According to Encyclopedia Britannica, "Marathas are a major people of India, famed in history as yeoman warriors and champions of Hinduism."
The term Maratha is used in three overlapping senses: within the Marathi-speaking region it refers to the single dominant Maratha caste or to the group of Maratha and Kunbi castes; outside Maharashtra, the term often loosely designates the entire regional population speaking the Marathi language. The "Maratha group of castes" is a largely rural class of peasant cultivators, landowners, and soldiers."
This article is only about the Maratha caste. For Maharashtrians or all Marathi speaking people, irrespective of caste, please refer to Marathi people. For the Kunbi caste of Maharashtrians, please refer to Kunbi.
According to the Maharashtrian historian, B.R.Sunthankar, and scholars such as Professor Rajendra Vora (from the University of Pune), the "Maratha caste" is a "caste of peasants" which formed the bulk of the Maharashtrian society together with the other Kunbi peasant caste. Vora adds that the Maratha caste is the largest caste of India and dominate the power structure in Maharashtra, especially in the rural society.
According to Jeremy Black, British historian at the University of Exeter, "Maratha caste is a coalescence of peasants, shepherds, ironworkers, etc. as a result of serving in the military in the 17th and 18th century". As per V.M.Sirsikar, political scientist from the University of Pune, Marathas are dominant in rural areas and mainly constitute the landed peasantry. As of 2018, 80% of the members of the Maratha caste were farmers.
Robert Vane Russell, an untrained ethnologist of the British Raj period, basing his research largely on Vedic literature, wrote that the Marathas are subdivided into 96 different clans, known as the 96 Kuli Marathas or Shahānnau Kule The general body of lists are often at great variance with each other. A report by an independent commission in November 2018 concluded that the Maratha caste is educationally, socially and economically a backward community.
Engraving of a Maratha Soldier by James Forbes, 1813.
|Populated states||Major: Maharashtra|
Minor: Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.
The term "Maratha" originally referred to the speakers of the Marathi language. In the 17th century, it emerged as a designation for peasants from Deccan who served as soldiers in the armies of Muslim rulers and later in the armies of Shivaji Maharaj. Thus the term 'Maratha' became a marker of an endogamous caste. A number of Maratha warriors, including Shivaji's father, Shahaji, originally served in those Muslim armies. By the mid-1660s, Shivaji had established an independent Maratha kingdom. After Shivaji's death, Marathas fought under his sons and defeated Aurangzeb in the war of 27 years. It was further expanded into a vast empire by the Maratha Confederacy including Peshwas, stretching from central India in the south, to Peshawar (in modern-day Pakistan) on the Afghanistan border in the north, and with expeditions to Bengal in the east.
By the 19th century, the empire had become a confederacy of individual states controlled by Maratha chiefs such as Gaikwad's of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore, the Scindias of Gwalior, the Puars of Dhar and Dewas, and Bhonsles of Nagpur. The Confederacy remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat by the British East India Company in the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818).
By 19th century, the term Maratha had several interpretations in the British administrative records. In the Thane District Gazetteer of 1882, the term was used to denote elite layers within various castes: for example, "Maratha-Agri" within Agri caste, "Maratha-Koli" within Koli caste and so on. In the Pune District, the words Kunbi and Maratha had become synonymous, giving rise to the Maratha-Kunbi caste complex. The Pune District Gazetteer of 1882 divided the Kunbis into two classes: Marathas and other Kunbis. The 1901 census listed three groups within the Maratha-Kunbi caste complex: "Marathas proper", "Maratha Kunbis" and Konkan Maratha.
According to Steele, in the early 19th century, Kunbis, who were agriculturists and the Marathas who claimed Rajput descent and Kshatriya status - were distinguished by their customs related to widow remarriage. The Kunbis allowed it and the higher status Marathas prohibited it. However, there is no statistical evidence for this.
The Maratha population was more than 43% in Maharashtra and the Kunbi was 7%, whereas the upper castes - Brahmins, Saraswats, and Prabhus were only about 4% of the population. The Other Backward Class population (other than the Kunbi) was 27% while the population of the Mahars was 8%.
Gradually, the term Maratha came to denote an endogamous caste. From 1900 onwards, the Satyashodhak Samaj movement defined the Marathas as a broader social category of non-Brahmin groups. These non-Brahmins gained prominence in Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. In independent India, these Marathas became the dominant political force in the newly-formed state of Maharashtra.
The caste hierarchy in Maharashtra is led by the Brahmins - Deshasthas, Chitpawans, Karhades, Saraswats and the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus(CKP). The Maratha are ranked lower than the Pathare Prabhus, CKPs, Brahmins etc. in the caste hierarchy but are considered higher than the Kunbi , backward castes and castes that were considered ritually impure.
