The pol­i­tics over has deep roots in Gu­jarati his­tory

The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

of Gu­jarat, fled from Nahrwala and went to Raja Ram Deo of Deo­gir. The wives and daugh­ters, the trea­sure and ele­phants of Rai Karan fell in the hands of the Muham­madans. All Gu­jarat be­came prey to the in­vaders…”

Vaghela lost the bat­tle. His wife, Kaula Devi, also known as Kamla Rani, was taken to Delhi where Khilji made her his con­cu­bine.

Vaghela and his two daugh­ters es­caped to Baglan, now in Ma­ha­rash­tra, with the help of King Ramdeva of Dev­gadh. Mean­while, in Delhi, Kaula Devi’s beauty won Khilji’s heart. After a few years, she asked Khilji to get her daugh­ter De­val to Delhi. Khilji’s army went on to attack Vaghela in Dev­gadh.

Ac­cord­ing to Nand­shanakar Me­hta’s Karan Gh­elo, while in ex­ile, Vaghela had re­luc­tantly agreed to get one of his daugh­ters, De­val mar­ried to Shankaldev, the prince of Dev­gadh to save her from fall­ing in Tur­kic hands. The novel de­scribes De­val’s pain and long­ing for love, suc­cinctly. But Khilji’s attack was fe­ro­cious and Vaghela fought un­suc­cess­fully, once more, and was killed. De­val was taken to Delhi, where Khilji’s el­dest son, Khizr fell in love with her, but his mother was op­posed to the union.

Aamir Khus­row wrote a mas­navi (ro­man­tic poem) on De­val Rani and Khizr Khan. The story of love flow­er­ing be­tween a Tur­kic prince and a Hindu girl, in ad­verse cir­cum­stances, was termed as a work of fic­tion by many in the last cen­tury. But it nev­er­the­less be­came an un­al­ter­able part of Khus­row’s writ­ing. Khus­row’s nar­ra­tion de­picted in de­tail the “pro­found love” be­tween De­val and Khizar. Khizar was killed by his fa­ther’s con­fi­dants, who wanted to grab power after Khilji’s death. Khus­row nar­rates how in those lonely and dif­fi­cult days, a Gu­jarati woman stood hero­ically be­hind her Tur­kic hus­band.

In Gu­jarat, the men­tion of Khilji, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, re­vives mem­o­ries of tu­mul­tuous times and the fall of the glo­ri­ous Patan, and the loot by Khilji’s army of Cam­bay, Su­rat and the tem­ple of Som­nath.

Bhansali’s film Pad­ma­vati is about Ra­jput his­tory, but in Gu­jarat, the BJP doesn’t want to for­get, more so in the time of elec­tion, the two Gu­jarati women—Kaula Devi, who was added to Khilji’s harem and De­val Rani, who was “won away” from her fa­ther and pre­sented as a “tro­phy” to the Khilji clan. And this is the rea­son why Chief Min­is­ter Vi­jay Ru­pani has de­cided not to let the film re­lease in Gu­jarat. It is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter that the Congress is yet to re­act to the BJP’s game. Also, be­hind the scenes, BJP lead­ers are mak­ing their dis­plea­sure clear about the “love story” of Khizr and De­val, which, ac­cord­ing to many of them, comes in the cat­e­gory of love ji­had and much more.

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