Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mystery of Lord Vitthala solved!

But the fact remains that "Paundrank Vitthala" (who later became famous as "Pandurang Vitthala") was a historical figure belonging to Pundra clan, which was declared by Brahmins as Shudra and non-Vedik since ancient times. It is irony that the same Brahmin’s have become chief priests of Lord Vitthala…!

Lord Vitthala of Pandharpur has always been an enigma to the scholars. Worship of Lord Vitthala dates back to minimum 11th century AD. It is believed that it is even more antique. The saints like Namdeo, Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram believe that the idol of Lord Vitthala is as ancient as the universe is. The devotees of Lord Vitthala have been worshipping him as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu or Krishna. The Varkari’s (Devotees of Lord Vitthala) call themselves Vaishnava’s, cult of Vishnu. Still Lord Vitthala is an enigma because of following reasons:

a. Lord Vitthala’s name is nowhere to be found in the list of Vishnu’s 1000 names or in his 24 reincarnations and the saints and devotees had and has this knowledge still he is called as “Vishnu who appeared on the banks of Chandrabhaga river, naked, stood arms akimbo.”. Same time Saints believe He is Krishna, in a pastoral attire, came to Pandharpur for the great devotee “Pundarik”, who was eternally busy in service of his parents. Also there is another story told about the appearance of Krishna at Pandharpur. The story goes like this: As Rukmini, consort of Krishna saw Radha, a mythical lover of Krishna, sitting on his laps, she got angered. In a rage she left Mathura and came in recluse at Pandharpur. To please her, Krishna, along with his pastoral mates came to Gopalpura, a village near Pandharpur, and in pastoral attire went alone to meet Rukmini. Another explanation of Krishna’s visit and his eternal abode at Pandharpur is told that Krishna visited Pandharpura to seduce a beautiful Princess named Padma. All these stories appear to be concocted as there is no consistency in them. Real form of Vitthala remains a mystery.
b. Many scholars like Dr. Manikrao Dhanpalwar have tried to prove that this sacred place was originally Shaivait before it was converted to a Vaishnav shrine. This is because actual temple of Devotee Pundarik is a Shiva temple. It is belief of devotees that on the head of Lord Vitthala is Shivalsinga. Many saints like even Dnyanehwar recognize Lord Vitthala as Shiva as well with Vishnu.
c. According to Dr. R.C.Dhere, Vitthala originally was a minor God of pastoral communities, named as Ital, who rose high as supreme God as his character was elevated in a Vaishnav form by the Sthalapurana’s (Local mythological scripts) According to him He was first elevated as Shaivait and in later course He was related with Vishnu and Krishna to adorn him a Vaishnav character.


Without going into much detail of various opinions of the scholars and imaginative forms that were seen by Saints in the intoxication of their devotion we can deduce that Lord Vitthala is only God in Maharashtra whose origin cannot be traced in any mythological texts. There is no explanation of word “Vitthala”. No origin of this word is found as yet. Some scholars have tried to prove that Vitthala is local form of Sanskrit word “Vishnu.” Some have tried to connect his name from the Kannada language word “Bittiga” or “Bittarasa.” But these explanations are lame as in Karnataka and even in Tamilnadu, there are temples those are called only aa Vitthala (or Vitthaleshvar) only, and not Bittiga.

The facts about present Pandharpura are as follows:

a. Pandharpura was known as Pundrik Kshetra since ancient times.
b. The city name Pandharpur is a corrupt form of original Pundrikpur.
c. The mausoleum of Devotee Pundarik is in fact a Shiva temple, which can be still seen clearly. The temple was famous as “Pundrikeshwar” in ancient past which is clearly stated in Pudma and Skanda Purana. Pundrikeshwar means “Lord of Pundrik or Pundariks”
d. The idols of so-called Krishna’s consorts are located at different temples. In fact they have no relation with Lord Vitthal.


