Maharani Padmini’s Jauhar-an act misunderstood by Pseudo Feminists

Where to start. Where to end. It is not a tale, it is not a story to be told for entertainment. It is a page written not in history books but on the cheek of time.

Maharani Padmini, wife of Ratnasimha, also known as Rawal Ratan Singh-King of Mewar, Rajasthan- doesn’t need any introduction, at least for every proud Indian. Maharani Padmini was not only considered to be the most unprecedented beauty of her time but she also gave an ultimate test of honor when the moment arrived, but today I will not talk about her legendary life but about her ultimate decision for the dignity of not only Rajputs but whole womanhood- her Jauhar (a practice of self-immolation by the royal women to escape being captured, enslaved, raped by foreign invaders).

Since last few days, I have been witnessing some women talking about how wrong Rani Padmini’s decision was to commit Jauhar, or how the latest Bollywood movie Padmaavat, a Sanjay Leela Bhansali magnum opus glorifies Jauhar. And the only reasons I see behind such stances is that either they don’t understand the psyche of brave, proud royal women of 13-14th century or the meaning of honor has deteriorated over time.

rani-padmawati-painting-1407864516_org

While some say she had all rights to live(do they mean in Delhi’s Sultan Allauddin’s harem?), others go a step ahead in being not only bizarre but imprudent to say that why didn’t Maharani Padmini fight the tyrant Sultan of Delhi(as if fighting the army of millions of trained militants was such a piece of cake)?

Even if we forget for a moment such bizarre statements as to why didn’t Rani sa(The title by which Maharani  Padmini is called by many) take these aforementioned actions, one thing that people making such statements and calling it against feminism forget is that feminism-a cloak many(not all) use these days to get either fame or undue advantages/privileges- is not only about equality, it’s not about having a desire to be like men(a definition many feminists give subtly), it’s about what’s the worth of a woman’s life in her own eyes and moreover about the right women have over their lives, their body, their dignity and the very self. It’s about what’s more important for you- to live like a slave, lacking pride with scarred self-esteem, or to choose the path you see is the only one left while encountering an stalemate situation, a situation in which there can’t be seen a way in which a lady can safeguard her dignity, honor, self-respect, and above all her body which has been considered since ages by many as a mere beautiful object to acquire. Now what I believe is that Feminism is about women having equality, all rights over their lives, and no one including blabbering feminazis can deny women that.

Hey readers, read my debut novel, “The Monsoon Marigolds”!

The question here is that- is living that important even for empowered women or even men for that matter, that dignity, honor, and self respect become second priority?

When the army of Allauddin Khilji surrounded the fort of Chittorgarh and their fate was inevitable, the women of Chittor had only two ways left- live in the harem of Khilji to satiate his unending lust or surrender the bodies he was obsessed to get, to fire. I’ll not say it was very easy to go for the latter one, it must not have been although it’s very easy to comment on it sitting in one’s comfort zone with popcorn buckets. She could give her body to a lustful barbaric maniac and “LIVE” but she burned the very same body to ashes-a body which had a soul unscathed by the ogling eyes.

You may call those women’s decision right or wrong, but for them, saving the honor by escaping the humiliation inflicted by lustful men was more important without a doubt. They jumped into fire- fire which makes us go through boundless pain even if we burn our tiniest finger. They didn’t tell others to follow it, they didn’t glorify it, for them, it was a way to save the very basic tenet they considered most important. As for those who say that why did Rani take permission from her husband before Jauhar in the movie Padmaavat- well it was not that she had no right on her life, it was an unsaid way a message is conveyed to us that without her husband, her life would be meaningless and that too not because a woman needs a man to live, but because of the fact that Maharani Padmini was a woman who loved her husband unconditionally and life was nothing for her without him.

Maybe it is difficult for feminists of modern age to understand all these principles of life that Maharani Padmini and other Rajput women had. But at the same time, maybe they will understand all these tenets once they put themselves in the place of those brave women.

Coming to the modern age, with rampant cruelties against women even with the wave of feminism, it would be extremely remiss of me not to give my opinion that with this piece of writing, I do not intend to tell anyone that any kind of suicide is justified- IT IS NOT. Even for someone who is escaping an act like rape or for rape survivors, end of life is NOT AT ALL JUSTIFIED.

