It was heartening to note that more than a million cinegoers across the country bought tickets and watched the movie Padmaavat peacefully and came out in praise of the actors and the director. On the other hand, the Shree Rajput Karni Sena leaders looked crestfallen at the end of the day and they admitted that they failed to gauge the response of the general public.
One thing is clear from the first day of screening: wherever the state government and police remained extra alert, vandals and hooligans failed to indulge in unruly acts. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanaath made it clear from Day One that he would keep the sentiments of Rajput community in mind, and if required, would stay the screening of the movie. But once the Supreme Court gave the green signal, the chief minister made it clear that violence would not be tolerated at any cost.
It goes to the credit of Yogi that he sensed the mood of the general public, but the same cannot be said about the governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. It is because of their pusillanimity that vandals indulged in arson and stoning. Haryana government, in particular, took a long time in waking up. It was only after there was nationwide outrage over the stoning of a school bus that the state police took a tough stance against miscreants and arrested some of their leaders.
The ultimate winner in the entire sordid episode was the common cinegoer. He or she paid money to buy tickets, watched the movie and came out to give a thumbsup to the movie makers. The common cinegoer had nothing to do with any political party nor any caste combination. He or she came out of the theatre to certify that there was not a single scene or dialogue that hurt Rajput pride and valour.
It is now upto the Karni Sena leaders to stop vacillating, watch the movie themselves and call off their agitation which they had launched on a non-issue.
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