Modern research has revealed that the Marathas and Kunbi have the same origin - although the two are treated as two different communities currently on a social level. Most recently, the Kunbi origin of the Maratha has been explained in detail by Professor Richard Eaton from the University of Arizona and Professor Stewart Gordon. The Kunbis who served the Muslim rulers, prospered, and over time adopted different customs like different dressing styles, started identifying as Maratha and caste boundaries solidified between them. In the nineteenth century, economic prosperity rather than marital service to the Muslims replaced the mobility into Maratha identity. Eaton gives an example of the Holkar family that originally belonged to the Dhangar(Shepherd) caste but was given a Maratha or even an "arch-Maratha" identity. The other example, given by Professor Susan Bayly of Cambridge University, is of the Bhonsles who originated among the populations of the Deccani tiller-plainsmen who were known by the names Kunbi and Maratha. Professor Dhanmanjiri Sathe from the University of Pune states that "The line between Marathas and Kunbis is thin and sometimes difficult to ascertain". Iravati Karve, Anthropologist, University of Pune, showed how the Maratha caste was generated from Kunbis who simply started calling themselves "Maratha". She states that Maratha, Kunbi and Mali are the three main farming communities of Maharashtra - the difference being that the marathas and Kunbis were "dry farmers" whereas the Mali farmed throughout the year. John Vincent Ferreira, from the University of Mumbai states: "The Maratha claim to belong to the ancient 96 Kshatriya families has no foundation in fact and may have been adopted after the Marathas became with Shivaji a power to be reckoned with".  Professor Cynthia Talbot from the University of Texas quotes a saying in Maharashtra, "when a Kunbi prospers he becomes Maratha". The Kunbi origin has been one of the factors on the basis of which the head of Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBC), a Judge, M.G.Gaikwad, and some others in 2018, stated that Maratha associations have submitted proofs and petitions to be included in the Other Backward Class.
The empire also resulted in the voluntary relocation of substantial numbers of Maratha and other Marathi-speaking people outside Maharashtra, and across a big part of India. Today several small but significant communities descended from these emigrants live in the north, south and west of India. These descendant communities tend often to speak the local languages, although many also speak Marathi in addition. Notable Maratha families outside Maharashtra include Bhonsle of Tanjore, Scindia of Gwalior, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Puar of Dewas and Dhar, Ghorpade of Mudhol.
In 17th century Maharashtra, Brahmins, CKPs and Saraswats were the only communities that had a system of higher education. Education of all other castes and communities was very limited and consisted of listening to stories from religious texts like the Puranas or to Kirtans.
Steward Gordon, Professor Emeritus of world history at the Michigan State University writes that the prominent Ghorpade Maratha family for instance was not literate and had to use Brahmins as record keepers. 
Gail Omvedt concludes that during the British era, the overall literacy of Brahmins and CKPs was overwhelmingly high as compared to the literacy of the maratha and Kunbi communities where it was strikingly low. The artisan castes were intermediate in terms of literacy. For all castes, men were more literate than the women from that caste(respectively). Female literacy as well as English literacy showed the same pattern among castes.[a]
Despite being a politically dominant caste, the Marathas have been unable to uproot the social evils of Dowry (Dowry refers to the durable goods, cash, and real or movable property that the bride's family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of the marriage.). 80% of the maratha community are farmers and there have been cases where the maratha farmers had to sell their lands just to get their daughters married. Data compiled by the Maratha Kranti Morcha members showed that the expenditure incurred by an average low income and poor Maratha family has doubled in the last 10 years when it comes to dowry. A member said (in 2018), "The dowry amount ranges from Rs 7 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, depending on the profession of the groom. The lower-middle class Marathas too often have to bear an expenditure of Rs 7 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for a daughter’s wedding. Even in the remote villages, a small and marginal farmer spends Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh on a daughter’s wedding.” Some caste members tried to use the Morcha to address the issue of Dowry but they did not get a positive response. Dowry has now attained a status symbol in the community and that is part of the issue.
Dr.Neela Dabir conducted her research on widows in Maharashtra by dividing them into three groups. First group consisted of the women belonging to Saraswat, CKP and Brahmin communities. The second group consisted of women from the Maratha caste and the third group was all others. She concluded that the Brahmins, CKPs and Saraswats who had similar "family norms" of following the higher caste Hindu rituals and traditions, discouraged widow remarriage. Although the marathas were politically dominant in the 20th century, they did not prohibit widow remarriage due to their ritualistic norms. The widows from the three castes (Saraswat,CKP, Brahmin) had to join Ashrams in large proportions whereas the widows from Maratha and other Hindu castes did not generally face such distress in their life in the 20th century.
Rosalind O'Hanlon, Professor at the University of Oxford stated that the Hindu God Mhasoba is traditionally very popular in the Maratha caste. She quotes about the devotion of the Marathas in the 19th century to Mhasoba as follows:
You will not find a single family among the Marathas who do not set up in the grounds around their village some stone or other in the name of Mhasoba, smear it with red lead, and offer incense to it; who without taking Mhasoba's name will not put his hand to the seed-box of the plough, will not put the harrow to the field, and will not put the measure to the heap of threshed corn on the threshing floor.
Maratha leaders said that “Chhatrapati Shivaji is worshiped by the Maratha community, while different sections of society hold him in high esteem”. "Shivaji Jayanti" (his birthday) is celebrated with folk dances, songs, plays and Puja. There was some controversy over the date but it is now celebrated on February 19th. Earlier, the regional Marathi political parties - Shiv Sena as well as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena were celebrating it as per the Tithi according to the Hindu Calendar ("Falgun Vadya Tritiya" - third day of the month of Falgun), whereas the State Government was celebrating it as per the Gregorian Calendar.
