Riots Over Padmavat is a Success of BJP’s Fringe Element Scheme
Throughout its history of existence, the Modi government has perfectly managed the business of organising lynchings of Muslims, arson, rioting and communal carnages by using a host of RSS-linked feral Hindutva terror organisations, which are called “fringe” by the regime to delink the nefarious nexus that thrives between it and these thugs. The reluctance of the BJP-ruled governments of the feudal heartland of North India to curb and suppress the violent rioting by the militant upper-caste feudal Rajput organisation — Karni Sena over the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-film Padmavat, clearly shows that it’s actually the RSS and the BJP that are ventriloquising their nefarious agenda using the outfit as a puppet. The riots, the rampage and the violence are all scripted by the Nagpur headquarters and these men on the streets are just playing their designated role in the virulent campaign.
By letting the boisterous Hindutva thugs, who are masquerading as “hurt Rajputs”, carry out their arson and rioting under the state’s patronage, the BJP governments in the North Indian cow-belt states are, on one hand, showing the upper-caste feudal landlords that the state machinery is now standing on their side wielding the baton against the people in the most impertinent way; while on the other hand, it’s showing to the general public and its opponents that no authority or institution, including the Supreme Court, can stop the saffron camp from achieving its political goals. If any Constitutional authority tries to stop them, even accidentally, then by organising large-scale rioting in the name of “honour” and “sentiments”, the RSS will achieve the goal in its patent way. It’s a signal, be ready to subjugate to the Hindutva rule or face the wrath of the lynch mob managed by the rulers.
The ruckus over the release of the film “Padmavat” is a sheer hogwash; it’s organised to distract the people into believing that the film is the issue that is driving this nationwide rioting on an organised scale. The actual facts are different. Most of the Rajput feudal rulers have been historically misogynist and extremely male-chauvinist; for them, women have been a commodity, a “thing” owned by men. Many Rajput feudal landlords still venerate the Sati system, a tradition where the upper-caste Hindu women were burned alive in the funeral pyre of their dead husbands – a method used to prevent women from inheriting the wealth of their dead husbands or from forming any relation with other men considered sacrilege in the patriarchal society. Also, the tradition of Jauhar, where the widows of men who died in war consumed poison, is revered by these patriarchal reactionaries even to this day.
Padmavati wasn’t a historical figure, but as discussed in this article, she was an imaginary figure who was implanted in an epic poem written on the siege of Chittorgarh by a medieval-era Muslim poet of Awadh who wanted to show the valour of the Rajputs to please the local dominant landlord community. The story of Padmavati was relayed across generations of Rajputs, who, after failing to retain their hegemony before the militarily-superior Mughals, cherished apocryphal stories about their “glorious” past. From a metaphor of beauty and bravery, a woman who was subservient to male domination and could have become a Sati, she became a literal figure for many Rajput feudal landlords as the character gave them an imaginary figure to boast upon.
This boasting wasn’t over chivalry, but the fight of the woman to preserve her “honour”, i.e. preserve her body from being violated by an untouchable Muslim. The “other”, who is actually the villain in the eyes of the Rajputs as the coming of the Muslim rulers since the early era of Delhi Sultanate threw them away from the ruler’s position over which the community had a hegemonic control under the rule of a Brahminical Manusmriti that promoted a caste-divided and compartmentalised society. The issue raised by the Karni Sena is that they are “hurt” to see a Rajput woman romancing a Muslim monarch.
Love jihad is in the air, the very air where the odour of the burnt skin and flesh of Afrazul Sheikh, murdered by Hindutva terrorist Shambhulal Reiger in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, can be still smelled. By making open exhorts to violence over the issue of the “objectionable” scene of romance between the Muslim king and Hindu Rajput woman, the Hindutva thugs have pejoratively labelled the film as Haram for the entire Rajput community and cajoled the men of the community to rampage on the streets with impunity. The sublayers of anti-Muslim rhetoric are now open in public and it will not take long for the RSS and its progeny to convert the anti-Padmavat riots into anti-Muslim pogroms.
Despite all hues and cries around it, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat is actually a propaganda film by a pro-BJP director that unapologetically eulogises the upper-caste, feudal and misogynist Rajputs and vilifies the Muslims as foreign aggressors, rapists and plunderers. It endorses the RSS propaganda that states that the Muslims are basically a community of aggressors and hence deserve to die unless they become ready to live as second-class, enslaved citizens in a Hindutva kingdom.
Actually, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat, with its cuts and edits, is a project to help the BJP’s mission of changing the country’s history curriculum by endorsing myths as history and by stamping history as myth. Forget the Subaltern History, the mainstream history is also under threat today as mythology and chivalry of the medieval era that glorifies the reactionary feudal-casteist rule of the Rajputs is now being projected as real history to carry-out a systematic brainwash campaign and shape the opinion of the upper-caste Hindu students, following the model the RSS uses in its Shakhas and Saraswati Vidya Mandir schools to breed a large number of foot-soldiers for its missions.
