By Gaurav Tyagi
A total of 1908 women have already registered for performing ‘Jauhar’ in Chittorgarh. On Sunday, 21st January thousands of women brandishing swords participated in a ‘Chetavani rally’ (warning march) in the Indian province of Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh town to warn the authorities about stopping the release of film ‘Padmaavat’ or else be prepared for ‘Jauhar’ (committing suicide by jumping into fire) by them.
This surely should go down in the record books as the world record for the weirdest reason of potential mass suicide.
The protestors started their march from the Chittorgarh fort and ended it at the main market in the town, where they submitted a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to the District Collector.
The memorandum states that the march was taken out to ensure that Queen Padmini’s honour was maintained and the screening of the film, which is set for release on January 25 be stopped or else the Rajput women will commit suicide by performing ‘Jauhar’ on January 24.
January 24th came and went and none of these 1908 women performed their so called ‘Jauhar’.
The organization behind this whole drama is Rajput Karni Sena, a casteist outfit comprising of Rajput community.
Their spokesperson said they have called for a shutdown across India on January 25th to protest against the film’s screening.
This same group vandalized the film’s shooting and attacked the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali last year during the shooting of the movie.
An undercover team of the media group ‘India Today’ met the President of this organization at his house in Jaipur during June 2017.
The ‘India Today’ reporter posed as an agent of a Bollywood Production House and mentioned their plans of making a film on a fictitious romance between a Muslim King and the wife of a Rajput Army General.
The President of Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena immediately got down to business, he connected the undercover reporter with his own agent in Bombay.
In Bombay, the reporter met this agent at a luxurious hotel. The agent said; “Some people from outside will barge in. They’ll create some trouble. The sets will not be burned down. Two to four people will be beaten up. Vandalism will be recorded and posted on WhatsApp for publicity throughout India and abroad”
He then demanded ransom to keep the film safe from mobsters for a month. The stated figure was Rs. 1.5 Crores. The agent further added that 50 people will be deployed from their organization’s side to ensure that the film’s shooting finishes safely in a month’s time-frame.
The agent also hinted at future attacks on Bhansali’s film, Padmaavati now renamed as Padmaavat.
This proves that Rajput Karni Sena is nothing more than an extortion outfit, which is making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ to enrich itself by invoking the Rajput caste pride.
India as a country formally came into existence only in 1947, when various provinces being controlled and ruled by the Britishers joined to form the geographical entity referred to as the present day India.
During the ancient times, the region was characterized by numerous kings perpetually at war against each other to increase their kingdoms. Muslim invaders then established control over the land followed by the Britishers.
A vast majority of Rajput Kings made alliances with the Muslim rulers through offering their women in marriage, gifts of gold etc. in order to retain small portions of their erstwhile kingdoms. Numerous Rajput Kings served in the courts of Muslim emperors.
Britishers were quite shrewd. They made full use of the divisions in the colonized society by classifying some Hindu castes as ‘martial (warrior) races’. The purpose of Britain was just to use these Indians as the ‘foot soldiers’ for the British Empire during the first and the second World Wars.
If Hindu society, which is highly divided into numerous castes and sub-castes, had such high quality warrior castes, why did the region remain under the occupation and control of Muslims as well as the British for centuries?
In order to progress an individual, society as well as a nation should come to terms with the past and learn from the mistakes committed during the bygone eras. Inventing a glorious past to cover the shameful reality does not serve any purpose.
There is a big difference between a movie and a documentary. A film is a work of fiction, whatever a movie maker depicts in a film depends on his/her creative vision.
People whose faith, pride and honor gets shattered by a mere movie lack strength, courage, wisdom as well as plain simple common sense and are just pawns in the hands of casteist, criminal organizations like the aforesaid Karni Sena.
The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the writer’s own and TNT -The Northeast Today may or may not subscribe to the same views)