Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I don’t understand what the fuss is all about.
The very fabric of our existence is under threat, some good people Get Out There and DO Something about it, and we call them Fascists? Very Bad. Because Fascists are a Bad Thing, and surely nekkid pictures are Bad Things too. Being against nekkid pictures must be a Good Thing, therefore people against nekkid pictures cannot be Fascists. Right? Far right.
All this hoo-ha, you know, all this secular shekular, very bad only.
I came across this programme on the telly on Sunday night. Barkha Dutt and a load of Wise People talking about the incident at the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University of Arts, where a student named Lunar Enticer was arrested for threatening the national identity. Many wise things were said, the gist being that we must not say or do anything that could cause offence to anybody. Very nice, in fact the sort of thing I learnt at my mother’s knee, or at least the sort of thing I would have learnt if I had not been busy being a wise-acre.
I fail to understand why some people (Bloggers, This Means YOU) do not understand. This depraved boy Chandramohan produced paintings where religious icons were shown in conjunction with (gasp, sorry!) nekkid figures. Very bad. One Wise Gentleman pointed out that this was the Thin End of the Wedge – if people can paint religious icons nekkid (for example, a naked cross! Even a naked Shivlinga!), they could even paint his mother nekkid! Considering that the said gentleman is in his fifties and his mother is presumably in her 70s, I entirely agree that such a picture must NEVER be painted. I must, however, caution the gentleman that his mere mention of this possibility could offend not only me but also his mother.
(Warning – Long Digression)
What’s more, if this kind of thing is allowed, people might even suggest that the gentleman’s parents HAVE been naked at some point of time. This, of course, cannot be true of Traditional Indian Parents, who are always Fully Clothed. They might even suggest that his parents (shudder) Had Sex. This would strike at the roots of our Ancient Civilisation and Culture, because we all know that not only are Indians Never Naked, we Do Not EVER Have Sex.
Indians hold the proud honour of being the world’s second most populous nation without ANY SEX WHATSOEVER, because ALL Indians are born through parthenogenesis. Some Indians are born from nodding flowers and raging fires, as clearly shown in Indian films, but not one is ever born because his parents Had Sex (or ‘did’ sex, to use the Orkutian idiom). This proud truth is under threat from Indians residing Abroad, so the Guardians of Our Culture should give serious thought (which is the only kind of thought they are capable of) to attacking all the educational institutions that Corrupt Students’ Minds by suggesting that Indians can and do Have Sex.
Some stupid people have suggested that Indians Know About Sex, because they have seen Women Worshipping Shiv Lingas. Such people do not realize that this is a Demonstration of Innocence. These women have never seen a non-Shiv linga (even though most of them are mothers themselves) and therefore approach the holy phallus Entirely Unaware of its anatomical significance. In similar fashion, the temple at Kamakkhya has NO sexual or anatomical significance whatsoever.
(Now back on the main line …)
A group of Morally Responsible Citizens stormed the
Then the students and some faculty did Something Very Bad. They set up an exhibition that purported to show Indian erotica through the ages. This, of course, was intolerable.
So anyway, there was some to-ing and fro-ing and then the
There has been some criticism of the police. Totally unwarranted, in my humble opinion. The police were very prompt in arresting the student. They have not, of course, registered an FIR against the corporators for their alleged ruffianism on campus. This proves their Fixity of Purpose. I mean, being Guardians of Morality, they cannot be seen to waver and Accommodate More than One Point of View. As for being Guardians of the Law, give the poor cops a break, will you? They’re busy enough Guarding Morality, they’ll get around to Upholding the Law sooner or later. Or some time.Like early 2009.
So all in all, this has been an enormously reassuring excise in Defending Civilisation. Next week, we’re going to Burn some Books. And if we get lucky, some authors as well. (The tenets of Guarding Morality are not clear about Burning Critics. This might be Seen as Weakness).
Anon E. Mouse
Bhery brilliant ! We must uphold our Kalchaar and prevent Apo-sanskriti at all costs!
Today we will beat them up, tomorrow we shall burn the books.
- the humble pondit.
If this incident is seen in light of Indian history, it can be easily understood that 'art' of this kind is seen by many practicing hindus as merely hindu baiting.
All other comments harping on how stupid and how backward the protesters are, are widely off the mark.
The problem of violence ofcourse, is inherent to the way Indian politics is practiced. Nothing new there, unfortunately..
haha, beautiful post...
If you want to try your hand at sarcasm in the comment space, there is just one requirement. That you do better than the original post. That is common sense. In this case, that's rather impossible. So, you should really shut up. OK?
Now that the applause from the admirers of your satire is over, maybe you can try to take a closer look at why so many people of your country think differently.
Maybe you can start by getting down from your pedestal.
Pondit Moshai, bhee shall obhaarkaam.
Enjay, sadly enough, between the conception and the reality falls the shadow.
Shreyasi, Bong yes, but at work?
Dreamcatcher, thank you.
FirstRain, 'striptease' is a dirty word (especially in the absence of Demi Moore)
MumbaiGirl, Karthik, Doodler, Murugan, Nitya – ‘umble thanks.
Matt – you have a point. But I gave up preaching about two decades ago. Oh OK, ONE decade ago
Nilu – are YOU being sarcastic here? If not, I am overwhelmed.
