Saturday, March 13, 2010

MF Hussain II: India's values on trial, not Qatar's!

"MF Hussain should have painted the prophet. Would Qatar have allowed him in? They would have instead declared a reward for his head"

That is the crux of the major comments I got in my previous post. One of the major arguments that comes when discussing MF Hussain's alleged blasphemous paintings is about how he never attempted to take the liberties in relation to revered figures in Islam or Christianity. The argument stems from a belief that Hindu culture is tolerant and hence Hussain is taking too much liberty (some right-wing elements go to the extent of saying that Hussain has a 'secret agenda' and hence he is 'insulting' Hinduism and embarrassing Hindus).

The irony here is that even as those arguing declare that Hinduism is inclusive and liberal, they will end up comparing with other religions and almost express a wish of being 'less liberal' like them! On one hand, they argue how Hinduism is the oldest of world religions and how far its philosophy and teachings went through voluntary disciples and on the other they almost express a wish of how it should learn a thing or two from other organized religions like Islam and Christianity!

A second major argument against Hussain is that if at all he took those liberties with other religions, no other country would have hosted him. On one hand, we trumpet how we are the world's largest democracy and how fast we are 'developing'. On the other hand, we want to compare and compete with the Afghanistans, Libyas and Qatars and agonise how 'too democratic or too secular' we have become. Even as we argue for a chair at the high table of UN security council, we are in a self-doubt over our own power to withstand the missiles of artists. We fear our culture is insulted by few paintings, our nation's democracy is hijacked by some one's 'secret agenda'. And yet we argue we are tomorrow's superpower.

The question we need to ask is whether we are poised to stride ahead with the self-assurance with which we started as a free nation 6 decades ago. We have embraced the democratic, secular values and we have to stick to those values. If need be, we should even fight for them in our spheres of influence. No point comparing ourselves with the worst in the world and conveniently excusing our hypocrisies unless we are ready to declare ours as a third-class country for the next century. Robert Kennedy said "Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence..". We Indians should ask ourselves if we have the will and moral courage to follow the values we embraced, in letter and spirit? Do we seriously believe what we claim ourselves to be - secular, democratic, big power? If so, we should realise that values on trial in Hussain's case are those of India and not Qatar's.


sravan said...

Thanx Amar,
That clears lot of confusion I personally held on this issue.
Good thinking on your part to clearly explain what objectivity in true sense means.

Praddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praddy said...

Ah...this crap about being secular and being open...its all bullshit...this issue has nothing to do with secularism and freedom...irrespective of the religion i think any person would be (or rather looking at this post i must say "should be") anguished that his motherland is being painted as a naked women. would one not protest if his/her mother was painted as a naked one? and what right does a painter or any individual have to hurt peoplez sentiments...thinking needs to be practical and not theoretical...bcoz world and people are real.
yes this is a test of Indiaz values... let us not sell off our values, self respect and culture just for being called magnanimous. i strongly condemn the views expressed in this post
let us show some respect for our motherland.

sravan said...

You definitely did not understand what is said here in the post.
Amar says,
We have embraced the democratic, secular values and we have to stick to those values. If need be, we should even fight for them in our spheres of influence. No point comparing ourselves with the worst in the world and conveniently excusing our hypocrisies unless we are ready to declare ours as a third-class country for the next century.

If people's over reaction against the said paintings was non-secular and undemocratic then MFH's paintings are also equally non-secular.
But the point is whether we had been very uniform in enforcing matters or not.
The question is, are we actually accepting the democratic and secular values of the nation?
When our personal and national interests are conflicting what are we actually are promoting ?

Praddy said...

hey sravan thanks for responding but i don't understand why are we so particular about not being hypocrites...all big nations in world are bigger hypocrites from matters varying from open trade to wearing burqhaz or climate change. big deal....u cannot leave an ideal life in a less than ideal world
why give a damn!

sravan said...

That sounds like extremes of objectivism.
We need to first question ourselves from a third person perspective before we question or degrade others.
That is the whole point in being objectivist.
But extreme inference of any thing like this would only leave us in a state of self glorification later, amounting to degrading others, not overtly but in meaning. For we cannot think in one directon always. We unknowingly fall prey to hypocricy after realizing and connecting our own feelings and self-perceptions.
From that stand point Amar is being objectivist in balance.
And my question at the end is simply to incite a thought if we are being a hypocrite or not.
"why give a damn??"
Are we saying this out of frustration or out of loosing trust in our good intentions?

Amar said...

@ Praddy the Buddy

//and what right does a painter or any individual have to hurt peoplez sentiments...//

R u already assuming that Hussian knew he was hurting the feelings when he drew?

//thinking needs to be practical and not theoretical...//

I am being practical when I say its impractical to decide 'limits' for any artist or anyone else. Who decides the 'limits' and where would the 'limits' end if every community in India gets its way to prevent 'insults' to their beliefs? What would democarcy mean at the end of this?

We have not picked up any values to be called magnanimous! I think we picked them because they r the practical and peaceful ways to live and coexist.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

Debating on depiction of Hindu Goddess in nude by MFH.

I request the commentators not to chorus with Saffron bigots, who have nothing to do with 'Hindu' sentiments and 'Indian' culture.

