Kanhoji Bhosle

Parasoji was succeeded by his son Kanhoji. Chatrapati Sahu granted Kanhoji his hereditary title and also some land at Khed for the maintenance of his father’s memorial. Darva was taken by Kanhoji and he made Bham his headquarters.

In the struggle between the Sayyad brothers and Nizam-ul-mulk far the control of the Delhi affairs, the farmer received the support of Sahu. Sahu sent Bajirav Pesva and Kanhoji Bhosle against the Nizam. In the battle of Balapur fought an 10th August 1720, the Nizam came out victorious. Many Marathas last their lives. In the battle of Sakhar-Kheda, 1724, Kanhoji Bhosle offered to help Mubarij Khan against the Nizam, but Mubarij impudently refused it.

Kanhoji breaks his relations with Sahu

Kanhoji was a religious minded orthodox Maratha nobleman. It is said that he accepted food prepared by Brahmans alone. The religious bent of his mind was probably due to his having no son. He performed sacrifices, religious rites and observed fasts so that he should be blessed by God with a san. Kanhoji soon gat a son wham he named Rupaji. (Ibid, p. 56.)

Kanhoji it seems was hat tempered. He could not carry on well either with the Chatrapati or the Pesva (P.D., vol. 20, p. 1.). When called by the Chatrapati to explain the causes of his failure to pay the dues into the treasury, Kanhoji could neither pay the dues nor explain the accounts. The fact seems to be that he was not prepared to brook control with sahu. As the relations worsened, Kanhoji on 23rd August, 1725, decamped from Satara and hastened to the Nizam for asylum. The Nizam, however, did not back Kanhoji as Sahu reminded him that such an act was against the treaty entered into between them. When all attempts at rapprochement failed, Sahu set Raghuji Bhosle against Kanhoji. Raghuji had been asking Kanhoji, his uncle, far his share in the ancestral jagir. This had naturally strained the relations between the nephew and the uncle. Chatrapati Sahu in setting the nephew against the uncle exploited the family feud to his awn advantage.

After making the necessary preparations Raghuji marched in 1728 from Satara against his uncle. Sahu granted him the mokasa of Devur near Wai. Far this grant the Bhosles of Nagpur were also styled as the Rajas of Devur. Raghuji received the robes of Senasaheb Subha, sanads for Berar and Gondavana and the right to extend the levy of cauthai to Chattisgad, Patna, Allahabad and Makasudabad (Bengal).

Raghuji entered Berar via Aurangabad. Near Jalana Samser Bahaddar Atole objected to Raghuji’s taking the army through his territory as the old route passed through Nanded and Asti. Raghuji avoided an encounter with Atole and encamped at Balapur after crossing the Lakhanvada ghats. From Balapur Raghuji sent his armed men all over the Berar and collected tributes. Sujayat Khan Pathan of Akola serving under the Navabs of Ellicpur was easily defeated by Raghuji and his territory subjugated. Thus, after establishing his rule over a greater part of Berar, Raghuji proceeded towards Bham. the headquarters of his uncle, in 1730 A. D. The small fortress at Bham was besieged by Raghuji’s army. He was joined by his other uncle Ranoji. Finding himself in a difficult situation Kanhoji escaped from Bham and ran for safety towards Mahur. He was hotly chased by Raghuji and Ranoji and overtaken near Mandar (Vani). In the skirmish that took place, Kanhoji was defeated and taken a prisoner. Kanhoji, the second Senasaheb Subha, spent the remaining part of his life as a prisoner at Satara. (NPI, pp. 58-64) At one time Kanhoji was an enterprising officer of Sahu. He made some conquests in Gondavana and led an incursion into Katak, laying the foundation of Maratha expansion eastward. His proposals. that he should be allowed to maintain 200 horse, and Akola and Balapur in Paya Ghat should be restored to him, were not accepted. All was lost, once he lost the favour of Sahu. (James Grant Duff., Esq.-A History of The Marathas, Vol. I, p. 424, Calcutta, Published by R. Cambray and Co., Law Booksellers and Publishers, 9, Hastings Street, 1912.) The end of Kanhoji’s political career in about 1730 A. D. opened up for Raghuji new opportunities in Berar, Nagpur and the region beyond to the east.

This article is part of MARATHA PERIOD (Complete History of Nagpur)