The varna of the Maratha was a contested issue, with arguments for their being of the Kshatriya(warrior) varna, and others for their being of Shudra origins. This issue was the subject of antagonism between the Brahmins and Marathas, dating back to the time of Pratap Singh, but by the late 19th century moderate Brahmins were keen to ally with the influential Marathas of Bombay in the interests of Indian independence from Britain. These Brahmins supported the Maratha claim to Kshatriya status, but their success in this political alliance was sporadic and fell apart entirely following independence in 1947.
As late as the turn of 20th century, the Brahmin priests of Shahu, the Maratha ruler of Kolhapur refused to use Vedic mantras and would not take a bath before chanting, on the grounds that even the leading Marathas such as Shahu and his family belonged to the Shudra varna. This opinion about the Shudra varna was supported by Brahmin Councils in Maharashtra and they stuck to their opinion even when they (the Brahmins) were threatened with the loss of land and property. This led to Shahu supporting Satyashodhak Samaj as well as campaigning for the rights of the Maratha community. He soon became the leader of the non-Brahmin movement and united the Marathas under his banner.
In the 21st century, the Government of Maharashtra cited historical incidents for the claim of Shudra status of prominent Maratha families to form a case for reservation for the Marathas in the state.
Claude Markovits, director of center of Indian and South-Asian studies, writes, that in 1875, in places such as Pune and Ahmednagar, Marwadi moneylenders became victims of coordinated attacks by the "local peasantry of the Maratha caste". Historian, David Ludlen states that the motivation for the violence was destroying the debt agreements that the moneylenders held over the Maratha farmers. These riots were known as the "Deccan riots".
After Gandhi's murder in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a Chitpawan, Brahmins in Maharashtra became victims of violence, mostly by elements from the Maratha caste. Later, in Sangli, Jains and Lingayats joined the marathas in their attacks against the Brahmins. Thousands of offices and homes were also set on fire. Molestation incidents were also reported during these attacks. On the first day alone, the number of deaths in Bombay were 15 and 50 in Pune.
As per V.M.Sirsikar, "It will be too much to believe that the riots took place because of the intense love of Gandhiji on the part of the Marathas. Godse became a very convenient hate symbol to damn the Brahmins and burn their properties." Donald Rosenthal opines that the motivation for the violence was the historical discrimination and humiliation that the Maratha community faced due to their caste status. He writes, "Even today, local Brahmins claim that the Marathas organized the riots to take political advantage of the situation".
In Satara alone, the official reports show that about 1000 houses were burnt down in about 300 villages. There were "cruel, cold-blooded killings" as well - for example, one family whose last name happened to be 'Godse' had three of its male members killed. Brahmins suffered from serious physical violence as well as looting.
Maureen Patterson concludes that the greatest violence took place not in the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur - but in Satara, Kolhapur and Belgaum. Destruction was very large in Kolhapur. Shahu had actively collaborated with the British against the Indian freedom struggle that was identified with Chitpawans such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Shahu was also actively involved in the anti-Brahmin movement as well. In Sangli, the Jains and the Lingayats joined the Marathas in the attacks against the Brahmins. Here, specifically, the factories owned by the Chitpawan Brahmins were destroyed. This event led to the hasty integration of the Patwardhan states into the Bombay Province by March 1948.
The BDD Chawl in the Worli inner suburb of Mumbai is a complex of buildings which were built in 1920s to house workers employed by the textile mills. In the 1970s, at the height of the Dalit Panther movement, fights erupted between the Chawl’s dominant Maratha population and the Neo-Buddhists living in 20-odd buildings resulted in full-scale riots. Violence between the communities continued through the 1970s to the early 1990s.
Sambhaji Brigade is a branch of "Maratha Seva Sangh"(a Maratha caste organization) and has committed acts of violence. In 2004, a mob of 150 Maratha activists attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute - the reason being a book by James Laine. The vandalism led to loss of valuable historic documents and an estimated loss of Rs. 1.25 crores. Sanskrit and religious documents dating back to the 16th century were destroyed, translation of the RigVeda by the Shankaracharya was thrown on the road. A woman who tried to call the police had bricks pelted at her by the goons.
In 2017, the statue of Ram Ganesh Gadkari, a noted playwright and poet who showed Sambhaji Maharaj in a poor light in his 1919 play 'Rajsanyas', was uprooted and thrown in the river by Sambhaji Brigade. The Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu(CKP), the community to which Gadkari belonged later organized a meeting to protest this incident at the "Ram Ganesh Gadkari Rangayatan"(a theater named after Gadkari) in Thane. Indian National Congress leader Nitesh Rane later rewarded the vandals and made inflammatory remarks claiming that he had announced a reward earlier in 2016 for removing the bust, and was proud of the act carried out by the accused.
Recently, several incidences of violence were reported due to agitation over delay in the inclusion of the Maratha caste in the Other Backward Class category. The agitations were started by the Maratha Kranti Morcha. In June 2018, the Marathas threatened violent protests if their demands were not met. In July, Maratha protests turned violent as the protesters attacked cops and torched their(police) vehicles. Several incidents have been reported in other places as well - including violence towards cops, deaths and burning private cars and police vehicles. Several cops have been injured by the mobs, public property has been damaged and private cars have been torched. In Navi Mumbai itself, hundreds of vehicles have been torched and Buses have been set on fire in cities like Mumbai and Pune. Some Marathas have also committed suicide citing lack of inclusion in the OBC Quota(reservation).