Looking at above, instead of searching for Vitthal, I thought better to find historical link or lineage of Pundarik. This was so as the city is named after Pundarik, the Vitthala’s main and popular epithet is Panduranga which is clearly a corrupt form of Paundranka and that the Shiva temple is called “Pundrikeshwar”

In Shaivait’s it is a practice that the Lord Shiva is named either after great devotee or society or builder of the temple. Lord of Asur Mahabal is Mahabaleshwar. Lord of Poona is Puneyshwar. Similar way “Pundrikeshwar” mean lord of Pundrik.

The historians were busy in finding historical Pundarik. There are various indivisuals named as "Pundarik" in Hindu mythologies, but they could relate no one with Devotee Pundarik of Pandharpur.

Also it is clear that there never was a devotee named Pundarik in any era for whom Lord Krishna appeared at Pandharpur. Historians completely agree with this fact. Also they cannot explain why Krishna’s name was changed to Vitthala (as it would be impossible) and by which process and why it could be so, when Krishna is Krishna everywhere in India.

The Historians were misled because they didn’t see that was just standing before them. Or they didn’t want to see it for the reasons best known to them.

However, we can safely assume now that the place Pandharpur was historically known as Pundrikpur. (Kannada form "Pandarage" is clearely corrupted from Kannad expression "Pudarike")The area was known as Pundrika Kshetra (region). Vitthala’s main epithet is "Paundrank"…that for the sake of simplicity was converted to "Pandurang". This threefold labyrinth makes the whole thing clear.

HISTORICAL PUNDRA’S

Among many societies in ancient India were Pundra’s. The first reference to Pundra’s can be traced in Aitereya Brahmin, a sacred text explaining Rig Veda. There is story of sage Vishwamitra. King Harishandra of his times had no child. He worshipped Lord Asura Varuna and begot a boon and in turn he promised to Varuna that he will sacrifice his son to him. He had a son, named Rohit. As his son, Rohit became younger, Harichandra started postponing Rohit's sacrifice for his love towards Rohit. On this Varuna got angry and punished Harischandra with sever pains in stomach. When Rohit came to know the reason, Rohit went to the sage Ajeegarta and bought his son Shunahshep as an alternate sacrifice. When Vishwamitra saw Shunahshep bound to the sacrificial pillar in a pitiable condition, Vishwamitra took mercy upon him and freed him. He named him as Devrata and asked his 101 sons to treat and respect him as their elder brother. The elder 50 sons denied accepting Devrata as their elder brother. On this Vishwamitra got enraged and cursed his fifty sons that “They shall become shudra and shall seek shelter of Pundra’s, Aundra’s, Shabar and Mutibs, the shudra kings of southern India. In alternative version it is stated that his son went to south and formed Pundra, Aundra and other dynasties.

The another reference to Pundra’s we can find in Ramayana, in which, Bhargava Rama had subjugated Pundra’s.

In Jain Ramayana, the story goes like this. When rama deserted Seeta, she was taken in shelter by Pundrik king of Pundrapur, where Seeta deleivered Luv & Kush.

Another ancient story tells us that Aoundra’s and Pundra’s along with other clans belonged to Lord of Asura’s, King Bali.

In Mahabharata there are several stories related with Pundra's. The kingdom of Pundra’s was located in Northern part of Bengal and was powerfull. They were allies of Emporar Jarasangha, an Asura King, whom Krishna got crookedly killed at the hands of Bheema.

That time there ruled a king who called himself “Purushottama” and said to be copied attire of Krishna. People of his kingdom would call him “ Paundrank Vassudeo”. He opposed Krishna’s claim that He was incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In later times, in a battle Paundrank Vasudeo was killed at the hands of Krishna.

In Mahabharat battle Pundra’s were united to fight against Pandava’s. After that annihilating war, many Pundra’s migrated toward south and formed their kingdoms. Mahabharata too call them Shudra’s, non-Vedik’s. Originally Pundra, Aundra, Vanga, Shabar and Kalinga were sons of Great Asur King Bali, who is still worshipped throughout India. This does mean that the Pundra clan originated from Asur Bali. No wonder Pundra's were despised by the Vedik Brahmins.

