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6 petitions

Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to Melbourne City Council, Victorian State Government

Leave Burke and Wills Behind

Are Burke and Wills national heroes? With the Metro Tunnel project under construction the Burke and Wills statue has retreated into storage. Upon the completion of the tunnel, do we wish to uphold the legacy of Burke and Wills by submitting to the statue's re-installation? The return of Burke and Wills to the corner of Collins and Swanston will perpetuate their standing as national heroes and only serve to obstruct any meaningful engagement with our violent colonial history.The space would be better suited to a more meaningful representation of our history. Why do we continuously paper over the rich 65,000 year-old Indigenous history of this country with the trifling affairs of posturing colonial explorers? In recognising the undue credit that Burke and Wills were given on the original plaque on their statue, which claimed that they were the 'first people' to cross the continent, the City of Melbourne agreed to amend the wording on the plaque, slightly. However, this is not enough. To honour, celebrate and learn more about our rich history, we need to make space, by de-emphasising stories about white colonists. We need to move the focus away from shallow narratives of heroic colonial exploration, through lands that were long before named, and long before mapped. SOME MORE INFO ON THE BURKE AND WILLS EXPEDITION“When Yandruwandha people in 1861 found the poor men who were the remnants of the Burke and Wills party roaming around apparently aimlessly, they felt they were lost either in mind or spirit. The Burke and Wills party did not know how to communicate effectively with their surrounds, utilise the resources at their fingertips or share their intentions with the native people with whom they came into contact.”  —Aaron Pateron (Yandruwandha descendant).  Robert O’Hara Burke, the leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition across the so-called Australian continent 157 years ago, was inexperienced, incapable, and rash. These were the qualities which led to the avoidable deaths of seven party members. The avoidable deaths of party members are ultimately what led to the expedition’s fame and place in Australian historical consciousness (though informed observers have been critical of celebrating the expedition or “expensive mistake” all along). The Yandruwandha people at Cooper’s Creek offered fish, nardoo and other foods to Burke, Wills and King – the stragglers of the starving upward march, only to be treated with disrespect and violence. Burke shot over the heads of the Yandruwandha people when they sought a meagre piece of cloth in return for the copious amounts of food they had given the entitled explorers, prolonging their survival. Just days before this shooting incident, a man nicknamed Pitchery, out of concern for the lone-wandering Wills, took him to a camp and fed him until he was ‘unable to eat anymore’. Burke struggled with the idea of being dependent for life on people he saw as inferior. Had he not jeopardised the relationship with Yandruwandha people, Burke and Wills could have survived. After they both died avoidable deaths, the Yandruwandha people saved King, the remaining party member in the area, from the same fate. One of the party’s two Indigenous guides, Dick, at one point saved the lives of two party members – Lyons and McPherson. Peter was the other Indigenous guide to the group who has received little historical recognition. Burke and Wills were part of a disorganised and disruptive expedition through lands that were already named, and already mapped. We don’t think they deserve to be honoured and celebrated via the returning of their statue to the city of Melbourne. These kind of narratives already take up too much space in our national conscious. “The barriers that have for so long kept Indigenous perspectives out of the Burke and Wills story were based not on lack of material but rather on perception and choice.” — Ian D. Clark and Fred Cahir, 'The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills : Forgotten Narratives'Please email historyskips@gmail.com with any questions, comments, concerns or to request more reading materials.

History Skips
48 supporters
Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to Malcolm Turnbull, Director of classification, Dr. A. M. Gondane High Commissioner, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Stop 'Padmavati' movie release in Australia

