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Can We Stop Glorifying Padmavati For Choosing Honour Over Life?

Padmavati threw herself into fire to escape dishonour; it is 2017 and women are still told rape is the end of life.

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Hi, 2017! I’m Rani Padmavati! Yes yes, you know ALL about me already. You’ve probably Googled me a billion times… you know, that woman who caused a huge ruckus on a film set somewhere? Haan, wohi!

Anyhoo – if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s how the poet Jayasi described me – queen of queens, breaker of hearts. The husband loved me, the Khilji emperor wanted me – because, duh, I was just so damn beautiful!

But – guess what’s incredible? 500 years since my legend was written, men still want to appropriate me! Yup, they want to appropriate a fictional female who was brought up to believe she must throw herself into fire rather than face rape...

Why are you fighting exactly? Why do you want to protect my ‘honour’? Forget for a moment whether I existed or not. Forget whether I’m fact or fiction. Are you seriously telling me you want to deify a woman who set herself on fire so she wouldn’t be raped?

Today, not much has changed. A woman shouldn’t be raped, they say, because she is someone’s mother, daughter, sister, girlfriend. A woman shouldn’t be raped, they say, because she belongs to another man – her protector and guardian.

I belonged to a Rajput ruler, they said, and therefore, I must not be taken by a Muslim invader.

It is 2017 and women are still told that rape is as good as the end of their life. A woman without her izzat will belong to no man – the horror! – and therefore, she must fade into oblivion.

It’s 2017. Can we stop glorifying jauhar? Can we stop glorifying a character who was conditioned to believe that honour was higher than life – something women are still told, today?

Set a better example, people! STOP venerating the Padmavatis and Sitas for all the wrong reasons.

Whether she lived or not, she deserved better than that. So do you and I.

Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Producer: Erum Gour
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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