A quest for Padmavati.

Purba Ray tweeted, that Padmawati was Padwaiting…
But Padmawaiting is present continuous tense , we are dealing with past confused and tense.
It was so confusing! Forget the second cup of coffee; even Google Mata is not able to sift the facts. My own information herding begins with an encounter with Rani Padmini once a upon an Amarachitrakatha.
amarachitra katha
from the cover of Amar Chitra Katha


What better time to unravel this confusion, the movie is yet to release, it is new year’s eve and I have nothing to do.
What Uncle Pai told us, was Padmini was the queen of Chittor. She was exquisitely beautiful. A Brahmin who the Rana insulted instigates Khilji to conquer Chittor and take the queen. Khilji uses trickery to capture the Rana and Padmini is the ransom demanded. The emphasis is on how the queen was virtuous she did not show herself, face to face, but let Khilji see her reflection in a mirror. She goes notches higher because she commits Jauhar to avoid being part of Khilji’s harem.
As children we never asked or never reflected. The story stayed what is scarier is the ideology that stayed with it, women have to be veiled.
What we were not told is that Jauhar was self immolation when defeat was inescapable. Women, children all killed themselves with the wealth of the tribe to avoid capture and abuse. Historian Kaushik Roy says that Jauhar occurred only when the war was between Hindu-Muslim . It was coupled with tradition of Saka or the warriors going to the battlefield where death is certain.
Later on somewhere we learnt of Padmini was a sufi poem by Malik Mohammad Jayasi. Padmavat is its original name. It has the elements of a typical Sufi story with magic, speaking animals, a quest etc.. In this version, when Khilji takes the Rana hostage, Devpal the ruler of Kumbhanair proposes to Padmavati. On his return the Rana fights Devpal to avenge the insult. Devpal and the Rana kill each other, while Padmavati and Nagmati perform Sati and not Jauhar the story ends with Khilji entering the fort to be welcomed by the pyre of the dead.
Padmavati is neither mentioned in the Rajput history annals nor in the Sultanate ones, making her a figment of imagination. Yet Alauddin Khilji is a real person

Hoarding of the 1963 Tamil Movie on Padmini.
From its first adaptation in 1590 by Hansa Dakkani of the Bijapur court Padmavat has inspired 12 adaptations in Urdu and Persian, of course there Sufi symbolism is left out. In the 16th century the story spawned lot of Bengali adaptations. the most notable one was the one by Abinindranath Tagore in 1909. In 1963 came the first movie as with Padmavati as the muse 1964 came the Hindi rendering. Padmavati was then laid to rest until 2017 .Now Sanjay Leela Bansali.
sanjay Leela Bansali’s Padmavati

I wonder what copyright and royalty would have done, I dread to even see sanjay leela bhansali’s version, given his warped story telling . One can expect a dance with Nagamati and Padmavati dancing side by side in the true Bhansali trouple pattern. (remember chandramukhi-paro, Kashi bai-Mastani)

Somehow I am convinced that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has paid people to raise the stink so that the movie gets publicity.
Anyway, here is the input from poet Malik Mohammed Jayasi that he has imagined the story and that it is an allegory. Chittor is the body, Raja Ratnasimha the mind, Padmavati the wisdom, Singhala the heart, and Alauddin the lust.
Whew forget coffee… it is Onde saridon…that just one saridon.

5 Replies to “A quest for Padmavati.”

  1. As you said, I too had read the story of Padmavati long back and just accepted it as something that had happened or might have happened long ago. So much of galate !!

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