Narayan Rao

  (Redirected from Narayanrao Peshwa)

Narayan Rao (10 August 1755 – 30 August 1773) was the 9th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire from November 1772 until his assassination in August 1773. He married Gangabai Sathe who later gave birth to Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa.


Narayan Rao
नारायण राव
Narayan Rao
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg 9th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire
In office
13 December 1772 – 30 August 1773
MonarchRajaram II
Preceded byMadhavrao I
Succeeded byRaghunathrao
Personal details
Born(1755-08-10)10 August 1755
Died30 August 1773(1773-08-30) (aged 18)
Shaniwar Wada
Spouse(s)Gangabai Sathe[1]
ChildrenSawai Madhavrao

Early life and ascendancy to Peshwa throneEdit

Narayan Rao was the third son of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (also known as Nana Saheb) and his wife Gopikabai. Narayan Rao's eldest brother Vishwas Rao, heir to the title of Peshwa, was killed during the Third Battle of Panipat. The second brother, Madhavrao, succeeded their father after the latter's death in 1761. Their uncle Raghunathrao was appointed as regent to Madhavrao, but conspired against his nephew, and was eventually placed under house arrest.[2]

Madhavrao I died in 1772 from tuberculosis and was succeeded by the seventeen-year-old Narayan Rao, with his uncle Raghunathrao again acting as regent after being released from house arrest. Differences soon arose between the immature Narayan Rao and his ambitious uncle, who had wanted to become Peshwa since Balaji Baji Rao's death. Both men were surrounded by ill-intentioned advisors, who further poisoned their minds against each other. As a result, Narayanrao had his uncle again confined to his house.[3]

Narayanrao became Peshwa in 1772 and later he was murdered by the supporters of Raghunath Rao (Raghoba). At the time of his death, Narayanrao’s wife was pregnant. In this situation Raghunath Rao became the Peshwa in 1773, for the time being. The chief administrator Amathya Nana Phadnavis, to avoid the forthcoming risk to the state, kept the widow queen Gangabai at Purandargad secretly with the all measurements of the security. He had a doubt that if the widow-queen would give birth to the female child Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) would be declared as the peshwa. He didn’t want to be it. So he kept some of other pregnant women of the same period of the widow-queen, along with her who were belonged to the different Brahmin communities. Among such other pregnant women of Ravajibai Divekar who belonged to Daivajnya Brahmin was one of them. With the grace of the god the both pregnant women-the widow queen and Ravaji Diveker gave birth to the new children at the same time, in 1774. Peshwa Narayan Rao’s widow queen gave birth to the female child and Ravajibai Divekar who belonged to Daivajnya Brahmin community gave birth to a male child. As Nana Phadanavis heard this message, he arranged to replace the female child of the widow –queen with the male child of Ravajibai Divekar secretly. The subjects of the state became happy as they heard that the widow-queen had given birth to the male child who would be the next Peshwa. Acting Peshwa Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) couldn’t do anything before the wit and wisdom of Nana Phadnavis. The male child was named Sawai Madhav Rao 2 and declared to be the Peshwa of Pune. Thus a child born to a Daivajnya Brahmin couple became the Peshwa of Maratha state in Pune. This mystery was maintained secretly for the long period. Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) ruled as the acting Peshwa for two years from 1773 to 1775.

There was lot of resentment among the people of the state against the cruel murder of the Peshwa Narayan Rao and a judicial enquiry was held under the leadership of the renowned justice Rama Shastri. He pointed out that the acting Peshwa Raghunath rao (Raghoba) was the prime author of the murder. As the result of it, the responsible ministers of the royal court and leaders of maharashtra formed a council of state, known as the "Baarbhai Council", for the conduct of the affairs of the state.[4] In the next political development, the posthumous son of Narayan Rao, who was named Sawai Madhav Rao 2, was declared to be the “peshwa”. Raghunath rao (Raghoba) fled away from the scene. The Baarbhai Council began to conduct the affairs of the state in the name of Sawai Mdhav Rao 2 as he was a minor.

The new Peshwa Sawai Madhav Rao 2 lived only for 21 years and died in 1795. As he had no successor of his own blood, Balaji Rao 2 (1796-1818) the son of Raghunath Rao (Raghoba) became the next Peshwa. Thus for the short period of 20 years (1775-1795). Sawai Madhav rao 2, son of Daivajnya Brahmin couple had occupied the seat of maratha peshwa in pune. After his death gradually the secret of his birth came out. The next historians traced out the secret of the birth of Sawai madhav rao 2, that he really belonged to Daivajnya Brahmin community. This fact is mentioned in the book “Peshwas Diary” written by the well known social reformer justice M.G.RANADE and the historical documents of “Peshwas Daftar”.

The daughter (Peshwa princess) born to the widow queen was brought up at Ravajibai Divekar ,a Daivajnya Brahmin family.she was named as “Durga bai”,she was married to a Daivajnya Brahmin. At the young age she died without a child. Being a princess of Peshwa family, in her memory the chief Amatya Nana Phadnavis erected a temple of Durga devi, which is still under the management of Daivajnya Brahmin community. The durga devi temple of Pune city is stood as the live example for the fact regarding the mystery of the birth of Peshwa Madhav Rao (1774-1795).

