336 INDORE STATW
a time. Thus Malh‚r Rao, from being the son of a small peasant,
had become at sixty-seven the holder of vast territories stretching
from the Deccan to the Ganges. After the flight from P‚nipat, he
proceeded to establish and consolidate his power in his possessions.
Death, however, overtook him suddenly at ALAMPUR on May z, r766.
Malh‚r Rao was primarily a soldier, and in no way the equal of his
contemporary Mah‚dji Sindhia as a politician ; but his courage was
unsurpassed, and his disregard of money proverbial. He had one son,
Khande Rao, who was killed in 1754. Khande Rao's son, Male Rao,
was a boy of weak intellect. He was allowed to succeed, but soon
showed by his excesses that he was unfit to rule, and died a raving
madman in 1767. His mother, Ahaly‚ Bai, refused to adopt an heir
and personally assumed charge of the administration of the State.
The Peshw‚'s uncle, Raghuba, who was then in Central India, wished
to compel her to adopt ; but Mah‚dji Sindhia supported Ahaly‚ Bai,
and her position was at length recognized. She selected Tukoji Rao
Holkar, a member of the same clan but not related to the ruling family,
to bear titular honours and command her armies. He was a simple
soldier, and served Ahaly‚ Bai with unswerving; loyalty until her death.
The administration of Ahalya Bai is still looked upon in Central
India as that of a model ruler. Her toleration, justice, and careful
management of all the departments of the State were soon shown in
the increased prosperity of her dominions, and the peace which ruled
throughout her days. Her charities, which extended all over India,
and include buildings at Badrinath, Gaya, and R‚meswaram, are pro-
verbial. It was during her rule that the Holkar Darbar first employed
regular battalions under Chevalier Dudrenec, 'Boyd, and others.
On the death of Ahaly‚ Bai in 1795, Tukoji Rao succeeded.
Mahadji Sindhia had died in 1794, and Tukoji, now seventy years
of age, was looked up to as the leading Maratha chief. He followed
in the steps of Ahaly‚ Bai, and during his life the prosperity of the
State continued. Politically, he acted as a check on the youthful and
warlike Daulat Rao Sindhia, which went far to secure general tranquil-
lity; but he died in 1797, and confusion at once followed. Tukoji
Rao left two legitimate sons, Kdshi Rao and Malhar Rao ; and two
illegitimate sons, Jaswant Rao and Vithoji. Kashi .Rao was of weak
intellect, and Malhar Rao had attempted to be recognized by Tukoji
as successor. Failing to attain his desire, Malhar Rao threw himself
on the protection of N‚na Farnavis. Kashi Rao then appealed to
Daulat Rao Sindhia, who at once seized this opportunity of becoming
practically the manager of the Holkar estates, and Malhar Rao was
attacked and killed. From this disaster, Jaswant Rao and Vithoji
escaped. The former, after a fugitive life spent partly as a prisoner
at Nagpur and partly at Dh‚r, managed at length to raise a force