Saturday, September 19, 2015

My Mastani take vindicated

Finally the truth of Mastani is coming out, thanks to painstaking research which took more than two decades of scratching patiently for the tiniest of clues. yes, it took me more than two decades to get behind the actual story of Baji Rao and Mastani's lives and deaths, wiping away the falsehoods that had been attached to both of them - in their persona and the deaths. it has given me tremendous satisfaction to see this speaking tree clip that affirms the truth, rather than perpetuating false myths.

Sept 9, 2015, carried a video story of Peshwa Bajirao I in which 6 of the 12 clips reaffirmed my blasting of the myths surrounding Bajirao and Mastani, including their lives and deaths --quoting from my book Mastani a Rupa publication of 2012.

Hard on the heels of that came endorsements from Manjula Tekal, a US based scholar of maratha history and Dr. Usha Ram a Pune based scholar

"An able warrior and administrator, Mastani was done great disservice by being
edited out of the legitimate Maratha history, to be relegated to a ‘muslim dancing
girl status’ who won consistent mention.
“Mastani” is a revelation of the facts regarding the real Mastani...
As often happens with historical events and facts, Mastani’s life & times were
veiled by political writers for political purposes.
Ms Choppra rent the veil, delving into several undeclared records to reach the
truth about Baji Rao's Mastani...
In Maharashtra, 'Mastani” is talked about, popularly, for her beauty which  was,
perhaps  on account of her fair skin than beauty in features and looks!
Her role in her husband's life , in his administration had been ignored.
My perception of her is that she must have been a good administrator,
assisting him as long as long as was possible.....
Records may need to be re-evaluated and substantiated to reveal
'Mastani’: the Lady behind Peshwa Bajirao I: a strong, able, determined

administrator than his reported keep…."

Last but not least, a  three page spread titled The Mastani Mystery in various editions of the TOI's Mirror editions in which yours truly was quoted as 'biographer of Mastani' , endorsing the stands I took on the basis of long research and an emotional connect with Mastani and her tragedy.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Potel Land?

Nagaland,  Bodoland, Khalistan. Eelam and now Potelland ….every time such movements aimed at tearing India apart do not come from mere hot figure heads, like Hardik Patel.
They are largely funded by those who fled, rather than cope with the problems of the Motherland – who now look back and see India is progressing and carrying her past and present with her into the future.   They rage and curse their decision and then find ways of funding movements to pull India back from the path of progress.
Hence the unedifying spectacle of the Patels who spearheaded the demand to do away with reservations -- for those who had suffered centuries of neglect --- now demanding reservations for themselves.  
Those who have almost taken over the motel trade in the US are now demanding reservations in India, threatening to march to the UN, in their BMWs and Toyotas perhaps, and refuse to pay taxes. 
Even a call to withdraw money from banks. When did Patels keep the bulk of their cash in banks?

For what? A few extra medical or engineering seats that  are reserved and taken by students who score just a couple of percentage points less than the general category students these days!!
Were the authorities foolish enough to give in to the Patel demands,  how many of the Patel newly minted medicos would actually go to serve out their six months internship in rural  areas.    They do sign bonds to do so, but how many pay up front to skip the rural stint?

Who then will serve in the villages?  Who will make the difference in that arena?  Potels?

Mastani Vindicated

Today I am on top of the world. My belief in Mastani and her dignity and respect, in my interpretation of the lives and times of Peshwa Baji Rao I and his second wife Mastani have found affirmation, not only in the lives of their descendants eight generations down after the publication of my book Mastani (Rupa) but also in this video on dated sept 9 2015.

Of the 12 clips in the video, 6 are reaffirmations of my findings and some direct quotes from my book that had declared that Mastani died before Baji Rao did, not after him!!
The video  acknowledges Mastani as the lawfully wedded wife of Baji Rao;
=  that she died before him as I indicated in my second ending;
=  that Baji Rao died not of a heat stroke but from the effects of drastic alcohol withdrawal – turning cold turkey;  
= that Bajirao had left shanivar wada over the janau issue of Shamsher Bahadur aka Krishnaswami who was his and Mastani's son;
 = and that Mastani was a daughter of Maharaj Chhatrasaal.

Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat widely known as Baji Rao I, was the eldest son of Balaji Vishwanath and Radhabai. He served as the Prime Minister (Peshwa) to the fourth...


Manjula Tekal  is a US based scholar of Maratha history.  Praise from her is truly memorable praise indeed for a historical novelist.

The real story of Mastani has been veiled by history for a long time – her name expunged from the Peshwa bakhars, her legacy manipulated, her name compromised. She needs to take her rightful place in history. Her descendants need that closure. They deserve it. We are her descendants.
The Baji Mastani story was not just a love story, it was an epic that had very serious implications on the Bhat household, on the eventual succession of the Peshwas and the 1857 War of Independence. All this has been seriously compromised by this studied silence about her. 
Kusum Choppra has done a great job researching a topic that is not found much in primary source material. She has stitched together a tale that holds true to history. It is admirable in an age when authors falsify historical facts in the name of writing historical fiction. Fascinated for years by the secrecy behind her life and death, author Kusum Choppra unravels the mysteries surrounding the deaths of both Peshwa Baji Rao I and his second wife. 
The novel explores Mastani’s royal lineage and the elegance of a warrior princess caught in the political web of a changing empire. 
There is a real danger that the Mastani movie will just be a glittery love story and trivialize again her memory. We need to know how that story is being told. Don’t you think?