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Full text of "The Tale Of The Tulasi Plant And Other Stories"












1916 



TO 
MY MANY INDIAN FRIENDS IN 

POONA AND 

THE WESTERN DECCAN 

TIS VOLUME IS AFFECTIONATELY 

INSCRIBED 



NOTE TO SECOND EDITION. 



The second edition of this book has been corrected 
by my friend Rao Bahadur D. B. Parasnis, who 
never wearies in his assistance to my labours. 

C.A.K, 



PREFAOE.. 



^ 
As nearly all the ensuing sketches have already 

appeared in the Times of India and are reproduced 
with the kind permission of its editor, no preface is 
really required. Since, however, the article on 
Marathi proverbs gave, when published, some offence 
to Deccani readers, I take this opportunity of 
assuring them that the suggestion that Maharashtra 
meant the country of the Mhars (Mahar Rashtra) 
was not mine at all. It may be found at p. yyifi of 
the Preface to Molesworth's Dictionary. I am glad, 
however, to state that my old and valued friend 
Sir Eamkrishna Bhandarkar, C.I.E., has convinced 
me that Molesworth's derivation must on philo- 
logical grounds be incorrect. I have therefore re* 
written the latter half of the said article. The 
other articles are practically unaltered. 

0, A.K, 



"La inuraille chinoise que Fignorance avait 
. , s'abaisse de plus en plus. Quand die aura disparu, 
on sera bien 6tonn< de d^couvrir que derri&re il y avait taut 
de braves gens. L'ceuvre de demolition est commenc^e depuis 
longtemps. En donnant ces pages de mon journal 6erites 
star le sol mime de TJle inconnue f y vais de mon petit coup 
de marteau." 

Pierre de Coulevain. 
(L ? ile inconnue,) 



THE TALE OF THE TULSI 
PLANT. 



say that it has often happened that a 
young Englishman riding past an Indian's house has 
seen a small plant growing in a pot just opposite the 
door and has enquired its name. The answer has 
been that it is the Tulsi, a plant sacred to Vishnu. 
If incurious, this answer has satisfied the questioner. 
If curious to probe into the secrets of the world around 
him, he will have returned home and searched for 
th^ word Tulsi in Molesworth's dictionary. Therein 
it is written that the Tulsi is the Basil plant or 
"Ocymum Sanctum." If Basil be traced in the 
leaves of Webster, the searcher will learn that Basil 
is derived from the Greek word b$spikon, meaning 
kingly, and that the Basil plant ha HI Erance been 
styled la plante royale^nd in Germany the koib%g*$ 
kraut The next stage will be a pursuit for the 
Greek words basilikon dendronin the pages of LIddell 
and Scott ; but here the pursuit will be vain, for the 
term was unknown in classical Greece. As it is not 
unlikely that no further clue will be f orthcoinmg I 
have ventured to write the present article in the hop6 
of throwing some light on the subject. 

* By the kindness of a friend* I have been sup- 
plied with two extracts which show that in Italy a 
in Greece the Basil pknt was credited 



2 TALK OF THE TULSI PLANT 

strange occult properties. In the second part of 
the Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont, translated by 
W. Ward, 1563, there is this entry : 

" To make a woman shall eate of nothing that 
is set upon the table. Take a little greene Basill and 
when men bring the dishes to the table put it 
underneth them, yet the woman perceive it not, for 
men saye that she will eate of none of that which is in 
the dish whereunder the Basill lieth." 

In " The Cyclades " by P. Bent there occurs the 
following passage: 

" I have frequently realized how much prized 
the Basil is in Greece for its mystic properties. The 
herb, which they say grew on Christ's grave, is almost 
worshipped in the Eastern Church. On St. Basil's 
Day women take sprigs of this plant to be blefised in 
Church. On returning home they cast more on the 
floor of the house to secure luck for the ensuing year. 
They eat a little with their household, and no sick- 
ness, they maintain, will attack them for a year. 
Another bit they put in the cupboard and firmly be- 
lieve that their embroideries and silken raiment will 
be free from the visitation of rats, mice and moths 
for the same period." 

We find too a reference to the Basil in Keats 5 
"Isabella/ 3 Therein, it will be remembered, that 
Isabella after exhuming the murdered Lorenzo's 
head: 

" (She) wrapped it up ; and for its tomb did choose 

w A garden pot, wherein ahe laid it by 

*' And covered it with mould, aad o'er it set 

*' Sweet Bastt, which her tears kept ever wet." 

But as neither classical Oreece nor Rome can 
us to explain the origin of the Tula's or Basil's 



O1T 1<HE TCJLSI FIiASft 3 



sanctity let us return to India. And here we shall 
not be disappointed. For this is the tale that is told 
in the Padma Parana by Naradmuni* to King 
Prithuraj. One day whoa ludra went to seek for 
Shiva in Kailas, his heaven, Indra saw no one except 
a man of terrifying aspect, of whom he asked 
whither Shiva had gone. The man stood silent, 
although Indra repeated several times the question. 
Then Indra gre;v augry and hurled at him hia 
thunderbolt. The man disappeared and in his place 
stood Shiva, who wa.48o wrotli, that to save Indra's 
life, BrahaBpati, the priest of Ihegodb*, had to throw 
himself at Shiva't* [cot, and thus obtain Indra's life 
as a boon. But Lho li^litaiag, Uul ia Shiva's wrath 
had, to kill indra, flashed from his third eye, could 
not return whoaee ib came, so Bhiva, that Indra 
might not bo struck, hurled it into the sea where 
the Ganges meets it. And o the union of that 
lightning with Ocean a boy way born whom Brah- 
madev caught up to lumBolf and to whom he gave 
the name of Jalandhar or oea-fcjeizecL And to 
him Brahmadev gave the boon that by no hand 
but Shiva's could ho perish, Jalandhar grew tip 
strong and tall and conquered the Icings o! the 
earth and in duo time married Vrinda, the daugh- 
ter of the demon KalnoinL And under the rule of 
Jalandhar the demons, who had been by the gods 
driven into hell, came forth and urged Jalandhar to 



* Nanulraum watt tho *on of Bruktnutlw, And, 03 tb> t&ta &3t0wft the 
michiof- maker of the god*, Xho word i/i ovon novr iw<kl 
for a iniiwtiiflf-makor. la this talo, m I havo no Swiakrifc, I ftm 
Oobtd to a tranalation kindly mado for rno from tfw Banakrit 

- Uikufcut of 



4: TALE OP THE TULSl PLAOT 

make war on them* And by Rahu% his messenger, 
Jalandhar ordered Indra to hand over the jewels 
which had sprung from the churning of Ocean* But 
Indra refused saying that Ocean had sheltered the 
enemies of the gods and that, therefore, they had 
rightly churned Ocean and had robbed him of his 
jewels* 

So Jalandhar and the demons fought Indra and 
the gods in the forest of Nandan, and as the gods fell 
Brahaspati revived them with the nectar plant that 
grew on the slopes of Dronadri. But Jalandhar 
hurled Dronadri into the sea and the terrified gods 
fled for shelter into the caves that pierce the sides of 
Suwarna or the gold mountain. Ihen the gods 
prayed to Vishnu and he came forth to rescue them, 
but against Jalandhar Vishnu's thunderbolts were 
harmless because of the boon granted by Brahmadev. 
And Jalandhar with his mace smote Vishnu's eagle 
so that it reeled, and Vishnu stayed the fight and 
granted Jalandhar a boon. And he asked Vishnu to 
bring Laxmi and live with him on earth in his place. 
Vishnu perforce consented and Jalandhar ruled as 
undisputed lord of the three worlds. The rain fell 
at the appointed times, poverty was unknown, the 
ryots lived freed alike from misery and sickness, t 
and all but the gods rejoiced under the sway of Jal an- 
dhar. But Naradrmini, the mischief tfxaker, went to 
Ms court* He saluted Naradmuni and asked him 
whence he came. He replied that he had come from 



*Ba,lra was the messenger of the demom Originally a Mafcg by 
fafehead was cut off by Vishmi. Bahuand Koto, the sevorsd patt 
hifla* ftOtf amuse themselves by swallowing the 8un and Moon wtxd so 
causing Eclipses. 

t fc$ Wifreif Jtogwtfs Jalandlxar'a rule ra<tfoly a<? a change of 



TALB OF THE TXJLSI PLANT 5 

Kailas where he had seen Shiva and ;Parvati and 
herds of Kamdhenus, or Cows that grant desires, and 
forests of Kalpavriksh, or trees that fulfil wishes, and 
masses of Chintamanis or the jewels that bestow 
favours, and that he had come to see whether in the 
three worlds there was any wealth like that of Shiva 
or any beauty like that of Parvati. And in this wise 
Naradmuni stirred up hatred against Shiva in Jalan- 
dhar and he gent by Rahu a message calling on him 
to hand over his wife and wealth, and covering him- 
self with ashes to live for ever in the burning ground- 
Then Shiva was exceedingly wroth, and from his eye- 
brow there came forth a terrible shape with a man's 
body and a lion's face. It ran to eat up Rahu, but 
Shiva, as he was a herald, saved Mm, and ordered the 
shape to eat up its own arms and legs. And then to 
console it Shiva granted it the boon of being always 
at the door of his temples and gave it the name of 
Kktimukh or Fameface,* But he sent Rahu with a 
scornful answer back to Jalandhar and he and Shiva 
fought each other on the slopes of Kailas. 

But even Shiva could not prevail against Jafl&a- 
dhar So long as his wife Vrinda remained chaste. So 
Vishnu, who had lived with her and Jalandhar &&<! 
had learnt this secret, plotted h 01* downfall. Q&e day 
when she, sad at Jalandhar's absence, had left her 
gardens to walk in the waste beyond, two 
met her and pursued her. She ran with the 
following until she saw a Rishi at whose feei sfcfe fell 
and asked for shelter. The Rishi wi,th'h& magic 
burnt up the demons into thin ash. Yrinda. t!xe$ ask- 
ed him for news of her husband. At onoe two ;$>' 

* Th& KMimolieh te still carved oa **e 



6 TALE OF THE tftfLSl PtAHT 



laid before her Jalandhar's head, feet and hands. 
Vrinda, thinking that he was dead, begged the'Eishi 
to restore him to her. The E/ishi said that he would 
try, and in a moment he and the corpse had disap- 
peared and Jalandha? stood by her. She threw her- 
self into his arms and they embraced each other* 
But some days later she learnt that he with whom 
she was living was not her husband, but Vishnu 
who had taken his shape. And she cursed Vishnu 
and foretold that in a later Avatar the two demons, 
who had frightened her, would rob him of his wife; 
and that to recover her he should have to ask the aid 
of the apes who had brought Jalandhar's head, feet 
and hands. Vrinda then threw herself into a bur- 
ningpit. And Jalandhar, once Vrinda's chastity had 
gone, fell a prey to Shiva's thunderbolts. Then the 
gods came forth from their hiding place and garlan- 
ded Shiva. The demons were driven back to hell and 
men once again passed under the tyranny of the gods. 
But Vishnu came not back from Vrinda's palace, and 
those who sought him found him mad for grief, rolling 
in her ashes. Then Parvati, to break the charm of 
Vrinda's beauty, planted in her ashes three seeds. 
And they grew into three plants, the Tulsi, the Avail 
and bhe Haiti, and by the growth of these seeds 
Vishnu was released from Vrinda's charm. There- 
fore, he loved them all, but chiefly the Tulsi plant, 
which, as he said, was Vrinda's very self. Yet was 
her curse fulfilled. For the Avatars of Vishnu were 
these : Matsya or the fish, Kurma or the tortoise, 
V$*aha or the boar, Narasinh or the lion, Waman or 
the dwarf, Parashurama or the lord of the axe* 
then, Kamchattdra the world conqueror % 



TALE OF THE TULSI PLANT 7 

In this 7th incarnation the two demons, who had 
frightened Vrinda, became Ravan and his brother 
Kumbhakarna. And they bore away Sita to Lanka. 
And to recover her Ramchandra had to implore the 
help of the two apes who had brought her Jalandhar's 
head and hands, and in this incarnation they became 
Hanuman and his warriors. But in the 8th incar- 
nation which was that of Krishna, the Tulsi plant 
took the form of a woman Radha, and as such wed- 
ded on Kartik Sud twelfth, the gay and warlike lord of 
Dwarka. And thu s it is, when the Indian nights grow 
crisp with the coming cold, the women,from the full- 
moon of Aahwina io rt'cfuH-zrcon of Kartik lighthigh 
above their houses the Akashdiwa or heavenly lamp, 
and so celebrate the wedding of Krishna* and Radha 
and the reconciliation of Vishnu with the demon-lady 
whom he wronged- Good luck attends the house 
of her who waters the Tulsi plant, and the worship of 
Vishnu is incomplete, unless the Tulsi plant is placed 
on the black Shaligram stone which, picked up in the 
bed of the Gandak river, is regarded as the symbol of 
the godhead. 

Lastly, the comic element is not wholly absent, 
for when in Marathi one wishes to say that one mwt 
somtimesdo evil that good may cotne, it is best 
expressed by the saying "tulsiche mtilant kand& 
lavavalajato " (One must place an onion in the toot 
of the Tulsi plant). While an unworthy sou of > 
noble father (patris heroi films degener) is styled 
bhang growing in a Tulsi (to tulshint bhang ahe), 

* Krishna was marriod to Kadha under tfcfc &a*ne of ;Datooda*v 
ntwfy $&& thafe Sa o*4er to reeta&i hfe youthful frolics, hi* 
lTe**^ tied hito with * rope (dam o* daye)rotuaa tfc* afcowttw* 
to a flFfcoao mortar. 



THE TALE OF THE SHAMI TREE. 

In my last chapter I gave my readers the story 
of the Tulsi plant. I now venture to put before them 
the legends that have gathered round the Shami tree 
or Mimosa Suma, a big thorny tree not unlike the 
babul. One may see it both in the Deccan and in 
Kathiawad and in the latter province rags are often 
tied to it as votive offerings. The first legend, which 
is that of its metamorphosis from a young girl, is 
given in Chapter 33 of the Kridakand from the latter 
half of the Ganeshpurana. One day when Narad- 
muni* was walking up and down the three worlds he 
came to Indra's capital, Amraoti. Indra rose and 
saluted, and in the course of their talk asked JSFarad- 
muni whether he knew and, if so, he would tell him 
the story of Aurava, the Eishi And Narad told him 
the following tale : " Once upon a time there lived 
in Malva a Brahman named Aurava, who was ripe 
with the learning of the Vedas. His face shone like 
the sun and his knowledge was such that all gold to 
him was dross and all that his mind willed he could do, 
for he could create, cherish or destroy as he listed, 
By his wife, Sameghan, he had born to him late in 
life & beauiif ul daughter, called Shami, to whom he 
gave aJi her heart's desire* When she was seven 
years old he wedded her to the Rishi Dhoumya's Son, 



* My leaders win remember that ^aradtmmi is the mischief-maker of 
the god* It was he Who tempted Jalaadhar to make war on Shiva. 



Otf THE SHAMI TESS3 9, 

Mandar, who lived and studied with a preceptor, 
named Shaunak. After their wedding the girl and 
boy parted until they had reached the fulness of 
youth. Then Mandar went to the house of Aurava 
the Rishi, and taking Shami from her father's house, 
get forth with her to the house of Shaunak, his guru* 
On the road they passed by the house of a mighty 
Rishi or sage, called Bhrushundi* He was the untir- 
ing worshipper of Ganpati and by his austerities he 
had won from the god the boon that he also might 
grow a trunk from his forehead. When Shami and 
Mandar saw the trunk-faced sage they burst out 
laughing, and he in anger cursed them. And the curse 
was that they should become trees from which even 
animals turned away.)^ And so Mandar became the 
Mandar tree, whose leaves no beast will eat, and Sha- 
mi the Shami tree on whose thorns no bird may rest. 
Some days passed and the guru Shaunak, anxious 
that Shami and Mandar tarried, went in search of 
them. He went first to the house of the sage Aurstfra 
and heard that they had left it. Then Aurava and 
Shaunak searched everywhere until they came to th# 
hermitage of Bhrushundi and learnt of the curse tfab$ 
had befallen Mandar and his bride. The two old: 
men then practised suoh terrible atisterities , 
Ganpati's honour that he revealed himself to 
10 cubits high aad riding on a lion. They begged of 
him as a boon that he should restore to them Shaftoi 
and Mandar. But the god feared to displ&ase h& 
disciple Bhrushundi and granted them instead t&at 
the two trees should be honoured throughout ilia 
three worlds and that neither Khiva's nor his 
worship should be complete without theit 



TALE OF THE SHAMJ TKBE 

When the god vanished Shaunak went his way, 
but Aurava in despair left his mortal covering and 
became the fire which lies hidden within the trunk 
of the Shami tree." 

Such was the tale told by Naradmuni to Indra, 
but to this day when sacrifices are burnt in the 
temples of Shiva and Ganpati, their priests rub to- 
gether pieces of the Shami tree and the hidden fire 
within it leaps out and kindles the sacrifice.* And 
no worship is complete without the Shami leaves and 
the Mandar flowers being present on the altar. 

A second and later legend and one which is better 
known connects the Shami tree with the famous 
Pandav brothers. Students of the Mahabharata will 
remember how Yudhishtira, tempted by Naradmuni 
to perform the Rajsuya, incurred the envy of his 
cousin Duryodhana ; how Duryodhana, to gratify 
his jealousy, played with Shakunf s aid at dice 
with Yudhisthira; how Yudhishthira lost all he 
possessed, kingdom, wealth, wife and brothers ; how 
Duryodhana's father, Dhritarashtra, gave them to 
him all back, and, lastly, how the infatuated Pandav 
again gambled with Duryodhana and had to pay as 
forfeit twelve years, residence in the woods with his 
wife and brothers and then a thirteenth year of dis- 
guise in a distant country. If the disguise were 
penetrated the Pandavs|were to stay another twelve 
years in exile. When the 'first twelve years, those 
of the forest life, had passed, the Pandavs with 
cast about where the thirteenth year 
speat and they fixed on Viratnagar, t the 



Ichis iay be see** at stay tem#& of 

TT~ ._..... 




SHAME TREE 11 

modern Wai, where the Camples are still 
the waves of the I&dshna. And Yudhisl 
disguised himself as a gamblef^^and Bhima as a" 
cook and Arjuna as a eunuch* and Nakula as a 
groom, and Sahadeva as a milkman and lastly Drau- 
padi as a waiting woman. And at the Court of King 
Virata, they dwelt until the years of exile were over. 
But before assuming their disguises the Pandavs 
hid their weapons inside a Shami tree. Here let 
me give a translation of the original passage :t 

Arjuna said c O Ling, I see a tall Shami tree on a 
il sing ground ; it is well if we hang our weapons on it. 
For, see, Tbecau se of the great thorns that spread round 
it on every side it is hard for any one to climb it* And 
again there is no one here now to see what we are 
doing, ihe tree too is in a lonely spot wherein live 
snafecg and wild beasts, and as it is used as a burning 
ground, there is but small fear of men wandering 
hither* Therefore, let us place our weapons on this 
tree and then let us go to Viratnagar and as already 
resolved let us each on his own errand complete i&te0 
the days of exile/ And in this wise Arjuna gpcfckfe to 
Yudhishthira and all the Pandav got ready to 
up their weapons. First Arjutta loosed the 
string of the mighty Gandivat Ah ! Gandiva, 



*' Arjuna was condemned to be a eunuch because be slighted the 
beauty of TJrwaehi Indra's queen. ' 

f X have not translated from thv r Sanskrit but from Messrs. Datarand 
Kodak's admirable Marathi rendering. The book has been published at 
great expense by Messrs. Chiplunkar and Go's* at the Indira Press, Poona, 
and the second half of the rendering is delayed for want offun.de. X' 
would venture to appeal to the Marathi reading public to assistkr purchas- 
ing the part already translated, in the publication of the 

$ The mwfcQ of Arjufcrt bow given to hixa byAgai 
Indra, < 



12 $AO 01? THE SHAMI TREE 



can describe it ? For by the strength of it did 
Arjuna in hie chariot subdue the gods and all men 
and all countries. Then Yudhisbthira freed the gut 
of the bow by whose aid he had guarded the land of the 
Kurus. Next Bhiroa undid the f asteningsof his bow. 
O king !* with this bow had Bhima the mighty 
defeated in battle the Panchalas and the lord of Sindhu 
arid in the hour of victory he had single haned hum- 
bled a multitude of warriors* For, king ! the shock 
of that bow was like the thunderbolt that falls upon 
and shatters the hill crests. Next beautiful sweet- 
tongued Nakula untied the bow with which he had 
conquered the lands of the West. And last of all 
Sahadevaf unstrung the bow by whose help he 
had won the kingdoms of the Deccan. In this wise 
the Pandavs freed their bow strings and they laid 
down their bows and their bright swords, their 
jewelled quivers and their piercing arrows. 

Yudhishthira gathered them together and told 
Nakula to climb the tree. And Nakula did so and 
jin the holes and crevices where the arms might 
J>est lie and where the rain would not reach them, 
phere he placed them and tied them with strong cords. 
Then the Pandavs tied a corpse to the tree thinking 
that its sight and smell would keep men from wander- 
ing thither. Then they walked towards Virat- 
nagar and on the road they said to the shepherds 
and cowherds and others whom they passed: 
* According to the custom of our family we have 

* The king here is king Jaamejaya to whomm the forest the sage 
YaishaBopayan told the deathless tale of the heroes of the house of 
Bharata. 

f The comjueate of Sahadsva surme in the name of CoromondeJ 
&uro-^Mnclal the province of the Ktorua 



TALE OF THE SHAME TREE 13 

tied to that tree the corpse of our mother, dead at the 
age of 180*. So the Pandavs guarded against the 
evil thoughts that arise in men's minds and that they 
might there pass the thirteenth year of exile they 
entered the mighty city of Viratnagar.' 

There is yet a third tale that connects the Shami 
tree with Raghu, the grandfather of Ramchandra.; 
It runs that one day a young sage called Kautsa 
quarrelled violently with his guru or teacher Vartantu 
and wished to leave him. But Vartantu before he let 
him go dunned him for fourteen crores of rupees as the 
price of his apprenticeship. Kautsa went to the 
court of king Raghu of Ayodhya to beg his master's 
fee. But he came at an unhappy time. King Raghu 
had j ust held a mighty sacrifice and he had given every- 
thing he possessed to the Brahmanas who had assem-| 
bled. So that when Kautsa came to king Raghu's} 
court the generous prince was reduced to dine off 
earthen plates. Kautsa' s heart sank within him 
when he saw king Raghu's poverty nevertheless he 
disclosed his object. The prince called his treasurer! 
but in vain. The treasure room was as bare $0 
Mrs. Hubbard's cupboard. In despair king 
prepared to raid Indra's capital Amraoti and rofo 
of the fourteen crores asked for by Kautsa. Just at 
this time Naradmuni came to Ayodhya and after th^j 
customary salutation enquired and learnt the fcause; 
of king Raghu' s preparation. He at once .went to! 
Amraoti and told Indra. The latter alarmed at the| 
resolve of the desperate Kshattriya sent for the godi 
Kubera, hia treasurer and the lord of all wealth* and 



* The oxtrawdifaarjr age of the old mothcnr s6em$ to have 
accepted &e quite tin ordinary statement, 



14 TATVTC OF THE SHAMI TKEE 

made him for three andra-hftlf ghatkas the same night 
shower gold on Ayodhya. And the gold all fell in one 
place where a giant Shami tree stood. And next 
morning, the 10th of Ashwin Sudh, the day chosen by 
his astrologers as auspicious for his advance against 
Indra, king Baghu saw masses of gold heaped all- 
round the tree. He called Kautsa and told him to take 
it away* But the sage said that he wanted but the 
fourteen crores with which to pay Vartantu. And 
taking them he went his way- But the proud 
Kashattriya refused to touch what had been obtained 
for the needs of a Brahmana and the rest of the 
gold lay there that all who wanted it might help 
themselves. And still on the 10th Ashwin Sudh 
day that king JEtaghu should have started for 
Amraoti and better known as Dassara from Dasha 
10th 9 Maratha villagers keep alive his memory. For 
first worshipping the trunk of the Shami tree they 
cut off its branches and mixing them with earth, 
gegamum flowers, Apta leaves, and bajri ears they 
offer them to Ganesha who turns them, it is fancied, 
into gold. The heap is then taken to the village 
boundary and is there looted by the men and 
boyg of the village. And this is the ceremony of the 



But there is a still stranger sequel. For in honour 
of his grandfather, 'Ramchandra chose algo for his 
expedition against king ,Bavan of Lanka the 10th of 
Ashwin Sudh and before starting prayed to the Shami 
tree for success. And century after the Jlajput 
Kings have prayed to the Shami tree and led forth 
Against each other or the Mleccha, the heroes of 
Jjlew&r and Marwar, And following them theMajrath^ 



TALE OH 1 OTIS SHAMI TREE 15 

captains did likewise and on Dassara started forth 
on their raids. Then in the Peshwa's time when 
warfare became more scientific and organised 
campaigns took the place of razteias, the DaSsara 
became a great festival on which the Peshwa distribu- 
ted amid regal state dresses of honour to the Indian 
princes. And this custom when the Peshwai passed 
away was continued by the English Resident until 
in the late Empress' time the date was changed from 
the Dassara to the Sovereign's birthday, a practice 
which continues to this day. And thus it is that 
when the Agent for the Sirdars and the Deccan nobles 
assemble at the yearly Durbar to express their loyalty 
to their august master, the King Emperor, they also 
do homage all unwittingly to the legendary sanctity 
of King Raghu's Shami tree. 



THE STORY OF THE BEL PLANT. 

The scientific name of the Bel plant is Aigle Mar- 
melos which, as I will freely admit, throws but little 
light on the subject. In appearance it is an ordinary 
enough shrub with small green leaves and green 
apple-shaped fruit. In Hindu religious circles, 
however, the Bel tree has a very large place, and its 
connection with Sati, the first wife of Shiva, seems 
to indicate a pre- Aryan origin of its sanctity. Sati's 
story is told in the Shrimat Bhagwat, the tale that 
\fras told by the sage Maitrya to Vidura, the brother 
of Pandu, and Dritarashtra, and thus the uncle of the 
Pandavs and Kuravs, the heroes of the Great War* 

Sati was the daughter of King Daksh by his union 
with Prasuti, the third daughter of self-sprung Manu. 
Now sixteen daughters were born of this union. 
And of them thirteen were given in marriage to 
Dharma or Religion. And their names were Budhi 
or Talent, Medha or Discernment, Shradha or 
3Devofcion, Maitri or Friendship, Daya or Pity, Shanti 
or Calmness, Tushti or Satisfaction, Titiksha or Pa- 
tience, Rhi or Intelligence, Unati or Happiness, 
Pushti or Weal and Murti or Shape. And to each of 
these was born a son of various names, but to Murti 
were born Nar and Narayan* at whose birth the 
Heavens burst into music and the angels and the 



were ineai^aticms of Vistou although not named among the 
principal ones. 



STOEY Off THE BEL PILAOT 17 

cherubs the Gandarvas and the Kinnara began all 
to sing on the fifth note.t The fourteenth daughter 
was Swaha or Flame who wedded Agni or Fire* And 
the fifteenth daughter was Swadha whom King 
Daksh gave in marriage to the Pitars or deified 
saints. And the sixteenth was Sati and her he 
bestowed on the god Shiva* But of this marriage 
only evil came, and here I will give a translation of 
the opening passage of the second chapter of the 
fourth book of the Shrimat Bhagwat. 

" O Vidura, once upon a time King Daksh plan- 
ned a sacrifice and he invited to it with their pupils 
Vasishta and the sages and the Edshis and their re- 
tinues and all the gods and the Munis and the Agnis.t 
And shortly after they had come King Daksh en- 
tered. And by his lustre, Vidura, the mighty hall 
of sacrifice lit up. And all therein seeing this king 
among men stood up, save only Brahmadev and 
Shiva, And King Daksh, after bowing to Brahmadev 
as the guru of all, sat on his appointed throne. But 
Shiva had never even moved in his seat and King 
Daksh felt so wroth at this that his eyes grew red 
as fire. And he go glared at Shiva so that those 
seated round expected Shiva to be consumed. Then 
Daksh rose and pointing to Shiva said in the 
presence of all: 

" * O members of the assembly, what I say to you 
do not think that I say it lightly or thoughtlessly 



f The 7 notes or swars of , Hindu music corresponding to the key of 
C Natural are Sa, Be, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, and Ni. Thus the 6th note would 
be Gl the note, curiously enough, on which .English clergymen intone. 

f There were 49 Agnis either descended from or including the Agni, 
who married Swaha, 



18 STORY OF THE BEL PLANT 

[Here follows a page full of virulent abuse of 
Shiva to which Shiva replies at equal length and with 
equal acrimony*] 

This was how the quarrel commenced and Shiva 
rose from his seat before the sacrifice had begun and 
went homewards. And King Daksh then initiated 
the ceremonies to which the assembled guests had 
been invited and which lasted 1,000 years. Sati, 
however, had not been present, and does not seem 
fully to have appreciated Shiva's explanation that 
external honour was only good for those absorbed in 
the Karma marg* and that he had really in his heart 
honoured King Daksh who had been too unenligh- 
tened to see it* Some ages later for time was of little 
value to these Mighty ones King Daksh gave another 
sacrifice. And to these again he invited the gods and 
the saints, the Munis and the Rishis. But Shiva and 
Sati received no invitation card. Sati, however, long- 
ed to see her parents and her sisters and wished to go 
uninvited. She asked Shiva for leave, but he re- 
fused. Thereupon she got so angry that she left him 
to go on foot to King Daksh's house* Shiva then 
relented and sent after her his retinue and his sacred 
Bull Nandi Keshwar. So that in full state she duly 
arrived at King Daksh' s sacrificial hall But a visit 
which had begun with a wife's disobedience to her 
husband was predestined not to end well So when 

* There are 4 Margs according to the Hindu belief : (a) The Karma 
marg, the ordinary path of worldly affairs, followed by the careless and 
the unbelieving; (6) the Bhakti marg, the path of devotion and austeri- 
ties, followed by the elect; (c) the Raj marg, the path of Government, to, 
which the elect are nest promoted ; and (d) the Dnyan marg or path of 
knowledge, tbo last stage before Moksh or release from the pain of livi^ !l - 
is obtained, i ' 



STORY OF THE BEL PLANT 19 

^ 

Sati reached her goal only her mother and her sisters 
welcomed her. King Daksh and his courtiers openly 
ignored her. She then in the style of epic andpura- 
nic characters abused her father for several pages and 
in the end resolved to destroy the vile body bestowed 
by him that she might no longer feel towards him 
any obligation. How she did it will be seen from the 
following translation : 

The sage Maitrya said : " O best of the Kurus 
(Vidura), hereupon Sati donned yellow clothes and 
sat down with her face to the north. She first per- 
formed the Achaman* rite and became silent and 
then according to the rules of Yoga, or the True 
Science, began the task of entering the state of 
Samadhi or Contemplation. She first became rigid 
and then united the Pranf and the Apan beneath 
her navel. Next by an upward motion of the navel 
wheel,t she brought them to her heart and skilfully 
fixed them there. Lastly, she slowly forced them 
through her throat into her forehead. Now, as by 
living with the Lord Shiva she had become well- 
versed in the Yoga, she was then able by its means to 
produce a flame that enveloped her body." 

And so, the end was, the poor lady was entirely 
consumed and King Daksh's sacrificial party broke 
up in, disorder. 

* This consists of sipping water in the names of Keshav, Narayaxt 
and Madhav and throwing it down in the name of Qovind. 

f According to Hindu science, there are in each human being 5 Vital 
airs: (a) The Pran or air of the lungs ; (6) Apan, the air in the lower 
abdomen ; (o) Vyan, the air diffused throughout the tissues of the body ; 
(d) TTdan, the air in the throat ; and (e) Saman, the air in the stomach 
deemed necessary for dige&tion. ' 

$ The Nabhichakra is the wheel euDDosed to lie voider tfce human 
navel* 



20 STOEY OF MCE BEL PLASTT 

When the sad news retched the Loijd Shiva he 
was inconsolable and wandered vainly up and down 
the earth and heavens seeking for mental rest. And 
at last he one day found it under a Bel tree. For, 
seated in its shade, he cast his eyes upwards and from 
the shape of the fruit which resembled Sati's rounded 
bosom, he fancied that her spirit had become em- 
bodied in its trunk. Now it happened thereafter 
that Parwati, the daughter of Himalaya, lord of the 
mountains, wished to wed with the Lord Shiva. And 
to gain her end, she had practised various austerities. 
For twelve years she had sat with downcast eyes 
inhaling smoke. Then for sixty-four years she had 
sat eating withered leaves. In the month of Magh 
(February) she had sat immersed in water; in Vaishak 
(May) she had sat between five fires, and in the rains 
she had sat without food and without a roof. 
Now she had all but reached her object when Narad- 
muni, mischief-maker among the gods, visited Hima- 
laya, lord of the mountains, and urged him to unite 
Parwati to Vishnu. Himalaya agreed, but Parwati 
fled with a waiting majd into the desert. There she 
drew a linga on the sand, placed on it Bel leaves, and 
abandoning all food and water, gave herself up to the 
worship of the Lord Shiva. At last, conquered by 
her devotion, he appeared and granted her the boon 
of wif edom to himself. Thus the Bel is ddubly sacred, 
for it granted rest to the Lord Shiva and won 
wedlock for ParwatL And he who worships Shiva 
without the leaves of the Bel will be consigned to the 
blackest depths of Hell for one Kalp or seven ages of 
Itodra, each of 7,000year& And the learned in .Hindu 
medicine use it in many ways. The young fruit IB 



STORY Otf THE BEL PLAOT 21 

used as an aperient. The fruit, full grown but gtill 
sour; is given as a cure for dysentery. And the fruit 
fully ripened is used as an astringent and an appetizer. 
The Bel, too, has played a part in history. For, on 
the strength of an oath sworn on the Bel bandar, the 
First Peshwa, Balaji Vishvanath, trusted himself 
to the tender mercies of Damaji Thorat, the jaghir- 
dar of Patas. His trust was betrayed, for Balaji was 
at once Seized and tortured. When reproached with 
his broken oath Damaji replied : " What of it ? the 
Bel is only a tree and bandar turmeric I eat every 
day," Such ignoble levity only lowered him in his 
fellow countrymen's eyes, and, to use an Irish ex- 
pression, he never had the same name in the country 
afterwards. Lastly, the comparative size of the Bel 
fruit and the Avala (Phyllanthus emblica) has given 
rise to a humorous proverb : " Avala deun bel 
kadane," or as we say " to give a sprat to catch a 
salmon-' 5 



VISHALGAD. 