In a widely publicized 2017 incident, a Brahmin scientist by the name of Medha Vinayak Khole(Deputy Director-General for the weather forecasting section) filed a police complaint against her Maratha domestic worker, Nirmala Yadav, for hiding her caste and “violating ritual purity and sanctity". Khole even insulted the latter's Gods Khandoba and Mhasoba - a Hindu God worshiped by the pastoral communities of western India and very popular in the Maratha community. Yadav alleged that "she [Khole] discovered I was a Maratha and not a Brahmin. Following this, she barged into my house and began assaulting me, while stating that our God was of the streets while theirs was in the heaven". The "Akhil Bhartiya Bramhan Mahasangh" initially came out in support of Khole. However, there were widespread protests not just by Maratha caste organizations but also by non-caste organizations like Domestic Workers Unions and Women's organizations and Khole was widely criticized.
The 1919 Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms of the British colonial government called for caste based representation in legislative council. In anticipation a Maratha league party was formed. The league and other groups came together to form the non-Brahmins party in the Marathi speaking areas in the early 1920s under the leadership of Maratha leaders Keshavrao Jedhe and Baburao Javalkar. Their early goals in that period were capturing the Ganpati and Shivaji festivals from Brahmin domination. They combined nationalism with anti-casteism as the party's aims. Later on in the 1930s, Jedhe merged the non-Brahmin party with the Congress party and changed the Congress party in the Maharashtra region from an upper-caste dominated body to a more broadly based but Maratha-dominated party. Apart from Jedhe, most Congress leaders from the Maratha /Kunbi community remained aloof from the Samyukta Maharashtra campaign of the 1950s. However, they have dominated the state politics of Maharashtra since its inception in 1960.
The INC was the preferred party of the Maratha/Kunbi community in the early days of Maharashtra and the party was long without a major challenger, and enjoyed overwhelming support from the Maratha dominated sugar co-operatives and thousands of other cooperative organizations involved in the rural agricultural economy of the state such as marketing of dairy and vegetable produce, credit unions etc. The domination by Marathas of the cooperative institutions and with it the rural economic power allowed the community to control politics from the village level up to the Assembly and Lok Sabha seats. Since the 1980s, this group has also been active in setting up private educational institutions. Major past political figures of Congress party from Maharashtra such as Keshavrao Jedhe, Yashwantrao Chavan, Shankarrao Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh have been from this group. Sharad Pawar, who has been a towering figure in Maharashtrian and national politics, belongs to this group.
The state has had many Maratha government ministers and officials, as well as in local municipal councils, and panchayats. Marathas comprise around 32 per cent of the state population. 10 out of 16 chief ministers of Maharashtra hailed from the Maratha community as of 2012.
Shiv Sena's strength mainly came from the Maratha support which it drew away from the Congress. In 1990, 24 MLAs elected from Shiv Sena were Marathas which increased to 33 in 2004 (more than 50%). Thus, researcher Vora concludes that the Shiv Sena has been emerging as a "Maratha Party".
Marathas were declared a non-martial race by Lord Roberts but later added back to the list in the early twentieth century although it was unclear whether this categorization referred to the Maratha caste or a subset of some Marathi castes. The British, despite praising the Military prowess of the Marathas, considered them inferior to Sikhs and Gurkhas in terms of other masculine traits due to prevailing Christian notions of manliness in battlefield as well as in practices. They disapproved of Maratha raiding tactics at war. However, racial theories have been discredited.
Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the Indian Army 1885–1893, who came up with the "martial race" theory, stated that in order to improve the quality of the army, there was a need to use "more warlike and hardy races" instead of the current sepoys from Bengal, the Tamils, Telugus and the Marathas. Based on this theory, Gurkhas and Sikhs were recruited by the British army and they were "construed as marital races" in preference to other races in India. Historian Sikata Banerjee notes a dissonance in British military opinions of the Maratha, wherein the British portrayed them as both "formidable opponents" and yet not "properly qualified" for fighting in the western manner, criticising the Maratha guerrilla tactics as an improper way of war. Banerjee cites an 1859 statement as emblematic of this disparity:
There is something noble in the carriage of an ordinary Rajput, and something vulgar in that of the most distinguished Mahratta. The Rajput is the most worthy antagonist, the Mahratta the most formidable enemy.
The Maratha Light Infantry regiment is one of the "oldest and most renowned" regiments of the Indian Army. Its First Battalion, also known as the Jangi Paltan ("Warrior Platoon"), traces its origins to 1768 as part of the Bombay Sepoys.
The battle cry of Maratha Light Infantry is Bol Shri Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai! ("Hail Victory to Emperor Shivaji!") in tribute to the Maratha sovereign and their motto is Shatrujeet (victory over enemy).
The Marathas, a middle-peasantry caste accounting for around 30 percent of the total population of the state, dominate the power structure in Maharashtra. In no other state of India do we find a caste as large as the Marathas. In the past years, scholars have turned their attention to the rural society of Maharashtra in which they thought the roots of this domination lay.
