Editor – a friend asked me to read this book. While searching on the net realized that a pdf file of the book was freely downloadable. The book is A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE HINDU EMPIRE OF MAHARASHTRA. Credit and copyright belong the publishers M/s B. G. Paul and Co, Madras. Book was published in 1925. My renewed interest in the subject was due to the movie Bajirao Mastani that was released in December 2015.
Introduction to book by respected R.C. Mazumdar
“The rise and growth of the Maratta Power must ever remain as one of the most fascinating and stimulating chapters of Indian history. Looked at from a broader point of view, it ceases to he merely of local interest, and occupies its rightful place in the history of the development of humanity in which the successful struggle of the down-trodden against their mighty oppressors fills the largest space.
It is seldom, however, that the subject is viewed in its true perspective. It is too often presented either as the wonderful, bordering on supernatural story of a mighty hero, or the successful struggle of a military race against the powerful Moghul empire. The writer of the following pages, however, has rightly perceived that behind all these was a noble and inspiring ideal. This ideal, in the words of the author, was Hindu-Pad-Padashahi, the establishment of an independent Hindu Empire. As the author has correctly observed, " the consciousness of this noble ideal animated their efforts from generation to generation, gave to their distant and widely scattered activities a unity of aim and kinship of interests, and made them feel that their cause was the cause of their Dharma and their Desk.
The author has taken this as his thesis, and brought forward facts and figures to substantiate it in full. He has quoted facts to show how from almost the very beginning of his career, Shivaji was regarded as the deliverer of the Hindu race from the aliens' rule, and nobly responded to the solemn appeal of his co-religionist even beyond the borders of Maharashtra.
Shivaji died, but the noble ideal survived him. The general impression is that the history of the Maratta nation began and ended with Shivaji and what followed was a " confusion worse confounded by selfish and demoralised struggle of stray adventurous bands of freebooters. " But, as the atathwof the following pages has shown, nothing can be a greater mistake. Shivaji was followed by a long and brilliant succession of worthy captains who carried aloft the banner of their illustrious Chief, and realised his noble ideal to a far greater degree.
At. last, the table was completely turned. The proud Moghuls were humbled to the dust and the l Gerua' ban i er of the Marattas was planted on the fort of Delhi. The dream of a pan-Hindu empire, for which generations of heroes and martyrs had lived and died, was within the range of practical politics.
But it was not to be; for Panipat decided otherwise. The Marattas, however, did not renounce their old ideal and rose above the
The most tremendous calamities that can befall a nation. * Each home had to mourn the loss of some one of its relations, yet there was scarcely a home in Maharashtra that did not vow to redeem the national honour and win the cause for which its heroes fell.'
Once more had the Marattas succeeded in nearly accomplishing their task. They had occupied Delhi, and the Moghul emperor sought protection in their hands. The Nizam's power was laid low. Throughout northern and southern India the reputation of the Marattas again rose high, and inspired hope in the hearts of millions.
Then came the age of the traitors and cowards, unworthy descendants of those who fought for the cause of India's freedom. It was a grim tragedy that laid low the mighty nation and shattered its high ideals.
Such is the fascinating story that Mr. Savar-kar has to tell his readers. It is a theme of profound interest to modern India—fraught with lessons of inestimable value. The author has soared high above the matter-of-fact history and drawn bold relief the spirit lying behind it. He has justly observed that the Hindu revival, in order to be complete, required not only freedom from political bondage, but also liberation from the superstitions that had gathered round it in course of centuries. He had shown that the Marattas, while success-fully achieving the first, made an earnest effort to secure the latter.
They initiated the revolutionary movement of Suddhi in order to re-admit the apostates into the Hindu fold, but could not achieve a large measure of success in this direction. " The lesson is," as the author remarks, " that although fetters of political slavery can at times be shaken off and smashed, yet the fetters of cultural superstition are often found far more difficult to knock off."
The author has further shown that the result of the combat between the English and the Marattas was a foregone conclusion—for the Marattas, along with other Indians, lacked in those " public virtues" which the English nation possesses to an eminent degree. Here are two important lessons which modern India should not ignore.
Standing on the grave of the last and one of the most glorious of our Hindu empires the author has asked us to watch and hops. Let us say ' amen.’”.
1. Why Bajirao is India's greatest cavalry general
2. Maratha Supremacy in the 18th century