Movie censorship

India will be torn apart if ‘Padmaavat’ releases, says BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu

Members of the Rajput community in Chhattisgarh threatened to burn down movie halls that screen the film.

Suraj Pal Amu, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader who announced a Rs 10-crore reward for the beheading of actor Deepika Padukone and Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said on Thursday that the country will be “torn apart” if the film releases on January 25.

Amu’s statement came hours after the Supreme Court set aside the notification passed by the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat against the release of the film. “The Supreme Court has hurt the sentiments of the lakhs of Hindus who respect it,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “Our protest will continue even if I am hanged to death.”

Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the state will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision. “We will get the court decision studied by the law department and further steps will be taken after that,” Kataria said.

Members of the Rajput community in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur threatened to burn down movie halls that screen Padmaavat. “No changes hereafter are acceptable. We want a complete ban,” they said, after submitting a memorandum to state Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra.

Soon after the order, the head of the Rajput Karni Sena, Lokendra Singh Kalvi, asked people not to allow the movie to be screened. He said he will conduct an emergency meeting in Mumbai on Friday, ANI reported.

In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, a group of men vandalised a cinema hall to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said it was a vindication of artists’ rights and the freedom of speech. “The Supreme Court must be congratulated for upholding not just freedom of speech but also artists’ rights to present story in a manner they wish to,” Sibal said. “We hope states will honor the verdict and don’t create hurdles in its implementation.”

Former CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani praised the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the ruling was an eye-opener to those organisations that protested against the film.

“The way these states have supported one particular community for the sake of vote bank as the elections are coming show the double standards of this government,” Nihalani told News18. “They purposely decided to leave the decision to the Supreme Court because they thought the court was obviously going to favour the film, so why should they have to take the risk.”

Haryana minister Anil Vij said the state government will examine the Supreme Court’s decision to see if they can appeal against it. “The court passed the verdict without listening to our side,” Vij told ANI. “The Supreme Court is the supreme, so will abide by the decision.”

Many people from the film industry, however, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision and said that it had restored their faith in the democracy.

The controversy

Repeated protests and threats of violence by Rajput groups, led by the Rajput Karni Sena, stalled the movie’s release and delayed its certification. The censor board had appointed a panel of historians to look into the claim that the film contains historical inaccuracies. The movie was finally cleared with a few changes on the condition that Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures change the title from Padmavati to Padmaavat to align it closer to its source material.

Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, the historical drama is based on the 16th century poem of the same name by Malik Muhammad Jaisi.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.