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11 July 2013

Appeal to stop the telecast of serial "Jodha Akbar"

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IMO News Service

Devika Mittal, a Social Activist associated with NGO Mission Bhartiyam, has filed a complaint with IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) to stop the telecast of the serial "Jodha Akbar" being broadcasted on Zee TV on the grounds of communal and provocative content. The serial claims to project the love story of Badshah Akbar and Rajputana Jodha Bai. According to the producers, Akbar was a cruel King. He was a religious bigot and was brought to "sanity" by Rajput princess Jodha Bai. After protests by Rajput community and historians on the historical inauthenticity, the serial runs on a disclaimer that states that the serial does not have any historical backing.

Devika Mittal, in her appeal, has questioned the logic of running a "historical" show that self-recognises itself to be historically inauthentic. "Why is there a need to telecast such a serial? Why is there a need to use the names? Even if Jodha may not have ever existed, Akbar did. Where is the need to demonise him? It is shocking that this has been allowed in a communally-sensitive country. India is threatened with the forces of hindutva which claims the country to be the ancestral and "rightful" property of only Hindus, negating the claims of all other religious groups. It also demonises muslims and have used (or misinterpreted) history to serve their purpose," she remarked.

This serial reiterates these false sentiments. The appeal states that "this serial re-iterates the baseless stereotypes about "Muslim" rulers. Akbar is shown to be this demon. He is shown to be a "Muslim" ruler. It is historically incorrect to use terms like "secular", "conservative" or "liberal" for rulers as these terms are of recent origin but if I do commit the sin, just for this time, I will not be wrong to say that Akbar is popular for being "secular". He is known for Din-i-ilahi, for rejecting the teachings of the ulama, for rejecting conservative Islam and for rajput-mughal alliances. If we read the history, we will know that this happened for many reasons. But according to the serial, it was Jodha, a Rajput princess who forced him to become "good". Jodha had swore to some goddess that she will behead Akbar and throw the head on the feet of the goddess, bringing a very strong religious angle. It is also historically inauthentic. But a more important concern is the dangerous effect that it will entail. The serial re-iterates the notions about "Muslim" rulers who invaded, discriminated, dishonoured women and tried to destroy the "Hindu" culture.

She has appealed to stop the telecast on the grounds that it is historically inauthentic, demeaning and has the potential to revive communal tensions in the country.

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