Gurrh ! Gurh ! went the big car as a somewhat 
unskilful hand changed the speeds and we started 
with a grating growling sound that put to shame 
the contending counsel in the Court that we had 
left behind* Kolhapur was our starting point. 
Amba was our destination. And between the 
two stretched forty miles of straight red road 
which we must traverse that evening. Away 
then swept the 30 horse power Beaufort that 
carried the Diwan and myself through the crowded 
city. The cart bullocks at Kolhapur were even 
less broken to motor traffic than elsewhere. Some 
times petrified with fear they stopped helplessly 
in the middle of the road just across our track. 
Down went convulsively the driver's feet on the 
clutch and brake and the disengaged engines raced 
and bellowed with impatient fury. At other times 
the bullocks at our approach seemed seized by 
devils and rushed violently down the steep 'sides 
of the road with a speed and ease that would 
have roused keen envy in the swine of Gadara. 

Once out of the town we sped past Panehganga, 
on whose banks lie the tombs of His Highness* 
forebears, and after 12 miles reached the ghat that 
leads to Panhala fort. The great car breasted the 
steep winding road without changing speed and we 
passed under the bastions of the mighty stronghold. 



VISHALOAD 23 

Our business, however, was not with Panhala so we 
skirted its scarped defences and switching ofi rolled 
noiselessly down its farther side. Another l^our at 
almost full speed along a deserted road and we 
entered, amid the musical salute of the Vishalgadh 
Chief's armed forces, that feudatory's boundaries 
and shortly afterwards alighted at Amba. 

The Diwan and I had now reached that day's 
journey's end and after careful inspection of maps 
and histories we parted early for the night. For 
next morning the serious business of our trip was 
to begin and we would ride through the woods to 
Vishalgadh, At 7 a.m. next day we started and 
took a path that had once been trodden by a Bah- 
mini army. AUauddin Shah Bahmini II towards 
the close of a successful and vigorous reign resolved 
to subdue the Konkan. For that purpose he 
sent a veteran General, Malik-ul-Tujar, who, after 
several raids below the ghats, thought it necessary 
to take Khelna fort now known as Vishalgadb. 
On the way he captured a fastness defended by 
a member of the ancient Maratha house of Shirke 
whom he forcibly converted to Islam, The out- 
raged noble to gain his revenge offered to lead the 
Musalmans to Vishalgadh whose owner Shankar 
Rai he represented as his own bitter enemy. Malik- 
ul-Tujar fell readily into the trap. For two days 
Shirke led .the army along a broad path, and on 
the third took them into the forest through which 
450 years later my friend and I rode. And this 
is how Ferishta* has described it, 

* Brigg>aFenshte, Volume n, page <538, 



24 TD3HALGAD 

"On the third day he led them by paths so 
intricate, that the male tiger by apprehension 
might change its sex, and through passes more 
tortuous than the curly locks of the fair and more 
difficult to escape from than the mazes of love. 
Demons even might start at the precipices and 
caverns in those wilds, and ghosts might be panic- 
struck at the awful view of the mountains. Here 
the Sun never enlivened with its splendour the 
vallies, nor had Providence designed that it should 
penetrate their depths. The very grass was tough 
and sharp as the fange of serpents, and the air 
fetid as the breath of dragons. Death dwelt 
in the waters and poison impregnated the breeze." 
As we started I quoted the first sentence of 
this passage to the Diwan and we both laughed 
at what we thought its ridiculous hyperboles. But 
before I had ridden 2 miles I began to think that 
Ferishta had not gone far beyond the mark. I 
have seen many kinds of country both in Europe and 
in India but never the fellow of this. At one time 
the path rose so steep before us that we seemed 
like Shelley's moth to be striving for the embraces 
of the stars. In another hour we had descended 
so low that we could almost hear the clang of our 
horses' hooves echo dismally through the domes 
of Eblis. And the path itself, how it twisted 
through the jungle here, how sheer -it dropped 
there. Did ever lover's feet stumble over such 
boulders as those among which our horses strove 
to pick their way? When you sported in the 
shade, Amaryllis, did your lashes fringe such un- 
fathomable depths ? Neaera, did your lover's hand 



VISEALGAD 25 

liglitly play among such inextricable tangles ? Af- 
ter two hours of blind struggling we emerged as 
did the Bahmani army on a small valley hemmed 
in on every side with hills and still known as the 
Badshah's Tal (the Imperial camp)* Here Malik- 
ul-Tu jar's army, exhausted utterly, flung themsel- 
ves on the ground. Shirke had already disappeared 
and had fled to Vishalgad. Thence he at mid- 
night returned with its garrison led by his supposed 
enemy Shankar 'Rai. They at once threw themsel- 
ves on the wearied invaders and killed of them 
nearly seven thousand including the confiding 
General. Next morning the survivors dispersed 
in every direction. Thus the Maratha Chief made 
his honour clean. 

My companion's interest, however, lay further 
ahead. So we pushed on to a place within a mile 
of Vishalgad fort, known as the Ghod Khind. 
My readers must now skip over two hundred years 
from the death of Malik-ul-Tujar. In October, 
1659, Shivaji destroyed near Pratabgad Afeul- 
khan and his army. Before the Bijapur admini- 
stration realized their defeat Shivaji had m$c& 
himself master of PanhaJa and Vishalgad. Then 
at last the Adilshahi Government woke to their 
danger and sent the full strength of the monarchy 
to cope with it. A great force under a skilifcl 
leader, Sidi Johar, and accompanied by SWfl 
Muhammad Khan, Af zulkhan's son, marched Against 
the rebel. Shivaji, overawed, threw himself ittto 
Pawiiala hoping to defend it long enough for his 
irregulars without to make Sidi Johar's prisitioB 
untenable. But for four months the vefer&n Gene- 



26 VISHAL&AB 

ral never relaxed his vigilance. In vain the Ma- 
vaJis without tried to co-operate with the garrison 
within. Famine began to make itself felt among 
the defenders of Panhala. Then Shivaji saw that 
he had made an error. If the Deccan was to be 
liberated he must escape and the plan that he 
adopted showed equal skill in design and execution. 
Lulling the besiegers by offers of surrender he late 
one night slipped with a chosen band from a gate 
still known as Shivaji 9 s window and was well on the 
march to another fort before his flight was dis- 
covered. When it was Sidi Johar acted with 
decision and promptitude. He despatched in pur- 
suit a light column under Fazil Muhammad Khan* 
Desire for vengeance lent wings to the young Musul- 
man and as day broke he had overtaken ShivajTs 
rear guard The latter's position was highly cri- 
tical. The fort was still at some distance and, 
even if the van guard reached it, it was quite pos- 
sible that the victorious enemy might enter it 
mingled with the fugitives. It was at this move- 
ment that Shivaji was saved by an officer called 
Baji Deshpande, He was a member of the Kayastha 
Prabhu caste, a community who claim descend 
from Sahasrarjun otherwise known as Kartavirya, 
The tale, as I have heard it, runs thus. In the 
Sattya Yug Sahasrarjun of the thousand arms was 
King of the Haihyas. In the same kingdom there 
lived the sage Jamadagni. To achieve perfect 
Sanyas he cast from himself all the passions. Among 
them wag Anger ; and before expulsion it pleaded 
Jteave to stay urging that without anger man achieved 
nothing Jamad^gni, however, refused to listen and 



Anger was cast out from him. Now one day King 
Sahasrarjun visited the sage's hermitage. He was 
absent but his wife received the monarch with 
fitting respect. But Sahasrarjun made her hos- 
pitality an ill-return. For he carried off despite 
her protests the calf of the milch-cow of the sacred 
oblation. In the subsequent dispute between the 
Sage and the King, the former fared badly. Having 
cast forth Anger he was unable to lose his temper. 
But all the time smiling beatifically he received 21 
wounds in the head and died. To avenge the 
sage's death Vishnu became incarnate in his son 
Parashuram and this is his 6th incarnation. For 
each wound in Jamadagnf s head he cleared the 
earth once of the Kshattriyas. Now among Para- 
shurama's victims was Sahasrarjun's son, Ghandrar 
sen, King of Ayodhya. Subsequently Parashuram 
came to know that Chandrasen's wife was pregnant 
and had fled to the hermitage of the Bishi Dalabhya. 
Parashuram went thither also and demanded the 
fugitive Queen. The sage handed her over with 
Such readiness that in turn Parashuram agreed 
to do anything Dalabhya asked him. The wily 
Bishi then gained his object and at once asked as 
a boon the life of the unborn child, Para&huraaii 
was bound by his promise but he made the con- 
dition that the boy, as it afterwards proved to fee, 
should be bred a writer and not a warrior and tha$ 
for the name of Kshattriya he should take that 6$ 
Kayastha as he had been saved in his mother's 
kaya or body. Such is the fabled origin of 
Kayastha Ihrabhu and their qualities support 
fable. For they combine to an extraordinary < 



penetrating intellect of the Brahman with the 
devotion and fidelity of the Kshattriya. Baji 
De$hpande realized his master's and his country's 
danger and persuaded Shivaji to press on with the 
main body to the fort while he with a picked band 
of Mavalis held a gorge against the pursuers. Shi- 
vaji with some reluctance agreed and promised 
that the cannon of the stronghold would announce 
his entry. The small band skilfully posted held 
the gorge for some hours and when at length Baji 
Beshpande fell covered with wounds the last 
sound he heard was the salvo proclaiming Shivaji's 
safe arrival, 

Now which was the fort to which Shivaji fled 
The historians following Grant Duff have identifier 
it aa Rangna, Local tradition however, assert 
that it was Vishalgad. And it must be admitte< 
that the case for Vishalgad is convincing. Shi 
taji about to escape from Panhala would natural^ 
ofeooae the nearer fortress. And Vishalgad i 
under forty miles while Bangna is nearly seventy 
H5fles away. Again could any, even MavaB Infantry, 
cover more than sixty miles between midnigfe.1 
? Further if Bangna gave 
was the spot which Baji B 
I am informed that there 
aear enough to #&$ 

Canaan to reach it. The 0kft JSMnd ta t 




feet into the Kaitoe, On the 
Jg * ^r^ ^ MOB ta lian whidfc 
m hart 




against a hundredfold odds. Moreover, local 
tradition finds support in two valuable documents. 
The first, quoted by Mr. Muzumdar the author of 
the Prabhu Ratnamala, is according to him of 
great antiquity. It mentions Vishalgad and not 
Rangna. The second is the Vishalgad bakhar with 
an extract of which I have been kindly furnish- 
ed. It not only mentions Vishalgad but marks 
Ghod-khind as the scene of the defence. And 
lastly Mr. Muzumdar while adhering to the view 
that Rangna was Shivaji's destination observes 
that the fight occurred near Pandharen Pani. Now 
the latter place is no where near Rangna but is 
six miles from Vishalgad. My companion and 
I at any rate remained quite satisfied that Ghod- 
khind was the scene of Baji Deshpande's heroic 
death. Leaving it we followed Shivajf s foot steps 
until we reached Vishalgad. 

Of all the Deccan forts this is probably the stron- 
gest* It rises like an island one thousand feet 
out of the Konkan. A narrow causeway to the 
main land is its only approach. No wonder that 
Sidi Johar who followed in Fa^HMu 
wake gave up after a futile cannonade hia task 
withdrew with his army to Bijapur. Next 
Shivaji was able to make reprisals. And it was 
from Vishalgad that he swooped down on Mudhol 
and killed Baji Ghorpade, who had betrayed 1 
father. We did not, however, linger long on ti 
Summit. The sun was high in the heavens and 
long ride back remained* After inspecting 
palace which once sheltered the deliverer of 
icfethe Chiefs of 




30 V1SHALGAD 

recently been hunted by the ghost of a restless 
Mahapurush, we descended the fort and prepared 
once again to pass through the lovelike mazes of 
the forest. It took us three weary hours. But 
even the longest journeys and the most tedious 
of love affairs have alike an end. Tea awaited 
us at Amba. Again the Beaufort car bore us 
along the red road. Once more the bullock 
carts shot like falling meteors from off its precipi- 
tous sides* And the stars had just begun to twin- 
kle in the deepening violet of heaven as we hooted 
back triumphantly into Kolhapur* 

* Kartavirya is sfcill honoured by the Hindus. Whenever an article is 
mislaid it is the custom to write on a piece of paper the following Sana- 
krit verse : 

Kartaviryar juno nam 
Raja bahusahasravaa 
Tasya smaranmatren 
Gatamnastamcha labhyate. 

(By merely remembering the ancient name of Kartavirya of the 1,000 
arms the lost thing is recovered, The paper is then placed where the 
article was mislaid and it reappears. 

f The reference is page 72, Volume I. Readers interested in the 
'Prabhu caste and acquainted with Marathi could not do better than 
purchase this book,) 



A FORGOTTEN BATTLEFIELD. 

As the fast mail train of the Great Indian Penin- 
sula Railway flies along the gradually narrow- 
ing plain that divides Poona from Lonavla, it 
is probable that but few of itg pas&engers observe 
a tiny roadside station just beyond Talegaon. The 
mail does not stop there and as it thunders past it 
is hard to read the name on the notice board. And 
beyond the name there is nothing else which would 
attract attention. A little village nestling in the 
centre of a rough plateau five or six miles wide 
is not an uncommon sight to a traveller in Western 
India. Yet name and spot are both worthy of 
more than a passing glance. For the name of the 
village is Wadgaon and the rough open ground 
shut in by the dark cliffs of the Sahyadrig was the 
scene of one of the greatest disasters that etw 
befell the English arms in the annals of India. 

Fully to understand the tangled politics of those 
times it is necessary to go back to the death of 
the great Bajirao, who, broken-hearted at the 
failure of his attempt to destroy the new power in 
the Deccan created by the Nizam-ul-Mtdlj:, djted 
On the 28th of April 1740, on the banks of tl*e 
Narbadda. Of his three legitimate sons OB^ died 
in early youth. But the two eldest, Balaji atid 
Raghunathrao, both men of few Scruples but great 
ability, played foremost parts in the history of 



32 FOEGOTTKH BATTLEFIELD 

Harathas. The former succeeded his father as 
Peshwa and nine years later, on the death of Shahu, 
became by the forced " sati " of his widow and by 
Tarabai's imprisonment of Bam Raja, Shahu's 
heir, the absolute master of the empire. But 
as he died, overwhelmed by the news of Panipat 
many years before the events with which this 
article is concerned, it is unnecessary to refer fur- 
ther to him. The days of Raghunathrao, however, 
were many and evil, and, while Balaji really foun- 
ded the dynasty of the Poona Peshwas, no one 
laboured more effectively to destroy it than his 
younger brother* Indeed, during his long life, 
the, part played by himself and his son after him, 
resemble in an extraordinary manner, the part 
enacted in France by the princes of the House of 
Orleans. In his earlier life the exploits of Raghu- 
nathrao recall those of the gallant prince who at 
Steinkirk, when only fifteen, broke at the head 
of the Great King's glittering guards through the 
advancing infantry of William of Orange. With 
far more claim to generalship and with a heart 
no less bold, Raghunathrao led 50,000 Maratha 
qavalry from Poona to Delhi, defeated Ahmed 
Shah Abdali's Afghan governor of Sirhind, and 
gave to the Peshwas 3 horse the proud spectacle of 
the Bhagwa Jhenda's golden pennons dancing in 
triumph above the walls of Lahore. 

A quarrel, however, with his cousin Sadashivrao 
about the cost of this expedition far more than 
destroyed its good results. Adopting the tactics 
employed by Nicias towards deon, Raghunathrao 
suggested that Sadashivrao should himself lead 



OEQOTTEtt BAWLBllEIito 33 



the next expedition to Hindustan. The result was 
what Raghunath both hoped and expected. Sada- 
shivrao, without military talents of any kind, 
was overwhelmed by the Afghans at Panipat. 
He and his nephew, the Grown prince Vishwas 
Rao, perished with 200,000 men on that bleak 
and bitter plain. 

Nor was this all. The Peshwa Balaji was, as 
I have said, unable long to survive the news and 
in the midst of this calamitous time the vast weight 
of the Shaken empire was thrown on the Shoul- 
ders of the dead Balaji's second son, then barely 
seventeen, and known to history as Madhavrao 
BallaL In the face of disasters due wholly to 
Raghunath's own jealous nature, it was yet open 
to him partially to redeem his conduct by display- 
ing towards his young nephew loyalty and deference. 
But Raghtmathrao from this time onward com- 
mitted towards his brother's children a series of 
crimes and treasons which entirely overshadow 
those which a few years later brought on Philippe 
I(galit6, the execration of all, Europe. 

Nettled at Madhavrao's, wish to ta&e some arfc 
in the administration, JBaghunathrao assembled 
an army and defeated Ziis nephew's troops; and 
but for Madhavrao's chivalrous submission the 
State would have fallen a prey to the NiaaxnV 
advancing army. The union of the two relatives 
was Soon rewarded by the great victory of Hak- 
shasabhawaa wherein Madhavrao So covered him* 
self with glory that Raghunathrao was no longer 
able to dispute his Sttprewaey* But when in 1772 
the gallant and capable young prince died of con- 



34 FORGOTTEK BATTLEFIELD 

sumption, Eaghunathrao renewed against his bro- 
ther Narainrao the plot which had been foiled by 
the talents and character of Madhavrao. Less 
than a year after Narainrao's succession he was, 
with the connivance of Raghunathrao and at the 
instigation of his infamous wife Anandibai, mur- 
dered in cold blood by the officers of the palace 
guard. It is satisfactory to note that this crime 
brought on its author nothing but misery. For 
shortly after Narainrao's murder his widow gave 
birth to a son, called Madhavrao, after his uncle, 
thus again interposing a direct heir between Eaghu- 
nathrao and the PeshwaL Having murdered his 
king, Eaghunathrao's next step was to betray his 
country. By sedulously Spreading falge reports 
he convinced the English Government of Bombay 
that Madhavrao was a spurious child, and by 
offering the cession of a large part of Gujarat he 
obtained their armed assistance. On the 18th 
May, 1775, Colonel Keating with a small mixed 
force of English and sepoys won, near the banks 
of the Mahi, the decisive victory of Arass* Some 
Seven months previous to this action, however, 
the Government of Bengal had assumed the su- 
preme control of our Indian possessions, and as the 
Bombay Government had carried on this war 
without the authority of the Bengal Council, the 
latter ended it as Soon as possible by the treaty 
of Purandhar and again left Eaghunathrao to his 
own devices. La the interpretation of this treaty 
difficulties occurred. Had the P^hwas and the 
Bombay Government approached the subject with 
a little good will, they would, no doubt, have dis* 



FOEGOTTBK BATTLEETOLD 85 

appeared. But the former were insolently elated 
and the latter deeply mortified at the action of 
Bengal. And the intrigues of a Rrench adven- 
turer, St. Lubin, induced the Bombay Council, in 
spite of Warren Hastings' express orders, once 
again to attempt by armed intervention the ele- 
vation of Raghunathrao to the throne of Poona. 
And this closes the introduction to my story. 

The expedition which was so disastrously to end 
at Wadgaon reached, on the 23rd December, 1778, 
Khandala without opposition. The force num- 
bered nearly 4,000 men, of whom 591 were Euro- 
peans. They were within two marches of Poona, 
and had the army advanced with ordinary speed 
the capital could not have offered any serious 
resistance. The procedure which the officer com- 
, manding, Colonel Egerton, adopted was quite differ- 
ent. He divided his force into three bodies who, 
to use Grant Duff's words, " advanced alternately 
at the rate of about three-quarters of a mile daily, 
the march rarely exceeding two miles and the 
one division always occuping the ground whiph th& 
other had quitted/' Eleven days later tow the 
Colonel still at Karlee, eight miles from the top 
of the ghats, and neither Nana Fadnavis, the regent, 
nor Mahadji Shinde, the first soldier in the State, 
were the men to waste time* A force und,er 
the Maratha General Panse advanced with 9,000 
men to harass and detain the British fotce 
until the bulk of the forces could arrive. On the, 
9th January, however, the inyaders without much, 
difficulty reached Talegaon about 20 miles from 
Thti retreating S^rfathas fired the 



J6 FORGOTTEN BATTLEHBLB 

*nd a rumour, baseless as is now believed and pro- 
bably arising only from the burning of TaJegaon, 
spread that Nana Fadnavis intended similarly 
to .destroy Chinchwad and Poona. It is difficult 
to understand why this rumour should have alar- 
med the Committee of senior officers who, from the 
6th January, on Colonel Egerton's sickness, had 
assumed the command. A quick march to Poona 
would have saved it. But even had this failed 
no greater blow could have befallen the Maratha 
arms than their own arson of the capital. 

Nevertheless* in spite of the protest of a civilian 
Mr. Holmes and of the one bright genius m the 
force Captain Hartley, the Committee suddenly 
determined to retreat secretly to Bombay. Raghu- 
nathrao who, until he heard of this resolve had 
been indulging in dreams of approaching kingship, 
hastened to the Spot and in vain harangued the 
Committee. But the evil fortune of the pretender 
seemed to paralyse the brains of his allies. For 
all his crimes, he was probably the ablest leader 
of men then in India and he knew that a single 
resolute march would place Poona in his hands.* 
No arguments moved the Committee and at 11 p.m. 
on the llth January, the victorious army threw 
their heavy guns into the lake of Talegaon and 
began their retreat. They soon learnt that the 
Maratha troops, although unable to check a hostile 
t*4vance, did not lack enterprise in a pursuit. Iso- 
lated parties pushed on and seized hills in front 



r, Natto, ifce writer of an admirable vernacular life of Mahadj* 
admits that the Maratha troops of tfcia period ^re worthless. 
&3^ Watte," i fti,a&et& saddle stuffing, 



FORGOTTEN BATTLEFIELD 37 

of the English force so as to enfilade it as it passed 
Bodies of horse plundered the baggage and ei> 
gaged the head of the retreating army, and but 
for the signal skill and bravery of Captain Hartley, 
the English force would probably have not long 
survived* But every charge of the Deccan horse 
was met and defeated by this gallant soldier's 
resource and valour. The whole of the 12th Janu- 
ary he occupied, in spite of the efforts of the entire 
Maratha grand army now arrived to dislodge him, 
a low rising ground with big unsupported rear 
guard. And as evening fell he was able to make 
good his retreat to Wadgaon where the rest of his 
comrades had halted. 

Here he found that the Committee were unwil- 
ling to continue the retreat and had already sent a 
Mr. Farmer to negotiate with the enemy. This as 
might have been expected did not discourage 
the Marathas. And Mahadji Shinde insisted on a 
complete surrender and on a cession of not only 
all the Company's conquests since the death ol 
elder Madhavrao but also of the Company's poor 
sessions in Broach and Surat. In vain Hartley 
protested, offering himself to conduct the retreat. 
And, indeed, under so gallant a leader and with 
the spirit of the troops and the junior officers still 
unbroken, it is possible that the force mig&$ gfcijl 
have even fought its way to Poona* But tja& 
courage of the Committee had now So ebbed titat 
Hartley's resolute words roused no echo. After a 
feeble demuj that they had no powers to negotiate 
they consented to evefy demand made by Sliirid% 
and i&ey wqre only spared the ignoiioiay of 



38 EOBGOTTEN BATTLEJB1ELD 

ing away Raghunathrao's liberty by his own as- 
tuteness. For correctly gauging the situation, he, 
shortly after the retreat began, deserted his allies 
and threw himself on Shinde's mercy. On the 
acceptance of the latter's terms, a treaty was drawn 
up and signed. The Committee were then allowed, 
as an act of clemency, to withdraw with their 
army to Bombay. I am glad to say that their 
conduct received there a fitting punishment. The 
senior officers of the expedition were one and all 
ignominiously dismissed, and Captain Hartley was 
promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Un- 
fortunately, his promotion was conferred without 
due consideration, and on the petition of such of 
his seniors who had not served in the recent cam- 
paign, his pay and further promotion were sus- 
pended until they had again superseded him. 
Mortified beyond measure, he resigned the Com- 
pany's service, but recommended by the Court 
of the Directors to the King, he was given command 
of the 73rd regiment, rose to the rank of Major- 
General, and was the animating spirit of the re- 
conquest of the Konkan and of the capture of 
Bassein. 

Such is the stirring story of the lonely station 
which the mail trains pass heedlessly by. Nor 
has its remembrance lingered with the inhabitants 
of the quiet village. I sought in vain with their 
help to locate the rising ground so stubbornly 
defended by Hartley, and the spot where the treaty 
was discussed by Farmer and by Mahadji Shinde. 
Bttfc battle, retreat, capitulation all alike hftd 
forgotten, Att<3, indeed, when thiwigh the 



FORGOTTEN BA1TLBBIBLB 39 

mists of a November evening the long purple hills 
look calmly down on the babul-dotted plain, on 
the old stronghold of the Dabhades and on the 
trees mirrored in the sleeping lake, it is hard to 
picture that they once enjoyed a spectacle unique 
in Western India, the Surrender of an English 
army* 



THE BAKHAR OF THE DABHADES. 

To many probably of my readers the word Bakhar 
will be unknown. And perhaps it will be as well 
to clear the ground by explaining that the wt>rd 
does not mean a he-goat, as I once heard it tran- 
slated by an enthusiastic but ill-informed Marathi 
student. I am unaware of the origin of the term, 
but it is applied to the family histories of the great 
Deccan houses and these bakhars formed one of the 
mines from which Grant Duff took his materials. 
The bakhar with which this article will deal must 
have been written not long after the downfall 
of the last Bajirao and narrates in simple language 
the history of a family that for more than a century 
took a leading part in the affairs of the Maratha 
Empire. The book a bound manuscript was 
kindly lent me by Sirdar Dabhade of Talegaon, 
and as I read, at first with difficulty and then with 
some fluency, the old Maratha shrift, I seemed 
to see, through the medium of this unpretentious 
tale, enacted before me all the complex and Strik- 
ing events that together made up the history of 
the Empire of the Marathas, 

The founder of the Dabhade family was one 
Dabhade, Mukhadam of Talegaon, who 
-obtained service as the personal attendant of 
On the latter'a death Yeshpatil continued 



BAKHAE OF THE DABHABES 41 

t o act as the tutor of the two yotmg Princes Sam- 
bhaji and 'Rajaram, while his two sons Khanderao 
and SMvaji served as their pages. In 1689 Sambhaji 
and in 1690 his son Shahu were captured by Aurang- 
zib. Thereupon the Dabhades were retained solely 
in the service of Uajaram, and at the council gath- 
ered to declare the latter regent, Khanderao repre- 
sented the family interests. Shortly, however, after 
Shahu 5 s capture, Rajaram at Panhala was in grave 
danger of a similar fate. He had taken refuge 
in that fort when it was suddenly besieged by a 
detachment of the Moghal army under Zulfikar- 
khan. But fortunately for their Prince the Dabhade 
family were with him. At their father's command, 
Khanderao and Shivaji disguised Rajaram and 
themselves as grass cutters and so slipped through 
the Moghal lines. The Prince, whose health was 
never robust, soon tired and would no doubt have 
succumbed during the flight had not the two Dabh- 
ades if our chronicles can be believed carried 
him forty miles in a single day. Shivaji, it is true, 
fell down and died of fatigue, but Khanderao 
triumphantly bore his Prince out of danger.* 
Needless to say the grateful Prince was not slow 
to reward hig saviour. Indapuri, Urase, and Dhan-* 
kan villages had already been granted to the Dabh- 
ades, and to these he added, at the birth of his BOB, 
the patelki and kulkarni rights of the talukas of 
Junnar, Harichanda, Puna and of the Parganag 

* This feat has been attributed by Grant Duff, VoL I, p. 277, to 
the Shirks family. And I dare say the honour of saving Rajaram is 
claimed by several different houses. 

Since writing this the true origin of the word bakhar has 
suggested to me. It 9 a corruption of khabar. 

ft 



42 BAKHAB Otf THE DABHADES 

of Akola and Maval. And as the quaint deed 
ran : " If any one were to disturb the possession 
of the Dabhades his act, were he a Hindu, would 
be deemed as heinous as if he had killed both a 
cow and a Brahmin at Benares and were he a 
Musulman as if he had taken an oath on the Kaaba 
and broken it/ 5 And the value of this substantial 
gift wag heightened by the title of Sena Khag Khel 
or commandant of the royal guards. Rajaram 
died in the summer of 1700 and Aurangzib seven 
years later. On the latter's death Shahu was 
released, and naturally wished to enter into pos- 
session of his father's kingdom, but Rajaram's 
widow, Tarabai, had for 7 years enjoyed power and 
wag unwilling to give it up. She affected to be- 
lieve that Shahu was a mere impostor and sent 
Khanderao Dabhade who had been his early play- 
mate to test him. No doubt the lady thought that 
Dabhade would, as a prudent man, decide accor- 
ding to her wishes. But if so she was disappointed. 
For the gallant Sirdar, after meeting Shahu and 
carefully examining him, declared him to be the 
true son of Sambhaji and joined his cause. li 
was successful and honours rained on the loya] 
Khanderao. He was confirmed in the possession 
of Rajaram's grants although as the original deeds 
had been lost in the war they might well have 
been repudiated. And not long after the instal- 
lation of BaJaji Vishwanath as Peshwa, Khanderao 
Dabhade was raised to the rank of Senapati or 
<^mmander-in-Chiet He was now one of the 
great officers of State and in order to maintain his 
rank he was granted the Sardeshmukhi rights of 



BAKHAB Off THE BABHADES 43 

the 104 villages of 'the pargana of Banner. The 
duties of his new office were first exercised in the 
conquest of Gujarat where he, in conjunction with 
the Nizam, won against the Syads the decisive 
victory of Balapur (A.D. 1720). He did not, how- 
ever, long survive the fatigues of this campaign. 
On account of his old age he asked to be excused 
from further service and begged that his son Trim- 
bakrao might be at once invested with hid own 
earlier title of Sena Khas Khel. This was granted 
and Khanderao returned to Talegaon where he 
shortly afterwards died of gravel. 

Balaji Vishwanath who had always remained 
on friendly terms with the Dhabades, had pre- 
deceased Khanderao by a few months and a strug- 
gle was shortly to ensue between their sons which 
was alike disastrous to the Dhabades and the king- 
dom. Trimbakrao had before his father's death 
made himself complete master of Baroda and 
Southern Gujarat and when he succeeded to the 
post of Senapati he was regarded after the king 
as the most considerable personage in the Deccan. 
As a Maratha also, he had with him the good wishes 
of the descendants of Sivaji's comrades and of 
the Deshasth Brahmins, both of whom had regarded 
with dislike the preponderant power of Balaji 
Vishwanath and the increasing number of GMt- 
pawans in the public offices. In spite of considerable 
opposition, however, Shahu, mindful of Balajf s 
services, gave some months after his death the 
vacant post of Peshwa to Bajirao, his son. It 
was now generally f elt that the contest between 
the Dhabfcdes and Bajirao would not long fce 



44 BAKHAR OF THE DAfeHADES 

delayed. Nor was public expectation in error. At 
the first durbar held after Bajirao's elevation he 
proposed to king Shahu the conquest of Malwa. 
Shripatrao Pureshram, whose father had died 
about the same time as Khanderao Dabhade and 
Balaji Vishwanath, and who had thereby succeed- 
ed to the title of Pratinidhi (or the king's image), 
was a Yajurvedi DeshaSth and as such a support- 
er of Trimbakrao. He as the Dhabade's mouth- 
piece resisted the proposal. He drew a just pic- 
ture of the disorganisation of the finances, of the 
disordered state of the Konkan and Gujarat, and 
urged with force and truth that the time had come 
to consolidate the Maratha conquests. Their in- 
dependence had been recognised. It was far better 
that while avoiding all rupture with either Delhi 
or Hyderabad, they should convert their present 
possessions into a wealthy and powerful kingdom. 
Bajirao, however, skilfully begged the question. 
Without touching on matters of administration 
or finance he dwelt on the great deeds of Sivaji, 
who with far less resources had opposed the Mogal 
Empire in its heyday. He excited the king's cupid- 
ity by dwelling on the indolence, the imbecility 
and above all the wealth of the Mogals, and sti- 
mulated his religious zeal by urging him to drive 
from the sacred soil of India the outcaste and the 
barbarian. But such a line of reasoning would 
probably have failed but for the transcendent 
personal qualities of the speaker* The comman- 
ding stature that reached the low Maratha ceiling, 
the rich clear voice, the bold, virile features, the 
dark imperious eyes that forced attention and 



BAKHAfe OF $HE DABHADSS 45 



above all the rare felicity of diction* that for cen- 
turies has been the peculiar gift of the Konkanastha 
Chitpawan produced an irresistible effect. And 
when at the close of a lofty peroration, the minister 
fixed on Shahu his glowing gaze and said, " Maharaja 
Sahib, if you but listen to my counsel, I shall plant 
your banner in the walls of Attock," the scene that 
ensued was the most dramatic in history. Regard- 
less of the rigid etiquette of an Eastern Durbar, 
king Shahu, with blazing eyes, sprang from the 
" gadi " to his feet : " Plant my banner on Attock 
fort," he cried, half drawing his sword. "By 
God, you shall plant it on the throne of the 
Almighty !" t 

The Dhabade, though beaten in debate by no 
means abandoned the struggle. He refused with 
curtness Bajirao's offer to share in half the Malwa 
conquests in return for half Gujarat, and in 1731 
took the open field with 65,000 1 men. Bajirao 
thereupon advanced on DabhaL He was fortunate 
enough to find the Dhabades 9 troops divided* 
Trimbakrao with part of the army was at Dabhai. 
His two younger brothers were at a distance of 
forty miles. The Peshwa's intrigues were also 
fully successful. On a plea of watering their 

* This strange admission of Desh sth Brahmins that their language 
to be perfect must be spoken by a Konkanastha finds a curious parallel 
in the old Florentine saying that perfect Italian was the language 
of Florence as spoken by a Roman La lingua Toscana nella booea 
romana* 

f The phrase used by the king was the Kinnar Khnd. Grant Duff 
has translated this as the Himalayas. The term is the equivalent of 
the celestial regions. And the excited Shahu s meaning, as I take it, 
was that his armies would conquer Earth first and Heaven afterwards. 

