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Books > History > Political > Lokamanya to Mahatma- An Interdisciplinary Study in the Transition of Leadership (Set of 2 Volumes)
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About the Author

Dr. Sadanand Shridhar More 7 (Dehukar) M.A., Ph.D. (Philosophy) M.A. (Ancient Indian Culture & History) Scholar a Literature of Saints and social Customs & Practices in Maharasthra.

Established a new format of writing history by revealing various facets of the cultural history of Maharasthra through the works 'Tukaram Pelee ‘Lokamanya te Mahatma’ and ‘Garja Maharashtra’

Recipient of awards from various importdat institutions including Sahitya Akademi for 'Tukaram Darshan’

An artistic portrayal of poljticsin . Maharashtra through the plays , ‘Ujalalya Disha’ and ‘Shivacharitré’ Editorial contribution to several ’ books and journals; extensive travel on acgount of lectures, seminars and symposiums; an active commentator on contemporaryissues .

Office-bearer on various Government: and Non-Government bodies like Sahitya Akademi and Language Advisory Committee so Worked with Savitribal Phule Pune University as Professor of of Philosophy and retired as the:Head of . Department; Chair Professor and Director in various faculties e Received the Best Teacher Award from the Government of Maharashtra.

About the Book

Lokamanya To Mahatma is indeed arare gem and a precious addition to Indian literature, based on the independence movement in Maharashtra. This book is the translation of the groundbreaking Marathi book 'Lokamanya Te Mahatma, that leaves readers spellbound every time it is read.

The journey of any movement for independence is shaped by its leaders. While this is so, it is also true that the decisions taken by the leaders, to’a great extent, are influenced by their followers as well as the events that take place around them. Tracing the journey of transition of the leadership of the;Indian freedom struggle from Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Mahatma Gandhi, the book presents the reader with a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the unknown yet into intresting facets of history that most readers are unaware of.

Giving a clear insight into the intricacies of the relationship§ between the two leaders, their independent ways of thinking and the events that shaped it and compelled them to take the decisions they did, the book highlights their respective paths and the results that they brougHt about. Additionally, it also brings to light ?" contribution of the Marathi theatre to the freedom struggle.

An authentic, well-researched and comprehensive volume of the poligical history of Maharashtra during the independence struggle!

FOREWORD

Mires gave Gandhi his guru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale; his most devoted and scholarly disciple, Vinoba Bhave; and his murderer, Nathuram Godse. And there were many other connections that this great Gujarati had with the state that bordered his own. From the time he visited Pune in 1896 to his assassination more than half a century later, Gandhi had close, and sometimes very contentious relations with Maharashtra and Maharashtrians.

Sadanand More’s magisterial work takes as its overarching framework the relations—at once personal, political and philosophical—between Gandhi on the one side and Gokhale’s great rival, Bal Gangadhar Tilak on the other. As More writes early in the narrative: ‘The process of transition from Tilak’s leadership to that of Gandhi's was a traumatic and painful experience for Maharashtra. There was discord not just between families but within households as well’ This conflict between Tilak and Gandhi, he further notes, ‘lies at the heart of the history of Maharashtra’, and therefore, unless the conflict ‘is understood in its entirety, it would certainly be difficult to understand Maharashtra’.

Lokamanya to Mahatma is a colossal work of scholarship, at once very deep and extremely wide. Deftly translated from Marathi by Abhay Datar, this two-volume study covers an astonishing array of themes. It is sociological, investigating the politics of caste, community and region. It is literary, exploring the meanings of dozens of plays, poems, and novels. It is intellectual, analyzing the rhetoric and arguments of major as well as minor political figures. It is biographical, exploring the career paths of many influential and interesting individuals. It is political, documenting the trajectory, not just of the Congress Party to which both, Tilak and Gandhi belonged, but also the trajectories of the Hindu Mahasabha, the Muslim League, the Communists, and the RSS. It is pan-Indian, skilfully integrating the history of princely states with - that of British India. At times it is also global, paying attention to major developments outside India, such as the Russian Revolution and the rise of pan-Islamism that had resonances for the political life of the subcontinent.

Lokamanya to Mahatma has rich discussions of disputes and arguments between individual politicians, their parties, and their ideologies. These multiple strands are woven together by the historian as a master craftsman. The narrative rarely flags, the readability enhanced by the remarkable range of sources that the book uses. Sadanand More has consulted government records, newspapers, pamphlets, plays, memoirs, biographies, diaries and more. His command of Marathi sources is staggering, but More has also read and digested all the relevant secondary literature in English.