Shampa – good plan. Have you been practicing?
Anonymous 1 – I agree with your point about our politics. I can’t say much about ‘art of this kind’ because I haven’t seen it. Have you?
Anonymous 2 – my sincere thanks for visiting and for providing a pedestal. ‘YOUR’ country – does that usage mean that you are not an Indian?
While freedom of expression is a common thread running through civilized societies, most societies take into account their historical experience and forswear such expression that is reminiscent of crimes against humanity.
What will it take for Indian elite to reach such a happy medium ?
I dont think sex or anything else is an issue here. We have plenty of that in popular culture today.
Uncle J, accept superlatives. I shall now have to delete my draft which is along similar rhetoric. Which is a Small Price.
Can you give us the link to 'Sandeep's blog'?
Rimi - such praise (one assumes it is such) from such an unexpected quarter. We are not worthy.
Which is cause for concern maybe, unless you are a reporter called Mousumi Sengupta...
Can you give us the link to 'Sandeep's blog'?
The paintings and structures may well be described as crimes against humanity ;-) but that wasnt what I was referring to when I used that phrase.
In many minds, such works of 'art' are associated with hindu baiting, and are reminiscent of the desecrations of hindu religious icons one finds in history. This desecration and the concomitant blood baths and genocide is what I was referring to when I used that phrase.
Now one can say, you are backward, you are intolerant or that your idea of history is entirely wrong, but what matters is how commonly this opinion is held, and what can be done to assuage these feelings.
The other question is what exactly is being achieved by the works of 'art' in question ? If its a rebellion against sexual repression, ash and hrithik swinging their arses in dhoom2 does that far better than this 'art'.
Freedom of speech is not universal you know.. For e.g. you cant use the N word and escape censure in the US.
What will it take for Indian elite to realize that such art is the same for many practising hindus, as using the N word would be for an African American.
Anon1 - I agree with you. As with the oft-cited precedent of the Danish cartoons, I believe some things are best left alone. (I'm not an advocate of democracy, really - I believe in benevolent despotism. Preferrably mine)
Two points to make here -
(1) these paintings were not in the public domain, so to that extent their potential for offence was less.
(2) no matter how offensive they may be, it does not give N Jain & Co the right to march in and cause alarm and dismay, nor does it condone the biased stand of the police. (I think we agree on this one as well?)
Good analogy about the N-word.
But they were, from what I know, the paintings/sculptures were displayed in a publicly funded university and the display was open to anyone who wanted to walk in.
>> (2) no matter how offensive they may be, it does not give N Jain & Co the right to march in and cause alarm and dismay, nor does it condone the biased stand of the police. (I think we agree on this one as well?)
Sure.. at the same time, violence to make your voice heard is not something thats practiced by Mr Jain in this country.. We have a long history of coercive politics, starting right from Mahatma Gandhi and his hadtals, gheraos and boycotts.
Police always take the shortcut out to maintain peace.. If they feel that they can get a mob of 1000 people back in their homes by putting xyz in jail, theyll do it :-)
Ahh, 'crime against humanity'?
I wonder what you ponder.. :-) What is so difficult to understand in what I said :-D
Anon1, Gandhi and violence for protest? Take 2 Aspirin and DON'T call me in the morning.
I wasnt planning on calling you anytime soon, but can I still comment on your blog ? :-D
The last comment should read:
>>>> Sure.. at the same time, violence to make your voice heard is not something thats practiced by Mr Jain alone in this country.. We have a long history of coercive politics, starting right from Mahatma Gandhi and his hadtals, gheraos and boycotts.
In my defense, I didnt mean to say that Mahatma Gandhis politics was violent, only that the politics we see today is an organic growth of the agitational politics of those times. I may be wrong.. but then so what :-)
In Mahatma Gandhis own words..
"None of us knew what name to give to our movement. I then used the term “passive resistance” in describing it. ... A small prize was therefore announced in Indian Opinion to be awarded to the reader who invented the best designation for our struggle. ... Shri Maganlal Gandhi was one of the competitors and he suggested the word sadagraha, meaning “firmness in a good cause.” I liked the word, but it did not fully represent the whole idea I wished it to connote. I therefore corrected it to “satyagraha”. Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself or some other equivalent English phrase."
Its not violent, but its coercive alright.. One may argue that this was the only language that worked with the ruthless rulers we had at that time, but thats doesnt detract from the point I was making.
anyhoo.. we digress. Whatever be the roots of this kind of politics, its certainly not productive.
just dropped in to say that this is not limited to india.
i read a report the other day that a chocolate shop owner put up a naked chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ and was forced to remove it, right here in New York. (I did see the sculpture too)..
If the country that considers herself the epitome of freedom, is it a big surprise that this can happen in India?
But I don't go around saying other people can't look at them. I think much less of them for doing so, but it's their right.
The exception that always holds of course is when the image has damaged the person it is of - as in child porn.
And regarding the topic on hand, yet to visit sandeepweb to see the pics, but in general me very liberal with artistic expressions. Sensitivity of artists and sensibility of audience evolve together, well done if this happens peacefully!
I actually liked your digression quite a bit.
On a completely selfish note, could I claim a small bit of copyright infringement damage for the title of the post?
And no, I am not paying Anjan Dutta anything :)