Ahmad Shah Abdali about Marathas in a letter to Raja Madho Singh

In a letter Ahmad Shah Abdali to in a letter written to Raja Madho Singh (the ruler of Jaipur), Ahmad Shah Durrani reveals very important information. He informs Madho Singh that on the day of the battle of Panipat, Marathas came out with 200,000 (two lakh) cavalry and foot besides artillery and a force of archers. The vast Maratha army in battle formation stretched for 6 kos (12 miles).

After praising his own soldiers, Ahmad Shah Durrani also praises his Maratha foes for showing valour on the battlefield of Panipat:

“The enemy (Marathas) too distinguished themselves and fought so well that it was beyond the capacity of other (people of India). The blood-shedding fists of the heroes on both sides became equally red with blood. Gradually the fighting passed from the exchange of cannon, swivel, and rocket fire to the discharge of muskets. Then it proceeded beyond musketry-fire to the stage of combat with swords and arrows. From the use of swords even, it passed on to the plying of daggers and knives. They grasped each other by the neck and crushed their opponents’ breasts. Those dauntless blood-shedders (the Marathas) also did not short fall in fighting and doing glorious deeds.” [translated into English by Jadunath Sarkar].

Maratha warrior
Maratha soldier, 1836-42. Painting by Emily Eden
Ahmad shah durrani
Painting of Ahmad Shah Durrani of circa 1785-1790, Inscribed: ‘Hamed Shah Duranny’


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