1. That it is respectfully submitted that Rajputs arefound spread across India and more particularly innorth, west and central India. These areasinclude Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, HimachalPradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Punjab, Uttarakhand,Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar. The Rajputs areKshatriyas and as per popular narration there arethree kinds of Rajput clans namely Chandrvanshi,Suryavanshi and Agnivanshi. As per the latestestimate the total number of Rajputs residing inIndian are around 200 Million.2 That post 11th Century AD, Rajputs were thepredominant ruling class and ruled a large part of thecountry. One of these kingdoms was the legendarykingdom of Medapata (Mewar) which was ruled byRatnasimha also known as Ratan Singh. Rattan Singhbelong to Rawal Branch of the Rajputs and sucededhis father Samarasimha in around 1302 AD. The seatof the capital of Mewar was Chittorgarh Fort inmodern day Rajasthan.3 That around this time most part of North India wasunder the Rule of Alāʾ ud-Dīn Khaljī who was thesecond and the most powerful ruler of the Khaljidynasty of Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent.Alauddin was a devout Sunni Muslim and hisadministration persecuted the Isamaili (Shia)minorities as well as Hindus. The contemporaryPersian historian Wassaf, while describing Alauddin's1299 Gujarat campaign, states that the Sultan wasmotivated by "the zeal of religion", and that his armymassacred people "for the sake of Islam". Alauddinand his generals destroyed several Hindu templesduring their military campaigns. These templesincluded the ones at Bhilsa(1292), Devagiri (1295), Vijapur (1298-1310), Somnath (1299), Jhain (1301), Chidambaram(1311) and Madurai (1311).4 That as per the literary records of the medieval perioddocuments more particularly Malik MuhammadJayasi’s Padmavat, Ratan Singh married the SinhalaPrinces Padmini after a quest and brought her toChittor. Hearing about her legendary beauty AllauddinKhilji gave order to his army to March on toChittorgarh. But to his dismay, on reaching Chittor,Allah-ud-din found the fort to be heavily defended.Desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty ofPadmini, he sent word to king Ratansen that he lookedupon Padmini as his sister and wanted to meet her.On hearing this, the unsuspecting Ratansen askedPadmini to see the ‘brother’. But Padmini was morewordly-wise and she refused to meet the lustful Sultanpersonally. On being persuaded by her husbandRana Ratansen, Rani Padmini consented to Allow Alaud-din to see her only a mirror. On the word beingsent to Ala-ud-din that Padmini would see him hecame to the fort with his best warriors who secretlymade a careful examination of the fort’s defence ontheir way to the palace. On seeing Padmini, in themirror, the lustful ‘brother’, Allah-ud-din Khiljidecided that he should secure Padmini for himself.While returning to his camp, Allah-ud-din wasaccompanied for some way by King Ratansen. Takingthis opportunity, the wily Sultan deceitfully kidnappedRatansen and took him as a prisoner into his campand demanded that Padmini come and surrenderherself before Allah-ud-din Khilji, if she wanted herhusband King Ratansen alive. The Rajput generalsdecided to beat the Sultan at his own game and sentback a word that Padmini would be given to Ala-uddinthe next morning. On the following day at thecrack of dawn, one hundred and fifty palaquins leftthe fort and made their way towads Ala-ud-din’scamps The palanquins stopped before the tent whereking Ratansen was being held prisoner. Seeing thatthe palanquins had come from Chittor; and thinkingthat they had brought along with them his queen, kingRatansen was mortified. But to his surprise from thepalanquins came out, not his queen and her womenservants but fully named soldiers, who quickly freed;Ratansen and galloped away towards Chittor onhorses grabbed from Ala-ud-din’s stables. On hearingthat his designs had been frustrated, the lustfulSultan was furious and ordered his army to stormChittor. But hard as they tried the Sultans army couldnot break into the fort. Then Ala-ud-din decided to layseige to the fort. The seige was a long drawn one andgradually supplied within the fort were depleted.Finally King Ratansen gave orders that the Rajputswould open the gates and fight to finish with thebesieging troops. On hearings of this decision,Padmini decided that with their men-folk going intothe unequal struggle with the Sultan’s army in whichthey were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had theoption either to commit suicides or face dishonor atthe hands of the victorious enemy. The choice was infavour of suicide through Jauhar. A huge pyre was litand followed by their queen, all the women of Chittorjumped int the fames and deceived the lustful enemywaiting outside. With their women folk dead, the menof Chittor had nothing to live for. Their charged out ofthe fort and fought of furiously with the vastlypowerful array of the Sultan, till all of htem persihad.After this phyrrhic victory the Sultan’s troops enteredthe fort only to be confronted with ashes and burntbones of the women whose honour they were going toviolate to satisfy their lust.5 That Jauhar was a Hindu custom of self-immolationwhich was followed in order to avoid rape, capture andenslavement after the defeat in a war. Jauhars mostlyoccurred during the war between Hindus Rajputs andMuslim. Jauhar is derived from Sanskrit words Jau orJiv, meaning life, and har, meaning defeat. TheJauhar practice was followed by the Rajput womenand instead of consuming poison they preferred toburn in agni (fire) because agni symbolizes purity.6 That after the Juahar committed by Rani Padmavatishe was immortalised by medieval bards and wasworshipped by Hindus more particularly Rajputwomen who considered her as a role model for Indianwomen who epitomises the Indian culture. Manytemples were erected in her memory which can befound