Chimaji Appa, Baji Rao Peshwa’s younger brother, is a figure from Indian history that is rarely seen. He was only thirty-four years old when he died. He spent most of his life in the shadow of his famous brother, yet his career is distinguished by incidents that put the legendary Baji Rao in the shade. Baji Rao was named Peshwa or Prime Minister by the Maratha king Shahu, with the title ‘Pandit Pradhan’, while Chimaji was given the title ‘Pandit’.
Chimaji Appa led an Army into Malwa in 1729, the vital suba that connected North India with the Deccan. Near Amjhera, he used an unusual strategy to fight Mughal subedar Giridhar and his brother Daya Bahadur. Both brothers were killed in a brutal face-to-face confrontation. Chimaji then travelled to Ujjain, where he laid a siege around the city before returning to Pune through Gujarat. Meanwhile, Baji Rao marched to Bundelkhand, defeating and chasing away Muhammad Khan Bangash. The brothers’ double strike effectively drew Malwa and Bundelkhand into the Maratha fold. Baji Rao and Chimaji became the de facto rulers of Gujarat the following year.
Between 1728 and 1730, the Indian situation shifted dramatically. The Marathas seized control of most of Central India. Bajio Rao and the Chimaji Appa were determined to the core on achieving their long-held dream of dominating the Konkan. Siddis and the Portuguese were the two major players in Konkan. Baji Rao’s first excursion took the whole Konkan from the Siddi in 1732, with the exception of the island of Janjira and a few forts further South. Sekhoji Angre, the son of Kanhoji Angre, assisted him from the sea. In 1736, Chimaji Appa spotted an opening and attacked, killing Siddi Sat. This fight cost Siddis 1300 troops. Following the Siddis, the Marathas turned their attention to the region's second power, the Portuguese.
Conde de Sandomil, Viceroy of Goa, was an intolerant man who began tormenting Hindus as soon as the Bombay Treaty was signed. He dismissed Peshwa’s aide’s appeal and instead insulted the Peshwa, describing him as a “black”. Chimaji Appa, Peshwa’s devoted brother, was adamant that the Portuguese must be beaten and expelled from Sashthi Island
On the bastions of their forts, they had a powerful cannon and mounted guns. They were constructing a large fort at Thane, which spanned the narrowest point of a waterway that separates the mainland from Sashti’s island. This fort was situated in a strategic location. Chimaji Appa arrived in the Konkan in March 1737 and dispatched a small force of Maratha troops to land near the unfinished fort and occupy it. The fort at Vasai was the target of the second Maratha attack. The fort was surrounded on three sides by water and had well-fortified walls and towers. The Portuguese garrison was well-equipped.
Conde de Sandomil, Viceroy of Goa, was an intolerant man who began tormenting Hindus as soon as the Bombay Treaty was signed. He dismissed Peshwa’s aide’s appeal and instead insulted the Peshwa, describing him as a “black.” Chimaji Appa, Peshwa’s devoted brother, was adamant that the Portuguese must be beaten and expelled from Sashthi Island. 1739 was the year. The Marathas were ready to fight the Portuguese. Chimaji Appa, who had already demonstrated his mettle in wars against the Nizam and in North India alongside Peshwa Baji Rao, was in charge of this hazardous operation. The Vasai Fort contained twelve bastions, the most notable of which was San Sebastian, which had two entrances. Chimaji Appa and Peshwa hatched a plan to encircle Vasai by launching a maritime attack. From Thane, Daman, and Goa, Malharrao Holkar, Ranoji Shinde, and Vyankatrao Joshi assaulted, completely cutting off the Portuguese’s progress. The Marathas took control of the adjacent forts around Vasai one by one, as well as the forts on Sashthi Island. The Marathas beat the Portuguese at Vasai in 1738-39 under the command of Chimaji. The forts of Bandra, Versova, Thane, and Tarapur were easily conquered. The Portuguese raised the white surrender flag on May 4, 1739. Chimaji was gracious. Vasai’s victory was a dharamyudh. It was also the first time an Asian power had vanquished a European one in a battle in millennia. As a result, Chimaji Appa’s victory was hailed as a major victory. ‘The Lord’s sudarshan smacked the skull of the extremists who harbour religious ill will, and they were flung down,’ Chimaji stated in his letter to Brahmendra.
Following his triumph at Vasai, Chimaji Appa built the exquisite Vajreshwari Temple in her honour. The famous temples of Bhimashankar, Menavali, Omkareshwar, and Ramlinga in Shirur currently have large bells acquired from Vasai. Chimaji Appa is sometimes referred to as Baji Rao’s Laxman. He dedicated himself totally to his brother’s well-being and fought for the State without regard for personal gain. Chimaji assisted Nanasaheb in taking his initial steps as the next Peshwa after Baji Rao died abruptly in April 1740. However, due to illness, he was forced to return to Pune from a campaign in the North in November 1740. On December 17, 1740, he died, leaving his son Sadashiv Rao Bhau to shoulder his father’s burdens for the following two decades of the eighteenth century.