To Javed Akhtar, Shashi Tharoor and Bhansali – Reply by the Descendant of Queen Padmavati and King Ratan Singh

By: Ajay Raj Singh Begu

At the onset please note that what I am writing here is my “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.” After all, like you Mr. Javed Akhtar, I too have the right to free expression!

I too am a descendant of Maharawal Ratan Singh and Maharani Padmini. I still live in a fort which is situated about 60 kms away from Chittorgarh. Thus, the reaction.

Before I begin let me inform you that Khilji did attack the fort of Chittorgarh in Mewar in 1303 AD. Khilji besieged the fort for 06 months, finally when the rations got over in the fort of Chittorgarh, the fort gates were opened and it was like fight to the finish: either win or lay down your life for the motherland. The brave Rajput men perished in the battle and a day before that all the exceptionally brave women inside the fort committed Jauhar or mass suicide by jumping into the fire to safeguard their honour.

It’s this plain and simple sans any drama of Khilji seeing a reflection of Maharani Padmini in the mirror and attacking Chittorgarh fort to obtain Padmini. All this drama is a figment of imagination of Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem Padmavati.

Mr. Javed Akhtar it seems you are suffering from some verbal diahorrea. Please understand Maharani Padmini’s Jauhar took place 500 years before the British arrived. Why are you mixing the two eras?

Very conveniently you forgot the continuous saga of sacrifice and martyrdom of all the Rajputs specially Mewar that for almost 800 years fought, resisted and kept away the barbaric tribes, plunderers from invading India. Do you know your lineage beyond your grandfather or great grandfather? I doubt it. Well I know mine from 6th century.

You said in an interview that all these Ranas and Rajas were in full attendance at the British court. Please note in 1903 and 1911 when the British power was at its zenith and the imperial durbar was held in Delhi (in an area dubbed as the Kings Way Camp) to coronate King George V, it was only Maharana Fateh Singh of Mewar (out of all the 565 kings) who chose not to attend the Delhi durbar despite repeated reminders by the British authorities because Maharana Fateh Singh of Mewar found the whole ceremony to be sort of humiliating.

Mewar since 08th century was at war with the invading armies of Muslims and other barbaric tribes who came for the wealth of this country and not just wealth but humiliated the women of this land.

It was Mewar who kept resisting as much as they could. Have you ever read of Mewar trying to imperialise over others? We only tried to safeguard the interest and honour of our motherland, unlike the barbarians who came from outside, plundered and behaved like animals in this land.

By the time the British became a power to reckon with in our country, which was split in 565 kingdoms, the kingdom of Mewar was drained of all its resources. After all how much can a kingdom fight single handed.

Thus, when the British offered respectable treaty of “Friendship London’’ Mewar agreed because the general population of Mewar after all wanted the long awaited peace.

My ancestors were NOT fictional characters like Jai, Veeru or Gabbar Singh created by you in the film Sholay. They were real life heroes, freedom fighters, war veterans who spilled their blood for honour and independence.

Kindly continue what you do best, that is, writing or reciting poetry.

Please do not delve into history. Have you read a single book on medieval history? I doubt it.

What if I call you a second hand intellectual, who reads various books of several authors and then regurgitates like an owl to sound profound and intellectual? How will you feel? Please be original.

Poets and bards like you used to accompany my forefathers in wars and battles, wherein my forefathers fought and bards like you wrote heroic poetry and sang paeans in praise of them.

With your finesse in literature and poetry writing you could have been a wonderful chronicler of that period.

On another occasion you said that you are proud to be born in a country where Akbar was born. Well no harm if you think so. This was in response to General V K Singh’s statement of renaming Akbar road with Maharana Pratap. I guess and hope I am correct you said “yeh jaahil kya samjhege Akbar ki mahaanta! (What would these fools understand of the greatness of Akbar?)”

Well Mr. Akhtar the same great Akbar killed 25, 000/- innocent civilians in Chittorgarh who were not part of the battle/war during his siege of Chittorgarh in 1568 AD. So much for the Akbar’s greatness!


And yes I am so very proud to be born in the land of the champion of freedom the great MAHARANA PRATAP OF MEWAR.

In his (Akbar’s) pursuit of consolidating the Mughal empire if Maharana Pratap wanted to remain independent, so be it. Akbar should have left him and should have given him that space.

I would have considered him great had Akbar done so.

Mr. Shashi Tharoor to you: Be aware that in India there are histories and sub histories. There is not a composite history of India. You have read history. You are not a novice like Mr. Javed Akhtar as far as history is concerned.

How could you forget the struggle and resistance put up by the Mewar kingdom for centuries?

