G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still Mastani’s Future is Bright?

I woke up on Sunday January 18, 2009 morning to read to my horror that Mastani’s (मस्तानी) samdhi/mausoleum/grave at Pabal (पाबळ) had been destroyed.

The tragic love tale of Mastani and Baji Rao-I (पहिला बाजीराव) is a great example of composite culture of India. Many have attempted to narrate it but no one has done it better than the late D G Godse (द ग गोडसे) who died seventeen years ago this month.

No doubt his Marathi book- truly a labour of love- “Mastani”, Popular Prakashan, 1989 contains a lot of speculation but it is because so little is mentioned about her in contemporary reliable sources.

We may never catch the vandals/ tomb-raiders who destroyed her final resting place in 2009 but Godse produces strong circumstantial evidence to name the 18th century people responsible for Mastani's persecution: Baji Rao-I's younger brother Chimajiappa (चिमाजीअप्पा) and their mother Radhabai (राधाबाई).

In a Marathi letter to me, appended here, Godse argues that Mastani was the victim of Brahmin-Stalinism of 18th century Maharashtra.

Godse describes Mastani’s samdhi so movingly in his book. I have enclosed the relevant page from the book here.

(Aside: Godse’s labour of love moved poet Sadanand Rege (सदानंद रेगे) so much that he wrote a poem on the subject of Godse’s visit to Pabal! Find it at the bottom of this post.)

If D G Godse were to be alive today, he would have felt devastated. He might have interpreted vandalism of her samadhi as a sign of her continued persecution almost 300 years after her death. I wonder if he would have still maintained optimism expressed in his line: "Still her future is bright!" ("तरीही तिचे भविष्य उज्वल आहे!").

(click on the pictures below to get much larger view of them.)



Mastani samadhi-Before vandalism and After

(courtesy: Godse's book and Pudhari(पुढारी), January 18 2009)



(Description of Mastani's Samadhi by D G Godse)



D G Godse's letter dated 1991 to me that has that immortal line "Still her future is bright!"


 The late Sadanand Rege's poem on D G Godse's love of Mastani

15 comments:

mangesh said...

Dear Aniruddha,
Thank you very much for your post. These comments should have appeared in any of dailes or weeklys such as Sadhana.Akhil Brahmin Sammelan may not pay any attention to this woman in histroy connected with 1st Bajirao I wish to translate this post and send to Sadhana if you permit me.
Mangesh

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Mangesh.

Please go ahead and send it to Sadhana.

Kusum Choppra said...

Hi Aniruddha,
i was fortunate to come across your blog reference to Mastani. this atack at Pabal is truly reprehensible and quite unmeaninful as well. have been doing research for a historical novel on Bajirao Mastani for decades now. can you possibly send me translation of the pages of Godse that you have quoted in the blog as well as picture of the Pabal 'grave' and the 'mosque' there. since you have studied Mastani as well, could we share some material and questions over these issues, if you would mail me at kusumchoppra@yahoo.com. how much evidence is there that this is truly Mastani's grave and that the 'mosque' in not the baradari which was commissioned by Baji Rao to commemorte the Vasant Utsav when they are beleived to have been married?

Kusum Choppra said...

Hi Aniruddha,
i was fortunate to come across your blog reference to Mastani. this atack at Pabal is truly reprehensible and quite unmeaninful as well. have been doing research for a historical novel on Bajirao Mastani for decades now. can you possibly send me translation of the pages of Godse that you have quoted in the blog as well as picture of the Pabal 'grave' and the 'mosque' there. since you have studied Mastani as well, could we share some material and questions over these issues, if you would mail me at kusumchoppra@yahoo.com. how much evidence is there that this is truly Mastani's grave and that the 'mosque' in not the baradari which was commissioned by Baji Rao to commemorte the Vasant Utsav when they are beleived to have been married?

