Saturday, July 4, 2009

#21. Sequel to the History of a Linguistic Minority

The History of a Linguistic Minority (SEQUEL to #19).

This is a natural sequel to my earlier monograph. However, this write-up is at a more personal level, and is the story of a few families. Business houses come and go. Thre are very few business families who could retain their wealth after a few generations. Similarly these migrated families also had their ups and downs. Some were rich by the sheer dint of labour, intelligence and application, some by chance, by gifts from wealthier men and familes, and some by dubious means like association with the Pindaris. Many could not have goddess Lakshmi with them for more than a few generations. Some were wastrels or spendthrift, and some lost it by sinking of ships and economic depression.

2. One wealthy family of Ghazipur (not related to us) had sugar business. He was known as Sugar King. He once sent two shiploads of sugar to England. Both the ships were either lost in storm , or taken over btes, and they just disappeared on the high seas. Poor man died bankrupt and heart-broken. His son owned the local power house which a few years after independence was taken over by the government. He had a large ancestral house in the downtown area, with a huge red gate so that the market was known as Lal Darwaza. The mansion was minimally maintained.

3. The mention about the power house above reminds me of my first posting as SDO at a place called Jashpurnagar (now in Chhattisgarh). God knows why ‘pur’ and ‘nagar’ both are added to the name of the town! In such cases you have to remember the Great Bard who said ‘what’s there in a name’. On an altitude of about 2500’, and therefore a mild climate. A tribal belt, with a lot to do for a civil servant, but if one wanted to take things easy, that was also possible. Anyway, it had a power house which was owned by the local ex-ruler, and during my time, the electric line of State Electricity Board could be extended to the town. Yes, the earlier power house was nothing more than a medium sized diesel generator which ran from 6 pm to 11 pm. After that one had to depend on the old dependable hurricane. I was a regular user of hurricane lantern. I was a bachelor then, and fond of reading. Now I cannot read without the help of a bright light or table lamp.

4. To come back to the stories. One Tukoji Pant was bequeathed a jagir at Bhandara by the Peshwa for showing great valour during the battle with Tipu Sultan. Thus he was a minor Sardar. His son was Kashinath Rao. It seems that for the Third Battle of Panipat, all 84 Sardars were asked by the Peshwa to go to the battle. In the battle 36 Sardars laid down their lives, and 18 decided not to return to their homeland out of shame and embarrassment. They felt dishonoured with their names tarnished. They dispersed to various places in the North: Pants of Rajawali went to Almora. Govind Vallabh Pant was a scion of that family. Vinchuks went to Kashipur, Aptes to Faizabad, Newalkars to Jhansi, Prabhune to Bithur etc. Kashinath went to Kashi (Varanasi), threw his sward and other weapons in the river (Ganga). He was about to throw his Rajmudra (Ring) as well, but a Brahman who was performing his sandhya saw his action, and chided him not to throw away the ring as it was the state property. He said that let the Brahmans decide where it would be kept in safe custody. It was decided later by a group of Brahmans that the ring would be kept in the custody of Pt. Waman Rao Shastri till Kashinath took it back to Bhandara. Kashinath was financed by Waman Rao for opening his hundi business which thrived. Kashinath was 32 years of age when he came to Varanasi. Three years after WamanRao died. The vidwat samaj asked Kashinath to marry his daughter. The marriage was performed and the mudra was brought back by the bride Manorama. The family tree as told to me by Prahlad Rao who also told me this story was: Kashinath- Vishwanath- Venkatesh Rao- Madhavji- Narayanji- Bhalchadra-Kashinath-Prahladrao who has two sons Anand and Saurabh. Anand has a son now named Kartik. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the story, but PRB may not be all incorrect, leave aside some embellishments.

