Old post – not current: BJP, Gujarat, and yet another embarrassment

An old post. Please note that this is not a comment on BJP today, but an incident from 4 years ago. Bringing it up in the shadow of M F Hussain’s death to make two points. 1. There are others being targetted too (and they are alive, so we can change and make a difference), and 2. This boy had not painted naked goddesses, but still got the brutal. So let’s not pretend that it is about defending religious figures or something. It is plain old moral policing. We need to grow up. ASAP.


The point here is not to bash any political party or anything, but to look at the problem and see what needs done clearly.

This time around, its art. Apparently, the erotica that has always been a frank element of our culture, is also now about shame. An art student’s work is put up for exhibition, and he gets arrested. Why? What is this new brand of moral policing? And what is it about Hindutva they are protecting? Why does a government need to interfere with an art student’s work?

The uproar hit the ceiling when the fellow students of the arrested Chandramohan organized an exhibition of Indian erotica. Vice-Chancellor Manoj Soni, living up to his reputation as an RSS stooge, took the decision to seal the department after BJP municipal councillors complained about the erotica exhibition. Oh really! Give me a break. Nudes are a staple of fine art education and study of anatomy. Good work elicts admiration, bad work elicts criticism, but arrests? Shutting down of a fine arts department?

I wouldn’t be surprised if owning a copy of the Kama Sutra became illegal in Gujarat, or if Khajuraho itself got destroyed after this. What are we, the citizens doing, allowing such insanity to rule our country?

Nudity exists. Acting holier-than-thou doesn’t change what the mirror shows us as we change clothes. It doesn’t stop minimal clothing and erotic films from being best sellers. It doesn’t stop people from seeing the beauty of the human form, and finding appeal in it. Where is the shame in erotica, a student’s art, or Indian erotica? It is not like they are exhibiting these on the street. People walking into an exhibition are well aware of its theme and what to expect. If they don’t like it, they can stay away. What is this with arresting artists?

What do we do about Indian artists who have already painted plenty of nudes in the history of India? What is this new overgrown morality being imposed on people?

So what’s next? Will love matches and dating be banned and offenders arrested if they are seen together in a public place? Are we India of the Kama Sutra, or are we Saudi fucking Arabia?

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