Aundra’s established their kingdom in Odisa and Andhra. The nouns Odisa and Andhra are transformation of original Aundra. Pundra’s were closely related with them. Pundra’s first capital was Pundranagara in Pundrikvardhan kingdom, in North Bengal. At Mahasthangarh ruins of that ancient city have been found. Several branches of Pundra’s migrated to south.

There are at least three known Pundrikpur’s in south. Pandharpur (Originally Pundrikpur or Pundrapur) could be first settlement/kingdom of Pundra’s in south India, as this is a bordering city of Karntaka and is in Maharashtra. The ancient name of the city of Tiruvarur and Chidambaram too was known as Pundrikpur and they too are famous Shaivait pilgrimages. This does prove that the Pundras ruled some parts of south as well along with their alleys Aundra. Satvahana’s, first known dynasty of Maharashtra, that ruled from 2nd century BC till 3rd century AD belonged to Aundra (Andhra) clan. Aundra’s too were Shiva worshippers and this fact is evident from the fact that Andhra Pradesh and even Maharashtra is crowded with ancient Shiva shrines.

It can be safely deduced that Pundra’s first settlement was at Pundrikpur (Pundrapur) alias Pandharpur. Pundra’s too were Shaivik, like most of Asura’s in mythological India. They established temple and lingam of Shiva which naturally was called as “Pundrikeshwara” (Lord of Pundrika’s.)

Hence it is clear that there was never existed an individual Brahmin devotee called Pundarik for whom Krishna or Vishnu rushed to this place. This is not at all a historical figure. In fact Pundrika was an independent society, who worshipped Lord Shiva, thus erected the Shiva temple calling it “Pundrikeshwar”, Lord of Pundra’s.

Now it will become clear, who Lord Vitthala is.

The main epithet of Vitthala is Pandurang. Till date the meaning of Pandurang was taken verbatim…Fair/white complexioned. Also it was another name of Lord Shiva too. This baffled scholars as if Vitthala is manifestation of Krishna, who is black in color and so Vishnu too is and as Vitthala is called as black, how come that he is called Pandurang (fair complexioned) from ancient times? In fact the old Puranik texts are known as “Pandurang Mahatmya” (Glory of Pandurang), not as Vitthal Mahatmya!

But now we know that the root of noun Pandurang lay elsewhere. We now know that Pundra people referred themselves as “Paundrank” (Pundra people) at least from Epical times. This solve mystery why Vitthal is called Pandurang (Root “Paundrank”). This only mean that Vitthal himself was from Pundra clan, a great devotee and most probably founder of Pundrikpur. Vitthal was his name; hence there is no need to find its origin elsewhere. Paundrank Vitthal remained Pandurang Vitthal throughout. The Vitthal idol must have been established by his successors in his memories. There was custom among Aundra Satvahana’s as well in many dynasties to have erected idols of their predecessor kings. Hence there is no wonder why idol of Paundrank Vitthal was erected near the Pundrikeshwar Shiva temple.

It is told by the scholars that the first temple around the Vitthal idol was built during 12th century when Yadava dynasty ruled Maharashtra from Devgiri. Till then the idol stood in the wilderness of the nature. Vitthal till then was a secondary God at Pandharpur. Main worshipping place still was famous a Pundrik kshetra or Pundrikeshwar.

How idol of Pandrank king Vitthala could have been elevated as manifestation of Vishnu or Krishna is another story. We should keep in mind that Yadava dynasty related their bloodline with Lord Krishna. Pundra’s too were noted herdsmen from ancient times. The ancient enmity between Pundra’s and Yadava’s must have been forgotten by then or it was a distant, vague memory. The idol of Vitthala was and is dark black, had attire of a herdsman, and though not exactly same but partially attributes of Krishna and Vishnu, such as conch and flower, in Vitthala’s hands made it suitable to correlate Vitthala with Krishna and same time with Vishnu. It suited purpose of Yadava kings as the sanctity of the place was already known and was a pilgrimage. In all probability, to get huge donations from Yadava kings, Brahmin Puranik community created a mythical God from a historical persona. They composed verses creating various stories to elevate Vitthala as a Vaishnav God. Yadava kings helped build first temple. Later on many southern kings donated villages as well as money to this temple. We can see that from known history and many inscriptions found at Pandharpur.