The peasant castes of Marathas and kunbis formed the bulk of the Maharashtrian society and, owing to their numerical strength, held a dominating position in the old village organisation."
The second caste conflict which is of political significance is that of the Marathas and the Mahars. Marathas are dominant in rural areas and mainly constitute the landed peasantry.
Second, we have that Marathas regularly served in the armies of the Muslim Deccan kingdoms.
The traditional caste hierarchy was headed by the brahmin castes-the deshasthas, chitpawans, karhades saraswats and the chandraseniya kayastha prabhus.
High castes include all the Brahmin jatis, as well as a few other elite jatis (CKP and Pathare Prabhus).Low castes include formerly untouchable and backward castes (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes, as defined by the government of India). Medium castes are drawn mostly from the cultivator jatis, such as the Marathas and the Kunbis, as well as other traditional vocations that were not considered to be ritually impure.
Of the six groups, four are Brahmins; one is high non-brahmin caste, Chandraseniya Kayashth Prabhu (CKP), ranking next only to the Brahmins; and the other is a cultivating caste, Maratha (MK), belonging to the middle level of the hierarchy.
In the Hindu social hierarchy the privileged classes were Brahmins, CKP's and others. Similarly other elite classes were Parsis and Europeans.
For Maharashtra, Karve(1968) has reported that the line between Marathas and Kunbis is thin and sometimes difficult to ascertain
page 14:These figures as they stand are obviously wrong. The Marathas had not doubled their numbers between 1901 and 1911 nor were the Kunbis reduced by almost three- fourths. Either the recorders had made wrong entries or what is more probable, "Kunbi" as a caste-category was no longer acceptable to cultivators who must have given up their old appellation, Kunbi, and taken up the caste name, Maratha. In 1921 under the common heading Maratha and Kunbi, the figure 48,86,484 is given and a note added that this head includes Marathas, Cabit, Kunbi and Khandesh Kunbis. (Vol. VIII, Bombay, Part I, pages 185-189.) ...page13: The agricultural community of the Maratha country is made up of Kunbis, Marathas and Malis. The first two are dry farmers depending solely on the monsoon rains for their crop, while the Malis work on irrigated lands working their fields all the year round on well-water or canals and growing fruit, vegetables, sugarcane and some varieties of cereals
191:Together with the Marathas, the Maratha Kunbi belonged originally, says Enthoven, to the same caste; and both their exogamous kuls and exogamous devaks are identical with those of the Marathas. Enthoven opines that the totemic nature of their devak system suggests that they are largely of a non-Aryan origin.page202:The Kunbi cultivators are also Marathas but of a somewhat inferior social standing. The Maratha claim to belong to the ancient 96 Kshatriya families has no foundation in fact and may have been adopted after the Marathas became with Shivaji a power to be reckoned with.
The Ghorpade family was Maratha and almost certainly illiterate. Record keepers were Brahmin, literate families.
For example, the families having Bhosale and Ghorpade as surnames are believed to belong to the same clan-stock namely the Bhosale
page 1426:There is difficulty in using such Census data, particularly because the various categories tended to be defined in different ways in different years, and different criteria were used in different provinces for classifying the population. Nonetheless, the overall trend is clear...page 1416: Table 1: Literacy of selected castes(male and female). literacy caste(1921,1931): CKP(57.3%,64.4%); Chitpawan(40.9%,55.2%); Deshastha(40.3%,55.8%);sonar(22%,23.1%);shimpi(tailor)(21.2%,29.6%);koshti(weaver)(11.0%,17.5%);Maratha in Bombay(?, 11.3%), sutar(4.0%,7.5%), teli(oil presser): (3.8%,7.5%), Maratha in ratnagiri(2.9%,?), dhobi(washerman) (2.9%, 5.7%); Mali(2.3%,8.7%);Mahar(1.2%,2.9%); dhangar(shepherd) (1.2%,2.7%); chambhar(1.1%, 2.0%); kumbhar(1.1%,2.0%), Mang(0.5%,1.6%), Kunbi(0.6%,?),Bania-Berar(27.9%, 46.6%), Rajput-Berar(8.7%,11.4%);page 1419:Male literacy rates were much higher than the male and female together, but show the same pattern, as does the literacy in English. Not only were the Brahmans and CKPs overwhelmingly dominant, but maratha kunbi figures were amazingly low, especially for bombay province. Even allowing for the effects of sampling differences, the low rates for the marathas kunbis are striking, and it is noteworthy that many artisan castes were more literate. This also tended to be true in the central provinces-Berar.
Referring to the chief deities of the Marathas, Khandoba and Bhawani, Edwards quotes Brahma Purana, according to which Shiva assumed the form of Malhari Martand, another name of Khandoba, while Bhawani was the consort of Shiva
In 1875, in Maharashtra, in the regions of Poona and Ahmadnagar, moneylenders (sowcars), most often Marwaris, became the object of coordinated attacks by the local peasantry of the Maratha caste: this episode, known as the Deccan riots...
