Third Battle Of Panipat(1761)

Towards the middle of the 18th century, Marathas, under the leadership of the Peshwas had established their sway over Haryana and most of North India. The intrusion of the Afghan, Ahmed Shah Abdali into India, culminated in the third battle of Panipat on January 14, 1761.

 Ahmad Shah defeated the Marathas and this marked the end of the Maratha ascendancy. The defeat of the Marathas, rapid decline of the Mughal empire after Aurangzeb's death, leading ultimately to the advent of the British rule.

The main reason for the failure of Marathas were the lack of allies. Though their infantry was based on European style contingent, they failed to woo allies in North India. Their earlier behavior and their political ambitions which led them to loot and plunder, had antagonized all the powers. They had interfered in the internal affairs of the Rajputana states (present day Rajasthan) and levied heavy taxes and huge fines on them. They had also made huge territorial and monetary claims upon Awadh. Their raids in the Sikh territory had angered the Sikh chiefs. Similarly the Jat chiefs, on whom also they had imposed heavy fines, did not trust them. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies alone, except for the weak support of Imad -ul-Mulk. Moreover, the senior Maratha chiefs constantly bickered with one another. Each one of them had ambitions of carving out their independent states and had no interest in fighting against a common enemy.

Ahmad Shah (1722?-73), first emir of Afghanistan, was the hereditary chief of the Abdali tribe of Afghans, whom he later renamed the Durrani. He led a contingent of his tribesmen in the service of Nadir Shah, king of Persia, who won control of most of Afghanistan and part of India. When Nadir died, Ahmad founded an independent Afghan kingdom. He invaded the Indian Punjab six times between 1748 and 1752, and he seized and sacked Delhi. Although he was a powerful military leader, Ahmad never succeeded in permanently ruling India; he subsequently withdrew into Afghanistan.

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