5. One brother of Vishwanath, Shivanji did some embezzlement and he was banished from Varanasi and sent to Ghazipur. He was given some settlement. He had two sons Gopal Lal and Lalgopal Lal. Gopalji’s son Lallu was my youngest uncle’s contemporary. Later Bhalchandra had a younger brother Sakharam. During the earthquake of circa 1870, their mother fell off from the fourth floor in the courtyard about 40' below and died. Sakharam got stuck between two stones, and was later sent to Calcutta (now Kolkata) for wet nursing. He grew up there, and was the more dominant of the two brothers. He started the business of coalfields and shipping and incurred huge losses. Bhalchandra, as the story goes, went to his father (Narayanji) during the initial days when the business was started and expressed his apprehensions. However, Narayanji’s reply was that Lakshmi stays in a family for seven generations, after which she goes elsewhere; the cycle for his family was over and he could not do much. Bhalchadra got disgusted and joined Shaw Wallace as a Purchase Officer ( He had studied upto Intermediate). Prahlad told me that when he was born his was a typical low middle class family, with all the property gone. As for Narayanji and Sakharam, the house was sold on the order of Court of Wards. Narayanji could not bear the shock, and died six days after the house was sold. Before his death he admitted that had he got the partition done, at least all that would not have happened.

6. In Biharsharif, there were four zamindar families. Yogu was our contemporary, who died very recently. He was alone in the house, with his very old invalid mother who even now is counting her last days. In the night he slipped badly in bathroom, was unconscious, wounded his skull, and by the time help could arrive in the morning he was already dead. Death comes to you in so many ways! Yogu’s great-grandfather Nandram was a low graduate, and he was working with a barrister in Calcutta. There he came in contact with Suchantis, the Jain Seths of Pawapuri. Pawapuri has an important Jain shrine which had 700 villages donated by the disciples. The affairs of these villages were in complete mess. Nandram worked on it and divided the lot into 32 trusts and got them registered. For this work he was gifted 11 villages and became a mid-sized zamindar.He had two daughters: Kesar and Kasturi. Kesar was married to Jitendraji who was a court writer at Allahabad High Court. His son was an Advocate and later became a deputy Advocate General. One of his sons became a Judge in Allahabad high court. I remember an interesting episode. My uncle wanted his daughter to be married to the eldest grandson of Jitendraji. At that time his son was also a widower. Jitendraji’s reply was that his first priority was the marriage of his son and only after that he would think of his grandsons. My cousin was a pretty girl and she did not have any difficulty in getting another match. The other daughter Kasturi was married to Lakshmikant, a meek hen-pecked husband. Kasturi was maniacal about cleanliness. I have observed that cleanliness is a fetish. Some are fussy about personal hygiene, some about their surroundings, and some are about clothes. Well, this lady had a fetish about fecal dirtiness. She used to carry a bucket of water to the loo, and when she came out of that, used to sprinkle the ground ahead of her with whatever water was left. Naturally the clothes she wore to the loo were discarded for washing. This practice was quite prevalent among several Brahman families up to the generation just above me. The reason probably has to be found in the filth of the dry latrine which people had at their home at that time. And if somebody had upset stomach in the family, you had it.

7. My grandmother used to cook food for herself and the family during the dayafter takeing bath and wearing a silk sri which I don’t know for how many years she had been using. It ad faded and had become a dirty brown colour after after years of washing daily and then tolerating heat and smoke. Yes, nobody was allowed inside the kitchen when shen was coking. In retrospect, it wass a very hygiening practice. My grandmother had been a widow for such a long time that all her good colourful saris might have been taken away by her daughters and other relations. In any case as a widow she was not allowerd to wear brightly coloured sarees She always wore white, and and she found male dhotis to be most comfortable and light to her body. I remember her to be a shortish fair lady, with a sharp nose, and beautiful clear eyes, but she looke much older that her age between 65 and 70 years. She couldn’t have been more that 50 kg, but had clear, baritone voice. I remember one of my classmates was sitting wih me in the outer room which we called baithaka. At that time Dadi wass talking to someone in the family and my friend was surprised to hear such clear voice form a frail old lady. With four grown-up sons who were all eaarnign,though not substantial, she did not have a bad life. She came from the Upasni family of Chunar. After the untimely death of my elder Kaki Usha (of small pox) her small daughter was raisesd by her, and when I was studying at Ghazipur staying with my uncles, I also got the same affection from hef, though the plave of my cousin Ruby was very special in her heart.

