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Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 10:17 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 7:10 PM (IST)

In the land of ‘Johar’, 'Padmavat' controversy no issue on poll eve

In the land of ‘Johar’, 'Padmavat' controversy no issue on poll eve
The final script was released nationally but not in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where Rajputs ensured the film never hit the screens.

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chittorgarh, December 6

The famed land of valour has moved on from times that saw local Rajputs agitate violently over distortions in the film ‘Padmavat’. What seemed like a tsunami of caste anger this January has long subsided with the Sanjay Leela Bhansali production no issue on the Rajasthan election eve.

Chittorgarh locals have moved on to fundamental questions of home and hearth with even the rival Rajput candidates–sitting MLA Chandra Bhan Singh of the BJP and Surendra Singh Jadawat of the Congress–discussing only development.

“The ‘Padmavat’ issue was eventually resolved. It did hurt Rajput pride but the matter finally ended when objectionable portions of the film were deleted. Not that anyone in Chittorgarh cared to watch it,” says college student Poonam Rathore, who hails from the Rajput community which created havoc in January over the release of the film forcing the BJP government in Rajasthan and at the Centre to get portions of it edited.

The final script was released nationally but not in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where Rajputs ensured the film never hit the screens.

Back in Chittorgarh, locals have sore memories of January which saw the state’s Rajput Karni Sena vandalise parts of Rani Padmini’s majestic palace inside the historic Chittorgarh Fort. Such was the level of arson that the Archeological Survey of India, which maintains the heritage fort, had to close it down for a fortnight.

“The Fort reopened on April 18. Karni Sena activists had broken the mirrors installed in Rani Padmini’s Palace because they believed that the original palace never had mirrors. Bhansali’s film showed Raja Ratan Singh of Chittorgarh allowing Allauddin Khilji to see Rani Padmini’s reflection in the mirror. There is no historical proof that Rani’s reflection was ever mirrored. Rajput women practise purdah and it’s impossible that Rani Padmini showed her face. This is a distortion,” says Subhash Chandra Sukhwal, a state government-approved tourist guide at the Fort.

Chittor residents still maintain that Bhansali distorted their history to sell his film but say they are not angry with the BJP over the issue anymore.

“The issue is over except that we have to deal with tourists who now visit the Fort more because they have seen the Bhansali film and less because they value the history of this place,” rues Sukhwal.

Inside the city too, people speak of ‘Padmavat’ as a done and dusted matter and want candidates to focus on pollution.

The city is home to a range of polluting units of cement, minerals, limestone and marble, Hindustan Zinc and Birla Cement being the leaders.

“Pollution is a big issue in Chittor. The sitting MLA has done a lot of work although this area has been a Congress stronghold. It is difficult to say who will win,” says Dharmendra Singh, a restaurant owner in the segment.

Former Congress MP from Chittorgarh Girija Vyas is contesting assembly elections from the neighbouring Udaipur this time. She is challenging Rajasthan Home Minister Ghulab Chand Kataria, the sitting lawmaker from the City of Lakes.

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