Peshwa Madhavrao I, also known as Madhavrao Ballal and
Thorale Madhavrao (born 15 February 1745, began to rule in 1761, died 18 November 1772)
was the second son and successor of Balaji Bajirao from his wife, Gopikabai.
The post of peshwa had by now become hereditary.
After the death
of Balaji Bajirao's eldest son, Vishwasrao, at Panipat. There were
differences as to who should succeed the peshwa. A camp led by Gopikabai (widow of Balaji Bajirao) and her brother Sardar Raste
wanted the second son, Madhavrao, to succeed, whereas another camp led
by Anandibai (wife of Raghunathrao) and Sakharambapu Bhagwant Bokil
(a friend of Raghunathrao and the kulkarni of Hivare) wanted the
peshwa's younger brother, Raghunathrao, to become the next peshwa.
Both Gopikabai and Anandibai were cousins. Both, in spite of their
little education in statecraft, were ambitious enough to want to control the affairs
of their states through their nominees. Both were to play a dishonourable role (more so
in Anandibai's case) in the years to come.
Eventually it was decided that Madhavrao would be the next
peshwa, as Madhavrao I. His uncle, Raghunathrao, would act as regent and Sakharambapu
would be the diwan.
Initially, matters went smoothly, until Madhavrao attained
maturity. Initially at the bidding of Gopikabai, Madhavrao
personally began casting his eye over matters of state. This
triggered friction between the nephew and his uncle. 
Starting to reign, and campaigning
Due to the defeat at Panipat, the Maratha treasury was virtually
bankrupt and heavy in debt. To top it all the women in the household
(especially Gopikabai) were indulging in daily religious rituals
which were draining the already strained exchequer. Madhavrao first
started to exercise discipline in his own home by curtailing the household
expenditure on these daily religious practices.
Later when Madhavrao started demanding more say in the matters of
government, both Raghunathrao and Sakharambapu resigned from
office hoping that the young peshwa would feel powerless without
them. But they had underestimated him. He filled the post
of regent with his own man, Trimbakrao Pethe, and made Nana Phadanvis
and Hari Ballal Phadke his secretaries. Ramshastri Prabhune was made
This was when Raghunathrao, assisted by Janoji
Bhosale, sought the help of Nizam Ali (who had deposed his brother,
Salabat Jang, to become the Nizam ul Mulk).
Their army marched on Pune, although the peshwa's
army put up a brave fight against them. Eventually Madhavrao decided
to put an end to the quarrel, and marched to his uncle's camp, there
to put himself at his uncle's mercy. Blood being thicker than water,
Raghunathrao treated his nephew with due courtesy, but he removed
all the peshwa's men from their offices and confiscated their
But it was not long before Nizam Ali revealed his
 Both nephew and uncle
developed their own coteries. Madhavrao's camp consisted of
Gopalrao Govind Patwardhan (Sangli), Triambakrao (Mama)
Vishwanath Pethe (Maternal uncle of Sadashivraobhau), Baburao
Phadnis, Balaji Janardhan Bhanu (Nana Phadanvis),Hari Ballal
Phadke and Ramshastri Prabhune whereas by Raghunathrao's side
were Sakharambapu, Gulabrao and Gangoba Tatya.
Through his agent, Vithal Sundar, he led both Janoji Bhosale and the king of Kolhapur
to believe that he was giving them the regency of the Maratha
kingdom by displacing the Bhat Peshwas. When Raghunathrao heard
this, he was once again reconciled with his nephew, Madhavrao. Their
collective armies then besieged Nizam Ali's forces. When Nizam Ali realised
that Maratha fortunes had been revived, he quickly begged
forgiveness of Raghunathrao (blaming his agent, Vithal Sundar, for
delivering bad advice), something which a rather naïve Raghunathrao
Meanwhile Madhavrao was reinstalled as the
peshwa. For his part, Madhavrao agreed to give due credence to Raghunathrao's authority.
In 1764, there was provocation from Hyder
Mysore, in response to which the young peshwa led an assault against Mysore's forces.
