Balaji Bajirao or more commonly known as Nana Saheb was the eldest son of the Bajirao I. After the death of the second Peshwa of the Maratha, the post was given to Baji’s eldest son Nana. Chhatrapati Shahu had made the codes as such that all the post shall be covered by the legal immediate heirs.
And so, by this law Nana was given the tittle of Peshwa soon after the death of his father. Just like his father Bajirao, Nana was also given to head the Maratha Empire at a very early age. Nana was 19 years old and he was given the Maratha province.
Baji Rao I was the father of Nana Saheb and his mother was Kashibai. He was born on 8th of December in the year 1972 as Nana Saheb. He belonged to the family of Bhat. And was from the Brahmin lineage. As soon as his father Baji Rao died, in the year 1740, Chhatrapati Shahu, appointed Nana as the next Peshwa.
He then married to Gopikabai and had three sons, Vishwasrao, Madhavrao, and Narayanrao. Nana also had a brother but it turned out that his brother, Raghunath Rao was malicious and had different plans which in turn led to the decline of the Maratha Empire.
All the three sons of Balaji were proved to lead the Maratha reign. His first son Vishwasrao, fought the third battle of Panipat but unfortunately, he was killed in the battle.
His second son Madhavrao after the death of his brother and Nana’s first son Vishwasrao lead the Maratha Empire and so became the Peshwa.
Nana’s third son became the Peshwa in his early twenties and therefore sat the ruler after Madhavrao. Balaji Baji Rao was made the Peshwa in his early years but there were many opposition.
There were many relatives of him that disapproved the call and hence opposed this decision of Chhatrapati Shahu. One such person who opposed this decision was the chief Raghoji Bhonsle. However, Balaji was appointed as the Peshwa on 4th July in the year 1740
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Balaji Baji Rao’s Reign
Although Nana Saheb or Balaji Baji Rao was made the next Peshwa, we did not prove to be as efficient as his father when it came to battle strategies and war tactics. Bajirao was known to be and efficient warrior and a skilled fighter. Nana surely got his trainings from his father but that still did not prove to be good in the battle grounds.
Nana Saheb was more of a Finance expert and so in his rule Maratha gained its utmost power. There were many changes that preceded when Nana gained control over the Maratha province. First, it would be that Chhatrapati Shahu was descended to only a figurehead while all the authority resided with Nana.
The Scandia’s and The Bhosle’s were given more power. They were responsible for invading other territories and also were the prime reason for the expansion of the Maratha Empire. As it was mentioned earlier that Nana Saheb was more of a financial expert and less of that a war eloquent, his reign or so to say the Maratha Reign started to decline.
There were some judicial matters that were looked after but that too governed and done by other chiefs appointed by the Peshwa. Because Nana Saheb was not a military expert and so his Maratha army lost badly in the Third Battle of Panipat.
When the Durrain invasion was prevalent in the Northern India, they, the Maratha army under the lead of Nana Saheb was not able to cope and hence forward led to the immediate decline of the Maratha Empire.
Work at Malwa
After Nana was chosen as the Peshwa, he made his first trip to the Northern India where he claimed the land and the province that was promised to his father Baji Rao I. So after his death he took control of the province as once confirmed by Nizam-ul- Mulk. During his journey to Malwa, Nana was accompanied by Chimanji who was his uncle and brother of Baji Rao I.
They were on their way to the Malwa province but unfortunately Chimanji fell ill on the road and had to leave his body due to sickness, hence Chimanji died on December 27 in the year 1740 in Pune. After a brief mourning Nana went ahead in his mission of capturing Malwa and hence again set forward his journey.
Chimaji was not too ambitious and even credited his brother for all the achievements, he was a loyal administrator. However, his son was not destined with the same fate. He was destined for much more than his father ever did and even was destined for a doomed fate.
After grieving for his dead uncle, the newly recruited Peshwa left for Malwa. He made a halt at Dholpur. Over there he made an agreement with its king Jai Singh. The agreement made sure to strengthen the bond between the Marathas and Jai Singh.
The pact had that the Marathas shall be governing the Malwa state and that Marathas pledged their allegiance to the Malwa and will be faithfully serving them. This agreement with the Dholpur king resulted in a peaceful relationship between them for few years.
Soon after Nana reached Pune, the king of Dholpur, Jai Singh put forward an order. It stated that the Peshwa should appoint a prince named Ahmed as the Subedar and that Nana should be his deputy. All went according to the plan of Nana and hence Maratha were the ultimate power of the province of Malwa.
And so, on July 14th, 1741, Maratha officially headed the Malwa state. Some of the pact that were promised to Marathas were that they should not be conquering any imperial state and that the Maratha will be responsible for providing them with Army which might count up to 4000 or more.
These were some of the underlying pacts that were made so that the Marathas were able to gain full control over the Malwa. It is hence from this proven that Nana Saheb to Balaji Baji Rao was an efficient financier when it came to pacts.
Balaji was credited for making Pune a great city and also made many building that helped the common people. However, his reign along with the dream of the Marathas gaining the complete control over India was shattered after the Third Battle of Panipat.