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Patparganj and Marathas

By Vijay Satokar
Aug 10, 2015

 A sprawling suburb in East Delhi, Patparganj (also Indraprasth Extension or IP Extension) is today a typical suburb of any big city. Markets, housing societies, shopping malls, industries. Soon, Delhi Metro will bring Patparganj in its circuit. There are many Maharashtrian families that happily live in the societies that dot Patparganj.

Not many of them, however, are aware that the area once was where the great Maratha camped as they invaded Delhi. Patparganj also was the area where the Marathas fought and lost war with the British in 1803. A monument to the British Generals who  fought the war stands today in what is now NOIDA in Uttar Pradesh, on the outskirts of Delhi.

But for this monument which is not known to many there is no sign of the Marathas association with Patparganj. They did not leave any.

The relationship between Delhi and Maharashtra- Marathas for that matter- dates back to several  centuries although little is known of Sant Namdev (1270-1350 CE?), a contemporary of Kabir and Ravidas who toured North India extensively and is venerated in Sikhism. Inclusion of the poet saint’s  Abhangs in the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib and a Gurudwara  in his name in Ghuman, Punjab are the only available symbols that remain to the day.

Very little remains of the Maratha might in Delhi although they were de facto rulers of the capital.

 As the Marathas expanded their empire Maharashtra’s romance with Delhi grew!

After gaining control of Gujarat and Malwa, when the Marathas found Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah dillydallying passing rights for ‘chouth and sardeshmukhi’ to them,  Bajirao 1 personally led his army to Delhi in December 1737. Catching the Mughals off guard the Marathas looted Delhi’s suburbs with the Mughal emperor hiding in the Red Fort. This forced the Mughals to sign as treaty with the Marathas.

The Marathas again attacked Delhi in 1757. An army of 30,000 Maratha warriors camped near the Red Fort. The Mughals under Najib-ud-Daula surrendered to the Marathas. The Marathas had become de facto rulers of Delhi- Antaji Mankeshwar was appointed Governor- the Mughal Alamgir II being the titular head.

Which were the suburbs that existed even those days where many a Maratha may have lost his life fighting?

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