A former minister in the Chandrashekhar government in the early 1990s, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, 54, has a new agenda. He has now taken up the issue of the distortion of history in Ashutosh Gowarikar's Jodhaa Akbar.
Heading a Rajput outfit called Sri Rajput Karni Sena, Kalvi says he takes strong exception to visualisation of the Jodha-Akbar romance.
In an exclusive interview with Onkar Singh in New Delhi, Kalvi denied that he was deliberately kicking up the controversy to seek cheap publicity. He tells us more.
When did you decide to take up this issue?
On January 20, we had a meeting of Rajputs to discuss the reservation issue. During the course of the meeting, some MPs and MLAs from the state mentioned Jodhaa Akbar and how history was being distorted. Sri Rajput Karni Sena, of which I am the chief convenor, decided to take up the matter on behalf of the Rajput community.
What is the distortion that you are talking about?
According to history books, Prince Jehangir married Mote Raja Udai Singh's daughter Manmat Kanwar, who was also known as Jodhabai, as she came from the Jodhpur kingdom. By the marriage, Emperor Akbar became her father-in-law. She was three years younger to Jehangir.
So who was Prince Salim's mother?
Salim's mother, according to historians, was the elder daughter of Maharaja Bharmal of Jaipur. The marriage between Emperor Akbar and Harkanbai (Salim's mother) took place on Feburary 6, 1562. Salim was born in 1569.
Is it true that the NRI club of historians are behind the protests?
Yes, the Historian Club of the NRIs is involved and one Dr Ms Vyas, who resides in United States is the main person behind this movement. She asked me if we could move the Supreme Court of India on this matter. We would certainly be probing that possibility.
Is it true that you formed a committee of historians?
Yes, we constituted a three-member committee of historians in India. They submitted their report in 15 days.
There are allegations you are kicking up the controversy for publicity?
If that were true, then I have a hundred issues, which I can raise and get media attention. I am not worried about what people say. Two days ago, a team from UTV (the producers of Jodhaa Akbar) met me and asked me how the whole thing could be sorted out. I do not know who those people were, and I told them if the producers of the film can change the name of the main character, then we have no problem.
I saw to it that when Amitabh Bachchan and his family were in Jaipur to celebrate the birthday of his son, Abhishek, there was no untoward incidents. It may have caused embrassment to the Rajputs.
Professor Satish Chandra, former University Grants Commission chairman and well known historian, told rediff.com that he was against the banning of Jodhaa Akbar. What is your comment?
For me, it is good enough that he admits there are historial distortions. We have to see whether there should be a ban or not. We will not allow the film to be released in Rajasthan. That is final. We are in favour of the order of the Rajasthan district court, which was moved nine months ago.
But when Mugal-e-Azam was released, there were no such protest.
I was a kid then. I remember there were protests but then the issue was settled out of court. That will not happen now. The producer must make the necessary amendments, as it hurts our ego.