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Vakil-ul-Mutlaq (Regent of the Empire)
Madhav Rao II
|12th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire|
1774 – 27 October 1795
|Monarch||Rajaram II of Satara|
|Succeeded by||Baji Rao II|
|Born||18 April 1774|
|Died||27 October 1795Shaniwar Wada, Pune, Maratha Empire.(aged 21),|
|Residence||Shaniwarwada, Pune, Maratha Empire|
Shrimant Peshwa Madhav Rao Bhat II (18 April 1774 – 27 October 1795) (a.k.a. Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa or Madhav Rao II Narayan) was the 12th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire in India, from his infancy. He was known as Sawai Madhav Rao or Madhav Rao Narayan. He was the posthumous son of Narayanrao Peshwa, murdered in 1773 on the orders of Raghunathrao. Madhavrao II was considered the legal heir, and was installed as Peshwa by the Treaty of Salbai in 1782.
Madhavrao II was the posthumous son of Peshwa Narayanrao by his wife, Gangabai. After Narayanrao's murder by Raghunathrao's supporters he became the Peshwa but was soon deposed by the courtiers and knights of the Maratha Empire. They instead installed Gangabai's new born son, Madhavrao II, as the Peshwa with the courtiers, led by Nana Fadnavis, as the Regents. Madhavrao II was made Peshwa when he was barely 40 days old. His time in power was dominated by the political intrigues of Nana Fadnavis.
His father Narayan Rao became Peshwa in 1772 and later he was murdered by the supporters of Raghunath Rao (Raghoba). During this time Peshwa Narayan Rao’s wife was pregnant. In such situation Raghunath Rao became the Peshwa in 1773, for the time being. She gave birth to a male child. The subjects of the state became happy as they heard that the widow queen had given birth to the male child who would be the next Peshwa. Acting Peshwa Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) couldn’t do anything before the wit and wisdom of Nana Phadnavis. The male child was named as Sawai Madhav Rao II and declared as the Peshwa of Pune. There was a lot of resentment among the people of the state against the cruel murder of the Peshwa Narayan Rao and held a judicial enquiry under the leadership of the renowned justice Ramshastri Prabhune. He pointed out that the acting Peshwa Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) was the prime author of the murder. As the result of it, the responsible ministers of the royal court and leaders of Maratha empire formed a council of state known as Bara Bhai for the conduct of the affairs of the state. Bara Bhai began to conduct the affairs of the state on the name of Sawai Madhav Rao II as he was a minor.
After the British loss in 1782 in the First Anglo-Maratha War, Mahadji Shinde got Madhvrao recognized as Peshwa by the British. However, all powers of the Peshwa were in the hands of ministers like Nana Fadnavis, Mahadaji Shinde and others.
Mysore had been attacking the Maratha Confederacy since 1761.
In 1788, Ghulam Qadir attacked Delhi, Mahadaji Shinde led the army of Marathas to Delhi and saved the Mughal Emperor and his family.
Madhavrao was fond of the out-doors and had a private collection of exotic animals such as lions and rhinoceros.
Madhavrao committed suicide at the age of 21 by jumping off from the high walls of the Shaniwar Wada in Pune. The cause of the suicide probably was that he could not endure the highhandedness of Nana Fadnavis. Just before his suicide, it is said that in ordering the execution of the despised police commissioner, Ghashiram Kotwal, Madhavrao was able to defy the wishes of Nana for the first time.
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