• Was Padmavati A Controversial Rani?

    Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is now having to change the location for the shooting of his film Padmavati owing to violent protests on the sets of the movie. A Jaipur community group had physically attacked the filmmaker and vandalised the set at Jaigarh fort claiming that the director was trying to showcase the life of their queen Padmavati in a wrong light. [Picture Credit to Quora]

    But who was Rani Padmini (or Padmavati) and how does her name manage to stir a controversy eight centuries after she lived?

    Rani Padmini (or Padmavati) is said to have been exquisitely beautiful and she was the wife of King Rawal Ratan Singh of Chittor. It is alleged that Alauddin Khilji had attacked Chittorgarh in 1303 to have Maharani Padmini all for himself

    This version of the story is based on the poem Padmavat written in Awadhi by Malik Muhammmad Jayasi, in the year 1540. But many historians dismiss it as just another folklore.

    When she was of marriageable age, her father Gandharvsena and mother Champavati, organised a Swayamvar for which invitations were sent out to Kings and Princes around the kingdom. King Rawal Ratan Singh chose to attend the event even after having multiple wives at that time. After defeating King Malkhan Singh, King Rawal Ratan Singh was able to secure Padmini’s hand for marriage.

    After a spite with the King, a musician called Raghav Chetan had visited Delhi to incite Khilji into attacking Chittor. The latter visited the Kingdom, curious to meet the queen whose beauty he had heard a lot about. But only being allowed to see a mere reflection of the queen in presence of her maids, had smitten the Sultan even more. He attacked Chittor thinking that if he defeated and killed the king, he could have the queen. A valiant and violent battle followed and Alauddin Khilji was able to defeat the Rajputs.

    Rani Padmini died of self-immolation after Chittor was won by Khilji. Hers was a life of honour and values and death seemed a better option.

    Read More by Amrita Paul