8. The other group at Biharsharif were the Pathaks who had the zamindari of about 12 villages. Post-mutiny there were four brothers. One of them Keshavdeo Pathak was a Hindi and Sanskrit scholar, and wrote an authoritative Hindi grammar book. Another brother Manmohan Pathak (=Bhatt) moved to Calcutta where he got enrolled in the Presidency College. He haad mastered English, Hindi, Persian, Urdu and Bangla. Pathaks were from Baglan tehsil in Nashik and they spoke Ahirani. Manmohan Pathak has sort of rags to riches story. Once the Ruler of Burdwan Lakshmipati Singh Bahadur was going from Kulti to Diamond Harbour, and was camping somewhere in between. Here he got a letter from an English officer. He did not know English, and sent his men to find a man who could read the letter to him. One landed on Manmohan Pathak and wanted to know whether he could read out a letter in English meant for the Ruler. Pathak said yes, but he could come only after he completes his sandhya puja. After some time he presented himself to the Raja who had become fairly impatient by now. Pathak explained the letter to him and on his request drafted a reply for the Englishman. The Raja was suitably impressed, and he made Pathak Wazir-e-Khas of Burdwan His son Gadadhar worked with Barrister P.R.Das. The King of Burdwan gave Manmohan zamindari of 17-18 villages which was about 3000 acres of land. Gadadhar Bhatt was childless, and after much puja and anushthan he got a son at the age of 58 (Aniruddh Bhatt). Gadadhar died when Aniruddh was 14-15 years of age. There were now 7-8 villages left after clearing the land revenue etc. Aniruddh and the sons of a lady who used to look after Gadadhar's household started the business of coal and cement, and made their money during the Second World War. He earned a lot of mney from a number of brick kilns that he ran. During the famous Bengal famine, Aniruddh donated 200 bags of cereals to the government and duly earned a lot of praise from the British. This story about Manohan does look like a fairy tale, but such things do happen, though not to everybody.

9. the Upasnis of Biharsharif had a big zamindari. Jaidev Upasni was a wastrel and exhausted all his money. The daughter of my grandfather’s cousin (Sadhram) was married to the younger brother of Jaidev (Kewalram). The story goes that Kewalram got interested in Pari siddhi( winning a fairy, that is, a beautiful lady) and was in the grip of a Muslim mentor which so disgusted the family that Sarla’s brother Baleshwar who was a law graduate working as Sub-Registrar got the property partitioned, and extracted Rs, 1.25 lakh form Jaidev for Sarla and Kewalram’s two children Sadashiv and Sushma. Baleshwar then admitted the two in the Ewing Christian College, Allahabad and also admitted them in the hostel. Sarla started staying with his father at Ghazipur where they had a house with a huge compound almost adjacent to our house.

10. My grandfather died when he was in his thirties. During his lifetime he got children every two years with clockwork regularity. During his lifetime he had three daughters and three sons. In addition, one son had died in infancy of plague. Even after his death the clock did not stop, and my youngest uncle was born posthumously. Their uncle was working as Chief Boiler Inspector of UP and he supported the family for umpteen number of years. But as it happens with large families with hardly any source of income except a number of houses in Ghazipur which fetched a paltry sum of rent, they largely fended for themselves. My father and elder uncle dropped out after high school. The second uncle failed in class VII, and after that never went back to school . There were people who advised him that he should follow the footsteps of his grandfather and become a vaidya He did start learning ayurved, I have seen his handwritten notes on ayurved lying at home during my childhood days, but my uncle seems to have lost interest or heart midway. Maybe he did not have the intellectual capacity to absorb the details of ayurvedic science, Who knows? It never occurred to me to ask him or anybody else in the family as to why the tradition of my great-grandfather was not continued. My grandfather from what I have heard was a gentleman-at-large, and his father had left him enough property and money to last a lifetime. My father was sent to Calcutta for B.Sc., but it seems that the race tracks had more attraction for him than the text-books, and whatever money he got for college fees and pocket money etc was wasted on betting on this stallion or that filly. He stayed with his elder sister, the mother of Bachcha, cousin and good friend of mine. He and Prahlad are the main sources on which this write-up is based. Probably if I go to Varanasi or Biharsharif, I would get somebody who could give me some more information. The trouble with the elders in my own family was that they were all reticent about themselves and their community.

