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 II 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 in July 1815, 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, on 13 June 1817, the British Resident Elphinstone forced the Peshwa to sign the Treaty of Poona. Baji Rao gave up his desire to become the supreme head of the Marathas.
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