New Delhi, March 16, 2017: These days, India is maintaining the accounts of tragic and severe clashes between different ideologies, where each of them is proving to get a hold on another to emerge out as superior to all. This latest battleground provided to this ongoing ‘battle between ideologies’ is the entertainment sect of our society, where this battle is turning bloody and murky passing each day. The phenomenon of taking offenses from almost everything has penetrated the threshold of Bollywood and gearing up to contaminate the whole culture of ‘freedom in arts’. Yet again, the sets of “Padmavati” witnessed this vague vandalism.
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Months after director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was attacked on the sets of Padmavati in Jaipur, the film’s sets were vandalised and set on fire in Kolhapur on Tuesday night in a fresh case of vandalism. The film’s sets were attacked between 1 and 2 am on Wednesday and according to reports, animals were present on Padmavati sets at the time of the incident and a horse is said to be badly injured. None of the film’s cast or crew was there at Kolhapur’s Masai plateau on Tuesday night where the sets have been erected.
Bhansali Production issued a statement which read, “Filed a complaint against miscreants who vandalized our costume & jewelry and set it on fire Padmavati. No loss of life, no one seriously hurt on vandalized shoot of Padmavati.”
According to police, a group of about 20 people stormed the film sets bteween 1 and 2 AM on Wednesday. “Bhansali had asked police protection during the day which was provided. However, the set was not provided protection during the night,” said Mahadev Tambade, SP, Kolhapur to Indian Express.
The Shri Rajput Karni Sena in Rajasthan which earlier enacted the similar sort of vandalism over the cast and crew of Padmavati and SLB Productions has hailed the “Hindutva Organisation” behind the incident.
“We salute the Hindutva organisation which vandalised the sets of the film. It was undertaken by a like minded people organisation and we have been in touch with them,” said Mahipal Singh, state president of Shri Rajput Karni Sena.
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In between all these incidents of vandalism done in the name of promoting a specific ideology, the objectivity of the state is crucially demanded, which is unfortunately could not be seen till now.
The regressive nature of these acts actually provide mileage to the offenders and shame to the victims. Despite being the victim, Bhansali and his prduction team officialy issued their apologies and clarified their stance of portraying the historical characters in the movie as accurately as described in the History. The Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’ will be a work of fiction not the documentary, so the portrayal of the characters in the movie relies totally on the makers of the movie, which should not be hindered by any political or social group.
The trial of (political or social groups) their offenses should at least keep patience till the release of movie that is offending them.
The mileage SRKS gathered with the Bhansali incident in Jaipur inspired them to step a foot further in their vague vandalism.
On March 5, SRKS also destroyed two mirrors at the Chittorgarh fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in protest against a legend associated with Padmini. According to legend, Padmini’s face was shown to Allauddin Khilji in these mirrors. “Our warnings were ignored by district administration. In script too, Shobha Sant (CEO of Bhansali Productions) had insisted on a scene where Khilji sees Rani Padmini in the mirror,” said Mahipal Singh.
The state’s silence and reticence over this issue is questionable largely as it’s encouraging the Shri Rajput Karni Sena to spread their venom more aggressively.
The inaction of states over SRKS is adding to the misery of Bhansali camp. “Unfortunately, about 70-80 % of the costumes and Jewellery for the movie have been destroyed. Few animals who were present when they attacked are severely injured, said a spokesperson for Bhansali Productions to Indian Express.
-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of moderation in a fraternity of jingoistic nationalists; a peace visionary in a region riven by religious animosity; and a man who believed in India’s destiny and was ready to fight for it.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), who died on Thursday, will go down in history as a person who tried to end years of hostility with Pakistan and put development on the front burner of the country’s political agenda. He was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.
Even though he lived the last 13 years of his life in virtual isolation, dogged by debilitating illnesses and bedridden, he has left an enduring legacy for the nation and the region where he was much loved and respected across the political spectrum and national boundaries, including in Pakistan.
In the tumultuous period he presided over the destiny of the world’s largest democracy, Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state and then almost went to war with Pakistan before making peace with it in the most dramatic fashion.
In the process, his popularity came to match that of Indira Gandhi, a woman he admired for her guts even as he hated her politics.
He also became the best-known national leader after Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.
After despairing for years that he would never become Prime Minister and was destined to remain an opposition leader all his life, he achieved his goal, but only for 13 days, from May 16-28, 1996, after his deputy, L.K. Advani, chose not to contest elections that year.
His second term came on March 19, 1998, and lasted 13 months, a period during which India stunned the world by undertaking a series of nuclear tests that invited global reproach.
Although his tenure again proved short-lived, his and his government’s enhanced stature following the world-defying blasts enabled him to return as Prime Minister for the third time on October 13, 1999, a tenure that lasted a full five-year term.
