My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Just like Bajirao overshadowed his younger brother throughout his life; geopolitical events in Maharashtra have relegated Bajirao to the sidelines of history. Maharashtra is Shivaji and our vision often ends there. Sad but true. Adding to the problem is Bollywood. With the romantic angle of Bajirao's life often hyper-emphasized and nowhere more so in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's extravagant epic "Bajirao Mastani"; we have boxed Bajirao the personality. We forget that he was a military general par excellence and that he never lost a battle. We forget that he was an unorthodox progressive for his age and that he ate meat and drank mead in an environment that was oppressively conservative. He preferred the company of his soldiers than the rich confines of the palace and we've forgotten that Bajirao was much more than his love affair with Mastani.
With detailed evidences, citations and corroborated events in history; Jaiwant E Paul tries to correct this gross injustice. The title itself moves away from the usual hoopla about Bajirao's love life. From his conquest of the central plains to his sudden attack on Delhi, Jaiwant E Paul has chronicled the life of a military tactician par excellence. A very interesting read that gives perspective to the Peshwa ascendancy before its eventual decline into extravagance and debauchery. One wonders what would have happened had "brahminical patriarchy" been more liberal and allowed an inter-caste marriage and what would have happened if Bajirao had lived another decade....
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