Archive for March, 2010

The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) looks to be financially a rich party and presenting a cash garland of Rs 5 crore on the anniversary bash and another one of Rs 18 lakh just show it.

Wonder who presented it to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati? It is none other than Karnataka party unit chief Marsandra Muniyappa, who gave her a garland made of hundreds of Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 5 crore at a BSP rally marking the 76th birth anniversary of its founder Kanshi Ram on Monday.

When channels flashed the pictures of the garland, we all mistook it to be made up of  some shiny, imported flowers. But no! Close-up shots showed that the garland was made up of currency notes and it took nearly three months to prepare it in Mysore.

The event was indeed a white elephant, costing the party a jumbo affair. Reportedly, the cost of BSP’s silver jubilee rally was Rs 200 crore, and Rs 5 crore was spent of catering. Not to be left behind, as many as 2,400 buses were hired to ferry audience and 1,00,000 kg flowers were used in the venue, besides deploying 10,000 policemen on duty.

But what is surprising is, Maya had openly told that her state government was not in a position to pay compensation to the victims of stampede recently. And everybody is busy criticizing her ugly show of wealth and power. The party of the state is bankrupt to pay compensation to the victims, but has lot of money to celebrate the anniversaries or birthdays.

Now it is official, and no wonder if Maya is welcomed everywhere with garlands made of currency notes.

Many political parties, including the Congress, is condemning this shameless show of money power. The Congress is getting outside support of the BSP for the UPA government at the Centre. If Congress is an ally, why can’t the party members, or say chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tell Mayawati openly that they don’t need her support, as she is indulging in the so-called ugly show of money power?!

But I doubt if the Congress can ever tell Maya to withdraw her support. For, indirectly, they too are indulging in the same kind of game. The Congress is spending crores of rupees for the glorification of  former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and even Priyanka Gandhi Vadodra through various advertisements all these years. There are several statues of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv in many parks across the country.

If the Congress points finger at the BSP, they will in turn get pointed from others and they are aware of it! So, the question remains. Who is indulging in the ugly show? Just the BSP or even others?!

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Got a mail yesterday which is doing circles among people. If a person dresses like a Sikh Guru, thousands of Sikhs gather and destroy their establishments, threaten to kill him, announce a bounty on his head – Sikhs are not criticised for being communal and intolerant.

If a Danish cartoonist depicts Prophet Mohammed, Muslims all over the world rise in anger, there is violence, a booty on the head of the cartoonist – Muslims are not criticised for being communal and intolerant.

If M.F. Hussain draws paintings depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses’ positions (not in the ancient texts at all ) and Hindus merely protest, they are called communal, intolerant and taught lessons in secularism by one and all.

The problem apparently is not with the Sikhs and the Muslims, it is with the Hindus, because they are not violent, they accept whatever is dished out to them. They do not have the guts to say that this is wrong, they seek acceptance from outsiders rather than from their conscience. They worship the same Gods and Goddesses but don’t stand up for them when the time comes.

Goddess Durga's union with Tiger

Prophet's daughter Fatima fully clothed

Goddess Lakshmi naked on Shri Ganesh's head

M.F. Hussain's mother fully clothed

Naked Saraswati

Mother Teresa fully clothed

Naked Shri Parvati

Hussain's daughter well clothed

Naked Draupadi

Well clothed muslim lady

Naked Lord Hanuman and Goddess Sita sitting on thigh of Ravana

Muslim poets Faiz, Galib are shown well- clothed

Fully clad Muslim king and naked Hindu Brahmin. The above painting clearly indicates Hussain's tendency to paint any Hindu as naked and thus his hatred

Naked Bharatmata - Hussain has shown naked woman with names of states written on different parts of her body. He has used Ashok Chakra, Tri-colour in the painting. By doing this he has violated law & hurt National Pride of Indians. Both these things should be of grave concern to every Indian irrespective of his religion

Out of the four leaders Mahatma Gandhi is decapitated and Hitler is naked. Hussain hates Hitler and has said in an interview 8 years ago that he has depicted Hitler naked to humiliate him and as he deserves it ! How come Hitler's nudity cause humiliation when in Hussain's own statement nudity in art depicts purity and is in fact an honour! This shows Hussain's perversion and hypocrisy

India, a land of rishis and spiritual men from ages, has always believed and trusted in men. Our mindset is built in such a way that we respect all elders and without our knowledge bow our heads when we see men in saffron robes. We never go to the extent of thinking if the person in the guise of a sanyasi or a see is genuinely a spiritual one or not.

