After being legally incapable of banning the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat in Gujarat and Rajasthan, authorities in at least three districts of the two states have instructed its schools not to play the Ghoomar song from the movie during Republic Day celebrations. These are same states where multiplex owners are afraid to screen the film because of the threats given by right-wing groups.
According to an Indian Express report, the district primary education officers of Mahisagar and Bhavnagar have categorically highlighted the “social and cultural controversy surrounding the film Padmaavat in the state” in their official circulars. This bizarre dictate comes along with the Udaipur additional district magistrate referring to a memorandum from the Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena (Mewar) in his order, which has warned of an “apriya ghatna” if the Ghoomar song is played.
A circular issued by the Mahisagar district primary education officer states, “This is to inform you that in the present time, there is a social and cultural controversy surrounding the film Padmaavat in the state. Therefore, in case of any cultural programme or celebrations organised in your school, please make sure that songs of this film are not played. If the songs of this film have been included in any upcoming cultural events, you are hereby directed to suspend such performances. Please make sure that no untoward incident should take place due to the use of songs from this film.”
The Bhavnagar district primary education officer has also issued a similar circular to schools. “I am not aware about the circular. As far as I know, the state government has not given any such order to prohibit songs from the film at any event and such circulars cannot be issued,” said Mahisagar district collector MD Modiya.
However, the Gujarat education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama has denied this incident and said that no order has been issued by the government. “No such directions or orders have been issued by the government to ban songs of Padmaavat in schools or colleges or any other event outside institutions. If officials have issued such orders, keeping in mind peace and safety of all, it is their own decision, using their own intelligence and discretion,” he said.
In Rajasthan, Subhash Chand Sharma, the Udaipur additional district magistrate stated in his order that a memorandum had been received from Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena (Mewar). “The memorandum, a copy of which is attached, has requested that ‘Padmavati’ song Ghoomar should not be played, or danced on, in any of the government and non-governmental schools, colleges and other institutions of Udaipur district on January 26.” The order also states how ‘Padmavati’ was rechristened to ‘Padmaavat’ following outrageous vandalism and protests.
While instructing the primary and secondary district education officers of Udaipur to avoid the Ghoomar song the order stated, “They have also informed that there might be an undesirable incident if the said Ghoomar song is played or if there is a dance on it.”