|Also See Battle of
Plassey, First Battle of
Towards the middle of the 18th century, Marathas, under the leadership of the Peshwas
had established their sway over Haryana and most of North India. The intrusion of the
Afghan, Ahmed Shah Abdali into India, culminated in the third battle of Panipat on January
14, 1761. Ahmad Shah defeated the Marathas and this marked the end of the Maratha
ascendancy. The defeat of the Marathas, rapid decline of the Mughal empire after
Aurangzeb's death, leading ultimately to the advent of the British rule.
The main reason for the failure of Marathas were the lack of allies. Though their
infantry was based on European style contingent, they failed to woo allies in North India.
Their earlier behavior and their political ambitions which led them to loot and plunder, had
antagonized all the powers. They had interfered in the internal affairs of the Rajputana
states and levied heavy taxes and huge fines on them. They had also made huge territorial
and monetary claims upon Awadh. Their raids in the Sikh territory had angered the Sikh
chiefs. Similarly the Jat chiefs, on whom also they had imposed heavy fines, did not trust
them. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies alone, except for the weak support of
Imad -ul-Mulk. Moreover, the senior Maratha chiefs constantly bickered with one another.
Each one of them had ambitions of carving out their independent states and had no interest
in fighting against a common enemy.
Ahmad Shah (1722-73), first emir of Afghanistan, was the hereditary chief of the Abdali
tribe of Afghans, whom he later renamed the Durrani. He led a contingent of his tribesmen
in the service of Nadir Shah, king of Persia, who won control of most of Afghanistan and
part of India. When Nadir died, Ahmad founded an independent Afghan kingdom. He
invaded the Indian Panjab six times between 1748 and 1752, and he seized and sacked
Delhi. Although he was a powerful military leader, Ahmad never succeeded in permanently
ruling India; he subsequently withdrew into Afghanistan.
Courtesy --- Raja Desingh