I’ve been exceptionally busy the past few weeks (and likely only to get busier in the run up to the New Year). What do Indian commentators think on the Padmavati furore (indefinitely postponed).

18 thoughts on “Padamavati”

  1. I don’t understand the Padmavati furor, because:
    1) the people making the furor haven’t watched the film (I think, correct me if I am wrong)
    2) threats of violence and intimidation are always completely wrong
    3) freedom of speech is extremely important
    4) if the movie turns out to be deeply offensive (which it might not be . . . don’t yet know), isn’t the best way to deal with it via peaceful loving nonviolent activism (marches, social media campaigns, letters). Wouldn’t letting the movie come out and turning it into a “teaching moment” be best for the Indian people and the world?

    This smacks of the travesty India committed against Salman Rushdie by impeding his freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech, how can dialogue with Islamists happen; how can Islamic reform proceed; how can the world ameliorate the threat of Islamism? Any limitation of freedom of speech will be used by Islamists to further reduce the freedom of speech of muslims. Muslims have already suffered 14 centuries too long from Islamism. Protecting the principle of freedom of speech for nonmuslims (by allowing Padamavati to be released and protecting everyone connected to the movie) is necessary to protect the freedom of speech of muslims; which is necessary to address the global islamist threat.

  2. I may do a longer version when I’ve more time, but in short the Padmavati furore is entirely a result of the spineless Indian government kow-towing to two-bit Rajput community police, who have otherwise very little to show for themselves other than over-grown moustaches and pervasive misogyny.

    If they are so concerned about female honour, they ought to try to stop female infanticide in Rajasthan, than issue violent threats against female actors or attack directors which they have no right to do.

    The persistent defeats the Rajputs suffered from Turks, Moghals, Marathas, English seems to have left a massive chip of their shoulder and the impotent males (with hurt egos) now take it out on women. Only goes to show how large parts of India are still medieval misogynist shitholes.

      1. Indeed, but does that matter, given Rajputness is a cultural attribute (with some genetic continuity)?

        King George was 100% German by blood (Saxe-Coburg on father’s side and Schleswig-Holstein on mother’s) but no less “English” during WW1. He renamed the English royal house from Saxe-Coburg to Windsor during the war. Didn’t speak any German either obviously.

        Human beings are great apes and in many respects slaves to our genes, but human culture has had an equally important (and much faster) evolution of its own. Cultural speciation is often as (if not more) important as genetic kinship.

        1. Well that’s why they renamed the Dynasty.. and the whiff of Germanness has never left the Royal Family either.. they do German Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve..

          There was an interesting comment I remembered reading that Kingship in Europe was essentially a Germanic institution..

          1. Aren’t the English “Germanic people”? Isn’t English a “Germanic language”. The English culture and religion were Germanic, before they became Christian. Germanic England is interesting in that it was conquered by the Norse . . . who themselves are an offshoot of Germanic peoples. So England has at least two large Germanic influxes that I am aware of. Too bad our beloved Abrahamic Christians tried to erase much of the ancient pre Christian history of England; which is why we know so little.

            The Germanic languages, religion and culture are part of the Indo-Aryan language/cultural/religious family. Same 7 days of the week to the same celestial objects (Sunday =Sun, Monday = Moon, Tuesday = Mars, Wednesday = Mercury, Thursday = Jupitor, Friday = Venus, Saturday = Saturn). Each major star, planet and moon have similar astrology properties. Similar original Gods from the proto Samhita Veda pantheon.

          2. I agree there’s some residual “Germanness” in the English royals, but the link with that Germanic umbilical cord was permanently been severed a century ago. It was the same with Moghals, who were of Rajput (maternal) lineage but culturally quite different. Same story with the Ottoman sultans with their Greek maternal lineage.

            My point was that genetic kinship barely stops people from murdering each other or calling each other barbarians etc. Human history is littered with such examples.

          3. HM the Queen’s brothers-in-law were Nazi officers; the Queen Mother was the first “Anglo” (Scottish aristocracy) infusion into the bloodline since the Georgians.

            The Royal Family is/was very very German; it’s just two World Wars that broke the link (King George V was allegedly terrified of the Russian Revolution and hence refused to help out his cousin’s husband, the Tsar).

            Also it was the sinking of a British passenger ship in the First World War that really created the anti-German tide and precipitated the shift to Windsor. Queen Victoria’s mother tongue was German and she may have even spoken English with a German accent.

            I ceded your point that for instance the War for Spanish Succession was fought between two cousins for different flags. Kinship & Kingship have intricate & complex connections..

