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TN Textbook Class XIl History SIVA PRASAD
LORD HASTINGS (1813-1823)
Downfall of the Maratha Confederacy The third major achievement of Lord Hastings was against the Marathas. In reality, the Maratha power had weakened considerably after the Third Battle of Panipat (1761) and the two subsequent wars against the British. But the Marathas had not finally crushed out. . The Maratha chiefs fought amongst themselves and their successors were invariably weak and incapable. . The relationships of powerful Maratha chiefs like the Bhonsle, Gaekwar, Scindia, Holkar and the Peshwa were ridden with mutual jealousies
. Peshwa Baji Rao Il wanted to become the head of the Maratha Confederacy and at the same time wanted freedom from the British control. His Chief Minister Tirimbakji encouraged him. On the advice of the Company, the Gaekwar sent his Prime Minister Gangadhar Shastri to negotiate with the Peshwa. On his way back, Gangadhar Shastri, was murdered at Nasik at the instance of Triambakji. This caused a lot of anger not only among the Marathas but also among the British. The latter asked the Peshwa to handover Triambakji to them. Peshwa handed over his Minister to the British, who lodged him in Thana jail from where he escaped. Consequently, the British Resident Elphinstone forced the Peshwa to sign the Treaty of Poona. Bai Rao gave up his desire to become the supreme head of the Marathas.
Third Maratha War (1817-1819) But soon the Peshwa undid this treaty with the British and in 1817 attacked the British Residency. He was defeated at a place called Kirkee. . Similarly, the Bhonsle chief, Appa Sahib also refused to abide by the Treaty of Nagpur, which he had signed with the British in 1816. According to this treaty, Nagpur came under the control of the Company. He fought with the British in the Battle of Sitabaldi in November 1817, but was defeated . The Peshwa now turned to Holkar for help, but Holkar too was defeated by the British in 1817 at Baroda. Therefore, by December 1817 the dream of a Mighty Maratha Confederacy was finally shattered.
Third Maratha War (1817-1819) The year 1818 was a significant year on account of major political achievements for the British. . The Maratha dream of establishing themselves as the paramount power in India was completely destroyed. . Thus, the last hurdle in the way of British paramountcy was removed.
Causes of the Defeat of the Marathas Lack of capable leadership . Military weakness of the Marathas. . The major drawback of the Maratha power was mutual bitterness and lack of cooperation amongst themselves. . The Marathas hardly left any positive impact on the conquered territories . The Marathas did not have cordial relations with other princes and Nawabs of India. . The Marathas failed to estimate correctly the political and diplomatic strength of the British
Reforms of Hastings The Governor-Generalship of Lord Hastings witnessed not only territorial expansion but also the progress of administration. He approved the Ryotwari system of land revenue introduced in the Madras Presidency by Sir Thomas Munroe. In the sphere of judiciary, the Cornwallis Code was improved. The Police system of Bengal was extended to other regions. The separation of judicial and revenue departments was not rigidly followed. Instead, the District Collector acted as Magistrate.
Reforms of Hastings Hastings had also encouraged the foundation of vernacular schools by missionaries and others. In 1817, the Hindu College was established at Calcutta by the public for the teaching of English and western science. Hastings was the Patron of this college. . He encouraged the freedom of the Press and abolished the censorship introduced in 1799. . The Bengali Weekly, Samachar Darpan was started in 1818 by Marshman, a Serampore missionary.