The Rajasthani Rajput community stands with Mr. Bhansali…but with lots of sadness

By Rajnigandha Shekhawat


Rajasthani folk singer Rajnigandha Shekhawat

Violence against Mr Bhansali has left the Rajasthani Rajput community as shocked as everyone else.

But there’s a vital point that we are all overlooking here.

Queen Padmavati’s story is of a woman who killed herself after being surrounded by the army of a brutal conqueror who was hell-bent on raping her. 

“Including her in his harem”, “mesmerised by her beauty and wanting her” — the reasons behind the brutal attack on Chittor by Alauddin Khilji are described in different ways…but all the words mean this exact same thing.

Please refer to Game of Thrones, if anyone has any romantic notions of what happens to women after they become prisoners of war.

This is what we should ponder on. There is nothing romantic about the intentions of a powerful man intending to rape somebody else’s wife. The woman in question preferred to commit suicide over getting raped. Padmavati’s story is of this woman and her entire clan dying, to avoid capture by a man who was driven by pure lust. Excuse me, but where is the Bollywood romance in this tragedy? 

Rani Padmini is an icon of the entire Rajasthani Rajput community and she will be remembered with love and respect for generations to come.

At this point even if everyone wants to believe she was not a real person, that’s okay. But it’s still wrong to show plain lust masquerading as romantic love. Any feminist will tell you that.

We have cried hoarse saying ‘don’t glorify stalking as a prerequisite to romance’. Enough girls get killed in real life because of that. 

ICSE history books from when I was in school, teach us about Rani Padmini and her Johar (the practice of jumping into fire to avoid being captured by the enemy) in the ‘examples of Johar’ section.

But from the time that I was in school to now, suddenly Padmavati has gone from being a historic figure to a fictional one even though the issues here are not fictional but as real as it gets. It’s time that we discuss why the Rajasthani Rajputs are hurt and rightfully so.

The resurgence of right-wing fanatics has given birth to fanatic leftists and I can see this emergence of “think pieces” that seem to be quoting half-truths. These writings hide as much as they show.

I cannot verify by holding up ancient manuscripts and but neither can anyone else here on social media.

The only logic justifying this (of Padmavati being a fictional character) in these ‘new’ essays is that she was in an epic which was written 200 years after Khilji’s invasion took place.

If this is the only reason, its illogical, because we all know that real people are taken as subjects of stories — bards/ poet/ writers/musicians/accounts of travelers are in fact what history is actually made of. So, to keep repeating that because she was mentioned in a poem that is all the proof one needs to say she never existed, is not sound logic.

By that logic all biopics can erase the people they are writing about, because they were made decades later. 

Creative liberty, poetic license, Mr Bhansali is very much well within his rights to do whatever he wants. The community is also is well within its rights to protest to what they feel offends their sentiments and specially those who are the descendents of Ratan Singh and Rani Padmini. They are genuinely hurt with the reports emerging about the film.

However, I repeat, that violence should not have happened. The violence has completely taken the focus away from what the core contention is, which is glorifying an attempt to rape a queen.

Unfortunately, we are now looking like bullies and this has fractured community lines within. 

Rani Padmavati

An ancient painting of Rani Padmavati who preferred to jump into the fire than get raped by conqueror Alauddin Khilji

Was there ever a mention of a love scene between Khilji and Padmavati at all? Yes, there is an interview circulating around where Ranveer Singh has said how he will definitely be romancing Deepika even if he is the villan in this story.

That piece of  newspaper print is what Mr Kalvi has based the entire campaign on.

Literally, thousands of people died trying to save this woman from that man (Alauddin Khilji) and romanticising that is not ok with the community. The community is trying to get heard, they are hurt too.

Like I said before, violence against Mr Bhansali has left the Rajput community of Rajasthan, just as shocked as everyone else. It was uncalled for.  The violence has, unfortunately, completely taken away from the original grievance. But that doesn’t put an end to the grievance.

I am not a right-winger / fanatic and my friends know that. I don’t claim to speak for anyone other than myself here but after two days of non-stop discussions, I just wanted to put some points up here, even though people have already made up their minds on both sides of the ‘us versus them’ debate. 

Now that Mr. Bhansali has clearly stated that no such love scene will be in the film, it’s time to finish this matter and move on and look forward to a good film. 

Ms Rajnigandha Shekhawat is a Rajasthani Rajput hailing from the famous Shekhawati aristocratic community. She is also a leading Rajasthani folk singer and a film marketing professional.


1 reply »

  1. Violence may be not the solution for the problem, But What Sanjay Leela Bhansali do with the historic facts , we all know as be have seen his last movie Bajirao, He completely ignores History and only presents his character in devdash mode. Also, Padmavati is a fiction as real name is Padmini, Jaisi Mohammad had taken Padmavati name for his Fiction Padmavat.


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