J Grant Duff estimates the number at 35,000. 



46 BAKHAft OF m DABHADES 



horges all the Dhabade cavalry deserted to the 
enemy. Trimbakrao, however, chained the legs 
of his elephant to a gun and disputed the battle 
with the greatest obstinacy. Indeed it is possible 
that Trimbakrao might have won, had not his own 
cousin Shingrao Toke treacherously shot him in 
the temple as he removed his helmet at the close 
of the day. This decided the struggle. And al- 
though the writer of the Bakhar would have us be- 
lieve that Trimbakrao's two brothers came up, 
turned the tide of battle and drove Bajirao to 
Satara, where he was only saved by King Shahu's 
intervention, I am afraid that Grant Dufi's version 
that Bajirao was victorious must be accepted On 
the other hand the victory was probably not so 
complete as has been alleged, and there may be 
truth in the account that the two brothers laid 
their swords before the King as if to quit his 
service and were only placated with the utmost 
difficulty. 

The elder Yeshwantrao was in Trimbakrao's 
place made Senapati and the younger Baburao 
Senakhaskhel, and neither suffered at the king's 
hands any loss because of their rebellion. The 
new Senakhaskhel soon showed himself worthy of 
the honour. The Nawab of Surat had levied 
octroi from an envoy of Shahu, and the Senakhas- 
khel asked for and obtained leave to avenge the 
insult. With 368 sowars he proceeded to a camp 
four miles from the town and there displayed the 
Nawab's banner, whose followers he and his me;u 
declared themselves to be. At midnight they pro^ 
deeded to the town gates, which were open because 



BAKHAB OF THE BABHADES 47 

of the Kartiksnan festival, and without hindrance 
passed through them, alleging an urgent call from 
the Nawab himself. Similarly they penetrated the 
inner fort, and capturing the unfortunate ruler, 
carried him outside the City, where he was compelled 
to surrender fourteen of his twenty-eight Mahals 
and the Chauth of Surat. For this feat Baburao 
received a gold anklet and the Dhabades a Jaghir 
worth annually five lakhs as well as the Mokasa 
rights over Umbare,f Khandesh, Baglan and the 
Karnatik. In the following years the Dhabades 
and their high-spirited mother Umabai conquered 
Ahmedabad, and an agreement sanctioned by Shahu 
and entered into with Bajirao giving to the 
Dhabades complete independence from the Peshwa's 
control restored them in a great measure to their 
old position. But in the course of the next ten 
years there occurred three events disastrous to 
the fortunes of the family. The gallant Baburao 
was poisoned in Khandesh. Pilaji Gaikwad was 
assassinated at Baroda, and the great Bajirao 
died on the 28th April, 1740, on the banks of the 
Narbadda. 

Pilaji Gaikwad, who had risen from the post of 
Khanderao's trainer to that of his second-in command 
had been left by the Dabhades as their Viceroy in 
Guj sxat. He administered the country with success, 
and faithfully and regularly paid to his masters at 
Talegaon the provincial revenues* But his son 
Damaji knowing the hostility of the Dabhades and the 
Peshwas, saw that he might turn it to his own profit. 

t A small village 6 miles North-East of Talegaon, known as "Nawalakh 
Umbore/' 



48 BAKHAB OF THE DABHADES 

Bajirao would not listen, to his proposals, but his 
son Balaji had none of his father's scruples. Dur- 
ing Shahu's lifetime, it is true, Damajfs schemes 
came to nothing. For the king saw through them and 
supported with admirable loyalty the descendants 
of his old playmate. But at his death Balaji, by 
the imprisonment of Shahu's heir 'Ramraja and the 
forced sati of Shahu's widow, became the master 
of the kingdom and readily fell in with a proposal 
to humble his only serious rival the Senapati. He 
demanded from him the cession of half Gujarat. 
The Senapati consulted Damaji, who, posing as a 
friend, scouted the idea and advised him strongly 
to fight.* They joined forces, claiming to be the 
champions of Raja Ram's widow Tarabai, but on 
the battlefield of Aland! the Gaikwad deserted his 
master, who was seized and confined in Poona 
prison. For the sake of appearances Damaji was 
also imprisoned, but shortly afterwards released, 
and he and the Peshwa divided between them 
Gujarat, while the unfortunate Senapati had to be 
satisfied with a promised monthly allowance of 
half a lakh, which was never paid. Yeshwantrao 
Dhabade, however, had had enough of rebellion, 
and in 1754 took part in the Peshwa's conquest of 
Bednore, and in the course of it died on the banks 
of the Krishna. His son Trimbakrao succeeded as 
Senapati, and was present at Panipat from which, 
however, he and Damaji Gaikwad both escaped. 

On the death of Balaji, which occurred almost 
immediately after the news of that disastrous 
defeat, Trimbakrao allied himself with Balaji's 

*,Thia account should be compared with page 62, 



BAKHAJt O3T THE DABHADES 49 

brother Raghunathrao in his attempts to dispossess 
Madhavrao, his nephew. But Raghunathrao was 
also joined by Damaji Gaikwad, who thereupon 
plotted and all but effected the seizure and im- 
prisonment of his old master's heir. The latter 
in disgust fled to the Nizam. But good fortune 
had deserted the lords of Talegaon. Madhavrao 
and 'Raghunathrao were reconciled and together 
defeated the Nizam at Rakshasbhawan, and Damaji 
Gaikwad obtained from the Peshwa the possession 
of the entire Dabhade estates on an undertaking 
to pay off Trimbakrao's creditors. This, followed 
by the investiture of Damaji with the title of Sena*- 
khaskhel, proved too much for poor Trimbakrao, 
who died of grief at VeruL His old enemy Damaji 
died not long afterwards, and in the disputed succes- 
sion the hopes of Laxmibai, Trimbakrao Dhabade'fc 
widow, rose high. But once again the Gaikwads 
were successful. The widow obtained, through 
the Peshwas* help, a large Jaghir from Govindrao 
Gaikwad, but only to find that it had already 
been mortgaged by his brother Fatehsing Gaikwad 
to his creditors. The Dabhades had now ceased 
to have any real political importance, and the rest 
of the family history is more or less a continuous 
struggle with poverty and rapacious money lenders; 
The widow was helped to some extent by 
Phadnavis, who placed her in possession of a 
of Ra. 50,000* Her adopted son Yeshw&htrab, 
however, was faced with fresh difficulties. Oeated 
Senapati by the last Bajtrao, and granted a com 
eiderableestate in Ithandesh, he fell into th^ clutches 



50 BAKHAB OF THE DABHADES 

for himself the remains of the Dabhade estate by the 
following ingenious expedient. The favourite direc- 
ted the Senapati to raise an army, promising that 
the Peshwa would defray the expenses. The army 
was raised but the Peshwa disclaimed all respon- 
sibility, and the poor Dabhade was forced to agree 
to hand over his entire property to Kunjar that the 
latter might pay off the arrears of the clamorous 
troops. The Dabhade was now an utter beggar, but 
with considerable foresight cultivated the friend- 
ship of the English. And eventually the marriage 
of his son to Daulatrao Shinde's daughter gave 
YeShwantrao an honoured retreat in Gwalior, 

The writer of the Bakhar ends with an expression 
of grim satisfaction that Yeshwantrao lived to seethe 
English Government overturn the Peshwa 9 s rule and 
restore to the throne the heir of the immortal Bhosle 
who had first befriended the Mukadam of Talegaon. 
Nor were joyful feelings the only gain of Yeshwant- 
rao. The English whose society he had courted 
testored him to Talegaon and to the property from 
which Kunjar had cheated him. And to-day within 
the old fort wall, which overlooks the trains and 
the motors that join Poona to Bombay, there lives 
a gallant sportsman and loyal gentleman, the first 
class Sirdar Khanderao Dabhade of Talegaon, By 
his courtesy I have been permitted to make this 
story public and his many friends will, I know, unite 
with me in the wish that one day or other his line 
may restore the ancient glories of a house which 
once ruled as all but sovereign Princes m 
ed^bad, Khandesh and the MawaJ, 



THE BAKHAR OF PILAJI GAIKWAD. 

I think that it may be said with fairness that there 
are at least three articles of belief commonly accep- 
ted, if not by all, by at any rate, the great majority 
of Anglo-Indians. These articles are that (1) the 
Indian lion is a small and maneless coward ; that 
(2) the Gaikwad of Baroda means the cowherd of 
Baroda; that (3) there is such a person as a Maratha 
Brahmin. Nor are eminent sponsors lacking. For 
Macaulay in his essay on Warren Hastings has sup- 
ported article No. 2. While article No. 3 derives 
authority from no less a writer than the great 
Grant Duff. Nevertheless in spite of such illustrious 
god-parents, the said three articles of belief must, I 
am afraid, be condemned as heretical. The Indian 
lion is a fierce hirsute beast similar in size and ap- 
pearance to his Somaliland cousin. There is no such, 
word in Marathi language as Gaikwad meaning 
<c cowherd." And there never was and there never 
will be such a person as a Maratha Brahmin** 

* The Principal castes of Brahmins to be found in the Deccan are 
Bigvedi Deshasths, Yajurvedi Deshasths, and Kardaa. Besides these 
there is a large number of Chitpawans or Konkanasths who have 
immigrated from the Konkan. A Maratha means generally a Kunbi, 
but it is often restricted to those Kunbi families who claim to have 
Rajput descent. The term, a Maratha Brahmin is therefore a contradic- 
tion in terms. Of course, Grant Dufl knew this and his mistake was 
merely & concession to popular Anglo-Indian usage. 

[Since writing this I have learnt from Mr. Karandikar of Satara, that 
the phrase is borrowed from Madras* where Marathi speaking Brahmins are 
stylad Magatha Brahmins. Thephraaeis, however , tmkno^n, la PooaaJ 



52 BAXHAR OF PILAJI GAIKWAD 

Now if the word Gaikwad does not mean "cowherd" 
what then does it mean ? It is made up of two 
words : Gai " a cow " and Kavad " a Small door ." 
Gaikwad therefore means cow door. And of the 
Story of the name as told me by a Baroda oificial 
is this. One Nandaji, the great grandfather of 
Pilaji Gaikwad, was in charge of Bher for tin the 
Pawan Mawal. A Musalman butcher one day 
drove past the fort gates a quantity of cows, inten- 
ding at the end of his journey to convert them into 
beef. Nandaji, like a virtuous Hindu, rushed out 
and rescued the cows which ran for shelter through 
a side door or Kavad in the fort wall. Now this 
Nandaji had a son Keroji Rao and Keroji Rao had 
four sons Damaji, Lingoji, Gujoji and Harji Rao. 
Pilaji was, however adopted by his uncle Damaji 
and in the end became the founder of the famous 
line of the Maharaja Gaikwads of Baroda. 

Now, how did Pilaji Gaikwad begin his career ? 
I have found two different stories. The Dabhade 
Bakhar records that when the great Khanderao 
Dabhade was sent by Tarabai to ascertain and re- 
port whether Shahu was an imposter or really 
Shambhu's son he took with him as Naik of his 
jasuds or messengers, one Pilaji Gaikwad, and him 
he sent to tell Tarabai that Shahu was no imposter 
but the true heir to Sivaji's empixe* So speedily 
did Pilaji go to the queen mother and return to 
Khanderao that the latter gave Pilaji as a reward 
the command of 50 horse. In the Pilaji Bakhar, 
of which a copy was recently furnished me by the 
itfofl^tesy of the Baroda Government, I find a q 
(Jiflfefcent story. Pilaji was at first a grodm 



BAKHAfc 6ff HLAJl 

Dabhade' s household and was put in charge of some 
forty or fifty mares, which had become too thin 
to carry Khanderao's sowars. Pilaji, it seems, was 
an efficient horse trainer and he took the mares 
with him to the village of Narayanpur in Jawapur 
pargana where they shortly recovered their condi- 
tion. Khanderao then gave him 200 or 300 other 
foundered nags which also recovered health and, 
strength and Pilaji not only returned the horses 
but most of the money given to him for their keep. 
As a reward the Dabhade promoted him to the 
command of a squadron with which he was to 
garrison Jawapur. This pargana and the neigh- 
bouring districts were then in the hands of the 
Bandes and the Pawars other officers of the 
SenapatL They affected to believe that the latter 
had made a mistake and refused to hand over to 
Pilaji his new possession. To compensate him, 
however, the Dabhade gave him two other squad- 
rons and allowed him to establish himself at 
Songadh, Soon afterwards Pilaji had his revenge. 
In the year A*D. 1720 Nizam-ul-Mulk formed 
the plan of making himself independent in Malwa 
as he afterwards did at Hyderabad. To effect 
his scheme, he allied himself with the Marath&s IB 
Gujerat and decisively defeated the Imperial Atmjf 
at Balapur. Conspicuous among the victors were 
the troops of Khanderao Dabhade, and di&tmr 
guished even among those gallant men was !Pilaji 
Gaikwad. As a reward he wag emphatically de- 
clared to be the superior officer of both Bande and 
Pawar, ai*d promoted to be the Dabhade's Vioeroy 
ia Gujerat. PU&ji's life for the next few years 



54 BAKHAfc 6tf frlLAJl GAtKWAD 

* ) 

a continual struggle. From the north, of Gujarat 
the Imperial troops came pouring in anxious to 
restore the old Mogal sovereignty. From the 
East pressed the Mzam-ul-Mulk and Pilaji's only 
safety lay in dexterous diplomacy. Fortunately 
he was equal to the occasion. The first battle of 
Arass will, I think, serve as a typical instance. 
The Imperial side was led by Ruslam Ali Khan and 
to him Pilaji joined himself. On the day of the 
battle lending a ready ear to the Nizam's emissaries 
Pilaji got rid of his ally in this ingenious manner. 
Taking advantage of a momentary success of Rus- 
tam Khans' artillery, Pilaji persuaded him to finish 
the battle by a grand cavalry charge. The guile- 
less Mogal consented and away went the glittering 
masses of the Imperial horse. Pilaji, however, 
detached himself, destroyed his allies 5 guns and 
then charged with his Maratha lancers into the rear 
of Rustam All's squadrons. They were utterly 
defeated and' Rustam Ali stabbed himself to avoid 
capture. Events, however, which were seriously 
to affect Gujarat, had been rapidly ripening m 
another quarter. Balaji Vishwanath Peshwa an4 
Khanderao Dabhade died in 1720 and 1721, shortly 
after the victory of Balapur. Between their s6ii# 
Bajirao and Trimbakrao there smouldered a rivalry 
which in 1731 flared into civil war., The rival 
armies met near Dabhai and Trimbakrao was 
killed and his army routed. In its ranks was 
Pilaji Gaikwad. He fought like a gallant soldier, 
lost his eldest sonSayajiraoandwas himself severely 
wounded* He did not, however, long survive. 
The emperor taking advantage of the quarrels df 



BAKTTAB OF HLAJI GAIKWAB 55 

the Marathas sent Abhai Sing* of Marwad to re- 
cover Gujarat, He recovered Baroda and then 
pretended to negotiate for a partition of the pro- 
vince. While Pilaji listened, the pretended emis- 
sary stabbed him to the heart. He was carried 
to Saoli in a palki and his body was burnt at Karanjal 
on the banks of the Nerbadda, In estimating 
his character no great task confronts us. He 
was a gallant soldier and faithful servant, who, 
if he was treacherous in his master's interest's 
disdained to be so in his own. His eldest survi- 
ving son and successor Damaji presents a harder 
task. If the writer of the Dhabade Bakhar be be- 
lieved there is scarcely a human vice of which he 
was not the possessor nor any baseness of which 
he was not capable. He was the fiend incarnate, 
the Mephistopheles to use thei essayist's phrase 
of the cruel sneer and iron eye. But when we 
turn to the Gaikwad Bakhar, we can scarcely 
believe our senses so great has been the transfor- 
mation. The double-dyed villain has been coipL* 
pletely whitewashed. Satan has resumed his old 
place in the forefront of the Archangels. So fat 
from Damaji being stained by any blot of tre^ctdty 
his was the noble character which suffered l,cmg 
years of imprisonment sooner then desert his master. 
Yet, I think, that we shall not be far wrong if we 
adopt the maxim of the publican in Silas 
a&d judge that the truth lies somewhere 
the two. Damaji seems, to have been a bold, 
aspiring, unscrupulous man, whose keen j 

* The Bakhar mentions Dokaleing as the author of the 
I think this must be a mistake and I have followed Grant Dufi. 



56 BAKEAE OF PILAJI GAIKWAI) 

admirably suited to the times, enabled Mm to thrive 
exceedingly. Had he been a Frenchman of the 
early years of the 19th century, he would in all 
probability have risen to be a marshal of the empire 
or even to be Duke of Warsaw or King of Portugal 
He would with Murat have deserted the struggling 
Titan when his throne began to totter, and would 
with Bernadotte have avoided the grievous error 
of returning to his old allegiance with the violets 
in the spring. Had Damaji been an Italian of the 
cinque cento, he would have shot, stabbed and poi- 
soned himself into the overlordship of Seina or 
Verona and would have proved a serious rival to 
Pandolfo Petrucci and the Visconti of Milan. He 
would have obtained a place in the portrait gallery of 
II Principe; and the great secretary would have 
drawn his picture with the same rare skill and 
admiring awe with which he limned the features 
of Cesare Borgia and Castruccio Castracani. 

The first enemies whom Damaji had to meet 
were the Bandes and the Pawars who had long re- 
sented their subordination to the Gaikwad. Da- 
maji, however, completely defeated them. Pawar 
was taken and beheaded and Bande was forced 
to flee from Gujarat. The next ten years seem to 
frave been spent in incessant conflict. In Samvat 
1800 (A. D. 1744) Babuji Nait of Baramati surprised 
Soogad and burnt it with all the Gaikwad's stores 
and treasure. And in the following year* Wala 

* I have not been able to find why Babuji Naik attacked Dan*aji 
Bfc&uji waa the patron of the poet Moro Pant and descended from a 
B&toin contractor to Aurangzib. He was connected by marriage with 
the <*&wa and may have acted at his secret instigation* 



BAKHAB OF HLAJI GAIKWAD 57 

Shah a renegade prince of Devgadh rose against the 
Maratha Government, Everything, however, ended 
in Damaji' s favour. Babuji Naik was driven from 
the province, Wala Shah became a dependant on 
the bounty of the Nizam while jDamaji was invested 
with the title of Shamsher Bahadur* by Yeshwant- 
rao Dabhade, who had succeeded to his father 
Trimbakrao's honours. In 1750, however, there 
occurred events which altered the whole destiny 
of the Maratha empire. Shahu died and on his 
death Balaji Bajirao's son seized control of the 
entire administration. Tarabai, Shahu's aunt, re- 
belled and was joined by Damaji Gaikwad and 
Yeshwantrao Dabhade who defeated the Peshwa's 
troops on the banks of the Krishna. The Peshwa, 
however, treated with Damaji, entrapped him into 
his camp and then imprisoned both him and Dabhade, 
the former at Sinhgad and the latter at LohgadL 
But here the authors of the two Bakhars diverge 
widely. The Dabhade Bakhar has alleged that 
Damaji voluntarily allowed himself to be impri- 
soned in order to escape the odium of his treachery. 
The Gaikwad historian would have us believe that 
Damaji, treacherously seized, endured his prison 
for many years rather than betray his master. The 
truth seems to be that Damaji had intended to 
desert to the Peshwa's side, but was treacherously 
seized by him that he might be made to disgorge 
Gujarat. The gallant resistance however of Ke&b~ 
arji Gaikwad, Damaji's relative and regent in Gujarat 
made the Pefchwa decide to release his prisoner. 
Damaji received at Dabhade's expense the title of 

investiture ol thia title is very 



53 BAKHAB OF PILAJI GAIKWAB 

Senakhaskhel* and half Gujarat The other half 
was appropriated by Balaji Bajirao. Damaji then 
returned to his province where he found that 
Ahmedabad had during his captivity passed into 
Musulman hands. In 1755, however, Damaji finally 
annexed it to the Baroda Government, 

Some years previous to this date an Afghan sol- 
dier in the service of Nadir Shah had on the latter' s 
assassination established himself as king of Herat 
and in 1747-48 began a series of invasions of India. 
To meet them the Peshwa's Government sent several 
expeditions into Northern India and Damaji Gaik- 
wad seems to have been present with most of them 
until the complete overthrow in 1761 of theMarathas 
on the field of Panipat. When Vishwasrao, the 
Peshwa's eldest son, fell mortally wounded, Mai- 
harrao Holkar left the field. Damaji Gaikwad was 
the next to follow and some weeks later the Maratha 
sentry on the Baroda watch tower saw a single horse- 
man struggling to reach the city. It was Damaji 
himself, the sole survivor of the Gujarat contingent. 
The rest had either fallen in battle or been during 
the retreat massacred by the peasants. When the 
magnitude of the Maratha disaster was fully grasped 
by the neighbouring powers there was heard, to 
use the expressive simile in Pickwick, an uproar 
such as that which goes up from the whole menagerie 
when the elephant rings the bell for the cold meat. 
Every ruler, who had a grievance or could imagine 
one, made a demand on the Peshwa's Government. 
To make matters worse, Balaji had shortly after 

* The Dabhade Bakh*r places the investiture of Daman with the 
title of Senakhaskhel much later* 



BAKSAB Off 2ILAJ1 GA1KWAD 59 

Panipat died broken-hearted and his brother Baghu- 
nathrao tried to usurp the throne from his nephew 
Madhavrao, a boy of 16. Uncle and nephew took 
the field. With the latter was Damaji, but his Skil- 
ful desertion to Raghunathrao gave the latter the 
victory. In the meantime, the Nizam, who had 
no claim to make, had wisely wasted no time in 
doing so. He collected an army and advanced on 
Poona, proposing coolly to resume it as a former 
part of the Mogal empire. He, however, little 
knew the hero Spirit that glowed within the boyish 
breast of the young Peghwa. He mounted an 
elephant and rode unattended into his uncle's camp. 
They were reconciled and joined hands to expel the 
Mogals. A forced march enabled Baghunathrao 
to come up with the Nizam at Bakshasabhavan* 
as his army was crossing the Godavari. The Mara- 
thas attacked the enemy as they were astride the 
river, but the Maratha cavalry had already marched 
16 miles and the Mogal troops the old comrades of 
the Nizam-ul-mulk, fought desperately in defence of 
his son. The attack was repulsed, Baghunathrao's 
cavalry scattered everywhere, and the Nizam en- 
couraged his troops to press on and the Peshwa'a 
empire would be theirs. It was then that the true 
greatness of Madhavrao's nature came to light. 
Distrusted by his uncle he had been placed in charge 
of a small body of cavalry in the rear of the army. 
With this band as a nucleus, he reformed as best 
he could Such fugitives as passed near him. Just 
i' --.... ' ' 

* For an excellent account of this battle I would refer my readers to 
Mr. Thakore's monograph on Madfcavrao Peahwa which obtained tka 
writer the Manockji Limji gold medal in 1893* 



60 BAKHAB OF PILAJI OAIKWAD 

as he prepared to charge Malharrao Holkar came 
up fleeing from the battle. He tried to dissuade 
Madhavrao and urged him to seek in Poona safety 
and a throne. The young prince turned on him like 
a wounded tiger. "Then it fs true" he said, "that 
you left Sadashivrao to die at Panipat ?" Malhar- 
rao stung to the quick could but join his prince, and 
as the Mogal army advanced in the disorder of suc- 
cess, Madhavrao's cavalry burst on them stabbing, 
sabring, trampling down all resistance. Few troops 
then in India could have stood that furious onset 
and the Mogal army, that but a moment before had 
had victory in their grasp, were hurled headlong into 
the Godavari. Twenty-one guns and 15 elephants 
were captured on the field of battle, and Nal- 
durg fort and territory yielding 82 lakhs of rupees 
were paid by the Nizam as the price of peace. 
Damaji had fought at Eakshasabhavan and shared 
in the victory, but Madhavrao had not forgotten 
his desertion to Raghunathrao, and when in 1768 the 
latter rebelled, Damaji, who had again joined him, 
was fined 23 lakhs, compelled to support 3,000 troops 
in the Peshwa'g private service and pay a future 
tribute of nearly 7 lakhs a year. Madhavrao was 
now supreme lord of Western India, and it is not 
likely that Damaji, who died* the same year, fore- 
saw that in 50 years the Peshwa's line would be 
extinct, and his own still seated firmly on the throne 
of Baroda* 

As the bafchar ends with the death of Damaji, I do 
not propose to drag my readers through the endless 

He died from the resxilt of an accident while makiiig a chemical 
Vide Elliot** Balers of Baroda, p. 56, 



Off PILATE &AIKWAD 



struggles and intrigues of his graceless sons. It 
will suffice to say that after passing in turn through 
the hands of Sayajirao, Fatehsing and Manaji, the 
succession reverted to Damaji's eldest son Govind- 
rao. Through Govint&ao's son, Sayajirao, the line 
was continued to Malharrao, Damajfs great grandson 
who was deposed in 1875. The English Govern- 
ment looking for an heir, whom Khanderao Gaik- 
wad's widow might adopt, fixed on Gopalrao, then 
a little boy, and the direct descendant of Prataprao, 
the youngest son of Pilaji Gaikwad. As is usual 
at a Hindu adoption, the boy's name was changed, 
and under the title of Sayajirao, he now controls the 
destinies of the Baroda State. If my readers have 
borne with me so far, I trust, they will permit to 
make them one more suggestion. Should they have 
a few day's spare time, and are anxious to see how 
an Indian State can be guided by Indian rulers, let 
them go to Baroda. They will see what are some- 
times deemed counsels of perfection brought to 
realisation. They will see Indian judges perfectly ac* 
quainted with English law and with three languages 
dispensing justice. They will seo, the State cover- 
ing itself with a net work of light railways, housies 
provided by the State for its officials, vast public 
gardens and public bands kept up by the State for 
the amusement of its subjects. I do not say that 
faults will wholly escape the visitor's notice, but I 
greatly err if they do not go away deeply impressed 
with the talents and efficiency of the group of able 
men, who surround the ruler in whose veins there 
flows still the blood of Pilaji Damaji Gaikwad, 



TO MAHULI BY MOTOR. 

Duty had brought me to Satara, and three miles 
from the City and barely two from the Cantonment, 
lay the little double village of Mahuli Vasti and 
MahuK Kshetra, As I was anxious thoroughly to 
explore the spot, I invoked the assistance of a lear- 
ned Indian friend. By a happy chance he had at 
the time staying with him a party one of whom 
possessed a motor car. This was promptly com- 
mandeered and the same afternoon was fixed for 
our voyage of discovery. It happened that of our 
party 3 were acquainted with Gujarati, 4 with 
English, all 5 with Marathi. This, therefore, we 
adopted as the language of conversation and amid 
a flood of Deccani plentifully interspersed with 
English " Motorisms," the big car started gaily. 
Behind us frowned the fort of Azimtara. To the 
right was the English cemetery, on our left flashed 
by a Hindu temple surrounded by Dipmalas o 
lamp stands resembling nothing so much in Bhajte 
as the monkey puzzles that grow to delight children 
in the 'Regent's Park and in the Jardin des Planter 
In front of us towered sugar loaf-shaped Jaranda 
on whose summit nestles in a little wood a sm&tt, 
but picturesque temple to Maruti*. It is said 
that some 20 years ago there lived in it a sadhu <* 

. * Maruti is another name for Hannuman the monkey god, 
what suoailaiT story is told of J3hivaji'a preceptor Shri Ramdas. 



MAHTTLI BY MOTOR 63 

such srapassing sanctity that eventually growing 
a tail he became an avatar of the godhead tantum 
religio potuit. Let us only hope that on translation 
to a higher sphere his tail did not drop off with the 
cold like Brer Rabbit's did in the iced water. 

It does not take long for a motor car to devour 
two miles and soon we reached the empty bed of 
the Krishna river wherein a stranded ferry boat 
made it possible, though still hard, to realize that 
in a month or two the pebbly channel would be 
one mass of roaring yellow water striving to find 
its way to the far off Bay of Bengal. In front of us 
a notice forbidding strictly the exciting sport of 
monkey shooting made it clear to us that we were 
in the territory of the Pant Pratinidhi of Aundh. 
The Pratinidhi* whose title was created in the time 
of Ra jar am and whose ancestor acted as the Dabha- 
de's mouth piece in his struggle with Bajirao 
acquired this tiny domain in the following way. 
Once on the occasion of an eclipse King Shahu had 
gone from Satara to bathe in the Krishna river. 
With him was his favourite minister Shrinivagraof, 
the then Pratinidhi, who wag widely famed for his 
holiness and charities. Carried away by the fer- 
vour inspired by his religious act King Shahu sought 
in vain on the deserted bank of the Krishna for 
a pious Brahmin on whom to bestow a gift* Learn- 
ing his wish Shrinivasrao dexterously profited by it. 
" I am," he said, " both pious and a Brahmin, make 
me the gift." King Shahu took the hint and 

* Prilhad, the first Pratinidhi (the king's mirror) was the son of 
Niraji Bivaji's Nyayadhiah Pradhan or Lord Chief Justice. 
f Shraivftsrao was afeo catted Shtipatrao. 



64 MAHTTII BY MOTOR 

bestowed on him the 120 bigas on which now stand 
the temples of VastiMahuli*. In fairness, however, 
to Shrinivasrao it must be said that he derived no 
personal gain from the grant. For, in- the same 
year, A. D., 1720 he gave it for perpetual enjoyment 
to one Anant Bhat bin Aman Bhat Galande, a man 
who, as the sanad tells us, was profoundly versed 
in the Vedas. A hardly less quaint tale gives the 
origin of Kshetra Mahuli, the little village on the 
Krishna's eastern bank. It dates from the old Adil- 
shahi dynasty and Shivaji gave to its Brahmins a 
small, and in their opinion, a too small allowance. 
They in the end, however, found a solution. When 
Shivaji died and Shambhu was murdered, the Brah- 
mins of Kshetra MahuH went to find the fugitive 
Bajaram at Chindi. There they blest him and told 
him to be of good heart, for in the end Shivajfs 
empire would return to the Marathas. Touched 
with their devotion he gave them instead of their 
meagre grant the whole inam rights which they 
still enjoy over Kshetra Mahuli 

As we stood and looked across the river I learnt 
that the temple to our right had been in 1874 built 
by Sagunabai, the widow of the last ruling king of 
Satara, Shahji, otherwise known as Apasaheb. She 
was the adoptive mother of the Sardar who, had 
other councils prevailed with Lord Dalhousie, would 
have been Maharaja Chatrapati, and who died not 
long ago at Satara and was like his forerunners burnt 
at Mahuli. Just in front of us, however, stood a 
far more interesting monument. It was that erected 

* The terms of this sanad, as indeed many of the other facto about 
Malwli we*e given me by my learned friend Mr, Paraanis of Satara. 



MAHtTtt fetf MOl-Oft 68 

by King Shahu to his favourite hound* The dog's 
name was Khandya, and the tale runs that by bark- 
ing he attracted the king's attention to a tiger about 
to spring on him. Another version is that the dog 
itself flew at a charging panther, and so allowed 
his master time to escape. The king's gratitude 
passed into madness. He gave the dog a Seat in 
durbar, a sanad as a jaghirdar, and kept up on its 
behalf a complete palki establishment. On its 
death, its body was solemnly cremated, and its asti 
or charred bones committed to the earth on the 
banks of the sacred river. Over them was erected 
a monument Surmounted by a red stone image, which 
has lasted for over 150 years. The dog's image 
is unfortunately much defaced, but a small sculpture 
at the side still preserves for our eyes the artist's 
conception. For there a marvellous hound prances 
through the ages wonderful, awe-inspiring, tiger- 
tearing. Surely no dog save that of Odysseus ever 
had a more enduring memorial. A few steps brought 
us into the very centre of the little village. On our 
left, rose the great temple of Vishveshwar erected 
at a cost of ten lakhs by Shrinivasrao, the village 
founder. At its entrance a mighty basalt bull Seems 
to struggle through the river sands, and within ii& 
vestibule there hangs a bronze bell which, t&kei* 
from a Portuguese church near Bassein, once swung 
to call the godly to worship and sinners to repeii* 
tance, and now is tolled instead to rouse the drowsy 
god and scare the all too wakeful demons*, Just 

* 1^ idea is expressed in the following Sanskrit sloka :-- 

** Agmanarthajj ta devanam gemanartham tu rakahzam koru gante 

rftvam nad." O Boil, make a awset aound to call the gods and disperse 

t&e demons. 



