Maratha expeditions in Bengal

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Maratha invasions of Bengal
Date August 1741 – May 1751
Location Bengal, Orissa and Bihar
Result

Military stalemate[1]
Maratha political victory[2]

  • Signing of a peace protocol[1]
  • De facto Maratha control over Orissa, but de jure it remained a part of Bengal[1]
  • Nawab of Bengal agreed to pay Rs. 1.2 million of tribute annually as the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar, and the Marathas agreed not to invade Bengal again.[3][4]
Territorial
changes
Incorporation of South Medinipur into Orissa[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire (1743)
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Faction of Murshid Quli II (1741)
Afghan rebels (1746–1748)
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Mir Jafar
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Rai Durlabh Surrendered
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ghulam Mustafa Khan (defected)
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ataullah Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Jainuddin Ahmed 
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Abdus Salam Surrendered
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Sheikh Masum 
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Syed Ahmed Khan Surrendered
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Balaji Baji Rao (1743)
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Raghuji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Bhaskar Pandit 
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Janoji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Sabaji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Mir Habib
Mirza Baker Surrendered
Shamsher Khan 
Sardar Khan 
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG 10,000+ (in 1747) Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 40,000[1] (in 1742)
24,000[1] (in 1745)
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown[1]

The Maratha invasions of Bengal indicates to the frequent invasions of Bengal by the Maratha Empire after their successful campaign in Carnatic region at the Battle of Trichinopoly. The leader of the expedition was Maratha Maharaja Raghoji Bhonsle of Nagpur.[5] The Marathas invaded Bengal six times from August 1741 to May 1751. The Bengalis under Nawab Alivardi Khan succeeded in repelling all the invasions, however, the frequent Maratha invasions caused great destruction in Bengal and Orissa, resulting in heavy civilian casualties and widespread economic failure. The invasions came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty between Bengal and the Maratha Empire, which established a Maratha-supported governor in Orissa under nominal control of the Nawab of Bengal.[1] It also made Bengal a tributary to the Marathas, with former agreeing to pay Rs. 1.2 million of tribute annually as the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar, and the Marathas agreed not to invade Bengal again.[6][7]

Invasions of Bengal[edit]

From 1741 to 1751, the Marathas under Raghuji Bhonsle invaded Bengal six times. The first one in 1741, as also the third in 1744, were led by Raghuji's general Pandit Bhaskar Ram Kolhatkar. The second in 1742 and the fourth in 1745 were led by Raghuji himself. The fifth in 1747 and the sixth in 1748 were undertaken by Janoji and Sabaji respectively. These invasions caused heavy destruction in Bengal, however, each of the invasions was repelled by the Bengalis under Nawab Alivardi Khan. But the continuous conflict took a heavy toll on the population of Bengal.[1]

First invasion (1741)[edit]

First Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date August – December 1741
Location Orissa
Result

Bengali victory[1]

  • Maratha invasion of Orissa repelled
  • Bengali re-annexation of Orissa[1]
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal Faction of Murshid Quli II
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Mir Jafar
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Sheikh Masum
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Rai Durlabh
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Syed Ahmed Khan Surrendered
Mirza Baker
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Raghuji Bhonsle
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown, but heavy[1]

After the inauguration of Alivardi Khan as the Nawab of Bengal, the provincial governor of Orissa, Zafar Khan Rustam Jung, more commonly known as Murshid Quli II, revolted against him. The revolt was crushed by Alivardi in March 1741, but Murshid Quli II escaped with his family and took shelter of Raghuji Bhonsle, the Maratha ruler of Nagpur. Raghuji agreed to assist Murshid Quli II in regaining Orissa. Murshid Quli II's son-in-law Mirza Baker, assisted by Maratha troops and the rebel forces of Orissa (who were dissatisfied with the governor of Orissa), invaded Orissa in August 1741. Orissa's governor, Syed Ahmed Khan (a nephew of Alivardi Khan), was defeated and captured along with his family.[1]

Hearing of this, Alivardi rushed to Orissa and defeated the combined forces of the Marathas and the rebels in the Battle of Raipur in December 1741.[1] Alivardi's commander Mir Jafar freed Syed Ahmed and his family.[1] Alivardi regained control of Orissa and returned to Murshidabad.

