06 March 1775
Treaty of Surat
On 6 March 1775, the Treaty of Surat was signed between Raghunathrao, a claimant to the throne of the Peshwa and the British East India Company at Bombay.
- The third Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Balaji Baji Rao had died in 1761 after the Third Battle of Panipat. He was succeeded by his son Madhavrao as the Peshwa.
- When Madhavrao died, his brother Narayanrao became the Peshwa. However, Balaji Baji Rao’s younger brother Raghunathrao nurtured aspirations to be the Peshwa.
- In a palace intrigue, Narayanrao was murdered by his own guards and even if Raghunathrao had not instigated the murder, he did not assist his nephew when he pleaded for help, and is believed to have watched as his nephew was being killed.
- Narayanrao’s widow gave birth to a boy, who was named Sawai Madhavrao (Madhavrao II). This infant was installed as the Peshwa by 12 Maratha chiefs led by Nana Phadnavis.
- Raghunathrao now sought the help of the English in getting to the throne of the Peshwa.
- He entered into a treaty with the Bombay office of the East India Company. This is called the Treaty of Surat.
- As per this treaty, the English were to give Raghunathrao 2500 soldiers whose upkeep would be paid for by Raghunathrao.
- He would also cede to the English Bassein and Salsette, and also relinquish a share in the revenues of Surat and Broach. He also deposited Rs.6 lakh as deposit with the company.
- Raghunathrao, along with Colonel Keating and his men, was able to take the Peshwa’s seat in Pune.
- However, when the Calcutta Council of the company heard about this arrangement, it annulled the Treaty of Surat and sent another officer, Lieutenant Colonel Upton to enter into a new agreement.
- They signed a new treaty with Nana Phadnavis in 1776 called the Treaty of Purandhar. According to this new treaty, Raghunathrao was given a pension but his cause was abandoned. Salsette and Bassein were of course, retained by the British.
- But the British at Bombay insisted on the validity of their agreement and went against the Calcutta Council by sheltering Raghunathrao.
- Further events led to the First Anglo-Maratha War. After this war, Madhavrao II was accepted as the Peshwa and Raghunathrao was granted a pension of Rs.3 lakh per year.
Also on this day
1928: Death of Gujarati writer Sir Ramanbhai Nilkanth. 1957: Independence of Ghana from the United Kingdom. 1962: Death of revolutionary independence activist Ambika Chakrabarty.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.