Saturday, September 12, 2015

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?

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