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Thursday, February 09, 2006 

The sense, not to paint one's Mother Nude.

There has been some discussion within all forms of Indian media about MF Hussain’s latest publicity stunt. The issue has similar connotations to the caricatures of the prophet in Danish newspapers. Many have argued in favour of displaying such paintings. While Indian TV news channels have been loathe to show the prophet’s caricatures, they have been all too willing to display this controversial painting of a nude Bharat Mata.

I am not in favour of any displays of the national icons in this manner. People speaking in favour of Hussain are guilty of obfuscating issues. This is not the same as painting a Hindu goddess nude. This is one of depicting national icons in poor taste. As there is always confusion in India about Hindu fanatics and nationalists, people are looking at it from Hindu value systems, and trying to explain how nudity and sensual ness have always been acceptable in Hindu theology.

My first point of argument is: In present day India, Victorian prudishness is the established and accepted set of norms. So the painting goes against all prevalent norms of acceptability, at least present-day Indian norms.

Point # 2: The depiction is one of Bharat Mata i.e. Mother India and we do not look towards our mother’s as icons of sensuality. Incest is not acceptable in India, and most of the present day world. So those who speak about sensual depictions, please look at the context before speaking.

Point # 3: Look at Mr. Hussain’s track record. He has always been a publicity hound, looking for any free publicity that comes his way. And he also suffers from double standards, talking about freedom of expression while offending Hindus, but withdrawing his movie when it offended Muslims. So the argument of artistic expression doesn’t stand. It seems that it has been done with an eye on publicity.

Whenever nationalist sensibility is offended we generally have our national media looking to trivialize the issue, and pooh-pooh the people who take offence. But if one looks at it from a neutral perspective, all the media is doing is forgetting the facts in order to be politically correct.

You have well said. The Indian media is mainly influenced by the left (due to the fact that JNU and other major arts & humanities instutions lean towards this defunct idea) and the left has the policy that anything that offends Hindus is artistic expression and anything that offends Muslims is communal bigotry. Those, so called protectors of secularism why not have the guts to publish mohammed cartoons. If the muslims can get hurt by the cartoons, so do the hindus get hurt by the nude paintings.

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