Friday, February 23, 2024

Travails of Panipat : Battle of Attock 1758

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The travails of Panipat are filled with multiple serial of battles which were significant. And, these battles are the testimony to the valour and vision of the Hindu rulers.

Battle of Attock was very significant in reclaiming and giving a pushback to the Afghan Ahmed Shah Abdali. The Battle of Attock occurred in 1758 when the Maratha Empire, led by Peshwa Nana Saheb, launched a campaign to capture the strategic fort of Attock, which was then controlled by the Durrani Empire. The fort was strategically located at the entrance to the Khyber Pass, a vital trade route connecting South Asia and Central Asia.

Marathas reaching North

While Afghan Ahmed Shah Abdali was determined to ravage Bharat with his ill-intentions of Jihad. He was successful in doing so to an extent. But, Marathas were equally determined to save this ongoing rampage. Until, War of Panipat was fought, many important leads were taken by Marathas in the northern part of Bharat.

Marathas were able to crush the Mughals and take them into the refuge, while Rohillas were also quashed. This was a major win in the North to unite the Hindu forces.

Malhar Rao Holkar and Mahadji Scindia’s forces came forward to challenge the Rohillas. Rohillas were also Afghan and controlled the Rohilkhand part of western area of Present Uttar Pradesh. They were powerful in a sense because they had a pact with the Mughal Wazir Safdar Jung in 1752 that they would protect the Mughal ruler. And, in return would collect taxes from Mughal controlled area.

In 1754 the new Mughal Emperor Alamgir 2 was set up by the help of Marathas.

Marching towards Attock

Subsequent attacks of Ahmed Shah Abdali in the years 1747, 1748 and 1752 were a matter of concern for the Hindus. He was an adamant and completely fanatic Islamic Jihadi, who ravaged the punya cities of Mathura and Vrindavan and capital Delhi.

Najib Khan Rohilla welcomed Abdali into Delhi and ransacked major cities. This was a time of huge depression all through the northern Bharat. This was unbearable to the Hindu Marathas. At that time Maratha forces were camped in Indore and Jaipur. Looking at such situation they decided to plan a counter-attack and focussed on regaining Delhi.

(p.c.- quora)

Since, Abdali had returned to Afghanistan, position Najib Khan as the representative in Delhi. The great Maratha contingent led towards Delhi and defeating Najib Khan Rohilla regained Delhi in the early 1758.

This was a significant move in Maratha positioning into the Punjab and North_west Bharat.

Capturing Sirhind, Mughals also requested Marathas to free Lahore of the Abdali rule. Looking at the huge army of Marathas and innumerable valorous sardars, Abdali’s son Taimur Shah Durrani left Lahore and crossed Ravi.

This was the glorious capture of Lahore by the Marathas on 19th April, 1758. In all thse campaigns Raghunathrao was a significant leader and conqueror who was welcomed in the fort of Lahore as aliberator.

Seize of Attock

And the travails brought fruits with the seize of Attock, when Maratha armies marched to capture more of the area. One of the nephews of Abdali, Abdur Rehman had begged Shrimant Peshwa Nana Saheb to support him. Tukoji Rao Holkar and Raghunath rao had led the army.

And thus, Attock was captured when the battle took place on 28th April 1758. A letter sent to Peshwa Nana Saheb is clear testimony to this great victory of Hindus over the tyrant of Afghan. Dated 4th May, 1758 the letter envisions the aspirations of Marathas to capture more and more areas in the North-western frontier.

Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and other subhas on this side of Attock are under our rule for the most part, and places which have not come under our rule we shall soon bring under us. Ahmad Shah Durrani’s son Timur Shah Durrani and Jahan Khan have been pursued by our troops, and their troops completely looted. Both of them have now reached Peshawar with a few broken troops… So Ahmad Shah Durrani has returned to Kandahar with some 12-14 thousand broken troops. Thus all have risen against Ahmad who has lost control over the region… we have decided to extend our rule up to Kandahar.


These small steps and battles are a testimony to a grand history which still remains unfolded before us. These travails mark the greatness of our forefathers in determining that we keep fighting and winning. Even if we lose we keep on going with having the faith in our Ishvara and our own strength. Victory of Attock at the behest of Afghan dominance marks a significant chapter in the History of Bharat.




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