Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022

Rani Padmini Controversy: Light and Sound Show Stopped In Chittorgarh Fort As BJP MP Raises Objection

On Monday night, soon after the inauguration of a light and sound show on Rani Padmini by CM Ashok Gehlot, BJP MP of Chittorgarh CP Joshi, who was attending the function raised objection and the show was abruptly stopped.

Chittorgarh Fort lit up ahead of light and sound show. Salman Mansuri

Once again, a controversy has erupted over the mirror legend of Mewar's Rani Padmini and Allaudin Khilji of Delhi Sultanate. On Monday night, soon after the inauguration of a light and sound show by CM Ashok Gehlot, CP Joshi, the BJP MP of Chittorgarh, who was attending the function raised objection and the show was abruptly stopped.

The show, a part of the Swadesh Darshan project of the Central Government, has been restarted by the tourism department of Rajasthan on Chittorgarh Fort to narrate the history of the battle of Chittorgarh and the story of Rani Padmini, the wife of then ruler Ratnasimha.

The disputed part of the show tells how Delhi sultan Allauddin Khilji was awestruck by the beauty of Rani Padmini and insisted to see her face through the mirror. It further says Khilji besieged the Mewar to secure Padmini. "When mirror and the stone have been already removed from the fort a few years ago, I do not understand why has the tourism department included this part in the film. A few days ago I had seen the script and had asked the officials to delete the controversial part and but they instead run the show without removing the scene," BJP MP from Chittorgarh, CP Joshi said. Joshi is not alone as the BJP unit in Chittorgarh has given its full support to Joshi and have demanded the administration to remove the controversial part.

Udailal Anjana, the Minister of Co-operation in the Rajasthan government who was also present at the inaugural ceremony said, "I do not understand why should some portion of the show be removed. Whatever was approved by the film censorship board in the case of Padmavat film has been included in the light and show script. There is nothing controversial."

However, the members of the Johar Smriti Sansthan, a body working for the rights of the Rajput community also raised objections to the disputed script. "The reference of the mirror in the story of Padmini has come from Malik Mohammad Jayasi's poem Padmavat from the 16th century. There was no actual thing like that. The script has been once again fictionalised. Earlier also when a similar scene was shown in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmavat in 2017, we had objected and protested and as a reason, the film was edited and then screened," Narpat Singh of Johar Smriti Sansthan said.

The district collector of Chittorgarh Tara Chand Meena said that the controversial parts of the script will be removed after reviewing the script.

Earlier also in 2017, the Rajput outfits had protested against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmavat. Shri Rajput Karni Sena, the Rajput outfit, back then as well, demanded to remove disputed sequences from the film which included a scene in which Deepika Padukone is shown romancing with Khilji. The second objection was to remove the ‘Ghoomar’ dance in a darbar which, they claimed as an insult to the Rajput culture as no queen or princess would ever dance in Durbar.

Light and sound shows were introduced at five tourist places in Rajasthan, including the state capital, on Monday. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated a light and sound show at Jai Niwas garden behind Govind Dev ji temple in Jaipur, Meera Bai memorial in Nagaur’s Merta town, Chittorgarh fort, Machkund in Dholpur and at the historic lake of Gadsisar in Jaisalmer through video conference, they said.

"Rajasthan has a unique identity in the tourism sector in the country and the world and a large number of domestic and foreign tourists visit the state to see its culture, forts, palaces, step-wells, wildlife and desert. The state government has created a tourism development fund of Rs 500 crore for the development of facilities at tourist places, conservation and branding at the national and the international level," said Gehlot.