It is fact that in 12th century memories of Pundra’s itself had become distant as they were seized to be rulers and had degraded to a pastoral, fishermen, and other shudra community. Still they maintained their right of Puja of Pundrikeshwar. This fact is evident that till this date Mahadev Koli (Fishermen) community has right to perform sacred rituals at Pundrikeshwar temple though Vitthala has been kidnapped by Brahmins since last 8 centuries.

Gradually by 13th century, people started accepting Vaishnav form of Vitthala. The Saints like Namdeo, Dnyaneshwar to Tukaram wove their life around Vitthala and saw in Vitthala a brother, father, friend and a compassionate Lord who could bless them with ultimate salvation. Thus cult of Vitthala spread so much so that He has become a main God in pantheon of Hindu gods in Maharashtra.

But the fact remains that "Paundrank Vitthala" was a historical figure belonging to Pundra clan, who was declared by Brahmins as Shudra and non-Vedik since ancient history. It is irony that the same Brahmin’s have become chief priests of Lord Vitthala…!

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Asura" origin of Brahmins!

Religious history of India is heavily corrupted by the Brahmin scholars in an attempt to prove their supremacy over other castes. Few decades ago they were constantly propagating that they were “Aryans” who invaded India, defeated Dasa, Dasyu’s and Asura’s, the local uncultured tribal communities and forced Aryan culture over them. When well planned ancient cities begun to see sunlight after various excavations in Sindhu/Ghaggar Hakra region, first they were shocked, baffled and later on suddenly changed their stance. First they started to state that those were Aryans who destroyed those cities. But when no proof of any violent battle in or around the remnants of cities came forward, they started to state that the Sindhu culture was created by Aryans. (Shrikant Talageri is a strong supporter of this hypothesis.) Also another scholar joining this hoard is Dr. M. K. Dhavalikar. In his book “Ayaanchya Shodhat” (In search of Aryan’s) he has propagated that those were Aryan’s of Vedik cultutre who were creators of Sindhu culture.

Surprisingly, this shift from one to other hypothesis is coming from superiority complex. However these contradictory claims (that Aryans were destroyers of Sindhu culture and Aryans were creators of Sindhu culture) cannot be proved on any ground in light of the proofs those are available with us today.
This so happened because awakening among the common people begun with the spread of education and many scholars and social reformers used the very Aryan invasion theory against Brahmins. “If you are the first invaders of this country, outsiders, just get out, you have no place on this very land of ours.” The researchers found many instances of killing or maligning of the history of India at the hands of Brahmins. Even in many cases, such as of Satvahana dynasties, Pandya dynasties, though these dynasties weren’t ever Brahmin, they declared them as Brahmin. It happened with Great Epical Poet Walmiki and Vyasa too those were non Brahmin’s by birth, but were labeled as Brahmins by creating strange stories of their birth, to suit Bramanical propaganda that no great person can take birth in ordinary class (varna). (Saint Ramdas already has stated that if anyone from Shudra class is seen valiant or knowledgeable take it that his biological father must be some Brahmin.) Recently the crooked minded Brahmin scholars spread similar rumor about Great King Shivaji.

However, when Brahmins found that their foreign origin theory is backfiring, they again changed their stance and started saying that they were originally Indians and that they from India migrated worldwide spreading Aryan culture and Sanskrit language. The main question remains, whether there really exists Indo-European language group? The answer is negative, but we will deal with this later.
However there is no proof either in Veda’s or in any ancient so called Aryan scriptures that Aryan ever was a race that migrated to India. Also there are no physical proofs of such invasion.
Then who were they?
The word “Arya” appears in Rig Veda 36 times in 34 verses. Whenever this word is used it is addressed to the Clan of Sudasa only. (King Sudasa ruled a small unnamed kingdom that was situated on the banks of river Saraswati and he belonged to Puru clan. He promoted Yajna religion which was originally introduced by Bhrugu clan.) Rests of clans, such as Ikswaku ( In this clan Lord Rama took birth) Yadu (Clan of Lord Krisna), Anu, Bhalanas, Visanin, Matsya, Naga etc. were “Anarya’s” for the Vedic seers.
To them “Arya” meant Noble Person. Not a race.
To trace origins of these Vedic people we have ample of proofs available in Rig Veda’s itself.

