Jaipur, April 26: After the ruckus over the film Padmavati, where the sets of the movie being shot, were destroyed and vandalised, Jaipur witnessed another vandalisation of an ad film shoot of a car in the Walled City yesterday.
The protesters say that the shooting unit had recreated a Pakistani City with posters specifically mentioning ‘welcome to Lahore’, which was unacceptable. The unit had put up banners and signages such as ‘Rawalpindi Chaiwala’ and ‘Karachi Sweeta’ in the Chandni Chowk area. All this they did with the permission from the concerned authorities.
But the protesters belonging to the Dharohar Bachao Samiti, who work in the area of conservation, felt the banners and signs hurt their religious sentiments and hence they tore down the banners, posters and destroyed the shooting set.
Although the crew members of Mumbai based Good Morning films, were not manhandled , they wrapped up their shoot and did not lodge any police complaint and did not want to comment on the issue.
But the question here is are our religious sentiments and beliefs so fragile that they can be hurt with just some posters and banners depicting Pakistani cities put up by an ad film unit for their shoot?
Samiti member Bharat Sharma’s defence is that they created Pakistan in the area by putting up poster in our temples and they in no way can tolerate such things. And hence the tearing down of posters, a form of vandalism. Will our city, famous world over lose its distinct identity because of some posters of Pakistan for a film shoot?
And why in Rajasthan people/protestors are not afraid of taking law onto their hands even on mundane, minor issues which can be easily resolved through talks, when the other side may see reason in their argument or protest.
Also the Indian Penal Code allows everyone to go for necessary injunctions to safeguard their sentiments and other personal things. One can file a case against the other party for offending the sentiments; subsequently the judiciary will decide the matter.
But some people in Rajasthan seem to think differently. May be they have the tacit support of the government behind them, so they feel emboldened and do not care about the law of the land.
Just like the case of Pehlu Khan, the dairy farmer from Nuh, Mewar was beaten to death on April 1 for transporting legally purchased cows from Rajasthan.
While home minister Gulab Chand Kataria labeled him as a cow smuggler, claiming there were cases lodged against him, the police investigation has found no previous cases filed against him.
Similarly, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati set was destroyed and he was manhandled by Rajput Karni Sena activists for depicting Rani Padmini of Chittorgarh in a different light. The shooting wrapped up before finishing and they have not returned to the state for further shooting.
What is saddening is that there is no way to distinguish what is acceptable and what is not to a particular set of people. There is no way to tell what may offend the sentiments of someone.
In Rajasthan, the protests against frivolous issues has become common. In the present case, will our city, which has upheld the heritage and culture for Close to 300 years, lose its heritage stamp by a few banners and posters?
But a section of the city’s citizenry, who take pride in protecting our heritage has taken offence much too easily. And government and political parties would rather not speak on such sensitive issues than stand up for free expression.