The ₹1.9 billion film Padmavat depicts the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji as an “Islamic” Jihadi who had only one aim — destroy and plunder India. While according to history, Alauddin Khilji, like any of his contemporaries, was a zealot and did want to establish his hegemony throughout the world after being incensed by victory over smaller kingdoms. But mixing his imperial campaigns against equally repressive and tyrant regimes of Rajputana, like Chittor, with the theme of “nationalism” and turning it into a “Hindu vs Muslim” narrative doesn’t only does injustice to history, but also promotes bigotry in the current scenario, where the rule of the Hindutva fascist thugs under Modi has shredded the society of India to threadbare and exposed the grotesque reality that remained masked under a sham secular veil for so long.
At a time when the country’s economy slumped beneath the rankings of Pakistan and China in the list of emerging economies and touched the nadir of 62, at a time when the tribal people of Jharkhand are starving to death due to the unavailability of Aadhar linking system with their ration cards, at a time when the tribal people of Chhattisgarh are butchered by a nefarious nexus forged between the Hindutva-fascist state machinery, the big mining corporations of foreign and Indian origin and the feudal landlords, at a time when the economy’s job-less and welfare-less growth has pushed an alarming number of people, especially from the marginalised communities, into the realm of poverty and pauperisation, then rioting against a ₹1.9 billion film helps to camouflage the burning issues and distract the news consumers, the upper-caste Hindu elites, middle-class and white collar employees to engage in worthless debates and discourse over a non-issue.
The actual cause of the riots aren’t about a brave Rajput woman being depicted wrongly, but there are a plethora of issues that are combined together to fan a communal frenzy among the upper-caste feudal landlords and then use their virulence to cover-up the failures of the Modi regime and the BJP’s governments in different states in providing relief to the broad masses of workers, peasants and toiled masses. It’s not that the Modi government is unwilling to deliver to the Dalits, Muslims, Christians or tribals. It’s indeed not delivering anything to the majority of the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, apart from the Shudras, who form the core of its vote bank.
The real reason that the Modi government isn’t delivering even to those who supports it as a caste and class block this regime was chosen to power by the big foreign corporations and their comprador Indian lackeys because only Narendra Modi has the capability to mortgage the country to foreign capital and use his demagogy to distract the attention of the people from that heinous deed. Now that the country is being mortgaged in parts, Modi and his coterie can only give some communal rejigs to keep the upper-caste privileged Hindu middle-class fantasise a Hindutva kingdom and remain confined within their bigoted periphery and not see what they have actually gained from the Modi government in real terms.
Here lies the beauty of the Modi government’s manipulative practices. Narendra Modi and his regime is master in the art of changing any adverse condition into a favourable one by making a non-issue a big issue simply by adding few drops of anti-Muslim bigotry and xenophobia into it. It becomes so hit with the corporate media houses that they keep force-feeding their largely-Hindu consumers with that communal vitriol until they see serious conversion into bigots.
So, for example, a nation whose 16 crore people out 84 crore voters cast vote for a demagogue Hindutva hate monger, who promised a total overhaul of the broken, crisis-ridden and crony-comprador capitalism-infested economy, suddenly became busy in analysing the consequences of “love jihad” a theory propagated by some cleric-turned-politician-turned-chief minister of an Indian state. The very people are also forced to think about the benefits that a mammoth statue of Vallabhbhai Patel will bring to the nation.
By exploiting the religious sentiments of both upper-caste and backward caste Hindus, the BJP government also hanged the Ram Mandir carrot before them to keep them away from questioning the government’s performance. If everything failed, riots worked and also — the firings at the international border and LoC between the Indian and Pakistani forces help governments of both countries to keep the pot of chauvinism boiling.
The politics of distraction cannot be resolved through the demand for peace from the arch-reactionary fascist regime that derives its strength to rule and consolidate its hegemony from genocides, pogroms and big-scale riots. The Modi government or the BJP-ruled state governments will play no active role in suppressing these riots that are sparked to intensify communal vitriol and also to consolidate the hegemony of the upper-caste feudal thugs over the marginalised and oppressed people of these states. It’s a reaffirmation that India is now an official Hindutva kingdom in the making and expectation of the rule of law and justice are merely wild fantasies in these turbulent times.
So, in the current scenario, the Karni Sena has left no choice for people like you –who are scared to see little school children coming under attack from these obstreperous Hindutva thugs. It’s the moment of either do or die — the beginning stage of a new Quit India movement to drive away the fascist rule established by the Modi regime and other BJP-ruled governments on the behest of big foreign corporations, Indian comprador capitalists, big feudal landlords from the upper-castes. A significant and vehement struggle is necessary to prevent the unbridled exploitation of the people and their reeling under the juggernaut of bigotry and jingoism.
Our people, the working class, peasantry and the toiling masses who are affected by the deteriorating economy, soaring prices of essential commodities, abysmally low welfare spending, increasing unemployment, rise of misogyny and consolidation of wealth by 1 percent of the Indian population, must intensify their struggle for achieving freedom from the fascist rule and for the establishment of a people’s democratic and socialist rule that will not only free people from the economic exploitation of feudal landlord classes, comprador capitalists, foreign capital and their lackeys like the Hindutva fascist BJP, but also bring salvation for the oppressed communities like the Muslims, Christians, Dalits, tribals and backward caste Hindus from the domination of the upper-caste ruling classes, once and forever by shattering the base of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial economy over which the casteist, reactionary and predatory system has existed for centuries.
An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker