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Mahadaji Sindhia, c.1820


A larger image of Mahadaji Sindhia, c.1820.

After the Afghan defeat of the Marathas at Panipat (1761) Mahadaji Sindhia, a bluff but literate soldier of fortune, built a large empire in Hindustan. Acting nominally as the soldier of the Peshwa (sovereign), he became the master of the Mogul ruler, Shah Alam, and the “actual sovereign of Hindustan from the Sutlej to Agra, the conqueror of the princes of Rajputana, the commander of an army”. But although he modernized the Maratha armies, giving them artillery and recruiting Muslim and Jat soldiers and European officers in his service (one of whom he is entertaining here), his power was fragile because his domains lacked the resources to support his armies. Drawn c.1820.

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19th century Indian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers