Siege of Trichinopoly (1741)
|Siege of Trichinopoly|
|Part of Later Mughal-Maratha Wars|
|Maratha Empire||Mughal Empire(p1034)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Raghuji Bhonsle||Muhammad Shah
The Siege of Trichinopoly took place in early 1741 during an extended series of conflicts between the Mughal Empire and the Maratha Empire for control over what is now southern India. Raghuji Bhonsle's Maratha army successfully starved out the town, compelling the surrender of Chanda Sahib on 26 March 1741.
In the 1730s, the Carnatic region of southern India was under the dominion of Asaf Jah 1, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was technically a viceroy to the Mughal emperor, but actually acted somewhat independently. The Nizam had appointed Muhammed Saadatullah Khan as Nawab of the Carnatic in 1710. Saadatullah died in 1732, directing that he be succeeded by his nephew, Dost Ali Khan. Dost Ali refused to pay chauth (a form of tribute) to the Marathas that his predecessors had paid. Following the death of the Maratha Rajah of Trichinopoly in 1736, Dost Ali sent his son-in-law and diwan, Chanda Sahib, to the province, claiming its tribute payments were in arrears. He inveigled himself into the court of Rani Minakshi, who was acting as regent for her young son. Abusing her trust, he seized the fortress and threw her into prison, where she is said to have died of grief. Dost Ali rewarded Chanda Sahib with the title Nawab of Trichinopoly.
The Maratha Peshwa, offended by the loss of Trichinopoly, sent Raghuji Bhonsle to organize a military expedition into the Carnatic in 1739. In early 1740 Raghuji led an estimated 50,000 man army south toward Arcot, Dost Ali's capital, and Dost Ali and Chanda Sahib mobilized to meet him. The Nizam's military forces were occupied on his northern borders, and he was unable to provide significant assistance. These two forces first met at the Demal Cheru Pass on 20 May 1740. The Marathas were victorious, killing Dost Ali and forcing Chanda Sahib to flee to Trichinopoly. Dost Ali's successor, Safdar Ali Khan, negotiated tribute payments to the Marathas to ensure their recognition of his rule. Chanda Sahib had been expecting the Marathas to besiege Trichinopoly after their dealings at Arcot, so he was surprised to learn that they withdrew to the north after making the deal with Safdar Ali. He consequently began divesting himself of stores and siege supplies.
The move by the Marathas, however, appeared to be a ruse, as they turned around and advanced on Trichinopoly with great speed. Although sources are uncertain as to the exact date the siege began, it appears to be have been underway by January 1741. Chanda Sahib had fortuitously evacuated his family and those of others to Pondicherry, where they took refuge with the French. However, Raghuji's forces closely blockaded the city, and the lack of food and other provisions compelled Chanda Sahib to surrender on 26 March 1741.
Chanda Sahib and his son were taken to the Maratha stronghold at Satara. Chanda Sahib was imprisoned until he was able to escape in 1748; he then resumed his role as an antagonist of the Marathas, aided and abetted by the French. The Marathas installed Murrarao Ghorpade to govern Trichinopoly.
Dost Ali's rule came to an end in 1742 when he was murdered by his brother in law, Muhammed Saadatullah Khan II. Both of them refused to pay tribute as expected to the nizam, who in 1743 led an 80,000 man army into the Carnatic to reassert his control of the area. He deposed Saadatullah, and laid besieged Murrarao Ghorpade in Trichinopoly. That siege ended on 29 August 1743 when the nizam essentially bought Murrarao off to change sides.
- Mehta, J. L. Advanced study in the history of modern India 1707-1813
- Mackenna, P. J. et al. Ancient and modern India