Did King Gajapati Had Any Connection With Padmavati?

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By: Brahma K. Mohanty

Bhubaneswar: Forget about the Karni Sena’s opposition to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus “Padmavati” rechristened as “Padmaavat”, after the intervention of the Supreme Court of India, is earning moolah at the box office not only in India but from foreign shores.

But little do we know that the epic love story of Maharawal Ratan Singh and Rani Padmini would have met with an insignificant, nay tragic end, without the Good Samaritan’s helping hands of Gajapati of the erstwhile Kalinga or Odisha, of the present day.

In the words of its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali the film is based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s epic sufi poem ‘Padmaavat’ penned in 1540 in Awadhi. After having a quick read of its original version it could be recognized that Odisha plays an important role in taking their love story forward.

The English version of the poem by A G Shirreff, published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1944, clearly mentions the words Orissa and Gajapati, referring to the King of Kalinga.

Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s version of the poem narrates about the talkative parrot of Singhal Kingdom which narrates the story of ruler of Chittor kingdom Maharawal Ratan Singh and the mesmerizing beauty of Rani Padmini. The parrot also guides him in finding the route to Singhal in pursuit of Rani Padmini.

A love-bug bitten Ratan Singh then meets the Gajapati and requests him fervently for help to reach Singhal island. The Gajapati agrees to help but not without a rider. A few words of caution. The Gajapati cautions about the king of Chittor, who is too engrossed and consumed by love to pay heed to the impending dangers on the arduous way to Singhal.

This is how, the Gajapati played his vital part in uniting the two lovers.

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