Marathas are known for their fierce warriors who fought against Mughals and British in Indian history. Peshwa Bajirao I (18 August, 1700 – 28 April, 1740) was one such warrior who never lost a battle in his life time. In a short life span that he lived, he fought with unmatchable tactics to defeat his enemies. Peshwa Bajirao I is one of the most notable figures in Maratha history for his battle life as well as his personal life.
Peshwa Bajirao I – Early Life
Love and devotion for the Maratha Kingdom was in Bajirao’s blood. Bajirao’s father was the first to serve Chhatrapathi Shahu as a Peshwa. The parents of Bajirao – Balaji Vishwanath and Radhabai – were said to be close to the monarch. Bajirao learnt war skills and tactics at an early age thanks to his father who used to take along the young boy with him to war expeditions.
Peshwa Bajirao I – A Young Peshwa
Soon after Balaji Vishwanath died, Chhatrapathi Shahu decided to entrust the Peshwa title to the young Bajirao I who was barely out of his teens.
Peshwa Bajirao I – War Campaigns
Bajirao I was young and ambitious. He was eager to expand Maratha Kingdom at the earliest for which he had amazing war skills that matched his ambition. He had successful war campaign against Siddhis, Portugese, Mughals in Gujarat and Bundelkhand and Malwa.
Peshwa Bajirao I – Family Life Kashibai (m. 1712) and a Muslim Princess Mastani (m. 1719)
Bajirao entered into the wedlock at an early age of 11 with Kashibai who lived with him till his last breathe. He had four sons with her out of which two sons died early. Notably his successor was Balaji Bajirao I (Nanasaheb), another son was Raghunathrao. Bajirao I and Kashibai shared a very understanding and affectionate relationship. But later on in his Bundelkhand campaign he lost his heart to Mastani and married her. Mastani was the princess of Bundelkhand and the daughter of King Chatrasal. Mastani started living with Bajirao I at his family house in Pune.
Peshwa Bajirao faced a lot of criticism due to his association with Mastani as she was not a Brahmin but a Muslim. The Brahmin society of that time detested Peshwa’s alliance with Mastani and as a result Bajirao became furious.
Bajirao I was helpless as he couldn’t stop his family from plotting against Mastani. He was forced to keep Mastani away from his relatives. He failed to get his family like Mastani and accept her. Peshwa Bajirao I and Mastani had a son who was not accepted in the Brahmin Society and was named as Shamsher Bahadur I (Krishna Rao).
Peshwa Bajirao I – Death
Bajirao I fought tirelessly from the age of 20 till his death at 39 years. His last days were stressful as he faced personal and imperial conflicts. His ambition of conquering Delhi from Mughals remained unaccomplished as he succumbed to ill health on his way to Delhi in 1740. Historians believe that Peshwa Bajirao I suffered from possible a heat stroke which led to his death.