The BJP government in Rajasthan financing a troupe from Pune to stage a play in Jaipur that is certain to please the RSS has drawn flak from Congress corporators and intellectuals here.
The Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) has sanctioned Rs 68 lakh to the Maharaja Shivchhatrapati Pratishthan Trust which is staging the play, Jaanta Raja (King Who Knows Everything), in the city for five days from Thursday.
The play, which has already been staged in other BJP-ruled states such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, projects Shivaji as an ardent protector of a Hindu Rashtra.
JMC mayor Ashok Parnami justified the release of funds to the troupe but denied that it aimed to please the RSS bosses.
He said the JMC earmarks Rs 2 crore to encourage and promote culture, traditions and the importance of our history and that “Rs 68 lakh was sanctioned from this budget to organise staging of the play”.
"The youths do not know about their past and this play will fill the void," the mayor said.
Renowned playwright Ranbir Singh said, “The play is an instrument of RSS propaganda and has nothing to do with encouraging art.”
Congress chief whip in the corporation Giri Raj Khandelwal said, “It is a sheer wastage of public funds. The corporation's decision to spend such a large amount to promote RSS activities is illegal and unjustified.”
Khandelwal and other Congress corporators said they would oppose the “misuse of funds by the corporation that is unable to create adequate civic amenities”.
Gahi Sas, coordinator of the Pune trust, however, said, “It is wrong to say that we are publicising the RSS ideology. Shivaji Maharaj can be an icon for the current rulers and we have organised shows in different states such as Gujarat, Goa, Delhi and Maharashtra.”
He said private institutions had financed the shows in Maharashtra, Delhi and Goa but state governments had provided funds in Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.