Pls go through the following verses (The script is in Telugu. If the readers could not read Telugu, pls go through the original text of Soundarya Lahari by Adi Sankaracharya):
1.స్థిరోగంగా వర్తస్తన ముకుళ రోమావళితా
కళావాలం కుండం కుసుమ శరతేజోహుత భుజ
రతేర్లీలాగారం కిమపి తవ నాభిర్గిరి సుతే
బిలద్వారం సిద్దేర్గిరశ నయనానాం విజయతే

2.నిసర్గ క్షీణ స్యస్తన తలభరేణ క్లమ జుషో
నమన్మూర్తేర్నారీ తిలక శనకైస్త్రుట్యత ఇవ
చిరం తేమధ్య స్యత్రుటిత తటినీ తీర తరుణా
సమావ స్థాస్థే మ్నోభవతు కుశలం శైలతనయే

3.కచౌ సద్య స్స్విద్యత్తట ఘటిత కూర్పాస భిదురౌ
కషంతౌ దోర్మూతే కనక కలశాభౌ కలయతా
తవత్రౌతుం భంగాదల మితి వలగ్నం తనుభువా
త్రి ధానద్దం దేవిత్రి వళిల వలీవల్లి భిరివ

4.గురుత్వం విస్తారం క్షికత ధరపతి పార్వతి నిజా
నితంబా దాచ్ఛిద్య త్వయిహరణ రూపేణ విదధే
అతస్తే విస్తీర్ణో గురురయ మశేషాం వసుమతీం
నితంబ ప్రాగ్బార స్థగయతి లఘత్వం నయతిచ

5. కరీంద్రాణాం శుండాన్ కనకదళీ కాండ పటలీ
ముభాభ్యా మూరుభ్యాం ఉభయమపి నిర్జిత్యభవతీ
సువృత్తాభ్యాం పత్యు ప్రణతి కఠినాభ్యాం గిరిసుతే
విద్దిజ్ఞే జానుభ్యాం విబుధ కరి కుంభ ద్వయమసి
The first SLOKA refers to naval of Goddess. Second and Third Slokas about Her big Breast, lean waist and wrinkles on the waist and midriff. Fourth Sloka is about her Buttocks and fifth sloka is about her Thighs. Adi Sankara charya also referred to Her pubic hair and also vagina.
పరమ భక్త శిఖామణి, సాక్షాత్, శంకర సమానులుగా కీర్తించబడిన ఆది శంకరాచారుల వారు జగల్లీలని నగ్నంగానే దర్శించి, సౌందర్యలహరీ విరచించారు.

రోజూ పఠించే లలితా సహస్రనామాలలొ ఇవి కొన్ని. ..............................
1 ముఖచంద్రకళంకాభ మృగనాభివిశేషికా
2. కనకాంగద కేయూర కమనీయ భుజాన్వితా
3. నాఖ్యలవాలరోమాల్లి లతా ఫలకుచద్వయీ
4. లక్ష్యరోమలతాధార సమున్నేయమధ్యమా
5.స్తనభారదళన్మధ్య పట్టబంధరళిత్రయా
6. అరుణారుణకౌసుభ వస్త్ర భాస్వత్కాటీతటీ
7. కామేజ్ఞత సౌభాగ్య మార్దవోరుద్వయాన్వితా.......
The Above are a few lines we enchant daily during our prayer (Lalitha Sahasra Nama)
1 is about the naval of Goddess
2 is about Her shoulders
3 is about Her naval and breast
4 is about Her pubic hair and vagina
5 is about the gap between Her breast- cleavage
6 is about Her waist and midriff
7 is about Her Thighs

ఆ మాటకొస్తే రోజూ వినే సుప్రభాతం ఇదిగో ఇలా ఉంటుంది.....
కమలాకుచ చూచుక కుంకుమతో
నియతారుణి తాతుల నీలతనో

Oh! Lord!! Whose blue complexion is turned red by the KUMKUMA on the nipples of Lakshmi's breast (This the part of Subrabhata).

Pls refer to Bhakta Jayadeva's Geeta Govindam. Go through 26 volumes (TTD publications) of Saint- poet Annamayya (I am not referring to erotic descriptions of Srinatha, Peddana- the Telugu poets, known for their erotic expressions, as they did not fall under this category).

My intention to tell u is that: Nudity has many connotations.
1. Divine Nudity
2. Distorted Nudity.
3. Infantile Nudity.

U could not say the child's nudity is obscene. Similarly, u could not confuse with the (semi) nudity of film stars and the nudity being portrayed by M F Hussain.

However, pls think a while: Did MFH intend to provoke our sensuality with the nude depiction of Lakshmi, Saraswathi and so on? Is it morphing the face of Lakshmi with Mommath Khan kind of art?

thesis writing service said...

dude, what means all this your/...words. It's on Telugu, right?? I can't describe and translate it

Reena said...

Very good point - that it's our values on trial and not Qatar's, which has no pretensions to secularism, democratic ideals or personal freedoms

Harisha said...


This is being sickular, not secular. Everything offensive can not be wrapped and protected under the same of secularism; you can't expect people not to react even if someone humiliates a God(esp.lly by a person of other religion), more so, if the painter is of cadre of MFH.
I somehow got to see some pictures of his, and I felt it is demeaning.
Unfortunately today, secularism is limited to Hindus and democracy, to non-Hindus.