66 MAHIILI BY MOTOR 

opposite is a temple built on a different model* It 
was built by ShrinivaSrao's widow in honour of 
her gallant husband, and designed, as it is, in the 
northern style, bears witness unwittingly to the 
onward march of the Maratha armies. In front of 
us and across the Krishna rose the splendid flight 
of 35 Steps leading to the temple of Eameshwar 
built by Parashuram Angal of Dehgaon. At its 
side and as if clinging to the main Staircase may be 
seen another flight of steps which start firmly from 
the river bed, and then unfinished lose themselves 
in the sands of the bank above. The flight was 
begun and left unfinished by Bajirao Raghunathrao, 
the last of the Poona Peshwas, and to the curious 
affords a striking simile to his own career. This prince, 
destined to such strange vicissitudes, was born at 
Dhar in December A,D. 1775. When he was but 9 
years old, his father, weary of war and failures, and 
disgusted with the treaty of Salbai,f died at Kopar- 
gaon on the banks of the Godavery. For the next 
eleven years Bajirao lived with his mother, but 
on her death in 1793 the all powerful regent Nana 
Phadnavis seized her sons and incarcerated them as 
State prisoners. In the meantime, the young Peshwa 
Madhavrao, Bajirao's first cousin, once removed, 
had reached the age of 21, but him, too, the regent 
detained in jealous seclusion. The two relatives 
began to correspond until Nana Phadnavis discovered 
their secret, and so bitter were his reproaches that the 
young Peshwa goaded to madness, threw himself 
Irom his palace terrace into the court-yard below. 
Thfe ttpf oreseen event gave the throne to Bajirao. 

t A village near Gw^lior. "~ ' * *"*" 



MAHULI BY MOTOE 67 

Everything Seemed to point to a prosperous reign. 
His early childhood had been passed among the 
English with whom his father had so often been 
allied. Nature, too, had lavished on him her gifts* 
Even the tall envoys of Britain were struck by his 
bearing and commanding stature, and in Maratha 
eyes, no surer archer not bolder horseman shot or 
rode in the plains of Gangathadi. Nor was his 
mind legs finely formed than his body. And the 
Pandits were alike amazed and confounded by the 
erudition of their princely student. Yet just as 
at the christening of the Regent d'Orleans some 
wicked uninvited fairy came and spoilt all his gifts, 
so, too, the strength and learning of Bajirao availed 
him nothing. Vacillating and treacherous he broke 
every treaty that he made either with the English or 
with his Maratha confederates. Afraid to seize 
Shinde in open Durbar, he yet gloated over the 
screams of Vithoji Holkar as he was dragged by the 
Peshwa's orders through the Poona streets at the 
foot of an elephant. This last act brought on him 
the wrath of Yeshwantrao Holkar who drove him 
away from his kingdom, and forced him to sign 
by the treaty of Bassein his independence in return 
for English support. Detected in intrigues against 
his protectors he was driven on the 8th May, 1817^ 
to make further concessions by the treaty of Poona, 
It was about this time that Bajirao began the 
building of the steps, and it was when he w^s most 
deeply involved in the schemes which eventually 
led to the battle of Kirkee that he had while s*$i>- 
ding on them in July of the same year, an interview 
with the British, Agent Sir John Malcolm, Tito 



MABUIJ BY MOTOB 



latter lavished good advice which Bajirao professed 
hypocritically to accept. Had the steps been ani- 
mate they would have seconded Malcolm for their 
completion depended on the following of his counsel. 
But warnings and experience were alike wasted on 
the Peshwa. Only a few months later, the Resident 
was attacked and insulted. Kirkee, Koregaon and 
Ashta followed. The steps were never completed. 
And the empire of thePeshwas passed away from 
among the kingdoms of the earth. 

We then passed on to the bed of the river where- 
in two Shivlingas lying side by side mark the spot 
where King Shahu's remains were committed to the 
earth. The reason why there are two instead of 
one is somewhat quaint. It happened that shortly 
after Shahu's cremation his Shivlinga was washed 
away. Another was built there in its stead. But 
when some years later the first Shivlinga was found 
lying buried in the sands, it was unearthed and 
placed by the side of its substitute. Just below 
the Shivlingas is a small statue of an Indian lady 
that marks the sati of Shahu's widow, Sakvarbai, 
She was a daughter of the turbulent house of Shirke, 
and during her husband's declining years she had 
hoped after his death to continue her influence by 
the adoption of an infant son. But she had to reckon 
with the malice of Tarabai, the widow of Rajaram, 
Shahu's uncle. She gave out that Ram Raja, son 
of Shivaji II, and nephew of Shahu, still survived 
fei concealment Furious at what she deemed to 
imposture Sakvarbai intrigued with DamAji 
l to Secttte her position. But there waa yet 
$*yeriB the game, Balaji Bajirao Peshwa, 



MAEULI BY MOTOR 69 

He knew of both the ladies' designs and turned them 
to his own profit. Although during Shahu*s last ill- 
ness, Balaji lingered in an agony of indecision yet 
when the king ceased to breathe he acted with the 
promptitude of Frederick. Early on the morning of 
Shahu's death the clatter of a thousand horse woke 
the sleeping Satara streets. Tarabai, Ram Raja 
and Sakvarbai were alike seized. By a clever stra- 
tagem Tarabai was herself made the guardian of Ram 
Raja and was induced to declare that Sakvarbai 
must become a sati. Tor the latter there was no 
escape* Previous to Shahu's death she had, in 
order to mask her plot, declared that she would burn 
with her husband. And the Peshwa called to his 
aid not only Tarabai but Sakvarbai's brother, Ku- 
varji Shirke, who, bribed by Balaji, threatened to 
drag her by force to the pyre. Sakvarbai, maddened 
by disappointment and deserted by her relatives, 
agreed to join her husband. She met her fate lik# 
a high born Maratha lady, and just before the end 
had the fortitude to give Balaji her jewelled eamjigp 
and her blessing.* 

As the sun was setting we expressed a wish! ( to 
see the evening ceremoniesf held over Shahu's SM- 
lingas. The pujaris looked doubtfully at me, font* 
assured that I wag no scoffer, consented. Two ot 

* The ornament given by her was Kudkvachi Jodi, a pair of ear 
ornaments containing 4 pearls and 2 rubies. Her words were " aukfaane 
Tftivft Qp.tnTVH ft! Q-- * * 

f There are 16 kinds of pujas in the Hindu religion (Shodsfcopa- 
chari- They are : av&han, invoking; asan, giving to drink; enan, 
bathing; vastra, dressing; yadnopavit, thread investiture; gandh, anoin- 
ting with saa4al flour; pusph, crowning with flowers; dimp, incense; dip, 
lamp lighting; naivttdhya, food offering ; dakshina, money gilt j pt adafc- 
ehina, going round the idol ; mantrapoebp, soattering of flowers. 



70 MAHtfLI BY MOTOR 

three men carrying morchels or peacock feather 
fans with, silver handles approached the grave and 
waved the insignia of royalty over the dead King's 
ashes. Then a horn-blower blew a wild blast to 
rouse his and Sakvarbai's deeping spirits* They 
were now deemed to be awake and a Brahmin knelt 
and carefully bathed the Shivlingas and the dead 
queen's image. Again the morchels waved and 
again the echoes work to the wild horn's music. 
Then both Shivlingas and statuette were carefully 
dried. Halud or yellow turmeric lines were made 
on the Shivlingas arid across Sakvarbai's breast. 
And on her forehead was placed a kanku tila or the 
red mark worn by the wife. For by her death she 
had avoided the Shame of widowhood. The spirits 
were now fully dressed for their meal and tandftl 
or uncooked rice was scattered for their benefit. 
And once again the morchels waved and the horn 
blared in their honour. Then an udbati or incense 
stick was kindled and in a niranjan or metal dish 
filled with ghee a wick was lit. The incense smoke 
filled the whole air in spite of the ceaseless waving 
of the morchels and then by a strange illusion caused, 
no doubt, by the violet shades of the twilight, the 
acrid Scent of the incense and the whole strange 
barbaric scene, the smoke assumed to my eyes a 
rough likeness to a Maratha warrior. A scowl, too, 
seemed to darken Sakvarbai's face, and I felt like 
the sleeper in the Gulistan who dreamt one night 
that he saw, blazing with anger, the eyes of Mahmtid 
tihe Ghaznivido searching in vain for the fragments 
of Ms empire. 0&e last terrific horn blast changed 
incense gmoke blew away, The 



Btf M0*0ft $1 

pujaris rang a bell, scattered flowers and then knelt 
in reverence by the shrine. My friends salaamed 
and I, half inv oluntarily, lifted my hat to the memory 
of so much greatness and of so much glory. So 
intense had been the interest of the scene that it 
was almost with a sigh of relief that I turned back 
where the motor stood. Once again it whirled us 
past the Hindu temple and the Christian graveyard, 
and at my request it left me at the door of the club 
house. As I entered it to the sound of English 
voices I looked at my watch. The car had taken 
five minutes to come from Mahuli. In 300 seconds 
it had traversed 150 years. 



THE FORT AT SHOLAPUR. 

Every cold weather the outward-bound steamers 
bring thei^ loads of eager sight-seers, who on landing 
in Bombay, bifurcate as a rule into two divisions. 
The larger band rushes north to see the Taj and 
Agra Fort, the monument at Gawnpore and the 
Delhi ridge, the smaller of the two turns southward 
towards Bijapur and thence towards the Gauvery 
fall and the great temples of Madras. Off both 
beaten tracks, however, may be found spots which 
if lacking the gorgeous architectural wealth of the 
cities dear to tourists hardly, if at all, yield to them 
an historical interest. Among these spots is Shola- 
pur. Its old fort dates back beyond human re- 
cords. The town and its surrounding districts were 
the bone of contention over which Nizam Shahi 
and Adil Shahi dynasties, Peshwas and Hyderabad 
Nizams fought. And in May, 1818, the fort saw 
the last fragment of Bajirao's empire disappear, 
when General Munro drove from its walls the Mara* 
tha garrison. 

To study the early history of Sholapur is no easy 
task. It must be sought for within the pages of 
the JFerishta and not only is the book extremely 
rate but the author's tale, to use his own quaint 
of the Deccan valleys, is, u as dark as 
of love and as winding as the curly looks 
oaa" The Deccan escaped the eajlier 




FOBT AT SEOLAPUR 73 

Musulman raids that overthrew Delhi and Hindustafc, 
and until IRamdev, king of Devgad, espoused the 
cause of Karan Ghelo, the last Rajput ruler of 
Gujarat, Sholapur, like the surrounding country, 
formed part of the domain of the Yadav princes! 
Annexed by the Afghan emperor Alauddin Khilji 
the Deccan supported Hasan Gango Bahmani in 
his revolt against Delhi. With the unity of con- 
ception which the Musulmans first introduced into 
Indian politics, this able tyrant formed into one 
vast kingdom all the imperial provinces and the 
petty States south of the Narbadda. But the 
administration of his descendants, resting wholly, 
as it did, upon local support, became eventually 
imbued with Hindu centrifugal ideas. One minis- 
ter, Nizam-ul-mulk, made Ahmednagar an inde- 
pendent kingdom. A Turkish adventurer* whose 
career exceeds in romance any of the tales told by 
Shaharazade founded the Adil Shahi dynasty of 
Bijapur. A converted Canarese became monarch of 
Berar. Another Turk seized the throne of Bidar. 
And Ibrahim Kutub Shah, a Persian guardsman: 
of the last Bahmani king, created, amid the roaring 
drumsf and the regal state of his native country, 
the still remembered Saltanat of Golconda, 

Sholapur and its eleven districts formed a debat- 
able tract between the frontiers of Bijapur and 

* Adil Shah was the son of Amurath EC, Sultan of Turkey. He escaped 
almost by a miracle the massacre which destroyed all the male members 
of his family. He was sold in captivity and after being successively a 
slave, a sepoy, a general and a minister became king of Bijapur and lost, 
retook and finally lost again Goa to the Portuguese. 

f This is said to be the first state occasion on which kettle drums were , 
used in India, They are now indispensable. 

10 



74 tfOBT AT SHOLAFCTR 

Ahmednagar. Five and a half districts were in 
1511 annexed to Bijapur by the regent Kamal 
Khan. And eventually a partition might have 
been acquiesced in by both kingdoms. Unfortuna- 
tely, in 1524, when the princess Mariam of Bijapur 
was, in order to cement the alliance of the two 
kingdoms against Vijayanagar, married to the 
Ahmednagar king her ; dowry was declared to be 
Sholapur and the Bijapuri half of the eleven 
districts. 

Now the dowries of princesses have been a 
fruitful source of political trouble. Readers of 
Dumas will remember the difficulties that beset 
Henry IV when attempting to recover the dowry 
of Margaret of Valois and just as le roi vert et galant 
was obliged to storm Cahors, so the king of Ahmed- 
nagar was faced with the alternative of a penniless 
queen or a war with Bijapur. He chose the latter ; 
but so far from gaining Sholapur, he lost two 
battles and was obliged, in the peace of 1542, to 
renounce all claims to it. But he was persevering 
by nature and in 1551 through an alliance with the 
Hindus of Vijayanagar an alliance which shocked 
the faithful as much as Francis I's treaty with the 
Ottoman Turks shocked Christendom he retook 
Sholapur and shortly afterwards died happy. The 
quarrel was, however, by no means over. Bijapur 
had now its grievance ; for that administration repu- 
diated the terms of the Princess Mariam's dowry and 
its young Prince Ali Adil Shah sought in turn Vija* 
aid to recover the lost province. The 
du rukr Bainraj received the overtures 
ave to the young 



then his guest, great offence.* And so it fell out 
that instead of making an alliance with the Hindu 
State, Ali Adil Shah organised against it a great 
Mussalman league and destroyed it. But what 
caused the fall of Vijayanagar decided finally the 
ownership of Sholapur. For to cement the holy 
alliance against the infidel Ali Adil Shah married 
a Nizam Shahi Princess and with her came back 
to Bijapur, Sholapur and its five and a half districts. 
But she has a greater claim on history than the 
settlement of the Sholapur quarrel. For she was 
the renowned Chand Bibi of Ahmednagar. In after 
years she made herself regent of her ancestral State, 
and uniting the rival Deccan houses, strove, and 
for a time successfully, to stem the torrent of Mogal 
invasion. To the end unconquered, she died mur- 
dered by her own troops. During her lifetime she 
won from the chivalrous enemy the title of Chand 
Sultana. And 350 years after her death Meadows 
Taylor, himself stationed at Sholapur, wrote the 
tale of her life and called it the Story of a Noble 

Queen. 

After the fall of Bijapur, Sholapur went to the 
Mogal conquerors. Prince Azam gave it to Shahti* 
who divided its revenues with the first and great 
Nizam. By the battle of Kharda, Nana Phadnavl^ 

* The offence given was that Ramraj when taking leave of hjs noble 
guest did not ride so far with him as Musulman etiquette more exacting 
thn Hxadu etiquette more exacting than Hindu etiquette demanded, 
From thfe incident and its ensuing consequence Briggs, the translator #; 
tferishta, sagely moralises on the importance of studying the custom* 
o* the people who live round us. Ramraj' s head was out off by fcfe 
conquerors, waa embalmed and was tOL recently to be seen *6 BSJ 
ft used to be carried; row! *** pole on high days and holidays and 
is. 



76 FOBT AT SEOLAPTTR 

won it all and wide lands besides for his young 
master, the 2ndMadhavrao. And in 1818, it was to 
Sholapur that Bajirao IPs army, defeated at Ashta, 
retreated. On the 10th May 1818, his spiritless force 
was dispersed never to re-assemble, and on the 
14th, the fort with its garrison, surrendered to 
General Munro. And so with this final flicker, 
Sholapur passed out of history. 

The fort* has nothing in common with the usual 
Maratha fastness perched upon a cliff and owing 
less to human than to Nature's hands. The Sholapur 
fort stands on the open plain, and consists of a square 
enclosed by heavy walls and a wide encircling moat. 
Inside the walls are banquettes for the sharpshooters, 
and here and there embrasures mark where in old 
days the gunners laid their cannon. Jutting out 
from the walls are several great towers. And of 
two, ghastly stories are told. Under one called the 
Jaccha tower, a pregnant woman was buried alive. 
When first erected its foundations repeatedly gave 
way. The Brahmins were consulted, and they 
said that Mahakali or the spirit of time and place 
was angry. Now Mahakali is honoured both East 
and West. She is the spirit who Snatches away 
from bridegrooms their brides. It is to frighten 
her that rice id thrown at Christian weddings, and 
it is to hit her in case she should be peeping in at 

* Forts are said in the Mahabharata to be of six kinds. 1. Desert 
forts. 2. Hill forts, 3, Ground forts. 4. Mud forts. 5. Men forts, 6, 
Jungle forts. Sholapur, I take it, would be a ground fort. A man fort 
is an unfortified town like Sparta, whose safety rested on the courage of 
Jw hoplites. The same idea occurs in Campbell's lines ; 
" Britannia needs no bulwarks, 
No towers along the steep." 



FOBT Atf 

the carriage window that a slipper is hurled after 
the vehicle that bears away the married pair. It 
is in her honour that in England house-warming 
parties are given, that in France they hang th$ 
cremaill&re, and that in India they perform the 
ceremony called Vastushanti. Maha&ali was angry, 
said the Brahmans. How was she to be appeased ? 
By the sacrifice of a living pregnant woman, was the 
reply. The poor widow of a Lingayat Bania was 
offered by her brother-in-law as the victim. She 
was buried alive and the tower stands firm to this 
day. But though the tower moves not the widow's 
ghost gets at times restless. And to quiet her, the 
descendants of her brother-in-law, now and ever since 
Patils of Sholapur, offer on the Varshapratipada, 
or first day of the new year, oil and cocoanuts, a 
lugada, (dress) and a choli (bodice) for the woman, 
and a little dhotar and turban for the tiny child 
that never saw the day. Of the northern tower* a 
similar story is told. There, too, the foundations 
had to be sealed with human blood, and a 
unmarried, though threadgirt, boy of the 
family was buried alive beneath them. The 
money for the boy was a yearly grant of Es. 1$ 
which more than five centuries afterward^ is still 
paid by the English Government. At the door of 
the Mahakali gate ig a rough stone said to be 
image of the goddess Mahakali herself. In 
gone by she stood upright and sought all in vain 
to keep the English from the fort. But when e& 
the 14th May 1818, Munro's troops marched in to, 
martial music and with flying banners, she bowfe# 
her head m shame, and, as all may see, it dpoopfl 



7$ K)RT At SHOLA^Ufc 

to this day. To the south of the old fort is a great 
lake from which at any moment the moat can be 
filled with water. In the centre of the lake is a little 
island joined to the main land by a stone causeway 
and bearing in its centre a famous temple of Sid- 
dheshwar or Shiva self-created. After rambling 
through the fort and hearing its gruesome stories 
it is a welcome relief to walk along the causeway 
to the dark cool colonnades beyond. When I last 
visited it, the lake's surface was gay with lilies, 
and the wild duck swirled and stooped above its 
waters. On coming to the temple courtyard, I, 
as is my wont, gave a slight money offering to the 
priest for worship. I turned to go, but he begged 
me and my friends to wait a moment. We did so, 
and as we lingered I saw to the west sharply outlined 
against the sky where the sun had set, the great 
Warad mill* With the rear of its thousand wheels 
and the glare of its furnaces, it seemed to stand 
for some vision of a new India built up by native 
energy and capital and guided by western thought; 
while the old fort to the north rapidly fading away 
with the short-lived twilight geemed to stand for 
ancient and picturesque India, which before our 
eyes is vanishing for ever. Just then, however, 
the priest returned and presented each of us with 
divided cocoanuts containing in each half a few 
jasmine flowers* This was the pra$dd or return 
present of the God, and from it we knew that my 
hraable offering had found favour. And so, we 
walfeetf back along the colonnades and the causeway 
wiw heads erect, fausti atgue felices, for o& us was 
th<? blessing of Siddheshwar, 



PARVATI OF THE PESEWA& 

Near Poona, and itself a spur of the Sinhgad 
range, stands a hill called Parvati It is crowned 
with temples and receives its due share of worship. 
But for historical interest it has probably no rival 
Among its buildings one prince died of a broken 
heart, another watched his empire tumble to pieces 
like a house of cards* An English poet* has sung 
of its beauties and on its steps an heir to the throne 
of England nearly met his death. As Parvati is 
within easy reach of Poona residents and visitors, 
I have ventured to string together for their benefit 
a slight account of the famous hill. For to visit it 
without some knowledge is both unprofitable and 
uninteresting. 

Like most other celebrated Indian celestial dwel- 
lings the present gods were not the earliest to live 
in Parvati. Before they came the old hill godd&& 
was already there. The common tale goes thai; 
one day Gopikabai, the wife of the 3rd Peshw&; 
Balaji Bajirao, suffered from a sore heel and waft 
told that the Devi on Parvati hill was swift to 
answer prayers. Gopikabai promised, if she got 
well, to build a temple to Shiva on Parvati's SUKH 
mit. She did so, and Balaji Bajirao fulfilled hep 

* Sir Edwin Arnold, by a strange inaccuracy, describes a conversa^ 
fcion at PfT7ati between hitnsdlf, a priest and a dancing girL There are, 
no danc&sg girl* at Parvati wd never were any. 



80 PRVATI OF THE PESHWAS 

promise* The tale told in the Peshwas' Bakhar is 
^different. For there the founding of Parvati is 
ascribed to Balaji Bajirao's wish to honour king 
Shahu to whose memory the Shivaite temple was 
erected. It is probable, however, that this latter 
story really describes the origin of Vishnu's temple 
and the former that of Shiva's. In either event 
the pious founder of Parvati was the 3rd Peshwa 
and it is related in the Peshwa Bakhar that he sent 
the Holkar and Shinde Jaghirdars to extort for 
her temples the sacred stones of the Gandaki river 
from the Maharaja of Nepal*. 

The hill is usually approached by the Shankar- 
shet 'Road, which winds past the tombs of unknown 
French officers once in the Maratha service, past 
the Deccan Club and a shrine to Bhairoba, himself 
like Parvati's Devi, one of the earlier deities- Then, 
it curves round Parvati lake now an open ugly 
hollow but once a beautiful sheet of water which 
the sanitary engineers, alas ! condemned* The lake, 
like the Parvati temples, was built by Balaji Bajirao, 
and the tale runs that enraged with the slow build- 
ing of the dam he himself descended from his ele- 
phant and began carrying stones to the masons. 
At once courtiers and soldiers sprang from their 

* The following idola were placed in the Parvati Temple in the 



1 Shri Deweshwar. 

1 Mahadev (Silver) with two Golden images : one of Gan- 
pati on its right lap and the other of Parvati on its 
left lap. 

1 Ganpati (Stone). 
1 Parvati Bhawani, 

The religious ceremonies commenced on the 7th and concluded on the 
iy$& AjHfQ 1749 the expenditure on this account was Bs. 9,0 SO, 



FABVATI Off THE PEHHWAS SI 

horses and did likewise and the dam soon neared 
completion. At a later date Mahadji Shinde wish- 
ing to oust Nana Phadnavis from the control of 
the second Madhavrao took the latter to the little 
Ganpati temple on the Sarasbag island in the centre 
of the lake. While rowing across, Shinde so poisoned 
the young prince's mind against the old statesman 
that they in the end quarrelled, with terrible results 
to both. Madhavrao II perished in the Shanwar 
Wada. Nana Phadnavis died broken hearted and 
disgraced. But the house of Shinde grew till it 
overshadowed the whole Maratha Empire. 

On reaching the pathway that branches off to 
Parvati, do not continue until the steps are reached 
but turn to the right and passing under a limb tree 
walk with me towards the North. The leaves of this 
limb tree are in great request on the 1st of Chaitra 
the Deccan New Years 3 day. The ordinary 
Brahmin eats but one or two because of their bitter 
taste. But the Brahmacharig or youthful religious 
celibates, so an Indian Informant to]d me, eat them 
in handfuls and their bodies so far from suffering 
ill-effects wax stout and strong and their faces 
" become lustrous." A hundred yards or so beyond 
the limb tree is a little shed. Underneath it are 
kunku and shendur covered stones arranged so as to 
mark a grave. Its occupant was once a Mang who 
attended the Peshwa's rhinoceros and one day ended 
his career with its horn through his body. He was 
buried here and his disembodied spirit haunts the 
place. The Mhar attendant when I visited it said 
to me c phar navasala pavato ' (he readily hearkens 
to prayers) and recently plucked feathers lying close 



&2 ^AJfcVATI OP THE FBSHWAS 



by, showed that but a few minutes before a wor- 
shipper had offered a fowl to the Hang's ghost. A 
sad tale was also told me of this Mang's doings* 
On dark nights he spirits away fair women of high 
caste while sleeping by their husband's sides and in 
the early morning leaves them soiled and helpless 
on the roadway. Possibly erring ladies of high 
degree, surprised by daylight, may have found in 
the Mang's ill-repute a welcome shelter. But let us 
leave the Mang and still go northward. Twenty or 
thirty paces on we shall come to the realm of Vetal* 
and Mhasoba. Here indeed we enter on primitive 
theology. In the centre are two whitewashed stones. 
They are Vetal and his younger brother Mhasoba 
who reign over the multitude of ghosts and demons 
that harass mankind. Bound them are a circle of 
smaller white-tipped stones. They are king Vetal's 
sowars, and a larger stone to the south of the royal 
pair but inside the circle of the horsemen, is their 
Jemadar known as Bhangya Bava or as we might 
say Brandy Billy. Twice a month, on the full moon 
and on the no-moon, does king Vetal at midnight 
ride abroad in state surrounded by ghostly riders 
and ghostly elephants. Should the wayfarer meet 
him let him boldly stride up to the demon-king and 
ask a favour for at such a time he will not refuse a 
boon. His greatest day, however, is Mahashivratra, 

* The attendant told me that this Vetal formerly lived at Gopgatun in 
Saswad Taluka, but that his grandfather had by bhakti or worship in- 
duced the god to oome to his present abode. One night the god told him 
walk to Parvati without looking backward and next morning to make a 
mound of stones where he saw flowers lying. He walked to Parvati and 
bettittd him he heard all the way the footsteps of Vetal and next mom- 
ing {lowers lay where is now the demon ring, 



On other occasions he but rides round Poona City. 
But on that night as the Mhar attendant told me 
** ratrabhar dhingana karito " (or as we might say, 
he plays Old Harry all night long). Sorcerers and 
especially wrestlers are his votaries and often before 
a wrestling competition one may, if one cares to 
visit the spot at midnight, see some stout youth 
bathe in the adjoining canal and then pray at the 
shrine for victory in the morrow's tournament. 
But whoever makes offering to the god must at 
the same time present a pipe of hemp to Bhangia 
Bawa, for he has the ear of and will "samjao the 
Sahib." 

Now let us return to the east face of the hill 
glancing as we pass at the masonry post to which 
during the Peshwas* days tigers used to be tied 
while they fought with elephants. Their spirits have, 
it is believed, entered the stake, which is now wor- 
shipped under the title of Vaghoba or My Lord the 
Tiger. On the east face we shall find a stone stair* 
case. At its foot are two little monuments, one 
to Nagoba the serpent who was the wisest 
among the beasts of the field and the other to a 
saint who lived and died on Parvati's summit* 
Next let us mount the steps passing on the left a 
Musulman Pir's tomb whose restless spirit pro- 
duced litigation that greatly vexed the District 
Judge until finally laid by an adverse decision of 
the High Court. Half way up we pass two little 
Stones each adorned with a pair of feet. The larger 
pair belonged to one Madhavrao, a Sadhu of the 
hill, and the smaller to his wife Parvati, who it* 
1829 committed sati on this spot. 



84 3?ARYAM OF THE PESHWAS 

On nearly reaching the top the Brahmins will 
point out to us where the Bhor Chief's elephant 
Slipped and nearly fell with Prince Edward of Wales. 
At last the summit reached, we turn into the court- 
yard of the principal temple, that of Shiva. Oppo- 
site it is the nagarkhana or drumhouse whence wild 
music thrice a day issues either to rouse the god 
or warn him that it is time to rest, A stone bull 
lies as usually facing the temple hall and in front 
of him may .usually be seen some grains of rice and 
a bel-tree's leaf given him in honour of Shiva. The 
animal has two panoplies, one of silver for the 
Mahashivratra and such great days and one its 
second best of copper for less important ftes. 
Inside the temple the royal cobra rears its hood 
over Shiva's " pindi " and behind it arfe images 
of his queen Parvati and their son Ganesh. At 
each corner of the court-yard is a little shrine 
sacred to Vishnu, to the hill Devi, to Ganesh and 
to Surya or the Sun. And the latter's chariot 
drawn by a strange seven-headed animal reminds 
one forcibly of the splendid horses which prance 
and bear Helios so gaily in Flaxman's drawing. To 
the north is a railed window whence the last Peshwa 
watched the battle of Kirkee. And it is certain 
that nowhere else can so good a view be obtained 
of the straight road along which Bapu Gokhale and 
the Bhagwa Jhenda passed to do battle with the 
troops of the English cantonment. In the same 
court-yard is a trap-door which covers the entrance 
to a secret passage by which, it is said the sa,me 
Peshwa, a few hours later, fled to the old palace in 
ttae Shanwar Path. 



OF THE 

Let us now leave Shiva's court-yard and skirt- 
ing the southern wall look down the hilFs edge. We 
shall see a vast compound girt by a ruined stone 
wall. This is the old * Bamana ' or enclosure where 
Balaji Bajirao paid dakshina to Brahmins by thou- 
sands. The cost one year rose to sixteen lakhs 
and the Peshwa was forced at last to examine 
Brahmin applicants as to their holiness and learn- 
ing. And the chronicle of the Peshwas relates in 
all seriousness that the Konkanastha Brahmins 
passed most frequently the examiner's tests.* 
Due west of Shiva's temple we shall enter a small 
enclosure over which several bel-trees hang their 
rounded fruit. Therein a small temple to Kartik* 
swami covers two idols. One in marble was in- 
jured by the lightning that destroyed Bajirao IPs 
palace and according to Hindu practice has been 
put on one side for a legs costly but intact one. Who 
was Kartikswami ? He was GanpatiY elder brother 
but not born of Parvati. The tale runs that once 
Agni Stole Shiva's vital essence hoping thereby to 
rival in might the dark-throated lord of Kailas. 
But the latter's fiery blood burnt the weaker veins 
of Agni and he was glad to cast it from him into 
the bodies of his own six unmarried daughters* 
They became pregnant and to hide their shame 
brought on each of them a premature birth. The 
unformed children thrown together in a corner 
coalesced and became the lord Kartikswami;* ap*l 

* Vide Peak was* Bakhar, pages 54-55. The Peshwas were, of 
course, themselves Konkanasthas. 

* For this reason Kartikswami is also called Shadanan. H& 
v&han is the peacock. 



86 2ABVATI OF 

Ms idols to-day have six mouths to show his sex- 
tuple origin. Somewhere closed by the third 
Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao, the founder of the temples, 
killed by the news of Panipat, breathed his last. 
But either through ignorance or wilfulness the 
priests refuse to point out the spot. 

One temple remains, that of Vishnu. Opposite 
the hall entrance is a figure of his vahan or steed, 
the eagle. For Vishnu's incarnations have been 
martial princes and all the earth over the eagle has 
been the emblem of the world-conqueror from 
Vishnu's Garuda to the aigles napoUoniennes. On 
the door is an image of Ganpati and below it is the 
hideous face of Kirtimukh. Neither I speak of 
course as a layman and subject to correction 
seems really in place. As for Ganpati passe encorel 
for in the Deccan he is to be found everywhere 
from the temples of the other gods to the Shri 
Ganeshayanamah with which the Puranas begin* 
But Kirtimukh sprang from the frown of Shiva's 
eyebrow when he received Jalandhar's challenge 
and was called on either to give up Parvati and his 
treasure or meet the Demons in battle* And the 
boon that Kirtimukh received was to find a place 
always in Shiva's temples. However one must not 
be hypercritical and the Hindu architect, like the 
enraged naval officer in the story likes to feel that 
he has omitted nothing. Let us next look inside 
and there we shall see Vishnu himself and at his 
feet sits his last great incarnation Balkrishna. 
The latter, as the name shows, is not here in the 
flame guise as when he fought on the side of the 
Pandava brothers and made Dwarka his capital, 



PABVATI OF THE PESHWAS 87 

but as he appeared in Ms wondrous childhood 
and won the hearts and the loves of the 16,000 
Gopikas. 

To the south stands, hidding the view of the Sin- 
hgad mountains, the outer shell of Bajirao II's 
palace. It has, however, no history, for it was 
never finished and lightning struck it two years 
before the English cannon blew away the Peshwa's 
Empire. 

And now before we descend let us mount for a 
moment the northern wall. Poona City and Poona 
Camp unroll for us their vast panorama. At either 
end sleep scions of the great rival houses of Shinde 
and Holkar.* In the centre rise the square towers 
of the Shanwar Wada where so many Peshwas 
fought and intrigued, loved and ruled. To the 
north flash the waters of the Mula Mutha, now deep- 
ened by the great Band but once low enough to let 
Elphinstone and his escort escape fromVinchurkar's 
horse* To the east are the bold outlines of four 
spurred Chaturshringi in whose side is a cave where 
the Pandavs rested on their way to Viratnagar. 
And at its feet is the spot where by a strange fatality 
the Peshwa's vakil met Sir Charles Malet, the first 
British envoy, and on which now swing the gates 
of the Ganeshkhind palace. Far to the south rise 
Torna, dear to Shivaji, and Singhad, where Tanaji 
Malusre met an heroic death. And between them 
the waters of Khadakwasla catch the last rays of 
the sinking sun and throw up a blaze of light amid 
the gathering darkness. 