When finally he stepped down in May 2004, after an election that he was given to believe he would win, it marked the end of a long and eventful political career spanning six decades.
Vajpayee had gone into these elections riding a personality cult that projected him as a man who had brought glory to the nation in unprecedented ways. The BJP’s election strategy rested on seeking a renewed mandate over three broad pillars of achievement that the government claimed — political stability in spite of the pulls and pressures of running a multi-party coalition; a “shining” economy that saw a dizzying 10.4 percent growth in the last quarter of the previous year; and peace with Pakistan that changed the way the two countries looked at each other for over 50 years.
The results of the elections could not have come as a greater shock to a man who was hailed for his achievements and who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 influential men of the decade.
Success didn’t come easily to the charismatic politician, who was born on Christmas Day in 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, into a family of moderate means. His father was a school teacher and Vajpayee would later recall his early brush with poverty.
He did his Masters in Political Science, studying at the Victoria College in Gwalior and at the DAV College in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he first contested, and lost, elections. He began his professional career as a journalist, working with Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly, and two Hindi dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun. By then he had firmly embraced the ideals of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
But even as he struggled to win electoral battles, his command over Hindi, the lingua franca of the North Indian masses, his conciliatory politics and his riveting oratory brought him into public limelight.
His first entry into Parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. It was only in 1971 that he won a Lok Sabha election. He was elected to the lower house seven times and to the Rajya Sabha twice.
Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975 and put her political opponents in jail. When the Janata Party took office in 1977, dethroning the Congress for the first time, he became the foreign minister.
The lowest point in his career came when he lost the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, that too from his birthplace Gwalior, after Rajiv Gandhi won an overwhelming majority following his mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And the BJP he led ended up with just two seats in
the 545-member Lok Sabha, in what looked like the end of the road for the right-wing party.
In no time, Vajpayee was replaced and “eclipsed” by his long-time friend L.K. Advani.
Although they were the best of friends publicly, Vajpayee never fully agreed with Advani’s and the assorted Hindu nationalist groups’ strident advocacy of Hindutva, an ideology ranged against the idea of secular India.
Often described as the right man in the wrong party, there were also those who belittled him as a moderate “mask” to a hardline Hindu nationalist ideology. Often he found his convictions and value systems at odds with the party, but the bachelor-politician never went against it.
It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee — one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it — that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum. It was this trait that made him the Prime Minister when the BJP’s allies concluded they needed a moderate to steer a hardliner, pro-Hindu party.
He brought into governance measures that created for India a distinct international status on the diplomatic and economic fronts. In his third prime ministerial stint, Vajpayee launched a widely acclaimed diplomatic initiative by starting a bus service between New Delhi and Pakistan’s Lahore city.
Its inaugural run in February 1999 carried Vajpayee and was welcomed on the border by his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was suspended only after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament that nearly led to a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The freeze between the two countries, including an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the border for nearly a year, was finally cracked in the spring of 2003 when Vajpayee, while in Kashmir, extended a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. That led to the historic summit in January 2004 with then President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad — a remarkable U-turn after the failed summit in Agra of 2001. Despite the two men being so far apart in every way, Musharraf developed a strong liking for the Indian leader.
His unfinished task, one that he would probably rue, would be the peace process with Pakistan that he had vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
He was not known as “Atal-Ji”, a name that translates into firmness, for nothing. He could go against the grain of his party if he saw it deviate from its path. When Hindu hardliners celebrated the destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, he was full of personal remorse for the apocalyptic action and called it — in a landmark interview to IANS — the “worst miscalculation” and a “misadventure”. He even despaired that “moderates have no place — who is going to listen to the voice of sanity?”
In his full five-year term, he successively carried forward India’s economic reforms programme with initiatives to improve infrastructure, including flagging off a massive national highway project that has become associated with his vision, went for massive privatisation of unviable state undertakings despite opposition from even within his own party.
While his personal image remained unsullied despite his long innings in the murky politics of this country, his judgment was found wanting when his government was rocked by an arms bribery scandal that sought to expose alleged payoffs to some senior members of his cabinet. His failure to speak up when members of his party and its sister organisations, who are accused of killing more than 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat, was questioned by the liberal fraternity who wondered aloud about his secular proclamations. He wanted then Chief Minister — now Prime Minister, Narendra Modi — to take responsibility for the riots and quit but was prevailed upon by others not to press his decision.
A day before his party lost power, Vajpayee was quoted as saying in a television interview that if and when he stepped down he would like to devote his time to writing and poetry. But fate ruled otherwise. The man who once rued that “I have waited too long to be Prime Minister” found his last days in a world far removed from the adulation and attention — though across the nation people prayed for his well-being — surrounded only by care-givers and close family whom he even failed to recognize. (IANS)