The Jat community of Bharatpur is up in arms against Ashutosh Govarikar’s film Panipat for the incorrect portrayal of Maharaja Surajmal of Bharatpur as a greedy king. They burnt an effigy of Govarikar and demanded that Panipat be banned. Rajasthan tourism minister too has demanded a ban on the movie. Cutting across party lines elected representatives from the Jat community have demanded that the scenes be removed or else the movie be banned.
The movie is based on the third battle of Panipat that was fought in 1761 between the Marathas and Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali. The Maratha army was led by commander Sadashiv Rao Bhanu.. The movie also shows him speaking a mix of Rajasthani and Haryanavi, while he spoke Braj language.
Rajasthan tourism minister Vishvendra Singh; a member of the erstwhile Bharatpur royal family and descendant of Maharaja Surajmal has demanded that that the film be banned. “It is sad that a noble man like Maharaja Surajmal has been incorrectly portrayed in the movie Panipat. There is heavy resentment in the Jats of Rajasthan and North India. To avoid a law and order situation, the movie should be banned.”
MP from Nagaur Hanuman Beniwal has said, “Maharaja Surajmal is the only Hindu king who fought the Moughals and defeated them to win over Delhi and Agra. He is an ideal for the society and any effort to tarnish his image and distort history will not be tolerated.” The Parliamentarian has appealed to the producers and the Censor board that the disputed scenes be removed from the film.
Former chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje also tweeted on the issue. “The incorrect portrayal of the noble, self-respecting, highly revered Maharaja Surajmal is condemnable.”
MLA from Khimsar Narayan Beniwal has expressed anguish at the repeated distortion of Rajasthan’s history in films. “It is so unfortunate that while they show no respect for the state’s history and distort it for commercial interests. Scripts cannot be written to cater to box office. The government should decide on a policy for verifying facts about historical films. ”
Historians refute claims made in the movie. “Why would he demand Agra when the Red Fort of Agra was already under Maharaja Surajmal before the battle of Panipat. Sadashiv Rao had met Maharaja Surajmal who had laid down four conditions for his support. He had asked Marathas to leave their heavy artillery go into battle using light guns. Women who had come to fight in the battle would not be allowed to fight. They should be kept safe in Jhansi or Gwalior and if the distance was a deterrent they should be kept safe in Bharatpur, Deeg or Kumher forts. The battle would be fought on the guerrilla warfare and battle strategy decided by Surajmal,” said Ramveer Singh Verma a historian.
Verma added “Maharaja Surajmal wanted that Gaziuddin be appointed Nizam in Delhi. He wanted to forge Hindu Muslim unity and keep Afghans at bay. He also wanted that the terrace of Deewan E Aam in Delhi should not be broken. But Sadashiv Rao refused these conditions and went alone for the battle,” said Ramveer Singh Verma a historian.
“After Sadashiv Rao was killed in battle the injured women and soldiers lived in Bharatpur under the protection of Maharaja Surajmal for over eight months and it was announced that they were state guests. They were then sent to Maharashtra under the protection of the Bharatpur kingdom’s army,” added Verma In fact there is a Jat Chaubisi near Nasik, these are villages where Jats from the Bharatpur army settled on invitation of Marathas who gave them lands.
Jats cry foul over portrayal of Maharaja Surajmal in film #Panipat— Sangeeta Pranvendra (@sangpran) December 8, 2019
Demand a ban or objectionable scenes be removed
This is #AshutoshGowariker's second film facing allegations of distorting history. Earlier #Rajputs had opposed #JodhaAkbar and it was not released in #Rajasthan pic.twitter.com/aOvuqF8BD7
Nem Singh a Jat leader from Bharatpur who is leading the protests has said that there would be violent protests if the movie is not banned. “Jats from Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are angry with the manner in which our revered king has been depicted. We will launch an agitation.
”This is Govarikar’s second movie that is facing trouble in Rajasthan. His earlier movie Jodha Akbar had faced the wrath of the Rajput community and not been released in the state.