Mahadji Scindia

Mahadji Scindia (1727-1794)

Mahadji Sindia

It seems desirable to refer to two great personalities of this period: Mahadji Scindhia and Nana Phadnavis. Both of them were contemporaries and both of them played an important part during the Maratha War I and came into prominence in Maratha politics. Nana Phadnavis controlled the Maratha affairs at Poona and Mahadji busied himself in the north. Both of them served the Maratha State faithfully. It is pointed out by Sardesai that if Mahadji and Nana Phadnavis had not acted in concert and brought all their resources to bear on the First Maratha War, there would have been an end of the Maratha power.

Mahadji and Nana Phadnavis differed from each other in their physical features as in their mental cast. “Nana, a Brahman, tall and thin, brownish in complexion with a long oval face marked with large piercing eyes and a long nose, the other a Kshatriya, of middle stature, dark, thickset, stout and athletic, a typical Maratha soldier of his time. While Nana was by nature strict and serious, regular and hard-working, abstemious in words and action, difficult of approach and never given to sport, mirth or company, hardly ever seen to laugh and of an extremely delicate and thin constitution, Mahadji was, on the other hand, of a jovial and merry temperament, ever surrounded by crowd of people, talking, joking, laughing and enjoying company, taking counsel with all, but always so cautious as to set people entirely on a wrong scent, never to let others fathom his real intentions or plans, in fact, an exact antithesis of Nana.”

The life of Mahadji was one long period of strenuous activity. His life can be divided into four parts. During the first part up to 1761, he was an obscure figure over-shadowed by his brilliant brothers from 1761 to 1772. His life was one of apprenticeship in which he acquired the supreme fitness which later on helped him to co-operate with Nana Phadnavis to defeat the English during the Maratha War I. During the third part, he gained valuable experience of war and diplomacy on his own initiative which he put in actual test later on. During the 4th part, he created the kingdom which he left for his children.

The private life of Mahadji was pure and free from blemish. He was free from caste and religious bias. He was equally respected by the Muslims and the Hindus. He employed Brahmans, the Prabhus, Marathas and Maharas. The Saraswat Brahmans attained special distinction in his service as soldiers and diplomats. Mahadji was always careful and faithful to the Peshwa family. He never tried to assert his independence. It was unfortunate that Nana Phadnavis was jealous of Mahadji and always tried to keep him away from Poona.

Mahadji did not manage his financial affairs properly. He borrowed a large amount of money from all sources. A lot of money was pocketed by unscrupulous middlemen. There was confusion and misappropriation. Money was poured into useless channels. Lands were deserted and cultivation was stopped at many places. Robberies became frequent. Life became insecure. Mahadji agreed to pay the expenses of the Mughal empire and his armies but he had no money to do so.

According to Malleson, “By the death of Mahadji Scindhia, the Marathas lost their ablest warrior, and their most foreseeing statesman. In his life he had two main objects, the one to found a kingdom, the other to prepare for the contest for empire with the English. In both, it may be said he succeeded. The kingdom he founded still lives, and if the army which he formed was annihilated by Lake and Wellesley eight years after, it was because of the loss of his guiding band. Had he lived, Mahadji would have brought under one standard the horsemen and the French contingent of Tipu, the Powerful artillery of the Nizam, the whole force of the Rajputs and every spear which Maratha influence could have collected from Poona, from Indore, from Baroda and from Nagpur. Even if the final result might not have been attained, the great problem of contest between a united India and the English would have been fairly fought out. As it was, his death settled it. Thenceforth the sinister result was only a question of time.”

According to J.N. Sarkar, “Mahadji Scindhia, a heroic personality, dominates the North Indian history of his time like a colossus. His resources were defective, his instruments and allies of tern played his false, many an anxious crisis he had to face. Even sympathetic Residents like James Anderson and William Palmer predicted his sure downfall. And yet in the end he triumphed over all. We see the intense religious feeling; modern nationalists may call it superstition, which formed the essence of his being. We see the deep family affection, the habitual meekness of spirit, the respect for venerable persons, which this strong and busy man of action displayed even at the height of his earthly glory.


Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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