Twitter erupted in a big debate after actor Payal Rohatgi glorified the age-old tradition of Sati, also known as “Sati Pratha”, and called Raja Ram Mohan Roy a “traitor” who defamed the tradition. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformer, was known for his efforts towards abolishing the Sati tradition and child marriage.
The debate on Sati tradition blew up after Payal Rohatgi tweeted a video, “Truth behind Sati Pratha in India” and called Raja Ram Mohan Roy a ‘traitor’. The tweet was captioned: “#Jauhar was an incident related to Padmavati [movie] during Mughal Khiljis invasion. Later society, with the help of traitors like Raja Ram, who Britishers used to divide society, made Sati into an evil forceful practice. (sic)”
Reacting to a tweet which read ‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a social reformer and founder of Brahmo Samaj movement’, Payal Rohatgi called Raja Ram Mohan Roy a “chamcha [lackey]” of the British, who, she said, “used him to defame the Sati tradition”.
Payal Rohatgi tweeted: “No he was a chamcha to Britishers who used him to defame the Sati tradition. Sati tradition was not compulsory but was introduced to prevent the prostitution of Hindu wives by the hands of Mughal invaders. It was the woman’s choice. #FeministsofIndia Sati was not regressive.”
Her outburst, which she terms “freedom of expression”, however, has not gone down well with Twitter. Twitter users weighed in on the role of Raja Ram Mohan Roy in aiding in the abolishment of the Sati Pratha, with some people defending him and others criticising him. Payal Rohatgi was even trolled for calling Raja Ram Mohan Roy a “traitor” and a “chamcha to the Britishers”.
While some trolled the actor no end, others came out in her support.
The Twitter handle TrueIndology was one of them. This Twitter handle extensively tweeted about the Sati tradition and attacked Raja Ram Mohan Roy, saying that the latter “identified himself as Unitarian Christian” and “did not want India’s freedom”.
“We offer humble prayers to God, for blessing India with British rule.
We sincere pray that British rule may continue to prosper for centuries and centuries”
-Raja Rammohan Roy writing in “Brahmanical Magazine” founded by him. November 15,1823 https://t.co/RXG9k24zTP— TrueIndology (@TrueIndologyliv) May 27, 2019
Payal Rohatgi has, however, said that she did not try to glorify the Sati Pratha and also raised the issue of triple talaq. Reacting to a tweet, she said, “I am not glorifying itI am putting across the history of its origin. It was due to Mughal invaders that #Sati started in the 1st place. Understand your history. And yes no one is practising it NOW nor am I asking anyone to practice it. But #TripleTalaq is still ON. (sic)”
The actress, known for her outbursts on Twitter, has courted controversy several times in the recent past. Just last week, Payal faced the ire of social media after she asked for names of streets in India on Mughal emperors to be renamed.