The Rani of Chittor and our Fundamental Right to the Freedom of Expression!

Photo Credit: Arise Bharat

A long, long time ago, in the 1300s, there lived a very beautiful Rajput queen, called Rani Padmini. She was sometimes also called Rani Padmavati. She was the queen of Chittor, and lived in the fort, Chittorgarh, in Mewar, Rajasthan, along with her husband, the King, Rana Ratan Singh.

Legend has it that the Sultan of Delhi at that time, Alauddin Khilji, had heard of her beauty, and laid siege to the fort to capture her and make her his, at any cost. The Rajputs were hopelessly outnumbered, but did not give up. They decided to fight to the finish – they would either save Chittorgarh, or die trying. It is said that Rani Padmini then made a decision – Alauddin Khilji and his men may capture the fort, but they would never capture her and the other ladies of the court. They lit a huge pyre in the fort, and the brave Rani Padmini led the ladies into the pyre. They preferred sacrificing themselves to being taken as prisoners at the hands of the enemy. This practice of the Rajputs was called Jauhar. Rani Padmavati has been hailed as a hero for centuries now, as she preserved the honour of the Kingdom of Mewar.

So what’s all this hullabaloo about her in the news these days?

There’s a new movie that has been made, called Padmaavati (now Padmaavat). Some groups in Rajasthan are objecting to the movie being released, saying that it is not factually correct, and portrays the Rani in a way that they don’t like. The movie directors finally got approval for the movie to be released, after making a few changes, but then four states banned the release of the movie.

The moviemakers appealed to the Supreme Court of India, which has now ruled that the Right to Freedom of Expression is a fundamental right of every Indian citizen, as set forth in Article 19 of the Constitution. It has ordered the states to lift the ban on the movie. No one knows what exactly happened at that time, and artists, writers, and moviemakers have a right to create any work of fiction they may dream up!

We sure hope we get to see the movie soon. Until then, write in and let us know what you think about this. Are the states right in banning the movie? Or is the Supreme Court right in allowing the movie to be released?



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