Second invasion (1742)[edit]

Second Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date April – December 1742
Location Bengal and Orissa
Result

Bengali victory[1]

  • Maratha invasion of Bengal and Orissa repelled
  • Bengali re-annexation of parts of Bengal and Orissa[1]
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Sheikh Masum 
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ghulam Mustafa Khan
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Bhaskar Pandit
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Shah Rao
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Mir Habib
Mirza Baker Surrendered
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown, but significantly less than the Marathas[1] Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 40,000[1]
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown, but heavy[1]

Third invasion (1743)[edit]

Third Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date January – April 1743
Location Bengal, Bihar and Orissa
Result

Bengali and Maratha victory[1]

  • Maratha invasion of Bengal and Orissa repelled
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ghulam Mustafa Khan
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Balaji Baji Rao
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Raghuji Bhonsle
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown, but larger than that of Raghuji Bhonsle[1]
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Minimal
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Minimal
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown, but heavy[1]

Fourth invasion (1744)[edit]

Fourth Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date March 1744
Location Bengal
Result

Bengali victory[1]

  • Maratha invasion of Bengal repelled
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ghulam Mustafa Khan
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Bhaskar Pandit 
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown, but significantly less than the Marathas[1] Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg ~30,000[1]
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Minimal Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 22 commanders killed
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown number of troops killed[1]

Fifth invasion (1745–1749)[edit]

Fifth Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date August 1745 – May 1749
Location Bengal, Orissa and Bihar
Result

Bengali victory[1]

  • Maratha invasion of Bengal, Orissa and Bihar repelled
  • Bengali re-annexation of Orissa and Bihar[1]
Territorial
changes
Status quo ante bellum[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Afghan rebels
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Mir Jafar
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Jainuddin Ahmed 
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Rai Durlabh Surrendered
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Ataullah Khan
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Raghuji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Janoji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Mir Habib
Murtaza Khan
Shamser Khan 
Sardar Khan 
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG 10,000+ Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 24,000[1]
unknown number of Afghan rebels
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown, but heavy[1]

Sixth invasion (1749–1751)[edit]

Sixth Maratha invasion of Bengal
Date May 1749 – May 1751
Location Bengal and Orissa
Result

Bengali military victory[1]

  • Maratha political victory
  • Maratha invasion of Bengal and Orissa repelled[1]
  • Singing of a peace protocol[1]
  • De facto Maratha control over Orissa, but de jure it remained a part of Bengal[1]
Territorial
changes
Incorporation of South Medinipur into Orissa[1]
Belligerents
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Bengal Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire
Commanders and leaders
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Alivardi Khan
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Mir Jafar
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Khwaja Abdul Hadi
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Rai Durlabh
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Abdus Salam Surrendered
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Raghuji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Janoji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Sabaji Bhonsle
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Mir Habib
Strength
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG unknown Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown
Casualties and losses
Coat of Arms of Nawabs of Bengal.PNG Moderate[1] Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg unknown[1]

End of hostilities[edit]

In 1751, the Marathas signed a peace treaty with the Nawab of Bengal, according to which Mir Habib (a former courtier of Alivardi Khan, who had defected to the Marathas) was made provincial governor of Orissa under nominal control of the Nawab of Bengal.[1] Moreover, the Nawab of Bengal agreed to pay Rs. 1.2 million of tribute annually as the Chauth of Bengal and Bihar, and the Marathas agreed not to invade Bengal again.[8][9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar ড. মুহম্মদ আব্দুর রহিম. "মারাঠা আক্রমণ". বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাস. ২৯৩–২৯৯.
  2. ^ "Forgotten Indian history: The brutal Maratha invasions of Bengal". 
  3. ^ "Forgotten Indian history: The brutal Maratha invasions of Bengal". 
  4. ^ OUM. pp. 16, 17
  5. ^ SNHM. Vol. II, pp. 209, 224.
  6. ^ "Forgotten Indian history: The brutal Maratha invasions of Bengal". 
  7. ^ OUM. pp. 16, 17
  8. ^ "Forgotten Indian history: The brutal Maratha invasions of Bengal". 
  9. ^ OUM. pp. 16, 17