Real Story of Peshwa Bajirao-Mastani

by Dec 22, 2019

Hello everyone, welcome back to the series of biography. After the 2015 blockbuster film “Bajirao-Mastani,” finally Bajirao Peshwa I History is now popular. It directly shows how impactful the film industry was on its audience.

Introduction to Bajirao Peshwa 1st History

Bajirao-Mastani History was a real love story of Peshwa Bajirao. But, is the story in the film exactly the same as the real one? Of course not. As film producers and directors used film freedom to make you watch, right?

I have written his biograohy separately, you can checkout the real history of Peshwa Bajirao I. In this post I covered the relationship of Peshwa Bajirao with Mastani. Because many people actually want to know about their real love story, especially after film Bajirao-Mastani.

Before Shahu Maharaj became Chhatrapati

After the death of Shivaji Raje and 9 years of the short reign of Sambhaji Maharaj, there was no stable authority who could govern strategically. Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj had died earlier after he came to the throne.

The wife of Maharaj Rajaram named Maharani Tarabai controlled and kept the Maratha kingdom alive from the fort of Ajinkya Tara.

Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath became a Peshwa after a certain period. We considered him as one of the successful Peshwa of his time.

He served the throne of the son of Tarabai. But when Shahu Raje released from Delhi, Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath supported Shahu Chhatrapati.

Eventually when Shahu Maharaj became Chhatrapati of Satara. Balaji Vishwanath Served him as Peshwa.

After the uncertain death of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, his son Bajirao Ballal became Peshwa after proving himself in front of courtiers. He became Peshwa in the durbar of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj I at the very young age of 20 years.

Childhood of Bajirao Peshwa I

Peshwa Bajirao Ballal was popularly called Bajirao Peshwa in Pune. Bajirao Peshwa was born into the Chitpavan/Konkanastha Brahmin Bhat family on August 18, 1700. Chitpavan is a Marathi word that means “pure of mind.”

Bajirao used to go on campaigns with his father at the early age of 12 years. He learned many skills from his fathers and other Maratha Generals.

He became very disciplined and actively shared his thoughts in every campaign. He learned skills that were required for tactical warfare.

Once, the commander-in-chief of Shahu Maharaj, named Dabhaji Thorat, arrested Balaji Vishwanath. Dabhaji Thorat betrayed Balaji Vishwanath in order to insult and bow down in the Maratha court.

This incident happened in 1716. Bajirao also lived in jail with his father until his release. It clearly expresses how much he loved his family.

History of Bajirao Peshwa I

Appointment of Bajirao Peshwa as Peshwa

Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath had a sudden fall in his health. He took a leave for recovery and came to Saswad village, but he died in 1920.

Due to the sudden death of faithful Balaji Vishwanath, entire Maratha administration collapsed. There was a big question in front of Shahu Maharaj, who would be liable for this responsibility?

There were so many Knights, Senior and experienced personalities than Bajirao Ballal, who was only 20 years old. But Shahu Maharaj appointed Bajirao Ballal as the next Peshwa, based on a contest.

Because of the decision of Shahu Maharaj, all ministers in his court felt jealous of Bajirao Peshwa. Bajirao I didn’t take a long time to prove that Shahu Maharaj had taken the right decision by choosing him.

The Personality of Bajirao Peshwa

Bajirao had an overall very charming personality. He was about 6 feet tall, with a muscular physique, his brownish-yellow color add-on to his body.

Bajirao Peshwa Nickname

His nickname was Rao. He was very ambitious and committed to his strategies.
Bajirao is called “Rana Mard” in the Marathi, it means “Man of Battle” or “Man of Warfare.”

Bajirao Peshwa had built the finest cavalry in India. No one created such responsible, well-trained, and disciplined cavalry in India.

Peshwa Bajirao Sword

Bajirao used to fight with a 40 kg sword, armor, and a belt. He was really excellent at driving the sword. It is said that his sword turned invisible at the time of the battle. I meant to express his speed.

In the war, Bajirao used to throw the spear at his full strength. Therefore, sometimes his opponent gets injured along with their horse.

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Peshwa Bajirao Horses

Bajirao loved to keep different horses of various pedigreed in his personal horse barn. Malhari and Badal were some of his favorite horses.

Peshwa Balaji Bajirao

Dream of Peshwa Bajirao

Bajirao was also called Thorale Bajirao. He had the dream that Hindustan should have a Hindu Emperor. He was ready to help any kingdom that was fighting for their motherland.

He had the dream of swashing the Maratha flag at the Red Fort, Delhi.

Religion Policy in the Maratha Kingdom

Though, he did not discriminate between two religions in the Empire that he won. We also had an example of Mastani, who was his Muslim wife.

