The history of Rani Padmini and Alauddin Khilji remains contentious in Rajasthan. Shortly after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated a light-and-sound show at Chittorgarh Fort on Monday evening, BJP MP CP Joshi and members of the local Rajput community objected to a portion in the script involving Alauddin Khilji and Padmini and forced an abrupt end to it.
The disputed part allegedly shows 13th-century Delhi sultan Alauddin Khilji admiring Mewar queen Rani Padmini’s beauty through a mirror. The legend goes that Khilji went on to besiege the Mewar kingdom to secure Rani Padmini.
The Chittorgarh district administration said that the disputed part will be removed after review.
“There was an old light-and-sound show at Chittorgarh fort, dating back to 2007. It had a disputed portion in the script of Alauddin Khilji viewing queen Padmini through a mirror. At present, the Government of India has allotted Rs 5.5 crore for the new light-and-sound show, with the scheme being implemented by the state government. We had earlier asked for the disputed portion to be removed from the show’s script. Earlier, we had removed a mirror from the fort and a plaque which referred to this incident,” BJP MP Joshi told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
“Even three days before the start of the show, I had heard the script and asked officials to remove the portion involving the mirror. I was given an assurance that it would be removed. But when the show started yesterday evening, the portion was still part of the show. We immediately stopped the show and said that as long as the disputed dialogues are not removed, the show should not be run,” said Joshi.
Rajput outfits said they too intervened on Monday evening, objecting to the show.
“There is no historical truth to the story that Khilji attacked Chittorgarh for queen Padmini or got a glimpse of her through a mirror. Even today, no husband would ever let another man who wants to catch a glimpse of his wife after hearing about her beauty see her. We stopped the light-and-sound show yesterday after we got to know that the state government had not changed the script. The show was stopped shortly after it was inaugurated,” said Narpat Singh Bhati of Johar Smriti Sansthan, Chittorgarh.
He added that all references of a mirror came from 16th-century poet Malik Muhammad’s Jayasi’s poem Padmavat, which is “fictional”.
“We will not allow the show to run as long as the disputed parts and all references of the mirror are not removed from the script,” added Bhati.
Back in 2017, Rajput outfits had protested against the Bollywood film ‘Padmaavat’ which was based on the story of Khilji and Rani Padmini. After a formal representation by protesters in Chittorgarh and threats from the Karni Sena, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) covered its plaque outside Rani Padmini’s palace in Chittorgarh Fort with a piece of cloth. The mirrors at the fort were broken the same year.
“The objection to the show was about the part with references to the mirror. If anything is hurting public sentiments, we will remove that part after review,” said Chittorgarh district collector Tara Chand Meena.
The light-and-sound show at Chittorgarh Fort was one of the five such shows across the state inaugurated by Chief Minister Gehlot through video conferencing on Monday evening. Union Culture Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal was also present during the occasion.