Sadanand More observes that, as genuinely all-Indian leaders, Tilak and Gandhi had no peers in the British period. As he writes: ‘The term ‘Gandhi’s Muslim followers’ for example, would not astonish anyone, while the term ‘Jinnah’s Hindu followers’ or ‘Savarkar’s Muslim followers’ would raise eyebrows or evoke laughter’. Tilak was not of course followed by as many Muslims as Gandhi, but he did have some very influential admirers among that community, most remarkably, M. A. Jinnah.

Among the many hallmarks of this book are the subtle comparisons between its two central figures. Thus More writes, on their formative influences: ‘Both Tilak and Gandhi thought, functioned and acted within the framework of tradition. But in the case of Tilak, his caste background and status as also the Brahminical influence and upbringing of his younger days meant that he leaned towards tradition more than Gandhi did. ... While Gandhi in his younger days had been brought up in an atmosphere suffused by the influence of Vaishnava and Jain religious traditions, he, unlike Tilak, had never been influenced by the orthodox Hindu scriptures. Besides, Gandhi went to and stayed in England and South Africa early in his career and hence became acquainted with Christian, Muslim and modern religious traditions’.

Again, while commenting on their respective worldviews, More remarks: ‘Tilak, who otherwise deeply involved himself in the interpretation of the Geeta, and emphatically proclaimed that he was a Vedic Hindu, knew that politics was a distinct domain of human activity with an equally distinct value system, and was of the opinion that religious principles should not be brought into politics’. On the other hand, ‘Gandhi refused to compartmentalize human life into discrete segments. His principled position was that whatever was inconsistent with religion or ethics should not be allowed into politics’.

On their differing religious philosophies, More comments: ‘For Gandhi, the real debate in the domain of religion was the one about whether violence or non- violence should be accorded primacy. For Tilak, the conflict lay between action- orientedness, on the one hand, and on the other, the attitude of detaching oneself or retiring from the world, or to put it simply, between action and renunciation’.

Meanwhile, on the characteristics that these two patriots shared, More says: ‘The fact that both Tilak and Gandhi could emerge as national-level and all-India leaders means that the two shared some leadership qualities in common. One of these qualities was undertaking many tasks at the same time and performing them with equal promptness’.

On the varying social bases of their politics, More observes: ‘During Tilak’s times, there was hardly any political consciousness among women. It increased much later, during the Gandhian period’.

Lokamanya to Mahatma contains a fascinating discussion of the respective, extended prison terms of Tilak and Gandhi. The author tells us what they read and wrote when in jail. In this connection, More illuminatively notes: ‘Gandhi was the prison-going disciple of Gokhale, who had never been to prison. A conversely similar example from within the Tilakite camp was that of N. C. Kelkar. Kelkar was the disciple of the prison-going Tilak, but one who never went to prison’ And he also writes, movingly and accurately: ‘The ability and willingness to undergo suffering as well as bear pain is an essential part of the character of great men.

Beyond Tilak and Gandhi, this study contains many other closely observed portraits of individuals. We have here fresh perspectives on major all-India figures like Ambedkar, Jinnah, and Savarkar; and of people well-known in Maharashtra but not — elsewhere, such as P. K. Atre and N. V. Gadgil. The cast of characters is capacious, and each portrait is sensitively done. My own particular favourites were the descriptions of the remarkable reformers V. R. Shinde and Sane Guruji, whose lives and legacies surely need to be better appreciated outside their home state.

As the narrative of Lokamanya to Mahatma moves beyond Tilak’s death in 1920, it focuses more closely on Gandhi, his supporters, and his adversaries. Sadanand More writes: ‘Gandhi was an enigma for his contemporaries. He could not be made sense of using any measure, whether old or new. Hence, he was variously regarded as a saint, a hypocrite, a mere Bania, a spy for the British, an ignoramus, and a shrewd political operator’. This is brilliantly put; and the book goes on to explore in rich detail the range of perceptions, impressions, readings and misreadings of Gandhi in Maharashtra. Particularly impressive in this regard is More’s fine grained analysis of the Quit India Movement in Maharashtra and its un Gandhian resort to violence.

