Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

The Row Over Film ‘Padmavati’

Of late, there have been protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati, in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and objections have been raised about Rajputs being shown in a bad light. I want to dwell on three points.

First, none of the protesters has yet seen the entire film Padmavati in which Deepika Padukone is playing the central character and yet too many unnecessary comments are being made about the film.

Secondly, had Bhansali shown his film, was there any guarantee that the film would have been allowed to be exhibited in theatres?

Thirdly, I do not understand why there are protests when Bhansali in a video statement made it quite clear that there is no dream sequence in the film and nothing objectionable has been shown about Rani Padmini. He has completely denied any distortion of history.

Those opposing the film first alleged that there was a dream sequence involving Padmavati and Allauddin Khilji. After this charge was found baseless, the outfits have now alleged that Rani Padmini has been shown dancing in the film, and this amounts to insult of the community. Well, the queen has been shown dancing in a song sequence.

One of my friends Mahavir Singh, who has seen the entire film, told me that there is nothing in the film which amounts to insult of Rajput community. On the contrary, he said, Rajputs will respect Bhansali once they watch the film. It would be better if both sides sit again and iron out the issues. There is no need for nationwide protests that may lead to violence, which should best be avoided.


Let’s Change Our Attitude Towards Air Pollution

8 Nov Aaj Ki BaatAir pollution level in Delhi-National Capital Region is currently 100 times more than that of London and Tokyo, and 85 times more than that of Paris. The argument that we have a burgeoning population does not hold water, because Beijing, teeming with population, has brought about 5 pc improvement in air pollution level in the last five years. On the other hand, air pollution level in Delhi-NCR rose by nearly 13 pc.

Face-saving measures like the ban on crackers on Diwali night or odd-even rules for plying of vehicles will not do. None of the state governments tried to stop burning of stubble in fields of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. No stern measure was taken to stop pollution from nearly 20,000 factories. No water was sprinkled on 40,000 tonnes of dust that emanated from construction sites. Not a single among the one lakh odd trucks and 89 lakh vehicles that enter the capital daily was stopped.

In a belated move, the Lt. Governor of Delhi on Wednesday imposed a ban on entry of all trucks, except those carrying essential goods, into Delhi and all construction activity inside the capital. But these are not permanent solutions. It appears that the government takes decisions only when a big crisis occurs. The government only wakes up when it finds its citizens facing trouble even to breathe. The air in Delhi will not become clean through such ad hoc measures. We need to change our overall attitude.

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ISI conspiracy to foment communal tension in Punjab

Aaj Ki Baat_IndiaTVPunjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has revealed that the Pakistani spy agency ISI had “hatched a major conspiracy to fan communal disturbances in the state” by killing RSS and other Hindu leaders recently. This, he said, came to light with the arrest of members of a “terror module’ comprising Sikh separatists from abroad. Capt Amarinder Singh needs to be praised for acting with patience and he refrained from making a political issue out of this. Those killed belonged to RSS, BJP and Shiv Sena and were opposed to Congress. It is a matter of concern that the ISI, after being frustrated in its attempts to foment violence in Kashmir, has now shifted its attention to Punjab, ruled by Congress party. The motive behind this was to create communal tension between Hindus and Sikhs. The people of Punjab clearly understand this nefarious game of our enemies and our security agencies are on alert. We should not be complacent and be on our guard against such despicable attempts to create disturbances, whether it is Punjab or Kashmir.

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Probe Into ‘Paradise Papers’

paradise paperThe Centre on Monday announced a multi-agency probe, involving Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Financial Intelligence Unit and RBI, into the ‘Paradise Papers’, which are leaked documents, running into millions, that allegedly show offshore dealings by hundreds of Indians. These documents have been revealed by an international collective of journalists, who pored over them for months, to sift details. The multi-agency group will match the information in the Paradise Papers to ascertain cases of tax evasion. The government has made it clear that there are several cases in which investigation is already being carried out, and the new cases will be added to the probe. The chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes will head the multi-agency group. I hope the investigations will be carried out speedily, questions that are agitating the minds of people will be answered, and action will be taken.

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Mukul Roy Joining BJP is a Big Loss to Mamata

BJP Mukul RoyOne of the co-founders of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Mukul Roy, on Friday joined the BJP. Roy is a known face in West Bengal politics, a politician having grassroot support. He had left the Congress along with Mamata Banerjee more than two decades ago and formed the Trinamool Congress. He was number two in the party hierarchy, next to Mamata Banerjee. He was the party general secretary, its vice-president and was member of Rajya Sabha twice. It was Mamata who made him the Railway Minister to replace Dinesh Trivedi. The two fell out a few months ago, after Mukul Roy was named in the Saradha scam and Narada sting operation. Mukul Roy resigned from the party after he was sidelined by Mamata Banerjee. His joining BJP is a big loss to the Trinamool supremo. On the other hand, the BJP, which lacked a big political heavyweight in West Bengal, was more than eager to get Mukul Roy in its fold. It is true that whenever BJP will raise the Saradha and Narada scam issues, Mamata Banerjee will naturally question why BJP admitted Mukul Roy into the party. I do not know whether the BJP has prepared its answer to this inevitable question.

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Padmavati Controversy Should be Settled Through Talks

Rajput outfits, particularly Karni Sena, has given a bandh call in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati. The Karni Sena members had earlier ransacked shooting sets and had assaulted Bhansali and his crew. The Rajput outfits allege that Queen Padmini and the Rajput community has been shown in a negative light in the film, but Bhansali has outrightly rejected such charges as baseless. The film will hit the theatres on December 1, and presently dubbing work is in progress. The Rajput outfits have demanded that the film be shown to them, but the producers say that the film is still not ready. The question is: unless somebody has seen the film in its entirety, how can a charge of distorting history can be made? It would be better if the matter is resolved through negotiations and the controversy should be put to rest.

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A Good Move by Maharashtra ATS

The Maharashtra ATS has prevented nearly 120 Muslim youths from joining the Islamic State outfit and has utilized the services of Maulanas to “deradicalize” them and bring them into the mainstream. Police also took the help of the family members of these youths. This is a commendable step, both by police and the Islamic clerics. Legally, it was easy for the police to file cases against these youths, but the officials opted for the difficult path of persuading these misguided souls. Security agencies in Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana should emulate this model because most of the Muslim youths who have been caught while joining ISIS belong to these states. This is how terrorism can be nipped in the bud.

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Jaitley Needs To Be Complimented For World Bank Report 

Aaj ki  Baat 31 Oct JaitelyOn Tuesday, the World Bank released its 2018 report on Ease Of Doing Business, and India jumped 30 notches up from 130th place to 100th. The report also said, India’s business environment improved at the fifth fastest pace in the world. India registered improvement in 8 out of 10 tough indicators that were set as benchmarks, like starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

For the last several weeks, the Modi government was being criticized domestically by sections of industry for not doing enough for ensuring ease of business, but the latest World Bank report is an effective reply to these critics. For India, entering the top 100 club for the first time matters a lot, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley deserves kudos for this achievement.

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