Bajirao had a great affection for Mastani. But it didn’t mean that his first wife was ignored. It is one of the focused parts of the film “Bajirao-Mastani.”

Radhabai- A Mother who made Bajirao Peshwa

From his early life, Radhabai taught him fundamental studies. Along with the Scriptures, Vedas, his mother also taught him to become a real nationalist.

Radhabai used to tell stories about Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and their sacrifices for our nation.

It encouraged nationalist thoughts in his mind. Bajirao Mastani story is assumed as a legendary love story in India.

Real History of Bajirao-Mastani

It might be somewhat true that the family of bajirao did not accept Mastani at first. But in the film, they highlighted that Radhabai (Mother of Bajirao) kept harassing her.

I think this part was totally wrong and created to show someone as a villain character. Because it enhances the love story.

Radhabai had qualities like abstinence, perseverance, and generosity. She had only taught her sons and daughters not to discriminate between any two religions. So, how could she harass Mastani?

After Chimaji Appa imprisoned Mastani, Radhabai was the only woman who released Mastani.

Administration of Maratha Empire

Bajirao Mastani History- Shanivar wada
Image Credits: Abhideo21

Since the time of Shahu Maharaj I, the Maratha Empire had capital in Satara. According to the opinion of Bajirao, the Shahu Maharaj shifted the capital to Pune.

Though Bajirao had control over the entire army, he never took advantage of it. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj had very much trust in Bajirao.

He assumed himself as only a soldier who was fighting for his motherland. He did several campaigns to join Baroda, Dhar, Indore, Gwalior. Therefore, the Knights of these kingdoms remained faithful to the Maratha Empire until last.

Achievements of the Bajirao

Fear of Peshwa Bajirao in his enemy

It is said that there was so much fear in the party of enemies about Peshwa Bajirao. At that time, people believed pregnant ladies automatically get aborted after hearing, “Peshwa Bajirao is coming!”

I am not a medical student! So, I don’t know whether it is possible. Though it emphasizes the terror of Bajirao among enemies.

Therefore, though it is not a historical fact, it has some truth behind it. So Peshwa Bajirao had created such tremendous fear in the enemy.

He did not keep his sight, only limited to Maharashtra. Peshwa Bajirao expanded the Maratha kingdom from Cuttack in the south to Attock in the north, which is now a city in Pakistan. He also captured Goa, Mysore, etc.

He invented many war tactics to enhance the attack. Some countries were also techniques in World War II. Now those techniques and strategies are now taught in defense studies of some countries.

The campaign against Nizam-Ul-Muluk (Asaf Jah-I)

To challenge the new Peshwa Bajirao, the Mughal Emperor made Nizam as Vazir in 1722. Nizam captured regions in Deccan and refused the Maratha to collect taxes from Deccan. The Mughal emperor sent him from Deccan to Aavadh.

Nizam resigned from the post of Vazir and went to Deccan again. Nizam, with the forces led by Bajirao, won the battle of Sakharkheda against the Mughal. After some time, Nizam rebelled against both Maratha and Mughal.

So, in order to teach a lesson to Nizam, Bajirao fought the battle of Palkhed. In that battle, Bajirao defeated Nizam badly and was forced to make peace. Nizam signed a treaty of Mungi to accept the rights of Shahu Maharaj to collect the taxes.

The campaign in Malwa

Bajirao started an expedition in the Malwa region in 1723 to collect the tax. He sent Malharrao Holkar, Ranoji Shinde, Tukoji Rao Pawar, Udaji Rao Pawar, Jivaji Rao Pawar for the collection of taxes.

Peshwa Bajirao sent huge troops led by his brother Chimajirao Appa with generals Holkar, Shinde, Pawar.

Chimajirao fought the battle of Amjhera with the Mughal. Chimajirao Appa had defeated the Mughals in that campaign on 29 November 1728.

Battle in Bundelkhand

Jahangir Mahal/Orchha Palace
Image Credits: Doron, Source: Wikimedia

Maharaja of Bundelkhand Chhatrasal was a powerful and valiant Hindu King. But, when he became aged, the Mughals attacked Bundelkhand with Bangash Shah as their commander. Bangash Shah encircled the fort of Bundelkhand and broke the food supply of the fort.

Maharaja Chhatrasal wrote a letter and asked for help to Bajirao. At that time, Bajirao was busy with the Malwa campaign. As soon as he realized that some nation was in danger.

Bajirao immediately planned a campaign in Bundelkhand. Bajirao because of his warfare skills, won the battle of Bundelkhand. Bajirao overthrew the Bangash Shah out of Bundelkhand.