Again he had an altercation with Raghunathrao, who himself wanted to lead the
army, but Madhavrao
eventually had it his way. He and his forces completely routed Hyder
Ali's army, and returned back victorious. Hyder Ali sought a means
of escape by
coming to an understanding with Raghunathrao, who prevailed upon
his nephew to forgive Mysore's ruler. Reluctantly, in order to placate his uncle,
the young peshwa agreed.
Meanwhile Janoji Bhosale (who had earlier assisted Raghunathrao and
Nizam Ali), whom the peshwa had publicly rebuked, tried to stir up a
revolt against the peshwa.
Haripant Phadke, military commander in Pune
Then the peshwa's vigilant secret service
got whiff of the plan, and the peshwa conspired with Janoji's old ally, Nizam Ali, and raided
the Berar provinces of Janoji Bhosale. 
In 1766, Madhavrao again led successful campaigns against Hyder Ali
who had gone back on his earlier promises. Meanwhile, Madhavrao's
successes couldn't be matched by Raghunathrao who had engaged in his
own campaigns in the north.
Envious of his nephew's success, Raghunathrao once again fell back
on the evil advice of his wife Anandibai, who asked him to demand half the kingdom
of Madhavrao. The demand was immediately refused. As
a result Raghunathrao's forces (with assistance from Janoji Bhosale)
and Madhavrao's forces again clashed at Fort Dhodap near Nasik.
Raghunathrao's army was badly mauled and he himself was taken a
prisoner and sent to Shanivarwada in Pune under house arrest. Janoji
Bhosale was also forced to sue for peace and pay a war indemnity of
500,000 rupees and accept allegiance to the peshwa.
In 1769, Hyder Ali again provoked the Marathas by breaking his
treaty. Madhavrao marched with his army in Karnatak region.
His army reached Bangalore without opposition. He then took Kolar,
Nandidurg,Mulwagar by forced assault.
 The perfidious Nizam Ali even
offered help for the Marathas against Hyder Ali, at the same
time conspiring with the English to defeat both Hyder Ali and
the Marathas. To top it all, Nizam Ali offered help to Hyder Ali
to gain Arcot from Muhammed Ali.
In June 1770, Madhavrao was struck down by illness and had to return to Puna, and sent Trimbakrao Pethe and Appa Balwant Mehendale
against Hyder Ali. In January 1771, Hyder Ali's army was subdued at
Balapur. Pethe then proceeded through Mysore, taking one district
after another. In March 1771, Pethe inflicted another defeat against Hyder
Ali at Cherkoli Hills. In June 1772, the Maratha army reached Srirangapattam
(Seringapatam), which was Hyder Ali's capital. At this point, Hyder Ali
finally sued for peace. He ceded Kolar, Bangalore, Ouskota, Balapur, Mudgiri,
and Gurukonda to the Marathas and 3,600,000 rupees as a war indemnity,
along with an annual tribute of 1,400,000 rupees per annum.  
Scene at Delhi after Panipat
Meanwhile, Abdali had left for Afghanistan, on 22
March 1761.  He died on 14 April 1772.
The Mughal emperor had sought refuge with Shujaud
Daullah, the nawab
of Awadh, while Najib ud daullah Khan (Abdali's agent) ruled Delhi
in his absence. After the fall of Awadh to the English (at
Buxar in October 1764), the emperor sought the protection of the East India Company. Suraj Mal, the Jat king, tried to take over Delhi, but was killed in
the fight with Najib. But the war between the Jats and the Rohillas
continued through their respective sons.
Malharrao Holkar had already died in 1766. His predeceased
his son's (Khanderao's)
widow, Ahilyabai, had adopted one Tukoji Holkar, no relation, but one of
Malharrao's trusted officers, to succeed the Holkars.
Ranoji Scindia too was dead and his successor was an illegitimate
son, Mahadji Scindia, who had already distinguished himself at Panipat.
 When the deposed king of
Mysore, Nandaraj, tried to appeal to the Marathas to reinstate
him to his throne, Hyder Ali had him murdered in his bathtub and
replaced him with his brother Chamraj instead.
 On one occasion there was an
attempt on the life of Madhavrao by one of his men, Ramsingh.
