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‘The Battle Story of Somnath’: Film on Islamist tyrant Mahmud Ghazni’s invasion of Somnath Temple announced

The teaser of the film, The Battle Story of Somnath, gives a background of the Somnath Jyotirling’s history across the Yugas

On Saturday, July 15, a pan-India film titled “The Battle Story of Somnath” was announced. The film, as the name suggests, revolves around the invasions of Islamist tyrant Mahmud of Ghazni against the Somnath Temple in present-day Gujarat.

The film is written-directed by Anup Thapa and produced by Manish Mishra and Ranjit Sharma. The Battle Story of Somnath is a multilingual project which will be released in twelve major Indian languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi.

Taking to Twitter, noted film critic Taran Adarsh shared a teaser of the film giving an insight into the concept of the film.

“PAN-INDIA FILM ‘THE BATTLE STORY OF SOMNATH’ ANNOUNCED. Producers #2idiotFilms and #ManishMishra have announced a PAN-#India film, titled #TheBattleStoryOfSomnath. Directed by #AnupThapa. Co-produced by #RanjeetSharma,” Taran Adarsh tweeted.

The teaser of the film, The Battle Story of Somnath, gives a background of the Somnath Jyotirling’s history across the Yugas as it says, “The saga of history, the first Jyotirling of Lord Shiv. Chandra Dev made it from gold in Satyug. Made from brass by Ravan in Tretayug. Lord Shri Krishna in Dwaparyug. The first biggest invader Mahmud Ghazni, the 1025 CE attack. Only battle fought by the common people.”

The teaser further talks about more than fifty thousand lives sacrificed as it moves forward to Independent India’s first Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel taking the initiative to rebuild Somnath. 

It further shows a quote of India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad saying, “Somnath is a symbol of the victory of construction on destruction.”

The main casting for the film will be done later as the makers are currently focusing on developing the story. The release date of the film has not been specified as of now.

Reportedly, The Battle Story of Somnath director Anup Thapa has said that the film is different from other cinematic retellings of Mahmud Ghazni’s invasion and destruction of the Somnath Temple and the first Jyotirling of Lord Shiv. Thapa plans to offer a version of Indian history through the film that has often been forgotten or distorted by some historians. 

Mahmud Ghazni and the invasion of Somnath

Mahmud of Ghazni was a Muslim invader and Islamist from the dynasty of Ghaznavids who sacked and ravaged the temple in Gujarat in the 10th century. He also broke the Jyotirling and is known for murdering thousands of devotees who were attempting to safeguard the temple. He is said to have raided and looted India 17 times, drawn by its riches. In addition to the Somnath temple, he is thought to have destroyed temples in Kangra, Mathura, and Jwalamukhi. He earned the moniker ‘idol breaker’ as a result of anti-Hindu invasions.

In 1025, Mahmud Ghazni made his sixteenth voyage to India and pillaged the renowned deity of Somnath. In Hindi, “Somnath” means “moon master.” Ghazni destroyed the Somnath Jyotirling into four pieces, displaying his profound hatred for Kafirs (infidels) and their idols, or symbols of worship. 

During his 16th raid on the Somnath Temple, he smashed and destroyed Lord Somnath’s idol into four pieces, according to ancient accounts. It is believed that he not only broke the Somnath idol, he even took its pieces to tread over the footsteps of the Jama Masjid in Ghazna, Afghanistan. 

It is said that before looting the riches of the temple, Mahmud Ghazni fought a battle against the Hindus comprising the temple guards, brahmins and locals defending the temple, the battle resulted in over 50,000 deaths.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first union home minister, spearheaded the reconstruction of the Somnath temple following independence. The idea of rebuilding the ancient temple was opposed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw it as an act of Hindu revivalism.

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