Shrimant Subadar Tukoji Rao I Holkar IV Bahadur belonged to the Holkar clan of the Marathas. He was the feudatory of Indore(r. 1795–1797).
Tukoji Rao was the adopted son of the Malhar Rao Holkar. He was the second son of Shrimant Tanuji Holkar, a nephew of Malhar Rao Holkar. So, he was also the grand-nephew of Malhar Rao Holkar.
Life of Tukoji Rao Holkar
After the death of Ahilyabai Holkar, Tukojirao was the only suitable person who could protect the glory of the Holkar Kingdom intact. He became the fourth ruler of the kingdom for a short period of two years (from 1795 to 1797). Tukojirao Holkar was the reason behind all the conquering during the regime of Devi Ahilyabai.
During the time of crisis, he received the responsibility of the Holkar kingdom. Shreemant Khanderao, the husband of Ahilyabai Holkar, already lost his life in the war of Khumbher of 1754.
Appreciation by Malhar Rao Holkar
Shreemant Tukojirao Holkar was the most trustworthy commander-in-chief of Shreemant Malharrao Holkar. When Malhar Rao was on his death bed, his appreciation of Tukoji increased his loyalty to the royal house of Holkars. Malhar Rao said, “You are the only one who can uphold my name and protect Prince Male Rao Holkar (grandson of Malharrao) after my death”.
Loyalty towards Ahilyabai Holkar
Unfortunately, Malerao also had a very short life span. He died on 13 March 1767 due to sickness. At this time, it was Tukojirao who has submitted himself to the service of Devi Ahilyabai and she could face the challenges she had in the service of her people of Malwa. Ahilyabai also respected him as her brother-in-law as Tukojirao was the adopted son of Shreemant Malhar Rao Holkar I.
The remarkable and reliable services rendered by Tukoji Rao Holkar I during the reign of Malhar Rao Holkar I as a Commander in his army and during Ahilyabai Holkar as a Commander-in-Chief could gather much recognition to his extraordinary talents in administration and as a Chief of the armed forces.
He never forgot for a moment his original sense of commitment to the royal house of Holkars. He was more than obedient, he was dutiful, and all his actions were directed to please and satisfy the royal chair to which he was solely indebted for his high station.
Tukoji Rao Holkar as Commander-in-Chief
The people of Malwa felt secure in the hands of Tukojirao Holkar I and the territories including the Holkar State continued to be rich for nearly two years after the death of Ahilya Bai.
One of his famous conquests was the Battle of Lahore, Attock, and Peshawar in which he commanded many of the Maratha forces in the Punjab region and the frontier regions of Attock and Peshawar.
Tukoji Rao died on 15 August 1797. He left behind him “the character of a good soldier, a plain, unaffected man and one whose courage was superior to his craft. The records show that during his lifetime he never used a seal of his own, and always been remained loyal to Shri Malhar Rao and his family until his last breath.”