Maharaja Chhatrasal was happy and gave jagir and treasure. Maharaja also gave his daughter Mastani to Bajirao. Mastani became the second wife of Bajirao. Before the death of Maharaja Chhatrasal on December 1731, he assigned many of his territories to Marathas.

Gujarat campaign

Bajirao turned his eyes towards the fertile region of Gujarat. He sent the younger brother, Chimajirao Appa, along with a large parade.

At that time, the governor of Gujarat was Sarabuland Khan, who was replaced by Abhay Singh. Both of them accepted the right to collect tax from the Marathas.

Trimbak Rao Dabhade was the commander of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj because his ancestors had tried so many times to earn their taxes from Gujarat, so because of jealousy, he rebelled against the Peshwas.

The Mughal Emperor sent Jai Singh II to defeat the Marathas, suggesting that he would conduct a pre-dialogue with the Marathas.

The Mughal emperor became frustrated, and he sent Mohammed Khan Bangash to the place of Jai Singh. Bangash made union with Trimbak Rao and Sambhaji II.

On 1 April 1731, Peshwa Bajirao defeated the army in the battle of Dabhoi. But Mughals killed Trimbak Rao in that battle.

After signing the treaty, Bajirao set the limits of the territories of Sambhaji II and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj. Nizam also met with Bajirao and decided not to interfere in the Maratha territories.

The Son of Trimbak Rao, named Yashwant Rao, also given the right to collect taxes. But on the condition that they would deposit half of the amount in the Maratha treasury.

The campaign in Konkan against Siddhi

Siddhi of Janjira is located on the important western coast of Maharashtra. It was important for trading and import-export business.

In the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he already had a limited influence of Siddhi in the west. But the death of Shivaji Maharaj made Siddhi fearless.

Hence, he started his expansion towards central Konkan. In the clan of Siddhis, there was the sudden death of their leader, named Siddhi Rasul Yakut Khan. His death resulted in the War of Succession in the clans of Siddhis.

One of his sons, Abdul Rahman, made an alliance with the Marathas. Then, Bajirao sent an army with Sekhoji Angre to Konkan.

On the day of 19th April 1736, Bajirao sent Chimajirao Appa to Konkan campaign. He successfully completed his campaign by killing about 1500 troops of Siddhi. The Maratha army successfully captured many forts and regions of Siddhi.

After the death of Sambhaji Maharaj, Raigad was not part of the Maratha Kingdom. In 1733, Maratha army took back Raigad Fort under the leadership of Peshwa Bajirao.

Invasion of Delhi

In November 1736, Baji Rao planned strategically with Malharrao Holkar for a surprise attack on Delhi. Then the Mughal Emperor sent Sadat Khan to fight against the Marathi army.

Sadat Khan gathered all his power for the incoming battle. In order to defeat the Maratha army, he gathered around a one and a half-lakh army.

It shows the fear of Marathas among their enemies. But the plan was not to fight, so as per the plan, Malharrao left the battleground. Seeing this, the Mughal army returned. Bajirao played their real tricks.

They covered the distance of 9 days in 3 days with 500 expert horse riders and made siege to Delhi. It is being one of the fastest attack event happened in history. They sieged Delhi for 3 days.

Bajirao did not have an interest in Delhi. He wanted to introduce the only power of Maratha to the world. It is understandable that this was a small thing to win Delhi for Peshwa Bajirao.

Nizam again rebelled against the Maratha Empire. Nizam made union with the Mughal.

On December 24, 1737, there was a significant battle between the union forces of Nizam and Mughals against Peshwa Bajirao. In the end, Peshwa Bajirao won that battle.

That was the biggest victory of Peshwa Bajirao and Marathas, and that was the biggest defeat in the history of Mughals.


According to historians, Peshwa Bajirao died prematurely due to excessive fever. His premature death was the biggest shock not only to the Maratha Empire but also to the whole of India.

After his death, foreigners had time to stay in India for growth and stability. The British made the most of its use.

The British monarchy kept Indian territory under enslavement for 200 years. Peshwa Bajirao was the most precious jewel of India. He dedicated his life to Hindavi Swarajya.

He truly fulfilled the Shivaji Maharaj dream of intact Hindavi Swaraj. Due to their unremitting efforts and extravagance, he flaunted the Maratha flag beyond attack, currently in Pakistan and Cuttack in the South.

I hope you like the history of Peshwa Bajirao. Do comment for any suggestions or improvements. It really adds value for new readers. We would also appreciate sharing this piece of content with your friends & family and Social Media.

Featured Image Credits: Amit20081980

Featured Image Credits: The painting of Bajirao Peshwa, Author: Amit20081980, Source: Wikimedia, The painting of Mastani, Author: Mughal School, Source: Wikimedia

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