But but but…..at the same time those giving hell lot of advises as to what the brave Rajput women should have done, they need to understand that Rani Padmini had bravery which is unimaginable in the modern age, because it’s easy to live with shame than to die with pride, and she died for her true love and who also fought to death. No wonder Maharani Padmini is no less than a goddess in many corners of India, particularly in Rajasthan. For Maharani Padmini, it was not only about living or dying, it was for her pride, her husband’s pride, her love for him, his love for her, her denial to let any other man touch her, it was a statement to let the world know that a woman’s soul is hers and its up to her to let it be liberated or incarcerated.

Today, we call Khilji a villain but the question at the moment is that what are we?

Questioning Maharani Padmini? Calling her act not a brave one? And above all, calling her a fictitious character? Maligning today’s women? Inflicting humiliation on them? These are all harsh realities of our ‘Modern World’.

The poem called Padmaavat came in 1540, but if you visit Rajasthan, you will get to know that folk songs dedicated to her are something every child grows up with there. She is not only a queen who once lived, she was a mother, she was a Rajput pride, she was the one who was no less brave than the Rajput warriors, for her one decision could change the whole course of history and the way we look at our gallant warriors and the very brave Rajput community.

To all the pseudo feminists out there, I leave it to you all to think what is more important- time has changed, world has changed, but for most of the females all around the world, agony is still the same. Forget the age, forget the crisis, forget the different conditions, give it a moment and choose between what you’ve been calling a practical approach and what your conscience allows you, and you will get to know the pride of Rajasthan Maharani Padmini and her Jauhar.

 

Published by

Shekhar Srivastava

Howdy and welcome!!! I am shekhar srivastava and I am a writer. From travelogues to movie reviews, recent news to philosophical or spiritual writing I love writing on all these subjects. I hope you all readers will like my writing and appreciate it. Thank You!

24 thoughts on “Maharani Padmini’s Jauhar-an act misunderstood by Pseudo Feminists”

