On January 27, the foot soldiers of Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) deliberately damaged the set of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s forthcoming historical Padmavati in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rajput Sabha burnt Bhansali’s figurine and issued threats of terrible repercussions if history was twisted.In Rajasthan, the attacks on the freedom of expression aren't sporadic. In 2008, the SRKS held protests against the screening of Ashutosh Gowariker’s film Jodha Akbar and in 2014, Ekta Kapoor’s speech was disrupted at the seventh edition of Jaipur Lit Fest for producing the same TV series.The fringe group assaulted Sanjay Leela Bhansali – alleging distortion of historical facts and portraying the queen of Chittor, Padmavati in a bad light.However, the existence of Padmavati is only certifiable through Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem Padmavat which was published 200 years after queen Padmavati’s death.In 2008, the SRKS claimed that Jodha Bai was Akbar’s daughter-in-law; if so, Akbar’s son Jahangir’s memoir Tuzuki-i-Jahangir does not mention anything about his beloved wife Jodha. As per renowned historian and former chairman of Indian Council for Historical Research, the celebrated Jodha bai never existed!Unfortunately, the attacks on artists to save the ‘honour’ of queens is merely based on folklore.Also Read: Can We Stop Glorifying Padmavati For Choosing Honour Over Life?Discrimination in the ‘Land of Kings’The history of Rajasthan is based on little information. A series of interpretation of limited data – in sync with misinterpretation – leads to the enigma.However, the thugs of SRKS and other pressure groups fighting for the ‘honour’ of historical queens must realise that, in the present day, there are bigger battles for the women in Rajasthan. Once known as “the land of kings”, the state has cultivated a culture that accepts open discrimination against women. In the remote parts of the state, age-old customs and traditions are deeply rooted. Girls are often given names such as Mafi (sorry) or Dhapu (enough).In the desert state of India, the condition of women is pitiable in comparison to other states. If a baby girl is ‘predicted’ during pregnancy, many will often label the impending birth as having a ‘stone in your stomach’. Even after the prohibition of child marriage act, 2006, Rajasthan has the highest percentage of married females between ages 10 and 14; the young girls in the family are married off if an elderly person dies. Most of the women go the extra mile in a walk for water only to collect it from uncovered wells. Shockingly, 89% of the women in rural still use firewood to cook food. Though Vasundhara Raje is the first female Chief Minister of Rajasthan, the state of women is appalling.As per IndiaSpend analysis of social indicators and demographic data of Indian states – Rajasthan is one of the worst states for women in India. Women in Bhilwara were forced to drink water from shoes in the name of expelling a demon. The women are subjected to domestic violence, forced to bear more children and also, deaths during pregnancy are common. In fact, Rajasthan has a high mortality rate – 224 deaths per one lakh births. The idleness of the government has also rendered 73% of women in Rajasthan jobless.Present-Day Women Need More HelpThe honour clowns of Rajasthan have failed to provide help, even on a small scale, to these women.Instead of asking questions about developmental opportunities for present-day women, the pressure groups are thumping their chests about protecting a fictitious queen’s honour.After the skirmish with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the founder of SRKS Lokendra Singh Kalve said that 7.64 lakh registered members across Rajasthan are ready to oppose the distortion of historical facts – as one of its eleven aims committed to the welfare of Rajputs.I urge one part of its number to help women in actuality rather than glorifying queens of the imagination.Also Read: Church of Harry Potter and Padmavati: When Fiction Becomes Legend(The writer is an independent scholar. He can be reached @shamant18. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.