Assassination of NarayanraoEdit

Rao writes that "the guiding its behind the conspiracy were Anandibai, the disgruntled wife of Raghunath and Tulaji Pawar, a servant. Tulaji was the main link between the smarting couple in the palace and the clamoring sepoys outside". During the Ganesh Festival of 1773 (the actual date was 30 August 1773, the last day of Ganesh Festival i.e. Anant Chaturdashi), several Gardi guards, led by their captain, Sumer Singh Gardi , entered the palace and started creating a commotion. They intended to release Raghunathrao. Raghunathrao and his wife Anandibai, who were opposed to Narayanrao, had promised the Gardis that they would mediate in their dispute with Narayanrao. Narayanrao ran to Raghunathrao, assuming that his uncle would not let them harm him. The Gardis followed Narayanrao to his uncle's chamber and the menial Tulaji Pawar pulled him while Sumer Singh Gardi cut him down. At the scene, a total of 11 persons were killed. Historian Sardesai writes that these 11 victims included seven brahmins (including Narayanrao), two maratha servants and two maids. The entire carnage happened within half an hour.[5] This happened at around 1 p.m. Narayanrao's body was secretly taken away through the Narayan gate of Shanivar wada and cremated near Lakdi pool by the banks of Mutha river.[6]

There were a total of 49 people implicated in the assassination: twenty-four Brahmins, two Saraswats, three Prabhus, six marathas, one maratha maid-servant, five muslims and eight north-Indian Hindus.[7]

According to popular legend, Raghunathrao had sent a message to Sumer Singh Gardi to fetch Narayanrao using the Marathi word dharaa (धरा) or 'hold' (actual phrase in Marathi - " नारायणरावांना धरा"/"Narayanrao-ana dhara"). This message was intercepted by his wife Anandibai who changed a single letter to make it read as maaraa (मारा) or 'kill' . The miscommunication led the Gardis to chase Narayanrao, who, upon hearing them coming, started running towards his uncles' residence screaming, "Kaka! Mala Vachva!!" ("Uncle! Save me!"). But nobody came to help him and he was killed in the presence of his uncle. Rumour has it that Narayanrao's body was hacked into so many pieces that they had to carry the pieces in a pot, henceforth it was taken near the river and cremated at midnight. This act brought ill fame to the Peshwa administration, which was being looked after by the minister Nana Phadnavis. The Chief Justice of the administration, Ram Shastri Prabhune was asked to conduct an investigation into the incident, and Raghunathrao, Anandibai and Sumer Singh Gardi were all prosecuted in absentia. Although Raghunathrao was acquitted, Anandibai was declared an offender and Sumer Singh Gardi the culprit. Sumer Singh Gardi died mysteriously in Patna, Bihar in 1775, and Anandibai performed Hindu rituals to absolve her sins. Kharag Singh and Tulaji Pawar were handed over by Hyder Ali back to the government and they were tortured to death. Swift punishment was given to the others too.[6]


Narayanrao's widow, Gangabai (Nee, Sathe) was pregnant at the time of his assassination. After Narayanrao's assassination, Raghunathrao became Peshwa but was soon was deposed by the courtiers and knights of the Empire. They instead installed Gangabai's new born son, Sawai Madhavrao as the Peshwa with the courtiers themselves, led by Nana Fadnavis, as the Regents. A popular rumour says that Narayanrao's ghost still hovers about Shanivar wada and calls out for help just like the way he did on the fateful night of his assassination .[8][9][10]

The Narayan Peth area in Pune is named after Peshwa Narayanrao.

Narayanrao's GhostEdit

There is a belief in Pune that Narayanrao's ghost roams the ruins of Shaniwar Wada at every full moon night and one can hear his voice saying "Kaka Mala Vaachva" ("Save Me Uncle" in English) as nobody came to help him at the night of his death.[11]

Bajirao II believed in the ghost superstition too and planted thousands of mango trees around Pune city and gave donations to Brahmins and religious institutions in the hope that this would propitiate the ghost.[12]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Unknown (1796). Narayanrao Peshwe yaanchi bakhar.
  4. ^ Kulkarni, Sumitra (1995). The Satara Raj, 1818-1848: A Study in History, Administration, and Culture. New Delhi: Mittal Publications. p. 74. ISBN 978-81-7099-581-4.
  5. ^ Govind Sakharam Sardesai (1968). New History of the Marathas: Sunset over Maharashtra (1772-1848). Phoenix Publications. p. 27. Thus within the short space of about half an hour eleven persons came to be murdered in cold blood in that famous palace, seven being Brahmans, two Maratha servants, two maids.
  6. ^ a b S.Venugopala Rao (1977). power and criminality. Allied Publishers Pvt Limited. pp. 111–121.
  7. ^ Shripad Rama Sharma (1951). The Making of Modern India: From A. D. 1526 to the Present Day. Orient Longmans. p. 302. It is worth noting," Sardesai points out, "that out of the 49 persons found guilty of the murder of Narayanrao (Peshva), 24 were Deccani Brahmans of the murdered Peshva's caste, 2 Saraswats, 3 Prabhus, 6 Marathas, 1 Maratha maid-servant, 5 Mussalmans, and 8 North Indian Hindus"
  8. ^ Preeti Panwar. "Top 10 most haunted places in India". Zee News. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ Huned Contractor (31 October 2011). "Going ghost hunting". Sakal. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Pune and its ghosts". Rediff. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Security guard at historical Peshwa palace murdered". 2009. A popular belief still prevails among people belonging to older generation here who claim that they had heard heart rending shouts of 'Kaka Mala Vachva' (Uncle please save me), at midnight emanating from the relics where Narayanrao Peshwa, one of the last heirs to the Peshwa throne, was slain on August 30, 1773 by 'Gardis' (royal guards) in a contract killing ordered by his uncle, Raghoba, in a power struggle.
  12. ^ S. G. Vaidya (1976). Peshwa Bajirao II and The Downfall of The Maratha Power. Pragati Prakashan. p. 249. It was to propitiate the ghost of Narayanrao, that haunted him throughout his life, that the Peshwa planted thousands of mango trees around Poona, gave gifts to Brahmins and to religious establishments

Preceded by
Madhavrao I
Succeeded by