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The battle of Panipat 14 January 1761

The battle of Panipat 14 January 1761

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1770

Shelfmark: J.66,3

Item number: 66,3

Length: 44

Width: 32

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Drawing of the battle of Panipat, 14 January 1761, by an anonymous artist in the Faizabad style, dated c.1770. Inscribed with the names of the principal combatants in Persian characters. The drawing is done with some colour; on paper backed with cloth, through which can be seen a drawing of a horseman and attendant. Ahmad Shah Durrani and his forces are defeating ShadaSiva Bhao and the Maratha armies; Ahmad Shah Durrani rides a brown stallion surrounded by his close supporters. On his left are Najib Khan and Shuja' al-Daula with their forces, on his right are Ahmad Khan Bangash and Hafiz Rahmat, before them a cavalry attack is made by Shah Wali Khan. Within the buildings of the Panipat camp troops are raping and committing atrocities while outside the wounded Bhao is helped from his horse; the centre of the picture is dominated by the arc of the two lines of guns with smoke and devastation between them. In 1760 the Marathas occupied Delhi, having already conquered the Punjab, offering a serious threat to the Muslim domination of the north of India. Their leader Viswas Rao was being advised by Sadasiva Bhao who organised the Maratha army under his generalship. To oppose them an army was formed by a Muslim alliance between Shuja' al-Daula of Oudh, Ahmad Shah Durrani and the Rohilla Afghans. Under the threat the Bhao fixed his camp and headquarters at Panipat in October 1760, which proved to be a tactical error. By January the Maratha army and its supporters were suffering famine under siege conditions, and they were obliged to start the offensive. Ahmad Shah's victory was decisive and the slaughter enormous.

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