* Mahadji Shinde's tomb is at Wanavdi and Vithaji Hellcats south of 
Holkar's bridge. 



88 PABVATI OF THE PESKWAS 

Let us now descend, and as behind us the evening 
drums begin to roll scaring away the demons and 
warning the gods that it is time to rest, let us con- 
sider how we may escape unmulcted to our car- 
riages. But of this there is but little hope* For, 
as in the poem of Propertius, beauty could not 
save Nereus nor his strength Achilles*, so all our 
wit and cunning will avail us but little against the 
multitudinous demands of the mendicant devotees* 

* Nerea non faoies nun via oxemit Achillem. 



A PORTUGUESE LADY AT THE 
MOGAL COURT. 

Absorbed in the contemplation of our own splen- 
did empire, we are sometimes apt to forget that 
other European nations have also played glorious, 
parts in India. On a recent homeward voyage, I 
was reminded of this by the presence on boardship 
of a Portuguese official of high rank, tall, courteous 
and wholly charming. Finding that I was interes- 
ted in things historical, he promised to obtain for me 
a recent book* published in Goa, giving an account 
of the relations>etween the Goanese Government 
and the Great Mogals. The promise was k*pfc 
and the book duly arrived. But it was in Portuguese, 
of which I knew not a single word. Howp^ 
I had in my youth learnt Latin, French and .ItM8*a:i, 
and so like the Austrian ambassadors, sent 'to,^,' 
over Louis XV against Frederic the Great; 1 414, JJJ, 
despair. Nor were my expectations ^' 
for, with a grammar and dictionary and ,%* 
hours of the outward sea-voyage, I was;i* 
gather most of the book's excellent consents*- 
I now venture therefrom to sketch for 



fl tohm ' 



90 rOETUOUESE LADY AT MOGAL COURT 

career of a lady who played a great part in the 
history of the Portuguese Indies. 

The early years of 'the 16th century brought un- 
exampled prosperity to Portugal. Five centuries 
of uninterrupted conflicts with the Moors had made 
all its small population soldiers. Ihe royal house, 
founded by a bastard prince of Burgundy, had been 
unusually rich in able men. And ruled and rulers 
alike had with wonderful quickness grasped the 
possibilities of their long coast line, and had laid 
aside ambitions of Mediterranean for those of world 
empire. In 1494, a Papal Bull had divided the 
undiscovered earth between the Portuguese and the 
Spaniards, and in all directions the Lisbon Govern- 
ment furnished expeditions to make good the title 
conferred by the Vatican, Everywhere the Portu- 
guese soldiers proved invincible, and everywhere 
administrators trained in the Lisbon offices intro- 
duced settled government in the train of conquest. 
One daring band under Joao de Nova seized Ascen- 
sion. Another under Pedro Cabral annexed the 
vast empire of Brazil. A third under Amerigo 
Vespucci, first of the Caucasian stock, heard the 
roar of thePurana as it rushes towards the Plate 
river and the South Atlantic. A fourth under 
Vasco de Gama realised the visions of Henry the 
Navigator, and, doubling the Cape of Good Hope, 
Eeacjed straight for the Indian Oc^an. 

Probably never in its history had India, as at this 
been so helpless to resist foreign aggression. 

was st ^l bleeding from the 
of Tamerlane's invasion. Jut the 

-which* 



LADY AT MOGAL C6TTET 91 

Taglak's reign, had fallen away from Delhi, was 
split up into five fragments. Of these, the two in 
possession of the South Western seaboard, Bijapur 
and Ahmednagar, were not only at deadly enmity 
with each other but engaged in constant strife with 
the Hindu power of Vijayanagar. It was an easy 
task for the talented Portuguese captains to take 
advantage of their distracted state, and to obtain 
by cession or conquest large territories on the Wes- 
tern Coast. While the real superiority of the 
Portuguese sailors enabled them to secure at the 
expense of the Mopla merchants a monopoly of 
the western trade. 

If we pass over 50 or 60 years, however, we find 

the positions of the two countrils reversed. The 

immense efforts of the opening century had been 

too much for the slight resources of Portugal. A 

minority at home, unsuccessful campaigns in 

Morocco, priestly influence, and the introduction of 

negro labour had added to her distress. In India, on 

the other hand, the descendants of Tamerlane welre 

doing their best to remedy the effects of his 

In 1526, Babar had won Panipat and, for 

and his successors, the throne of Delhi. Thetteoji 

was now seated a ruler of extraordinary 

and civil talents, who after gathering into his 

hands the threads of a vast empire, was ia 

direction extending its frontiers with the &kiH and 

the restless energy of Bonaparte. In ten 

he had subdued all Rajputana except th 

fastnesses in the Arawalis. A bloodless camp&Igfe 

had in 1572 ended the Gujarat kingdom. 

in 1581, a detachment of the MQgal army 



92 PORTUGUESE LAlDY A*F MOGAL COUBT 

the Portuguese territories of Bassein and Damaun. 
They were repelled by the Governor Martini Alffonso 
de Mello, but the repulse would, as in other cases, 
have been followed by an attack in force which 
surely would have succeeded had the Emperor not 
been stopped by something in his eyes more terrible 
than the Portuguese cannon, and more 'persuasive 
than the lips of their ambassadors the frowns 
and thp tears of a Lusitanian lady. Instead of 
war he made a treaty and sent envoys of congratu- 
lation to the new Portuguese King Philip II of Castle. 
Who was the lady who did such signal service 
to her country ? She has hitherto been styled Maria 
Makany, Akbar's Christian wife, whose tomb is 
still visible at Agra. But Mr. Gracias has with 
great acuteness and research been able to trace her 
origin. In the reiga of King John III there was 
founded at Lisbon a home for orphan girls of good 
family. When these girls reached women's state 
they were shipped off to the various Portuguese 
colonies to make wives for the official and settlers. 
The ladies did not, however, always reach their 
destination but, like the Moorish king's bride in 
Boccaccio, sometimes fell into wrong hands. One 
of them was rescued from a wreck to become queen 
of the Maldives. Another, Maria Mascarenhas, 
captured with her sister by the Dutch, was brought 
to Surat and thence sold at the Mogal Court, where 
she became one of Akbar's queens and is known to 
feistory under the MusaJman corruption of her name 
&Ej&ria Makaixy* 

sfeter'a fate was if possible more romantic 
In 1560* Prince Jean Philippe Bourbon, a 



LADtf A* MOGAt COlrttT & 

cadet of the house of Navarre, fled from France as 
a result of a fatal duel, and making his way from 
Madras to Delhi, applied to enter Akbar's service. 
He was received with great distinction, given 
the title of Nawab, appointed governor of the 
royal harem, and wedded to Juliana Mascarenhas, 
Maria's sister. The two Portuguese ladies thus 
formed a strange link between the great house of 
Chagatai, and the no less splendid line that for two 
centuries overawed Europe from the throne of 
Clovis.* 

Having saved her countrys' possessions, Maria 
Mascarenhas next tried to save her husband's soul, 
Her own palace had long been adorned with fres- 
coes of the Annunciation, and, as a result of the 
new treaty with Goa, Akbar was induced to invite 
to his court a band of missionaries qualified to ex- 
pound the Christian doctrine. Among them went 
the Jesuit Rodolfo Acquaviva, whose dialectic 
talents, according to the Oriente Conquislb^do, pro-^ 
ved too much for Akbar's Mullahs. It must, how- 
ever, be confessed that, if the latter were correctly 
reported, so to triumph was not a difficult task* 
They 'attacked the Christian religion by alleging 
that the Bible had originally been verbally the 
as the Koran, but had been altered to its 
form in order to introduce the idolatrous worsMj) 
of the Trinity. And they asserted that Mahomed"^ 

* The descendant* of Prince Jean Philippe Bourbon ax*!iriffi,t6 fc^ 
found in India. One branch until recently held ajagkir in ^ejBhi^ 
State, and a, xfce&ber of their family *ome 20 or 30 yeajs IjeW Jfcfte post 
oT PHtfn* Minfefcef tx> #* Nawab^ For an account of this fajnily, vide 
,ffi**aid*s * Sfctory of the Bourbons in Indi* " anil 
* of them fr fcfc " Bj Abft " 



04 PORTUGUESE LADY AT MOGAL COUBT 

mission had been to restore the *pure faith which 
Christ had taught. Such an allegation, unsustained 
by any evidence, was easily ridiculed out of Court. 
But the learned Jesuit's reply does not, to my mind, 
give proof of much ability. His criticism was 
purely destructive, and he made no attempt to show 
how the teaching of Christ was superior to that of 
Mahomed. Nevertheless, what the contending saints 
lacked in brain-power they made up for in lung- 
power. And as they warmed to their work, the 
Emperor, at whose invitation they had assembled in 
the Ibadat Khana, found that to conquer Hindustan 
was an easier task than to calm this controversial 
cyclone- He was finally obliged himself to flee 
deafened from the room, leaving the disorderly 
conference to continue all night until exhaustion 
silenced it towards morning. 

Subsequent to this the Mullahs, wearied with 
argument, made to the missionaries what, as it 
must fairly be admitted, was a sporting offer. They 
expressed themselves willing to enter a fiery furnace 
if the missionaries did likewise. The former were 
to be armed with a Koran, the latter with a Bible, 
and the fire was to judge between thefei. The 
missionaries replied that they had already won a 
judgment in the tribunal of reason that miracles 
were only intended to supplement evidence, and 
that where reasons were as in the case of Christian 
truth, so clear and manifest, it was merely tempting 
God to ask for miracles without necessity. Such 
Arguments could scarcely have convinced Akbar, 
and the distinct favour with which he regarded 
must only have been due to his wife's 



LADY AT MOGAL COURT 95 

pressure. On one occasion he did homage to the 
crucifix in the Portuguese Chapel, first in the Musal- 
man style by a profound reverence, then in the 
Christian way by kneeling in front of it, and lastly 
by prostrating himself, like a Hindu before an idol. 
Indeed, in the religion which he afterwards invented, 
it is possible, as I think, to trace an attempt to 
reconcile the conflicting claims of his queen and his 
conscience. But, although Christianity never won 
over Akbar as a convert, Queen Maria's religion yet 
made considerable way. Eanke mentions three 
princes of the Royal House who were duly baptised, 
and Gustave Le Bon affirms that in Jehangir's 
reign the number of distinguished Christians at 
Court was sixty. That graceless prince himself 
hung in his palace images of Christ and the Virgin, 
and in a fit of drunken expansiveness declared that 
Christianity was of all religions the best. For its 
followers were doubly blest. They were free to 
eat both beef and pork. 

Akbar died in 1605, and from the evidence col- 
lected by Mr. Gracias, it seems probable that Maria 
survived him. If so we may perhaps trace to her 
influence two great diplomatic victories which the 
Portuguese gained in the early years of Jehangir's 
reign. The first was the reply given by the Em- 
peror to Hawkins, the first English envoy. He 
came with a letter from James I, but was told in 
open Durbar that the great Mogal could not demean 
himself by corresponding with so insignificant a 
kinglet* The second was an offensive and defensive 
treaty drawn up between the delegates of the 
JJmperor and of the Gpane^e Viceroy Dom Jeronyuad 



5J6 FORTTJGtTBSE LADY AT MOGAL COURT 

de Azevedo. The f oflowing is a translation of the 
first article in the Portuguese text : 

" Seeing that the English and the Dutch come in 
the guise of merchants to these countries in order 
to settle in them and to conquer lands, because 
they themselves live in Europe in wretchedness 
and destitution; and (as) their presence in India 
will cause harm to all as was shown in the war which 
they brought about between Mogals and Portuguese 
(sic), the said delegates will agree that the King 
Jehangir and the Viceroy of India will not trade 
with the aforesaid nations nor will they be received 
into their harbours or sold ammunitions or anything 
else; first the Viceroy and his successors will be 
obliged to drive them from the Gujarat sea within 
three months of their arrival*, and if they put into 
the Surat harbour, the king permits the Portuguese 
to land the necessary cannon to defeat them and 
drive them away and will give the Portuguese all 
the help necessary to do so. And the English, who 
are at present in the lands and territories of the said 
king, will quit them, together with th,eir factories, 
via Masulipatam." 

Here we must leave Maria Mascarenhas, but even 
though she may have tried to further her country's 
interests at our expense we still owe her a deep dfebfc 
of gratitude. In 1640 Alvarez, driven to despair by 
the Military activity of Richelieu, called out the 
arriereban of Portugal and Spain* The Catalans* 
ever ready to rise against Castile, sprang to arms 
$ad proclaimed themselves a republic under French 
protection. Fired by their example, Portugal thr^w 



.. . ....... 

'< *" T&te flaefes oae efcch year wifrA the iavourmg wind 



POBTWU33SE LADY AT MO&AL COTTRT 07 

off the Spanish yoke and offered her crown to John, 
Duke of Braganza, in whose veins flowed the blood 
of the oldBurgundian line, Catalonia, deserted by 
France, had to submit. * But Portugal won the 
English alliance and her own independence by offer- 
ing with a great dowry the Princess Catherine to 
Charles II. Now in that dowry were included the 
harjbour and island of Bombay, which the charms 
of Queen Maria had saved from the Mogal con- 
queror. Thus, but for her, Catherine of Braganza's 
dowry, must have been sought elsewhere. And 
the Presidency of Bombay might now be cramped 
within Ascension or Madeira island ; or, worse still, 
urbs prima in Indis might be located in some 
fever-haunted swamp among the mouths of the 
Amazon. 



THE PESHWAS OF POONA. 

A LECTURE DELIVEBED AT THE SMALL 
MEMOBIAL HALL 

In chosing as my subject, the Poona Peshwas, 
I was chiefly guided quite apart from the local 
interest of the subject by the circumstance that so 
far in my humble opinion, sufficient justice has not 
been done to the achievements of this extraordinary 
family. There has been too great a tendency, 
certainly among English writers, to overlook the 
real change of dynasty that took place when Balaji 
Bajirao made his coup d'etat. The first dynasty 
in historical Maharashtra consisted of Shiva ji, his 
sons Shambhu and Eajaram, and Shambhu's son 
Shahu. The second dynasty consisted of Balaji 
Bajirao, Madhavrao I, Narayenrao, Madhavrao II 
and Bajirao Raghunathrao, These two dynasties 
occupied three periods. During the first of these 
periods the Maratha kings both reigned and ruled. 
During the second period, that is, during the last 
half of Shahu's life the Maratha kings reigned and 
the Peshwas ruled. During the third period, i.e., 
from Shahu's death to the English conquest, the 
Peshwas both reigned and ruled. The Maratha 
dynasty no doubt still survived but as State pri- 
soners only, and exercised no more influence on 
policy of Maharashtra than did the Eastern 



PES&WAS OF poosrA. 99 

Emperors on Italian affairs at the time of Odoacer* 
In the course of the lecture I have endeavour- 
ed to present before you the second dynasty as a 
whole. And, to do so, I have found it necessary 
to sketch not only the third period, but the second 
period also of Maratha history. From this sketch 
I have omitted everything that was not essential 
to the narrative. I have even done so at the risk 
of producing a mere arid and jejune string of facts. 
But the time at my disposals, both for preparation 
and for addressing you, has been so short that this 
was inevitable. 

Let us first approach the subject with the query, 
what is a Peshwa ? Lord Macaulay in his essay 
on Warren Hastings defined him in the following 
words : " Peshwa or Mayor of the palace, a great 
hereditary magistrate, who kept a court with 
kingly state at Poona and whose authority was 
obeyed in the spacious provinces of Aurangabad 
and Bijapur." Now in another essay, Macaulay 
charged Robert Montgomery with having in one of 
his lines achieved the worst of all similitudes. Mr* 
Montgomery might possibly have retorted that 
his critic had achieved the worst of all definitions. 
The Peshwa was not a Mayor either in the literal 
or in the derived sense. Being a Brahmin, he was not 
likely to have held any high office except a priestly 
one in a Maratha' s palace. He was not a Magistrate 
either hereditary or elective. Aurangabad was pri- 
marily a part of the Moglai. And the Peshwa's 
authority extended not merely over Bijapur but 
was co-extensive with the Maratha Empire. What 
then was a Peshwa ? The title, as the name denotes^ 



100 THE FESSWAS OF 

was a Persian one and seems to have been introduced 
by the Bahamani kings. For Grant Duff mentions, 
that in 1529 A. D, Boora Khan Nizam Shah of Bija- 
pur made a Brahmin Kavarsing a Peshwa. The 
title is thus very akin to the English one of Premier, 
which taken from the French title of premier minis- 
ter, has now become an integral part of the English 
system of government. 

The first Peshwa in Maratha times was Shamraj 
Pant who held that office under Shivaji in A. D. 
1656. He was succeeded by Moropant Pingale 
who was the first among the Asht Pradhans or the 
King's Cabinet, and from his time onwards the 
Peshwa was the leading Minister of the Crown. 
The next question to arise is, how did the office be- 
come hereditary in one family and what was its 
origin ? The surname of this family was Bhat, 
a word, which although signifying priest, had be- 
come just an ordinary family name, as we say 
Mr. Priest or Mr. Vicars. The father of the founder 
of the dynasty was one Vishvanath* Bhat who was 
the Deshmukh of Shriwardhan, a Konkani town near 
the mouth of the Savitri. He had two sons, Balaji 
and Janoji. On their father's death they acted 
as Joint Deshmukhs until the Sidi <$ Janjira seised 
Janoji, took him to Janjira, and there putting him 
in a sack flung Mm into the sea. Balaji escaped to 
the town of Velas where he took shelter with one 
Mahadev Bhanu. It was, however, impos* 
to remain so near to Janjira, and Bhanu> in 
true spirit of friendship, left with his %o 
ffs, ffari and Bamaji to their hom3 ajq4 

* 'tlfy EeshWs Bakhw by Mr. Saae, 



PBSHWAS OF POONA 101 

panied his friend to Satara. The starting of these 
two adventures had a great effect on the subsequent 
history of Maharashtra* For, one became the an- 
cestor of the Poona Peshwas, and -the other the an- 
cestor of their greatest Minister, Nana Phadnavis. 

The time they reached Satara was propitious to 
adventure. For Shahu, released on Aurangzeb's 
death, was trying to recover his kingdom from the 
hands of his aunt Tarabai. On Shahu 9 s side were 
Khanderao Dabhade and Dhanaji Jadhav and in 
March, 1708, Shahu was by their aid formally in- 
stalled as Maharaja Chhatrapati. Among Dhanaji' s 
Karkuns was one Abaji Purandare * the ancestor 
of the noble house of that name and then Rulkarni 
of Saswad. To him Balaji Vishvanath attached 
himself and by his influence secured a post under 
Dhanaji Jadhav recently appointed by Shahu as 
Senapati or Commander-in-Chief. Balaji Vishva- 
nath' s talents soon made themselves known and 
Dhanaji Jadhav before his death in 1709 gave hjjfr 
complete control of his finances. This favour* 
ever, almost led to Balaji's extinction. 
Jadhav, Dhanaji's son, regarded the new 
with intense jealousy which was exasperated by 
Balaji's appointment by Shahu, after Dhanaji's 
to check the Raja's share out of the Senapati's 
tions. A trifling hunting dispute served as 
and Balaji was, together with his two sons, f dreed to 
ride for his life to Pandugad where 
beseiged him. Fortunately for Balaji he had 
at the time employed by the king. Notitiag 
would have saved him. As it was Shahu sent 

Grant Duff, 1, 302. * 



102 THE ESHWAS OF 

royal troops under Jadhav's rival Nimbalkar who 
defeated the Senapati and rescued the beseiged. 
Balaji now became a regular servant of the king and 
rapidly rose. Ihe long regency and the endless 
wars had made the king's authority over his generals 
little more than nominal. Jadhav abandoned his 
service. Thorat set up as a freebooter. Angria 
was openly independent. The rise of Balaji, how- 
ever, added the necessary vigour to restore the 
kingly authority. Thorat was after some difficulty 
captured and although Angria was at first success- 
ful, his very success ultimately caused the supre- 
macy of Balaji. The then Peshwa was Bhairopant 
Pingale. To him was given the command of the 
expedition against Angria. He conducted it with 
such imbecility that his troops were completely 
defeated, The fort of Lohgad which commands 
the Bhorghat fell with the Peshwa into Angria's 
hands, and that daring pirate prepared, as it was 
believed, to march on Satara. In this supreme 
moment Shahu turned to Balaji Vishvanath. Ihe 
latter by skilful diplomacy won over Angria, and 
by combining their armies in a common attack on 
the Sidi of Janjira stripped the latter of enough 
land to pay for a bribe to Angria, and thus is one 
campaign secured for his master a powerful ally 
and avenged the death of his own brother. King 
Shahu was overjoyed and removing Bhairu Pingale 
from the rank of Peshwa appointed in 1714 Balaji 
Vishvanath in his place. This I take it was one 
of the most dazzling rises in history. In 1708 he 
bad come a homeless fugitive to a foreign land. Six 
foter he had become supreme in its councils. 



THE PESHWAS OF POOtfA 103 

Nor was he unworthy of his fortune. Under his 
guidance the uncertain policy of Shahu's early 
reign disappeared. His goyernment once again 
reverted to the daring policy of Shivaji. The 
unfruitful depredations of isolated leaders gave 
place to a definite scheme of conquest. In fact, 
there came over the foreign relations of Maharashtra 
such a change as that which was seen in the Re- 
volutionary Government at the advent of Bonaparte, 
or in Rome when the timid caution of the Senate 
gave place to the bold imperialism of Lucullus. 

It was not long before Balaji's energy and talents 
obtained for his master a great reward. In A. D. 
1712 Aurangzeb's son and successor Sultan Muazam 
died, and his grandson Farrokshiar obtained the 
throne. His success in doing so was chiefly due to the 
courage and ability of two high-born Mahomedan bro- 
thers, Abdullakhan and Hussein Ali Khan, usually 
known in history as the Sayads. But onse on the 
throne the Emperor wished to destroy his allies. 
They in turn appealed to the Marathas and in 1718 
a combined army under Balaji Vishvanath marphed 
on Delhi. The emperor was seized and not long 
afterwards murdered and the Marathas obtained in 
1719 a full recognition of their Swaraj over such 
territories as Shivaji occupied at his death and the 
Chauth plus 10 per cent, called the Sardeshmukhi 
on practically the whole Deccan. They seem, ^Iso 
to have obtained the Sayads' tacit consent to levy 
tribute in Halwa and Gujarat. 

This was the crowning achievement of this 'able 
and loyal man. He found Shahu's dominion a 
distracted principality. He left it a growing 



104 THE PBSHWAS OP 

vigorous empire. In the very height of his fame 
and in the full tide of success his frame gave way 
beneath the labours imposed on it. In October, 
1720, he retired to Saswad where he lingered for only 
a few days. 

About the same time there died another Maratha 
officer of great distinction, Khanderao Dabhade. 
Descended from the Mukadam of lalegaon he had 
earned Rajaram's gratitude by carrying him an im- 
mense distance from the besieged fort of Panala. 
Raised eventually to the rank of Senapati or Com- 
ma#der-in-Chief, he had also established himself 
firmly in Gujerat. His relations with Balaji Vishwa- 
nath seem to have remained friendly, but on their 
death there sprang up a great and fatal rivalry bet- 
ween their sons Trimbakrao and Bajirao. Bajirao 
Balaji was then in the flower of his age and had hoped, 
as a matter of course, to succeed his father as Pesh- 
wa. But this bold, aspiring, extremely able man met 
with unexpected obstacles. The speedy rise and 
the great talents of his father had awakened the 
jealousy of the local magnates. At their head was 
*Shriniwasrao, Pratinidhi of Aundh, a wise man 
and brave soldier and perhaps best known to fame 
as the founder of MahuLL He strongly objected to 
the promotion of the young Chitpawan over the 
heads of the Asht Pradhans* Eventually, however, 
Shahu made as a kind of compromise Trimbakrao 
Dabhade Senapati and Bajirao Peshwa. The former 
at once allied himself to the oldDeccan party and the 
rivalry of the two factions became clearly defined 
when Bajirao proposed to extend the Maratha con- 

* Also oailed Shripatrao, 



THE PBSHWAS OF POOKA I > 105 




quest beyond Malwa into Hindustan. The '. 
opposed him on the ground that it was time 1 
consolidate the king's possessions, to restore 
the finances and to introduce a more careful dis- 
cipline in the army. Bajirao, however, knew that 
such a policy would play his enemies' game. Peace 
was to the advantage of the hereditary nobles with 
powerful local interest. War was necessary to the 
schemes of the brilliant adventurer, who could only 
maintain himself by the creation of a mercenary 
army and a succession of victories. He, therefore, 
scoffed at the Pratinidhi's timid counsels, and asked 
how Shivaji would have fared had he been guided 
by them* He then disclosed that his policy aimed 
at no less than the conquest of the whole empire of 
the Mogals. "Strike, 55 he cried, "strike at the 
trunk of the withering tree and the branches must 
fall of themselves." His eloquence won the day 
and embarked the Marathas on a vigorous policy of 
universal aggression. 

The period was favourable to thePeshwa's schemes. 
The Mogal empire was reduced to a condition border- 
ing on paralysis by the dissensions of the Emperor's 
ministers. The Syuds had in their turn been dis- 
placed by the Nizam-ul-mulk, a Turani Mogal of 
great talents and experience. He agaiu, disgusted 
at the folly and the levity of the new Emperor, 
threw up the post of vazier to be first governor and 
then independent ruler of the Deccan. Bajirao 
sought the line of least resistance, and in 1726, iu- 
vaded first Malwa and then the Carnatic as far as 
Seriagapatam. The next year's victim was the 
Nizam, who, jt must be admitted? deserved to the 



106 THE PESHWAS OF POOKA 

full his punishment. He tried to take advantage 
of the division of the Maratha empire made at 
Shahu's accession and set up Shambaji, the Chief of 
Koliapur, as heir to the whole. Bajirao would not 
stoop to negotiation, and after a brilliant campaign 
in which the old soldier was completely out-gene- 
ralled, forced him to accept most humilating terms. 
But here the Peshwa was obliged to halt. A new 
and far more formidable danger threatened him. 
The Deccan party led by Trimbakrao Dabhade 
broke into ,open revolt and allied themselves with 
the Nizam. Here again, however, Bajirao' s talents 
triumphed. He fell on the Dhabhade's army near 
Dabhoi in Gujarat, and after a desperate struggle in 
which the Senapati perished, destroyed it. The 
Nizam in haste secured his safety by an agreement 
not to molest the future action of the Marathas, 
and thus opened to the Peshwa, now supreme master 
of Maharastra, a safe road to Delhi. Nor was Baji- 
rao slow to take it. After a short and successful 
campaign against the Sidi of Janjira, the grand army 
under Bajirao advanced on Delhi. Close by he 
pitched his camp, defeated two M.ogal forces and 
was not boght off eventually, except by a large 
indemnity and by the complete cession of the whole 
of Malwa now known as Central India. While tips 
brilliant campaign was in progress, Bajirao's brb* 
ther Chimnaji was carrying out the new policy witk 
no less vigour to the west. The Portuguese, who for 
many years had had a footing on the Malabar coast, 
joined on account of some real or fancied grievance, 
the pirate Angria in an attack on Kolaba. A great 
army under Chimnaji hastened to the spot. 



POONA 



First Bandra and Salsette fell, and then, after a 
furious seige, the Portuguese were compelled to 
surrender Bassein, and the whole seaboard of the 
Northern Konkan was added to the rapidly-grow- 
ing Maratha possessions. To the cession of Malwa, 
however, the Nizam objected and once again he 
and Bajirao appeared on opposite sides. The latter 
after two successful campaigns found at last that 
his resources were unequal to the subjugation of the 
Deccan. The third campaign ended undecisively, 
and Bajirao overwhelmed with debt, harassed by 
disease and in despair at this check to the progress 
of his schemes hoped to recoup himself by another 
successful war in Hindustan, Death, however, over- 
took him on the banks of the Narbudda where he 
died on the 28th Apirl, 1740. He had been for 20 
years Peshwa, and if his policy had been of the too 
forward kind he yet had achieved brilliant things. 
He had made himself, with hardly the exception of 
the king, the supreme master of the State. He had. 
fought With success the greatest soldiers ifc Iiptdi&, 
and if he met with a check in the end it was perhapa 
because, as Shriniwasrao had indicated, consolida- 
tion should have preceded conquest. His charadt^p 
is perhaps best indicated by a story told in the Pesh* 
wa's Bakhar. The Emperor wished to know wk&fr 
manner of man it was who led from Satara armies* 
to threaten the august throne of Delhi, so he se&t a 
painter to depict him as he happened first to si$e him 
The painter found Bajirao on horseback with his 
spe&r slung carelessly over his shoulder. A& he 
went he picked the ears of corn and unhusked thei& 



108 THE PESHWAS Off POOSA 

painter drew him and shewed his picture to the 
Emperor. The latter looked at it and said " wuh 
shaitan hai" and gave the order " Baji Rao, yanshi 
samjoot padoon wates lavle pahije."* 

The firm hold that the Bhat family had taken in 
the Satara State is well exemplified by the circum- 
stance that Bajirao's son Balaji succeeded him as 
Peshwa without serious opposition. But it was not 
long before the Dabhade faction raised up a new 
enemy in Raghuji Bhosle. This person, the founder 
of the afterwards famous house of Nagpur, had ob- 
tained Shahu's favour by his skill as a hunter and 
sealed it by his marriage with the sister of Shahu's 
wife Sakvarbai. The subject of the dispute was 
Raghojfs claim to levy independent tribute in 
Bengal* Balaji took the field and proved himself, 
like his father and grandfather, a skilful general 
Raghuji was defeated, and the new Peshwa attempted 
to make surer foundations for the Kingdom. Prom 
1746 to 1749 he devoted himself to improving the 
revenue system and encouraging agriculture. But 
towards the end of 1749 it was clear that King 
Shahu's long reign was coming to a close. He had 
no son and had refused to adopt one, due, it is 
believed, to his knowledge that his nephew Ram 
Raja was alive, 

Sakvarbai, Shahu's wife, was bitterly hostile to 
the Peshwa's domination. The crisis was therefore 
imminent. Balaji met it with resolution and skill. 
He surrounded Satara with 30,000 men, and on the 
morning that Shahu died surprised and imprisoned 
afl the members of his family, Sakvarbai, his enemy, 

11 ' ' ,' Jfta fo *tfeviL Make terms with JwmLSwad get rid of him. 



OF P06NA 

was forced to commit sati. Earn Raja was impri* 
soned and the capital was transferred from Satara 
to Poona. In that town Bajirao had already esta- 
blished himself in the fortified palace still named 
Shanwar Wada. Two stories aye told to account 
for his choice. One is that he saw a dog being put- 
sued by a hare and so assumed that the dwellers on 
that spot were invincible. The other is that his horse 
stumbled and from it he argued that it was intended 
by Providence that he should remain there. A more 
probable reason was the favourable situation of 
Poona, sheltered alike by Singhad and Purandhar, 
the latter of which had been in the private possession 
of the Bhats since the time of Balaji Vishvanath. 
From this date 1750 A. D, the Peshwas became 
ruling princes and it remains for us to see how they 
acquitted themselves of their new duties. Had but 
ordinary good fortune waited on them the new mas- 
ters of Maharashtra would have been equal to the 
situation. But a fresh and formidable peril was 
threatening India, In the winter of 1747-48 Ahmed- 
shah Abdalli, a prince of Herat and an old soldier of 
Nadir Shah, had begun a series of incursions across! 
the North-West frontier. The Delhi empire w^hicfe 
had received a fatal blow during the invasion ol 
Nadir Shah in 1739 was helpless. The matter even- 
tually became so pressing that in 1757 the Peshwa*s 
brother Ragunathrao led a large Maratha army to 
oppose the Afghans. Eaghunathrao had more tha& 
a full share of his illustrious father's generalship an4 
without difficulty drove the Afghans across 
mountains. Unfortunately the profits of tlie 
dition were far less than its cost and Chimixajf 



116 T&E tESHWAS Otf POONA 

Sadashivrao, the Peshwa' s first cousin and favourite, 
a man of great financial and administrative talents, 
gratified his jealousy of Baghunathrao and made 
so much of the latter's alleged mismanagement that 
he at last succeeded in himself superseding him. 
The change was disastrous. Ahmed Shah, who would 
have found Raghunathrao probably more than a 
match, outmanoeuvred Sadashivrao, hemmed him 
in and eventually utterly destroyed him, the heir ap- 
parent Vishvas Rao and the Grand Army of the 
Marathas. The disaster was too much for the 
Peshwa, who lingered but a short time after he 
learnt the news and died among the temples on 
Parvati Hill. 