Madhavrao escaped with a bruise on his shoulder, and believed
the attempt to have been at the behest of his uncle. As there
was no proof, Raghunathrao went unpunished, but Ramsingh was
 Between 1762-1767, the Sikhs
thwarted Abdali's attempts to gain control of the Punjab.
Peshwa Madhavrao wanted to extract revenge for Panipat. He therefore
sent a huge Maratha army under the command of Visaji Krishna
Biniwala, assisted by Tukoji Holkar and Mahadji Scindia. The
Maratha armies swept across the north. First they levied 1,000,000
rupees as tribute from Rajputana. Then they extorted 6,500,000
rupees from the Jats. Then they turned their wrath against the Rohillas.
They ravaged the Rohilla land between Ganga and Jamuna and captured
the Etawah fortress of Doab. Soon, all of Rohilkhand was under their
control. This prompted the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam, to switch sides
from the English to the Marathas. Shah Alam was once again
restored to the throne of Delhi by the Marathas . The Rohilla chief, Najib ud
Daullah Khan had died by then and he was succeeded by his
son, Zabita Khan. The Marathas held Rohilakhand (along with its
harem) for a huge ransom and returned its possession to Zabita Khan
(who had fled to the hills) only after the ransom was paid.
1769 - the Marathas proceed northwards.
5 April 1770 - Battle of Govardhan, Marathas
are victorious and take
possession of Agra and Mathura. Marathas enter Doab against Bangash
Nawab and encamp at Ramghat.
September 1770 - Peace treaty with the Jats.
10 February 1771 - Mahadaji takes possession of Delhi.
4 March 1771 - Mahadaji captures Shukratal.
14 April 1772 - Abdali dies. The Marathas capture Najibabad, spoils of
Panipat recovered by them. Mahadaji and Visaji Krishna arrange
Death of the peshwa
The peshwa had returned to Puna, cutting short his Karnataka
expedition, where he met a premature end brought about by tuberculosis on 18 November 1772.
The great peshwa died in the precincts of Chintamani Temple at Theur near Puna. Madhavrao was just twenty eight at the time of his
A promising life was snatched by the clutches of death.
Madhavrao's wife, Ramabai, maintained tradition and attained Sati
on her husband's funeral pyre.
Madhavrao Peshwa's contributions
Ramshastri, Maratha chief justice
 The sequence of events in the
north is courtesy Ambareesh Phadanvis.
In his very short tenure, and in spite of opposition,
Madhavrao contributed tremendously to the Maratha kingdom. Madhavrao was a
symbol of equanimity. He was an astute judge of character, an
efficient administrator, and a brave general. After the debacle of Panipat, he rekindled the Maratha spirit by his unwavering
leadership. He resurrected a flagging economy and replenished the
kingdom's treasury through various expeditions.
Madhavrao was known to be a benevolent peshwa who cared for his
subjects. He ensured every man in his kingdom was heard and proper
justice was meted out to all. In spite of differences with his uncle, he
was always respectful at a personal level. Though he had kept his
interfering mother, Gopikabai, at a distance (at Nasik), he was always
respectful towards her and was always enquiring about her well
being. He was never vindictive towards his enemies, as in the case
of Janoji Bhosale, whom he had severely reprimanded, but never
humiliated beyond a certain respectable point, nor were his personal possessions every
taken away by the peshwa in spite of repeated provocation. That was
an indication of the magnanimity of Madhavrao's character. 
Madhavrao redeveloped Mohitabad and renamed it Budwar Peth (Pune).
Narayanrao Peshwa (born 10 August 1755,
began to rule on 13 December 1772, died 30 August 1773) was the
brother of Madhavrao, succeeding him because he had no son.
Narayanrao retained Sakharambapu as the diwan,
along with other
advisers such as Nana Phadanvis, Moroba Phadanvis, Hari Ballal Phadke
and Babaji Barve.
A very brief reign
Unlike his brother, Narayanrao lacked fortitude of character.
He soon found himself completely under the sway of his mother, Gopikabai, who since the death of her
other son had resumed her
stay at Puna (from Nasik, where she had been kept by Madhavrao to
prevent her interference in the daily affairs of the state).