While reading Sadanand More’s study, it struck me several times that there was a comparable book waiting to be written on Gandhi and Bengal, another province with which the Mahatma had complex and contentious relations. Thus More writes: ‘All the Maharashtrian opponents of Gandhi were unanimous that Gandhi was bereft of rationality’. One could say much the same of Gandhi's Bengali opponents. A chapter dealing with the 1920s is called ‘Maharashtra Falls by the Wayside’. That was the decade when Bengalis likewise lamented that their previous political dominance had been usurped by Gandhi. Indeed, the case can be made that the hostility to Gandhi was even greater in Bengal, especially when the Mahatma’s acolytes intrigued against Subhas Bose when he was Congress President in the late 1930s.

Several chapters at the end of Volume 2 of Lokamanya to Mahatma deal with Bengal, placed in a comparative lens with Maharashtra. There is a companion work waiting to be developed - of the many-sided, multi-faceted, controversial relations between Gandhi and the province of Tagore, Aurobindo, C. R. Das and Bose. I wonder if any Bengali historian will rise to the task. I wonder if there is indeed a Bengali Sadanand More, with comparable intelligence, energy and erudition. Meanwhile, we can all, whether Maharashtrian, Bengali or neither, feast on this splendid work of scholarship that the original Sadanand More has offered us.

PREFACE

Mahareshtra holds a special Position as far as the history of medieval and modern India is concerned, When the concluding struggle between the Mughal empire of Delhi and the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda entered its final phase, and it seemed that the entire subcontinent was about to pass into the control of the Mughals, an unexpected uprising occurred in Maharashtra. Shivaji, the young son of Shahaji Raje Bhosale who had risen to political and military strength by alternatively Serving the two Muslim Sultanates then ruling Maharashtra, suddenly and swiftly established a new kingdom of his own. The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, himself left Delhi and took to the field in the Deccan, with the twin intentions of destroying the two Sultantates that had earlier established themselves in the South, and completely uprooting this upstart Power of the Marathas. He did succeed in destroying the Sultanates, but fighting the Marathas brought the Mughal empire to its knees. First Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, then Rajaram, the younger son of Shivaji, and later Tarabai, the wife of Rajaram, continuously fought the Mughals, completely exhausting them, Finally, his desire to destroy the Marathas unfulfilled, Aurangzeb died in Maharashtra.

The death of Aurangzeb was a game changer in the Political chessboard of the country. While on his deathbed, Aurangzeb released Shahu, the son of Sambhaji, who till then had been a prisoner of the Mughals, and had him sent to Maharashtra as his representative, thus Sowing the seeds of internal dissension among the Marathas. Factions formed around Tarabai and Shahu. The unity of the Marathas was sundered and much of their Strength was wasted in internecine fighting. But the Maratha power did not go into irreversible decline as a consequence of this. Rather, they became powerful enough to capture territories hitherto held by the Mughal Empire in Northern India, and later, by checkmating the traditional powers of the N orth - the Rajput and Jats, actually established their control over the imperial throne at Delhi.

As the march of events continued, power slipped out of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Bhosale family into the hands of the Chitpavan Brahmins, a community that had migrated from the Konkan, a narrow coastal strip abutting the Arabian Sea to the upland Desh region of Maharashtra, to seek its fortunes. The post of Peshwa or Prime Minister, long occupied by Deshastha Brahmins like Moropant Pingle and others, now passed into the hands of the Bhat family, who belonged to the Chitpavan Brahmin community. Not only did this shift take place, but many established families that had played an important role in the politics of Chhatrapati Shivaji, now fell by the wayside. Their place was taken by the newly risen Maharashtrian families. The expansionist politics of the Marathas in this period required the services of many, — and at the same time, there were ample opportunities available to those who wished to make a career. Hence, even while accounting for the natural bias of the Peshwas towards their own Brahmin community, it was inevitable that practically all castes of Maharashtra would more or less secure opportunities to make their fortune in this entire process. It was as a result of this process that a shepherd family like the Holkars could establish themselves at Indore and rival a Maratha family, the Shindes of Gwalior. In Maharashtra, while the Brahmin sub-castes competed for power and positions and their rivalries flourished, the Chitpavans, as a community, never had the numbers to ensure that they alone could effortlessly carry out the expansionist politics of the Marathas. Whatever might have been the extent of rivalries between the Englishmen, the Scotsmen and the Irishmen, the services of all three were required to rule India. Similarly, in Central and North India, Karhade Brahmins were equal participants in the activities of the Marathas along with the Chitpavans. The Saraswat Brahmins, described by other Brahmins as being fish-eaters, wielded both the pen and the sword in Gwalior, and the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus, who had played an important role in the times of Shivaji Maharaj, now found opportunities to prove their talent in Baroda. As time passed by, the Marathas became an all-India phenomenon. It is true that much later Bengalis, South Indians and Sikhs spread throughout the country with the increasing availability of employment and trading opportunities, but it was the Marathas who moved across and spread throughout India as rulers and political actors.

