The Kingdom of Mewar
• Founded by Guhil in 6th century – Guhilots • Bappa Rawal can be considered the true founder/first powerful ruler • ~730 CE • Conquered Chittor from Mori/Mauryas • Bappa Rawal and rulers of Mewar fought against the armies of Caliphates and Arab rulers of Sindh for centuries **Rana / Maharana title Only a few dynasties in the sub continent use the title of Rana – Deewan or Secretary to the Lord Eklingji (Shiv)
• Daughter of Punyapal Bhati of Pungal (Jaiselmer) according to Rajasthani Literature and folktales
• Wife of Rawal Ratan Singh , the ruler of Mewar/Chittor in 1303 AD when AUK attacked
Why did Alauddin Khilji Attack Mewar?
• Expansionist policy • Ambitions of becoming the second Alexander • Crucial route to ports of Gujarat • Strengthening the flank of the Sultanate So where does this legend/myth of Alauddin attacking Chittor for the beauty of Queen Padmini come from ? Malik Mohd. Jayasi’s Padmavat mahakavya Written in 1540 AD in Awadhi language
A Poet, a parrot and a mirror
• Parrot – Spoke about beauty of Padmini to Ratan Singh • He went to Sinhal dvipa to marry her in a swayamvara • Painter/Singer/Artist Raghav Chetan banished by Ratan Singh • Raghav went to AUK and spoke about the Queen’s Beauty • AUK laid siege of Chittor fort for 8 months • He demanded to see the Rani once to end hostilities. • Rani Padmavati and Ratan singh agreed to Sultan’s demand – but only a reflection of her, not in person. • Rawal Ratan Singh kidnapped by AUK by treachery • Rani Padmavati sent the best soldiers of Chittor to Delhi, disguised as maid servants and palanquin bearers . • In a surgical strike, the soldiers liberated Rawal Ratan singh and fled back to Chittor. • Gora and Badal – two brave army commanders who laid down their lives while fighting • AUK’s army was superior and ultimately captured Chittor after a fierce battle with the Rajput army • 16000 women of the fort , led by Rani Padmavati committed JAUHAR • Padmavat is ‘Inspired by True events’ or fiction Jayasi himself wrote this as last line “I have made up the story and related it”
• Muslim/Sultanate Historians : Amir Khusro – Khaza’in ul-Futuh (The Treasures of Victory) Indirect/veiled reference to Padmavati but clearly mentioned Jauhar of Ranthambore • 1589 – Hemratan composed Gora Badal Padmini Chaupai • The ballads and folk songs of Rajasthan • An annual fair held in Chittor to commemorate the event – Jauhar mela • Many later adaptations in Bengal in 19th and 20th century
Jauhar and Saka
• Custom of mass self-immolation by women ,to avoid capture, enslavement and rape by invading army, when facing certain defeat during a war.
• The moment the Rajput ladies and the children would realise that the outcome of the Battle is against the Rajputs, and there is no chance of a win, the women of the fort would commit mass self-immolation.
• They would wear their wedding dress, hold the hands of their children, and lunge into a colossal pyre – preferring death over dishonour by the invaders.
• This practice was mainly carried out in the night with the Vedic chants.
• The Ritual march to the battlefield expecting certain death.
• Next morning, the Rajput men would get out of the palace with a die-hard attitude to annihilate the enemies. They would fight fiercely till they breathed their last.
• This day would start with all the Rajput men taking a bath, wearing saffron, applying the ash from the previous night of the maha Samadhi on their forehead, and then venturing out like a warrior.
Other famous Saka and Jauhars
• Jaiselmer – 1295 and 1326
• Ranthambore – 1301 • Siwana – 1310, 1595
• Jalore – 1311
• 2nd Jauhar of Chittorgarh – 1535 – Bahadur Shah of Gujrat
• 3rd Jauhar of Chittorgarh – 1568 – Akbar’s attack
• Chanderi – 1528 and 1543
The Film and Controversy
• Award winning Bollywwod director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made a movie on Rani Padmavati based on Jayasi’s account.
• Rajput organisations like Rajput Karni sena, Rajput sabha have raised objections regarding the film.
• Many politicians of BJP as well as Congress have also supported them.
• A film crew was attacked in Jaipur while shooting took place, a set was burned down in Kolhapur and the organisations have even threatened the filmmakers with violence before the release of the film.
Objections raised by Rajput community and organisations – Distortion of historical facts for entertainment and profit Alleged indecent scenes portraying the Queen with AUK when Rani Padmavati is considered as a local deity and the epitome of sacrifice and courage by people of Rajasthan and Rajputs especially Wrong portrayal of Rajput traditions and customs – misappropriation of an entire living culture Counter Arguments raised by film fraternity and civil society members Freedom of speech and expression of filmmakers The film endeavours to portray the valour of the queen to a large audience in India and the entire world Cinematic licence has to be taken as a film is for entertainment Violence in a civilised society is unacceptable.
By Dr. Mahipal Singh Rathore
Facebook Id-> facebook.com/mahipalsinghrathore