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1. The biggest mistake of marathas was to enter Punjab (indus valley) without securing Gangetic plains. The supply chain got stretched way too thin..
2. It is difficult to replicate guerilla warfare tactics of Maharashtra on plains of Punjab. Especially without sympathy of local populace.
3. Whether to secure gangetic plains and Bengal first OR whether to secure Punjab first - this was the main topic of discussion in Pune Darbar since 1755. It is tendency of Dillipati (be it anyone) to leave Punjab to dogs and fight the enemy near Delhi when delhi is weak. When delhi is strong, they do not allow central asians to cross Indus and enter Punjab in first place. Delhi was weak after 1707. So she was sacked by Nadir Shah in 1740 and by Abdali in 1750's. To stop this, Mughals decided to give away Punjab to marathas for protection. marathas were contemplating on renewing their eastern campaign and punish alivardi khan, this meant securing Rohilkhand, Oudh and Bihar first. Najib was close to Malharrao Holkar who lobbied in pune court to take up Punjab option and postponing Ganga's liberation to further date. Pune accepted this argument.
4. They sent army under Raghunathrao. Raghoba himself wasn't much keen to fight with afghans, and was interested in punishing Najib of Rohilkhand first (Rohilkhand is western UP). Holkar did not allow this young prince to do that. Later Marathas conquered Punjab and chased Afghans up to Khyber. Sabaji Shinde (Scindhia) was present in Peshawar and was looting adjoining Pathan areas for 19 months while attock was made the frontier of empire.
5. The main army of raghunathrao returned to Pune (in spite of repeated requests of Sikhs and Jats to station a large army permanently in North). After 19 months of fighting, Abdali took Attock and Punjab back from Marathas in 1759 December.
6. To rectify this mistake, it was decided to station a large army permanently in North to accompany the already stationed army of Dattaji Shinde. 100,000 to 150,000 troops was assigned under Bhau and Vishwasrao. IMO, this was an example of large-scale migration and not a campaign. Hence these people were accompanied with their families, traders and other house-holders. They were supposed to stay there and colonize Delhi and rest of North. Few papers suggest that it was planned that Vishwasrao be made emperor of Delhi after bandobast of abdali is complete. Bhau organized a huge ceremony in Delhi court under chairmanship of Vishwasrao and not Mughal emperor.
7. however behaviour of earlier maratha campaign had left sour taste in mouths of Jats and Sikhs. Furthermore, Jats wanted to keep delhi to themselves. This is one generosity which Marathas should have shown. The importance of Delhi was unnecessarily kept high. Delhi was never seat of any Hindu king. Delhi signifies as seat of tyrant in many of the Indian province.
8. Why did Marathas honour the promise given to an a$$hole like Aurangzeb? Shivaji would have broken than promise in no time. The classical characteristic of Hindu kings of honouring the promises while mlechhas stab in back, continued to live on.