As Vishvas Rao had fallen, the next heir was 
Balajfs second son Madhavrao. His task was a 
colossalone. Ahmed Shah was master of Hindu- 
stan, The Nizam was combining with Jankoji Jadhav 
to overthrow the Peshwa Government in favour of 
the old Maratha line. The treasury was empty* 
There was no army and Raghunathrao was openly 
anxious to secure for himself the Peshwai. All these 
difficulties had to be faced by a boy of sixteen. Yet 
the great house that had already produced Balaji 
Vishvanath, Bajirao I, Balaji II, and Chimnaji was 
not yet exhausted and the abilities and spirit of 
Madhavrao proved as great as any of his predeces- 
sors. Raghunathrao was conciliated. The Nizam 
w$s aignally defeated at Rakshabhuvan. Ahmed 
Shah recrossed the Afghan frontier. One great 
force under the Peshwa in person advance as far 
&s Seringapatam. Another Maratha army crossed 
e Chambal, looted Rohilkhand, and encamped at 



THE PESHWAS Off POOJU 111 

Delhi. By a most unlucky chance, however, this 
gallant prince had contracted consumption and just 
when his government was threatening to over ,rua 
all India he died aged only 28 at Theur, As 
Grant Duff very justly observed, " The plains of 
Panipat were not more fatal to the Maratha empire,* 
than the early end of this excellent prince. "We have 
now, gentlemen, passed the apogee of the greatness 
of the Peshwas. I shall shortly as possible accom- 
pany you to their melancholy fall. Madhavrao's 
younger brother Narain Rao was duly installed, but 
Raghunathrao first reconciled to and then interned 
by Madhavrao, again aspired to the Peshwaship. 
Narain Rao was brutally murdered in his palace by 
the guards, and another young Prince for whom 
' shrewd observers had prophesied a great future w&s 
lost to the Maratha empire. Raghunathrao, however, 
again failed to secure his object. An enquiry held 
by Ram Shastri revealed that he had connived if 
not at the murder at the attack and it bei^g shortly 
afterwards discovered that Narain Rao's t^id<jw 
Gangabai was pregnant a regency government V$8 
carried on in her name by the ministers ajqaong whptoti 
were Sakharam Bapu and the dependent of 
Vishvanath's friend Bhanu, now famous as 
Phadnavis. On the 18th April, 1774, {^ 
gave birth to a son Madhavrao II. This put an 
to Raghunathrao's hopes. He, however; 
unceasingly against his grand nephew's 
He first collected 30,000 men from Shiad ari 
kar and then induced the Bombay Groveri^iii 
lend him their active support.In this vay frog#n jij^fc 
English bfetpry as 



112 THE PESHWAS OF POOKA 

War. A joint English and rebel force advanced 
from Gujarat and defeated the Poona army at Arras. 
The war was, however, stopped by Warren Hastings 
from Calcutta before it reached any decisive stage. 
Raghunathrao, however, in the cold weather of 1779, 
induced the Bombay Government again to assist 
him. But this time the regency were able to repel 
the danger. The English were defeated at Wadgaon, 
but assistance arriving from Calcutta, they overran 
Bassein and a large part of the Konkan* Goddard 
was, however, repulsed near Panwelandthe regency 
and the English eventually made a treaty on the 
status quo ante basis. Raghunathrao, the cause of 
the trouble, received a handsome pension and died 
in 1784, leaving two sons, Bajirao and Chimnaji 
Appa. For the next eleven years Nana Phadnavis 
conducted the government. I do not propose here 
to detail to you with what skill he did so. Enemies 
were rising up on many sides. A soldier of fortune, 
Haidar Ali, had established and bequeathed a power- 
ful kingdom to his son. Shinde had half thrown off his 
allegiance and disputed Nana Phadnavis' preemi- 
nence* The English power was rapidly growing both in 
the south and the west. Nevertheless,Nana Phadnavis 
struggled desperately and on the whole successfully 
to check the decline of Maharashtra. Unfortunately, 
the effects of the Civil War were not easily to be ef- 
faped. Many of Raghunathrao's adherents still lived 
!and they, as well as many others, sympathised not 
f$oty with the lot of his son Bajirao but also with 
^^o^ing Madhavrao, whom Nana Phadnavis as 
l^^^^t under jealous supervision. It is probable 
u$w$fa old man had no other object but the 



THE PBSHWAS OF POONA 113 

man's good, and had but forgotten that the years, 
which passed quickly over his own head were, creat- 
ing an immense change in the young prince. A secret 
correspondence sprang up between the two cousins, 
Madhavrao and Bajirao, whose situations were in 
many respects so similar.* It was discovered by the 
great Minister, and his anger was so terrible that 
Madhavrao, broken hearted by his reproaches, threw 
himself from an upper storey in the palace into the 
court-yard round which now cluster the Courts of the 
Poona Sub- Judges. On his death bed he expressed a 
wish that Bajirao should succeed him, and after a 
series of deep intrigues Bajirao did obtain the Masnad 
which his father had failed so often to secure. The 
new prince's first efforts were directed towards des- 
troying such of his friends as had helped him to rise. 
Nana Phadnavis, now full of years, was treacherously 
seized, and an attempt was made to seize Shinde in 
open Darbar which would certainly have succeeded 
had not Bajirao's heart failed him. The intentions 
of Bajirao became, however, known to their would- 
be- victim, aid their discovery naturally estranged all 
the great Jahagirdars. The estrangement led to an 
absolute disregard for the Peshwa's supremacy. On 
Tukoji Holkar's death Shinde seized on the Hol- 
kar's estates. Yeshwantrao Holkar, an illegitimate 
son took the field in the old Maratha fashion. Even- 
tually, the two feudatories fought near Hadapsar and 
Yeshwantrao Holkar was completely victorious. The 
Peshwa, who had latterly been friendly to Shinde, fled 



* They were both closely watched. I should* however, say here that 
recent researches brought to my notice by Mr. Dravid, editor of tfc& 
Dnyan Pra&asb," make it doubtful whether Madharrao's death was not 
accidental. 



114 THE PESHWAS OF POONA 

to Bombay, and the victorious Holkar thoroughly 
plundered the inhabitants of the beautiful capital. 
ThePeshwa to obtain revenge agreed to the treaty of 
Bassein. 

In return for English assistance he promised to 
maintain a large body of hired troops, and signed 
his own complete political subordination. Amritrao, 
his elder adopted brother, had, however, in the 
meantime usurped the Peshwai, and the interference 
of the British brought on them the whole confederacy 
of the Maratha Empire. The great resources, 
however, which that Government had then acquired, 
and the ability of the two brothers, the Marquis 
and General Wellesley, then at the head of the Civil 
and Military Government, enabled the British to re- 
store Bajirao. Shinde was defeated at Assaye and 
Laswari, Raghoji Bhosle at Argano, and Holkar, after 
some brilliant initial successes ,was driven out of the 
Deccan. Bajirao had obtained a signal revenge, but 
at a high, and as he soon came to think, at a too 
high price. Quarrels arose between the allies and 
they came to a head over the question of the arrest 
of Trimbakji Dengale, the murderer of the Gaikwad's 
minister Gangadhar Shastri. Eventually, Bajirao 
was forced to sign the treaty of Poona which placed 
him still more under English protection. Bajirao, 
however, had no intention of adhering to it. He 
secretly enrolled a quantity of troops, and hoped by 
taking the initiative to gain such successes against 
the English as would bring to his aid the great Maratha 
Jahagirdars. The successes, however, never came. 
His troops were defeated in every battle and he him-* 
fidf eventually surrendered on the 3rd June, 1818, to 



MtB PESHWAS OF POOKA 115 

Sir John Malcolm. He was allowed the handsome 
pension of 8 lacs a year. He retired to Bithur near 
Cawnpore where he lived for nearly 30 years, dying 
eventually on the 28th January, 1851. 

With the English conquest, the line of Peshwas 
came, of course, to an end, and I may, perhaps, be 
permitted to enquire, what was the reason of their 
complete collapse ? Many different causes have been 
assigned to it, Western aggression, the indepen- 
dent attitude of the feudatories, the battle of Panipat. 
These all, no doubt, contributed to the downfall, but 
in my humble judgment were symptoms of the 
disease rather than the disease itself. The evil lay 
deeper. In his "Decline and Fall", Gibbon has 
observed that Asiatic monarchy is an unceasing 
round of valour, greatness, degeneracy and decay. 
This remark is singularly untrue, of some, at any 
rate, of the native Indian kingdoms. The august 
dynasty of Udaipur, which still ranks so high among 
the principalities of India, was hoary with age when 
the Catholic Church was founded and of respecta- 
ble antiquity when Sophocles was writing tragedies 
and Pericles dallying with Aspasia. But the 
remark is true both of Eastern and Western usur- 
pers. And in spite of their great services, usurpers 
the Peshwas were always regarded by the great 
body of Maharashtra* Had the Peshwas been able 
to extinguish and not merely intern the successors of 
Shahu, they would, no doubt, have in the end been 
regarded as legitimate monarchs. But public opi- 
nion was too strong for them. They never dared by 
sacrilegious htods on the descendants of Shivaji 
A&CI, indeed* there is no more marvellous 



116 HE PESHWAS Off POOSA 

achievement of that Titanic figure than that during 
If centuries his memory, the mere terror of his name 
was sufficient to protect his helpless posterity. Now 
as they were usurpers, the Peshwas 3 kingdom was 
subject to the common rule. Decay was the inevit- 
able accompaniment of their deterioration. During 
the Peshwas 5 greatness, Western aggression was 
promptly dealt with. The Portuguese were, as we 
have seen, driven out of Bassein, and it is idle to 
argue that the English could not have been similarly 
overpowered. The independence of the Jahagirdars 
was a still later symptom. The great Mahadji Shinde 
himself had tried to measure himself against the first 
Madhavrao, but the young prince drove him from 
his presence completely cowed. And what was the 
battle of Panipat, but the result of Balaji Bajirao's 
weak yielding to the jealous clamour of his favourite 
cousin ? Had his strength been still unimpaired, 
Eaghunathrao would have been retained at the head 
of the army, and there would have been no disaster. 
But the weakness of the Central Government began 
in the closing years of Balaji's reign and succeeding 
Peshwas were never able completely to cure the 
disease* In Madhvarao's reign it might have been 
got under had he only lived longer or executed Raghu- 
nathrao. His early death ruined the central Govern- 
ment, for the regency were unable to restore health 
to it. Finally when Bajirao succeeded the disease 
had got completely the upper hand. The Maratha 
empire was already doomed. He but hastened the end* 
I have now come to the end of my lecture- I must 
thank you for the attention and kindness with which 
you have listened to me. But before I conclude 



PBSHWAS OF tOO&i 117 

I would make of you an earnest request. The 
subject which I have discussed is an extremely 
delicate one, I have endeavoured to eliminate from 
it all matters in the least likely to give offence. It is, 
however, possible that being a foreigner, I may have 
quite unintentionally wounded some sensibilities. 
Should I have done so I would only ask that no ill 
motive may be imputedto me and that as the intention 
was absent it may be judged that I have committed 
no offence. On the other hand, I shall be deeply 
gratified if I have succeeded in giving you even a 
momentary glimpse of any single member of the 
great house that turned the little township of Poona 
into a mighty and beautiful metropolis of Balaji 
Vishvanath, the wise progenitor, Bajirao I, the 
orator and soldier whose fiery imagination like the 
gate of the Shanwar Wada looked ever towards the 
golden throne of Delhi ; Balaji Vishvanath, the bold 
but unfortunate usurper ; Madhavrao I, the most 
brilliant perhaps of all, whom death snatched away 
in his glorious prime ; Narayanrao and Madhavrao 
II, killed on the very threshold of manhood, and last 
of all Bajirao II, gayest, handsomest but, alas, 
most incapable of princes. 



IN THE COURT OF THE YOUNGER 
MADHAVRAO.* 

It used to be some years ago and I daresay 
that it still is a not uncommon saying that Hindu 
writers have no historical sense, and it must be 
admitted that the earlier literature of India afforded 
some ground for this reproach. It was left to three 
Englishmen, Colonel Tod, Mr. Forbes and Captain 
Grant Duff, to write the histories of Rajasthan, 
Kathiavad and the Maharashtra. The splendid 
period of Mussulman greatness found no Hindu 
historian and even the spirited bakhars of the great 
Deccan houses can hardly be termed, in the usual 
sense of the word, histories. But whatever may 
formerly have been the case, to-day the censure is no 
longer deserved. In " Karan Ghelo " a Gujarati 
author has written the finest historical novel produced 
in either hemisphere since Dumas wrote the wondrous 
tale of "The Three Musketeers." And of recent 
years the Deccan has furnished historical novelists 
like Mr.Hari Apte and historians like Mr. Dattatraya 
Parasnis. It is with the most recent work of the 
latter author that the present article deals. And 
the book has a double interest, for throughout its 
pages may be seen side by side old-fashioned and 
modern Marathi. The former in the letters of 

* Savai Madhavrao Peshvayancha Darbar. By Mr, D. B. Parasnis 
tftrted at the Nimayaaagara Frees, Poona, 



COURT OF THE YOUNGER MADHAVRAO 119 

Nana Phadnavis and his agents is crabbed, ambi- 
guous, often unintelligible. The latter wielded by 
Mr. Parasnis* admirable pen is clear, vigorous, and 
so permeated with Western thought that sentence 
after sentence might almost be literally translated 
into English. 

To return, however, to my subject. In his latest 
book, "The Court of the Younger Madhavrao," 
Mr. Parasnis has written of the establishment of the 
first permanent English embassy at the Court of 
Poona. There had been no doubt several earlier 
English envoys. As long ago as 1674 A.D. Sir Henry 
Oxenden and Dr* Fryer had visited Shivaji at 
Raigad. Then in 1739 Captain Gordon had been to 
see King Shahu at Satara. In 1759 William Price 
had treated with the Third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao. 
In 1767 Mostyn had visited Madhavrao I, and in 
1776 Colonel Upton had brought to asuccesful close 
the negotiations leading to the treaty of Purandhar. 
But these were all transitory visits, and the East India 
Company had long felt the need of some permanent 
responsible medium through whom they might both 
acquire and impart information. After the disas- 
trous campaign of Wadgaon, the Company had, 
through a sense of gratitude to Mahadji Shinde for 
his treatment of their troops,employed him as their 
intermediary. But it was not long before this 
method proved unsatisfactory. Shinde's thoughts 
were directed towards Delhi rather than Poona, and 
it was impossible that one so deeply engaged in 
Hindustani affairs could spare the time or trouble to 
be a successful agent of the Company* After consi- 
derable hesitation and afttep long discussion with the 



120 COURT OF THE YOUNGEB MABHAVEAO 

Calcutta Government, it was decided that a Bombay 
officer should be selected, but that he should re- 
present not Bombay but the Governor-General. 
The next step was to obtain the consent of the Poona 
Court. This was no easy matter. The continual 
presence of an English envoy might be construed 
as a sign of inferiority which the Maratha Government 
were naturally loth to admit. The meridian of their 
glory had no doubt passed, but although the evening 
shadows were soon to fall the setting sun for the time 
shone brightly enough. The terrible calamity of 
Panipat had been in a measure repaired by the elder 
Madhavrao, and the spoils of Hyderabad and the 
Carnatic had replenished the empty treasury. The 
civil campaigns against Eaghunathrao had indeed 
shaken the structure of the empire, but the ability 
of the regent Nana Phadnavis coped with each new 
difficulty as it came. The English were by the 
treaty of Salbai induced to abandon Raghunathrao, 
and if victory had not as of old followed the Yellow 
Banner yet in two campaigns the English had wres- 
ted nothing from the Poona Court. On the whole, it 
was a fair time for Maharashtra. The reforms 
initiated by Balaji Bajirao revised by Madhavrao 
the First and still further developed by the regent 
had rendered the lot of the Deccatt peasant by no 
means unenviable. Trade, no doubt, stagnated, but 
there was vast wealth stored in the houses of the 
Maratha nobles. Civil talents found an opening in 
Nana Phadnavis 5 administration andinMalwa where 
the wide lands of the Holkar Shahi were guarded tho 
tijctues and wisdom of Ahilyabai, Nor were adven- 
tures lacking to the adventurous* Raids were in 



COTJBT OF THE YOTOrOER MADKAVJ&LO 121 

constant progress into the Carnatie or the Moglai j 
and far away at Ujjain were forming beneath the 
eagle eyes of De Boigne those renowned brigades, 
who, many years later, though deserted by their 
leaders, yet faced Lake's attack with unfalter- 
ing courage; who burst like a flood over Upper India; 
who broke in pieces the old thrones of Ra jasthan, and 
who accomplished what five centuries of Mussulman 
invaders had failed to achieve, for they humbled to 
the very dust the lordly pride of Mewar. 

What than in the end induced Nana Phadnavis 
to consent to the English proposal ? There can be 
little doubt that it was the growing menace of Tipu 
Sultan's kingdom. His father Haidar Ali had no 
doubt been on the whole hostile to the English, but 
he had been no less so to the Marathas, and it would 
not have been difficult for the Company to induce 
Tipu Sultan to join in a league against the Poona 
Government which, pressed on both sides, would 
have found it a hard task to resist. So to prevent 
what he most feared, an alliance of the English with 
Tipu, Nana Phadnavis agreed reluctantly to a per- 
manent English envoy at the Peshwa's Court* There 
was yet another step to be taken, and that was to 
induce, without offending him, Mahadji Shinde to 
relinquish his post as intermediary between the Eng- 
lish and the Peshwa. This delicate task was entrust- 
ed to the hero of Mr, Parasnis 5 work, Charles Warre 
Malet. This remarkable man came of an obscure 
English family. His father was a poor country 
parson who found it difficult no his small income to 
bring up his children. Thus when his son Charles, 
born ia A* D. 1752, reached the age of eighteen* 



122 COURT Off THE YOOTOEB 

his father gladly accepted on his behalf a writership 
in the East India Company. In the winter of 1770 
the young man landed in Bombay, and his earlier 
service was spent in Muscat, Bushire and in other 
coast towns along the Persian Gulf. In 1774, he 
was selected to officiate as English Agent at the 
Court of Cambay. Here he earned the approval of 
his chiefs by an act of resolution certainly remarkably 
in a boy of twenty-three. When the intense feeling 
roused by the murder of Narain Rao had alienated 
from Raghunathrao the great jaghirdars, he turned 
in despair to the English with whom, on March 6th, 
1775, he drew up a treaty making to them large 
cessions in the Konkan in return for the support of 
their troops. Before, however, these could reach 
him he was surprised and signally defeated near the 
Mahi river by the regent's army. He fled with only 
1,000 horses to Cambay where theNawab was unwill- 
ing to receive him. But the young English envoy, 
although he knew nothing of the treaty, insisted on 
sheltering him and enabled him to embark via Bhav- 
nagar in safety for Bombay. The grateful pretender, 
in a letter quoted by Mr. Parasnis, exclaimed : " You 
did more for me than my father Bajirao. He gave 
me my life but you not only saved it, but my honour 
as well !" The Bombay Government showed their 
appreciation by confirming Malet at Cambay where 
he seems to have remained until 1785, when they 
were asked by Calcutta to choose a representative for 
the Poona Court. Before this could be done Shinde's 
consent had, as I have said, to be obtained and Malet 
was selected for this delicate mission. Going by sea 
from Bombay to Surat, Malet marched from there 



COTTBT OF THE YOmffGHER MADHAVBAO 123 



to Ujjain. There he met Mahadji Shinde. The 
difficulties were great for, as intermediary between 
the English and the Peshwa, Shinde retained an 
effective control over affairs at Poona. Neverthe- 
less Malet induced the reluctant prince to write that 
if the Peshwa had no objection to the new embassy, 
he had none. A yet greater triumph was in store for 
the young civil servant. For, on his return to 
Bombay, he learnt that Shinde had privately written 
to Governor Boddom that, should the Peshwa con- 
sent, Shinde hoped that Mr. Malet might be chosen 
as envoy. 

His wish was granted, for the Peshwa had already 
consented and Malet started for Poona. The follow- 
ing letter, written on the llth February, 1786, by 
Bahirav Raghunath to Nana Phadnavis reports 
Malet's slow advance, and its closing sentence shows 
that our countryman, distinguished though he was, 
was not above certain deplorable frailties. 

"You ordered me to report, when Mr. Malet 
" left Bombay, how far he had gone and when he 
" would reach Poona. Accordingly (I inform you 
"that) he reached Panwell on the 12th instant. 
" (Hindu month). He remained for eight days 
" there. On the 21st he left, and I was informed by 
" letter that on the 22nd he had come to Khalapur 
"near Khopvali just below the Ghats. The 
"following day he was to climb them. He will 
" remain two days at Khandala. The reason why 
"his marches ajre so slow is because he requires 
" labourers for no less than 500 to 700 head-loads* 
"This leads to confusion and waste of time. 
". . . With, him are the following ; Six topi* 



124: COURT OF THE YOTTNGEE MADHAVBAO 

" walas* including Malet himself. Of these, three 
" of them are entitled to palanquins. There are 
" 35 horses, 200 guards, 100 servants, 50 kamathi 
" porters, 75 palanquin men, 425 Mhars, 2 elephants, 
" 4 palanquins. His camp kit consists of 1 big and 
" 2 small tents, 3 big raotis and pals for servants. 
** Malet's Musalman dancing girl is for also with 
** them in a palkhL" 

On Malet's arrival at Poona there occurred a 
difference between him and the regent. The latter 
was engaged in an expedition in the Carnatic and 
wished Malet without delay to join his army. Malet 
pleaded that he wished first to pay his respects to the 
young Peshwa and this the regent was at last forced 
to allow. Malet's stay gave rise to the question 
where he was to stay, and his place of residence gave 
Bahirav Raghunath who had been entrusted with 
his entertainment considerable trouble. On the 
4th March, 1786, he wrote as follows to Nana : 

"I have prepared a place in the Gaikwad's 
"houses. But he (Malet) want a roomy spot 
" surrounded by trees. He has, therefore, pitched 
"his tents opposite Parvati in the mango grove 
"near Anandrao Jivajfs garden. He has placed 
"hiszanankhana" presumably his Musalman Hero- 
dias " inside the Gaikwad's house, but he " himself 
remains outside.'* 

Although Mr. Malet was not very satisfied with 
this arrangement and seems to have grumbled a good 

* The names applied to Englishmen by Indians are many and vari- 
ous. The following I have myself either heard or read : Roumi, STerin- 
ghi, or Feranghi, Ingrej, Anrej, Angal, Mleccha, Yavan, topiwela and 
Janglo. Tlie term sahiblog is within my experience only used when an 
SngJ&bnaan is within, heating or by the servant class* 



COTTET OF THE YOUNGEB MADHAVBAO 

deal, his attention was soon diverted to a further 
question. Having gained his point and obtained 
leave to see the Peshwa, he had next to see that he 
should be properly received. He had brought with 
him a quantity of presents, of which one seems to 
have been a young ostrich* Of this Bahiravpant 
wrote; 

" Malet has brought a shahamrag (griffin) from 
" Abyssinia to give to the Peshwa. It, however, 
" died in its cage below the Ghats. But he had its 
" body carried after him. The bird was very large, 
" being four feet high. He brought it because it 
" was very rare, but it is dead." The other offerings, 
however, remained and a heated controversy arose 
as to how the Peshwa should receive the envoy. 
Nana Phadnavis ordered that he should be given 
the same honours as Mr. Mostyn and Colonel Upton. 
Mr. Malet contended that they had merely represen- 
ted the Bombay Government and that as he was the 
ambassador of Calcutta, he should receive the satoe 
honours as the Calcutta envoy when visiting Shinde 
or the Mogal. A most amusing correspondence 
ensued between Bahiravpant and the regent in 
which the former recited all the devices vainly em- 
ployed to induce Malet to accept Nana Phadnavis* 
ruling. Eventually, it was arranged that the official 
reception should stand over until Malet's retttm 
from the regents camp. Malet, whom 
pant described as extremely " grieved, vexed, 
annoyed, 59 was to see the Peshwa privately. 
account of this interview is to be found in a tetter 
of Janardhan Apaji to Nana Phadnavis, dated 5th 
Hatch, 1786. ! 



126 OOTTBT OF THE YOUNGER BA.DEA\nfcAO 

" To-day he (Malet) went to pay his respects to the 
" Peshwa. It was arranged that he should arrive 
" first and the Peshwa later. At the time of depar- 
" ture the Peshwa was to rise first so that there 
" should be no difficulty on the score of etiquette. 
" As Bahiravpant suggested and Malet insisted that 
" on arrival he should merely place his hand within 
" the Peshwa 5 s ? the latter received him unattended."* 

After thus paying his respects to Madhavrao II, 
Mr. Malet had to join Phadnavis' army and on the 
20th May, 1786, was presented at the storming of 
Badami, Upon this success, the Maratha forces 
returned to Poona where Malet began to unfold the 
design of the Company. This was no less than 
the formation of a triple alliance between the Nizam, 
the Marathas and the English against Mysore. As 
Mr. Parasnis has very justly observed, it is extra- 
ordinary that the regent should ever have joined 
such a scheme. Fear a league between the English 
and Tipu Sultan though he might, it was yet scarcely 
conceivable that he should play into the former's 
hands by joining with them against their most serious 
enemy. That Malet should have overcome Nana's 
reluctance is the highest proof of the Englishman's 
talents* The Nizam was similarly won over by Sir 
John Kennaway and eventually the representatives 
of all three powers formally agreed jointly to invade 
Mysore. The opening passage of the treaty frankly 
confesses its object : 

"All the three powers have treaties with Tipu. 
w But he has harassed all three of us. Therefore, 

* The ordinary Indian salutation would have been a * namaskar ' or 
profound bow accompanied by on upward motion of the hands clasped 
mfeoni 



COUBT OF THE YOTOGEB MADHAVBAO 127 

* the three Governments will jointly make an 
" expedition and give him such punishment that 
"he will not have the means of harassing any of 
" them again." Each power was to put 25,000 men 
into the field and the Nizam was to employ the 
two Company's regiments in his service. Similar- 
ly two Company's regiments were to be hired to 
the Peshwa, if required, at the game rate of pay. 
The English took the field at the appointed time, 
but soon found that their allies were not so ready 
to act up to their agreement. Malet, at last, exas- 
perated by what he thought was the regent's dupli- 
city but what Mr. Parasnis believes to have been his 
lack of means, spoke to him, go sharply that he 
directed the Maratha agent with the English army, 
Haripant Phadke, to ask for Malet's recall. Hari- 
pant, however, knew no English. The English Gene- 
ral knew no Marathi Mr. Cherry, the English inter- 
preter, was Malet's personal friend, so Haripant had 
to write to Nana that under the circumstances he 
could not well raise the question. Eventually, 
tytalet and Kennaway did infuse some energy into 
the Hyderabad and Poona administrations and the 
first Mysore* war terminated with the humiliation of 
Tipu and a partition between the allies of half hi$ 
kingdom, including Coorg. The East India Com- 
pany, delighted with Malet's success, got the English 
Ministry to create him a baronet. But the regeftt*8 
feelings were very different. Malet on behalf of 
the Company presented his bill for their regiments 
at the rate of Bs. 64,000 a month, plus Es. 68,000 tot 
equipment, Ks. 14,000 for transport and Bs. 40,000 
as a gratuity for their gallantry. In all the bill 



128 COTTBT Otf THE YOUNGEB MADHAVBAO 

to Rs. 751,666. It was paid, but Nana Phadnavis 
in the bitterness of his heart wrote to Govindrao 
Kale, the Maratha envoy at Hyderabad, as follows: 

" Malet at Poona, Kinvi (Kennaway) at Hydera- 
" bad have sat down and done nothing, but have 
"spent lakhs of rupees. While they were sitting 
"down people said they cannot really be doing 
"nothing, they must be devising some cunning 
"plot. And that is what has actually happened. 
" Now whether we like it or not we have to agree 
" to what they say and act up to the treaty. It is 
" true that its terms were that when Dassara came 
"we were to send a considerable force. Dassara 
"passed by and Diwali came and what was done 
" was done after Diwali. (They consider) each day 
" as if it was a yuga (age). You will say that Diwali 
"is the same as Dassara. Pagriwalas will agree 
" with you, but topiwalas will not be put ofi like that. 
" They will take a pair of scales and they will sit 
" down and weigh the meaning of each phrase in 
" the treaty and they will not let you speak a single 
"word. (They will exclaim) 'You made a fine 
"display! Without any trouble you have got 
"forts and strongholds while we worked ourselves 
" to death ! 3 And they will certainly say that the 
" Company has been ruined and ask how we can 
" have the face to claim our share. I have no doubt 
" about it. And while Speaking they will loll their 
" eyes in anger and forget all that we have done 
"for them.' 

Nor was Govindrao Kale's answer less pathetic : 
" The present days are very hard. At Poona you 
Malet. Here we have Kinvi (Kennaway). 



OOTJBT OF THE YOOTCffiB MADHA.VBAO 129 

" They are both skilled in their work and servants 
" of the same master Malet writes to Kinvi what 
" goes on at Poona ; Kinvi writes to Malet wftat 
"goes on here. Then Malet questions you and 
" Kinvi me and they make us answer. And this 
" exposes us to great bother and difficulty* They 
" search out whether our answers are true or false. 
"And the man who gets caught between them 
" suffers sore trouble." 

In spite of Phadnavis* fears the English gave 
the Marathas their fair share and Malet in the end 
gained to some extent the regent's respect. He 
was even more successful with the young Peshwa 
whose affections as well as those of the Poona people 
he seems to have completely captured. In this he 
derived great help from Dr& Crusoe and Hndley, 
members of his staff. They were skilful surgeons 
and attended on all, high or low, who needed their 
services. Still greater aid was given to Malet by a 
Mr, Wales, B. A,, who visited Poona about this 
time, and whose skill as a portrait painter both helped 
his country and brought considerable profit to him- 
self. During the five or six years he remained at Poona, 
he sketched all the leading men of that day, and his 
portrait of the regents, and of the younger Madhav- 
rao may still be seen at Ganeshkhind, At Malet's 
suggestion Wales founded an art school and one of 
his pupils, Gangaram Tambat, made a painting of 
Verul caves which in 1794 was sent by Malet as a 
present to Sir John Shore, then Governor-General 
Wales died on the 13th November, 1795, and five 
years later his eldest daughter Susan became Lady 
Malet. Surgery and painting were, however, not 

w 



130 COURT OF THE YOUN&EK MADHAVBA6 

the only arts which the English envoy introduced. 
He sent for a watchmaker from Europe and micros- 
copes, globes, and telescopes to the Peghwa and his 
Sardars. Nor were his gifts confined to these. For 
when one Mahadji Ghintaman was suffering from a 
pain in the abdomen, Malets, gave him Bs. 125, with 
which to pay some Brahmins to do pradakshina* 
round the idol of Shri Narayan. 

One of the most interesting chapters in Mr. Pa- 
rasnis' book contains the account of Malet's visit 
to Mahableshwar in 1791 more than thirty years 
before those of its reputed discoverers Lodwiek and 
Malcolm. The Peshwa, who loved Malet's society,, 
had taken him there with him. Nana Phadnavis, 
however, was afraid that on the return journey the 
Englishman might at Satara weave an intrigue 
with the imprisoned Maharaja, and, as may be seen 
from the following letter, took steps to prevent 
their meeting : 

" The Peshwa and his retinue came to Wai and 
"after the eclipse on the 3rd Ashwin Wad went 
" to Mahableshwar and returned on the 4th, Malet 
"with him. He always goes 4 or 5 kos daily in 
" Search of $port. There are many forts here and 
"he examines them daily through a telescope. 
" He then makes maps of them. The Maharajah, 
" the Queen Mother and the Satara notables sent a 
"message inviting the Peshwa, as he had climed 
" the Salpe ghat, to pay his respects to the Maha- 
" raja. If the Peshwa were to go Malet would accom- 
"pany him. Now Satara is the most important 

; * The ffpfrfofcafr** is *he circling of the suppliant round the shrine 
wfth his left arm outwards. The right side of the body must be kept 
turned towards the idol. 



OOtTET OF THE YOUNGER MABHAVRAO 131 

" place (in the kingdom)* It would be quite different 
"if he saw it close. So it was decided that the 
u Peshwa should pay his respects alone and by put- 
46 ting off Malet's visits from day to day the Maha- 
" raja was induced to believe that he was not coming. 
" So he and the Peshwa exchanged presents of 
" clothes, an elephant and a horse. The following 
" day the Peshwa and his suite returned to Wai.'* 
Nana Phadnavis thus thought that he had out* 
witted the envoy, but he was afterwards disgusted 
to learn that on the day of the Peshwa's visit to 
Satara fort Malet had climbed the fort of Sonjai 
and had observed the whole scene through a tele- 
scope. 

If, however, the old regent never wholly over- 
came his suspicion, elsewhere Malet attained a degree 
of intimacy with the Poona aristocracy which, as 
Mr* Parasnis has observed, is extraordinary in the 
light of modern manners. No marriage or thread* 
ceremony seems to have been complete without him. 
He attended regularly the Ganpati festival both in 
the palace of the Peshwas and of the Phadkes, and 
Brahmins of every degree were willing to drink medi- 
cines prepared either by him or his doctors. He was, 
in fact, the great social success of Poona society. I& 
1795 the young Peshwa either threw himself or fell* 
from the upper storey of the Shanwar Wada aztd after 
innumerable plots and counterplots his cousin Baji* 
rao succeeded him on the royal cushion. He too 
came nndar the wand of the magician. For whea 
Malet retired in March, 1797, the new Peshwa patted 
with him with the utmost reluctance and sent byliim 
to the English King a flattering letter, in 



132 COUET OP THE YOtTNGEE MADHA.VBAO 

Malet's services were highly appreciated, and pre- 
sents worth Rs. 20,000. 

On his return to England Malet resided until his 
death in 1815 at Wilbury House. By Susan Lady 
Malet, he had 8 sons of whom the eldest Sir Alex- 
ander Malet succeeded to his father's title and from 
1856 to 1866 was English ambassador at Berlin* 
Another son, Sir Arthur Malet, became a member 
of the Bombay Government* And a third son, 
Mr. Hugh Malet, while Collector of Thana, dis- 
covered by an unconscious atavism the hill station 
of Matheran. 