The accusation of the English and other foreign historians that the Marathas were mere rebels or looters, or their claim that the activities of the Marathas lacked any overall strategy, can be dismissed as part of their political posturing. This is not to say that the Marathas might not have harassed people in order to collect the Chouthai and the Sardeshmukhi - taxes levied on territories not under their rule in return for protecting them. But it cannot be said that they lacked a sense of responsibility or seriousness. When Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan, marched on India to capture Delhi, it was the Marathas who took an all-India view that since India was a single nation, its internal quarrels were of no concern to foreigners, and hence, a united front of all the Hindu and Muslim rulers of India should be set up to fight the foreigners. In keeping with this approach, the Marathas rushed ahead and took upon themselves the responsibility of dealing with the danger posed by Abdali.

That the later Peshwa period was characterized by decline, debauchery and degeneration is of course known to all. But yet, even while taking into account the striking flaws of the later Peshwa period like Raghunathrao’s lust for power, the childish immaturity displayed by both Narayanrao and his posthumous son Sawai Madhavrao, and the decadent lifestyle of Bajirao II, it cannot be denied that it was during the rule of the Peshwas, and as a consequence of their policies, that the activities of the Marathas became an all-India phenomenon. It is very easy to criticize the Marathas and especially the Peshwas by comparing them with the English, a young rival who had acquired certain dynamism both after having equipped themselves with the latest technologies, and due to the ambitions unleashed by an expanding capitalism. In fact, indulging in such self-criticism was essential during the early benign phase of the British Raj i.e., during the time of Lokahitawadi Gopal Hari Deshmukh and without doing so, it would have been difficult to awaken a society that lay in a stupor of complacency and smug self-satisfaction.

But if these requirements ofa particular period are kept aside, it would be unfair to compare the Marathas with the English. Instead, they should be compared with their other Indian contemporaries, be they the Indian Muslims, Jats, Rajputs, Punjabis, Bengalis or South Indians. Just as the English emerged superior by prevailing over all their rivals in Europe, from the Portugese to the French, similarly, in India, the Marathas forged ahead of their rivals and established a dominant position in the country. Theoretically speaking, it seems as though the English acquired India from the Muslim rulers of Delhi. But the stark reality is that they won India from the Marathas only after having broken their resistance. After all, it was the Marathas who were the guardians of Delhi when the English captured it.

The Maratha power fell in 1818 and since Justice M. G. Ranade, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak were born within half a century of this event, and that too, as a matter of coincidence, in the Chitpavan Brahmin community - the erstwhile ruling caste, they came into contact with the generation that could tell a thing or two about the past glories of which they had first-hand experiences. The aggressively polemical aspects of the criticism of the Peshwa period leveled by Lokahitawadi were set aside by Justice Ranade, only by rightly absorbing the pertinent points that had been made on the basis of the lessons of history, and thus laid the foundation of constructive activities in Maharashtra. His moderate liberalism was forged through his wide-ranging activities in diverse fields. As far as Maharashtra is concerned, this tradition was carried forward by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Wrangler R. P. Paranjpe.

On the other hand, Chiplunkar took up the cause of the Peshwas while deriving inspiration from them, and launched a counter-attack against Lokahitawadi. Tilak kept aside the aggressive polemical aspects of this counter-criticism, while absorbing its message of proud patriotism and desire for self-rule. His extremist nationalism was formed by this very counter-attack. Interestingly, during the process of the formation of his extremist nationalism, Tilak had to battle the leaders of the moderate school of politics - Ranade, Gokhale and Paranjpe, and he successfully withstood their challenge.

But this also shows the fact that for half a century prior to Tilak’s death in 1920, all the main players on the political stage of Maharashtra were Brahmins, and as far as their sub-caste was concerned, Chitpavan Brahmins. Of these, Gokhale and Tilak could lead their respective schools of political thought at the national level due to their own capacities and achievements. Maharashtra once again became a key player at the all-India level. Within the passing of a mere century (1818-1918), history had repeated itself and the leading position of Maharashtra once again came to be accepted throughout the country.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









































Lokamanya to Mahatma- An Interdisciplinary Study in the Transition of Leadership (Set of 2 Volumes)

Item Code:
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Edition:
2018
ISBN:
VOL. I -9789386204844
Vol. II -9789387408166
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1678
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Weight of the Book: 2.36 Kg
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About the Author

Dr. Sadanand Shridhar More 7 (Dehukar) M.A., Ph.D. (Philosophy) M.A. (Ancient Indian Culture & History) Scholar a Literature of Saints and social Customs & Practices in Maharasthra.

