Sunday, February 28, 2010

The ignorance of meaningful perception

Maqbool Fida Hussain aka the Picasso of India is one of the most discussed topics of today especially after he accepted the Qatar citizenship. Though conferred upon him, the decision was completely his to accept it. In the past, Indian groups have gone against his art which according to him is freedom of expression and according to few others, obscene. But for me, perception from the eyes of many is what I have understood from many debates on the issue. Some call it 'Rape of Bharatmata, few others call it Naked Bharatmata or Bharatmata in Red. What caught my attention was her nudity. Why MF painted it that way is not a matter of concern. Whether he respects Bharatmata or any other woman is not an issue cos if we get into it we'll end up punishing majority of the men in the world (For eg: Aarushi Khanna, Ruchika case). But what should be discussed is if the art will affect the morals of the society and our Gen next.

I don't know what ‘freedom of expression’ is. This term sometimes justifies littering on roads and sometimes allows the rich to get away with crime, sometimes permits to create a scene in the middle of traffic and sometimes does justice by returning land to the deserving farmer. When MF's paintings were considered to have hurt Indians' sentiments I wondered where all these sentiments went when we indulge into war claiming to be true Gandhians. Where were the sentiments when we silently gave in to bribery? They were hibernating perhaps! Obscene Blue film posters are visible in so many areas in Trivandrum, yet everyone has time to point out only at the nudity of MF's paintings. Certainly he is at fault. But I don't believe in punishing one and letting the others get ignored.

Getting to my point, there are several temples in India which proudly show off our Cultural heritage. As a child, when in India for summer holidays, I loved to visit temples and listen to my Grandma put me to sleep with interesting, authentic, mythical stories of Indian Gods. There were many guides who explained the importance of each temple during such trips. Some temples belonged to the early era where artisans carved out certain Gods with just a single rock. In fact temples were born out of a single rock, etcetera. I always pondered upon why most of the women carvings had a bare chest. Being a big fan of Hindu mythology I have never come across anything such as the women walking around bare chested like the men. So I always found it weird to see such stark nakedness in such beautiful temples that were places of historical value and most importantly, of faith and worship. Some carvings were so erotic in nature that it used to irritate me to worship idols who were surrounded by such obscene art. When such art can be preserved, applauded, declared to promote Indian culture...I do not see any point in vandalizing Mr. Hussain's paintings. For a look at what I intended to say go here :

Kalidasan had once written about Goddess Parvathy in an erotic way for which he was criticized to the core. But we still treasure his other works and pass it on to the next generations though one of his most famous drama- Abhijnanashakuntalam has it's most pivotal scene changed at his convenience (The scene where King Dushyanta apparently forgets Shakuntala after returning back due to a curse is an imaginary addition by Kalidasan so that he could portray the main hero in a good light).

Let us not generalize and point fingers at who we feel is convenient to fall prey to our selected accusations. Let the 95 year old man live his life in peace and I certainly agree with him accepting the Qatar nationality. I wouldn't tolerate anyone vandalizing my art, no one would!

Here are few tweets from tweeters I had debated with:
@VineethJose- The carvings also have sculptures of gays , lesbians and people having sex with animals. Its all there since vedic ages.

@RahulEaswar- Dear Neha. Can u imagine a situation where Sri Hussain paints "Rape of Qatar", Naked Qatar Queen, Queen's affair with someone else

@crown_jk- Carvings made in ancient society was more moral.For them there was nothing wrong in nudity. Now time has passed.We are in 2010,those carvings are now symbols of IND civilization.Now nudity is considered as a crime,can we go & destroy carvings? No. But living in this society,MF made paintings which will hurt people who believe in Hindu religion and love motherland.


Tony Joseph said...

Nice article. good topic. totally agree with ur points..

Murali said...


All of us possess an ancient mind, thoughts and body. We are in a illusion that this belong to us. When you get this awareness then you will start living. Oneness University conducts classes, which i would recommend to take-up. The reason for this suggestion is to guide you the best for your future.

Murali-Abu Dhabi

Neha Sasikumar said...

Thanks Tony.

Murali: I didn't get you! :)

MMC said...

Nehaji, what have been depicted in our temples etc reflects the mores of the times they were created. Time has changed; so have the mores. Do people support child marriage or Sathi? [Hey, it was widely practised in the past, you see...]. MFH, and people like N Ram, should have considered the sensibilities of others..Beauty (vulgarity) lies in the eyes of the beholder..

Neha Sasikumar said...

By banning MFH from entering India, are we going to be successful in stopping his paintings from getting popularized? Also, Sati is a custom not a painting which can be observed anytime.

Rav! said...

The freedom of expression is not meant to do 'anything'..!! Will he make a similar painting of his sisters[ freedom of expression]?? BharatMata(Bharat - India, Mata - Mother) is a personification of India.He cant hurt the feelings of Indians for showing his character

Neha Sasikumar said...

Ravi: Good to hear that it hurt you. Now, did you feel hurt to know about art within the country which could also be thought provoking? Did you feel hurt to have young teens go and watch a low class movie running in the interiors? I ask, where is the spirit then ??

പിള്ളാച്ചന്‍ said...

...Did you feel hurt to have young teens go and watch a low class movie running in the interiors?..

Its a personal makers makes the films and get it censored by a board.watching that film or not is just personal choice. in case of MF,there was not body to censor it.he just portrayed the bharath matha as nude, which will eventually hurt many Indians. What ravi told is 100% right. Can he portray his mother or sister as nude? no, he will never, when he did that, it was completely covered with dress. So if he is living in India, he has to show respect to the mother land and he has to respect other religions. I bet, he will never portray Prophet Nabi & his wives as nude. so he knew what he is doing, he has done all these things to create publicity. same thing he did in case of the Maduri Dixit issue as well.. He thrives on controversies. Indian's can't accept those controversies at the cost of Bharath Matha & any religion. Its a secular country!! being an artist, MF should behave more sensibily!!!