Raghunathrao, who had escaped from Shanivarwada, had been rearrested
and confined to prison by Madhavrao, but he was soon released after he
received a solemn oath from his uncle that he would accept Narayanrao as a
Initially, Raghunathrao kept his promise, but differences
soon started arising between Narayanrao's mother and her cousin, Anandibai, wife of Raghunathrao (who in turn was completely
enamoured by his wife). On Gopikabai's instructions (and much against
the wishes of Nana Phadanvis and Sakharambapu), Narayanrao placed
Raghunathrao under house arrest at Shanivarwada.
Mahadji Scindia, Maratha commander in central India
 Sardar Jivajipant Khazgiwale,
a noble in the court of Madhavrao, had developed Ganesh Peth (Pune)
in 1775, named after Lord Ganesha.
Hyder Ali and his son Tipu were well aware of the strife in the Maratha
kingdom and wanted to take advantage of it. So they started raiding
the Mysore regions. Narayanrao therefore decided to launch an
offensive in Karnatak. He recalled Visaji Krishna Biniwala, his
agent in the north, back to Pune with his army. As a result the Maratha
stranglehold on the north collapsed. Other enemies of the Marathas,
such as Nizam Ali, Najaf Khan, and Shuja ud Daullah, also started
taking a more direct interest.
The women of the peshwa household - especially Gopikabai
- used to
perform a great number of daily religious rituals and spent huge amounts of
money in giving away alms to the Brahmins. This hampered the
treasury, leading to a non-payment of wages to soldiers and other employees.
There was discontent amongst many including the 'Gardis', a community
who were the traditional bodyguards of the peshwas. Raghunathrao
sent them overtures promising them higher scales of pay provided
that he was
assured of their help.
Raghunathrao sent the chief of the Gardis a letter stating that he
would intervene and settle the pay dispute. But to achieve that, Narayanrao
must be seized ('dharaa' in Marathi) and brought before
him. But, according to tradition, the letter was forged by Anandibai,
who changed the word 'dharaa' to 'maaraa', meaning 'to kill'.
On the fateful night of 30 August 1773, the Gardis swarmed in
Shanivarwada, hacking down anyone who came in their way. Two of
Narayanrao's servants by the names of Chaphaji Tilekar and Naroba
Phatak who tried to shield the peshwa were slaughtered. The panicky
peshwa then fled to his uncle's quarters and implored him
to save him. But it was all in vain, for the Gardis (Sumer Singh,
Kharak Singh, Mohommed Yusuf, and Tuloji Pawar a servant of
Raghunathrao) wasted no time in striking down the young peshwa.
Narayanrao left behind him a wife, Gangabai, who was pregnant with
his son, Madhavrao II.
Narayanrao constructed a residential locality in Pune by the name of
Narayan Peth, which exists to the present day.
Peshwa Narayanrao, brother of Madhavrao
Raghunathrao Peshwa, also known as Raghobadada,
Ballal, or even Raghobharaari (born 18 August 1734, began to rule on 5 December 1773-1774, died
11 December 1783) was the younger son of Bajirao I and the brother of
Seizing the moment of the death of his nephew, Peshwa
Narayanrao, Raghunathrao made himself the next peshwa.
He confirmed Sakharambapu Bokil as his diwan, and made Chinto Vithal
Rairikar and Sakharam Hari Gupte his chief confidantes.
But Raghunathrao met opposition in the form of Nana Phadanvis, and
Chief Justice Ram Shastri Prabhune (who even passed the death
penalty against the ruling peshwa for his role in the murder of his nephew, and
relinquished his post and left Pune when his decree was not obeyed),
Trimbakrao Pethe, Hari Ballal Phadke, and so on, who soon deposed Raghunathrao as the
The conspirators later instated Madhavrao II, the infant son of
Narayanrao, on the peshwa throne and themselves formed a council which
would serve as a regency for the child peshwa. This council
came to be known as the Barbhai (twelve brothers) Council. Besides
Nana, the council included Hari Ballal Phadke, Moroba Phadnis,
Sakarambapu Bokil (who joined in after resenting the ascension of
Sakharam Gupte in Raghunathrao's inner circle), Trimbakrao mama Pethe,
Mahadji Shinde, Tukojirao Holkar, Phaltankar, Bhagwanrao Pratinidhi,
Maloji Ghorpade,Sardar Raste and Babuji Naik.