Here I must take leave of Mr. Parasnis and his 
most interesting book. In it he has given us, sketch- 
ed both in penand pencil, the portraitsof the versatile 
and able men who adorned the Court of the last 
Peshwa but one who ruled in Poona. There may be 
seen the dark and brooding brow of the great Nana 
Phadnavis who strove all in vain to pilot the ship of 
state through the raging waters. There too laughs 
at us, in the joy of his twenty years, the younger 
Madhavrao, all unconscious of a future terrible and 
untimely death. And right through the book there 
strides the burly figure of the English envoy, adroit, 
fearless, resourceful and insinuating the stormy 
petrel whose presence more clearly than aught else 
fore the told to discerning^observer the cyclone that 
was soon to sweep away for ever the whole struc- 
ture of the Peshwa's dominion. 



A MARATHI COMEDY. 
A WOMAN'S REVOLT. 

There are in the heart of Poona city several 
theatres where night after night Marathi plays are 
performed to Indian audiences ; but into which an 
Englishman rarely finds his way. Should he do so, it 
may be that he will be well rewarded. A few weeks 
ago this way my own good fortune. I witnessed 
a play or rather part of play a evidently based on 
Tennyson's Cft Princess/' The old Latin tag that 
"art is long and life is short " applies however, with 
peculiar force to Marathi dramas. The Indian, who 
has paid 4 annas for a seat, expects entertainment 
for at least an equal number of hours, so after wit- 
nessing an act or two of the play in the theatre I 
was forced to read the rest of it in my study. 

The dramatist, Mr. Khandilkar, following the 
usual Marathi tradition, has taken as the time of 
his play the epic period of Indian history. There 
are advantages about this method as girls where 
then married at an age when they could fall in love. 
It is, therefore, possible to put love scenes on the 
stage* The chief demerit is that characters, 4,000 
years old, are made to talk like Poona gentlemen of 
to-day, and we therefore are faced with an anach- 
ronism similar to that with which Macaulay charged 
Racine " the sentiments and phrases of Versailles 
in the camp of Atilia.'* Tbedate when " 



134 MAEATHI COMEDY 

Revolt," as Mr. Kkadilkar's play is called, opens, is 
shortly after the great battle of Kurakshetra. The 
Pandav brothers, after the twelve years of exile 
and one of disguise forced on them by Yudhish- 
thira's dicing match, had at last come into their 
own. Their cousin Duryodhan was dead, his father 
King Dhritrashtra was their prisoner. Yudhish- 
thira had ascended the throne of Hastinapura and 
had sent Arjuna with the Ashwamedha horse that 
he might exact tribute and submission wherever 
it roamed. Arjuna had been a year absent, and 
everywhere the horse had wandered, Yudhish- 
thira had been acknowledged emperor ; when in a 
small Himalayan kingdom it was seized and tribute 
was refused. The ruler Shvetketu, Tennyson's King 
Gama, himself acknowledged Yudhishthira's over- 
lordship, but his daughter Pramila, going further 
than the Princess Ida, had established not merely 
a girl's college but a woman's kingdom. No man, 
except with letters from Shvetketu, could enter it 
save on pain of death and she and her female bands 
were prepared to resist all men's claims for supe- 
riority, including Yudhishthira's. Like King Gama, 
Shvetketu had not much sympathy with his 
daughter's views and promised Arjuna her hand 
if he could cure her of her folly. That invincible 
warrior, however, could not stain his arms with 
the blood of the fair sex. So it was agreed that 
like the Prince Elorian and Cyril, he and some com- 
panions should enter Pramila's domain, and if pos- 
sible, win the heart of the Princess. Arjuna took 
tliteo companions, Pushpadhanwa, his comroan- 
der-iu-chief, a young hero who in youth had been 



MARATHI COMEDY 

betrothed to Pramila's Commander-in-chief Rup- 
maya, and two old men Maitraya and Jagruka, who 
furnish most of the comic element in the play. They 
do not, like Tennyson's gallants, adopt women's dis- 
guises, but Arjuna affects to be a vakil come with an 
offer of marriage from Arjuna. Pushpadhanwa puts 
on an old man's wig and beard and pretends to be 
like Maitraya and Jagruka, an ancient counsellor 
in attendance on Arjuna's vakil. The first scene 
closes as the four start on their quest armed with 
letters from King Shvetketu. The second scene 
opens on the frontier of Queen Pramila's Kingdom. 
Some lady soldiers are on duty and are passing 
their time abusing the male sex when they espy 
Arjuna and his three attendants. They are arrested, 
but as they produce King Shvetketu's letters, they 
are brought into the Darbar of Queen Pramila and 
her aunt Satyamaya. The latter has the title of 
Guru Maharaj and she is our old friend the Lady 
Blanche who 

" Of faded form and haughtiest lineaments 
" With, all her autumn tresses falsely brown 
" Shot side long daggers at us, a tiger oat 
" lit act to spring." 

It is Satyamaya who has filled Pramila's head 
with nonsense. The Lady Psyche, Mr. Khadil- 
kar has omitted and, as I think, wisely. For 
Tennyson has not made it clear why that young 
and charming girl should have been so bitter against , 
male humanity. Lady Blanche "was wedded to 
a fool ", and on that account influenced Princess 
Ida. Satyamaya was moved by a wish to surpass 
Parvati who, as one story has it, ran a woman's king- 
dom in the Himalayas until seduced by Sbiv, 



136 MABATHI COMEDY 

made his way into her capital, disguised as a holy 
and passionless ascetic. In the Darbar the four 
adventurers have to bear much grotesque abuse 
of the male sex, of which the following may serve 
as specimen, 

"Men are accursed (mele*) mummers ! In their 
childhood they have faces like women; in their youth 
theblackgua rds blacken their f aces (Le,, by growing 
beards) and in their old age, they put a coat of white- 
wash over the black sins of their youth. In a single 
life, their faces have three different colours !" 

Eventually Pramila, after reading her father's 
letters, tells the so-called vakil that he may for 
ten days stay in her kingdom and persuade her if 
he can to marry Arjuna. It may perhaps here be 
mentioned that according to Mr. Vaidya, f Arjuna 
must at this time have been well over 50 and he 
had already as wives Subhadra, Krishna's sister, 
and a one-fifth share in Draupadi. But to these 
ladies, Mr. Khadilkar, exercising a poet's license, 
makes no reference, and Arjuna appears in his play 
as an unmarried warrior of about 30. One con- 
dition Pramila attaches to the vakil's presence. 
He and his attendants must in Darbar at any rate 
speak as if they were women, i.e., must use femi- 
nine* terminations. To this they have to agree 

* Tha practice of affixing forcible epithets to norms, which is in Eng* 
lish Society usually confined to men, is in Deooan Society usually confin- 
ed to women. The epithet f mala/ or < dead * is a very common abusive 
word* 

t The Mahabhfcrata. A Criticism, p* H6, by Mr. C. V. Vaidya, a* A,, 

LL.B. 

t This will be best understood by a quotation, " Bayaki Bhasha bolay- 
w#i& xnikabul karite " (instead of Kariton). It is much the same aa if a 
man said in French, M Je suis prfcte a parler oomme uaa 



MARATHI COMEDY 137 

and the four men's use of them leads to a good 
deal of merriment. But as the Marathi proverb * 
has it, " once a beak gets in, a pestle will shortly 
follow. 5 ' And now that four men have entered the 
women's empire, its speedy downfall may con- 
fidently be expected. The first women to break 
their oaths are two lady sepoys, Wagmati and 
Budhimati. It seems that Arjuna's two old atten- 
dants, Maitraya and Jagruka, had been amusing 
themselves, the former by leering at all the women 
whom he passed, and Jagruka by fooling old 
Lady Satyarnaya to the top of her bent. At last, 
bored by her continued lectures, he had set her to 
search through the Rigveda for types of " Revol- 
ting women " which has he said, were to be found 
there, and he had himself " levanted." Eventually 
tracked, his evasions to escape punishment reminded 
Wagmati of her brother's attempts to evade school* 
Wagrnati mentions this to Budhimati who then 
remembers that her son too must be at school 
Following the train of thought thereby started 
the two women agree to escape from Pramila's 
clutches by the aid of a Bhil and his wife who have 
just arrived bringing a message to Rupmaya fooni 
her mother, and the two women do eventually get 
to their homes after a very amusing scene between 
them and the Bhil's wife who cannot be persuaded 
that they have not designs on her husband's virtue* 
The great scene in the play, however, is the wooing 
of Rupmaya by Pushpadhanw^. With her Uffio* 
ther's letter comes to Rupmaya a picture of hsi* 
betrothed. The sight of it moves her deeply, 

~-**-*~--~~+ 1 *~ 

IS 



138 MAEATHI COMEDY 

as she is looking at it, Pushpadhanwa, still wearing 
the disguise of an old man, makes his way to the 
presence on the pretence of winning her over, if 
possible to the idea of wedlock with the lover 
affianced to her in childhood. To her disgust, he 
at once begins making love to her on his own account 
and calls her his dear one and himself her slave. 
Eventually, besides herself with exasperation at 
the old man's importunity, she confesses her love 
for Pushpadhanwa. I translate a part of the 
scene verbatim. 

Eupmaya : " Pushpadhanwa, how would you 
like to here this old monkey calling the girl whom 
you love and who loves you, his dear one* Now, 
you old fool, how do you like that ? I refuse to 
marry Pushpadhanwa only because of the attrac- 
tions of women's rule. And although you know 
this yoii yet pester me. (Pointing to the picture.) 
Now do you think your old face is more winning 
than Pushpadhanwa's ? Look, accursed one, look 
at this picture well. To conquer a woman's fancy 
eyes like these are needed eyes flashing with 
light and rounded like a lotus flower in bloom. 
Open your eyes wide, and looked at this laughing 
mouth, the haughty beauty of this face, that dear 
broad breast which bids me embrace it. And then, 
old cripple, hide your white beard in shame. 

Pushpadhanwa : (Disguised) Pretty one, how 
am I worse than Pushpadhanwa ? 

Rupmaya : How are you worse ? How are 
you worse ? 

!&ushpadhanwa : (Disguised) My eyes are no 
less comely than Pushpadhanwa's. I have strength 



MARA.THC COMEDY 139 

in this my beard to do merely in sport such, deeds 
of valour as Pushpadhanwa had never either in 
youth or as commander-in-ehief accomplished. O 
dear one, I feel sure that you will throw that pic- 
ture aside and end by fondling this beard. 

Rupmaya : Seeing that I listen to him the old 
fool begins doting. Accursed one ! Be off with 
you at once. Get out this instant. If you do not, 
Fll catch your beard and drag you by it into the 
courtyard. I'll make such a show of you that 
you'll remember it all your life. Now out you get, 

Pushpadhanwa : (Disguised, kneeling) No, 
Rupmaya. No. Do what you will but this your 
slave will linger on at your feet 

Rupmaya : I'll never bring this accursed one 
to reason until I drag nim out by his beard. [She 
seizes his beard and pulls. It comes away in her 
hand. She looks first at the picture and then at 
Pushpadhanwa and then timidly moving back 
looks fondly at him. He throws away the rest of 
his disguise.] 

Pushpadhanwa : Rupmaya, I envy the picture 
in your hand. Pushpadhanwa of the picture has 
neVer fallen at your feet. He has never knelt be- 
fore you or fawned before you. But he can look 
through my eyes fierce and reddened with the lusfe 
of battle* on your lotus cheek to his love's content, 
And yet on these my (real) eyes, which if denied 
your love wiU look at nothing in the world you 
reftise to smile in fondness. Does this partiality 
befit yoti ? I envy the picture. I envy it. And 
unless I tike it from you (he takes it.) Have you 

*""* The picture no dcxabt represented Pushpadhanwa in armour. 



140 MABATHI COMEDY 

looked at me ? Now answer truly. Am I in any 
way worse to look at than Pushpadhanwa in the 
picture ? 

Rupmaya : My lord, what can I say ? You dis- 
guised yourself as an old man and made me con- 
fess my love for you* So what else can this your 
slave now say to you ? But dear one, if any wait- 
ing maid were by chance to come here suddenly 

and were to see you ? 

Pushpadhanwa : Then what will happen ? She 
will tell Pramila that Pushpadhanwa has entered 
her kingdom. What then ? 

Rupmaya : Oh, no ! I do not want it to be 
known now. So, do, dear, become an old man as 
before. 

Pushpadhanwa : To gain a woman, men will 
pretend to be young, old or even women. But I 
thought that you did not want even to look at that 
accursed, base, forward, impertinent donkey, at 
that old fool and cripple. 

Rupmaya : do stop that wretched joke ! 'And 
do, dear, become again an old man at once . . . " 
Eventually by working on her fears Pushpa- 
hanwa compels her to promise that she will marry 
him before re-assuming his disguise. They then 
flee away together across the border. 

Arjuna's suit with Pramila does not proceed so 
easily. To show the so-called vakil that women 
are as bold as men, she takes him hunting in the 
jungle which clothes the banks of the river Saras- 
wati. She wounds a tiger with her arrow* A 
its mate, attacks Pramila and her com- 
Arjuna watches from her hands the bow 



MABATHI COMEDY 141 

and arrow with which she wishes to defend her- 
self, and with one hand seizing the tigress by the 
throat and with the other its two paws, holds it at 
arm's length and then drives it away half-strangled 
and wholly cowed. This is certainly a tall order* 
But tout eat permis to an Aryan hero ! Pramila 
is deeply impressed by this feat, but in order to 
make her finally yield, Mr. Khadilkar resorts to 
a device similar to that of Tennyson. It will be 
remembered that after the Prince's disguise had 
been betrayed by Cyril's drunken song, Ida in a 
fury mounted her horse and rode off 

"Hoof by hoof, 

And every hoof a knell to my desires, 
Clanged on the bridge, and then another shriek, 
* The Head, the Head, the Princess, O the Head!* 
For blind with rage she missed the plank and rolled 
In the river. Ont I sprang from glow to gloom. 
There whirled her white robe like a blossomed branch 
Eapt to the horrible fall : a glance I gave, 
No more ; but woman vested as I was 
Plunged ; and the flood drew ; yet I caught her up 
Oaring one arm and bearing in my left 
The weight of all the hopes of half the world 
Strove to buffet to land in vain. A tree 
Was half disrooted from his place and stooped 
To drench h^s dark locks in the gurgling wave 
Mid-channel. Bight on this we drove and caught, 
And grasping down the boughs I gained the shore." 

In Mr* Khadilkar's, play, however, Satyamaya or 
the Lady Blanche gets a ducking also. She has 
had her fears that in ten days' time the young vakil 
may make a great deal of love. Partly to watch 
Pramila and partly to practise austerities, as a gooii 
Hindu widow should, she has followed her niece 
to the banks of the Saraswati She surprises 
Pramila and Arjuna in an animated scene, where 



142 MAEATH3 COMEDY 

the latter discloses himself and offers his famous 
bow " Gandiva " for Pramila to trample on in 
revenge for his treatment of her bow when the 
tigress charged. If she does trample on it Arjuna 
will know that she does not love him. Pramila 
hesitates and has she does so Satyamaya rushes 
across a bridge whence she has overheard the dis- 
cussion in order to trample on it herself. The 
bridge no doubt of Hemadpanthi architecture 
breaks and Satyamaya is hurled into the river. 
Arjuna at once springs after her. Primala wishing 
to share Arjuna's danger refuses to stay behind 
and the scene closes with the heroic Pandav swim- 
ming to shore with a lady on each arm. In Ten- 
nyson's play the Princess still remains obdurate 
and her hero has to fight in the lists, be half -killed 
by her brother and nursed back to life by herself 
before she will give way. But Mr. Khadilkar 
clearly could not so deal with the invincible Arjuna. 
He therefore makes Satyamaya prove ungrateful. 
Pramila, shocked by her aunt's ingratitude, con- 
tesses her affection for her gallant lover and Satya- 
maya leaves the story with these words : 

"0 Adimaya (Parvati) why were not my eyes 
closed before they saw this sight ? I can never 
teach another woman all my wisdom* Now I go 
into the forest to perform austerities. Nbr shall 
I ever move from the seat where I shall perform 
them until the pride of men is conquered and until 
women's wrists have strength enough to turn men 
into wet nurses." 

In the meantime rumours have reached the capital 
that the troops with Pramila have become dis- 



MARATHI COMEDY 143 

affected. The bulk of the women army comes from 
the capital on the scene in time to face Arju- 
na's army, who have invaded Pramila's land to 
see that no harm comes to their general, Prami- 
la, however, intervenes, tells the opposing sides 
that her reign is over and that she is to be Arju- 
na's bride and the play closes with the couple's 
arrival at the Kong Shvetketu's camp. He blesses 
the pair, promises to hand them over his lands 
and wealth before retiring like a true Aryan king 
to meet death in the practice of austerities, and 
then turning to his servants, he tells them : " Now 
all of you go to the capital and arrange for the 
marriage ceremonies of Arjuna and Pramila." 

" Ask me no more : thy fate and mine are sealed. 
" I strove against the stream and all in vain. 
" Let the great river take me to the main. 
** No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield, 
Ask me no more." 

It would, I take it, also be improper to ask what 
reception Pramila received from Arjuna's family* 
Was she snubbed by Subhadra ? Did Arjuna's 
one-fifth share of Draupadi ever box her ears ? Lfet 
us trust not. Hindu women are capable of extraor- 
dinary self-sacrifice and submission. Let us rather 
hope that from the lattice windows of some palace 
in Hastinapura Pramila smelt the odours and saw the 
smoke go up from the great Ashwamedha sacrifice 
which Yudhishthira held when he was finally 
crowned Emperor of the Universe ; that she lived 
happily until such time at the Panda vas and Drau- 
padi went forth on the Mahaprasthan and that she 
was still alive when thirty-eight years after the 
Kurukshetra yudhishthira took leave of Subhadra 



144 MABATHI COMEDY 

with the words "keep in the path of Dharma or 
Righteousness." So much for Mr. Khadilkar's 
drama which I have tried to sketch for Anglo- 
Indian readers* May I venture to hope that in 
some future play he will throw aside old traditions 
and use his undoubted talents to picture, without 
the aid of epic heroes, Indian life as it is ? I cannot 
leave the subject without a word of praise for Mr. 
Mali, the artist, who has furnished the printed 
copies* of "A Woman's Revolt, 55 with illustrations. 
Although the dresses of Arjuna and Pushpadhan- 
wa are Rajput court dresses of to-day and not 
such as Aryan heroes wore, and although the bridge 
which broke down at Satyamaya rushed across it 
has all the appearance of a P. Vf. D. culvert, these 
are little matters. The drawing of the figures, 
especially of the women, is excellent. 

* Bayakaache Band, by Mr. K. P. Khadilkar, " Cbitrasliala Press,*' 
Poona. 



MAHASHIVRATRA DAY. 

To-day the Government officers are closed through- 
out the Presidency and the weary administrator 
will have time to seek solace in the latest master- 
piece of Victoria Cross or Marie Corelli. Before, 
however, plunging into its delectable depths, it 
may not perhaps be without profit or uninteres- 
ting to consider why to-day is a holiday. It is the 
Mahashivratra, the greatest festival of Shiva, the 
present head of the Hindu triad. The Mahashiv- 
ratra falls on the 14th day of the dark half of Magh 
and I have come across two stories told to explain 
why it does go. They are, of course, mere tales, 
but religious tales are always of interest and these 
perhaps especially so far they illustrate the peculiar 
Hindu doctrine that accidental acts whether of 
good or evil are as efficacious or as punishable as 
intentional ones. 

The first story is the common one. Once upon 
a time there lived in Modeshakhya town in Vaidaar- 
bha or Berar a wicked king and a worse minister. 
Both gave full scope to their evil passions, so that 
in their next life they became respectively a tiommon 
hunter and a beast of prey. On the 14th M#gh 
Wadya the ' former was on a hunting expedition 
when he was suddenly attacked by the latter. To 
save himself the sportsman climbed a Bel of* all, 
trees the most sacred to Shiva and as the wild 



146 MAHA.SHIVRATEA DAY 

beast strove to clamber after him, he defended 
himself with one of its branches. In the struggle 
Bel leaves dropped both from the hunter's hand 
and the beast's mouth on to where in the sand be- 
neath lay a hidden Shivaite pindi. Now the laying 
of a Bel leaf on a Shivaite pindi constitutes the 
offering dearest to Shiva. In an instant the sins 
of the two were forgiven and Shiva himself appeared 
in his fiery chariot and bore them away with him 
to his heaven in Kailasa. In honour of this miracle 
the 14th, Magh Wadya has been deemed to be the 
holiest of all Shiva's holy days. 

The second story is to be found in the Skanda 
Purana and was told by the sage Shuk to Shounak 
and the other Rishis. Once upon a time there 
lived a king called Mitrasaha of the royal line of 
Ikshwaku who was learned above all men in the 
Shastras and the Vedas. His rule extended over 
the whole earth and its kings everywhere paid 
him tribute. One day King Mitrasaha while hun- 
ting fought with and slew a demon. The demon's 
brother witnessed the fight and thought how to get 
vengeance. He feared open battle lest he might 
meet his brother's fate. So he disguised himself 
as a cook and obtained employment in Bang Mtra- 
saha's household. All went well until the shr&& 
adversary of King Mitrasaha's father. A great 
feast was prepared and as the demon surpassed m 
Skill all the other cooks, he was entrusted with the 
preparation of the dinner. Among the guests was 
the sage Vasishta and in the food prepared for him 
the demon cook dexterously slipped some human 
fjeah. Now Vasishta possessed besides his two 



3&lHASmVBATBA DAY 147 

eyes an inner eye of knowledge and with it he per- 
ceived that he had eaten human flesh* Furious, 
he cursed King Mtrasaha and condemned him to 
take the form of a man-eating demon. King Mit- 
rasaha protested that he knew nothing of the matter. 
Vasishta too learnt through his inner eye of know*,, 
ledge that King Mitrasaha wag not to blame. But 
the curse of a sage once spoken cannot be recalled. 
And all that King Mtrasaha could obtain was that 
the period of his demonhood should be reduced 
to 12 years. Then compelled by the curse he assum- 
ed the guise of a man-eating rakshasa and went 
into the deep jungle. One day when roaming 
through the forest he met a Brahman and his wife 
gathering samidha.* Hungry, he at once seized 
the Brahman and though the wife vainly begged for 
his life King Mitrasaha ate him up, picked his 
bones clean and then went his way. The wife 
gathered together the bones, made them into a 
pyre and burnt herself with them. As she burnt 
she cursed King Mitrasaha and her curse was that 
on his return to human shape he should die imr 
mediately after he had had any intercourse with 
women. Now King Mitrasaha had heard the wif e*s 
speech and on his return to human shape lived a life 
of perfect chastity and so evaded death. But the 
guilt of Brahman-hatya or Braiman-killing pur- 
sued him and became incarnate as a Chandala 
woman who always danced before his eyes and 

* A, aamidh (plural, Samidha) is a twig of one of the nine saored trees 
with which it is alone permitted to make horn or saored fire. The nine 
trees are Palag, Bui, Pimpal, Shaani,JKhair, Durva, Darbha, Umba and 
Aghada, 



148 , MAHASHIVEATEA DAY 

before Ms eyes alone. Maddened by the sight 
of this mystic shape he threw aside his kingdom 
and going into the jungle sought the sage Gautama* 
Gautama said that there was but one way to obtain 
release, and that was to go to Gokarna on the 14th 
Magh Nadya and there worship Shiva. King 
Mitrasaha asked wherein lay the greatness of Go- 
karna, and the merit of Magh Wadya Ohaturdashi. 
The sage Gautama replied that on that day in the 
preceding year he had seen a hideous old Chan- 
dala woman lying on the ground and on the point 
of death when suddenly from heaven came the 
lord Shiva's fiery chariot. From it his messen- 
gers descended and placed in it the Chandalin. 
"I asked them," said the sage Gautama, "the 
reason. They replied that the Chandalin was in a 
former life a Brahman girl called Malini, and pos- 
sessed beauty that put to shame even Eambha 
the fairest of the dancing girls of Indra. Her 
husband died while she was still young and for 
some days the precepts of her parents and the 
effects of their early teaching enabled her to triumph 
over temptations and desires. But her beauty was 
such that all men longed for her, and at last she 
yield and so entered upon evil courses. Her parents 
found out her wickedness and dismissed her from 
their house. She then became the mistress of a 
Sudra and gave herself up unrestrainedly to the 
eating of meat and the drinking of wine. One day 
when she could obtain no meat she killed a young 
&eif er and eating half of it escaped the neighbour's 
fefowe by crying out that a panther had killed it. 
Site 4ied not long afterwards and when her soul 



MAHASHEVKATRA DAY 149 

came to Yama's Court, Chitragupta's* record showed 
that she had committed gohatya, and she was at 
once consigned to the blackest Hell, In her next 
life, she became a blind, leprous and filthy Chan- 
dala woman whom not even a Chandala would 
marry. To-day she was begging from the pil- 
grims to Gokarna, but all refused her alms. At 
last, one pilgrim in derision placed a Bel leaf in 
her hand. In anger she threw it away and it fell 
on a hidden Shivaite pindi Then the lord of Kailas* 
heart melted in pity for her, and he sent his chariot 
and his messengers to bear her away to his heaven. 
With these words the messengers and the chariot 
bore away the Chandala woman to the snowy 
mountain tops of Kattas." Hearing the words of 
the sage Gautama, hope once more came to the 
heart of King Mitrasaha, and he made his way to 
Gokarna, and on the 14th day of the Krishna or 
dark-half of Magh he fasted and each watch of the 
night he worshipped Shiva by placing on his holy 
pindi the leaves of the Bel tree. And the following 
day he fed Brahmans and gave gifts to the poor 
and the blind, and in this wise he too obtained 
the mercy of the lord Shiva. The image of the 
Chandala woman faded from King Mitrasaha's 
eyes and he knew that he was freed from the most 
terrible of all sins that a man may commit the 
sin of Brahman-hatya or Brahman murder. 

* Ohitragupta is the recording angel* 



PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY IN 
WESTERN INDIA. 

I THE SAYINGS OF KATHIAWAR. 

The day has in England long gone by when the 
wise saws and well-worn sayings of some time 
honoured member of she family carried weight in 
a discussion* If one practised in ordinary con- 
versation the art of introducing happily rhyming 
proverbs, one would soon have no one left with 
whom to converse and beyond that of an intoler- 
able bore one would have achieved no other repu- 
tation* Yet two hundred years ago, things were 
different. The Squire Westerns whom Macaulay 
in the famous third chapter of his history describes 
as ruling with an iron rod their feudal domains, 
yet standing awestruck in the London Streets at 
the sight of the Lord Mayor's show, used the old 
English proverbs as the staple buttress of their 
arguments. One can imagine what a formidable 
engine of oppression proverbs, such as 

A woman, a spaniel and a walnut tree 

The more you beat them the better they be ; 

and " Spare the rod, spoil the child " must have 
been when it was considered almost impious to 
question the superior wisdom of one's forefathers* 
Indeed, I seem to have an unpleasant recollection in 
my own childhood of what then at any rate appeared 
to me to be a misuse of the latter aphorism. But 



IN WESTERN INDIA 151 

the saws of Squire Western and the simples of his 
helpmeet have gone their way, and an English pro- 
verb now is hardly ever used, save to distort it into 
a paradox. 

Western India, however, has not yet reached the 
paradox stage of human development. And I have 
myself seen a happily applied proverb close more 
than once an intricate discussion, and an Indian 
proverb on a European's lips invariably fills a native 
audience with an immense and often excessive res- 
pect for his acquaintance with their language. 
Hereafter I may deal with the proverbs common 
amongst the Marathas. But in this chapter I shall 
confine myself to the Gujarati sayings of Kathiawar, 
which yields to no country in its appreciation of 
proverbial wisdom. I do not intend far from it 
to give an exhaustive list, but it may be of some 
interest to my readers to know which of the several 
hundred proverbs, which may be found in published 
collections are in ordinary conversation most com- 
monly used. 

Sometimes, although rarely, Gujarati proverbs 
seem almost traaslations of the English equivalent 
such as "parej ej uttam osad" (dieting is the best 
medicine), which is nearly a reproduction of " Diet 
cures more than the doctors." So also "dukhnu 
osad dahada " (the cure for grief is days) " Time 
is the best healer." But more often the different 
conditions 6f like necessitate a different clothing 
for the same idea. We say " all that glitters is not 
gold." The Kathiwadi peasant says "all that is 
white is not milk " (dholu etalu dudh nahi). We 
say "a full purae never lacks friends*" He say& 



152 PBOVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

"on a green tree there are many parrots" (lila 
wanna suda ghana). We say "penny wise and 
pound foolish " ; he says " it is useless to plug up 
the sink pipe and leave the door open " (" khale 
ducha ne darwajo moklo "). Is there not an Irish 
story which points out the uselessness of padlocking 
the gate when there are gaps in the hedge ? How- 
ever to match " a bribe in the lap blinds the eyes/ 3 
he also makes a reference to money. "The sight 
of gold makes a saint wobble " (sonu dekhi muni 
chale). 

We who are an animal-loving nation make a 
considerable use of the domestic ones in our sayings. 
We say "Don't count your chickens before they are 
hatched." The Kathiawadis say elliptically "Wheat 
in the field and the child in the womb " (ghau khet- 
man ne beta petman). We say "Let sleeping 
dogs lie." They say "Do not rouse the sleeping 
snake" (sutelo sap jagadvo nahi). We say "We 
all think our own geese swans*" They say " Chagan 
Magaa'ft children are of gold, while every one else's 
are of dung." (Chagan magan to sona na ne parka 
chokra garana). We say 6t A crying crow bears bad 
news," They say "A weeping man means a death" 
(rose jay te muvano samachar lave). On the other 
hand, animals are not wholly absent from the 
Kathiawadi's proverbs. They say "To make an 
elephant out of an atom " (rajnu gaj karavun) in* 
stead of "A mountain out of a mole hill," and they 
have elaborated "Barking dogs do not bite," into 
" Barking dogs do not bite nor do thundering clouds 
rain " (bhasya kutta kate nahin ne gajya megh varse 
nahia). 



IN WESTEBN INDIA 

Some of the best Kathiawadi proverbs employ 
similes from the village trades. The proverb "A 
carpenter thinks of nothing but babulwood " (sutar- 
nu man bovaliaman) may be translated " There is 
nothing like leather." On the other hand, we haye 
no proverbial equivalent for " An idle barber shaves 
the footstools " (navro) hajam patala munde), and 
must fall back on that terror of boyhood, Dr. Watts, 
for " Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to 
do. 55 'Nevertheless excessive energy meets -with ap- 
proval in " puchhtan puchhtan lanka javey " (by 
asking and asking one can get to Ceylon). That 
the village savkar is sometimes outwitted is proved 
by " Sehth kern tanano to ke labhe lobhe " (" How 
did the sheth come to grief ? He was too clever by 
hall")' The brief reign of the village cartman 
while he drives his cart finds expression in "we 
must sing the songs of the man in whose cart we 
sit (jene vele bessie tena git gaie). It may be trans- 
lated " who pays for the fiddler may call the tune." 
But the village tailor, who is mentioned by implica- 
tion in " Cut your coat according to your cloth " 
receives no recognition in " make your grass bed 
according to the size of your body " (sod pramane 
satharo). 

As might have been expected, the common roimd, 
of household duties provides proverbs in Gujarata 
as well as in English, although they are not neces- 
sarily dmilar in the two languages. " A stitch in 
time saves nine" finds an equivalent in"Eariy 
plantains are really plantains " (velae male te kela). 
" It never rains but it pours *' may be translated 
in two ways : "When it rains it rains in the hedges" ; 



154 PEOVEBBIAI; PHUiOSOPHY 

(varse to vadma varse) or and the second proverb 
gives the sense more accurately " She went to look 
for her son and she lost her husband " (lene geie put 
or khoe aie khasam). The poor lady certainly de- 
served sympathy. So, too, did " the good wife who 
went to her father-in-law and got scolded by the 
unfaithful wife " (dahi sasare jay ane gandi shikha- 
man de) ! A proverb very typical of Indian home 
life is the following " chas mjan makan jay ane rand 
fuvad kehevay " (when butter goes with the butter- 
milk the wife gets called a slut). The explanation is 
to be found in theGujarati custom of distributing 
the butter-milk from which a large quantity of butter 
has been churned. The careful housewife is expec- 
ted to see that her friends get none of the butter ! 
Another proverb which also inculcates, although 
sarcastically, the lesson that charity should begin 
at home is " gharma chokra ghanti chate ne apu- 
dhyane ato " (the children of the house lick the 
grinding mill while the spiritual teacher gets the 
flour). Had this saying been brought to the notice 
of the " Shepherd " in Pickwick he might have 
avoided serious trouble at the hands of Mr. Weller. 
u The child is father of the man " finds a mate in 
ce the qualities of a son may be seen from his cradle " 
(putrana lakshan palnamathi janay). The ITrench 
fable of * Le pot de f er et le pot de terre ' may be 
pitted against " If the short man goes with the tall 
one, he may not die, but he will get very sick " (lamba 
jode toko jay mare nahi pan mando thay). "A. 
short life and a merry one " is rather neatly trans- 
lated by " four days of moonlight " (char divasnu 
otawadarnu), which in turn recalls Moore's refrain. 



nr WESTERN INDIA 155 

" The best of all ways to lengthen your days, is to 
take a few hours from the nigbt, my dear." "A 
little pot is soon hot " is on the other hand more 
felicitous than " the weak man has a bad temper " 
(kamzor ne gusso bot) ; and "What the eye does not 
see the heart does not grieve " than " not to see is 
not to mourn " (dekhvun nahi ne dajeun nahin). 
Yet we have nothing so good as " to a wooden god 
give a slipper" as an offering (lakdana devne khasdani 
puja). 

