In a recent interview to Mid-Day, Sanjay Bhansali said:
- This is (the film) I wanted to make.
- This film is based on a story in which the character performs jauhar. The character doing so was convinced that it was an act of war. I feel it’s an empowering thought. She didn’t allow the enemy to win. It was a victory of dignity and honour. This is what transpired, and I can’t question her. In those days, when there was no solution, hara-kiri [method of suicide] was prevalent. I can’t question it.
- Jauhar, in this context, is an act of war. Our men have died on the battlefield, but the war doesn’t end there. They believe that the Rajputs have been vanquished. But, the women wage the [final] war. They decide that not a single woman or child would be subjugated to rape, or violation. That’s what happened then. So, are people questioning Padmavati’s decision?
- When I say there is nothing amiss in the film, people should believe me. Why am I answerable to some fringe group that says we are the torch bearers of history?
Effectively, Bhansali is saying that the film actually honours the Rajputs and does not demonize them. So, why would an organisation, a pro-Rajput organisation like Karni Sena, object to the movie? A much, much more important question is why would at least four members of the Mewar royal family, the descendants of Rani Padmini, object to the movie? It is a tragedy of Bharat’s mainstream media that the views of these members are rarely highlighted, even though they have been interviewed on so many TV channels, both English and Hindi. Even Bhansali has never mentioned anywhere that the Mewar royal family has serious reservations about his film, and that he would seek their opinion on the history of Rani Padmini.
(The links to the statement by Arvind Singh and the interview of Vishwaraj Singh, both members of the royal family, are given below.)
All this started with a newspaper report that there is a dream sequence where Rani Padmini does a Ghoomar dance in the court of Alladin Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate, who lusted for the Rani and wanted her in his harem. The Karni Sena wrote to Bhansali sometime in the mid-2016 with a request for a meeting to understand what the script was all about. In January 2017, Arvind Singh Mewar’s similar views on the matter came out in the media. And they have not been quiet since. But, because the Mewar royal family took up the issues in a dignified manner, they were ignored, and so the Karni Sena was forced to take the matter to the streets.
There were other reports that gave an indication that the projection of the valour of the men and women of Rajputana was minimised, perhaps even trivialised. And when the Hindus objected to these reports, instead of taking them in confidence and making firm statements to the contrary, the liberal discourse was on the lines of alleged freedom of expression. A message was sent that indeed the reports had merit, and that the Hindus should lump it if they feel that their sentiments are trampled upon.
Here are some of the sample of the comments that were made by the Bold and the Beautiful of the liberal class:
Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) tweeted at 4:08 PM on Sun, Nov 19, 2017:
The Rajput royals who bent before the Muslims are now giving us lessons on Rajput pride. I will listen to the poor, not to some royals! @Javedakhtarjadu on Padmavati on @IndiaToday @aajtak
barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 4:20 PM on Wed, Nov 22, 2017:
Did anyone show this much energy to educate girls, stop foeticide, end child marriage, enable reproductive Rights, encourage economic independence, enable sexual agency. That would be honouring Padmavati for real https://t.co/H5yKz9uNO4
Kabir [email protected] tweeted on 17 Nov 2017:
Who the hell are you , Prnicess Divya Kumari, to block the realse of Padmaati? The Censor Board has approved it. Supreme Court upheld it. You’re a BJP MP. Obey the lawy of the land. Respect national institutions. Don’t embarrass your government.
You can see that abuse and arrogance oozes through every pore of the bodies making the comment. And since they were lapped up by so many of the liberals, the same can be said of the whole class. Except for perhaps a handful, the rest did not apologise for their intemperate language.
The questioning of the Rajput pride by Javed Akhtar was one of the common feature of the abuse and arrogance. This, along with the tactics of the strategy of straw man argument, had the objective of diverting the attention away from the valid issues, based on the information then available, raised by the Mewar royal family. Hence, if the people of Rajputana felt that there was indeed something wrong in the movie, can we really blame them?
(Please see the note below to understand how the straw man tactic is used by the liberals when they know that they have no argument to make.)
When there was a mention about the act of jauhar by Rani Padmini and other women, there were many liberals (in the name of feminism) who announced that this was another instance of a patriarchal practice that is supposed to be the core of Hindu Dharma. These faux feminists (of both genders) actually said that living a life of a sex-slave in the harem of Khilji was infinitely better than choosing to die honorably. When many Hindus pointed out how the Yazidi women in Iraq also chose honour over life when captured by the Islamists in Iraq, they pretended that nothing like this has happened.
Right from the beginning I have been convinced that the Ghoomar dance sequence was in the court of Khilji. Today there has been a cinematographic adjustment, and the images of Khilji have been replaced by those of Ratan Singh to give an impression that it was the Chittor fort that was the venue. However, the fact that a queen during the period never danced in public is blissfully ignored.
Another argument made by the liberals was that the film was based on a poem that set to words an event that happened some 200 years before. And hence, argued many of the so-called ’eminent historians’, that Rani Padmini is not a real person but an imagination of the poet. We have many real events and real persons in the poem, and only one ‘fictitious’ person was introduced. No one can explain why, and no one has said whether such a rendering has happened in other places.
The fact of the matter is that the Rani is a real person for the people of Rajputana, and the Hindus beyond. To them, her personal sacrifice was a sign that the Hindus would use whatever means available to them to fight back the forces that had an objective of not just capturing a piece of land but also destroying their civilisation. Had the men and women of Rajputana not offered the brave resistance, it is highly likely that the Islamist descendant of Khilji would have ruled the whole of Hindustan. And the women amongst the present day liberals would have had to don a burkha, and Mumbai would have been a Karachi. The valuable concept of true freedom of expression was protected by the sacrifice of Rani Padmini. Instead of putting her on a pedestal, the liberals have set about a vicious programme of demonising her and what she stood for in life and death.
Bhansali set out to do a dishonest film. The awakened Hindus, and not just those of Rajputana, protested. Bhansali made subtle changes in his movie to try and make amends. I do not know to what extent he has succeeded in taking the genuine angst of the Hindus on board. I will wait for the members of the Mewar royal family to comment. And I will accept whatever they say. I just cannot accept the word of a dishonest man.
Note on straw man argument:
The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition. This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged emotional issues where a fiery “battle” and the defeat of an “enemy” may be more valued than critical thinking or an understanding of both sides of the issue.
1.) Padmavati Controversy: The viewpoint of House of Mewar
Arvind Singh Mewar – Published on Nov 17, 2017
“The House of Mewar is built on a legacy that stands out in itself. The facts that this house is based on are concrete and it is our duty to respect them. With the filming of the movie Padmavati, it is clear that the facts have been tampered with and the depiction is unrealistic. We oppose the opulence displayed in the movie.”
2.) Mewar Royal Family Member On Padmavati Row | News Today With Rajdeep Sardesai
India Today – Published on Nov 15, 2017
Vishwaraj Singh of the Mewar Royal family – starts at 4m and ends at 17m 20s
Note from Ashok Chowgule
Vishwaraj ji gives a reasoned answer and does not get provoked by the interviewer. He shows his sanskars coming from a long Hindu tradition. The interviewer’s provocation comes from his tradition of a being a presstitute.
Did you like this article? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.