• Associate Sponsor

Out of my mind: The Padmavati debacle

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh may be lost, but that is a problem for Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Modi has to secure the trust of all citizens to win big.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published: February 11, 2018 1:20 am
Padmaavat protests: 8 cases registered so far, SIT formed to probe Gurugaon violence Gurugram where Karni sena protestors torched a state road transport department bus at Sohna Road. Protester throws stone on police during protest. (Express Photo/Manoj Kumar)

WHAT a farce! The Karni Sena terrified Sanjay Leela Bhansali, beating him up during the shooting. Then they rampaged all over North India, even attacking a bus carrying schoolchildren. The terrified governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra (all BJP) surrendered their sovereignty and prostrated themselves before the Sena. The Censor board was threatened and the film title had to be clipped. The Supreme Court had to intervene and point out that banning the film or not showing the film was not an option. Even so, cowardly state governments hesitated.

Lo and behold! It turns out that far from insulting the Karnis and their remote ‘ancestor’ Padmavati, Bhansali insults Muslims and extols the Rajputs. He demeans women but then he does that in every one of his films. Yet women and men flock to his films. That is alright then. Let us hope that now the Karni Sena does not agitate to force people, especially Muslims, to see the film compulsorily. Of course if they had waited for their protest till after they had seen the film, it would have helped everyone.

The damage that this will do to the BJP is difficult to calculate. It began even before Padmavati, with the fiasco over Baba Ram Rahim. The Haryana government abandoned its duty of keeping law and order and let the ardent followers of the Baba run rampage, with police politely avoiding any gaze. The regularity with which these state governments have abandoned their duty of protecting their citizens against vandalism will be remembered for a long time.

Of course this cowardice on part of these governments is a politically motivated move hoping to capture or at least not alienate vote banks. But these groups — followers of Baba Ram Rahim or the members of the Karni Sena — may threaten violence, but they do not add up to many votes. The majority who are inconvenienced and have to keep silent while they cannot go about their daily activities will take their revenge at the EVM, as the recent Rajasthan by-elections showed.

Normally, governments in India hound citizens for real or suspected breach of even the most minor regulation. Tax terrorism extends to more than just income tax. Even the moves which are designed to empower the citizens, like the Aadhaar card, become instruments for harassing them. Babus insist that for anything given by the governments, even if they be entitlements, the Aadhaar card must be produced. Why they cower in front of noisy political lobbies is a mystery. Rajiv Gandhi banned Satanic Verses without reading it, even before it had arrived in India, for the fear of losing the Muslim vote.

India is a federal polity and there is not much the Central government can do. But Narendra Modi has to bear in mind that ultimately it is his re-election which is the most important contest in the next 15 months. His usual practice is not to make statements on controversial matters. But during the year when Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh face election, with the general election not far away, this crisis is one that he should
not ignore.

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh may be lost, but that is a problem for Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Modi has to secure the trust of all citizens to win big.

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

More From Meghnad Desai
Meghnad Desai
  • Out of my mind: Where is AAP?

    But there is a bigger question here. Why is it difficult in India, even after 70 years of democracy, to build non-dynastic grassroots parties which…

  • Out Of My Mind: All together now

    Given our federal structure, the idea of holding elections simultaneously in the 29 states plus the Centre is impossible as of now. Some Constitutional amendments…

  • Out of my mind: Suicide wish

    There is one name which is always particularly intriguing and indeed could have changed the course of political history had he got his chance —…

  1. Sukhjinder Gill
    Feb 12, 2018 at 12:09 am
    This Desai is like Tavleen Singh. Had a lots of expectations from NDA rule. Sorry Lord !!
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. Avinash Rangra
      Feb 11, 2018 at 10:41 pm
      Desai like other shallow columnists, I believe email one another to keep their columns bereft of logic. He mentions vote bank, then he interjects a ‘fact’ that these hooligans are small in numbers. BJP led by Modi has to be controlled by aliens 👽 not to understand this reality, otherwise why would BJP let it happen. Desai and his friends fail to acknowledge the degree to which the media cur ly having little access to the new SHERIFF in town is lured by the opposition who naturally has promised all sorts of goodies from the Santa IF they come to power. Mr. Desai, it is not happening. I do concur with Desai though that Raje is inept. She ought to let go.
      (1)(1)
      Reply
      1. Concerned Person
        Feb 11, 2018 at 10:14 pm
        The islamic occupation of India is the "vilest, cruelest, most bloody and murderous chapter in human history". To Know that, you have to read history as written by muslim historians over last 1000 years, themselves and look at 500 million muslims in south asia - direct result of that bloody, cruel rule.
        (3)(2)
        Reply
        1. S
          Sohail
          Feb 12, 2018 at 1:16 am
          If it was true what you said you would have been a Muslim today. 1000 years is a very long time if someone really wanted to convert every one in the country to be a Muslim. Lies remain lies no matter how many people repeat those lies every day.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
        2. Ajat Sha
          Feb 11, 2018 at 10:02 pm
          Well that is historical perspective. History is not written by Leftist and Islamist alone. You mean then AAP has already lost Delhi :))). Just tell me why just searching for ISIS or getting caught with ISIS flag is an offence in Britain something similar in India will be horrendous
          (1)(0)
          Reply
          1. Ajat Sha
            Feb 11, 2018 at 10:04 pm
            Though good thing is that people with cheap phones can search internet easily and decide. Next step for BJP is to make people search on internet and election will be in its bag.
            (1)(0)
            Reply
          2. Concerned Person
            Feb 11, 2018 at 9:52 pm
            What I have written below is based on documented history as written by muslims themselves, inspired by the dirty and pernicious ideology from arabia. It's time to hold Islam and muslims defenending the vile ideology accountable. The west has begun to hold muslims accountable for the vile ideology that insist is word of god. Its time Hindus and India, the biggest victim of islam, starts to do so too. You do so by questioning the vicious bigotry of koran against other forms of worship,like that of Hindus, which that dirty cult from arabia calls "idoltrous infidels".
            (2)(4)
            Reply
            1. D
              Drkhalid
              Feb 11, 2018 at 11:37 pm
              Tell all your brethren working in the middle East sending crores of dollars to their families in India to go back to India first.
              (0)(0)
              Reply
              1. Concerned Person
                Feb 12, 2018 at 12:07 am
                We will gladly take back all Hindus everywhere in islamic states if they are ready to exchange for muslims in India. Anyway, muslims demanded seperate country for indian muslims, so India was divided against majority wishes. So when are these muslims moving to their motherland pakistan tthat they demanded ??
                (0)(0)
              2. E
                Emanating Truth
                Feb 12, 2018 at 12:54 am
                Just share the exact link or details of the authentic excerpts which you cited here.It was happening almost 1000 years before, we all knew the past history written by historians not fully acceptable now. If the religion guides the people in the wrong path, then those people definitely find the right path.Afterall rulers could be ruled the people for a particular period of time. Only the traitor misguide the people with his sinful activities. The witty person can interpret this matter very precisely but others it is a vulnerable pathetic self-comprehension.
                (0)(0)
                Reply
              3. Load More Comments
              Adda