Vedics themselves were Das, Dasyu and Asuras!

May be this statement will sound stunning but it is the only fact.

Aryan invasion theory (AIT) proposes that Aryans invaded India from north and defeated Das, Dasyu and Asura’s.

Fact: In the name of king Sudasa is a very word Das. During the rule of Sudasa veda’s were composed. Now, if Aryans defeated dasa’s how the word Dasa could be attached to his name? (Sudasa means “Good Slave”) The winners always despise defeated communities is a global example set from ancient times. If Dasa community was despicable an Aryan King wouldn’t have preferred to call himself by this name.

Sudasa’s fathers name was “Divodasa”, again the same “Dasa” in his name.

Sudasa’s grandfather’s name was “Trasdasyu”.

Again the same logic. If so called Aryans defeated dasa’s and dasyu’ how come that very "dasyu" word appearing in the list of Aryan kings?

ABOUT ASURA'S

It is always have been propagated that “Asura” means bad, devilish and demonic. Scholars state that the Puranic wars between Deva and Asura actually depicts wars between aboriginal Indians and Aryans in which Asuras were finally defeated.

Fact: Tarkatirtha Laxmanshastri Joshi, a noted scholar, has clearly stated that originally meaning of Asura was entirely opposite. Asura meant valiant and lively person. In the course of time the meaning got changed, whether deliberately or not, it is difficult to say.

There is no doubt that though Asura’s have been despised by the Purana’s it is clear that Asura society was a strongest one in ancient times. Asura along with Naga, Vanara etc. dwelt in Indian subcontinent and had established their kingdoms in various parts of India. These people had their own religion, had their own Veda's which are now not available. For example Asura's had Aurveda, Naga's had "Sarpaveda", Pishacchya people had "Pishacchya Veda" and Gandharva people of Gandhar region had their own "gandharva Veda". We find this information in Gopath Brahman.

And that Vedic’s too originally belonged to Asura clan.

How?

Rigveda is a solid proof to prove this statement. The greatest God in Veda’s, before rise of Indra was “Asur Varuna”. In at leat 64 verses of Rgveda he is called as Asur Varuna.

So Varuna was always Asur. Not only Varuna but Agni to whom Vedics revered as their most important deity is called Asur in many verses. Besides Varuna, Agni there are hoards of deities those are referred as Asura, such as Mitra, Aryama, Bhaga, Aditya, Vansa etc. Even mother of Indra was also belonged to Asur dynasty, hence shcholar like Malati Shendge had stated that Indra is half Anarya….and Indra was greatest God of Vedics!
Now, by any logic, it cannot be said that so-called Aryans or Vedics defeated Asura, dasas or dasyus as their kings and Gods bear epithets such as Dasa, Dasyu and Asura. No winning race can bear this. So this kills Aryan Invasion theory and proves that:

Vedic’s originally belonged to Asura clan of whom Das -Dasyus were sub-clans. For political reasons King Sudasa adopted Fire-sacrifice religion on the instance of Rishi Vasishtha. This religion was originally introduced by Bhrugu’s. But though separated from the same Asura clan (society), Sudasa and his seers couldn’t abandon their ancestral roots/faiths. Hence Asura, Dasa, Dasyu remained important epithets those were obscured in later times when the division was complete. And we can find traces of this course in the Vedas.

OTHER EXAMPLES OF ASURA AND SO-CALLED ARYAN RELATIONS

Grandson of Lord Krishna, Aniruddha, married Usha, daughter of Banasur, an Asur King.
Lord Krishna’s mother belonged to Asur clan.
Sisters of Krishna married Asur King Jarasangha.
Arjuna married Ulupi, a Naga (Asur) princess.
Bhima married Hidimba, a Raksasa (another optional name for Asura) woman.
Seer Jaratkaru married a Naga woman, sister of Naga Taksaka, of same name…Jaratkaru.

