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Padmavati row: Brahmin body questions UP govt’s silence on those offering bounty

The Sena has written to union home minister Rajnath Singh to get it verified if the protests against the movie were part of a plan to help the film gain popularity.

lucknow Updated: Nov 22, 2017 15:13 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Padmavati,Brahmin body,UP government

A Meerut-based Brahmin dominated body, the Parsuram Swabhiman Sena, has questioned the UP government’s silence on those who have announced rewards on filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Deepika Padukone over alleged distortion of Rajput queen Padmavati’s character in the yet-to-be released period film Padmavati.

The Sena has written to union home minister Rajnath Singh to get it verified if the protests against the movie were part of a plan to help the film gain popularity.

The body, headed by an 80-year old retired banker and two-time gram pradhan Devdutt Sharma, has also questioned the decision of various state governments, including those of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to announce their opposition to the film without even verifying its contents.

“Why have our governments gone so weak to go to the extent of banning a film even without verifying the contents of the film? Moreover why are they silent over death and chop-tongue, chop-nose protestors,” asked Sharma while talking to HT on the phone from Meerut.

The demand was made within hours of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath saying that if bounty broadcasters were wrong so was Bhansali for hurting people’s sentiments.

“Bhansali is as guilty as those issuing threats,” said Yogi whose government was among the first to write to the centre to demand that the release be deferred.

UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is also the state’s entertainment tax minister, has already said the film won’t be screened in UP without ‘cuts’.

“Under no circumstances, would we allow films that hurt people’s sentiments to be released,” Maurya said.

After Maurya’s announcement, the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan too raced to make similar declarations even as publicity hungry bounty broadcasters mushroomed.

Over the last few days, bounties have been raining thick and fast from a Haryana BJP leader offering Rs 10 crore for beheading Bhansali or Padukone to Meerut-based Kshatriya Yuva Mahasabha leader declaring Rs 5 crore for chopping Padukone’s head to a Bareilly-based body announcing Rs 1 crore for burning Deepika alive

The Sena had couple of years back organised a rally of nearly 30,000 Brahmins in Meerut, a statistic Sharma proudly claims to showcase the group’s strong Brahminical roots.

In UP, Brahmins and Thakurs, the two dominant upper castes, have shared a rather uneasy relationship. Despite some well meaning observations, especially on bounty broadcasters, the Sena also ends up targeting the government over what it called ‘dual standards.’

DV Kapil, a retired IFS officer and a Sena member, wondered why the UP government that was silent over the killings of five Brahmins in Rae Bareli a few months back suddenly got so active as to announce a ban on a film even without knowing its contents.

“A film that has angered Rajputs has got the government going. But then the same government is silent on the killings of Brahmins. Isn’t it surprising?” Kapil asked.

Sharma builds on the point further after saying that unlike Rajputs, the Brahmins have never been united and hence have suffered.

“Today Rajput pride is being hurt over a movie but then history records how Allauddin Khilji had frustrated Maharawal Ratan Singh and his wife Padmavati with a 180-day siege. Why didn’t the Rajput kings of those times come to their aid? Then again Maharna Pratap was a brave warrior. We respect him. But what were Rajputs of the times doing when the brave king was surviving on grass bread in jungles,” asked Sharma.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 15:13 IST