Patwant Singh Quotes
“After Shivaji's death in 1680, and with the investiture of his grandson Shahu in 1708, a far-sighted Brahmin, Balaji Visvanath, emerged as his principal adviser. Impressed by his qualities of statesmanship, Shahu conferred the title of Peshwa or Prime Minister on him. Balaji not only restored the rule of law which had been in disarray since Shivaji's death but succeeded in getting the Mughal ruler in Delhi to recognize his master as the independent ruler of his grandfather Shivaji's territories. Some regard Balaji as the second founder of the Maratha Empire. After Balaji's death in 1720, a grateful Shahu – despite the resentment of Maratha nobles against growing Brahmin ascendancy – invested Balaji's son, Baji Rao, as the Peshwa. Even more ambitious and far-sighted than his father, Baji Rao decided to point the Marathas north, to the very seat of the Mughals. Their victories and territorial acquisitions shook the Mughal Empire to its foundations and when Baji Rao died in 1740, his son Balaji Baji Rao was also made Peshwa by Shahu. After Shahu's death nine years later, Balaji Baji Rao staged the ultimate coup d' état by seizing all powers himself. This was a departure from the Brahminical élite's preference for the number two position in the power hierarchy, not only because of the influence, status and wealth it brought, but, more importantly, because it enabled a versatile man, well-versed in statecraft, to exercise power without the danger or ridicule the top position attracts. Moreover, the top man is accountable for all his actions, which the man behind the throne is not.”
- Born: New Delhi, India.
- Description: Patwant Singh was a writer, publisher, political commentator, conservationist and philanthropist. In 1952, he settled in Bombay to start a magazine publishing firm.