  1. The leading factor in this is the deteriorating honour in the eyes of people who speak against the showing of sati. People who criticise and claim their rights as to watch such a film can never understand culture and its significance. They cannot understand sacrifice and privacy. That means entertainment. History is not entertainment it is a private mental right of people who bear it.
    It was her choice of committing Jauhar but those who criticise will only call me supporting Jauhar.
    Ok so you think feminists know what feminism really is? Few realise it and the rest would never accept the fact that women can do what men can’t and vice versa.
    What is shameful here is that a movie was made on a woman who is worshipped by many. Not only the exact account is not shown in but the purity of the queen and the respect for the culture is destroyed.
    It’s disturbing that people still have that tongue to say that Jauhar was easy and there were other ways. Sir, they won’t understand!
    You know what is glorified? The women shown as objects. When item songs in the industry represent women as objects of pleasure and sexual desires I cannot expect this movie to be anything less than that.
    Rani Padmavati was a queen of honour and symbol of empowerment.
    This is a wrong modernity going on destroying our very culture and hats off to you to make it very clear what was it really about:) because every word in the write up is absolutely valid.
    People wanting to see the movie craving for it are who believe that this particular incident in the pages of a strong Rajputana history is all fiction which cannot be changed its all a fault and the “modern”& “ open” thinking as they call it.
    Those in gloom of the releasing of the film my deepest sympathies. And shame to them who question it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am really glad that women like you understand the true nature of feminism. It’s unnecessary to become a flag bearer of feminism. Your respect towards Maharani shows that you know the meaning of women rights and empowerment and that’s what is relieving for me as an individual. As for movie, there should be only two factors kept in mind, one- either watch it as a pure entertaining piece of art and forget, secondly if so concerned about the reality of characters then such people must go through the real history and circumstances leading to such tragedy.
      I disagree with you for just one point- in this particular movie women were not shown as objects but it was a fact of that era that a tyrant wanted to possess Rani Padmini.
      Rest, we can just hope for pseudo intellectuals to understand things well because as far as Maharani Padmini is considered, she was, is, and will always be in our hearts as an epitome of womanhood, sacrifice, pride, valour, and dignity.
      Besides, thank you very much for giving an opinion and reading the article. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I apologise I put my words wrong. I didn’t re-read it. By women shown as objects I was not considering it in the movie. I meant that Rani sa was such a pure lady that her role I believe should not be done by a person who herself is a person who performed as an object in other movies. If you notice the Ramanand sagar Ramayan, the role of Sitaji was played by Deepika Chikhalia who never played any other role in any other movie because she knew the purity of Sita mata. So same here Deepika Padukone proudly plays her role in the movie and ignoring the protests across the country.
        Why should it be even be watched sir? When the name was used referring to The legendary Rani Padmavati. They could have showed the same story with changing the names. Wasn’t Bahubali a movie that hit the theatres all over the world? That was fiction and that is the correct way of showing culture in your own way without affecting anyone.
        Now that the character of Rani sa is in the limelight people do read the real history and criticise. Here again, sentiments are hurt. There should be no interference. This nothing but a loose hold on ethics which shouldn’t be compromised. Malaysia banned the screening of the movie why? Because the Invader sultan was shown inappropriate or filthy. Why should we adjust? It is happening since the releasing of Bajirao Mastani! That was an inappropriate movie. That was an unacceptable adjustment.
        I respect every queen’s step and every king’s step of extreme as far as it was not betrayal.
        Your welcome for considering my opinion have a good day:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Again there are two things. First you named deepika chikhalia- people’s opinion is never same, also it changes with time. May be if ramanand sagars ramayan was made today, it could generate controversy. Besides it depends whether ppl like a new actor or experienced actors. Coming to deepika padukone playing rani Padmini, I would again say that we misunderstand the meaning of feminism. Deepika is a modern day woman and above all an actor. And I believe that every woman must be respected- actor or non actor, housewife, working, rape survivors and in short all. We cannot condemn an actor on the basis of her work, she’s earning her bread and butter and above all what we should notice is that she played the role with decency and no vulgarity, then why should we condemn her-what’s her fault? Beauty or lust lies in the eyes of beholder. As a man I saw her as a dignified lady in the movie. Why should I think about roles she played in other movies. After all she’s an actor, isn’t it her job to play all roles-be it a modern woman or even a prostitute’s role? Because whatever female role she plays dont you think women in all forms should be respected?
        Talking about changing the names of characters, I would say had the names been changed, our young people wouldn’t be able to understand the sacrifice of rani Padmini.
        And above all, my point here is that rani padmini did jauhar to safeguard the dignity of women, so by condemning padukone aren’t we doing opposite of what rani padmini did or aren’t we doing opposite of women empowerment while we want women to be empowered? Is Rani sa so little a character that an actor’s image in other movies can tarnish rani padmini’s in our mind? I would say NOT AT ALL. See deepika as Rani Padmini in movie and forget what she does outside her movie Padmavati. After all rani padmini is an embodiment of women’s struggle and victory. So is condemning another woman in this age justified?
        PS: It’s my opinion and I respect yours and your immense respect for Rani Padmini as I too respect her deeply. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is just my opinion. I have been comparing things to sentiments. Talking of feminism I ain’t a feminist but I respect every kind of woman. I have a different view and a different perspective of considering Rani Padmini a very pure lady that makes me protective. Ramanand sagar’s Ramayan had clarity and reason on everything and Padmavat did not, so it was you who cleared it. The thing is different for me. I am not at all considering feminism, plus I do not criticise because I know the basic of it but haven’t gone much deep into it nor have I ever discussed about it to anyone. I respect her, if you misunderstood me but I don’t prefer her or anyone playing Rani’s character. You got me wrong because all I feel is Rani sa was very pure we can read about her in books and history. I also know there was no vulgarity because the page of history the film is based on has nothing such. I understand that when a movie is made we cannot action the exact details what actually happened, things go imaginative. So the thing is even if it was made the movie should have got amended by people’s whose sentiments got hurt, that particular community should have a yes/no in it. She is a dignified lady and even if she plays a role of a prostitute I wouldn’t mind because I wouldn’t consider it a cheap thing. I respect what people do until it comes to real facts it should not be made, Sir. Did you see the interviews of royals of Rajasthan. That is what hurts and kills me inside. This is an open world but being open is not compromising. I agree that beauty or lust lies in the eyes of beholder, what I want to say why? Why to show so that they have choice of beauty and lust?
        I am one of the young ones,just 17 but about the names-when the names getting used in a movie is a wildfire among the protesters then why not calm it down? They would still know about the sacrifice if there was a paragraph shown before about Rani Padmini and her sacrifice. Personally, I think names are a big thing and an identity.
        I respect your point but you know it differs. You may think I am really orthodox and backward about getting opened but what I am trying is not getting adjusted with everything. I mentioned before let the film get made, Bhansali has an amazing imagination but let’s compromise and Make it with peace and no protests.
        I ain’t completely disapproving if you see I am struggling for amending few things in the movie. I ain’t one of the protesters just inner thoughts I would like to put up. I haven’t found any valid write up than yours😊Rani sa has a position of immense purity. I respect everything. But even what people protested for was a demand even though things went vaguely extreme. Everything is connected. Thankyou for considering my thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s completely fine dear. These varied opinions are what make our society a balanced one. Respect to your opinions and thoughts. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thankyou for accepting. Not everyone accepts things:) people debate and insult. It was really good talking and discussing about it with a good intellectual person like you! Looking forward for more great write ups from you!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It was really nice for me too to know a young woman’s viewpoint on it. Thanks 😊

