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  1. Shock for students! BHU exam poses questions on Padmavati, triple talaq

Shock for students! BHU exam poses questions on Padmavati, triple talaq

To the surprise of students taking an important exam, Deepika Padukone starrer Padmavati, the character at the centre of the controversy over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, has now been included in a question in the MA second-year history paper of BHU, as have questions on triple talaq.

By: | New Delhi | Published: December 10, 2017 2:47 PM
history, padmavati, BHU, triple talaq, ma history exam in bhu A number of modern historians have rejected the historicity of the Padmavati legend.

To the surprise of students taking an important exam, Deepika Padukone starrer Padmavati, the character at the centre of the controversy over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, has now been included in a question in the MA second-year history paper of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), as have questions on triple talaq. History students of the university have claimed that they were asked to answer a question on “Rani Padmavati’s Johar” for 10 marks about three weeks back in the third-semester exam.

The question that was asked read: “What do you mean by Johor tradition? Describe Rani Padmavati’s Johar in the period of Alauddin Khilji.” A student of History said he had studied the tradition of johar, a custom, under which Hindu women self-immolated to avoid capture, and enslavement after defeat in a war, as it was in the syllabus. However, Padmavati was referred in passing as a matter of debate between historians in the chapter on johar. “We had read a small portion on Padmavati but the fact of her existence is debated among historians. Our professor stressed it as an important part only because it was in the news over the Deepika Padukone film,” an MA history student said.

A number of modern historians have rejected the historicity of the Padmavati legend. Amir Khusrau, the court poet of Khilji, who accompanied him during the king’s invasion of Chittor in 1303, did not mention anything on Rani Padmini (purportedly her real name) or a jauhar at Chittor in his accounts of the attack, although he wrote of johar in his account of Alauddin’s conquest of Ranthambhore just before the attack on Chittor. Padmini first finds mention in the Padmavat, a poem written in Awadhi by the 16th century Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 — over two centuries after Khilji’s Chittor campaign.

Rajeev Kumar Srivastava, assistant professor of Society and Culture in Medieval India at BHU said, “If Alauddin Khilji has any truth, so does Padmavati… We have been teaching the condition of women during Alauddin Khilji’s reign every year. Padmavati was taught irrespective of any political controversy brewing currently. The Babri Masjid issue is also raging, does that mean we will stop teaching Babur?” he said.

When asked about the question on triple talaq, a student said, “There was nothing on triple talaq in our Medieval India studies syllabus. But sir held a special class on it. That is how we managed to answer the question. The class was part of a lesson on the wretched condition of women, especially Hindus, during the rule of Delhi sultans.”

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  1. A
    AK
    Dec 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    Sir, There is nothing wrong in History paper. Students are expected to be aware of the current topics which have some relationship with history. No Historian in the world can claim himself to be an eyewitness to the event. Their comments are based on the documents that they happen to find, examine and gather knowledge and whatever they happen to have are not the last document and evidence or word on the subject. History always has limitations and we should keep this in mind. Our most of knowledge is Shruti Gyan. Many evidences have been destroyed. We have seen Taliban had blown off the sculpture of Lord Buddha. This would not mean to people four hundred years from now that Buddhism had not spread to that area as could be opined, we don’t know, by historian of that time with authority.
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