Nana Farnavis - Encyclopedia

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NANA' 'FARNAVIS (1741-1800), the great Mahratta minister at Poona at the end of the 18th century. His real name was Balaji Janardhan Bhanu; but, like many other Mahrattas, he was always known by a kind of nickname. Nana properly means a maternal grandfather; Farnavis is the official title of the finance minister, derived from fard = an account and navis = a writer. He was born at Satara on the 4th of May 1741, and was the son of a Chitpavan Brahman, of the same class as the Peshwa, who held the hereditary office of Farnavis. He escaped from the fatal battle of Panipat in 1761; and from about 1774 was the leading personage in directing the affairs of the Mahratta confederacy, though never a soldier. This was the period when Peshwas rapidly succeeded one another, and there was more than one disputed succession. It was the policy of Nana Farnavis to hold together the confederacy against both internal dissensions and the growing power of the British. He died at Poona on the 13th of March 1800, just before the Peshwa placed himself in the han of the British and thus broke up the Mahratta confederacy. In an extant letter to the Peshwa, the Marquess Wellesley thus describes him: "The able minister of your state, whose upright principles and honourable views and whose zeal for the welfare and prosperity both of the dominions of his own immediate superiors and of other powers were so justly celebrated." See Captain A. Macdonald, Memoir of Nana Furnuwees (Bombay, 1851).

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