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Maratha Administration under Peshwas II

Police System

  • Watchmen, generally the Mahars, were employed in every village.
  • But whenever crime was on the rise, government sent forces from the irregular infantry to control crimes.
  • The residents of the disturbed area had to pay an additional house tax to meet the expenditure arising out of maintaining these armed forces.
  • Baji Rao II appointed additional police officers to detect and seize offenders.
  • In the urban areas, magisterial and police powers were given to the Kotwal.
  • Their additional duties were to monitor the prices, take a census of the inhabitants, conduct trials on civil cases, supply labour to the government and levy fees from the professional duties given to the Nagarka or police superintendent.

Judicial System

  • The Judicial System was very imperfect.
  • There was no codified law.
  • There were no rules of procedure.
  • Arbitration was given high priority.
  • If it failed, then the case was transferred for decision to a panchayat appointed by the Patel in the village and by the leading merchants in towns.
  • The panchayat was a powerful institution.
  • Re-trial also took place. Appeals were made to the Mamlatdar.
  • In criminal cases there was a hierarchy of the judicial officers.
  • At the top was the Raja Chhatrapati and below him were the Peshwa, Deputy Subahdar, the Mamlatdar and the Patel.
  • Flogging and torture were inflicted to extort confession.


  • The Maratha military system under the Peshwas was modelled on the Mughal military system.
  • The mode of recruitment, payment of salaries, provisions for the families of the soldiers, and the importance given to the cavalry showed a strong resemblance to the Mughal military system.
  • The Peshwas gave up the notable features of the military system followed under Shivaji.
  • Shivaji had recruited soldiers locally from Maratha region.
  • But the Peshwas drafted soldiers from all parts of India and from all social groups.
  • The army had Arabs, Abyssinians, Rajputs, Rohillas and Sikhs.
  • The Peshwa’s army comprised mercenaries of the feudal chieftains.
  • As the fiefs of the rival chiefs were in the same area, there were lots of internal disputes.
  • It affected the solidarity of the people of the Maratha state.


  • The cavalry was naturally the main strength of the Maratha army.
  • Every jagirdar had to bring a stipulated number of horsemen for a general muster, every year.
  • The horsemen were divided into three classes based on the quality of the horses they kept.

Infantry and Artillery

  • The Marathas preferred to serve in the cavalry.
  • So men for infantry were recruited from other parts of the country.
  • The Arabs, Rohillas, Sikhs and Sindhis in the Maratha infantry were paid a higher salary compared to the Maratha soldiers.
  • The Maratha artillery was manned mostly by the Portuguese and Indian Christians.
  • Later on, the English were also recruited.


  • The Maratha navy was built for the purpose of guarding the Maratha ports, thereby checking piracy, and collecting customs duties from the incoming and outgoing ships.
  • Balaji Vishwanath built naval bases at Konkan, Khanderi and Vijayadurg.
  • Dockyard facilities were also developed.

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