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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

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!)

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!"

14 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