughals were sworn enemies. Continuous state of war existed between them from 1657 (Shivaji's generals attacked Mughal territory) till 1737 (Battle of Bhopal) when Marathas defeated the Mughals. We need to see Maratha actions in light of this eighty-year long enmity.

Attack on Bengal and Rajpuana:

Marathas attacked Bengal because it was ruled by a Nawab owing allegiance to Mughal Emperor. Six attacks were made in 10 years (1741-1751), at the end of which Nawab of Bengal gave Odisha to Marathas. He also paid arrears of "chauth" and continued to pay it till 1758 till British defeated the Nawab. Even after this defeat of Nawab, Marathas continued to rule Odisha till 1803 when British defeated them as well.

Marathas attacked Rajputs as well because they also owed allegiance to Mughals. Rajputs had fought several battles with Marathas on behalf of Mughals. Remember it was Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur who forced Shivaji (Treaty of Purandar, 1665) to go to Aurangzeb's court.

Marathas & Revenue Rights:

Maratha position was that they were entitled to "chauth" - or one-fourth part of revenue - collected in Mughal provinces. This position arose from the politics of Prince Aurangzeb. When Prince Aurangzeb marched from Deccan to Agra to capture his father's throne he signed a treaty with Shivaji. This treaty gave the right of "chauth" to Shivaji.

Shivaji, and later Marathas, simply enforced this treaty and did not allow Aurangzeb and successors to go back upon it.

Colonial Narrative:

The narrative that Marathas were "plunderers" is a colonial historian angle perhaps because they wanted to project having won India from Mughals (and not Marathas).

Just see the words of Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806:

"India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them." [1]

British became paramount power in India by defeating Marathas & not Mughals.

Who was not a plunderer?

Do you think Mughals were not plunderers? Read the letter Aurangzeb's fugitive son (Prince Akbar) wrote to him from Iran. Prince Akbar writes unambiguously that father Aurangzeb had devastated Deccan.

Were the British not plunderers? Read about prosecution of Robert Clive when he returned to England with his ill-gotten wealth.

Was Mahmud Ghazni not a plunderer - and he is national hero in Pakistan. He plundered complete area falling under present-day Pakistan and then carried out several raids into present-day India.

Marathas simply did what it took to receover 'chauth' from revenue collectors appointed in Mughal territories - and if they ran away then from whoever was available. The methods used by Mughal Zamindars to extract land revenue were not different from what the Marathas did. Read descriptions give by Niccolao Manucci for Aurangzeb's time on this subject.

War was, and even now is, about money & wealth. And plunder.



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Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
Maratha invasions lasted only for 10 years. The brutality and devastations that was brought upon Bengal by Islamic invasion & occupation which predates those 10 years & British invasion & occupation which postdates those invasion was far far far far far far more horrible for Bengal then 10 years of raids. Only Islamist propaganda combined with Leftist raping of history can make nonsensical claims while ignoring proper context as one sees in the article presented in the OP.
Aug 2017
From my understanding, Maratha incursions into Bengal were indeed costly and damaging to the region, both economically and in terms of human life. There's much evidence to corroborate this. The numbers affected are hard to gauge but I don't think there's any denying that many were affected.

The likeliest reasons for why these were forgotten are:

(a) They lasted only for a decade
(b) The most notorious incident in temporal proximity to these expeditions was the British conquest and acquisition of Bengal, which had significantly worse long term consequences for the region

Nevertheless, while we may endlessly discuss which conquests from which groups of people were "worse", there's no reason to deflect the issue in this specific instance. No people's history is devoid of shameful episodes. All must accept and move forward.
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Sep 2017

i saw same artical few years but i found no other source to conform this artical's claim when.

OP Stop lurking in scroll .in, Its a hard left website which is anti-Hindu and is known for making facts out of thin air.

both far right and Far left in India are Retarded.
Jun 2015
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Jun 2017
#10 is famous for pro-Islamist stance and demeaning Hindu rulers. In the above link, the author puts a picture of Bajirao and talks on Maratha invasion in Bengal. Seriously?

What leftists forget to mention that Marathas were invited by Muslim kings.

Very true. Alivardi, the Nawab of Bengal was actually a deputy of Sarfaraz Khan, the original Subhedar. Alivardi killed him and took over Bengal.

Rustam Jang of Orissa refused to acknowledge Alivardi. I think Rustam was one of the Brothers in law of Sarafraz Khan.
So Rustam attacked Bengal but was defeated by Alivardi and had to flee and get shelter from the Nizam ul Mulk.

Mirza Baqar Ali, son in law of Rustam Jang, organised an expedition to regain Orissa. This was done most likely with the co operation and the blessings of the Nizam since all the preparation was done by Mirza while in the NIzam's territory.

Mirza Baqar Ali also sought and obtained the help of Raghuji Bhonsale, a Maratha chief.

This is in brief of how the Marathas got involved in Bengal. The Marathas were not innocent and pious in their intentions but they did not just barge into Bengal for the looting and pillaging which is often portrayed by historians.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unlike the Muslim rulers who were experts in squeezing money out of their subjects, in addition to attacking other kingdoms and looting them and building big beautiful monuments, the Marathas have built very few extravagant buildings, if any at all. They mostly spent the money in building and repairing forts and protecting their dominions. If they were such looters and pillagers we would have had more evidence of the fact in the way of grand buildings especially in Maharashtra.
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