What were the causes and consequences of Third battle of Panipat?
Ans: The question of sovereignty over Punjab and its capture and loss alternatively and repeatedly by the Marathas and Abdali during the period 1752-60 became the immediate cause of the battle of Panipat. Sadashiv Rao Bhau, the commander of the Marathas, reached Delhi in 1760 and sought the support of different rulers of the North on the plea of turning out the Afghan foreign invader, Abdali. But he failed in his diplomacy and even lost the support of Suraj Mal Jat, the Raja of Bharatpur.
On the one hand, Abdali’s capable commandership and successful diplomacy, his superior fighting tactics and arms and, on the other, the failure of the Marathas to maintain their supplies and communication lines intact and Bhau’s failure as a diplomat were primary causes of the defeat of the Marathas. Contradictory opinions have been put forth by historians regarding the results of the battle.
Sardesai maintains that it led to no significant loss to Marathas except manpower while Dr. Sarkar says that it reduced the power and prestige of the Peshwa, led to the creation of confederacy of rival Maratha chiefs and made way for the capture of Bengal and Mysore by the English and Haider Ali respectively.