However after his death in , this process reversed following the Mughal Succession War between the sons of Aurangzeb. By , Marathas quickly started retaking their lost lands. Finally, in , Baji Rao defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi and brought much of the former Mughal territories south of Agra under Maratha control. Lahore, Multan and other subahs on eastern side of Attock are under our rule for the most part, and places which have not come under our rule we shall soon bring under us. Both of them have now reached Peshawar with a few broken troops
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When Persian ruler Nadir Shah easily invaded India in any remaining illusion of the continued domination of Mughal power was shattered, and India entered a period of great instability. Some states that were formerly part of the Mughal empire declared their independence.
Others continued to pay lip service to the seat of imperial power while following policies that were increasingly independent. The Maratha rule was now at its zenith. Abdali decided to strike back and check Maratha power. In Abdali and his allies reached upto Lahore and Delhi. Seeing the Afghan advance, the Maratha chieftain Sadashivrao Bhau headed north towards Delhi with a large army of , men that was strengthened by other Maratha forces on the way.
Bhau hoped to put his nephew on the Mughal throne. But the Maratha plans suffered a setback when their potential allies, the Jats, withdrew from the battle. But the Marathas retaliated at other places such as Kunjpura on the banks of a flooded Yamuna, where they easily defeated the Afghan forces.
Abdali who was stuck on the other side of the river crossed it after finding a safer route. There were several tactical manoeuvres from both sides but eventually the Marathas were encircled and their supply lines disrupted. The Maratha generals hoped they could confront the enemy with some of their new French-built artillery. Smaller battles continued through the months and forces from both sides amassed for the final assault.
But the food was running out for the Marathas. The battle started in the wee hours on January 14, Towards the start of the battle the Marathas pushed back the Rohillas, who were on the Afghan side.
But the tide of the battle soon turned against the Marathas and by the end of the day they were killed, taken prisoner or fled. There were several reasons for this. The Afghan forces and their allies were larger in number and better trained than the Marathas. However, more than military and tactical reasons, it was the perhaps the inability of the Marathas to get the Rajputs, Sikhs and Jats on their side that proved to be their undoing. The Marathas also spent time and resources in protecting Hindu pilgrims and other non-combatants who were caught in the siege.
On the occasion of the th anniversary of the Battle of Panipat, the military historian Colonel retd Anil Athale wrote in rediff. The defeat at Panipat discredited this form of war and Maratha armies again reverted back to cavalry mode of fighting. The Maratha faith in efficacy of guns was shaken up so thoroughly that in many future battles with the British, they never hesitated to abandon the guns.
The Maratha defeat at Panipat can be primarily attributed to their failure to harmonise the cavalry mode of warfare with the drilled infantry and artillery based set piece battles. This problem was to plague the Marathas for long time to come.
The victorious Afghans could hardly make any further inroads into India and were even pushed out of Punjab by the Sikhs. They lost the cream of their army and their political prestige suffered a big blow. Most of all, their defeat gave an opportunity to the English East India Company to consolidate its power in Bengal and south India. Nor did the Afghans benefit from their victory. In fact, the [battle] did not decide who was to rule India but rather who was not. The way was, therefore, cleared for the rise of the British power in India.
Third Battle of Panipat
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Third battle of Panipat, its Causes and Consequences
When Persian ruler Nadir Shah easily invaded India in any remaining illusion of the continued domination of Mughal power was shattered, and India entered a period of great instability. Some states that were formerly part of the Mughal empire declared their independence. Others continued to pay lip service to the seat of imperial power while following policies that were increasingly independent. The Maratha rule was now at its zenith.
Battles of Panipat
It marked the beginning of the end of the Maratha supremacy in India. The Marathas, by then, had become the greatest power in India. However, they did not try to replace the Mughal emperor and assume the role of an imperial power. Instead, they tried to dominate the politics at the court of Delhi and attempted to have the emperor and the Vazir of their own choice. The interference in the politics of Delhi by the Marathas was primarily responsible for the battle against Ahmad Shah Abdali on the field of Panipat on January 14,