So who is more successful? Those who sacrifice or those who survive?
Most Maratha chieftains who fled from the battlefield and allowed somebody else to play the role of hero on the evening of January 14 1761 at Panipat did well for themselves and their future generations.
As I read Maratha history as a schoolboy, I often thought the one party Maratha's thrashed almost every single time- like Obelix treating Romans in Asterix comics- was Nizam.
Later as I read Vasudevshastri Khare's (वासुदेवशास्त्री खरे) biography of Nana Fadnavis, "nana phadanvees yanche charitra" (नाना फडनवीस यांचे चरित्र), first published July 1892, I realised that, as always, reality was very complex.
The Economic Times/PTI, October 16 2012:
"When you think of India's all-time richest people, what are the names that cross your mind?
No, it's not the Tatas, Birlas or Ambanis, it's Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam (or ruler) of Hyderabad. According to a new inflation-adjusted list of the world's richest people of all time, the Nizam, who ruled Hyderabad between 1886-1967, was ranked sixth with $ 236 billion."
Andy Bull writes of the MCC's cricket tour to India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1951 and 52.in The Guardian November 14 2012:
"The first three Tests were drawn, but England won the fourth, at Kanpur....After that win, the team paid a visit to the Nizam of Hyderabad, then the richest man in the world. Ridgway has a picture of the team with the Nizam, sitting on a sofa alongside Carr and the two Howards, with the professionals arrayed behind them. "He had so many wives we called him His Exhausted Highness," Howard wrote. "Everything I said to him, he replied, 'I see.' It became a great saying at home. 'I see, said the Nizam.'""
Photo courtesy: Popperfoto/Getty Images and Guardian
After reading this, I am recycling my earlier post dated Feb 19 2008.
I couldn’t help chuckle.
Here was the regime about which I have rarely read anything good.
Historian Setu Madhavrao Pagdi’s (सेतु माधवराव पगडी) first hand account of the last days of the Nizam regime from his autobiography-Jeevansetu (जीवनसेतु) 1969- describes how rotten it was.
I have also attended speeches delivered by the late Narhar Kurundkar (नरहर कुरुंदकर)- a staunch Gandhian and one of the most liberal thinkers Maharashtra produced- at 'Vasant Vyakhyan Mala' (वसंत व्याख्यान माला), Miraj (मिरज) wherein he described how bad and cruel Nizam regime in 20th century was.
On March 11, 1795, Marathas vanquished Nizam in the battle of Kharda. For a change all Maratha chieftains fought together.
Nizam’s army had played havoc before the battle. Among other things, they had slaughtered cows in the temple complex at Ambejogai (आंबेजोगाई).
[Please note during 1770-1791, a few chieftains of Maratha army indulged in looting of Hindu shrines including mutts of Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya. Source- Marhati Lavani by M V Dhond 1956 ('मर्हाटी लावणी' म वा धोंड)]
Historian T S Shejwalkar त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर gave a radio-speech on this battle 'Khardyachi Ladhai' (खर्ड्याची लढाई).
Shejwalkar rued how Marathas wasted the opportunity to eliminate Nizam. He argued how this blunder of Marathas costed Indian union dearly in 1947.
Even today, Nizam and his legacy continue to grab attention and resources.
His Chowmahalla palace complex is being restored to its former glory while Maratha’s Shaniwar Wada (शनिवार वाडा) continues to languish, remains ghostly.
Princess Esra at the Chowmahalla palace complex (pic courtesy: Outlook Magazine)