Mahadaji Pant Guruji
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Mahadaji Ballal Karkare, historically known as Mahadaji Pant ‘Guruji’, was an eminent Accountant, Special Envoy of Peshwas and most respected tutor and advisor of Peshwa Madhavrao I and Sawai Madhavrao.
Mahadaji Pant was born in a Karhade Brahmin family in a village in Ratnagiri district in the Western Maharashtra. There is no mention found, however, as to his date of birth as well as his parents’ background and his educational qualifications.
In the Peshwa’s court in Pune, Mahadaji Pant joined as a clerk and gradually reached at the post of ‘Auditor General’. It is mentioned that being a strict and clean person, his inspection would always be a terrifying experience for the In-Charges of different government departments. Peshwa Nanasaheb simultaneously appointed him as ‘Guruji’ that is ‘Tutor’ of his son Madhavrao I who respected Guruji throughout his life . Besides Justice Ramshastri Prabhune, he was the only one who had great influence over Peshwa Madhavrao I. In 1763, when Nana Phadnis was expelled by Madhavrao I for few months, he was re-appointed on the strong recommendation by Guruji. In October 1766, Madhavrao I sought Guruji’s assistance to give systematic & disciplined shape to the Maratha army on Southern front.
Later career and death
After the death of Madhavrao I and subsequent murder of Narayanrao, Nana Phadnis re-appointed Guruji to take charge of Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao as his student. The Peshwa had been making his academic progress under the guidance and supervision of Guruji until his death. In 1778, before starting his Kolhapur campaign, Mahadji Shinde got his demands fulfilled from the Peshwa’s Court through Guruji’s arbitration. There is no mention found regarding Guruji’s death.