(pg 13,14)Destruction was even larger in kolhapur...(pg14)Shahu Maharaj had actively collaborated with the British against the freedom movement, which was locally identified with Chitpawan Brahmins like B.G.Tilak...(pg14) The biggest violence took place in the seven Patwardhan (Chitpawan) princely states such as Sangli, where the remarkably advanced factories owned by Chitpawans were largely destroyed/ Here, Jains and Lingayats joined the Marathas in the attacks. The events hastened the integration of Patwardhan states (by march 1948) into the Bombay province, an integration opposed by the Brahmins - fearing Maratha predominance in the integrated province.
There is no doubt now since about 1000 houses were officially reported to have burnt in some 300 villages spread across all thirteen talukas of the District and Aundh State. There are reports of "cruel, cold-blooded killing" — one family named Godse was said to have lost three male members — and there were other serious physical attacks on Brahmans. In general, the victims of arson and looting were predominantly Brahman...
Vilasrao Deshmukh (from Congress), a Maratha from Marathwada
...Sharad Pawar, the founder of the NCP and also described as the Maratha Strong Man, who has been...
Shiv Sena's strength primarily came from Maratha support, which it drew away from the Congress
The Shiv Sena is emerging as another Maratha party if we go by the number of Marathas elected on its ticket in the last four elections to the Vidhan Sabha.
The first step towards improving the quality of the army was to substitute men of more warike and hardy races for the Hindustani sepoys of Bengal, the Tamils and Telugus of Madras and the so called Marathas of Bombay.
The Anglo–Maratha Wars were three wars fought in the Indian sub-continent between Maratha Empire and the British East India Company:
First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782)
Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805)
Third Anglo-Maratha War, also known as the Pindari War (1816–1818)Baji Rao I
Baji Rao (18 August 1700 – 28 April 1740) was a general of the Maratha Empire in India. He served as Peshwa (minister) to the fifth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu from 1720 until his death. He is also known by the name Bajirao Ballal.Baji Rao is credited with expanding the Maratha Empire in India. Maratha empire reached its zenith later on under reign of Chhatrapati Shahu and Bajirao was one of the major contributor in expansion. In his military career spanning 20 years, Baji Rao never lost a battle.Baji Rao II
Baji Rao II (10 January, 1775 – 28 January, 1851) was the last Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, and governed from 1795 to 1818. He was installed as a puppet ruler by the Maratha nobles, whose growing power prompted him to flee his capital Pune and sign the Treaty of Bassein (1802) with the British. This resulted in the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1805), in which the British emerged victorious and re-installed him as the titular Peshwa. In 1817, Baji Rao II joined the Third Anglo-Maratha War against the British, after they favoured the Gaekwad nobles in a revenue-sharing dispute. After suffering several battle defeats, the Peshwa surrendered to the British, and agreed to retire in return for an estate at Bithoor and an annual pension.Bhonsle
Bhosle and Bhosale lead here. For other uses, see Bhosle (disambiguation) and Bhosale (disambiguation)
The Bhonsle (or Bhonsale, Bhosale, Bhosle) are a prominent group within the Maratha clan system. Traditionally a warrior clan, some members served as rulers of several states in India, the most prominent being Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire which displaced the Mughal Empire as the preeminent political and military power in India. His successors ruled as Chhatrapatis (emperors) from their capital at Satara, although de facto rule of the empire passed to the Peshwas, the Maratha hereditary prime ministers, during the reign of Shahu I. In addition to the Bhonsle Chhatrapatis of Satara, rulers of the Bhonsle clan established themselves as junior branch of Chhatrapatis at Kolhapur, and as Maharajas of Nagpur in modern-day Maharashtra in the 18th century.
After the British defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, the four Bhonsle dynasties continued as rulers of their princely states, acknowledging British suzerainty while retaining local autonomy. The states of Satara, Thanjavur, and Nagpur came under direct British rule in the mid-nineteenth century when their rulers died without male heirs, although the British allowed titular adoptions to take place. Kolhapur state remained autonomous until India's independence in 1947, when the rulers acceded to the Indian government.
Akkalkot State, Sawantwadi State and Barshi were amongst other prominent states ruled by the Bhonsles.First Anglo-Maratha War
The First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782) was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.Jijabai
Jijabai Shahaji Bhosale (12 January 1598 – 17 June 1674), referred to as Rajmata Jijabai, was the mother of Shivaji Maharaj, founder of Maratha Empire. She is daughter of Lakhuji Jadhavrao of Sindhkhed, a Mughal-aligned sardar claiming descent from a Yadav royal family of Devagiri.Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian power that dominated much of the Indian subcontinent in the 17th and 18th century. The empire formally existed from 1674 with the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji and ended in 1818 with the defeat of Peshwa Bajirao II. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending Mughal rule in India.The Maratha were a Marathi warrior group from the western Deccan Plateau (present-day Maharashtra) who rose to prominence by establishing a Hindavi Swarajya (meaning "self-rule of Hindu/Indian people"). The Maratha became prominent in the 17th century under the leadership of Shivaji, who revolted against the Adil Shahi dynasty, and carved out a kingdom with Raigad as his capital. Known for their mobility, the Maratha were able to consolidate their territory during the Mughal–Maratha Wars and later controlled a large part of the Indian subcontinent.
