The Military System of The Marathas
Mirza Firuz Shah
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Jahangir II 1920-1948
SURENDRA NATH SEN
Publisher and Place:
Surendra Nath Sen 1928
13. 978-1585454365 l 10.1585454362
Royal Mughal Ref:
A CIVILIAN "writing about military matters labours under obvious difiiculties, and it is necessary to offer an explanation for undertaking a task for which neither my training nor my profession qualifies me. Nearly ten years ago I began a study of the civil institutions of the Marathas with a view to explore the causes of the rapid expansion of their empire and its speedy collapse. The Maratha empire was primarily a military organisation and its civil institutions were closely connected with its military system. Every state forms an organic unit, and even a cursory examination of its character demands an enquiry into the nature of its component parts. This is
the only excuse I can offer for trespassing into domains other than my own, but I am fully conscious of my limitations and I have carefully avoided all technical matters as far as possible and confined my self to those broad questions to which even a layman can do some justice. The need for such a survey was pointed out by Sydney Owen more than fifty years ago.
The Maratha Army, during Shivaji's era was systematic and disciplined. A case in point here is that the Marathas achieved success in systematic elimination of all forts which came their way during the Battle of Surat circa 1664. When it came to the artillery, Shivaji hired foreign (mainly Portuguese) mercenaries for assistance to manufacture weapons. The hiring of foreign mercenaries was not new to the Maratha military culture. Shivaji hired seasoned cannon-casting Portuguese technicians from Goa. The Marathas attached importance to hiring of experts, which can be corroborated by the fact that important posts in the dcs army were offered to the officers in charge of the manufacture of guns.
The Army deployed musketeers as well - both regular and mercenaries. During the late 17th century, there is a mention of the Marathas using well-armed musketeers during their attack on Goa (during the reign of Sambhaji). Further, during the same period there is also a mention of Marathas using Karnataki musketeers renowned for marksmanship
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