Neha Sasikumar said...

Your are again getting back on the wrong thing. I am against his nude paintings.. but there are several such things which also require such verdict. And I didn't mean a low budget movie .. I meant Blue movies which are banned and yet they are run in the city. Also, we have a choice of observing MFs paintings.. it's not a compulsory thing that is observed out of way on a newspaper or channel or even a hoarding !

Vishnu Visakh S said...

You can expect anything frm the ppl of INDIA... Mandira Bedi on a Cricket Show...was criticised for wearing a saree which included the image of Indian Flag among many other flag of other countries. Sachin when on his birthday cut the b'day cake which is of tri colour, was also criticised.

Many people make fun of me when i stand up in attention giving respect to our National Anthem, its a sad case. I was burst in to tears when I saw our National Flag in drainage. People threw that Indian Flag to the drainage on 16th Aug after the independance day.

I personally doesnot support MF for this picture, even if his works are great.. But, I dnt think he should be blamed too.. See Hindu Gods... Ganesha, hw is his face looks like?? Its an elephant's right.. How is Hanuman's face looks like?? Its a monkey's right... To me these faces are created by human itself. But if we try to create these gods in another shape ppl will respond against it. Thats a big fact. People are believed to what they are seen and heard since their birth.

In olden days, if somebody had drawn the picture of Bharat Matha with a donkey face (sorry to say like that, I respect Mother India. Consider this as an eg:) years after ppl will respect and draw pictures of the same kind and no one will say a word against tht.

Many Indians are criticising MF for his latest picture saying he had shown irrespect to the Mother India.
My dear friends i just want you people to check out this video which happened in Tamil Nadu:

There are many videos of such kind.

If that is not enough see this

The guys who rain badwords on this great artist..STOP THAT.!!! AND QUESTION THIS ACT FIRST..!!!

Neha Sasikumar said...

I saw the pic. That's indeed very shameful! I don't know how come Indian hearts don't boil in anger in such instances!

Vishnu Visakh S said...

@ പിള്ളാച്ചന്‍

Yeah.. you may be right...Bharath Matha in nude pictures would have hurt the feelings of many Indians.. Infact me too.. But do u think its right to burn Indian Flag by Indians themselves.. Aren't they burning their mother???
.People like you criticise him for drawing this picture. But why you people are not even moving your lil finger against this act.

Many people say, they are not aware of these kind of issues. You know what. I have mailed these pictures to all famous media including NDTV, CNN..etc..etc..and even to Shashi Tharoor. But in vain.

Have you seen anything of these kinds in media...NO..!!! Are they affraid of these ppl?? Why these things are still not publised in these news channels ???

Ppl like MF are very famous. Media just like to make controversies by boosting these things, to increase their channel rating..

Pleast INDIANS bring up these flag issue to the public...If we cant' stop it, no one can...and the same story will continue again..

Vishnu Visakh S said...

Please*** INDIANS

Rav! said...

I thought the topic was abt MF controversy, thats why I pointed out my view on it. If u are talking abt other issues lyk low class movie, there is a department itself to deal with it. Even after the controversy why he went to Qatar ?? he is given citizenship der...why he cudnt go to US or some European country..the only place he could go was some gulf country, where he will be considered a hero for doing something against the Indian culture.
take the case of Taslima Nazreen she is accused of hurting people's religious feelings there and so she is not allowed to enter Bangladesh. i can ask u bak , wer is ur spirit in her case..???? there are many other issues to look upon than the low class movies running in the city...i accept its against low..but I am not the authority to punish them..:P I just added my view on ur topic :)...Like Naseeruddin Shah said in the movie 'A Wednesday',” I am just a stupid Common Man...”...

Rav! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neha Sasikumar said...

Ravi: Haha ! Point taken my common man ! MF has to reside in a place where people will accept him. Obviously in India it's not possible.. so.. like in Kal ho na ho : 'us haath ko tum tham lo .. wo meherbaan kal ho na ho !'

പിള്ളാച്ചന്‍ said...

I am also against MF's painting. But its not all abt nudity. We are living in a secular country, that doesn't mean that, anybody can hurt the feeling of people of other religion. Hindus give very much importance of their religious stuffs and the god/goddesses they worship. MF has hurt the feeling of such devotees by portraying the nude and vulgar painting of Goddess Saraswathy, Sitha, hanumaan etc. He can claim this as his creativity, but he is not understanding how this can hurt the feelings of common people. I bet, he can't portray Prophet Nabi and his wives like this, because he belongs to that religion. Also, if he do that, the support now he is getting will be lost too from Muslim Community. This shows that he don't have any respect for any other religions in Indian. Also he has portrayed Bharath Matha as nude, and it came in the front page of The Hindu newspaper. he is not just portraying, he is spreading it too. This shows how he respect his mother land too. Bharath Matha concept is not brought up by Sangaparivaar or any other political party. its there in Indian's mind from our Independence struggle time itself. When such a painting comes in front of the public, normally they will react. Point is, They haven't gone and attacked MF. They went in the way of Law. Filed cases against MF and leagaly started fighting against it. MF always wanted controversies to continue his profession. All these are purposefully done by MF to become popular.

Also, the issue is not abt the nudity. the message he is trying to pass to the public. we have seen, anti-Indian activities in India many times. Govt is taking measures to control them too. But when a famous painter like MF comes and portray our mother land like this, he is setting a wrong example to the public. people often start think, if he can do that, why can't we ? Nudity comes second, National interest comes first.