Madhavrao Peshwa is considered to be one of the greatest Peshwas as he contributed to the resurrection of the Maratha empire after the reversal at Panipat. In his brief reign from 1761 to 1772, he resolutely fought and defeated opponents like Hyder Ali and consolidated Maratha rule in South India.
Madhavrao was the second son of Nanasaheb Peshwa and Gopikabai, born in 1745. He was the grandson of Peshwa Baji Rao I. Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao received the news of the terrible disaster of the loss at the Third Battle of Panipat on January 24. He retreated to Poona, where he died on June 23. Raghunath Rao, the eldest surviving member of the Peshwa family and the leader of the great Punjab expedition of 1758, was the natural pilot of theMaratha State in this unprecedented crisis. Madhav Rao. the second son of Balaji BajI Rao, was placed on the Peshwa’s gadi in his seventeenth year; Raghunath became Regent and the de facto ruler of the State. [ref]
Between 1763 and 1768, Madhavrao led three expeditions to the Carnatic and on each occasion brought Haider Ali to submission; obtaining a tribute of thirty lakh rupees and territory. Another expedition in 1769 took the Marathas to the deep south. The Maratha army defeated Hyder Ali and his young son Tipu at the battle of Moti Talao, and obtained a hefty indemnity from them. The father and son had to escape disguised from the battlefield to the fort of Srirangapatnam. [ref]
Shri Kashi and Prayag, it was the teerthrup's desire to have these in our control. The days have come when this will be possible.
- Madhavrao's Will
Madhav Rao grew seriously ill in 1772. In the November of 1772, after dictating a nine-point Will to his confidante Nana Phadnis, he passed away in the temple of Chintamani Ganesh at Theur, near Pune at a young age of 28. Narayanrao, the younger brother of Madhavrao, was appointed the next Peshwa at a young age of 18 years. [ref]