10. During the early days of independence, my father did get some good government jobs, but later lack of a college degree always came in his way. Ultimately he got disgusted, and started farming some land which he and the brothers had purchased in Jharkhand , courtesy my maternal grandfather. Later he was killed by dacoits in the village. My eldeast uncle got trained in cloth cutting and tailoring and opened a shop in Ghazipur which he continued with for almost two decades. Later he got a chance in the Ordnance Clothing Factory at a middle level, and died in harness at the Military Hospital, Delhi. Here in spite of his widow getting family pension and my uncle leaving behind comfortable sum of money, two of the three sons could not do much The second son is a medical practitioner, and has opened his private hospital in Varanasi, being ably assisted in his work by his doctor wife. He has been helping his two brothers off and on whenever there is need.

11. My second uncle did odd business in quick succession. He sold the farmhouse so lovingly developed by Saligram, my great-grandfather, purchased a flour mill which did well for a few years, but then the profits dwindled, the machinery became old, and he never knew the idea of creating a depreciation fund. Ultimately, his wife did a teachers’ training course, and got a job in a government girls’ school from where she retired a few years back. In the meantime my uncle became bed-ridden and died after a few years. They had three sons and a daughter. Daughter is married, and the sons are earning their living.

12. My youngest uncle did his graduation for Varanasi, and then started a bank job at Calcutta hoping that he would save enough money to complete his PG. He lived with the same old sister in Calcutta, and after a year or so, came back to Ghazipur to get admitted for his M.Sc. degree. My second uncle was getting married, and he gave his hard-earned money for the marriage, hoping that it wold be treated as loan, and not gift, which did not happen. Ultimately he did complete his post-graduation when he was in his thirties. After some time he got selected for a Class II job in the Consolidation Dept. of UP Govt. In the meantime, an under-developed country of south-east Asia offered him a job in their topography dept. He spent more than a decade there, but later the local government decided to keep a local man on the sensitive post he was holding. He came back to India, got a job in JNU, completed his Ph.D. and retired a few years ago from a Reader-level post. He is the only surviving uncle, relatively healthy and a little whimsical.

12A. Our leaders who foght for our indipendence had a charisma by which they could easily attract the youth. In 1939 Subhas Bose made his separate party (Forward Bloc) and was touring different places to attract people to his party. He had come to Ghazipur and stayed with us for a short while, and had lunch there. This visit of Netaji hurt the chances of my father and elder uncle who were both recommended by the district Magistrate (DM) for King's Commission. Prior to that my father dabbled with some revolutionary groups, It seems that a revolver stolen from the DM's place was kept in our house. There was a search conducted, and my grandfather's cousin's widow had hidden the revolver in her sari and threw it in a well some distance. The police seems to have connive at it. Later another DM who was an Irish had recommended my father and uncle for King's Commission in spite of knowing it. My uncle says that being an Irish, he was a little symapathetic to the Indian independence movement.
Anyway, after the DM's recommendation, the CID sent a detailed report to the government about our association with Subhash, and later a regret letter had come which I had seen lying somewhere in the house.

