Mumbai: One of the greatest warrior of Maharashtra, Peshwa Bajirao I who was famous for his military prowess passed away on April 28. On this occasion, here are some interesting facts of the man who earned the love of his troops and his people.
Bajirao I was born on18 August 1700 into the Bhat family of Chitpavan Brahmin lineage. His father Balaji Vishwanath was the first Peshwa of Chhatrapati (king) Shahu. His mother’s name was Radhabai and he had a younger brother Chimaji Appa who was also a military commander.
>> He is also known by the names Bajirao Ballal and Thorale (Marathi for Elder) Bajirao.
>> In 1716, Maharaja Shahu’s army-in-chief Dabhaji Thorat treacherously arrested Peshwa Balaji. Bajirao also chose to accompany his father for two years till he was released. Bajirao shared the torture bestowed upon his father during his imprisonment.
>> Bajirao I was appointed as the Peshwa (Prime Minister) at the age of 20 by Shahu after his father Balaji died. He served as Peshwa from 1720 until his death.
>> Bajirao was a natural leader who preferred to lead by example, inspiring his troops by his own skill. He was skilled at using the deadly circular danapatta sword of the Marathas and riding a horse into the thick of battle.
>> Bajirao’s military tactics at Battle of Palkhed which he fought against the Nizam of Hyderabad is considered a great example of his brilliant execution of military strategy. Eventually the Nizam was defeated by the Marathas and Bajirao was hailed as the hero of the Marathas’ resounding victory.
>> He spent 70% of his life with soldiers in camps, travelling and in battlefield. He ate with his soldiers.
>> In his brief military career spanning 20 years, he fought around 40 battles and has never lost any. He used to carry a heavy sword to battle which was very much more than a standard at that time.
>> The famous ‘haunted’ Shaniwarwada in Pune, was a stately mansion originally built as the residence of the Peshwas. The foundation of the mansion was laid by Bajirao.
>> Peshwa Bajirao married twice. His first wife was Kashibai with whom he had three sons – Balaji Baji Rao (aka Nana Saheb), Raghunath Rao and Janardan Rao. Nana Saheb succeeded him as the Peshwa in 1740, under the name Balaji Baji Rao. Janardan Rao died young.
>> His second wife was Mastani, an Indian warrier Chhatrasal’s daughter. The contemporary orthodox Hindu Brahmin society refused to accept the marriage because Mastani had a Muslim mother. This led to a crisis in the Bhat family. However, he went against all odds, and married her. They had a son, who was named Krishna Rao at birth. Though Bajirao wanted him to be accepted as Brahmin, he wasn’t accepted because of his mother’s faith. He was then raised as a Muslim and came to be known as Shamsher Bahadur.
>> The man, undeafeated in battles, died on 28 April 1740, at the age of 40 of a sudden fever which was mostly due to heat stroke which he suffered while inspecting his jagirs.