The historians of the Mahrattas give different accounts of the origin of the name. Some say that it is not the appellation of a tribe, but the ancient name of Deogurh and its environs “Mâhrât,” the inhabitants of which country were called Mahrattas; while others assert that “Dukhun” (who was the son of Ham, the son of Noah) had three sons named Mâhrât, Kurnâtuk, and Tilung, and that the tribes inhabiting the Peninsula are their descendants. The Mahrattas themselves trace their descent from the Rana of Oodipore, whose ancestor Nôshirvân was expelled from Irân in the reign of the Caliph Omar by Sââd; and one of whose descendants visiting Hindoostan, obtained the title of Rana. After the lapse of many years, one of this Rana’s descendants visited the Carnatic, where on account of his high birth he was permitted to connect himself by marriage with one of the principal families, and his descendants divided into two classes, viz. the Bhoosla, and the Ambola. Sâhôjee Bhoosla engaged in the service of Boorhân Nizâm Shah, and afterwards in that of Ibraheem Adil Shah, who towards the end of his reign gave the pergunnah of Poona in jaghire to Sâhôjee. For two years before his death Ibraheem Adil Shah had been prevented by ill­ness from attending to his own affairs, and Sewajee, the son of Sahojee, availed himself of this circumstance to possess himself of several of his patron’s forts. On the death of Ibraheem Adil Shah, and the succession of his infant son Ullee Adil Shah, the power of Sewajee increased, and he by force or by fraud obtained possession of all the fortresses in the province of Kôkun, and built some new forts: after which he appeared in arms against his sovereign, slew Afzul Khan the commander of the young king’s army, and plundered his camp. Another sirdar, named Rôstum Khan, was sent to oppose him, but met with a defeat, and Sewajee extended his con­quests to the frontier of the empire of Aurungzebe, when Shâista Khan (nephew of the empress Noor Jehân), the Soobuhdar of the Dukhun, was ordered to attack him, and for this purpose to call in the aid of Maharaja Jeswunt Sing Rahtore. Shâista Khan pre­pared to obey the orders of the emperor, but Sewajee surprised his camp by night, killed his son Abdool Futtéh Khan, and dispersed his army. Shâista Khan was in consequence removed from his office; Maharaja Jeswunt Sing was summoned to Delhi to answer for his negligence; and the prince Mohummud Mouzzum, attended by Jyesing Kutchwa, Dillér Khan, and other experienced officers, was sent to the Dukhun. The prince defeated Sewajee, compelled him to appear before him, and to relinquish twenty-three of his fortresses: but at the intercession of Jyesing, Sewajee’s offence was forgiven, and his son Sumbajee was honoured with the titular command of five thousand men. Sewajee and Sumbajee then proceeded to Agra, and were introduced to the emperor; but being unacquainted with the eti­quette of a court, and not receiving the attentions they expected, they took offence, and complained to Jyesing: this was reported to the emperor, who forbade their being again admitted to the presence, and placed guards over them to prevent their quitting Agra. At the request of Jyesing these guards were in a few weeks with­drawn, and it was the emperor’s intention to have dis­missed Sewajee and Sumbajee in a friendly manner; but they were weary of inaction, and after a stay of three months and nine days they clandestinely quitted Agra, proceeded to the Dukhun, and again appeared in arms. Sewajee died on the 24th of Rubbee-ool-sanee, in the year 1091 of the Hejiree, but his son Sumbajee con­tinued to extend his conquests, and was rendering him­self master of the Dukhun, when Aurungzebe in person marched to oppose him. In several desperate battles neither party could claim a decided victory; but Sheikh Nizâm Hydrabadee (commonly called Mokurrub Khan) learning from his spies that Sumbajee, and his principal adviser Kubkullis, were at Sunguneer, forty-five koss from his camp, marched the distance in one night, and seized them both; and the emperor, after causing them to be paraded round the town on an ass, put them to death in the year 1100 of the Hejiree.

Sumbajee left two sons, Ramraje, and Raja Sâhoo, and the latter was elected chief of the Mahrattas. On the death of Aurungzebe, Raja Sâhoo became so power­ful, that the inhabitants of the country, to avoid being plundered by his troops, agreed to pay him a tithe of the produce of the land, and this payment was in the reign of the weak emperor Buhadoor Shah sanctioned by a royal furmân.