13. Let us now come to a more interesting story. In the beginning I have mentioned Sadashiv and Sushma. Sadashiv was a colourful personality. He had a brilliant mind, a beautiful handwriting both in Hindi and English, and when he wanted wrote a flowery language in either. It is not known how his path got twisted. He believed in having a good life. Probably the same genes that dominated Jaidev became preponderant in him . He spent lavishly in his student life, he knew that his mother had enough money to support him, and he was the only son, pampered and spoilt. He could not complete his graduation. He had a way with ladies, and they fell for him right and left. He was of Napoleonic height, fair and pleasant looking, though he could not be called handsome. But had a kind of magnetism. He was mealy mouthed and very patient with the ladies who bared their soul to him. Ultimately his uncle Baleshwar put his foot down , got him admitted for a diploma in Mechanical Engineering at Gorakhpur, and started giving him the bare minimum allowance to cover his fees and living expenses. But he had a leeway. Intelligent as he was, he won a scholarship and could indulge in his activities, though on a much reduced scale. He got a job in the Irrigation Dept. of UP govt. You would think that the story would end there. No sir, much more water had to flow under the bridge, to twist a proverb. In the department he was involved in some unauthorised sale of departmental store. He was in hiding for a few years, got married to a very inconspicuous looking girl, and ultimately got caught when he was working in a unit in Calcutta. He was behind bars for more than a couple of years. After he was released, he was roaming around for some time, then got a job at Maduadih near Varanasi in an engineering unit and retired from there. His wife died, and he spent his last days with his adopted daughter at a small town in M.P. where he died. I saw him during that time. Old age had shrunk his bones and he looked shorter than before, below 5’. But otherwise healthy, and dressed well.

14. Here was a man who could achieve anything if he was serious in life. He could be an I.C.S., a renowned literateur, or a brilliant engineer. But he wasted his talent. Incidentally, all the stories above about our family points to the fact that for a child, you need the firm presence of father, who could bring them back on the right track if there was any deviation.

15. Sadashiv used to write short stories under the pen name Shanti Upasni, and at least some of them were published in magazines like ‘Manohar Kahaniyan’. I remember one story which he showed to me at manuscript stage. It was about a wealthy man gone bankrupt who allowed his pet falcon to eat his own flesh. He said that he had Jaidev in mind when he wrote that story. At that time I was hardly interested in Jaidev and was not aware of him and his exploits. At one time Sadashiv and my second uncle were very close, and lots of letters used to go to and fro. My uncle must be deriving vicarious pleasure from the various exploits and adventures of Sadashiv. They had nicknames for each other. Thus my uncle was Tenny and I forget the nickname of Sadashiv. When my father was working for army recruitment at Namkum (Near Ranchi) he had a pup which he called Tenny, I frankly don’t know why. Needless to say, my uncle was not amused. Years later at the dinner (or lunch) he casually mentioned how hurt and annoyed he felt. At Namkum, my uncle had come and stayed with us for sometime. I vaguely remeber him a thickset moustachioed man thoroughly rustic. I also remember that even during his later life in Varanasi, Mannu Kaka(Sadashiv) used 7o’clock razor blade only once. My uncle had told him not to throw them as he used to do earlier, an whenever he went to Varanasi, he used to bring 2-3 packs which were good enough for a few months. I remember one story which my second uncle told about himself. Once when he was in his late teens, he went to the court to be a witness in some land dispute case. The lawyer wanted him to say that he was 111 or 12 years of age. When in the court , the lawyer for the opposition asked for his age and upon his saying 11-12, he sarcastically asked: ‘And how about the moustache and the beard then.’ Pat came the reply from my uncle that it was Pitra paksh (the fortnight dedicated to your ancestors when you don’t shave your beard and moustache for the period). My uncle told that even the Judge had a hearty laugh at this reply.

16. There was another Sadashiv Upasni based at Varanasi. He was a good singer of Thumri, and whenever he went to his relations the girls requested him to sing, and he generally obliged them by reeling off 10-20 film songs. He used a thali (a metal plate used for taking food: it could be of brass or bronze, but now it is mostly of stainless steel) for percussion. He married a Bengali girl, was a junior officer in State Bank of India, and was in demand in his region for thumri. He sang for the radio as well. I remember once when I was a student at Allahabad University, he had come to the hostel in my absence, and left his Allahabad address where he was staying. I had gone to the chowk, and while returning I decided to drop in at his place which was not very far from my hostel. On the way back I had taken from a shop on hire a couple of Hindi pornographic books which were clandestinely available all over. There was a bulge in my trousers pocket. Sadashiv was curious to know what it was. I said books. He wanted to see them. I said they are on Economics, a fairly dry subject of which I was a student. He still wanted to see the books. I frankly did not know what to say. Ultimately I told him to let it go and I didn’t think it necessary to show the books, or something like that. Needless to say he was taken aback. I stayed for another 5-10 minutes and then went back. But all this introduction about Sadashiv is for his father Sanyasi Ramchandra Upasni.