First Anglo-Maratha War
In April 1774, Raghunathrao entered into an alliance with the
English (in the form of the Bombay government). Skirmishes between the English forces
and the Marathas started. But just as they did, on 19 October 1774, a supreme
council led by Warren Hastings, Colonel Clavering, Colonel Monson, Philip
Francis, and Richard Barvel, and authorised by the British parliament to
take charge of all British dominions in India, arrived on the shores of
They declared the treaty between the Bombay government and Raghunathrao
to be invalid and instead sent their own envoy, Colonel Upton,
to negotiate with the Barbhai council. They signed the Treaty of Purandar in December 1775, whereby Raghunathrao was to be surrendered to
the Marathas and in return Bassein, Salsette, and the revenue from Bharuch were
to be handed over to the British along with 1,200,000 rupees to be paid
to the Bombay government for war expenses.
Peshwa Raghunathrao, younger son of Bajirao I
Raghunathrao was never handed over to the Marathas and continued
to enjoy the asylum provided by the Bombay government at Surat.
Meanwhile, due to internal rivalry, some members of the Barbhai council
Sakharam Bapu, and Tukoji Holkar) had broken away.
They conspired with Raghunathrao's avowed well-wishers such as Bajaba
Purandare, Sakharam Gupte, and Chinto Rairikar in order to bring back Raghunathrao
to the seat of peshwa.
But Nana Phadanvis artfully managed to wreck the conspiracy. Most of
the conspirators were thrown in chains and put behind bars. Some died in
prison and some were killed.
On 23 December 1778, the Bombay government decided
to disregard the treaty
between the supreme council and the Marathas, and launched an offensive
against the them. By 13 January 1779, the Bombay government's forces faced defeat at Wadgaon.
The English sued for peace and returned everything they had
gained from the Treaty of Purandar. English offensives were renewed at the behest of Warren Hastings
(governor-general at Calcutta), who wanted to wipe out the disgrace
of Wadgaon. English forces led by General Goddard defeated the
forces of Mahadji Shinde and other Maratha commanders at various
places, including Gwalior and Ahmedabad, and pushed Mahadji Shinde
as far back as
the town of Sipri. There were heavy losses on both sides.
Due to the loss of his central territories, Mahadji Shinde eventually
prevailed upon the Marathas to agree to the Treaty of Salbai on 17
May 1782, by which means the English would abandon their support of Raghunathrao and recognise Sawai Madhavrao (Madhavrao II) as the
true peshwa. In return the Marathas promised the English all help in
their fight against Hyder Ali. This treaty was ratified by Hastings
in June 1782 and by Nana Phadanvis in February 1783.
The treaty returned to Shinde all his territories west of the Yamuna. It also
guaranteed peace between the two sides for twenty years and
therefore ended the First Anglo-Maratha War.
Nana Phadanvis, who wrecked the conspiracy against the peshwa
As a side note, Mahadji Shinde (Shinde is
Anglicised as Scindia), otherwise known as Madhavrao I Sindhia (born 1730-died 1794) was the
illegitimate son (born from a Rajput concubine, Chimabai) of Ranoji
Shinde (son of Jankoji Shinde, the Patil of Kanherkhed). Ranoji
Shinde was entrusted by Bajirao I, the charge of Malwa, where he
made Ujjain his headquarters. Ranoji was succeeded by his son, Jayappa, who died at Panipat. Hence the mantle of the family was
passed on to Mahadji Shinde. Mahadji had already distinguished
himself at Panipat where he received a leg wound that would remain
with him for life. Mahadji Shinde succeeded in bringing all of the Rajput
Ratangarh, Lalgarh, Bikaner, Laswari, Lachhmangarh, Kumher and Deeg
and the states with territory of Jaipur and Jodhpur) and Jat (except
Bharatpur and Vijaynagar) under Maratha suzerainty. He also
conquered Mathura in 1755. After the treaty of Salbai in 1782,
Mahadji took full advantage of his neutrality with the English and
exercised full control over northern India. He shifted his capital to Gwalior after he won it from the Jats of Gohad. Mahadji Shinde was
responsible for reinstating Shah Alam II on the Mughal throne at
Delhi (after the emperor was blinded and deposed by the Rohillas)
and ruled as his regent. Mahadji had increased his army to three
brigades under the captainship of Benoit de Boigne, a French
mercenary, and developed it into a disciplined force with added
artillery and cavalry power. Mahadji Shinde was also responsible for
decimating the influence of the nizam of Hyderabad. The great Mahadji
Shinde died without an heir and was succeeded by his
brothers, Tukaram Shinde's grandson, Daulatrao Scindia.
