Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik, Rani Padmini did not choose death, she chose immortality

Mr. Pattnaik, let me begin by admitting that I am not a reader of your numerous books. So I will refrain from commenting on them. I have however, read your tweets and the recent ones about Rani Padmini of Chittorgarh have compelled me to write this letter to you.

You seem to be disgusted by the fact that the people of Mewar and a large population of india regards Rani Padmini as a brave woman worthy of immense respect because she chose self immolation over dishonour. This kind of reverence to a queen who lived 700 years ago for an allegedly “regressive and patriarchal” decision and “celebration” of her sacrifice seems to have outraged your liberal, progressive ideology. Mr. Pattnaik, please allow me to demystify some myths (pun intended ) for you.

Rani Padmini was the wife of Maharawal Ratan Singh who was the ruler of Mewar when Alauddin Khilji decided to conquer the Chittorgarh fort. Now, romanticism and popular culture has made us believe that Khilji attacked Chittorgarh because be wanted to “have” Rani Padmini. This is where all the confusion originates. Because your disillusionment about why Rani Padmini didn’t “choose life” also roots from this confusion. Because this idea that Khilji wanted to “have” Rani Padmini gives rise to the notions that why then she didn’t just let him “have” her and then continued to “Survive and thrive” (your words, not mine)?

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

Unfortunately Mr. Pattnaik, medieval warfare was a little more complicated than that.

Chittorgarh is not a mere fort. It’s a massive 700 acres of fortified city. Formidably built on a 180 metres high mountain top. That’s huge even by medieval standards. The citadel was the seat of power in the region since 7th century and reasonably so. The citadel is massive, difficult to access and most importantly it’s designed to be self sustainable when faced with prolonged siege. The water reservoirs and lands within could sustain an army of 50,000 for almost a year. Considering the dry, sandy landmasses of north western India, you can imagine why the citadel was so coveted. Yes, Chittorgarh means power. Whoever held the fort, held absolute power in the region. It should now be evident why Alauddin Khilji was so interested .

Mr. Bhansali seems to have tried his best to picture Khilji as a roughed, beareded romantic but as any true historian worth his salt would tell you he was no such thing. He was a barbarian who liked killing infants over the heads of their mothers and used to boast about making towers of 60,000 ‘kaafir‘ skulls. As far as sexual orientation goes he was a known homosexual and paedophile. Now if this all powerful sultan had coveted only Rani Padmini don’t you think he would have tried to have her kidnapped and smuggled out? But medieval warfare was more complicated than Bollywood’s twisted romanticism.

The war between Maharawal Ratan Singh and Alauddin Khilji resulted in a 8 month long siege of Chittorgarh. When finally they fought full frontal battle, the Maharawal died fighting. Now, what do you think would have happened then? Let me clarify further. When an invader intent on destroying another kingdom attacks, he does much more than just killing the ruler. Wars are fought more on psychological level than by swords and shields. Why do you think Mr. Pattnaik that even modern nations fiercely protect the family members of their heads of states?

Now how do you think Khilji would have proceeded after he had killed the Maharawal and most of his generals and lead warriors? Yes he would capture the fort. How do you think he would have awarded his battle worn, travel worn and hungry foot-soldiers? He would have ordered them to go berserk on the citadel’s residents. Rape any woman they find, loot anything they can lay their hands on. Mr. Pattnaik, medieval armies where known to even rape and defile corpses.

Now how would he ensure that not a single living soul would dare to resist him further? The answer is obvious. He would hold the royal women and children captive. How he would ensure that the morales of the people of Mewar is broken to such extent that no one would dare an attack on him while he stays there? He would torture his captives and set examples.