17. Ramchandra did Acharya in Vedas, and taught Sanskrit in Queen’s College, Varanasi. He was married to the daughter of Rajaram Joshi of Chunar who has been mentioned elsewhere in the write-up. He was revered in several akhadas, and one Baba Parmarthgir of Anrohi akhada (Fyzabad district) held him in great regard. His first wife died and he married a second time from whom he got three sons and two daughters (Sadashiv was the youngest). At one time Acharya Ramchandra thought that he would be able to succeed Parmarthgir as Akhada Pramukh. He became a sanyasi. However, somehow his being married leaked, and he was denied the throne. There was protracted litigation in which Ramchandra was supported by his father-in-law Rajaram Joshi. The story goes that in the court Ramchadra was asked to take out his turban and show whether he had the choti (Tuft of hair at the back of skull). Well, he had, and the sanyasis do not have it. Ultimately Ramchandra lost the case.

18. The fourth family of Biharsharif was of Umanath Bhatt. He was a successful lawyer of his area. His brother A.C. Bhatt rose to be the General Manager of the Bank of Behar.

19. As for Chunar, Rajaram, Dayaram and Kriparam were brothers and being the eldest Rajaram was the karta and controlled the property. Rajaram had two sons Vijayram and Parashram. Vijairam fathered Usha my late aunt who died early of small pox, and Vishnu who is alive. He has also contributed to this monograph;

20. The other family of Chunar was of Vidyadhar Upasni. It is said that in 1890 he went to Hyderabad where he was given contract of some work of Nizam, and he came back in 1920-21 after earning about four lakh rupees. Vidyadhar had Ramkant, Radhakant and Lakshmikant (Mohan) as his sons. My grandmother was the daughter of Srikant Upasni, brother of Vidyadhar Upasni. Srikant Upasni was a railway contractor at Secunderabad, and later came to Chunar to settle down. He got established a College at Chunar where he became its founder-manager. He had only one daughter. My grandmother once told me that during his late teens my father had gone to his grandfather, and requested him to settle something in the name of his daughter, otherwise after his death legally all the property would go to his brother’s family. Srikant did not take any action immediately, but assured my father that he would do something. My father came back to Ghazipur, and after a few days ( or weeks) Srikant died and all his property went to his brother’s family. Remember the case of Vijaylaxmi Pandit?

21. Why have I done this exercise? I thought that it is time that somebody records it for the benefit of the posterity of this group, because after our generation dies, there would hardly be anybody who can remember these old stories. I admit that sometimes in details I have not been entirely frank and I have not shown some warts which I am sure would have hurt some people if I did. I don’t know whether I have done the correct thing or not, but I don’t want curses and abuses piled on me. I can also add that all the stories are based on hearsay. It is something like the Grandmother’s Tales meant for young children, but not that young! There could be some incidents which may not be fully true, or exaggerated. Well, whatever, this and the first part are a recorded account which was the aim. Any correction of suggestion are welcome. To repeat, I am grateful to Prahlad Rao Bhandari, Sushil Kumar Bhatt (Bachcha), Vishnu Joshi and Dr. Ashok Bhatt for their contribution.


Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

My wife read a few paras of this write-up and asked me laughingly:'what is the purpose of writing this? Whenever she adopts this tone, I immediately understand that she is going to pass some caustic comment though in a sugar coating. I kept mum, because in the end I have explained that the purpose of writing this to have a
record which would otherwise be lost after our generation goes.

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

I forgot to mention. My wife then asked me whether anybody in our group has been a reputed scientist or made a name in politics or civil service, or became a very successful businessman. My answer was no. And later I started wondering why it is so. I could not find an answer.

