Jais (Amethi district):

Even as the world is caught up in a storm over ‘Padmavati’, people in this quiet village – the birthplace of Malik Mohammad Jaisi, the writer of ‘Padmavat’ – wonder what the fuss is all about.

For the residents, most of whom can recite couplets from the tale written in Awadhi in the 16th century, “mahakavi” Jaisi’s work revolved around the unity between Hindu and Muslims, bereft of any hurtful sentiments towards any community.

People in Jais, about 100km from Lucknow, are dismissive about the controversy around ‘Padmavati’. “I had studied the book in school. Those who are opposing it have not seen the movie. They have perhaps not read the book either. It seems to be a political gimmick to oppose it. The book has no controversial element,” said Mohammad Nizam Khan, who lives right across the place where then PM Rajiv Gandhi laid the foundation stone for Malik Mohammad Jaisi Research Institute in 1988. The institute, however, never saw the light of day.

Khan recited a quatrain from ‘Padmavat’, which he had memorised as a child, to elaborate on unity that Jaisi wrote about: “Briksh laagi ek bhaee dui daara / Aae rehte nana parkara / Maatu ke rakat, pita ke bindu / Kehlaave Turuk au Hindu (God had planted only one tree that had two branches with different kinds of people living together. And both Hindus and Muslims are children of the same god.” Jais residents say ‘Padmavat’ was an “amalgamation of fact and fiction”.

Aseef Jaisi, a scholar, said, “Jaisi mixed fact and fiction to compose the book in Persian script and Awadhi language in 1540. Several editions of the book were produced over time in different languages. Had there been any hurtful content to any community, it would have been raised over the years.”

Shiv Nayak Singh (84), founding principal of Malik Mohammad Bharatiya Intermediate College, said in Jaisi’s epic, Rani Padmavati has been depicted in the “most graceful manner” and the poet has kept her royal lineage in mind. “The trailer of the film does not indicate that anything around her character and personality has been distorted. Any protest ahead of the release of the film is amusing,” he said.

Youths of Jais are gearing up to download the movie on their phones once it is released as the nearest theatre is 40 km away. “We watch news and see people going berserk over the film. Once it is released, I am going to download it and see for myself what is there which is worrying a community,” said Muzaffar, a youngster.

Mamata: Welcome to show film in Bengal

Mamata Banerjee, on Friday, said ‘Padmavati’ director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was welcome to West Bengal to premiere and release his film. “If they cannot release ‘Padmavati’ in any other state, we will make special arrangements… Bengal will be very happy and proud to do that,” the CM said.

A 40-year-old man’s corpse was found hanging from a wall of the Nahargarh fort with inflammatory slogans scribbled on the fort walls