Anonymous said...

hie..
m Prajakta Kulkarni from satara..doin 1st yr engineering..
mastani chi comm shodhat hote.. 1ch sapadali ..tyat sagala chukicha majkur lihila hota...saglyana jas watat tas ki ti bajirawachi natakshala hoti wagere..
tyanna mag mala sangav lagal te kas chukich lihil aahe ..mi pan godase yanch book nukatach wachal.
mich comm kadhawi asa v4 kela..n sirf karat hote..
teva tumcha blog wachala..so lihil mi..no other intention..
thnx,
prajakta..

Anonymous said...

Perfect!Great! This helped a bunch! I've read a few
rather confusing sites lately, this cleared up some confusion I had.

Priya said...

hi anirudha,
can i know more about mastani from you? i really love her story, increase my curiocity about her.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Priya.

If you read Marathi, read D G Godse's book "Mastani".

I don't know sources in other languages.

best

Sameer Goswami said...

Hi
I read your article. You know Mastani born and bought up in Bundelkhand. She is daughter of great kind Maharaja Chhatrasal. Her one Mahal is in Chhatarpur district. Its in Dhubela 15Km away from Chhatarpur town. One meseum is in Dhubela and beside this Mastani Mahal is there where she lived. yesterday i visited there but no one caring for mahal is getting ruin.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Sameer for the update.

We all know how much we care for the present let alone the past.

Thanks again

Sachin Chavan said...

अनिरुद्ध ,
तुझा ब्लोग वाचून खरेच आनद झाला. मी नुकतीच राऊ हि कादंबरी वाचली आणि मनात हाच विचार आला कि जर चिमाजी अप्पा, राधाबाई आणि इतर ब्राम्हण लोकांनी मनाचा जरा मोठेपणा दाखवला असता तर आपल्या मराठ्यांचा इतिहास काही वेगळाच असता ...... छत्रपती शिवराय देखील सोयरा बाईंच्या आणि त्यांच्या सहकार्य मुळे आपले dream आ सेतू हिमालय ते कन्याकुमारी पूर्ण करू शकले नाहीत आणि बाजीरावांनी जवळ जवळ पूर्णत्वास नेले असता आपल्या ह्या संकुचित भुमिके मुळे अपूर्ण राहिले.. धन्य ती मस्तानी जिने कधी हि झालेल्या सगळ्या त्रासाबद्दल ब्र शब्द काढला नाही आणि सगळेच भोगले..आणि बाजीरावान बद्दल काय बोलावे ......शब्द च अपुरे पडतात .. अजून देखील आम्ही मराठी लोक एकमेकांची तंगडी ओढण्या मध्ये धन्यता मानतो आणि म्हण्नोंच आपण मागे आहोत...ज्या दिवशी सगळे मराठे एकत्र येतील तो सुदिन म्हणावा लागेल... आणि ती शिवराय , संभाजी महाराज , बाजीराव आणि कितेक वीरांना खरी श्रद्धांजली ठरेल .....Sachin Chavan 9922971815

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Thanks Sachin for your appreciation and other comments

Kusum Choppra said...

hi all,
good news for mastani fans:
my historicla nove, titled MASTANI has hit the book stands and flipkart. first novel in india with two endings, one the traditional myth and another that fills in all the loopholesleft by those myths. promise you it will turn the mastani story around totally. do pick it up and read it and talk about it. time we all looked at our history thru more relaistic prisms, isn't it?

kusum choppra

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Congrats Ms. Choppra.

I wish your book a great success.

best

nikhil vishe said...

mi aatach kahi divsanpurvi "Rau" vachle bajirao peshwanchi dusri bayko mhanjech "Mastani" tichasarkhi shur ani dhadsi sri mi ajparyant pahili nahi hats off to her! Tine je sahan kel tyabaddal ti kadhihi kahihi bolli nahi Dhanya ahe ti Matani ani te Bajirao Peshwe.....Hats off to both of them..