By Deepti Sathe:
Lately, the country has been vocal about its unacceptability of certain liberties taken by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in making ‘Bajirao Mastani’. I personally feel that the movie is an amazing success and has definitely served its purpose.
The purpose of rekindling the greatness of a forgotten hero this country was blessed with. Bajirao Ballal was the youngest Peshwa in the history of Maratha Empire. From a tender age of 17 till his death at 40, he spread the Saffron Maratha flag to all extents of the country. Being the first Maratha warrior to march on Delhi, he pioneered the growth of Maratha Empire into a mighty force capable of superior speed and astonishing war tactics. Sadly, Bajirao is only known for his relationship with Mastani and the only place he has in Indian history is a statue at Shaniwar Wada in Pune which is now home to kids playing cricket and people carving their name on the pedestal of his statue. This movie has given him some of the greatness he deserved and the recognition which was lost somewhere through the cracks of time. Today in a matter of 2 hours we stand witness to his failure to win against communal differences.
We as a country are astonishingly triumphant in neglecting our history, our heroes conveniently falling prey to bitter politics, divided castes and abysmal immaturity of our society in general. We fail to accept, that India is built on the triumphs and sacrifices of people of all castes and norms united under one nation. Realisation, that every action, every sacrifice and every act of heroism is independent of communal being and showcasing the power of one individual does not reduce the greatness of another, desperately needs to sink in.
The stories of Bajirao Peshwa and many more, have missed our lives completely, the latest generation not even knowing their existence. Always categorized per their communal inclination, they were never able to break the barriers of religion. Amidst this, Bhansali, took on the challenge to reincarnate Bajirao’s life and knowingly or unknowingly, brought into focus more than one aspect of today’s ugly politics. 1) a movie about Bajirao has suddenly become a threat to Shivaji Maharaj’s image. 2) the biggest critics of this movie –many of whom might have no clue who Bajirao was, fail to realise the good this movie has done.
We fail to realise that our country has space for all her heroes to shine. We need to understand that omitting chapters of history due to their communal inclinations is bizarre and twisted. It is known as it happened and has made us the nation we are today. Hiding facts or altering stories for cultural satisfaction is far worse than the artistic liberties taken by Bhansali.
We should be more aware of our history and our great ancestry irrespective of their communal inclinations because in the end, our identity is not recognized as Brahmin, Maratha, Muslim or any other. We are known as Indians. Together. Undivided.