Some of the Kathiawadi proverbs have, like 
some English ones, a deeper meaning than appears 
on the surface. "Iftom afar the mountains are 
beautiful " (Dungaro durthi raliamuna) corresponds 
with "Distance lends enchantment to the view." 
So also " As the father, so are the sons, and as the 
banian tree, so are the branches " (Bap teva beta 
and wad teva teta) is a close match for " As the twig 
is bent so the tree is inclined." "Hope deferred 
maketh the heart sick " finds an equivalent in " the 
hope that rests on others is continual despair" 
(parki ash saday nirash). My official readers will 
probably after this wonder why that pest, the youth- 
ful candidate for office, bothers them so frequently. 
An, answer will, I think, be found in "Ap mua pacehi 
dub gaie udnia" (when I have died the world is 
drowned) a proverb which like Louis XVs " Apr&a 
moi le deluge " must have emanated from an ex- 
tremely self-centred person* 

I would, however, suggest an unfailing method 
to all those who are at a loss how to get rid of a 
wholly unqualified, but pertinacious clahtiant. Aak 
him qirietiy if he has ever heard the story ol the 



156 PBOVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

u Bavo and the soni." The tale runs that a certain 
Bavo or religious mendicant went to a goldsmith's 
shop and asked to be given a lump of gold. The 
soni began at length and with many interpolations 
of " My dear young friend " to explain that gold 
was a valuable thing and not to be given away in 
lumps. At last the Bavo got sick to death of the 
lecture and said " I knew all that, and I did not 
fancy you would give it to me, but I thought that 
there was no harm in asking." As a reply to the 
question the candidate invariably grins feebly and 
makes for the door. Should a last spark of hope 
induce him to linger on the threshold and to enumer- 
ate his imaginary merits, then fire him out with the 
proverb "Praised Khijdi sticks to the teeth'* (vakha- 
nani Khijdi dante valge) and the disappointed 
one will, like Slipper in the adventures of an Irish 
R. 11, " vanish like^a dream." 



II. SAYINGS OF THE DECCAN. 

In the first chapter of this series I ventured to 
discuss some of the more common Kathiawadi 
proverbs. I would now place before my readers 
some of the wise sayings of the Deecan and they 
will probably be struck at the absence of that 
resemblance which they might have expected from 
the common origin of the two languages Marathi 
and Guzarathi. 

A country so long under orthodox priestly rale as 
th uplands of the Sahyadris not unnaturally pos- 
sesses several proverba dealing with religion or 



IN WESTERN INDIA 157 

with its ministers. The most delightful one to 
my mind is "Laksh pradakshina ani ek paisa 
dakshina." It means literally "the going round 
the idol 100,000 times and at the end a gift of 
one pice as an offering to the Brahmans/' We are 
ourselves not unacquainted with the type of reli- 
gious enthusiast who may be summed up in Mr. 
Lewis Carroll's description of the Snark : 

" At charity meetings be stands at the door 
And collects though he does not subscribe." 

" Melya vanchun swarga disat nahin " (one cannot 
reach heaven without dying) expresses an idea 
similar to that in " II faut souffrir pour etre beau " 
and we will probably all agree with the excellent 
maxim" jar man asel changlatar kathavatint Ganga" 
(if your mind is pure, it is as a good as having Ganges 
water in your platter). A very common proverb 
too of this class is "bazarant turi bhat bhatnfla 
mari " (the Brahman beat his wife because of the turi 
(pulse) in the bazaar). The tale runs that a Brah- 
man priest who had by means foul or fair secured 
a little money wished to give himself a good dinner 
and directed his wife to buy him some pulse in th6 
< bazaar. The question arose as to how the pulse 
should, when bought, be cooked, and an acrimonious 
discussion terminated with the whacking of the 
unruly housewife. The proverb is ordinarily used 
in the same sense as c Don't count your chickens 
before they are hatched.' 

The animal kingdom, especially the donkey, finds 
a considerable place in Marathi aphorisms. "Apate 
garje gadhava raje " (in our need we call an ass & 
king) may be rendered by * necessity makes stowage 



158 PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

bedfellows' "Ghadhavaya pudhen waohali gita 
kalcha gondhal bara hota " (if you read the Gita 
before an ass, he will think that yesterday's kick 
up was better fun). Well perhaps the stes was not 
quite so wrong, for have we not De La Bochefou- 
cauld's authority for * Qui vit sans folie n'eist pas si 
sage qu'il croit " ? Another proverb meaning also 
* Don't cast pearls before swine 5 is "Gadhawas 
golachi chav kay " (an ass will have no relish for 
joggery). And the poor beast's proper occupation 
is laid down in "Jyacha tyala ani gadhva ojhayala " 
(the only utee of an ass is to carry burdens). I have 
only discovered one saying which mentions the 
horse and that is the phrase " ghodya evadi chuk " 
(a mistake as big as a horse). The mistake must 
have been a real " howler " and probably occurred 
in some youthful subaltern's exercise for the Lower 
Standard Hindustani ! But there used to be a 
saying commonly used by grooms to their horses 
when they refused to drink "Dhanaji wa Santaji 
panya madhayen tula distat kay " (do you see Dha- 
naji and Santaji in the water). This saying had a 
great historical interest for it dated from the time 
when Dhanaji Jadav and Santaji Ghorpade were 
the terror of the Grand Army of Aurangzeb, The 
cow finds a place two or three times. " Gaine gay 
phalat nahin * implies that one poor wretch cannot 
iielp another. Our vulgar saying * It's the poor as 
helps the poor * expresses a different point of view. 
* f Salyachi gay ani malyache vasru " (the weaver's 
cow and the mail's calf ) implies that a clean sweep 
foas been made of everything. Lastly, "Odhal 
gurun ani oshal bayako " means * a straying cow is 



IN WESTERN INDIA 109 

like a shameless wife/ No doubt both suffer from 
the Tcakoefhes vagandi. The buffalo is honoured by 
the delightful maxim " Melia mhashila panch sher 
dudh " (the dead buffalo always gave five seers 'of 
milk,) It reminds one of the story of the lady who 
when asked whether she had ever heard of any one 
who was absolute perfection, replied * O cons- 
tantly ! she was my husband's first wife/ The 
jackal, the dog, the camel, the kid, the cat, the 
crocodile and the ant are honoured by a proverb a 
piece " Kolha kakadila raji ' (a jackal is satisfied 
with a cucumber) may be rendered Hunger is the 
best sauce.' "Andhala dalato aani kutra pit khato " 
(the blind man grinds and the dog eats the flour). 
This saying is generally used of a man whose 
brains have been sucked. " Untawaril shahana " 
(he who is on a camel is a wise man) has a story con- 
nected with it. A buffalo got its head into an ear- 
then vessel and could not extricate it without break- 
ing the jar which he did not wish to do. All his 
Mends gave him advice, but a man riding on a 
camel suggesting cutting off the buffalo's head and 
thereby saving the vessel. The phrase is used of a 
foolish busy body : " Jogyache karde ladke '* (a 
yogi's kid is like a daughter to him). So also we 
use the Biblical phrase * one ewe lamb.' "Matijaras 
undir saksh " a mouse as witness for a cat im- 
plies that a servant must give evidence as his master 
pleases and that therefore his testimony is worthless. 
The crocodile is to be found in "Susatbai tujhi 
pat phar mau" (0 lady crocodile, your baofc 
is very soft*) The idea is that by thus flattering 
the crocodile she may be induced safely to 



160 PBOVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

you across the river in which she lies. Safely on 
the other side you send her about her business 
with a good kick in the stomach. Lastly, the 
elephant and the ant find a place in " mungi houn 
sakhar khavi ; pan hatti houn lakde khaun nayet " 
(It is all very well for an ant to eat sugar, but an 
elephant should not live on sticks) ; in other words, 
one must live according to one's station. This 
idea finds more comic expressions in "nesen tar 
shalu nesen, nahitar nagvi basen" (If I wear 
clothes I shall put cloth of gold, if not I shall 
sit with 'nodings on 5 ). The gender shews that 
the speaker was a lady. 

The time-honoured maxim * Spare the rod and 
spoil the child* finds an equivalent in "Chhadi 
lage chhum chhum vidya yei ghum ghum " 
which we may translate in the following couplet ; 

" The more the urchins feel the whacks 
The more their little brains they'll tax," 

The following three proverbs have their humo- 
rous side : " Doi dharala tar bodaka, hati dharala 
tar rodaka " (If you try to catch him by the head 
you will find that he has shaved it ; if you catch 
his hand it will be so thin as to slip through your 
fingers). The person alluded to must have been 
as elusive as Mr. Balfour, when many years ago the 
late Sir William Harcourt described him as 'slipppery 
as an eel. 5 " Jyachi lage chad to ude tad mad 
(he who is sought after holds himself as high as a 
toddy palm or a cocoanut tree) describes the con- 
dition known in America as a badly swollen head. 
Lastly, "gajrachi pungi wajli tar wajli nahitar 
fehaun takli (if you " can play a tune on a carrot 



IN WESTERN INDIA 161 

well and good, if you fail you can always eat it) 
expresses the same idea as the well known Irish 
saying " Be aisy, and if you can't be aisy, be as 
aisy as you can." I must however confess that an 
attempt to play a tune on this vegetable would 
almost be as good an illustration of nonsense as 
that of the youthful essayist c it would be nonsense, 
Sir, to bolt a door with a boiled carrot/ 

Two somewhat sad proverbs are " Daiv detopan, 
karm nete (the gods give, but karma takes away) 
and " Dushkalacha terava mahina " (a famine year) 
has always thirteen months). The first because 
it expresses the terrible idea that no matter how 
we strive we cannot escape the punishment of sins 
committed in a former existence. And the second 
because it alludes to the endless waiting until the 
next year's monsoon comes to relieve the kunbi's 
suffering. 

Here are two sayings which must respectively 
have been invented by a pessimist and an opti- 
mist. The first is " Udima karitan sola bara sheta 
karitan doivar bhara " (If you trade you will get 
12 annas for every 16 (spent) and if you till you 
will have to carry loads on your head). The second 
runs " God karun khaven mau karun nijaven (If 
it is not sweet make it so and if your bed is not soft 
make it so). Then come two which must have 
emanated from a cynic " Labha pekshan bholyachi 
asha." The fool's hopes exceed (possible) gain " 
and bara koshavar paus, shivecha raut, panivathya- 
chi ghagar. (There are 3 things very difficult to 
get, the rain felling 24 miles away, the village head- 
man and the jar you left at the watering place.) 

21 



162 PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

Here is a proverb which shows how well beggars 
fare in kindly India " Bhikeshwar kinva Lankesh- 
war/' " It is best to be the king of the beggars 
and next best to be king of Lanka," i.e., Eldor- 
ado, for when Eavan ruled there the bricks were all 
of gold. Then there are two which inculcate homely 
prudence " Bail gela ni zhopa kela" (He built a 
shed after his ox had gone i.e., do not lock the 
stable after the horse has bolted.) " Pudhchyas 
thech magcha shahana (The one behind may profit 
by the tripping of the man in front), 
Here is one very amusing one 

Panya madhyen masa 
Zbop gheto kasa 
Javen tyachya vansha 
Tewhan kale 

I have translated it as follows : 

Let him who'd learn how * tis that sleep 

Cometh to little fishes 
Become a fish and swim the deep 

He'll learn then when he wishes. 

I have in vain sought for proverbs in which the 
English are the subject of adverse comment, 
and this might be taken to heart by those who 
believe that Poona is full of sedition and seditious 
people. But, I believe, that sometimes in the 
streets one may hear little girls sing the following 
nursery rhyme that dates from the days of the 
conquest : 

Hattichya sonde van 
Theveli menbutti 
Sarya Punyachi keli matti 
Jngrejani, Ingrejani ! 

It has little or no meaning, for what connection 
is between the elephant and the English, 



IN WffiSTBEN INDIA 163 

takes some thinking out. However, such as it tt t < 
I translate it as follows : 

Upon the elephant's trunk now sways 

the lamp and O I the pity, 
The English and the English ways 

Have ruined Poona City ! 



IILTHE SAYINGS OF THE PARSEES. 

It is usually supposed that the language of the 
Parsees is ordinary Gujarati, and, no doubt, in 
recent years, there have been great and successful 
efforts on behalf of Parsees with literary tastes to 
equal the purity of style attained by the Gujarati- 
speaking Hindus. But the great bulk of the Parsee 
community speak a dialect which has marked 
peculiarities and varies as much from the Gujarati 
of Kathiavad as Milanese does from Tuscan. And 
to this dialect the older members adhere with a 
certain pride and resent the use of what they call 
"bania's lingo*" As an instance of this, I may 
mention, that a leading Parsee barrister whose 
children had been educated at Rajkot, told me that 
when his son visited his aunt she said with some 
asperity "are tune sun thayun; tu wania jevo bolech.'* 
(What on earth has happened to you, you are talking 
like a bania 1) In this Parsee dialect have grown 
up a number of proverbs, many of which would be 
quite unintelligible to a Hindu. In the course 
of this paper I propose to deal with the sayings of 
this strange community who for many centuries 
havelived together with, yet apart from, their Hindu 
neighbours. I will not guarantee that all 



PBOVEBBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

Basiling aphorisms are peculiar to the Parsees, 
although many of them are- But all of them are 
commonly used by Parsees even if some are not 
unknown to the Hindus also. 

The most remarkable trait in these Parsee pro- 
verbs is the bitterness with which the rival towns 
Bombay, Bulsar, Cambay, Surat, Navsari and 
Broach speak of each other. This enmity be- 
tween commercial cities is not, however, ttnknown 
in Europe, Here is a proverb that must be ex- 
tremely galling to Surati pride, 4 kiun Surati ? to bi 
murvat ki murti ' (What ! a Surati ! then (you see) 
the image of a shameless man). It is the ladies, 
however, who come in for the severest abuse. The 
next two proverbs are really delightful. The first 
is said by a Bombay lady of a Broach woman* 

* BharucM Bhaji chapre chapre nachi, 

So chhana baera pan khicbri to kachi ne kachi." 

(the Broach woman jumped from roof, and to roof, 
although a hundred cow-dung cakes were burnt 
yet the khichri remained uncooked). In other 
words, she was a wanton slut. The sting of the 
gibe is in the words " baera " and " kachi ne kachi. 59 
which are Broach colloquialisms. The Broach 
woman, however, rose to the occasion and retorted 
" Mumbaini modan gharni Dhoban " (The great 
lady from Bombay is the washer-woman of every 
house). Thite is a hit at the Efuropeanfeed Parsee 
ladies who go out to tea-parties and then, so it 
Is implied in the proverb, talk scandal. The word 
" dhoban "has much the same sense as our expres- 
sion, "to wash one's dirty linen in public/ 5 *$%& 
Stttat lady is again the victim in the following: 



m WESTERN IKDIA 166 

(" Suratni nari evi sari ke khua kariue kutwa chali)" 
(The Surat woman is so good that she will commit 
murder and then at the ensuing funeral be the loudest 
mourner present !)* The weak points of the Cam- 
bay, Broach, Surat andNavsari ladies find expression 
in the following : 

Khambatan khodiyan ne Bharuchi chadlyan 
Suratan f ankri ne Nosakri Aakri. 

(The Cambay woman is ill-made, the Broach wo- 
man is a teU-tale, the Surat woman is a flirt and 
the Navsari woman is hot tempered). I am told 
that the only reason why Navsari was left off so 
lightly was because it is the home of the priests of 
whom the couplet-maker, perhapk, stood in awe. 
However, if the rival townsmen said hard things of 
each others 5 ladies they were quite ready to lavish 
praise on themselves* The following proverb was 
written by a Bulsar man of Bulsar : 

Wadun gam te Valsad saghla gamnu taran 

" Panaioman Kahanji ne Vanioman 3STaran," 

(Bulfear is the mighty city, the salvation of all 
other cities. Among the Parsees we have our Ka 
ha^i, and among the Banias we have our Naran.) 
This reminds one of the old Athenian saying that 
a Corinthian could never travel without for ever 
talking of "Dios Korinthos " (glorious Corinth). 
And did not Bernier, who saw Delhi in its heyday* 
contrast it unfavourably with the splendours of 
Paris as seen from the Pont Neuf ! 

A number of Parsee proverbs deal with the never- 
dying feud between the mothe>r-in4aw and the 
daughter-ia-law. For the 'belle-mre j of Paretee 
tradition is, $fi she is among Hindu families, not 



166 PBOVEK&IAL PHILOSOPHY 

the wife's but the husband's mother. Here is a 
delightful one. 

Dime baadhyun dahi 

Jiluetane chhas 
Gulie tavyun ghi 

Ne Sasuji jame khas. 

Did prepared the curds, Jilu the butter-milk, 
Guli cooked the ghee, and then the mother-in-law 
had a rare good meal). 

A similar hit at the mother-in-law's gluttony is 
to be found in the following : 

" Juar dali sher ne git gaya ter 
Sasue muki rotli to ankhe aya pher/' 

(She (the daughter-in-law) ground a seer of jowari 
and while doing so sang thirteen songs. (But) 
the mother-in-law gave her only one chapatti and 
she (the daughter-in-law) felt quite giddy with 
hunger). The poor thing ! 

The point of the thirteen songs may puzzle some 
of my readers. It lies in the fact that all Indian 
women sing while grinding grain, and this finds 
expression in the Marathi proverb " jatyavar baslyas 
git athavte" (one remembers songs while sitting 
at the grinding mill). The point of the passage 
is that the poor daughter-in-law sat so long grinding 
that she was able to sing thirteen songs from begin- 
ning to end ! 

Yet another saying against the mother-in-law 
is to be found in* 

*Mari Sasuevibholi 

Ee nahi dekhade diwali ke holi, 

(My mother-in-law is so good that she will not 
show me either diwali or holi). It is scarcely 
necessary to remark that the work good is meant 



IN WESTEBN INDIA 167 

cc sarcastic/ 9 But in fairness to the mother-in-law, 
it should be added, that an old-fashioned Hindu 
Holi festival is not the best place for a young 
married woman ! 

Another rather amusing saying is " Sasus bhange 
te kahaleda ne wahu bhange tethikra " (Whenever 
the mother-in-law breaks anything it is only "Kahe- 
lada," but whenever the wife breaks anything it 
is a "thikra") "Kahaleda" and "thikra" are 
earthen pots of which the " thikra " is the more 
expensive. The meaning is that the mother-in- 
law minimises her own faults and exaggerates her 
daughter-in-law's and to use Butler's words : 

* Compounds for sins she is inclined to 
By damning those she has no xniad to." 

After all these nasty remarks at the mother-in- 
law's expense, it is not surprising to be told that 
when a mother-in-law dies then the daughter-in-law 
attains happiness, (sasu giyi savarat ne vahune 
avinavarat.) 

There are some proverbs, however, which take 
the side of the step-mother and the mother-in-law. 
Here are one or two. " Sat sok jaje pan be savka por 
na jati" (Be if you like) the seventh wife of your 
husband, but do not enter a house where there 
are even two step-children !) " Sasu khadhi sasaro 
khadho, khadho gherjamai ne bar gamna gadheda 
khadha, to be nahin dharai" (She (the wife) ate 
up (talked to death), her mother-in-law, her father- 
in-law, her son-in-law and all the donkeys of twelve 
villages and she is not yet satisfied L e. goes dn 
talking ). We might compare the English say- 
ing sometimes used of an old woman, " She 



168 PBOVEBBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

talk the hindleg oS a donkey." Then again " satwa 
seta ne barni patli, vahune chatar palang ne sasune 
khatli" The first line is meaningless and like the 
"DingdongDell " " Hickery Dickery-Dock " of our 
nursery rhyme is simply introduced for jingle* The 
last line is expressive, "The wife has a European 
bedstead with mosquito curtains, while the mother- 
in-law has a little native cot." Ihe mother-in-law 
like the lady of the Khine, felt no doubt the spretae 
injuria formae. 3 

The mother-in-law is not the only victim. Here 
is one that must excite avuncular disgust. " Kaka 
mama kekevana ne ganthe hoi te levana " (you 
must call them kaka (paternal uncle) and mama 
(maternal uncle) but they will rob you of everything 
you have). The word " gantha " is the knot at 
the end of the scarf in which natives usually carry 
their money. The paternal grandmother is chas- 
tised in the following: "Mamai ankhman samai, 
bapai chulie kapai." (The mother's mother is the 
apple of my eye, but I could cut up father's mother 
with a mutton chopper). 

If we leave the subject of relatives we find a 
number of other amusing proverbs. " Latko matko 
ne soparino larko" (full of flirting and coquetry and 
worth a bit of betelnut). The lady to whom this 
was applied must have resembled the heroine of 
Burns' original version of "coming through the 
rye" 

Some sayings illustrate certain national peculia- 
rities. It is said that some Parsees are in the habit 
of saying <c Shu 3 shu " " what, what " just as in 
E&glish one hears ** what ?" frequently added wifch* 



IN WESTERN INDIA 160 

out cause to the end of a sentence. The retort to 
such a misuse of language is crushing. 

" Shu, shuna baoha ne lasanni kali, 
Tari Sasu gadhere chadi. " 

(What, whats' children and a piece of garlic, 
your mother-in-law rode on an ass.) The point of 
this polite observation is that in Musalman times 
unchaste women were made to ride with inked 
features on a donkey and face tailwards. One 
might compare with this, the French saying used 
to little boys when they say " Quoi ? " instead of 
the politer " comment ?" " Quoi, quoi, les cor- 
beaux sont dans les bois." 

The custom indicated in the following proverb 
is that of old-fashioned Parsees who, invariably 
when asked after their health, reply that they are 
feeling rather poorly, just as an English peasant 
will always say that he has the " rhelumatiz." 

** Sasu kanse, vahu karanje ne pel palina petmaa dukhe, 
ne varo to jetlo ne tetlo uthe/' 

(The mother-in-law groans, the wife moans, the 
maid servant has a pain in her stomach fctat th0 
amount of food consumed never varies). 

Personal peculiarities are the subject of some 
proverbial comment. "Baro bohetar lakhanvalo^ 
(tjie squint-eyed man has 72 tricks) and * tlmtha* 
ni rand ne thamko bhari" (a cripples 5 
walks with great airs and graces). The 
man and the one-eyed share the following 
verb. " Andhlp hikmati ane kaao kepheyati J> (A 
blind man is full of tricks and a one-eyed man full 
of &wi&es). This idea of the wilmess of the 

eye$ man seems tmiversal in India* Colonel 
? 



170 PROVEBBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

mentions the belief as strongly rooted in Rajasthan, 
and it finds expression in the following Kathiawadi- 
proverb : 

Kanio nar kok sadhu 

Talio nar kok nirdhan 
Khokhad danta kuk murkha 

Danta kok mijhra 

(A one-eyed is rarely a saint, a bald man is rarely 
poor, a man with projecting teeth is rarely a fool 
and a man with grey eyes is rarely generous). 

I tried hard, but in vain, to discover the grounds 
why these particular qualities were associated with 
these peculiarities. As a matter of fact, this arbi- 
trary association is not entirely confined to the 
East I have seen used by M. Armand Silvestre 
the phrase " H riait comme un bossu " i. e. 9 he was 
laughing outrageously. And yet it is difficult to 
understand why the mirth of a hump-backed man 
should be so wholly unrestrained. 



SAYINGS OF THE MUSULMANS, 

I have now come to the last of this series the 
proverbial sayings of the Musulmans* It is no 
doubt true that in no part of the Western Presi- 
dency is Musulmani the spoken language of the 
bulk of the people. Nevertheless there live, scat- 
tered from Cutch to Kanara, countless Mahome- 
dan families who talk amongst themselves some or 
other dialect of Hindustani, and here and there 
may be found aristocratic groups whose Urdu may 
well eompete with that of Delhi or Lucknow. 
Hindustani, moreover, ftbm its former place in the 



IN WESTERN INDIA* 171 

mouths of Northern rulers has acquired a pecijliar 
position as the medium between the master and 
the servant. A well-known Parsi pleader men* 
tioned to me that his father preferred to talk Hin- 
dustani to his Ahmedabadi servants, although, 
the mother tongue of master and man was Guja- 
rati. He found that they better obeyed his orders 
when delivered in the former tongue. Hindustani 
has similarly descended as an appendage of Saber's 
empire to the English rulers. English ladies use 
no other tongue in Indian households. Every day 
in Bombay carriages are ordered in a strange jargon, 
which, if not Hindustani, is certainly nothing else. 
Thus, if for no other reason, Hindustani may claim 
a place among Western Indian tongues, as the 
language of the Mogal and the memsahib of the 
" fortiter in modo " and the " fortissime in re." 

I must, however, forestall criticism by admitting 
that in many of the proverbs which follow the 
grammar and the wording are not that of Delhi 
I have collected Musuhnani sayings as I have 
heard them, and if I were to alter their phrasing 
they would no longer belong properly to Western 
India. On the other hand, some of the provefos 
are almost pure Persian and should satisfy t&e 
highest of high proficiency scholars. 

I shall begin with a very pretty aphorism which 
expresses in poetical form the common French 
saying "16s grands hommes les grands soucis les 
petits hommes les petits soucis." 

Borre burre ko dukh hai 
Chote 96 dnkh dur 
Tare sab nyare rahe 
Grabs Chandra au? sur 



172 PKOVJ3RBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

I have translated it as follows : 

He knows not happy, humble one 

What great men's sorrows are. 

Eclipses darken moon and sun 

And spare the lowly star. 

But most of the Musulmani proverbs which I have 
met contain merely plain household truths. " Nach 
na jane angan terha " [(the dancing girl) who cannot 
dance (complains that) the courtyard is crooked] may 
be translated * 'a bad workman quarrels with his tools/' 
" Our proverb " speech is silvern, silence is gold " 
finds expression in two Hindustani sayings c sabse barri 
ehup 5 (Silence is the greatestof all things.) "Ek chup 
aur hazarsukh" (one silence and a thousand comforts). 
And it may possibly be in unconscious recognition 
of the advantages of silence that the indignant 
Englishman is for ever saying to his Aryan brother 
" Ghup raho !" "Where there's a will there's a way 33 
finds a neat equivalent in " marzi ho to sab kuchh 
hai" " If there is a will then there is everything," 
and " ittifak kuwvat hai " is a literal rendering 
of * union is strength.' "Awwal sonch pechi bol" 
"listen first and speak afterwards" contains no 
doubt sound advice. But in opposition to it may 

be quoted the 'Gujarati saying ** lat pacchi wat" 

" kick him first and take his explanation afterwards," 
and the latter will probably commend itself to the 
"strong officer!" ''Kathki handia ekhi dafa charhti 
had " " a wooden pot can only be placed on the 
fire once," is a rather subtle way of saying that an 
impostor is soon found out, and that honesty is the 
best policy. 

An amusing equivalent for " do not count your 
chickens before they are hatched " is to be found 



IN WESTBBN INDIA 173 

in " sut na kapas kolhuse lath tham latha " (hte 
quarrelled with his spinning wheel before he had 
bought either cotton or yarn), naturally the result 
was disaster. A delightfully elliptical phrase is 
the following: "In tilon men tel nahin " (In 
those sesamum seeds there is no oil)." It is used 
when a beggar tries in vain to get money from a 
miser and learns too late that it is useless to try to 
tap that Pactolus ! Another reference to a miser is 
found in the following, " damri ki barhai taka sir 
mundai" "he defended himself from the charge 
of not providing a barber for his mother by saying 
why should I pay a taka " (1 pice) for shaving the 
head of an old woman who is only worth a c damri ' 
(half a pie)! 53 The mother-in-law does not receive 
in Hindustani proverbs the wholesale abuse show- 
ered on her by the Parsees and Gujaratls. But the 
following saying, frequently used to the young 
wife, when she quarrels with her husband's mother 
hardly gives a flattering idea of her nature. " Darya 
men rahna aur magar machch so byr" (To live 
in the sea and to have enmity with the magar 
machch). It is impossible accurately to translate 
" magar machch " for it is applied indiscriminately 
to any dangerous aquatic or amphibious animal. 
And if one complains to an Indian of the bewilder- 
ing looseness of such an expression he will sooner 
or later give one politely to understand that for 
his part it is a matter of indifference whether any 
particular beast is a shark, a whale, an alligator 
or a hippopotamus. 

" Dudh ka jala chach phunjk phunk kar pita hai w 
(He vfho has been scalded by milk blows repeatedly 



174 PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY 

on buttermilk before he will drink it) is the Hin- 
dustani rendering of the Kathiavadi proverb " sap- 
no karadyo dhori thi bhie." (He who has been 
bitten by a snake is afraid of a piece of rope). 
Both may be translated as " A burnt child dreads 
the fire." It is, however, difficult to give a concise 
rendering of w Mitha hap hap karwa thu thu." It 
means that things when sweet were gobbled up 
but when bitter spat out. The saying is as a rule 
used to a servant who did not grumble until things 
went badly, or of a friend who deserted one when 
trouble came. Perhaps the nearest English equi- 
valent would be " rats leave a sinking ship." 

Prom among so many household proverbs the 
household animals are not omitted. " Billi ki khwab 
men chfchre." (In the cat's dreams figure mutton 
scraps). By day, however, the cat seems to be 
over-sensitive to ridicule "Khisayni billi khamba 
noche" (a cat that has been laughed at scratches the 
door-post). The dog finds a place in the two fol- 
lowing proverbs " choti kutti jalebiyan ki rakhwali" 
(it is no use appointing the little dog as a guard 
over the sweetmeats); and "damri ki handia 
gaikutte ki zat pahchhan" (only a worthless pot 
was lost and the dog's nature was recognised). The 
latter saying is employed when some servant's 
fraud has been detected at little cost and the mas- 
ter is " well rid of a rogue." 

Nor is the snake, the household enemy, over- 
looked : c< sarp nikal gaya lakir pita karo." (The 
snake has gone, so why puzzle your head about 
its trail). This proverb has somewhat the same 
meaning as " it is no use shutting the stable door 



IN WESTERN INDIA 175 

after the horse has been stolen"; and the derivative 
expression " lakir ka fakir " a man who followingthe 
trail rather than the snake is applied to a blind de- 
votee of ancient rather than modern learning. The 
carrion kite, may, in India, almost be called a house- 
hold animal and there is no questioning the truth 
of the following " chil ke ghonsle men mas kahan " 
(you will not find meat in a carrion kite's nest)* 
Lastly, the elephant is the hero of a somewhat 
striking aphorism " Hathi ke dant dikhane ke aur 
hain, khane ke aur hain " (an elephant has one set 
of teeth for show and another for use). This say- 
ing is curiously enough used of a hypocrite and 
recalls the biting jest that was made of the shifty 
and treacherous Duke of Anjou. He was the 
French Henry IIFs brother and small-pox had left 
him with two tips to his nose. But as an enemy 
observed " Un prince qui avait deux faces devrait 
bien avoir deux nez." 

Some other Hindustani proverbs are merely 
amusing while some indicate the national charac- 
teristics of the Indian Musulman. Among the for- 
mer are "khud andha aur aftab siyah" (blind 
himself he calls the sun black) ; "nange se khuda 
khof rakhta hai " (God even is afraid of the shame- 
less man) ; ** Turn ham razi, to kya kare kotwal aur 
kazi " (If you and I agree, what harm can the 
kotwal and the katei do us?). In other words, it 
is better to keep out of chancery. " Bare bhai so 
bare bhaii chote bhai so subhan Allah " is a phtase 
not infrequently applied to brothers bprn in t&e, 
purple. It may be translated The elder brother-** 
well, what can you expect of an elder brother? 



$76 PBOYEBBIAI* PHILOSOPHY 

and the younger brother, well, God be praised ! 
Arcades ambo, id est, blackguards both ! Among 
thfe second class are "jaldi ka kam shaitan ka." 
(To do work quickly is of the devil). Undue haste 
is hateful to the slow and rather pompous Islamite, 
whose love of vain show is indicated in the two fol- 
lowing sayings. " Makan men ata nahin aur amma 
puriya pakati hai " (There is no flour in the house 
but mamma pretends she is making cakes) ; " Das 
ghar mangna lekin masalchi rafrhna " (To beg 
at ten houses and yet keep a servant). 

One more saying and I have done* I write it 
with some reluctance, nevertheless I trust that my 
Poona readers will accept my assurance that it is 
not with any intention of hurting their feelings 
that I quote a couplet which after all hits my own 
countrymen as hard as it hits them I only men* 
tion it because of its historical interest, for it must 
clearly have been invented sometime when the 
English ard the Marathas were still contending for 
the sovereignty of India 

" Aagrez ki siyabi se Hindki gadai bihtar 
Dakh&ni ghahi so saw foajp &80iu bibtar." 

" Better to be a beggar wandering all over India 
than be pestered with English ink. Better a hun- 
dred times be a butcher than feel the rule of the 
Deccani" . 

As one reads one wonders from whom the saying 
first came. Was it some Bohilla Afghan who 
thought d^i tluef, great and merciless Alla-ud-din, 
th& Indian, *Sikandar, who conquered Gujarat and 
utterly sacked Chitor ? Or was it some Ikfogal 
noble who recalled the lion stock of Zingis and 



IN WUSTEBK INDIA 177 

Timur the knightly Humayun to whom the Udaipur 
Queen sent her bracelet, Jehangir, the tojjer feeing, 
who loved the beautiful Nur Mahal* siiah Jehan 
the conqueror and the friend of the Sesodia princes 
and himself the most splendid figure in his owm 
brilliant court ? In either case what wonder, when 
the speaker looked to th,e East and South at the two 
dark thunder clouds of which one or other would 
assuredly hide for ever the sun of Islam, if his heart 
was filled with bitterness to the brim and if, in the 
words of the Hebrew prophet, he was mad for 
sight of his eyes which he saw !