There are hundreds of such examples which tell us that Asura clan never was dethroned from their original position nor it was shoved southwards. The Puranik Brahmins in later centuries opened a campaign through Puranik myths composing heinous stories around Asuras…that Asuras were bad, demonic, man-eaters, enemy of virtues, devilish and what not. While doing so they forgot they too were Asuras and now too follow their religion…Idol (Shiva-Vishnu) worshipping!

Note: Read Diwali 2008 issue of KISTREEM magazine (Marathi) for detailed version of this article.

...आणि पानिपत

पानिपत ही मराठ्यांची एक घोर शोकांतिका मानली जाते. पानिपत युद्धात महाराष्ट्रात घरटी बांगडी फुटली असे म्हटले जाते. प्रत्यक्षात ह्या शोकांतिकेकडे वस्तुनिष्ठ पद्धतीने पाहण्याचे साहस आपल्याकडे साहित्य वा संशोधनातुन झालेले नाही हे एक दुर्दैव आहे. पानिपतसारख्या शोकांतिका एकाएकी घडत नसतात. त्यामागे विशिश्ट प्रकारची प्रदीर्घ कारणपरंपरा असते. तत्कालीन समाजाचे, राजकारणाचे आणि जोपासण्यात आलेल्या एकुणातीलच संस्क्रुतीचे ते एक अटळ रुप असते. त्यामुळे पानिपतसारख्या युद्धाकडे वा त्या काळातील नेत्यांकडे आज केवळ उदात्तीकरणाच्या भुमिकेतुन पाहुन चालणार नाही तर ज्या सामाजिक/राजकिय कारणपरंपरेमुळे अशा शोकांतिका घडतात त्याची समाजशास्त्रीय विष्लेषना व्हायला हवी असे मला वाटते आणि त्यातुनच "...आणि पानिपत" या कादंबरीचा जन्म झाला आहे.

आपल्याकडील ऐतिहासिक कादंबरी अद्याप बाल्यावस्थेत आहे. त्या-त्या इतिहासातील मोठ्या व्यक्तींना नायक वा खलनायक ठरवण्यासाठी, त्यांचे उदात्तीकरण करण्यासाठी विशिश्ट जातीय चष्म्यातुन या कादंबर्या लिहिल्या गेल्या आहेत असे आपल्या लक्षात येइल. त्यामुळे या कादंबर्या वा नाटके "पोशाखी" स्वरुप धारण करतात. नव्या बखरी बनतात. त्यातुन वाचकाला प्रगल्भ करण्याचे कार्य घडत नाही. होते ते फक्त उदात्तीकरण! आणि ते मला या कादंबरीत अनुस्युत नाही. ही कादंबरी एका अर्थाने जनसामांन्यांचा इतिहास आहे. त्यांच्या आशा-आकांक्षा आणि पडझडीचा इतिहास आहे. शिवरायांचे जनसामान्यांचे नेत्रुत्व काळाच्या पडद्याआड घालवण्यात आल्यानंतर (?) काही काळातच महाराष्ट्रात जी नवी, उच्चवर्णीयांनी आपल्या हितसंबंधांसाठी, समिकरणे उदयाला आणली, क्रम:श जनतेवर लादली त्यातुन प्रजा आणि शासक यात दुरावा निर्माण होत गेला. "रयतेचा राजा" ही संकल्पना बाद ठरली. प्रजा फक्त लुटुन घेण्यापुरती उरली. फायदे झाले फक्त शासकांच्या समजातीय मंडळींचे....ब्राह्मण वर्गाचे. सरदार-दरकदार वर्गाचे. या दोन्ही शासक वर्गातही जातीय तीढा होताच हे आपण "...नजीबाचे पारिपत्य केल्यास ब्राह्मण आपल्याला धोतरे बडवायला ठेवतील..." या होळ्करांच्या प्रसिद्ध उक्तिवरुन पाहु शकतो.