Established a new format of writing history by revealing various facets of the cultural history of Maharasthra through the works 'Tukaram Pelee ‘Lokamanya te Mahatma’ and ‘Garja Maharashtra’

Recipient of awards from various importdat institutions including Sahitya Akademi for 'Tukaram Darshan’

An artistic portrayal of poljticsin . Maharashtra through the plays , ‘Ujalalya Disha’ and ‘Shivacharitré’ Editorial contribution to several ’ books and journals; extensive travel on acgount of lectures, seminars and symposiums; an active commentator on contemporaryissues .

Office-bearer on various Government: and Non-Government bodies like Sahitya Akademi and Language Advisory Committee so Worked with Savitribal Phule Pune University as Professor of of Philosophy and retired as the:Head of . Department; Chair Professor and Director in various faculties e Received the Best Teacher Award from the Government of Maharashtra.

About the Book

Lokamanya To Mahatma is indeed arare gem and a precious addition to Indian literature, based on the independence movement in Maharashtra. This book is the translation of the groundbreaking Marathi book 'Lokamanya Te Mahatma, that leaves readers spellbound every time it is read.

The journey of any movement for independence is shaped by its leaders. While this is so, it is also true that the decisions taken by the leaders, to’a great extent, are influenced by their followers as well as the events that take place around them. Tracing the journey of transition of the leadership of the;Indian freedom struggle from Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Mahatma Gandhi, the book presents the reader with a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the unknown yet into intresting facets of history that most readers are unaware of.

Giving a clear insight into the intricacies of the relationship§ between the two leaders, their independent ways of thinking and the events that shaped it and compelled them to take the decisions they did, the book highlights their respective paths and the results that they brougHt about. Additionally, it also brings to light ?" contribution of the Marathi theatre to the freedom struggle.

An authentic, well-researched and comprehensive volume of the poligical history of Maharashtra during the independence struggle!

FOREWORD

Mires gave Gandhi his guru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale; his most devoted and scholarly disciple, Vinoba Bhave; and his murderer, Nathuram Godse. And there were many other connections that this great Gujarati had with the state that bordered his own. From the time he visited Pune in 1896 to his assassination more than half a century later, Gandhi had close, and sometimes very contentious relations with Maharashtra and Maharashtrians.

Sadanand More’s magisterial work takes as its overarching framework the relations—at once personal, political and philosophical—between Gandhi on the one side and Gokhale’s great rival, Bal Gangadhar Tilak on the other. As More writes early in the narrative: ‘The process of transition from Tilak’s leadership to that of Gandhi's was a traumatic and painful experience for Maharashtra. There was discord not just between families but within households as well’ This conflict between Tilak and Gandhi, he further notes, ‘lies at the heart of the history of Maharashtra’, and therefore, unless the conflict ‘is understood in its entirety, it would certainly be difficult to understand Maharashtra’.

Lokamanya to Mahatma is a colossal work of scholarship, at once very deep and extremely wide. Deftly translated from Marathi by Abhay Datar, this two-volume study covers an astonishing array of themes. It is sociological, investigating the politics of caste, community and region. It is literary, exploring the meanings of dozens of plays, poems, and novels. It is intellectual, analyzing the rhetoric and arguments of major as well as minor political figures. It is biographical, exploring the career paths of many influential and interesting individuals. It is political, documenting the trajectory, not just of the Congress Party to which both, Tilak and Gandhi belonged, but also the trajectories of the Hindu Mahasabha, the Muslim League, the Communists, and the RSS. It is pan-Indian, skilfully integrating the history of princely states with - that of British India. At times it is also global, paying attention to major developments outside India, such as the Russian Revolution and the rise of pan-Islamism that had resonances for the political life of the subcontinent.

Lokamanya to Mahatma has rich discussions of disputes and arguments between individual politicians, their parties, and their ideologies. These multiple strands are woven together by the historian as a master craftsman. The narrative rarely flags, the readability enhanced by the remarkable range of sources that the book uses. Sadanand More has consulted government records, newspapers, pamphlets, plays, memoirs, biographies, diaries and more. His command of Marathi sources is staggering, but More has also read and digested all the relevant secondary literature in English.