at several places in Rajasthan and Gujarat.7 That in year 2016, Mr. Sanjay Leela Bhansali teamedup with Viacom 18 motion pictures to produce anddirect an epic period drama in the name and style of“Padmavati” featuring Deepika Padukone in the titlerole as Rani Padmavati, alongside Shahid Kapoor asRawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as AlauddinKhilji. The film is likely to be released on 01.12.2017.8 The trailers of the motion picture were released in themonth of October, 2017. The trailers interalia showRani Padmavati doing a “Ghoomar” dance. Thedepiction of Rani Padmavati in the said dancesequence depiction is contrary to how traditionallyGhoomar is performed. The Queens never use to doGhoomar themselves and the thumkas (hip movement)and the revelation of skin by Ms. Padukone in herportrayal of Padmvati has hurt the sentiments of theRajput community. Here it would be pertinent to pointout that in past, the people in the film industry andMr. Bhansali in particular have not been averse togenerating controversy during the shooting of the filmor after the film is about to be released so it generatesenough interest in the film and effects the box-officereceipts favourably.9 The depiction of Rani Padmavati in the movie has hurtthe sentiments of the people which have led to violentoutburst. In the month of January the sets of themovie at Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur were destroyed by themembers of Karni Sena who staged an angry protestagainst the director of the movie Sanjay LeelaBhansali. Again in March 2017, the sets of Padmavatiwere vandalised in Kolhapur’s Masai plateau. In themonth of September, 2017 Deepika Padukone’s firstlook poster was torn and burnt by Rajput Karni Sena,in Jaipur. Petitioner therefore submitted arepresentation to the Ministry of Information andBroadcasting, Government of India on 10.10.2017 topre-screen the movie before its release.10 That in the month of November, 2017 the rulingBhartiya Janta Part submitted representation to theElection Commission, Central Board of FilmCertification (CBFC) and the Central government totemporarily hold the release of the film for allegedlyhurting the sentiments of the Kshatriya community.That on 03.11.2017, thousands of people took to thestreets and blocked roads across Rajasthan’sChittorgarh city to protest against the release ofPadmavati. The protesters alleged that the film haslove scenes between Queen Padmini and AlauddinKhilji. The Union Minister and leader Ms. UmaBharati in her statement dated 03.11.2017 askedmakers of the historical drama Padmavati to engageits detractors along with the censor board andhistorians to end the controversy around the release ofthe film.11 That it is respectfully submitted that though petitionersdo not support the extra constitutional violentmethods of opposing the motion picture but at thesame time these incidents are indicative of thegrievances of the members of the Hindu Communitywhich also needs effective redressal. Though the scriptis not in public domain but once the movie is releasedand if there is anything which is against thetraditional portrayal of Rani Padmavati thenirreparable loss shall be caused and the same mighteven escalate to law and order problem.12 The petitioners therefore implore this Prime Ministerand Director for classification board to constitute acommittee of eminent historians and prominentcitizens to prescreen the movie for this selectcommittee which will have the mandate to check theveracity of the script of the movie in question so thatthere is no inaccuracy in the portrayal of RaniPadmavati.13 The present Petition is being filed on the followingamong other grounds:A. Because in the in the garb of creativity, the producers ofthe motion picture has taken undue liberty and hascompletely changed the historical facts which is highlyobjectionable. It is submitted that the portrayal of historicallegends have to be done in a historically accurate mannerand creativity cannot be used as a pretext to malign orsully their image.B. Because Rani Padmavati was known for her pious life styleand her character was beyond reproach but in order toserve the prurient interest of certain section of audiencefilmmaker has shown the Queen to dream about Ala-ud-dinKhilji and is shown to be in love with him.C. Because it is reprehensible that in order to earn some profitthe producers have stooped to such a level wherein theyhave stopped caring about our rich cultural history andhas indulge in character assassination of Sati RaniPadmavati. This has created great angst among Hindus ingeneral and Rajput Community in particular. RaniPadmavati who is considered as role model for Indianwomen and is the epitomisation of Indian culture has beenshown as a degenerate woman and an admirer of alecherous foreign invader.D. Because owing to the anger arising out of the incorrectportrayal of Rani Padmavati, the release of the movie in itspresent form is likely to lead to law and order problem asno Indian would tolerate incorrect portrayal of the GoddessSati Padmavati.E. Because while Fundamental right of Freedon of Speechand Expression is guaranteed under our constitution butthe same is subject to certain restrictions. In order tocreate balance between the two, it is prayed that Ministry ofInformation and Broadcasting be directed to form acommittee of reputed Rajput leaders to check the veracityof the script of the movie in question so that there is noinaccuracy in the portrayal of Goddess Sati Padmavati.F. Because the petitioner is acting in a bonafide mannerfor the welfare of all the devotees of Rani padmavatiand to safeguard the belief in her by millions of peoplearound the world.It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that AustralianGovernment Stay the release of the Motion Picture “Padmavati”till such time by which the historical inaccuracies in thedepiction of Rani Padmavati is not corrected by the producers.

Raajput Association of Australia
113 supporters