Mastani was the second lawfully wedded wife of the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao. She was a beautiful woman proficient in warfare, literature and art.
The ancestry of Mastani is covered with ambiguity. Many sources provide many claims about her origin. But heritage makes her progeny of a Hindu father, Bundelkhand’s Maharaja Chhatrasal of the Rajput race and a Muslim mother, Ruhana Bai.
Mastani was an expert in spear throwing, swordsmanship and horse riding. She was also a talented singer and dancer. She followed Peshwa Bajirao in his military campaigns.
Bajirao lived with Mastani for some time in his palace of Shaniwar Wada located in Pune. The northeast corner of the palace was named Mastani Mahal. Bajirao’s first wife Kashibai bore him a son who was named Raghunathrao. After a few months , In the year 1734, Mastani gave birth to Bajirao’s another son Samsher Bahadur.
Peshwa’s love for Mastani, and disregard of Kashibai, displeased his mother Radhabai and his brother Chinamji Appa. Both of them tried to send Mastani into banishment.
Bajirao’s son Balaji placed Mastani under home confinement for a while, while Peshwa was busy in a military campaign in Khargon.
Bajirao suddenly became ill with fever and died in the year 1740, while he was inspecting his lands at Khargon. Soon afterwards, Mastani died at Mastani Talav near Pune, a few days following her husband’s death. It is not known if she died of shock or committed suicide after hearing the news of Peshwa’s death.
Mastani’s son – What happened to him?
Kashibai took Mastani’s son Shamsher Bahadur (then six year old) and raised her as her own child. Also known as Krishnarao, the boy was made the jagir of places like Kalpi and Banda. Shamsher ruled the dominion of Banda as a Maratha ruler from 1753 to 1761. He fought the Third Battle of Panipat,supporting the Peshwa against the Afghans. He died succumbing to injuries from the battle .
Shamsher’s son Ali Bahadur (Krishna Sinh) annexed his authority over major parts of Bundelkhand and was made the Nawab of Banda. During the 1st war of Independence (1857), Mastani/ Samsher Bahadur’s descendants joined hands with Rani Laxmibai. The present-day descendants of Bajiro and Mastani live in Indore, Bhopal and Sehore.