Rani Padmini was the queen of a fierce warrior clan. Don’t let the Romanticism and cheap popularization of Bollywood’s film makers fool you into painting Rani Padmini as the naive, demure, fancy doll. Rani Padmini knew what is going to be the fate of herself and hundreds of other women inside the citadel. They would have been raped, brutalised in every way possible, first by the sultan and his chief generals then gradually in decreasing order of military ranking. They would have been flogged, stripped naked and paraded around. Any infants and children would have been killed before their mothers’s eyes and this would go on endlessly till the sultan had absolutely made sure not a single male rajput is left alive and motivated enough to start an uprising. The women who survived would then had been transported to his harems to be sold and resold as sex slaves as long as they live. Think Mr. Pattnaik, what would it have done to the morales of the vanquished people of Mewar who have lost family members in the long war to see their queen and her royal companions flogged through the streets and raped everyday?

Rani Padmini knew better. She made sure that the Rajput flame for vengeance had to be kept burning. She knew she and her companions would have nothing but misery, torture and diseases if they are captured alive. She knew the brutes storming their walls do not even spare corpses in their desparate lust and bid to humiliate. She knew she can’t have her people see her defiled dead body. So she made a choice.

Yes Mr. Pattnaik, a choice. The choice of a queen who deserves every bit of the goddess like reverence she commands amongst her people till date. She decided that the brutes who have killed her husband and his gallant warriors will have nothing but a pile of ashes when then breach the walls of her citadel.  She decided that she will not allow herself to be defiled and insulted. She decided that she will not let her people down. She knew that her life was not merely her own but belonged to the people of Mewar who would one day rise again to avenge their beloved queen.

She could not have been more right Mr. Pattnaik, because Chittorgarh did not perish after Khilji captured it. Rani Padmini had kept the flame burning, merely a decade or so after that, Rajput Sisodiyas regained control of the citadel. Chittorgarh saw lionhearts like Rana Sangram Singh, Rana Udai Singh, Rana Kumbha and many other great Hindu rulers who kept on the glory of Mewar touching unfathomable heights.

Mr. Pattnaik, Rani Padmini did not choose death. She chose immortality.

A proud Indian.

reader, writer, dreamer, no one

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Statue of all ironies: Pritish Nandy uses example of fake news to spread fake news

Pritish Nandy shared a fake image which was earlier shared by Youth Congress leader

West Bengal: TMC workers ‘purify’ the ground with Gangajal and cow dung after BJP holds a rally in Cooch Behar

TMC workers sprinkled Gangajal after applying cow dung on the ground where the rally was held.

Fact check: Did BJP President Amit Shah and PM Modi call Baniyas cheaters and accuse them of profiteering?

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had also been accused of making a casteist remark, which turned out to be a Photoshopped image

2018 Assembly Elections: Here are the BJP internal survey numbers

The final results of all states are to be released on 11th December.
Image Source: Zee News

Sidhu knew of the opening before Imran Khan was sworn in, Kartarpur a bigger conspiracy by ISI: Captain Amarinder Singh

Pakistan General Bajwa had revealed the Kartarpur corridor news to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their PM, Punjab CM Singh indicated “a bigger conspiracy" hatched by the Pak Army.

Uttar Pradesh: Samajwadi party leader detained after being caught on camera assaulting BJP spokesperson

Political leaders who are the so-called representatives of our country have often been seen indulging in such pettiness

Raghuram Rajan backed yet-to-be functional Krea University among 19 new institutes to get ‘Institute of Eminence’ tag

The earlier list which featured yet-to-be-functional Jio Institute was announced, the HRD ministry was mercilessly mocked
Vijay Mallya to be extradited

Big victory for India: UK court orders Vijay Mallya’s extradition who is wanted in India for a Rs. 9000 crore scam

The liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, is wanted in India in connection with an alleged scam worth Rs. 9000 crores and is to be extradited to India.

After stopping BJP’s rath yatra, West Bengal government allows Hindu-hater Bangladeshi Maulana to address meetings in the state

BJP's rath yatra banned, Bangladeshi Islamic preacher welcomed in West Bengal

25 Lakh fake beneficiaries found in Anganwadis of UP, Maharashtra and Assam

The Ministry of Women and Child Development had ordered the survey of Anganwadi Schemes after the crackdown of Assam government on ghost beneficiaries.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,514FansLike
97,333FollowersFollow
6,059SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these