New Delhi, January 26 (Global Village Space): An Indian historian, Rana Safvi, claims it is the character of the Muslim conqueror Alauddin Khilji which has been tainted and misrepresented not that of Queen Padmini (Padmavati) in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film ‘Padmaavat’.
This distorted representation seems to be a part of a larger scheme of an ongoing movement in the country that distorts history by portraying Muslim rulers as being invariably cruel, without any reference to authentic information or source, Safvi charged.
As opposed to historical facts, Alauddin Khilji is portrayed in the movie as an uncivilized and barbaric ruler, she pointed out.
The Delhi-based Aligarh Muslim University educated Historian Rana Safvi, has presented proof from history that contradicts Khilji’s depiction in the movie.
She said that it was under Khilji’s rule the Delhi Sultanate drew heavily from Persia, one of the oldest and most sophisticated civilizations of all time.
“The rulers followed the exact code of conduct and etiquette as in Persia. It would have been very formal — the eating, dining and sartorial choices,” Safvi pointed out.
Cruel Not Uncivilized
Accoding to Safvi, Khilji was cruel and was an ambitious expansionist but he certainly observed the nuances of Persian culture which he promoted in his court and domain.
“Khilji was aware that he was cruel but he was not the kind to be running after women and then conquering kingdoms. He was only interested in expansion and conquests, ” said Safvi in her statement.
Khilji was a ruthless imperialist but was good military strategist too, she added. “He was trying to strike terror into the hearts of others.”
He wasn’t religious, according to her.
“Perhaps he may have been the only King who didn’t go to read prayers at Friday congregations,” Safvi pointed out.
The famous poet, Amir Khusro, who flourished in the 13th century, wrote about Khilji’s rule but did not describe him as a barbaric ruler.
It also has to be borne in mind that Bhansali’s movie ‘Padmaavat’ was inspired by a poem penned by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi two centuries after Khilji’s death.
Heema Chaturvedi of Allahabad University believes that misrepresentation of Khilji is an attempt to twist history.
“There is a clear pattern to color Islamic rulers as villains with no reference to any facts based on authentic sources of information,” she said.
According to Penguin India which has published Rana Safvi;s books, she has a deep love for verse and a passion for the culture and heritage of the Indian subcontinent. She runs a popular blog, ‘Hazrat e Dilli’, which talks about Delhi’s culture, food, heritage and age-old traditions.
She is founder and moderator of #Shair on Twitter, a forum that has revived popular interest in Urdu poetry in a major way. Rana is a postgraduate in History from Aligarh Muslim University. She lives in Delhi with her family. Penguin India has published her works.
(The featured image at the top shown Ranveer Singh as Allauddin Khilji in Padmaavat)