औरंग्जेबाच्या म्रुत्युनंतर उत्तरेतही वेगळी अवस्था राहिली नाही. इकडे च्छ्त्रपती नामधारी बनले आणि पेशवे सर्वोपरी बनले, तसेच तिकडे पातशहा जवळ्पास नामधारी बनले तर वजीर खरे सत्ताधारी बनले. नादिरशहाचे मोगलांचा खरा-खुरा कणा मोडणारे अति-हिंसक आक्रमण ही मोगलांनीच निर्माण केलेली अवस्था होती. त्यामुळे मोगल विकलांग झाले. नादिरशहा परत गेल्यानंतर मराठे आपला पराक्रम दाखवायला उत्तरेत पुन्हा घुसु लागले आणि आधीच नागवल्या गेलेल्या रयतेवर/मोगल सरदारांवर/पातशाहाच्या उरावर बसु लागले. शाह वलिउल्लाह या हाजीच्या राष्ट्रद्रोही कारवायांकडे कोणीही लक्ष पुरवले नाही आणि याचाच परिपाक म्हणजे अब्दालीची सलग झालेली चार आक्रमणे. पातशाहीच्या रक्षणाची हमी घेतलेले मराठे एकाही आक्रमणाचा प्रतिकार करायला आले नाही. उलट अब्दाली उरली-सुरली दौलत लुटुन, हिंदुच्या मथुरेतील मंदिरांची वाट लावुन निघुन गेल्यानंतर राघोबादादाने अटकेपार धाव घेतली. ज्या या "पराक्रमाच्या" गौरवगाथा आज सांगितल्या जातात त्या केवळ खोट्या उदात्तीकरणाचे परिपाक आहेत.

दत्ताजी शिंदे बुराडी घाटावर अपघाती म्रुत्यु पावला. जर शिंदे या स्थळी मारले गेले नसते तर पेशव्यांनी याही वेळेस अब्दालीच्या समाचारासाठी तत्पर झाले असते काय हा एक महत्वाचा प्रष्न आहे. बरे, या स्वारीवर कोणाला पाठवावे, तर सदाशिवराव भाउ या युद्धात कुचकामी असणार्याला. भाउलाही अब्दालीला भिडायची घाइ नव्हती म्हणुन त्याने जाणीवपुर्वक कुच धीमी ठेवली, तिर्थयात्रांना अधिक महत्व दिले. शेवटी अब्दालीला सरळ न भिडताच १४ जानेवारी १७६१ रोजी पाश्चिमात्य पद्धतीचा, सुरक्षित पलायनासाठीचा गोल बांधुन पलायन करण्याचा असफल प्रयत्न केला.

या युद्धात भाउ मारला गेला काय? खरे तर त्याचा एकही विश्वसनीय पुरावा नाही. काशिराजाची बखर जी हकीगत सांगते त्याची पद्धतच मुळात अविश्वसनीय आहे. भारताचार्य चिं. वि. वैद्य यांचाही या बाबतीत संशय आहे आणि तो हा कि "भाउ भगा..." वा "गैब झाला." हेच बहुदा खरे असावे. असो, ही झाली या कादंबरीची थोडक्यात ऐतिहासिक पार्श्वभुमी.

