A new Bollywood movie about a legendary Hindu queen has sparked mass protests from far-right Hindu groups across the country.
The movie, “Padmaavat,” is loosely based on the tale of a 13th-century queen named Padmavati, who resisted Muslim invaders led by Sultan Alauddin Khilji in the Hindu Rajput Kingdom of Mewar. According to legend, Padmavati set herself on fire rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan.
Many far-right Hindus have violently protested over what they say is an inaccurate portrayal of Padmavati. Roads were blocked, malls were set on fire and some women reportedly vowed to set themselves on fire, all because of the movie’s portrayal of the queen.
“They are showing our history incorrectly. They have not given a religious touch to it – they have given a glamorous touch to it,” Manjushri Shaktawat, an organizer for one protest, told The Washington Post. “If they are showing such disrespect to Padmini, who sacrificed so much and died, how will they treat Rajput women in the future? The only weapon we have is to kill ourselves and finish it off.”
Some historians argue that there’s no historical evidence that Padmavati even existed and add that the protests exacerbate political tensions between Muslims and Hindus in India.