After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Chhattrapati Shahu, grandson of Shivaji, was released by the Mughals. Following a brief struggle with his aunt Tarabai, Shahu became the ruler and appointed Balaji Vishwanath and later, his descendants, as the peshwas or prime ministers of the empire. Balaji and his descendants played a key role in the expansion of Maratha rule. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) in the north, and Bengal Subah in the east. The Maratha discussed abolishing the Mughal throne and placing Vishwasrao Peshwa on the Mughal imperial throne in Delhi but were not able to do so. In 1761, the Maratha Army lost the Third Battle of Panipat against Ahmad Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion into Afghanistan. Ten years after Panipat, the young Peshwa Madhavrao I's Maratha Resurrection reinstated Maratha authority over North India.
In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, Madhavrao gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, and created a confederacy of Maratha states. These leaders became known as the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain, the Bhonsales of Nagpur, the Mehere's of Vidharbha and the Puars of Dhar and Dewas. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a Peshwa family succession struggle in Pune, which led to the First Anglo-Maratha War. The Maratha were victorious. The Maratha remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805-1818), which resulted in the East India Company controlling most of India.
A large portion of the Maratha empire was coastline, which had been secured by the potent Maratha Navy under commanders such as Kanhoji Angre. He was very successful at keeping foreign naval ships at bay, particularly those of the Portuguese and British nations. Securing the coastal areas and building land-based fortifications were crucial aspects of the Maratha's defensive strategy and regional military history.Mughal–Maratha Wars
The Mughal–Maratha Wars, also called as Deccan Wars or War of 27 years were fought between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire from 1680 to 1707. The Deccan Wars started in 1680 with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s invasion of the Maratha enclave in Bijapur established by Chatrapati Shivaji.Peshwa
A Peshwa was the equivalent to Pradhan (head of ministers) of Chhatrapati (ruler) in the Maratha Empire.
Originally, the Peshwas served as subordinates to the Chhatrapati (the Maratha king), but later, they became the de facto leaders of the Marathas, and the Chatrapati was reduced to a nominal ruler.
During the last years of the Maratha Empire, the Peshwas themselves were reduced to titular leaders, and remained under the authority of the Maratha nobles and the British East India Company.
All the Peshwas during the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj belonged to Deshastha Brahmin community The first Peshwa was Moropant Pingle, who was appointed as the head of the Ashta Pradhan (council of eight ministers) by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. The initial Peshwas were all ministers who served as the chief executives to the king. The later Peshwas held the highest administrative office and also controlled the Maratha confederacy. Under the Chitpavan Brahmin Bhat family, the Peshwas became the de facto hereditary administrators of the Confederacy. The Peshwa's office was most powerful under Baji Rao I (r. 1720-1740). Under Peshwa administration and with the support of several key generals and diplomats, the Maratha Empire reached its zenith, ruling major areas of the India. However, after the Peshwa Raghunathrao allied himself with the British, the Peshwa's power declined substantially. The subsequent Peshwas were titular leaders and are said to be responsible for the downfall of Maratha empire, due to inefficiency in handling the affairs of the state. Later on many provinces were controlled and administered either by the Maratha nobles such as Daulat Rao Sindhia, or by the East India Company. During this period, the Maratha confederacy came to its end through its formal annexation into the British Empire in 1818.Raigad Fort
Raigad is a hill fort situated in the Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. The Raigad Fort was seized by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and made it his capital in 1674 when he was crowned as the King of a Maratha Kingdom which later developed into the Maratha Empire, eventually covering much of western and central India.The fort rises 820 metres (2,700 ft) above the sea level and is located in the Sahyadri mountain range. There are approximately 1737 steps leading to the fort. The Raigad Ropeway, an aerial tramway exists to reach the top of the fort in 10 minutes. The fort was looted and destroyed by the British after it was captured in 1818.Rajaram I
Rajaram Raje Bhosale (24 February 1670 – 3 March 1700 Sinhagad) was the younger son of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and half-brother of Sambhaji Maharaj. He took over the Maratha Empire as its third Chhatrapati after his brother's death at the hands of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb in 1689. His eleven year rein was marked with a constant struggle against the Mughals.Rani of Jhansi
Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (pronunciation ; 19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858), was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi in North India currently present in Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh, India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of resistance to the British Raj for Indian nationalists.Sambhaji
Sambhaji (14 May 1657 – 11 March 1689) was the second ruler of the Maratha kingdom. He was the eldest son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire and his first wife Saibai. He was successor of the realm after his father's death, and ruled it for nine years. Sambhaji's rule was largely shaped by the ongoing wars between the Maratha kingdom and Mughal Empire as well as other neighbouring powers such as the Siddis, Mysore and the Portuguese in Goa. In 1689, Sambhaji was captured, tortured and executed by the Mughals, and succeeded by his brother Rajaram I.Second Anglo-Maratha War
The Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805) was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.Shahu I
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, Shivaji. He was the son of Sambhaji, Shivaji's eldest son and successor. Shahu, as a child, was taken prisoner along with his mother in 1689 by Mughal sardar, Zulfikar Khan Nusrat Jang After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, leading Mughal courtiers released Shahu with a force of fifty men, thinking that a friendly Maratha leader would be a useful ally.At that time he fought a brief war with his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the Maratha throne in 1708.Under Shahu's reign, Maratha power and influence extended to all corners of the Indian subcontinent.He was a powerful ruler of Maratha Samrajya after Shivaji I. However after his death, power moved from the ruling chhatrapati to his ministers (the Peshwas) and the generals who had carved out their own fiefdoms such as Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Scindia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore.Shivaji
Shivaji Bhonsle (Marathi [ʃiʋaˑɟiˑ bʱoˑs(ə)leˑ]; c. 1627/1630 – 3 April 1680) was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati (monarch) of his realm at Raigad.
Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, Sultanate of Golkonda, and Sultanate of Bijapur, as well as the English, Portuguese, and French colonial powers. Shivaji's military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy. Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with well-structured administrative organisations. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and court conventions and promoted the usage of Marathi and Sanskrit, rather than Persian, in court and administration.
Shivaji's legacy was to vary by observer and time but he began to take on increased importance with the emergence of the Indian independence movement, as many elevated him as a proto-nationalist and hero of the Hindus. Particularly in Maharashtra, debates over his history and role have engendered great passion and sometimes even violence as disparate groups have sought to characterise him and his legacy.Soyarabai
Soyarabai Bhosale (née Mohite) (died 1681) was one of the wives of Shivaji, the founder of Maratha Kingdom in western India. She was mother of Shivaji's second son, Rajaram Chhatrapati. She was the younger sister of Maratha army chief Hambirrao Mohite.Third Anglo-Maratha War
The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company (EIC) and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of the Maratha territory by British East India Company troops, the largest such British controlled force massed in India. The troops were led by the Governor General Hastings (no relation to Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal) supported by a force under General Thomas Hislop. Operations began against the Pindaris, a band of Muslim mercenaries and Marathas from central India.Peshwa Baji Rao II's forces, supported by those of Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore, rose against the East India Company. Pressure and diplomacy convinced the fourth major Maratha leader, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior, to remain neutral even though he lost control of Rajasthan.
British victories were swift, resulting in the breakup of the Maratha Empire and the loss of Maratha independence. The Peshwa was defeated in the battles of Khadki and Koregaon. Several minor battles were fought by the Peshwa's forces to prevent his capture.The Peshwa was eventually captured and placed on a small estate at Bithur, near Kanpur. Most of his territory was annexed and became part of the Bombay Presidency. The Maharaja of Satara was restored as the ruler of his territory as a princely state. In 1848 this territory was also annexed by the Bombay Presidency under the doctrine of lapse policy of Lord Dalhousie. Bhonsle was defeated in the battle of Sitabuldi and Holkar in the battle of Mahidpur. The northern portion of Bhonsle's dominions in and around Nagpur, together with the Peshwa's territories in Bundelkhand, were annexed by British India as the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. The defeat of the Bhonsle and Holkar also resulted in the acquisition of the Maratha kingdoms of Nagpur and Indore by the British. Along with Gwalior from Shinde and Jhansi from the Peshwa, all of these territories became princely states acknowledging British control. The British proficiency in Indian war-making was demonstrated through their rapid victories in Khadki, Sitabuldi, Mahidpur, Koregaon, and Satara.Third Battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 13 January 1761 at Panipat, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Delhi, between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Empire and invading forces of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali, supported by two Indian allies—the Rohillas Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region and Shuja-ud-Daula-the Nawab of Awadh. Militarily, the battle pitted the artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry and mounted artillery (zamburak and jezail) of the Afghans and Rohillas led by Abdali and Najib-ud-Daulah, both ethnic Afghans. The battle is considered one of the largest and most eventful fought in the 18th century, and has perhaps the largest number of fatalities in a single day reported in a classic formation battle between two armies.
The specific site of the battle itself is disputed by historians, but most consider it to have occurred somewhere near modern-day Kaalaa Aamb and Sanauli Road. The battle lasted for several days and involved over 125,000 troops. Protracted skirmishes occurred, with losses and gains on both sides. The forces led by Ahmad Shah Durrani came out victorious after destroying several Maratha flanks. The extent of the losses on both sides is heavily disputed by historians, but it is believed that between 60,000–70,000 were killed in fighting, while the numbers of injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. According to the single best eyewitness chronicle—the bakhar by Shuja-ud-Daulah's Diwan Kashi Raj—about 40,000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered in cold blood the day after the battle. Grant Duff includes an interview of a survivor of these massacres in his History of the Marathas and generally corroborates this number. Shejwalkar, whose monograph Panipat 1761 is often regarded as the single best secondary source on the battle, says that "not less than 100,000 Marathas (soldiers and non-combatants) perished during and after the battle."The result of the battle was the halting of further Maratha advances in the north, and destabilization of their territories, for roughly ten years. This period is marked by the rule of Peshwa Madhavrao, who is credited with the revival of Maratha domination following the defeat at Panipat. In 1771,ten years after Panipat, he sent a large Maratha army into northern India in an expedition that was meant to re-establish Maratha domination in that area and punish refractory powers that had either sided with the Afghans, such as the Rohillas, or had shaken off Maratha domination after Panipat.But their success was short lived. Crippled by Madhavrao's untimely death at the age of 28, infighting ensued among Maratha chiefs soon after, and they ultimately met their final blow at the hands of the British in 1818.