Govind Pant Bundela
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Govind Ballal Kher (1710 ? - 1761), historically known as ‘Govind Pant Bundela’, was a Military General of Peshwas in Northern India during 1733 to 1761. Peshwa Bajirao appointed him his trustee for the 1/3 kingdom rewarded to him by Maharaja Chhatrasal in Bundelkhand. He was the founder of the city of Sagar situated in the Central India.He ruled the city of Kalpi and later it was given as jagir to his descendent Nana Govinda Rao. After this Govind Rao ruled the Jalaun State.
Govind Pant was born in a Karhade Brahmin family in village ‘Nevare’ in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra in or around 1710. His father was Kulkarni of the village and Govind Pant inherited this post on early death of his father. Being a vagabond, however, he was forced to leave the post and also his native place and was compelled to wander in the search of a job.
In the beginning of his career, he worked under the then rising Maratha Generals Malharrao Holkar and Antaji Mankeshwar and got good experience of guerilla war and administration. On recommendation by Antaji, Bajirao Peshwa assigned some jobs to Govind Pant and found him extremely useful. Soon he became Bajirao’s one of the most favorite. When Bajirao got Bundelkhand from Maharaja Chhatrasal in 1733, he appointed Govindpant as his Administrator and Power of attorney for this newly annexed land. In 1735-1736 with Bajirao's permission, he built a new town called ‘Sagar’ and made it his Capital. He was always known to be the greatest ‘Fund raiser’ of the Maratha Empire.
Contribution to the Battle of Panipat
Govind Pant did his best to help the Maratha army under the leadership of Sadashivrao Bhau during Battle of Panipat in 1761. He himself had trapped Ahmed Shah Abdali in the region between Ganges and Yamuna (termed as Duab) and had made him totally helpless.But when he got the opportunity he delivered a considerable amount at Delhi to Naro Shankar and started attacking the supplies of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Unfortunately however, a sheer misunderstanding led him to lose his life in an unexpected tussle with the troops under Abdali’s General Ataikhan.
Veteran historian V K Rajwade holds Govind Pant responsible for the defeat of Marathas in the battle of Panipat (1761). Also he does not consider him as a man of importance. Moreover, he accuses him to be always corrupt. These allegations have however been refuted stating that the first two statements by Rajwade are contradictory to each other. Govind Pant can be held responsible only if he was a man of importance. Secondly, Marathas were on the verge of victory even after substantial time had passed for Govind Pant’s death. There were so many other reasons for the defeat including wrong decisions by Sadashivrao Bhau, untimely retreat by Malharrao Holkar and death of Peshwa Vishwas Rao. Thirdly, accusing Govind Pant of corruption would mean underestimating the capabilities of Peshwa Bajirao and Nanasaheb as Govind Pant was their Power of Attorney continuously for more than 25 years.
- ‘Marathi Riyasat Volume I’ (Marathi) by Govind Sakharam Sardesai
- ‘Peshwyanchi Bakhar’ (Marathi) Editorial Notes by R.V.Herwadkar
- ‘Bhausahebachi Bakhar’ (Marathi) Editorial Notes by R.V.Herwadkar
- 'Aitihasik Prastavana' (Marathi) by V K Rajwade
- 'Third Battle of Panipat' by Abhas Verma ISBN 9788180903397 Bharatiya Kala Prakashan