            The Mughals pioneered Indo-Persian mores, which has more influence on modern South Asia, than the Rajput or the Sikhs or the Marathas. India is still defined by Mughlai cuisine, the Taj Mahal & Urdu songs try as she might to break away from it for a more Saffron streak..

          4. @AnAn

            // The Germanic languages, religion and culture are part of the Indo-Aryan language/cultural/religious family. //

            That is totally incorrect!

            Secondly, linguistic classification of English as Germanic is correct, but it does not imply any social/political affiliation. E.g. Kurds hate to be called Iranian and I know of many who refuse to speak/understand Farsi (even when they know it). Yet Kurdish is linguistically an “Iranian” language. Same is the case for Polish being Slavic (like Russian), but Poles have always hated Russians with a vengeance. Or Urdu is classified as Western Hindi – enough to trigger many Urduwallahs.

            These are labels linguists use for classification (based on historic evolution of languages) and *must not* be extrapolated for anything else.

          5. Lol which Kurds do you know. Your knowledge of Iran is a bit comical truth be told..

            Hindi is anyway a Persian word 🙂 irony of ironies..

  3. Zachary, Hindi is a Persian word but ultimately derives from Sanskrit Sindhu (great river, refers to the Sindhu/Indus river).

    Even if the language employed by Hindi films employs Persian loanwords (today it also employs English loanwords) and that cinematic tradition has important influences from Urdu romantic poetry, Urdu songs simply does not capture the breadth of expression embodied in Indian film songs.

    Loanwords do not define a language.

    There is no way songs ‘Humko Mann Ki Shakti Dena’, ‘Tu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hai’ and ‘Moh Moh Ke Dhage’ could be called ‘Urdu songs’. No tradition in Urdu poetry accomodates the use of lines like,
    “Tu Kaun Hai, Tera Naam Hai Kya, Sita Bhi Yahan Badnaam Hui” (despite the Persian bad-). But Kuch to Log Kahenge is a Hindi classic.

    But is very easy and natural for Indians to call “Huzoor Is Tarah” a Hindi song. Hindi (in the colloquial not official sense) is simply a larger universe than Urdu.

    And regarding ‘Mughlai cuisine’ tomatoes, potatoes, onions were all introduced to the subcontinent by European colonizers. Try making ‘Mughlai’ without these.

    1. Urdu & Mughlai cuisine have always been syncretic; it’s simply the stress on Saffronic purity that is confounding..

      You are of course making the mistake of conflating Hindustani & Hindi. There is a very rich popular tradition of Hindustani songs that has been renamed Hindi.

      This craze to somehow indigenise everything back to a Sanskrit source is self-defeating. My point is that anyway Hindi/Hindu are labels adopted & pioneered by Persians in the first place well before Islam. India’s face to the world has anyway been defined, to some extent, by foreign forces.

      It’s a pity your comment didn’t touch upon the fact that the Taj Mahal is in fact a secret Ram Temple built by thrice born Brahmins..

      1. If Urdu is syncretic, why not Hindi ? And let me point out here that nobody is forcing the creators of these songs to call them Hindi. They are doing it out of their own volition.

        The Hindustani traditions you mention are more apparent in the songs of ‘Baiju Bawra’ and ‘Naya Daur’. The songs I mentioned are derived from Bhajan traditions, or more recent Hindi poetic traditions, which were not present in Hindustani.

        I made no stress on ‘Saffronic purity’, in fact I acknowledged the influence of Urdu poetic traditions, which itself derives from Persian poetry.

          1. I don’t understand the attempt at Sophistry. Conflating Hindi the Language family with Shuddh Hindi, which has a very different history & context, doesn’t necessarily make sense.

            In no way am I castigating the popular linguistic traditions of the Hindi Cow Belt.

            To analogise to Iran; irrespective of Ferdowsi’s efforts, Arabic is fundamental to modern Persian. To Latinise (Aryanise) the script or somehow eradicate the Arabic infusion into Persian is to strip the language of its vitality. I find it funny when I hear Iranians drop in French words in their Farsi, it’s not a natural graft..

    2. Onions have been a part of cuisine across the ancient world for millennia.

      Tomatoes and Patotos were exported from the Americas to the rest of the world in the 1500s AD.

      Pharsi, Urdu and Hindi are all part of the Indo Iranian European Aryan language family; which is why they are so similar.

      Ferdinand de Saussure (founder of modern linguistics, Structuralism, Post Modernism, and to a large degree modern academic humanities) speculated that there was a proto Aryan language they all derived from. Before Ferdinand, European Enlightenment scholars speculated that Vedic Samhita Sanskrit was the original proto Aryan Language from which all Aryan languages derived; which is my view.

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