Sadanand More observes that, as genuinely all-Indian leaders, Tilak and Gandhi had no peers in the British period. As he writes: ‘The term ‘Gandhi’s Muslim followers’ for example, would not astonish anyone, while the term ‘Jinnah’s Hindu followers’ or ‘Savarkar’s Muslim followers’ would raise eyebrows or evoke laughter’. Tilak was not of course followed by as many Muslims as Gandhi, but he did have some very influential admirers among that community, most remarkably, M. A. Jinnah.

Among the many hallmarks of this book are the subtle comparisons between its two central figures. Thus More writes, on their formative influences: ‘Both Tilak and Gandhi thought, functioned and acted within the framework of tradition. But in the case of Tilak, his caste background and status as also the Brahminical influence and upbringing of his younger days meant that he leaned towards tradition more than Gandhi did. ... While Gandhi in his younger days had been brought up in an atmosphere suffused by the influence of Vaishnava and Jain religious traditions, he, unlike Tilak, had never been influenced by the orthodox Hindu scriptures. Besides, Gandhi went to and stayed in England and South Africa early in his career and hence became acquainted with Christian, Muslim and modern religious traditions’.

Again, while commenting on their respective worldviews, More remarks: ‘Tilak, who otherwise deeply involved himself in the interpretation of the Geeta, and emphatically proclaimed that he was a Vedic Hindu, knew that politics was a distinct domain of human activity with an equally distinct value system, and was of the opinion that religious principles should not be brought into politics’. On the other hand, ‘Gandhi refused to compartmentalize human life into discrete segments. His principled position was that whatever was inconsistent with religion or ethics should not be allowed into politics’.

On their differing religious philosophies, More comments: ‘For Gandhi, the real debate in the domain of religion was the one about whether violence or non- violence should be accorded primacy. For Tilak, the conflict lay between action- orientedness, on the one hand, and on the other, the attitude of detaching oneself or retiring from the world, or to put it simply, between action and renunciation’.

Meanwhile, on the characteristics that these two patriots shared, More says: ‘The fact that both Tilak and Gandhi could emerge as national-level and all-India leaders means that the two shared some leadership qualities in common. One of these qualities was undertaking many tasks at the same time and performing them with equal promptness’.

On the varying social bases of their politics, More observes: ‘During Tilak’s times, there was hardly any political consciousness among women. It increased much later, during the Gandhian period’.

Lokamanya to Mahatma contains a fascinating discussion of the respective, extended prison terms of Tilak and Gandhi. The author tells us what they read and wrote when in jail. In this connection, More illuminatively notes: ‘Gandhi was the prison-going disciple of Gokhale, who had never been to prison. A conversely similar example from within the Tilakite camp was that of N. C. Kelkar. Kelkar was the disciple of the prison-going Tilak, but one who never went to prison’ And he also writes, movingly and accurately: ‘The ability and willingness to undergo suffering as well as bear pain is an essential part of the character of great men.

Beyond Tilak and Gandhi, this study contains many other closely observed portraits of individuals. We have here fresh perspectives on major all-India figures like Ambedkar, Jinnah, and Savarkar; and of people well-known in Maharashtra but not — elsewhere, such as P. K. Atre and N. V. Gadgil. The cast of characters is capacious, and each portrait is sensitively done. My own particular favourites were the descriptions of the remarkable reformers V. R. Shinde and Sane Guruji, whose lives and legacies surely need to be better appreciated outside their home state.

As the narrative of Lokamanya to Mahatma moves beyond Tilak’s death in 1920, it focuses more closely on Gandhi, his supporters, and his adversaries. Sadanand More writes: ‘Gandhi was an enigma for his contemporaries. He could not be made sense of using any measure, whether old or new. Hence, he was variously regarded as a saint, a hypocrite, a mere Bania, a spy for the British, an ignoramus, and a shrewd political operator’. This is brilliantly put; and the book goes on to explore in rich detail the range of perceptions, impressions, readings and misreadings of Gandhi in Maharashtra. Particularly impressive in this regard is More’s fine grained analysis of the Quit India Movement in Maharashtra and its un Gandhian resort to violence.

