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