Swara Bhaskar's open letter to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, saying that she felt like a "vagina" during the Jauhar climax scene, has sparked a torrent discussions and online hatred against the actress.
But one meme that went viral was from the social media handle of 'ShankhNaad'. The image said: "Being raped by an invader and become their sex slave is way better than committing suicide (Jauhar) to avoid that life."
It looked like a quote lifted out of Swara's letter, but that was not the case.
And that led to an online spat that many seem to have missed amid the various eddies and currents of the debate sparked by Swara Bhaskar's open letter.
Who is ShankhNaad? Their website says: "A few youngsters started ShankhNaad in 2012 with the aim of fostering Nationalism, Patriotism and Public Awareness among the people -leveraging available medium of communication, primarily the social media. They started this against pseudo secularism, corruption and for exposing the breaking India forces of all sorts. They do not stand for any political party, or org. We admire and critcise based on their work, not their affiliations. And now five years down the line, far from letting this movement fade away they seek to diversify their areas of work and venture out into other areas.They are a group which is fighting for the cause of equality, politically unaffiliated. They shall win."
Swara immediately commented on it and said: "This is a BLATANT LIE. @ShankhNaad pls publish an official apology or we can take this to court.. [sic]"
Here is a perfect example of dangerous bigoted misogyny and lies. This is how hate spreads in our society. I LITERALLY have NOT used any of these words in my open letter to #SanjayLeelaBhansali on #Padmaavat— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 30, 2018
May i respectfully ask our PM @narendramodi ji to unfollow this lier https://t.co/TSBhQ47p6Q
She also retweeted one of the articles and wrote: "BOOM examined Swara Bhaskar's open letter ..and found that Shankhnaad's tweet is a deliberate attempt to twist her statement and a gross oversimplification of what she wrote to the extent that it is offensive to survivors of rape and qualifies as a misquote [sic]"
BOOM is another website which was not involved in the original spat between the actress and ShankhNaad. The website Logical Indian too supported Swara.
“BOOM examined Swara Bhaskar’s open letter ..and found that Shankhnaad’s tweet is a deliberate attempt to twist her statement and a gross oversimplification of what she wrote to the extent that it is offensive to survivors of rape and qualifies as a misquote” https://t.co/Yrq1Et7ZwM— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 31, 2018
Swara was quick to burst his bubble but even after she threatened to sue, the ShankhNaad folks did not offer an apology. They rather "corrected" the original tweet, and pinned it on top of their profile. That, we thought, was rather sly of them.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Zoom channel, Deepika Padukone reacted to Swara's open letter and said, "She probably missed the disclaimer at the beginning of the film. You probably went out to buy some popcorn and missed the initial disclaimers that come out. I think, secondly, the fact that it is important to view a film in totality and to see in which period it was set in. Third of all, I think for me this film is not just about the act (Jauhar) that they all committed, but it stood for so much more. For me, it's a celebration of women and their strength, power and dignity."