Historians' ire, citizens' intervention leads to deletion of imaginary scenes from play on Bhopal
BHOPAL: Shocking it may seem but a play based on Bhopal had a script that purportedly twisted facts and even tried to change the history.
The play was based on the life of Gond queen Rani Kamlapati and Nawab Dost Mohamamd Khan, the first ruler of the former princely state of Bhopal.
Historical facts clearly suggest that Rani Kamlapati had asked Sardar Dost Mohammad Khan to help her after her husband was poisoned and killed. She sent him 'rakhi' and he also vowed to help his sister.
Not only he attacked Chainpur Badi where her husband was poisoned, he succeeded in teaching a lesson to those behind the conspiracy to poison Nizam Shah Gond. But when a play that cast aspersions on the relationship of the brother-sister was about to be staged, it sent shockwaves in Bhopal.
People got air that the historical facts were being changed and even Bhopal's history was being distorted. They approached the authorities. As a result, the officials took action. In fact, senior historians were aghast. The play was written by one, Indira Dangi.
Historian Rizwan Ansari was amongst those who took the lead and raised the issue. Citizens, people from different walks of life also took a stand on the issue and told authorities about their concern. Senior citizens, especially, those with interest in the region's cultural heritage, were also surprised.
Eminent historian Shyam Munshi said that it was unfortunate that the facts and history could be distorted as Rani Kamlapati and Nawab Dost Mohammad Khan were like sister-brother. Finally, it was decided to make amends. The play was staged without the controversial scenes that are not only distortions but had no basis.
We support freedom of expression but it is wrong to distort history and facts. Besides, sacred bonds and relationships shouldn't be targeted or misinterpreted. If, at all, fiction is to be presented then the names can also be changed so as they don't resemble the real pople who existed.
Facts are sacred. Litterateurs, authors, playrights are creative people who don't indulge in character assassination or changing history. Writers, if they make a mistake, can always admit it, rather than being insistent on it and making claims without telling how they could the idea to turn a brother-sister relationship into something else!
We support staging of plays and also urge people to remain responsible. This is true for everyone. After the entire incident, the positive aspect is that there was no disruption, the issue was settled and everyone acted responsibly. It is a lesson that controversies need not be created and problems can be sorted out if there is will and way.