कै. शरद जोशी:
Kevin Birmingham, July 2014:
T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यंबक शंकर शेजवलकर) says in his classic Panipat 1761 (पानिपत १७६१): “Ahmad Shah Abdali probably had a disease like syphilis and so too was the case of Najib khan”.
Shejwalkar also speculates that some chieftains from Maharashtra (most names he quotes are Brahmins) too might have suffered from the disease. Those bigwigs married multiple times and also kept mistresses. One reason, he argues, they married very young girls late in their life because it was believed an intercourse with such a girl would rid them of the disease. The other possible reason was hypothesized increase in virility that came after mating with such a girl.
It is worth noting that all these Marathi bridegrooms left behind very young widows.
Even today that belief exists in parts of India: “… having sex with a ''fresh'' girl can cure syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases, including the virus that causes AIDS.” (The New York Times May 11, 1998)
उपदंश (Syphilis) या ब्लॉग वर यापूर्वी दोनदा आला आहे: मे १५, २००८ आणि जानेवारी ३० २०१४. उपदंशाने खूप इतिहास घडवला आहे. पण तरी हे वाचून धक्का बसला की जगातले सगळ्यात प्रसिद्ध स्मितहास्य उपदंशाने जन्माला घातले आहे!
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, February 6 2017:
"...When Del Giocondo posed for Leonardo in 1503, syphilis was shaking Europe to its core. Some said this new disease had been brought from the new world by Columbus’s sailors in 1492. It spread like wildfire. Could there be hint of it in Leonardo’s most famous painting? The Mona Lisa is shown in front of a hilly landscape through which a road snakes towards distant water and mountains. Perhaps the far-off mountains across wide, blue water represent the new world – the source of the Mona Lisa’s secret...
...If the Mona Lisa is a portrait of someone with a sexually transmitted disease, these hints of death and illness suddenly make sense. As for her half-smile, it becomes a wry acknowledgement that sex can make you sick...
...Freud would surely think it interesting that the model of the Mona Lisa may have had syphilis. Of course, he made a lot of mistakes in his book about Leonardo. This is probably a red herring, too. However, there is surely something unhealthy about the obsessive allure that draws so many people to admire this beauty behind her screen of glass. Whatever the true meaning of the Mona Lisa, it is a slightly decadent masterpiece. Fin de siècle fantasies of syphilis-spreading vampires don’t seem so wide of the mark."