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The clash and progression of titans. In the bloody struggle to gain a political precedent over the various domains of the sub-continent, in the aftermath of the mughal empire's fall, three forces came to the fore. The Marathas, the Afghanis and the Khalsa. All three were hell bent on carving extensive domains for themselves and eradicating all vestiges of any foreign state and it's subsequent polity. In this struggle the mughals were reduced to nothing more than depleted forms of their past selves, and forced to tolerate strains of vengeance and exploitation on all fronts. Whether under the Khalsa, the Marathas or the Afghanis, the mughals suffered bitter humiliation reminiscent of their parent emperor's tortures launched against their wards in past eras. Whereas the Afghanis were seen as a foreign entity vying for an Alexandrian conquest of the sub-continent, specifically Punjab; it was the Khalsa and it's contemporary Maratha entity which emerged as the home team and the potential hope of the sub-continent's sovereignty. The Maratha polity was a catalyst of it's father Shivaji's political ambition amalgamated with his subsequent humiliation at the hands of his mughal employers. He commenced his crusade in 1681 A.D. and ofught bitterly with the mughals for the succeeding 27 years. Parallel to his crusade, Guru Gobind Singh Ji manifested the Khalsa and unleashed widespread rebellion against the larger sub-continental polity, composed of various Hindu and Islamic chieftains, in the territorial domains surrounding Delhi and composing the Punjab region. Despite both the Guru and Shivaji earning numerous accolades and notable victories over their foes, they never interacted. Shivaji aimed to create a fundamental Hindu state with Hindu acting as the byword for domination, and control. The Guru aimed to strengthen the Khalsa and give it the instruction required to garner power and carve a territorial entity for itself, devoid of any non-Sikh influence. Both the Maratha and the Khalsa entity possessed views which were an essential antithesis of their parallels. Both entities, despite retaining an extensive knowledge of each other, only came in contact with each other with the success of the Maratha campaign in Delhi. The subsequent actions and operations of the Marathas soon saw an extension of their conquering precincts into Punjab, which at the time was facing an onslaught of Islamic extremism amalgamated with a political catalyst. The decisive conjuncture of the contact manifested itself during Ahmad Shah Abdali's fourth invasion of the sub-continent. Noticing the extension of the Maratha territories, and the troublesome guerrilla tactics of the Khalsa he ordered his son, Timur Shah, and general, Jahan Khan, to govern Lahore and it's surrounding precincts. An extensive number of the mughal polity's remnants submitted to their command, but a few resisted despite facing imminent eradication from their bloodthirsty foes. Adina Beg, the governor of Lahore, after taking the hasty step of defying Timur decided to call on the Khalsa for assistance. Knowing that this was a potential chance to birth and plug a power-vacuum, the Khalsa entity readily agreed and started the arduous march towards Lahore. Adina Beg however had second thoughts and it was not long before he dispatched a request for aide to the Maratha chiefs in Delhi, who in a parallel fashion to the Khalsa commenced their arduous march towards Lahore. Raghunath Rao, the foremost Maratha chieftain and a subtle politician in his own right, readily agreed on the condition that Adina Beg pay him 100,000 rupees for each day's march and 50,000 for every subsequent halt. Adina in a bid to preserve his won skin eschewed his bitterness at such an extensive demand, and readily agreed to pay. On 8th March 1758 A.D. Raghunath and his forces finally arrived at Sirhind, where he joined the Adina-Khalsa coalition. Sirhind was besieged and it's doors soon fell prey to the Khalsa-Adina-Maratha forces which indulged in widespread loot of it's treasury. In the aftermath disparities soon became evident, the Khalsa which would have sacked Sirhind with a coalition or without demanded an extensive share of the loot due to it's geographical knowledge. Raghunath and his forces, enlivened and emboldened by Adina's pay, demanded a greater share of the loot whereas Adina's own troops expressed mutinous tendencies at the evident reduction of their own share. Knowing that a clash of steel was evident due to the bitter rivalries plaguing the coalition Adina defined a new precedent for the triple alliance. The Khalsa would remain two paces ahead of it's partners. This availing of inter-coalition frictions soon saw Adina's joint entity besiege Lahore and subsequently enter it on 20th April 1758 A.D. Timur and his contemporaries had fled the region. Raghunath struck a subtle blow at the heart of the Khalsa ambitions when he appointed