I seldom right on the type of the topic that I’m going to write down now. Because it seems (to me) gimmick to be popular in your circle. But, this issue I want to write, I want to speak…
Not long ago, in January of 2017, a film set was vandalized and its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was attacked by a specific group of people call Shri Rajput Karni Sena; their reason was very specific that there were lots of inaccuracies in the movie which later got a wash away for a sting operation which thorn out the sting of extortion from the director and the production house.
Later in March of the same year, there were two attacks.
One shattering the 50-year mirror in the so-called Rani Padmavati chamber. It was a part of the narrative depicting how Ala-ud-din Khilji saw her through reflection and got awe-struck. Later a mob attacked the set again now with petrol bombs, stone and lathis (long tall bamboo sticks) blazing the set, hurting presented animals and destroying costumes.
Then later in October, rangoli of the first poster was destroyed by a mob. The rangoli which had taken 48-hours of creation was destroyed in few minutes and police took action only after Deepika Padukone, who played the role of the Queen, vent out her anger in social media.
In last two months, there were more threats. Declaration of bounty on the head of the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the heroine Deepika Padukone, threatening Ranveer Singh who enact the role of Alauddin Khilji. Topping it can be said was all these incidents were supported by an honorable Chief Minister and silently by Prime Minister (in Bengali, there’s a saying whose rendition is silence is acceptance).
Now, this goes the ongoing current affairs, but, if we look into deep we’ll see that how the freedom of expression getting curbed just for interests (read dearth in learning and a huge black-holed knowledge space) of some mob and keeping-intact-red-tape web.
Padmavat, on which the movie is based, was written back in 1540 by prominent and eminent Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jaisi. It’s an epic poem telling the story of Jauhar of a Hindu queen and other women in a kingdom when it was attacked by a Muslim king to save their pride and prejudice.
I’ll not delve into telling the story in detail ’cause the story is not currently needed for this writing.
Modern historians agreed in unison that Padmavat is actually a legend. There was no such queen for which Khilji fall for. The most prominent reason to agree on this is the absence of her in Khaza’in ul-Futuh by Amir Khusrau. Khusrau was there with Khilji and he never mentioned of such queen. Later, he mentioned this attack in Diwal Rani Khizr Khan also where he depicted the love story of Khilji with the princess of Gujarat; but, in this account (also and alas) there was no mention no such queen named Padmini or Padmavati.
The Padmavat, after being written in 1540, had been reinterpreted in different format changing the story structure of the epic poem. Like in Persian and Urdu, there exist as many as twelve adaptations of the poem; some remove the Sufi symbolism, some lessen it down and some kept it as it was. It is the nature of the literature getting changed with the course of time and sometimes this change form the story that is termed as Legend.
Padmavat is actually a legend which in time has become a reality erasing the line between the lore and the truth. It is actually an ancient mash-up poem, we need to understand this, where the attack of Chittore by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1303 A.D. and its consequences have been used to frame a story to enact the strong pride of honor that Rajput queens used to possessed besides enacting a story of love as well as lust. In other words, this Sufi epic poem is an epitome of three things about ancient India–the Indian Beauty, the Indian Valour and the barbarism of invaders.
Those who are saying Bhansali has hurt their sentiments, I think they shall understand that Rajasthan is full of lore. Many of them are true while few are lore, legend. Story (read poem) of Padmavati is one such lore. Learning the history can clarify all the confusion that had aroused; so know your history and then debate.
Don’t just listen what others (the leaders, the so-called self-custodian of Indian history and all) are saying. Give a chance to present the history. If it has been shown in the bad light then viewers will throw it away, you don’t need to participate in this all forced-banned and threatening parade.
It’ll be a pleasure to listen your thoughts on this. Feel free to share you thoughts.
Taken help of lots of newspaper report, social media comments and updates, Wikipedia and extensive use of the search engine.