New Delhi, Nov 17: Mythology becomes funny when we start believing in very word of it. Now, time to get rid of dogmas.
Since ages, women in India are compared to goddess Sita for sacrificing everything to make their men, families and society happy. Most women also take great pride in being 'sacrificial lambs' to please one and all.
So, if Sita is worshipped, then the sister of Ravana, Shurpanakha, is the vilified woman whose nose was chopped off by Lord Ram's brother Lakshmana for attacking Sita.
What Shurpanakha did (if it was for real) can't be justified, but think twice about Lakshmana's act. Can that be rationalised?
Now, let's shift our focus from the days of Ramayana-- the epic by Valmiki which is a pure mythological saga and has no historical evidence--to our current times. The fact that Ramayana is a part of the great Indian mythology has not deterred the believers even in the 21st century from rioting in the name of Lord Ram.
So, when a member of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena--a fringe group that has become a national phenomenon because of its violent form of protest against the upcoming Bollywood film, Padmavati--threatened to chop off the nose of the lead actress of the period drama, Deepika Padukone, like Lakshmana did to Shurpanakha, once again it becomes clear that Indian women are always vulnerable to threats and attacks.
The fact that Deepika is one of the country's top actresses did not stop goons from issuing warning against her.
The protest over the film, based on a poem about queen Padmini from Chittor, Rajasthan, started during its making when the set of the film was vandalised and the director of the film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was slapped by the goons of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena in Jaipur in January this year.
Those who are expressing their reservation against the film alleged that the makers of the film have distorted history by depicting their "revered" queen Padmavati in a bad light.
Now, as the release date of the film, scheduled on December 1, is coming close, the protest over the film is also gaining momentum. In fact, members of the Rajput and other Hindus groups want a ban on the film.
The ban brigade has the full support of the political class as several leaders from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have spoken ill of the film and its director for allegedly trying to belittle Hindu women.
On Thursday, the entire dissent over the film turned uglier, after Deepika was threatened to be harmed physically. First, a member of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena issued a threat to chop off the award-winning actress' nose.
Then, another member of the Kshatriya community announced a bounty of Rs 5 crore on the heads of Deepika and Bhansali. The member of the Kshatriya community also asked Deepika to leave India or else nobody, not even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could save her and her director.
The anger against Deepika was fueled by the fact that the actress recently decided to lambast those who are protesting against her film.
The 31-year-old actress told news agency IANS that India has "regressed as a nation" as she reacted to a series of controversies being faced by the unreleased film. During the interview with IANS on Tuesday, Deepika spoke at length about the mentality of citizens who are objecting to Padmavati.
"It's appalling, it's absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed," Deepika told IANS. In fact, on Tuesday a mall in Kota, Rajasthan was attacked as it screened the trailer of the film. The attack came hours after Deepika spoke to IANS.
As Deepika spoke her mind, it did not go down well with the patriarchal Indian society, where again a woman has to be meek and obedient to save herself from men's ire and harassment.
Moreover, working in a movie is a part of Deepika's job. And she does her job brilliantly, as evident from her body of work. When her film came under attack it was obvious for her to speak in support of her film.
Working and thinking women like Deepika are perceived as a threat in sanskari India.
Many Indian men and families don't approve of women having a career. Still, thousands of Indian households don't allow women to work even if they are well-educated and skilled ones.
They want women to be locked inside a house to cook food and produce babies. So, Deepika became the target of misogynist Hindu caste brigade as she represents modern, successful, economically-independent and thinking women of the 21st century India.
All we would say is that if goons want to chop off Deepika's nose for speaking her mind and doing her job brilliantly, let all working, independent and thinking women of India get rid of their noses to show the world how medieval we have become in our thoughts and deeds.