Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Padmavati, real or fiction?

Whoever watching Indian media outlets recently will have a feeling that the most imortant thing Indians are currently interested in is Padmavati - the bollywood movie by Sanjay Leela Bansali. Print and electronic media already spent considerable amount of time and resources in this, which not only give free publicity to movie but also for some finge elements. Numerous weeks passed by; still there isn't any sign of this news fading away. Politicians, fringe outlets from Rajasthan and many other groups poured as much oil as they could to keep the issue alive. Now, a parliamentary committee on IT called director of Padmavati to explains his views.

I was shocked to read this news. When was the last time our parliament was assembled? How much time our elected representative spends in Sansad Sadan to debate on core topics? How many mantains an attendence rate about 90%? How many bills are actually getting discussed before passed by the house? Well, the answer is disappointing. Still they found time to call Bansali.

Problem with the movie Padmavati is the allegation that there are some intimate scenes between movie characters - queen of Chittor Padmavati and then ruler of Delhi Sultanate Allavuddin Khalji. Opponents (whose opposition is not limited to vocal one) says movie is a distortion of history and an attack on Rajput honor. Problem with that argument is, story of Padmavati don't have good historical footing. 

What we know is Alauddin Khalji was then ruling Delhi. Here Delhi dooesn't simply means current New Delhi. His kingdom included current Pakistan, Northern and Western India, portions of central India and huge chunk of South Indian kingdoms were his tributaries. It is also try that he fought a battle in Chittor in 1303 AD and conquered the kingdom. There is some  historical evidence that king Ratnasimha was then ruling Chittor kingdom. What we don't know is whether Padmavati is real or not. Movie is based out, in fact the story of Padmavati is based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi's epic book Padmavat written in 1540 AD. Close to two and half centuries after the siege of Chittor. As per Wikipedia quote of historian Kishori Lal - "Ratnasimha had ascended the throne in 1301, and was defeated by Alauddin in 1303 whereas Padmavat claims that Ratnasimha spent 12 years in quest of Padmavati, and then 8 years in conflict with Alauddin".

Well, we don’t know whether the character Padmavati is real; we also don’t know whether there is any intimate sequence between the character Padmavati and Khilji in the movie.

By the way it is to be remembered here that, despite all cruelties attributed to Allavuddin Khalji, he is also the ruler who fought and successfully stopped Mongolian invasion of India and led charge to territories under Mongol control. He was also successful in conquering a major part of India and what is now as Pakistan.


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