While reading Sadanand More’s study, it struck me several times that there was a comparable book waiting to be written on Gandhi and Bengal, another province with which the Mahatma had complex and contentious relations. Thus More writes: ‘All the Maharashtrian opponents of Gandhi were unanimous that Gandhi was bereft of rationality’. One could say much the same of Gandhi's Bengali opponents. A chapter dealing with the 1920s is called ‘Maharashtra Falls by the Wayside’. That was the decade when Bengalis likewise lamented that their previous political dominance had been usurped by Gandhi. Indeed, the case can be made that the hostility to Gandhi was even greater in Bengal, especially when the Mahatma’s acolytes intrigued against Subhas Bose when he was Congress President in the late 1930s.

Several chapters at the end of Volume 2 of Lokamanya to Mahatma deal with Bengal, placed in a comparative lens with Maharashtra. There is a companion work waiting to be developed - of the many-sided, multi-faceted, controversial relations between Gandhi and the province of Tagore, Aurobindo, C. R. Das and Bose. I wonder if any Bengali historian will rise to the task. I wonder if there is indeed a Bengali Sadanand More, with comparable intelligence, energy and erudition. Meanwhile, we can all, whether Maharashtrian, Bengali or neither, feast on this splendid work of scholarship that the original Sadanand More has offered us.

PREFACE

Mahareshtra holds a special Position as far as the history of medieval and modern India is concerned, When the concluding struggle between the Mughal empire of Delhi and the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda entered its final phase, and it seemed that the entire subcontinent was about to pass into the control of the Mughals, an unexpected uprising occurred in Maharashtra. Shivaji, the young son of Shahaji Raje Bhosale who had risen to political and military strength by alternatively Serving the two Muslim Sultanates then ruling Maharashtra, suddenly and swiftly established a new kingdom of his own. The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, himself left Delhi and took to the field in the Deccan, with the twin intentions of destroying the two Sultantates that had earlier established themselves in the South, and completely uprooting this upstart Power of the Marathas. He did succeed in destroying the Sultanates, but fighting the Marathas brought the Mughal empire to its knees. First Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, then Rajaram, the younger son of Shivaji, and later Tarabai, the wife of Rajaram, continuously fought the Mughals, completely exhausting them, Finally, his desire to destroy the Marathas unfulfilled, Aurangzeb died in Maharashtra.

The death of Aurangzeb was a game changer in the Political chessboard of the country. While on his deathbed, Aurangzeb released Shahu, the son of Sambhaji, who till then had been a prisoner of the Mughals, and had him sent to Maharashtra as his representative, thus Sowing the seeds of internal dissension among the Marathas. Factions formed around Tarabai and Shahu. The unity of the Marathas was sundered and much of their Strength was wasted in internecine fighting. But the Maratha power did not go into irreversible decline as a consequence of this. Rather, they became powerful enough to capture territories hitherto held by the Mughal Empire in Northern India, and later, by checkmating the traditional powers of the N orth - the Rajput and Jats, actually established their control over the imperial throne at Delhi.

As the march of events continued, power slipped out of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Bhosale family into the hands of the Chitpavan Brahmins, a community that had migrated from the Konkan, a narrow coastal strip abutting the Arabian Sea to the upland Desh region of Maharashtra, to seek its fortunes. The post of Peshwa or Prime Minister, long occupied by Deshastha Brahmins like Moropant Pingle and others, now passed into the hands of the Bhat family, who belonged to the Chitpavan Brahmin community. Not only did this shift take place, but many established families that had played an important role in the politics of Chhatrapati Shivaji, now fell by the wayside. Their place was taken by the newly risen Maharashtrian families. The expansionist politics of the Marathas in this period required the services of many, — and at the same time, there were ample opportunities available to those who wished to make a career. Hence, even while accounting for the natural bias of the Peshwas towards their own Brahmin community, it was inevitable that practically all castes of Maharashtra would more or less secure opportunities to make their fortune in this entire process. It was as a result of this process that a shepherd family like the Holkars could establish themselves at Indore and rival a Maratha family, the Shindes of Gwalior. In Maharashtra, while the Brahmin sub-castes competed for power and positions and their rivalries flourished, the Chitpavans, as a community, never had the numbers to ensure that they alone could effortlessly carry out the expansionist politics of the Marathas. Whatever might have been the extent of rivalries between the Englishmen, the Scotsmen and the Irishmen, the services of all three were required to rule India. Similarly, in Central and North India, Karhade Brahmins were equal participants in the activities of the Marathas along with the Chitpavans. The Saraswat Brahmins, described by other Brahmins as being fish-eaters, wielded both the pen and the sword in Gwalior, and the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus, who had played an important role in the times of Shivaji Maharaj, now found opportunities to prove their talent in Baroda. As time passed by, the Marathas became an all-India phenomenon. It is true that much later Bengalis, South Indians and Sikhs spread throughout the country with the increasing availability of employment and trading opportunities, but it was the Marathas who moved across and spread throughout India as rulers and political actors.

