The recent ongoing controversy revolving around the movie “Padmavati”, has indeed brought out the fractured nature of our Indian society. I am not a great movie fan per se, but I followed the daily headlines of this movie just to keep a tab on the vandalism happenings and the blatant abuse of one’s freedom of speech and expression.
Creativity has lost another battle against popular opinion, the opinion which is resting on the pillar of just a few anecdotes. The so-called distortion of the Rajput culture by the portrayal of characters, as lauded by supporters of agitation, is based on the incomplete knowledge about the past. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t see any historians up there along the mob because they know that the character of Padmavati might not have existed ever.
Alauddin Khilji attacked Chittor fort in 1303, which led to the destruction of Raja Ratan Singh’s empire. But, the first work around this event comprising of Padmavati is found to be dated around 200 years later than the actual incident. “Padmavati”, written by Jayasi gives us first-hand information on the queen, but what is the genuineness of such a story, if it has been written after such a long gap.
Also, in my opinion (and that of many others), sometimes, historians use exaggeration and spice-twisting to add more to their tale. There are also more inherent flaws in the narration that has kept historians and researchers a little sceptic about the real story.
People don’t even realise that Padmavati might have been a fictional character, since there are no clear accounts of her historical timeframe. The existing framework only consists of her portrayal in the context of the Chittor battle. At least the people leading the protests should be clear about the credibility of their claims.
When I saw this news earlier, I treated it as a regular publicity stunt, but when I came across statements declaring bounties on the producer and actress’s head publicly, it really ached my heart. People announcing death threats in public is just intolerable. What is happening to us?
The worst part of this affair is that these people have not been arrested or taken into custody for hurting the dignity of an individual, and that too of a women. It amounts to a clear cut case of defamation as per the Indian penal code.
State governments are abetting their duties to control such protest, and are coming in support of the people by talking about banning the movie. Are they afraid to take any action because they might lose their vote bank?
Minority appeasement and competitive populism have become the norm of politics, which has disturbed the idea of rational growth, in literal terms as well intellectual terms. This, in turn, had led to the fostering of retrograde thinking among the less educated.
Such misuse of exercising one’s liberty to hurt others has worried me about the security of an individual in our so-called democracy. People are reeling in protests just for the fact that the movie might disturb the position of our women in society. Seriously?
We are worried so much about our girls that we will ban anything in the name of our sacred Indian culture, but not give them a secure environment to live and prosper.
I still don’t know about the existence of Padmavati, but I am pretty sure that it is completely wrong to defend the woman of past by attacking the woman of the present.
The original Padmavati may or may not have committed Jauhar and died with honour, but this Padmavati is dying right now, in front of our eyes, and because of us. We need to save her.