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!"

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."

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!"