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

My friend Prahlad is annoyed that I have not been fair to his family. I quote:
"Dear Kumar
You made corrections.Naturally you are the script writer ,definitely you would like to have more weight towards your own near ones- I do'nt say baised but at some places you have narrated more descriptions & at some places you felt that time is precious & people may not like more details.
It requires prudent editing & more description; if ydo'nt write the " ...migrated rich maharashtrians of Gazipur & their associates....."
Even then your effort is praiseworthy-atleast you thought that in the techology culture some people will know something of their past.
If they know their heritage atleast they will have some ethical values & not count leading life on accontants formula.
I thank you for acknowledging my contribution in your work.
I was distressed. I told him that I will add whatever he feels strongly about. I am waiting for my reply.

Ashwani Bhatt said...

You have not mentioned anything about Subhash Chandra Bose which should be written.

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Ashwani, I have added comments on Subhas Bose now. Thanks for pointing out.

Dr. Amodini said...

Hi! Greetings on Anant Chaturdashi. I think your blog is the greatest find of this day for me. My humble suggestion is that you could publish a small booklet containing this genealogical tract, which is a fashion in the Chitpavan families of Pune, to which belonged the Peshwe. They call it the kulavruttant, to be shared with all their descendants in India and abroad. Dadiji chose to wear the 'male dhoti', obviously because that is the Maharashtrian 9-yard sari style, worn by Ahilyadevi Holkar as well as Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, if you have seen the paintings. Raja Ravi Varma of Kerala found this style best suited for his goddess paintings. In his most creative phase, he lived in Baroda under patronage of Maharaja Sayajirao III Gaekwad, also hailing from Satara. He was the grandfather of Maharani Gayatridevi of Jaipur. When you mention that the Brahmins felt disgraced at the end of the Battle of Panipat, and could not go back home, there is a deeper heartbreak behind the decision. This entire aspect has been pithily described by Vishwas Patil, IAS, in his moving account, Panipat, a celebrated Marathi book. The Peshwes were soft rulers, who chose to carry the entire kutumb kabila to battle! And when they lost the battle, all their beautiful women -- mothers, sisters, wives and daughters -- were seized and taken as war booty by the Afghans, borne back to Afghanistan. The major flower of valorous Maratha youth was cut down in this battle, and the women were also lost! This was the immense tragedy of those times that our society has not yet fully recovered from! But Patil's book is a real literary gem that you may enjoy reading in the original, given your earlier acquaitance with the language. You write beautifully on very interesting topics (I am a practicing astrologer, gardener and writer too), and here's wishing more power to your keyboard!

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Thank you Dr Amodini, for making such a detailed comment on my write-up. I will certainly get hold of Vishwas Patil's book, and let you know of my reaction on it. Carrying away beautiful maidens has unfortunately been the usual practice of the victor. Remember, when the Yadav clan was finished after infighting, Krishna entrusted his wives (and possibly the other widows as well)To Arjun to protect them and take them to settle down at Indraprastha. On the way when the entire group was resting some robbers came and forcefully took away a large number of ladies. Poor Arjun challenged them but unfortunately (obviously due to old age and emaciated stage) he could not even tie the string on his Gandiv, and the robbers took away the ladies.
There is a downfall to all the dynasties, and this happened to Marathas as well. One really feels sorry for them, but What I could learn, it was the faulty conduct of the battle by the Marathas.
I am sorry for such a late reply. I did not see your comments earlier.
About your suggestion for a booklet, I wonder whether I have enough written material at this stage. Probably I need something more. Let me see what can be done.
again thanks for your nice words. You could send me messsage on my email ID:
Best wishes,

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Dear Dr. Amodini: At long last I have got hold of Vishwas Patil's book. Bhartiya Jnanapeeth has come out with its Hindi translation, it seems to be equally good. I was searching for Patil's postal address so that I get the facts mentioned in 'Our Origins but I have not been successful as yet. I am told he is Director Culture in the State Govt.
Best wishes,