This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Myra Rolston. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why I Still Liked ‘Padmaavat’ Despite Reading Swara Bhasker’s Open Letter

More from Myra Rolston

I had plans for Republic Day. I was going to see “Padmavati” in the morning, eat some Dominos pizza for lunch and then watch “Padman”. But then “Padman” said ladies first to “Padmavati” (it became “Padmaavat”), and Karni Sena burnt a school bus so my mom and I chose to stay at home and watch “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham”, instead (I know Karan Johar is a nepotistic, NRI pandering poopy head, but I have the soul of a Buzzfeed writer and I would die for him anyway).

By January 31, the Karni Sena headlines had decreased along with my mother’s entirely rational fear of being set on fire by the Karni Sena during the film’s interval. So she bought the tickets. Little did she know, that between the 26th and the 31st, a lot had changed for me. I had started a new diet and had also read Swara Bhasker’s open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Initially I was dying to see “Padmaavat” but now that I knew that the women have unnecessarily died in the film, I now wanted the movie to burn in hell.

But I didn’t pay for those gold class tickets and my mom promised me to buy me a hot dog – also I am a corrupt person with weak morals who is easily bought, so I went to see the goddamn movie. I thought to myself, “I’ll just concentrate on the hot dog when the women start killing themselves. *shrugs*”

Now I’m not a movie critic… and I can prove this statement by making another statement – I kind of liked “Tiger Zinda Hai”(don’t judge me I was making a point), and I may be a total drama queen but I am not an actor like Swara is.

Here’s my deal with the film, and Swara Bhaskar though – I honestly cannot wrap my head around the amount of hate she has received for giving her opinion.

That being said, I was not nearly as offended/affected by the movie as she was… I mean don’t get me wrong, it is completely harrowing to watch pregnant women and children participate in mass suicide (that part really ruined the hot dog for me) but I think that for these Rajput women, their Aan , Baan, Shaan were just as important to them as it was to the Rajput men. I do not think they killed themselves just to escape rape. I believe that their death had a more severe motive – defeating the enemy.

I am a Christian and I believe in eternal life, but those were devout Hindu women, and they probably believed in reincarnation. Perhaps, death must’ve been a minor inconvenience to those badass ladies. See, by now you’re probably put off by my uneducated theological commentary. However, Swara Bhaskar said that “Padmaavat” made her feel that she was reduced to a vagina, and I only slightly agree with her.

But what I took away about this particular avatar of Rani Padmavati from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie, was an intelligent woman – intelligent to the point that she is cunning, a beautiful woman – beautiful to the point that she is ethereal, and a ruthless woman – ruthless to the point that she is suicidal.

This woman had an ego as big if not bigger, than her husband’s. She defeated Khilji not once but twice, first, when she rescued her husband and second, when she preferred burning rather than surrendering to that lawless man. This woman’s mere mention drove one king mad and burned another’s entire kingdom to the ground. The woman however remains a legend, who, even in the 21st century, incited riots.

Again, while I can see Swara’s point of view, I do not completely agree with it. I’m not going to lie Swara, but by the end of the movie, I too felt like a vagina – an iron vagina, that is indestructible and immortal.

Swara has a point though. If I had the power of rewriting history or even creating my own myth and legends (or even just a screenplay), then I’d write an alternative in which Padmavati did not die. Rather, I’d write that she surrendered to Khilji, and then dismantled his entire kingdom from the inside along with Khilji’s first wife. But I guess that’s what fan-fiction is for.

You must be to comment.

More from Myra Rolston

Similar Posts

By Meer Faisal

By justin mathew

By Sas3 Tranimal

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below