Death and character
Seeing all his hopes of becoming peshwa wither
away once again, Raghunathrao retired with his family to Kopargaon
on the banks
of the River Godavari, where he breathed his last (11 December 1783).
Raghunathrao left behind his wife Anandibai, a son, Bajirao II, an
adopted son, Amritrao, and a posthumous son born to Anandibai and named
Raghunathrao was a brave warrior and military commander who carried
the Maratha flag as far as Attock (presently in Pakistan and under
his leadership, the Marathas had held sway over Punjab, Kashmir and
the Northwest Frontier for over a year between March 1758 to November 1759). But he
lacked the prerequisites of a good ruler. Moreover, he was
completely under the sway of his wife, Anandibai. He shared a love-hate relationship with his nephew, Madhavrao. Though both loved
and respected each other, personal ambitions ruined a fruitful
relationship between the two.
Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao, who died under mysterious circumstances
Peshwa Madhavrao II, otherwise
known as Sawai Madhavrao, or
Madhurao Narayan (born 18 April 1774, began to rule 13 December 1774, died 27
October 1795) was the posthumous son of Peshwa Narayanrao and his wife, Gangabai. He was born amidst the political intrigues following
An infant Sawai Madhavrao was declared peshwa after deposing Raghunathrao, who managed
the peshwa ship for a few months before being
displaced by the Barbhai regency council led by Nana Phadanvis.
He more or less ruled under the guidance of Nana Phadanvis, the
Maratha Machiavelli, and the Barbhai regency council. Sawai Madhavrao
was a witness to Raghunathrao's treachery, when the latter brought
the English to the forefront of Maratha politics. Raghunathrao
tried to remove Sawai Madhavrao from the post of peshwa with
English help, but Sawai Madhavrao was gallantly defended by the
With the Treaty of Salbai (1782), the English recognised Sawai
Madhavrao as the true peshwa, abandoning Raghunathrao's aspirations.
Sawai Madhavrao died under mysterious circumstances. There were
rumours that he committed suicide by jumping from the high walls of
Shanivarwada, while some speculated murder. But the popular story is
was seriously ill and in a delirium he lost balance and fell from
As per historians like Duff and Kincaid, in his
dying declaration Sawai Madhavrao named his cousin, Bajirao II, as his successor, much
to the chagrin of Nana Phadanvis. Nana had earlier asked Yashodabai,
the widow of Sawai Madhavrao, to adopt Chimaji, the youngest son of
Raghunathrao, so that someone from within the family would become peshwa.
Additionally, due to Chimaji's young age, Nana could continue as
regent for the new peshwa. But now, thanks to Sawai Madhavrao's
will and also due to opposition from the other courtiers to
this arrangement, Nana had to back out. Apparently the fact that Chimaji, a brother-in-law of Yashodabai,
would be adopted as a son did not
go down well with the courtiers, and many also resented the fact
that this would give Nana another stint as regent). 
 When he came of age, Sawai
Madhavrao did try to assert his authority against his adviser,
Nana Phadanvis, whom he felt was becoming overbearing. Firstly,
this was in the case of the despotic police inspector of Pune, the infamous
Ghashiram Kotwal (a trusted aide of Nana's - Nana was said to
have an eye for the fairer sex. It was rumoured that he made
Ghashiram the kotwal as he had fallen in love with his beautiful
daughter), and secondly when the peshwa asked Nana Phadanvis to
release his cousins (Bajirao II, Chimnajiappa, and Amritrao, the
sons of Raghunathrao) from prison. But Nana Phadanvis overruled
him, feeling he was being misled by his rivals. Mainly, Nana
Phadanvis never trusted the sons of Raghunathrao, whom he
believed would not hesitate to depose the peshwa at the
slightest opportunity. It is said that the peshwa felt
humiliated and became depressed. He soon contracted a disease
considered to be tuberculosis, which left him with severe bouts
Nihal Peth, a residential colony in Pune during the reign of Sawai
Madhavrao, was renamed Nana Peth in honour of Nana Phadanvis.
