Third Battle of Panipat (1761)


  • The Third Battle of Panipat was a major battle of Indian history, fought on 14th January 1761.
  • It was fought between the Afghan forces of Ahmad Shah Durrani(also called Ahmad Shah Abdali) along with his local Rohilla and other Pathan and Oudh allies, against the Maratha Empire.
  • The Durrani Afghan forces and their allies won and defeated the Marathas.
  • The Maratha army was led by Sadashivrao Bhau who was third in authority after the Chhatrapati (Maratha King) and the Peshwa (Maratha Prime Minister).
  • The main Maratha army was stationed in Deccan with the Peshwa.
  • The battle pitted the artillery and cavalry of the Marathas against the heavy cavalry and mounted artillery (zamburak and jezail) of the Afghans and Rohillas led by Abdali and Najib-ud-Daulah, both ethnic Afghans.

Reason behind the defeat of Maratha

  • Durrani and his allies army were numerically superior to the Maratha army.
  • The Maratha capital was at Pune and the battlefield was miles away.
  • The Marathas failed to get support from the Rajputs, Jats or the Sikhs.
  • Durrani got support from the Rohillas of the Doab and Shuja-ud-daulah, the Nawab of Awadh.

Effects of the battle

  • There were heavy casualties on both sides.
  • Sadashivrao Bhau and the Peshwa’s son Vishwasrao were among those killed in battle.
  • Durrani did not remain in India too long. He reinstated Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II at Delhi.
  • The Maratha rise and they retook Delhi ten years later under Peshwa Madhavrao.

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