या कादंबरीचे नायक आहेत तळा-गाळात पिचल्या गेलेल्या महार एका कुटुंबाचे चार पिढ्यातील पुरुष. एक वरुडे नावाचे गाव. शिवकाळातील काही प्रमाणातील का असेना, पण भोगलेले स्वातंत्र्य. अभिमानाची जाणीव. त्या काळात किल्लेदार ते गाव-पाटीलही होवु शकणारे महार मोगली झंजावातातही कसे टिकाव धरतात आणि संताजी-धनाजीच्या क्रांतीत कसे भाग घेतात, रणमर्दानी ताराराणीच्या मागे समाजही कसा ठाम उभा राहतो आणि बाळाजी विष्वनाथामुळे ताराराणीचा विश्वासघात होवुन "तोतया" मानला गेलेला शाहु राजा होवुन भाउबंदकी सुरु झाल्यावर सारा गावच कसा व्यथीत होतो...आणि सारेच हळु हळू अमानवी संक्रमणाला कसे बळी पडत जात शेवटी "यथा राजा...तथा प्रजा" या न्यायाने अध:पतीत होत जातात याचे चित्रण मी यात केले आहे. सगळ्यात अधिक भोगावे लागले ते दलित समाजाला. त्याच्यावर एवढी धार्मिक/सामाजिक बंधने लादली गेली आणि त्यांना पराकोटीच्या गुलामीत ढकलले गेले. काहींनी धर्मही बदलला...समानता आणि न्याय मिळविण्याचा प्रयत्न केला. या कादंबरीत मी, माझ्या नायकाचा एक शुर पण जातीयतेने अगतीक झालेला भावु इस्लाम स्वीकारतो, मोठा सरदारही बनतो, पण त्यालाही आस्तित्वाच्या प्रष्नाने मरेपर्यंत भेडसावले आहे. उत्तरेत मराठ्यांबद्दल द्वेष कसा वाढत गेला आणि म्हणुनच पानिपत युद्धातुन पळणार्या मराठ्यांना तिकडील सामान्य प्रजेनेही सहानुभुती दिली नाही याचेही चित्रण मी यात केले आहे.

इतिहास हा वरिष्ठ वर्ग आपल्या सोयिनुसार कनिश्ठ वर्गावर लादत असतो. हा जगाचाच एक दुदैवी इतिहास आहे. आपल्या पुर्वजांना अलौकिकत्व देण्यासाठी इतिहास वाकवला जातो. त्याची प्रसंगी मोडतोडही केली जाते. पण ज्यांचा इतिहासच लिहिला गेला नाही त्या जनसामान्यान्चे काय़? त्या दलितांचे काय ज्यांनी एवढ्या पराकोटीच्या अमानुष अन्याय सहन करित राहुनही माणुसकीच जपली, त्यांचे इतिहासातले स्थान कोणाही रणधुरंधरापेक्षा श्रेश्ठ नाही काय? उच्च वर्णीयांनी इंग्रजाविरुद्ध तर कधी इस्लामीयांविरुद्ध तर कधी स्वकीयांविरुद्ध सशस्त्र बंडाच्या घोषणा केल्या...क्रुतीतही उतरवल्या...पण दलित समाजाने कधीही या स्वार्थ्पुरित, पराकोटीच्या अन्यायी व्यवस्थेविरुद्ध शस्त्र उचलण्याचा विचार केला नाही. शेवटी त्यांनी अत्यंत नविलाजाने या अन्यायि धर्माला लाथ मारली...पण स्वीकारला तो करुणामयी...मानवतेचा...अहिंसेचा धर्म, बुद्ध धर्म...! बाबासाहेबांनी ही जी क्रांती करुन दाखवली त्याला जगाच्या इतिहासात तोड नाही. खरे तर या आजही दहशतवादी बनलेल्या...नकळत या "हिंदु" (खरे तर वैदिक) दहशतवादात जे सामील करुन घेतले जातात, नपुंसक हिन्सेचे तांडव घालतात, हिंसेचे समर्थन करतात, त्या मनो-विक्रुतांना हा मानवतावाद काय असतो हे समजावुन सांगण्याची गरज आहे...त्यांचा त्याग करण्याची गरज आहे. मी मानवतेचा विशाल पट या कादंबरीतुन निर्माण करुन मानव्याची महनीयता काय असते हे सांगण्याचा प्रयत्न या माध्यमातुन केला आहे. मराठी माणसात कोठे तरी थोडा तरी विवेक आजही कायम असेल ही, वेडी असली तरी, आशा आहेच. एका दलितेतर माणसाने ही कादंबरी लिहिली आहे...काही न्युन राहीले असेल तर क्षमाप्रार्थी आहे...

-संजय सोनवणी