Nana Phadanvis also converted Bhawani Peth (previously known as
Borevan), a residential colony built by Sambhajiraje, into a
commercial location and invited a number of traders to set up their storage
facilities in that area.
Sardar Anandrao Laxmanrao Raste built Rasta Peth in Pune during the
reign of Sawai Madhavrao.
Nana Phadanvis (or Balaji Janardhan Bhanu) was an old friend
and confidante of the Bhat Peshwas. He hailed from Velas, a village
near Shrivardhan, the ancestral village of the Bhat Peshwas. He was
a Kayastha Prabhu by caste. His grandfather, Balaji Mahadji Bhanu,
was promoted to the title of phadanvis (finance secretary) at the
behest of Balaji Vishwanath Peshwe. Nana inherited the title from
his grandfather during the time of Madhavrao Peshwe and was a diehard loyalist of that royal line. Nana Phadanvis acted as
regent for Sawai Madhavrao and was virtually the ruler of the Maratha
kingdom during that time. It was then that the Maratha forces inflicted a crushing defeat
on the nizam of Hyderabad at Kharda,
when the latter had refused to honour his financial commitments to
Nana Phadanvs was an astute diplomat, responsible for keeping the
Maratha kingdom afloat by providing leadership at a difficult
Due to his role in upstaging Raghunathrao, he was always hated by
Raghunathrao's son Bajirao II. Nana had once virtually imprisoned the
sons of Raghunathrao at Shivner, after the death of their mother, Anandibai, at Nasik, in April 1794, lest they become instruments in the
hands of his rivals. Moreover he distrusted the eldest son, Bajirao
II, due to the latter's inert deviousness. This also added to Bajirao's dislike for Nana Phadanvis. Nana Phadanvis was imprisoned
by Sardar Sakharam Ghatge and Peshwa Bajirao II in 1797, at
Fort Ahmednagar amidst political intrigues following the death of Madahvarao II. Nana was later freed by Bajirao II in order to secure
his support against Daulatrao Scindia with whom Bajirao had
developed differences (Daulatrao and Bajirao were later reconciled). But
the weary Nana Phadanvis was never his old self. He never regained
his old position thereafter.
 The Shanivarwada complex had
a beautiful sixteen-petal-lotus shaped fountain: the Hazaari
Kaaranje (fountain of a thousand jets). This unique fountain was
constructed for the pleasure of the infant Sawai Madhavrao. With
the form of a sixteen petal lotus, each petal had sixteen jets,
each with an eighty foot arch.
Appa Mehendale, Maratha commander in Pune
He died on 13 March 1800 at Pune. 
Nana Phadanvis was called the 'Indian Machiavelli',
by Grant Duff in his treatise on the Marathas, because of Nanas
political manoeuvrings to maintain the sanctity of the seat of the
peshwas. Nana Phadanvis left behind two wives (Nana Phadanvis married nine times. Only Bagubai and the fourteen year old Jiubai
remained. Bagubai died within a month of her husband), but
no son (none of his children had survived infancy). After Nana's
death, Peshwa Bajirao II obtained his estates and confined
his fourteen year old wife at Shanivar Wada (Jiubai was later
freed by Yashwantrao Holkar and eventually came under the protection of
the English who ensured her a pension. In 1827, she even adopted a son, Madhavrao Bhanu).
 Bajirao also imprisoned
Yashodhabai, his dead cousin's widow, first at Purandar and
later in Raigad. She later died in prison in 1811.
Duff, James Grant - History of the
Mahrathas, Exchange Press, Bombay
Lal Mehta - Advanced Study in the History of Modern India
1701-1813, New Dawn Press, New Delhi
Gordon, Stewart - New Cambridge History of India: The Marathas, 1600-1818, Cambridge University Press
Kincaid, C A, and Rao Bahadur
D B Parasnis - A History of the Maratha People, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press