        Like

  2. Performing Jauhar and choosing death to avoid being molested, raped and murdered was a sad reality for women back then. It aggravates me to no end that women were left with no choice except death as a panacea to all their woes. The societal rules and lust of men were primal and insatiable that left women with no reasonable choice except death.
    I beg to differ on certain accounts though, women performing Jauhar has a lot to do with the impotence of people around her unable to protect her from lust monsters and barbaric practices than her honour and dignity. Jauhar is a vicious and contemptuous practice and by justifying it as honorary, prideful and sacrifical we might be validating it, don’t you think?
    Maybe not all women loved their husbands(protectors back then) to jump upon instinct in fire due to their inability to lead a life sans husband. Many marriages were matrimonial alliances. Jauhar signifies the helplessness of a woman at the hands of cruel monsters, her fears, her anguish more than her honour and pride.
    Jauhar is not a representation of bravery or honour but the impotency of society that failed to protect it’s women and made her choose death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, I’m apologetic to revert late.
      Now, when talking about an issue like jauhar or societal rules being inflicted upon women in India, we can’t be complete black or white, its the grey space that we see things in, since the beginning.
      Firstly, calling it impotency of men around those women to save them would be too unjustified don’t you think so? Reason- it is very incontrovertible that one army or one king definitely dies or gets defeated, so it’s all about one’s situation and not impotency I guess because not all kings could win all the wars of their lives, practically.
      But yes seeing jauhar as a last resort is indeed distressful. But in their situation, what could they do? I am not asking this question to you but just expressing, because as a lady you can understand the psyche of women better as to what they go through with such imminent attack of lustful men on their bodies. It really depends on women and I completely accept as well as respect that. But here situation and time were different.
      Now talking about other women who died; yes it’s very much possible that they didn’t want to die or loved their husbands or men of their lives, but the question here was not only about whom they had loved. It’s also not a question that women can’t live sans men, as many women must’ve been widows also who lived on their own. Question here is about what should THEY do to save themselves. Of course a pre-pubescent girl won’t have a lover, but after falling in hands of such enemy she’ll not just be ripped off her respect but will be raped again and again from top to bottom level of soldiers as a reward or bravery and will probably be killed as well, her body organs would be chopped off and shown as a brave act (it’s a truth of post war situation in the medieval history). Knowing all this, forget men but what should THEY have done?? That’s a question mark not for you but what they must have felt back then.
      Lastly, you questioned jauhar being not an act of bravery but society’s failure to protect women. Now let’s accept that we’re talking about an era when societies and rules were made by ONE MAN- The King. So obviously when one king dies and another one takes over, where does the role of society to save women lies???
      You said that men FAIL(ED) to save women and men WERE crual and lustful.
      It’s very unfortunate that the situation hasn’t changed. Yes. With Nirbhaya’s and millions of other cases, who would we blame? Such lustful monsters still roam, such failure still is rampant. Even today women face such situation even when we live in a CIVILISED SOCIETY. So, its not about mere impotency but when such situation knocks the door, we-both men amd women- take desicion on the basis of our conscience, our moral values and what we  think is right and wrong and most importantly- what’s worth living for (as just because you breath doesn’t mean you LIVE). And if we understand this point we indeed will accept that those women did what they could for not only honor and womanhood but they demarcated right from wrong in their own way. They could swallow poison as well, they could jump off the fort, but their bodies’ distortion? So they chose not only death but most painful one only because they couldn’t compromise on their definition of CONSCIENCE. AND THAT is the reason it’s called an act of bravery, not only because they simply died, because hundreds of people die by suicide every moment.
      And/But again I would say that in current day and society I am NOT endorsing jauhar AT ALL because it’s a woman’s wish at the end of day to live OR die. She can do what she wishes to. Time has changed and such situations that lead to jauhar of queens are not there although many many other situations are there for the misery of women. But I’ll always say that it is and must always be the wish of women, or even men to decide what’s their true definition of life and honour, courage and bravery, impotency and practicality.
      I’m glad to recieve your opinion on the article.
      Thanks 😊

      Like

  3. Why do we forget the fact that for many woman who performed jauhar, the act would have been a socio-cultural compulsion.
    I am seriously disturbed by how this was all done

    Like

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