The Palkhed Campaign, 1728

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18 thoughts on “The Palkhed Campaign, 1728”

  1. Just stumbled upon this article. FOund it excellent; very informative. War history especially of the Marathas is a subject of great passion for me.
    Vinay

  2. The hostory published here is greatly important for Maratha ,which are lagging behind for gaining information .T

  3. I didn’t exactly get it.

    How did Bajirao anticipate the propable advance of Nizam ul Mulk’s army?

    If it wasn’t consequential, he must be a genius.

  4. It seems that Bajirao’s strategy was circumstantial rather than intentional. Otherwise how could he allow Nizam to capture Pune, the seat of Peshwas, by moving toward Gujarat at the time when Nizam was poised to attack?

    1. I am currently reading a book by Vasudeo Belvalkar – “Ghatkey rovile zende”. It is based on the life and times of Bajirao-I. This book is written in the form of a novel, so the author has taken some liberty while explaining the events during this campaign. But, couple of facts that can be stated that support the fact that the strategy was intentional are –

      1) Pune was not the seat of Peshwa at the time of campaign. Peshwa and his family was residing in Satara the capital of the Maratha empire at that time. Peshwa’s moved to Pune in 1932 when the construction of Shaniwar wada was complete.

      Also, at the time of this campaign, Pune had barely 3 peths, as per the book so the population of Pune was not very high, nor Pune was a trading/financial hub so it didn’t had any storage of wealth.

      2) At the time of this campaign, Shahu had relocated to Purandar, while his and Pehawa’s family, along with the back-office and funds (khajina) was on Ajinky-tara. I have read about both these events in other books.

      To fool Nizam and to prevent him from attacking these to nerve-centers, Bajirao lured Nizam to Pune by spreading false rumors that Shahu is on Lohagad-visapur. Even if we consider that some of it is pure folklore, it all gells so well, that it is safe to deduce that some of it was pure strategy.

      The book states that everytime Bajirao was planning for the battles, he had a one point agenda of driving Nizam out of the deccan province (ruled by Maratha) and force him to enter the provinces of Nizam (Aurangabad) and fight the battle(s) there. This is a very simple strategy and as mentioned by Anand in his comment, currently adopted by US.

    2. If you study Bajirao Peshwa’s strategy you would realize how much mental effort he put into it… true genius ….its certainly not circumstantial. Following are the highlights of his strategy:
      1. Quick movement –> use of light cavalry and no use of artillery. His helped in fast tactical movements.
      2. Espionage –> (a) Strong information network to get information about enemy movements and their strategy
      (b) Disinfomation campaign to disorient the enemy
      3. Good knowledge of Geography / Terrain –> In every campaign, he brought the enemy to the battlefield of his choosing. He diverted Nizam from Pune to ensure most effective victory with least loss of life. He moved the battlefield from out territory to enemy’s territory.
      4. Cutting all the enemy supply lines –> He cut-off enemy’s logistics and drove enemy to complete submission and surrender. Victory without shedding a single drop of blood.

      Indian Army followed Bajirao’s strategy in the 1971 war giving us victory within 18 days.

  5. ==Ravi Sathe:
    I agree with you – it does appear to be circumstantial – to an extent. I say, to an extent – only because there was a possibility that he would have done the obvious, in the event (surrender, face the enemy direct or such)

    I believe strategy doesn’t always necessarily require that the “seat” is guarded; what is important (in a personal opinion) i sto keep the window of opportunity open to regain it.

    Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated.

  6. Isn’t all the battles fought through the ages a matter of circumstance? Had the Nizam not resorted to sabre rattling and continued with the chauth payment, the events would not have built up to his defeat.

    I feel that the Bajirao knew that the best way to defend Pune was to take the battle to the Nizam. An attacker always has the initiative. Clubbed with surprise and timing he holds the key to making holes in the defender’s plan. Of course, the Nizam did not expect such a bold action and was not having any defensive posture.

    The Marathas always used their asymmetry of tactics and force levels to their advantage. The Chatrapati too knew that his army was not trained nor could fight classical battles/wars. The first and the last was at Panipat and we all know how that defeat changed the course of India’s history. To borrow from a friend’s point of view, “Another point was that Marathas as raiders did not ‘make a stand’ anywhere .. even Pune was never defended to the death at any point, but was abandoned whenever threatened.”

    The last point which Atul makes above too is very pertinent. Look at the US strategy since WW II. It fights all its battles/wars away from home. Of course, the technology and equipment is not comparable, but the strategy is.

  7. found it useful in my on going project- A geopolitical Atlas of Maratha Empire which is a map history of th Maratha People.
    Thanks a ton for th concise account.
    J. Diddee

  8. Bajirao-I was known for his fastest mobility. Records shows, speed of his army is around 30 kms against mughal/nijams 17 kms in a day. Moving with such a speed is record at that time. Bajirao-I has expertise in Ghod-dal (Troup riding Horse).

  9. i m interested in military history of Marathas. Bajirao without doubt was one of the greatest maratha military general and can be counted along with Shivaji.
    But it was sad he died so young and after his death Maratha Empire lost its glory due to interneccine fights between various Maratha Generals.
    Wud like to know more about him as well as another Peshwa (Madhavrao I)

  10. This was like a perfect chess board strategies. Nizam gave check to Seat of Maratha’s i.e. Satara by advancing via Pune, Baramati. Bajirao had anticipated this much before and turned towards Nizam’s Seat Aurangabad and removed the check. He had also anticipated that Nizam will try to catch him before he could reach Aurangabad. Bajirao might be aware that the region was waterless and he had control over all available water sources so Nizam was trapped. Actions of Bajirao were very fast and anticipation was perfect..

  11. hi Nizam gave check to Seat of Maratha’s i.e. Satara by advancing via Pune, Baramati. Bajirao had anticipated this much before and turned towards Nizam’s Seat Aurangabad and removed the check. He had also anticipated that Nizam will try to catch him before he could reach Aurangabad.

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Telling history as I see it – telling a story

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