Padmavati (Padmini) and Cultural Colonialism – Absence of Buddhism in the Debate


A few years back, Times of India reported that all over Rajasthan the Buddhist sites are found. Many sites were linked with the famous forts in Rajasthan. Clearly, Buddhism was the dominant cultural trend in the present day Rajasthan. Interestingly, the controversial movie Padmavati is one of the linkages that can be seen as the heritage of India’s Buddhist past. Rajputs is a strange category and we do not know for sure the historicity of the battle between Khilji and so-called Rajputs. The battle was never solely for the religious power and it was meant to control territories.

The remarkable fact that Padmavati came from Sinhala country (present-day Sri Lanka) can give an interesting twist to the entire narration that creates two cultural poles: Hinduism and Islam. The reality that both the Hinduism (Vedic Brahminism, to be more precise) and Islam are divided into many castes and many streams within should be able to make us look at the probable relationship of Sinhala Buddhists to the entire history of the Indian subcontinent and behind.

Sri Lanka as we know now and India as it was in the past had missions from different kingdoms to the different kingdoms. This is interesting because the Sinhala kings sent their emissaries to the different parts of India and different parts of China. Looking at the genealogy of Padmavati, it is clear that her forefathers bore names inspired by Buddhism, so why is this authenticate story is not told?

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Indian upper caste tries to colour all the things in India with the Brahminical upper caste narratives and give it a cultural spin to divide the people so that they can benefit from such differences. Padmavati is just a movie, but for Indians, who have been conditioned to live in the mythological stories like Ramayana and Mahabharat are easy to believe in the films. India got not only gods and goddesses worshipped directly from the poems and epics, but also some of the gods have come from the movies. Santoshi Mata is the goddesses that Indians started worshipping straight from the movies. India often blurs the line between the movies stars and goddesses and gods.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

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