Just because your book “An Era of Darkness” is a success, you cannot relate everything to the British era.

Please come out of the “Simon Go Back” and “Quit India” phase of our national history. British have left score of decades ago, please come out of that hangover.

Mr. Tharoor you wrote in your book and I quote, “History, in any case, cannot be reduced to some sort of game of comparing misdeeds in different eras; each period must be judged in itself and for its own successes and transgressions.”

Mr. Tharoor you remarked that these royals scurried for British favour. You know very well that India was not a one united nation in the 19th century when the British were expanding left, right and centre in the present day India. Please do not try to insinuate as if India was one nation and that the various Kings broke that alliance and allegiance and favoured the British. In fact India was divided into 565 small and big kingdoms or if I may call them 565 nations. There was general strife. All of them were fighting with each other of which the British took full advantage. So when the British approached each kingdom separately for a treaty they readily agreed looking at the past turmoil.

Moreover, right after our independence in 1947 barring a few (miniscule number) of kingdoms almost all of them supported the accession to the Indian union. It was a bloodless transformation of power. When Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel approached the kingdoms of Rajputana, Maharana Bhopal Singh of Mewar was the first one to sign the instrument of accession. Mewar dynasty with 1400 years of written record is one of the longest serving dynasties in the world.

Mr. Bhansali you have made some very sensitive movies in the past wherein you have given impetus to women characters culminating it with a solo or a dual dance performance by the female protagonist. Good for you and the films.

After the shot when you sink in the director’s chair sycophants surrounding you may be saying things like “Sir ji kya shot tha! (what a shot it was!)” Should that make you feel so high and mighty that you assume yourself to be the doyen of Hindi cinema?

Now Mr. Bhansali here we are talking about Maharani Padmini who performed Jauhar along with 16000 women at the fort of Chittorgarh. How can you show her gyrating in a song sequence? If you are making a movie on a historical figure please keep in your mind the mood and the predicament of the humans involved there in that moment in history and our present sensibilities about that event. It is the least Indians expect of you. Is it an unreasonable demand from you?

Did you bother to take permission from the Mewar family? Did you consult historians? As regards Deepika Padukone’s costume, did you bother to consult anyone from Rajasthan or Mewar region who understand the culture and ethos of this region?

I remember watching an interview of yours wherein you were giving tribute to one of our best dance choreographers Ms. Saroj Khan. You mentioned that when the movie Devdas was released Ms. Saroj Khan was unwell and was admitted in the ICU of a hospital; so Ms. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and you went to meet her right after the premier show. From her bed the first thing she asked you was that “Dola Dola song par seeti baji (did people whistle?)….taaliya piti (did people clap?)”. And you were all enamoured by her and got emotionally choked by her dedication to her profession.

Mr. Bhansali please show some decency and respect for Maharani Padmini who laid down her life by jumping into the fire to safeguard her honour. The reigning idea, thought or sentiment on the part of all the women led by Maharani Padamni at that critical moment was – not to dance but to – take the fateful decision: Whether to court the death by Jauhar (self immolation by jumping into fire) rather than submit to and suffer dishonour at the hands of the invading barberian Khilji and his army.

Please note that all the three JAUHARS have taken place in the fort of Chittorgarh. All the three JAUHARS are well recorded in the history of Mewar.

Media too should refrain from making irresponsible statements. Please do not make a mockery of the whole thing by asking stupid questions whether Maharani Padmini existed or not.

Lot of media persons are concerned that so much money is at stake. Please have some moral sense: it is shame to talk of money in this sordid episode of Indian history! Here, our ancestors had martyred fighting; our ancestors in Mewar had spilled their blood for the cause of their freedom and honour; and, you are concerned about the money involved.

So many movies were made right from Prem Rog to a phase in Bollywood in the 1980’s wherein they showed the village Thakur having a coveted eye for the village belle/girls. Did you encounter such vehement opposition to those unrealistic cinematic depition as you all now are witnessing against this movie “Padmavati”, which you are hellbent to showcase under the pretext of poetic license? Never! Rajputs and other communities in Rajasthan and other states who are opposing “Padmavati” are not living in some old China. They are rightly offended by your insensibility in the matter that blatantly violates the chrished memory of Maharani Padmavati and thousands of women of Chittorgarh and their dignity, bravery and supreme sacrifice. All these Indians are rightly opposing this movie.

To all of us – Indians who are opposing the artificially created tantalizing “Padmavati” in your film – our history is dear; we cherish our glorious past; and, rightly feel offended by your twisting the history for the sake of money. Long Live Maharani Padmini, JAI MEWAR, JAI RAJPUTANA, JAI HIND!

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