Who were more powerful, Sikhs, Maratha or Rajputs?

There are many theories, statements and facts in our Indian history were various comparisons have been made between Sikhs, Maratha and Rajput. A major group of Indians believe that Sikhs have played vital role in our independence while other major community have believed in Rajputanas. Many have their faith still restored in Marathas.

Below listed are some major viewpoints of Indian community:

SIDE – A: MARATHA

Though the Marathas had never appeared in history as a nation, they had as strongly marked a character as if they had always formed a united commonwealth. Though more like to the lower orders in Hindustan than to their southern neighbors in Kanaru and Telingana, they could never for a moment be confounded with either. They are small sturdy men, well made, though not handsome. They are all active, laborious, hardy, and persevering. If they have none of the pride and dignity of the Rajputs, they have none of their indolence or want of worldly wisdom. A Rajput warrior, as long as he does not dishonour his race, seems almost indifferent to the result of any contest he is engaged in. A Maratha thinks of nothing but the result, and cares little

for the means, if he can attain his object. For this purpose he will strain his wits, renounce his pleasures, and hazard his person; but he has not a conception of sacrificing his life, or even his interest, for a point of honour. This difference of sentiment affects the outward appearance of the two nations. MARATHA’S & RAJPUT ‘S to be compared based on certain parameter in order to understand them fully:

  1. War strategy – Maratha aim for war victory( whether throu hook /crook) while rajput fought generally for pride as in many battle which they were about to loose but they never retreated they prefer dying in battle field which was completely absurd which led them to suffer heavy casualty
  2. Diplomacy – Maratha always has plan to carry out there work they allied with various group to achieve there target either it was Shivaji or Bajirao peshwa there were sharp diplomat while on other hand Rajput only believe in personnel valor the biggest example for it was Battle of Khanwa (1527) been knowing about Babur used gun powder in 1st battle of panipat Rana sanga didnt made any plan to solve that issue result led to killing of thousand rajput
  3. Loyalty – Maratha were only loyal were they find their own benefit they switch the loyalty based on there need while Rajput one of the most loyalist race what Akbar recognized at early stage Rajput even for loyality ready to sacrifice there own relative blood ( battle of Maharana pratap v/s Mughal in which mughal general was shakti singh who was maharana pratap blood brother)
  4. Adoptibility – Maratha adopt new warfare technique quickly whether use of artillery /gun and new mode of war fare while rajput sticked to sword battle only
  5. Vision – Maratha vision for hindu empire in india while rajput lack having any vision they only concentrated for few sq.km of land and illogical pride
  6. Retaliatory approach – Maratha retaliated in the same manner what mughal do they destroyed many mosque they reconverted many muslim back into hindusim while rajput has no such approach they reconciled very easily (refer the Aurangzeb approach of solving marwar rebellion)
  7. Resurgent spirit – Maratha has very strong resurgent spirit whether in 1689 when shambhaji was executed by Aurangzeb the maratha never lost but their resistance spirit growed stronger and they finally defeated mughal and led further expansion even after 1761 battle in which maratha lost heavily they bounced back by capturing Delhi again within 10 yr while on other side rajput has never shown the resurgent spirit they loose out in the single event ( pls refer any rajput battle were they have lost they lost completely

The Rajput is the most worthy antagonist and the Maratha the most formidable enemy for he will not fail in boldness and enterprise when they are indispensable, and will always support them, or supply their place, by stratagem, activity, and perseverance. All this applies chiefly to the soldiery, to whom more bad qualities might fairly be ascribed. The mere husbandmen are sober, frugal, and industrious, and, though they have a dash of the national cunning, are neither turbulent nor insincere. The chiefs, in those days, were men of families who had for generations

filled the old Hindu offices of heads of villages or functionaries of districts, and had often been employed as partisans under the governments of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur. They were all Sudras, of the same cast with their people, though some tried to raise their consequence by claiming an infusion of Rajput blood.

SIDE – B: RAJPUT

Rajput, the oldest empire of all were king who had big heart and always respected every religions and the front person be it enemy by giving them warning before defeating them. Rajputs resisted, ruled and survived for more that millennium whereas Marathas ruled only 144 years most time spent in Maharashtra and some neighbouring border and for 3 years span on India then fallen badly. List of some major war heroes:

  • Maharana Pratap, Ruler of Mewar, who fought many war against mughals and afghans. He started guerilla warfare and is remembered as the most brave and valiant ruler of war he sliced a mughal soldier and his horse in 2 pieces.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan, a Rajput king of medieval India. He conquered Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and parts of Gujarat. He was killed at ghor by his own friend Chand bardai as Prithvi didn’t want to die through anybody else’s weapon from Ghor. Two major and many small war happened between Prithviraj Chauhan and MD Ghuri and most of the war had won by brave Prithviraj Chauhan . Only one war had won by Ghuri that too by cheating. But still at the end Prithviraj Chauhan killed Ghuri (at ghuri’s own place- Afghanistan)
  • Rao Jodha, a Rajput king of Mandore who defeated the Afghan forces in Rajasthan and built the city of Jodhpur proclaiming himself as the ruler of Marwar.
  • Rana Sanga, a ruler from Sisodia clan of Rajput. He United the Rajputs and defeated sultans of Malwa, Gujarat and Delhi. He also led the Rajput armies against Babur in the Battle of Khanwa
  • Rao Jaimal, The Generals who defended Chittorgarh Fort against Akbar in the Siege of Chittorgarh. Patta was also known as the hero of Bijolia for defending the village against Afghan forces
  • Maharana Amar singh Ruler of Mewar he naver accept akbar rule he fought many war against akbar and jahgir.Amarsingh killed sultan.Amarsingh thrust his spear with such force that the weapon struck the ground after piercing the strong coat of mail and the horse of Sultan Khan.
  • Rana Kumbha a Rajput King who never lost a war. He was respected by his enemies and is also known to have built 32 forts in Mewar
  • Maharana Udai Singh II a Rajput warrior of Mewar who fought the Mughal empire his entire life

SIDE – C: SIKH

The Sikh Empire (Sikh Khalsa Raj or Sarkar-i Khalsa) was a major power originating in the Indian subcontinent, formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established a secular empire based in the Punjab. The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikhs. At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. Religiously diverse, with an estimated population of 3.5 million in 1831 (making it the 19th most populous country at the time), it was the last major region of the Indian subcontinent to be annexed by the British.

The foundations of the Sikh Empire can be traced to as early as 1707, the year of Aurangzeb‘s death and the start of the downfall of the Mughal Empire. With the Mughals significantly weakened, the Sikh army, known as the Dal Khalsa, a rearrangement of the Khalsa inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh, led expeditions against them and the Afghans in the west.

The period from 1716 to 1799 was a highly turbulent time politically and militarily in the Punjab region. This was caused by the overall decline of the Mughal empire that left a power-vacuum in the region that was eventually filled by the Sikhs of the Dal Khalsa, meaning “Khalsa army” or “Khalsa party,” in the late 18th century, after defeating several invasions by the Afghan rulers of the Durrani Empire and their allies, remnants of the Mughals and their administrators, the Mughal-allied Hindu hill-rajas of the Sivalik Hills,and hostile local Muslims siding with other Muslim forces. The Sikhs of the Dal Khalsa eventually formed their own independent Sikh administrative regions, Misls, derived from a Perso-Arabic term meaning “similar,” headed by Misldars. These Misls were united in large part by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Durrani invaded India seven times, from 1748 to 1767. The reasons for his invasions to India were to plunder India’s wealth. India, at that time, was known for its wealth, particularly its gold and precious diamonds.

Here is the list and results of several wars fought against Sikhs:

  • FIRST INVASION – Durrani vs Mughal – Battle of Manupur (1748) – Mughal Victory
  • SECOND INVASION vs Mughal – Durrani Victory
  • THIRD INVASION vs Mughal -Battle of Lahore (1752) Durrani Victory
  • FOURTH/FIFTH INVASION. Durrani vs Sikhs Battle of Amritsar (1757) Sikh Victory
  • Battle of Hoshiarpur – Durrani vs Sikhs/Adina Beg (Mughal) Sikh/Mughal Victory
  • Battle of Lahore 1758 – Durrani vs Combined Effort of Sikhs and Marathas and Adina Beg (Mughal) – Sikh/Maratha/Adina (Mughal) victory
  • Battle of Lahore 1759 – Durrani vs Sikhs/Maratha – Sikh/Maratha Victory
  • Battle of Panipat 1761 – Durrani vs Maratha – Durrani Victory.
  • Battle of Gujranwala (1761) – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh Victory
  • Battle of Sialkot (1761) – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh victory
  • Siege of Lahore 1761 – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh Victory
  • SIXTH INVASION – Battle of Harnaulgarh 1762 – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh Victory
  • Battle of Kup 1762 – Durrani vs Sikh – Durrani Victory
  • Battle of Sialkot (1763) – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh Victory
  • SEVENTH INVASION- Battle of Sirhind (1764 – 67) – Durrani vs Sikh – Sikh Victory
  • UNDER RANJIT SINGH (After becoming Empire)
  • Durrani vs Sikhs – Battle of Attock – Sikh Victory
  • Durrani vs Sikhs – Battle of Multan – Sikh Victory
  • Durrani vs Sikhs- Battle of Shopian – Sikh Victory

Written By: Karishma Kriti

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