Parasoji Bhosle, 1816-1817

Raghuji II was succeeded by his son Parasoji in 1816. Parasoji was paralytic, blind and mentally deranged. His father’s efforts to improve him proved fruitless. Bakabai, Parasoji’s step-mother brought him to her palace and took charge of the administration with the help of Dharmaji Bhosle, Naroba Citanis and Gajabadada-Gujar. Dharmaji was an illegitimate son of Raghuji and was the custodian of the royal jewellery and treasury.

Next to Parasoji the only other claimant to the Nagpur gadi was Appasaheb Bhosle. He was a smart young man having support of many courtiers, as Parasoji was practically insane.Ramcandra Vagh and Manbhat were prominent among his chief supporters. They were trying to seduce the partisans of Parasoji. Thus after the death of Raghuji, Nagpur Court had two factions, one headed by Appasaheb and the other led by Bakabai, Dharmaji and others with Parasoji on the ancestral gadi.

Appasaheb had no claim over the gadi as Parasoji was the son of Raghuji. The army was under the command of Dharmaji, Siddik Ali Khan and Gajabadada. Appasaheb impressed upon the courtiers that it was not desirable that Dharmaji, a bastard. should manage the affairs of the Bhosle house. The resident Mr. Jenkins was secretly backing Appasaheb as he was counting upon him to accept the subsidiary alliance which Raghuji had been carefully avoiding all through his life. When Siddik Ali Khan smelt this, his loyalty to Parasoji and Bakabai wavered. He sat on the fence ready to jump to the side of the winning party. Appasaheb called Dharmaji for a meeting on 11th April, 1816 and got him arrested. He took possession of the Raja and his treasury. Without any further loss of time Appasaheb ceremoniously performed the coronation for Parasoji. He personally held the cauri over Parasoji’s head and walked barefooted in the procession taken out in honour of the Raja. A grand darbar was held in which the Raja was made to proclaim the appointment of Appasaheb as his regent. Mr. Jenkins graced the occasion by his presence, lending stability to Appasaheb.

Dharmaji was murdered on 5-5-1816(NPI., p. 397). Appasaheb’s evil intention of occupying power for himself was thus finally fulfilled. He entered the subsidiary alliance with the English on 28-5-1816, bartering away the independent status of Nagpur which Raghuji II had maintained with great difficulty. The important terms of this alliance were-

(1) For the protection of Nagpur the English were to maintain six platoons of foot-soldiers and one of cavalry. The king was to pay seven and a half lacs of rupees for the maintenance of this force.
(2) The king was to grant territory worth this amount in case of his failure to pay it.
(3) The king too was to keep a contingent force of 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 horses at his own expense, to be supervised by the Resident in respect of its pay, discipline, provision, etc.
(4) All foreign affairs should be conducted only through the English Resident.
(5) The king should not engage in wars with the friends of the English.(NPI., p. 399)

This alliance was brought about through Appasaheb’s envoys Nagojipant and Narayan Panditji. The former received an annual pension of Rs. fifteen thousand from the English for his successful mediation.

Part of the English subsidiary force moved from Ellicpur to Nagpur under General Dovetone and the rest was stationed at Kalamesvar near Nagpur to strengthen Appasaheb’s position. Afraid of the machinations of the rival party Appasaheb left the palace and took residence in the Telankhedi Garden.

On the morning of 1-2-1817 Parasoji was found dead in his bed. Appasaheb was out of station. It was rumoured that Appasaheb managed to throttle Parasoji to death by seducing his body-guards Sadikmanu Bhaldar and Janu Bansod. The Resident absolved Appasaheb of the murder charge which was thickly rumoured at this time, but later, when he tried to break the bonds of subsidiary alliance he was conveniently made the culprit(NPI., pp. 403-404).

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