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Monday, June 1, 2020

Anglo-Maratha War - British defeat and the Treaty of Salbai

                                    The Lovers (released in the UK as Time Traveller and in Belgium under the French title La Prophétie de l'anneau) is a 2013 English-language romance time travel adventure film written and directed by Roland Joffé from a story by Ajey Jhankar. The film stars Josh Hartnett, Bipasha Basu, Alice Englert, Tamsin Egerton and Abhay Deol in lead roles.

The seven islands of Bombay were 16th-century Portuguese territories lying off the west coast of India, that were handed over to England under this title as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II in 1661.  After acquiring them as dowry, Charles II rented the islands to the East India Company in 1668 for £10 a year.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 2,608 fresh coronavirus cases, taking its total count to 47,190.  With 60 more deaths getting reported in the state, its death toll reached 1,577, said the state health department.  With 821 patients getting discharged on Saturday, number of recovered Covid-19 patients in Maharashtra rose to 13,404. 1,566 new Covid-19 cases and 40 deaths were reported in Mumbai on Saturday, taking the total number of positive cases in Mumbai to 28,634 and death toll to 949, said Municipal Corporation Greater Mumbai. Out of the 40 deaths, 22 patients had co-morbidities.  Covid is affecting and threatening people – has changed the way people have lived thus far !.

Salsette Island (Salsete) is an island in the state of Maharashtra on India's west coast. The metropolis of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and the cities of Thane and Mira-Bhayander lie on it, making it very populous and one of the most densely populated islands in the world.    Salsette is bounded by Vasai Creek, Ulhas River, Thane Creek,  Bombay Harbour, and Arabian Sea. The original seven islands of Bombay, which were merged by land reclamation, are now practically a southward protruding peninsula of the much larger Salsette Island.

The Treaty of Purandar was a doctrine signed on 1 Mar 1776 by the Peshwa of the Maratha people and the British East India Company's Supreme Council of Bengal in Calcutta.  Based on the terms of the accord, the British were able to secure Salsette. Treaty was signed between the then Governor General Warren Hasting who sent Colonel Upton and Nana Phadnavis of Peshwa in which British accepted Sawai Madhav Rao as a new Peshwa and Maratha accepted not to recognise existence of French in India.

The Treaty of Salbai was signed on 17 May 1782, by representatives of the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company after long negotiations to settle the outcome of the First Anglo-Maratha War. Under its terms, the Company retained control of Salsette and Broach and acquired guarantees that the Marathas would defeat Hyder Ali of Mysore and retake territories in the Carnatic. The Marathas also guaranteed that the French would be prohibited from establishing settlements on their territories. In return, the British agreed to pension off their protégé, Raghunath Rao, and acknowledge Madhavrao II as peshwa of the Maratha Empire. The British also recognised the territorial claims of the Mahadji Shinde west of the Jumna River and all the territories occupied by the British after the Treaty of Purandar were given back to the Marathas. The Treaty of Salbai resulted in a period of relative peace between the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company until outbreak of the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1802.

The First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782) was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.

After the death of Madhavrao Peshwa in 1772, his brother Narayanrao became peshwa (ruler) of the Maratha Empire. Narayanrao was murdered by his palace guards in Aug 1773, and his uncle Raghunathrao (Raghoba) became peshwa. However, Narayanrao's widow, Gangabai, gave birth to a posthumous son, who was legal heir to the throne. The newborn infant was named 'Sawai' Madhavrao Twelve Maratha chiefs, known as the Baarbhai and led by Nana Phadnavis, directed an effort to install the infant as the new Peshwa and to rule in his name as regents.  Raghunathrao, unwilling to give up his position of power, sought help from the British at Bombay and signed the Treaty of Surat in  1775. According to the treaty, Raghunathrao ceded the territories of Salsette and Bassein to the British, along with part of the revenues from Surat and Bharuch districts. In return, the British promised to provide Raghunathrao with 2,500 soldiers.

The British Calcutta Council condemned the Treaty of Surat, sending Colonel Upton to Pune to annul it and make a new treaty with the regency. The Treaty of Purandhar annulled that of Surat, Raghunathrao was pensioned and his cause abandoned, but the revenues of Salsette and Broach districts were retained by the British. The Bombay government rejected this new treaty and gave refuge to Raghunathrao. In 1777, Nana Phadnavis violated his treaty with the Calcutta Council by granting the French a port on West coast. The English retaliated by sending a force towards Pune.

Following a treaty between France and the Poona Government in 1776, the Bombay Government decided to invade and reinstate Raghoba. They sent a force under Col. Egerton reached Khopoli and made its way through the Western Ghats at Bhor Ghat and onwards toward Karla, which reached there in 1779 while under Maratha attacks. Finally the British were forced to retreat back to Wadgaon, but were soon surrounded. The British were forced to sign the Treaty of Wadgaon on 16 Jan. 1779, a victory for the Marathas.  Reinforcements from northern India, commanded by Colonel (later General) Thomas Wyndham Goddard, arrived too late to save the Bombay force.  Goddard with 6,000 troops stormed Bhadra Fort and captured Ahmedabad in  1779. There was a garrison of 6,000 Arab and Sindhi infantry & 2,000 horses. Losses in the fight totalled 108, including two British !  War occurred between  Mahadji Scindia and General Goddard in Gujarat, but indecisively. Hastings sent yet another force to harass Mahadji Shinde, commanded by Major Camac, Marathas won the war. A Vijay Stambh (Victory Pillar) erected to commemorate Maratha victory over British. The pillar is located at Vadgaon/Wadgaon Maval, close to the city of Pune, India.  Here is a  mural depicting the British surrender during the First Anglo-Maratha War.

By Amit20081980~commonswiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Treaty of Salbai, was signed on 17 May 1782, and was ratified by Hastings in June 1782 and by Nana Phadnavis in February 1783. The treaty ended the First Anglo-Maratha War, restored the status quo, and established peace between the two parties for 20 years.

The 2013 Hollywood film titled The Lovers is based on the backdrop of this war. The Lovers was  written and directed by Roland Joffé from a story by Ajey Jhankar. The film stars Josh Hartnett, Bipasha Basu, Alice Englert, Tamsin Egerton and Abhay Deol in lead roles. The film is the tale of an impossible romance set against the backdrop of the first Anglo-Maratha war across two time periods and continents and centred on four characters—a British officer in 18th century British India, the Indian woman he falls deeply in love with, and a 21st-century American marine biologist and his wife.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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