The accusation of the English and other foreign historians that the Marathas were mere rebels or looters, or their claim that the activities of the Marathas lacked any overall strategy, can be dismissed as part of their political posturing. This is not to say that the Marathas might not have harassed people in order to collect the Chouthai and the Sardeshmukhi - taxes levied on territories not under their rule in return for protecting them. But it cannot be said that they lacked a sense of responsibility or seriousness. When Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan, marched on India to capture Delhi, it was the Marathas who took an all-India view that since India was a single nation, its internal quarrels were of no concern to foreigners, and hence, a united front of all the Hindu and Muslim rulers of India should be set up to fight the foreigners. In keeping with this approach, the Marathas rushed ahead and took upon themselves the responsibility of dealing with the danger posed by Abdali.

That the later Peshwa period was characterized by decline, debauchery and degeneration is of course known to all. But yet, even while taking into account the striking flaws of the later Peshwa period like Raghunathrao’s lust for power, the childish immaturity displayed by both Narayanrao and his posthumous son Sawai Madhavrao, and the decadent lifestyle of Bajirao II, it cannot be denied that it was during the rule of the Peshwas, and as a consequence of their policies, that the activities of the Marathas became an all-India phenomenon. It is very easy to criticize the Marathas and especially the Peshwas by comparing them with the English, a young rival who had acquired certain dynamism both after having equipped themselves with the latest technologies, and due to the ambitions unleashed by an expanding capitalism. In fact, indulging in such self-criticism was essential during the early benign phase of the British Raj i.e., during the time of Lokahitawadi Gopal Hari Deshmukh and without doing so, it would have been difficult to awaken a society that lay in a stupor of complacency and smug self-satisfaction.

But if these requirements ofa particular period are kept aside, it would be unfair to compare the Marathas with the English. Instead, they should be compared with their other Indian contemporaries, be they the Indian Muslims, Jats, Rajputs, Punjabis, Bengalis or South Indians. Just as the English emerged superior by prevailing over all their rivals in Europe, from the Portugese to the French, similarly, in India, the Marathas forged ahead of their rivals and established a dominant position in the country. Theoretically speaking, it seems as though the English acquired India from the Muslim rulers of Delhi. But the stark reality is that they won India from the Marathas only after having broken their resistance. After all, it was the Marathas who were the guardians of Delhi when the English captured it.

The Maratha power fell in 1818 and since Justice M. G. Ranade, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak were born within half a century of this event, and that too, as a matter of coincidence, in the Chitpavan Brahmin community - the erstwhile ruling caste, they came into contact with the generation that could tell a thing or two about the past glories of which they had first-hand experiences. The aggressively polemical aspects of the criticism of the Peshwa period leveled by Lokahitawadi were set aside by Justice Ranade, only by rightly absorbing the pertinent points that had been made on the basis of the lessons of history, and thus laid the foundation of constructive activities in Maharashtra. His moderate liberalism was forged through his wide-ranging activities in diverse fields. As far as Maharashtra is concerned, this tradition was carried forward by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Wrangler R. P. Paranjpe.

On the other hand, Chiplunkar took up the cause of the Peshwas while deriving inspiration from them, and launched a counter-attack against Lokahitawadi. Tilak kept aside the aggressive polemical aspects of this counter-criticism, while absorbing its message of proud patriotism and desire for self-rule. His extremist nationalism was formed by this very counter-attack. Interestingly, during the process of the formation of his extremist nationalism, Tilak had to battle the leaders of the moderate school of politics - Ranade, Gokhale and Paranjpe, and he successfully withstood their challenge.

But this also shows the fact that for half a century prior to Tilak’s death in 1920, all the main players on the political stage of Maharashtra were Brahmins, and as far as their sub-caste was concerned, Chitpavan Brahmins. Of these, Gokhale and Tilak could lead their respective schools of political thought at the national level due to their own capacities and achievements. Maharashtra once again became a key player at the all-India level. Within the passing of a mere century (1818-1918), history had repeated itself and the leading position of Maharashtra once again came to be accepted throughout the country.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









































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