Zoolfikar Khan being appointed Soubuhdar of the Dukhun, intrusted the government to his Naib Dâood Khan, who entered into an agreement with the Mahrattas, that whatever plunder they obtained, over and above their tenth, should be shared in the proportions of three-fourths for the royal treasury, and one-fourth for them­selves: and this agreement gave rise to the demand of “chout,”* still claimed by the Mahrattas.

In the reign of Furrôkhsére, Syyud Hussun Ullee Khan, [one of the Syyuds of Barrah,] was appointed Soobuhdar of the Dukhun, but the emperor was soon dissatisfied with his conduct, and recalled him; doubting however his obedience, orders were issued to Raja Sâhoo to compel the Soobuhdar to leave the Dukhun. The interference of Mahomed Anwur Khan Boorhânpooree and Sungrajee Mulhar, prevented Sahoo from attending to this order, and the Syyud in return confirmed him in the possession of the Kokun, and in the receipt of his tenth and chout from the six Soobuhs of the Dukhun. The Syyud having thus secured his interest in the Dukhun, left the government to his nephew Alum Ullee Khan, and joined by a Mahratta army under Ballajee Bishoonath proceeded to Delhi, and deposed the emperor Furrôkhsére, setting up in his stead Ruffeh-ool-durjaut.

Hussun Ullee Khan unwilling to leave Delhi, yet feeling the necessity of supporting his nephew, sent back to his assistance Sungrajee Mulhar, and Ballajee Bishoo­nath, who took the government into their own hands, and made Alum Ullee Khan a mere cypher.

In the year 1137 of the Hejiree, in the reign of Mahomed Shah, on the death of Ballajee Bishoonath, his son and successor Bajé-rao killed Girdhur Buhadur the Soobuhdar of Mâlwa, and was conquering the province, when the vizier Ihtimad-ood-dowla Kummur-ood-deen Khan, and Sumsam-ood-dowla Khan dowrân Khan opposed and defeated him in three pitched battles: how­ever, his attacks on the province continued, and at length in 1148 Hejiree, he was appointed Soobuhdar of Mâlwa; when he laid siege to the fort of the Rajah of Budhâwur, then advanced to Khalka, and thence pro­ceeded to Delhi, which city he surrounded with his troops. In the absence of the vizier, the royal army was commanded by Ameer Khan, who sustained a defeat from the rebel, nor would the Imperial city have been saved from plunder, had not Kummur-ood-deen Khan, by a forced march of seventy koss, arrived to its relief. Bajé Rao, on the approach of the vizier, collected his forces at the Serai of Aliverdi Khan, where on the fol­lowing morning he was attacked, and being defeated, fled to Jyenuggur. The remainder of the royal army under Sumsâm-ood-dowla and Boorhân-ool-moolk, joined the vizier after the action; but as no advantage could be gained by a pursuit of the Mahrattas, the troops marched into Delhi. In the year 1150 of the Hejiree, the Soobuhdaree of Mâlwa was given to Asof Jâh, but he was dispossessed by Bajé Rao, who dying in 1153, was succeeded by his son Ballajee Rao.

In the year 1163 of the Hejiree, on the death of Raja Sâhoo, Ballajee Rao became chief of the Mahrattas; his cousin and principal adviser Sudasheo Rao, com­monly called “Bhow,” distinguished himself by his bravery in many hard-fought battles: nor was his cun­ning less than his prowess; by a well concerted plan he obtained possession of the fort of Ahmednuggur, which the Mahomedans had held for two hundred and seventy years. About this time Sudasheo-rao enter­tained in his service Ibraheem Khan, Gârdee, (who had learned the art of war among the Europeans,) and marched from Poonah to attack Asof Jâh Sânee, who being too weak to meet him in the field, in consequence of his large train of artillery, was obliged to sign a treaty, granting to Sudasheo Rao a territory in the vicinity of Aurungabad, yielding sixty lacs of rupees per annum; and at the same time to give up the forts of Béjapore and (Deogurh, now called) Dowlutabad.

From this digression we return to the history of Hafiz Rehmut Khan.