Adina as governor of Lahore and after discarding his Khalsa allies, extended the Maratha domains onto the precincts of Afghanistan itself. The subsequent alienation of his potential allies, the Khalsa, the Jatts and the Rajputs, soon saw him stratify himself into a corner. A situation exploited by Abdali who annihilated the Maratha influence in Punjab in 1759 A.D. The subsequent power vacuum which became evident was readily filled by the de-facto master of Punjab. The Khalsa. The Marathas dispatched various orders for assistance to their subjects but were readily refused, their alienating policies ultimately struck back at their bosom until only a few Jatt chieftains agreed to assist them out of empathy. For a year the Maratha forces danced ahead of Abdali who readily followed them until in 1761 A.D. at Panipat, he annihilated an army of 60,000 pitched Maratha warriors and their subsequent families. This parallel bloodbath was a blessing to the Khalsa, who readily exploited it and reversed the Maratha influence until ultimately it possessed Punjab and campaigned up to and into Delhi. Five years later, the remnant Maratha vestiges once more came into contact with the now dominant Khalsa. This time they were invited by Jawahar Singh of Bharatpur, the Jat monarch, to birth a coalition which would aim to annihilate Najib Ud'Dula, his father's murderer and one of the influential Ruhlia chieftains. A 15,000 strong Khalsa legion, under the command of Sardar Jassa Singh Alhuwalia easily erased the Ruhlia forces from the battleground, yet it was a bitter victory for Jawahar Singh who was soundly betrayed by Malhar Rao; the Maratha general. Rao and various Jatt chieftains negotiated a subtle treaty forcing Jawahar Singh to accept Najib Ud'Dula's influence over him. Such a decisive maneuver however inflamed Jawahar against the Maratha polity, and after a minimum conjuncture, he took 8,000 Khalsa warriors into his pay to crush the traitorous Marathas. Not only had they stalled his desire for vengeance they had also birthed a blood feud by announcing his rival sibling, Nahar Singh, as the rightful monarch of Bharatpur. A year later, at the head of his Khalsa battalion, Jawahar Singh succeeded in ousting the Maratha-cum-Nahar coalition from Dholpur and occupied it as an extension of His Bharatpur domains. In the aftermath he led his battalion to aide the Jatt prince of Gohad against a Maratha legion, an action which catalyzed in the Khalsa extensively raiding Maratha domains in central India. The dawning of 1768 A.D. saw widespread hostility which catalyzed in the assassination of Jawahar Singh and his heir Ratan Singh, the subsequent year. Their remaining heirs Ranjit Singh and Naval Singh soon birthed a bloody civil war, and battle lines were drawn once more. Ranjit Singh approached the Khalsa chieftains for aide whereas Naval summoned the Marathas, who were eager to visit vengeance upon their Khalsa foes. Twenty-fourth February 1770 A.D. saw the commencement of a bloody engagement in which the Maratha's famed cavalry clashed with the Khalsa forces. Despite the victory of Naval Singh, the Maratha cavalry was heavily mauled and was never able to garner the prominence it once held. Subsequently the Khalsa forces retreated to Punjab, safe with the knowledge that the Marathas would not mount any attack against them. 1771 A.D. saw the reassertion of Maratha dominance over an extensive portion of the sub-continent, exclusive of Punjab, and the rise of Mahadji Scindia as paramount chieftain of the Maratha entity. The following year the exiled mughal monarch was restated in his place and Mahadji entrusted with the mission of returning peace to the sub-continental domains. A ruthless exploiter Mahadji pulled his employer's strings from the commencement of his mission and settled his eyes on the Khalsa territories. Under it's various chieftains the Khalsa had been involved in the extensive plunder of the various tributaries which symbiotically supported the mughal coffers. As a result of the raids, the economic stability of the mughal entity had fallen into disarray and even the Marathas were forced to conclude that finance was a paramount issue. As a result Scindia deputed various ambassadors to parlay with the Khalsa confederacies and negotiate a peace-treaty, which would prevent them from launching their decisive raids even on Delhi itself. On the other front he gained the allegiance of Samru Begum, who possessed the sub-continent's finest artillery. The catalyst of these political brokering resulted in a joint treaty being signed on 9th May 1785 A.D. which granted the Khalsa one million rupees, on the behest of the Marathas, in exchange for the Khalsa's surrendering of the Yamuna and Gang tributaries. (Continued in Part 2). http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/the-khalsa-confederacies-and-maratha.html Please post a successive comment on this blog with your contemporary comment on the forum. Thanks!