During the peak era of Peshwa(Maratha), they were the most dominant power in India and had most of the area under their control. But they didn't control Delhi directly even after capturing it.

The Marathas had gained control of a considerable part of India in the intervening period (1707–1757). In 1758 they occupied Delhi, captured Lahore and drove out Timur Shah Durrani,[8] the son and viceroy of the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Abdali. This was the high-water mark of the Maratha expansion, where the boundaries of their empire extended in the north to the Indus and the Himalayas, and in the south nearly to the extremity of the peninsula. This territory was ruled through the Peshwa, who talked of placing his son Vishwasrao on the Mughal throne.[10] However, Delhi still remained under the nominal control of Mughals, key Muslim intellectuals including Shah Waliullah and other Muslim clergy in India who were alarmed at these developments. In desperation they appealed to Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan, to halt the threat.

Why didn't they place Maratha Emperor on Delhi throne and ruled directly? What was the rationale behind it?

  • Related: history.stackexchange.com/questions/15238/…
    – taninamdar
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 3:21
  • 2
    I don't have an expert historical answer, but this week's Stratfor analysis ("American Empire") called it out very explicitly: many rulers that conquered and relied on direct military rule, lost out quickly. Those that ruled by suborning local power elites to be their agents (Rome, Britain), lasted. Perhaps Marathas figured this out?
    – DVK
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


I think the answer to this question has been already given by Bajirao Peshwa 1. He raided Delhi on 29 march 1737.He also had a chance to capture Delhi but he didn't. In his letter he stated that अमर्यादा झालियाने राजकारणाचा दोर तुटतो meaning 'Politics gets affected because of overdoing'. There might be a possibility that Rajputs,Sikhs or jaats get offended if Delhi was captured by Marathas in 1737 or 1758. So, Shahu Maharaj had a policy not touch throne of Delhi. Marathas used to get one fourth of tax from the Mughal territory according to 12 April 1752 treaty, for the security of the empire. Anyhow Marathas were on the higher side.


Could be either of two reasons - 1. out of respect of moughal empire (which is unlikely as they were blamed for melting Silver from Red Fort) 2. fearing repercussion from all muslims who would rise against Hindu power i.e. unite against maratha to take revenge thus leading costly wars

When you read historical accounts (Siyar-ul-mukhatarin or History of Marattha) you will know that Maratha rose to power with support from Nizam who did nothing to oppose them. IN turn marattha didn't molest Nizam in deccan but focussed more on northern territory.

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