peshwa

peshwa

▪ Maratha chief minister
      the office of chief minister among the Marāthā people of India. The peshwa, also known as the mukhya pradhan, originally headed the advisory council of the raja Śivājī (reigned c. 1659–80). After Śivājī's death, the council broke up and the office lost its primacy, but it was revived when Śivājī's grandson Shāhū appointed Bālājī Visvanāth Bhat, a Chitpavan Brahman, as peshwa in 1714. Bālājī's son Bājī Rāo I secured the hereditary succession to the peshwaship.

      From Shāhū's death, in 1749, the peshwa Bālājī Bājī Rāo was the virtual ruler of Mahārāshtra. He hoped to succeed the Mughals in Delhi, but, after a disastrous defeat of his army at Pānīpat (1761), he became the head of a confederacy of himself and four northern chiefs. Succession disputes from 1772 weakened the peshwa's authority. Defeat by Holkars—the Marāthā rulers of Indore—led Bājī Rāo II to seek British protection by the Treaty of Bassein (1802). Bājī Rāo was deposed after attacking the British in 1818; he died in 1853.

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Universalium. 2010.

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