Time and again, men have proved us wrong, rather say our belief as wrong, when they cheat us in various ways. Women, don’t know why, get trapped easily to the colourful words of these men and later take time to come out of the shock.

In Karnataka, Nithyananda Swami has been in the centre of a controversy after television channels aired a videotape of his alleged sexcapade with Tamil actress Ranjitha. He openly declared yesterday that the secret video was a part of his private life! He is the same guy who had impressed several people, including one of my best friends in Hyderabad, across the world.

I was surprised to hear when she told me that he was invited to her office for a meditation therapy. Not only she, but her other colleagues were also impressed by his speeches and cunning smile! Moreover, he had even promised her in front of her colleagues that he would take her to Kailash Yatra. She was more than happy to hear that, as being overweight, she had not expected that kind of assurance from a so-called seer!

I told her not to trust others and have faith on herself and her inner power.  Doing mediation is good and to get peace of mind it helps people, that too  who are busy with their hectic work schedule, a lot. But finding a real Guru  who could help us attain that spiritual peace of mind is too difficult and where can we go in search of a Guru like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa? Not all can become Vivekananda and not all ‘Swamis’ and ‘Gurus’ are Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was married to Sharada Devi and yet attained the supreme level of spirituality. He had seen the life as life and he never told his disciples to remain brahmacharis to attain spiritual moksha. Even in Christianity, many clergies are married and have families. A person gets curious to know about things which are denied to him. According to a mythological story, even Narada Maharishi marries and experiences earthly life, even though a mere dream. Buddha became a sanyasi after he got a son and not before his marriage.

So why should one become a see or a sanyasi to please others? First they should please themselves and their inner soul before putting the saffron robe and preach others.

In this case, Nithyananda Swami, who was Rajashekhara before becoming sanyasi, had not seen and experienced the life to the fullest. He gave up his earthly life at a young age, after finishing his Class 10. He became Nithyananda (‘Nithya Ananda’ means, “Happy Always”). Only god knows why he chose that name, whether to keep others happy or to keep himself happy! A teenage boy gave up earthly pleasures and went in search of spirituality (?) and succeeded in getting lakhs of devotees across the world. The interesting thing is within 2-3 years he amassed wealth worth crores of rupees and opened branches of Dhyanapeetham in several countries.

And now, people are angry over his alleged sexcapade. He has lost trust among his own followers. A Guru (Nithyananda) without a Guru (as he didn’t have any Guru and was not a disciple of any other spiritual Guru), now needs a real Guru to teach him a befitting lesson for cheating so many innocent devotees is what I feel.

I really wonder if M.F. Hussain can really get the sort of freedom for expression in Qatar, a Muslim country. Why is everybody so worried if he accepts Qatari citizenship? Have people forgotten that he’s the same person who had painted Indian gods in nude? Creative expression is good and no one should forget that no other country has been as liberal as India. It’s true that India is a democratic country and there is freedom for expression. But that freedom should not insult and hurt others. When a person expresses himself through the medium of art, it reflexes his/her mind.

In one of the paintings of Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein and Hitler, Hussain had painted only Hitler nude and had said his way of humiliating a person is to paint him nude. So according to him, is it his way of humiliating Hindu Goddesses by painting them nude?

Why paint only Hindu Gods and Goddesses in nude? Paint some Islamic heroes also in nude and see the reaction. Why can’t he paint a woman in nude and give her a Islamic name instead of Hindu name and see the reaction of the world?

A mere writing of a book landed Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen in the soup. And what will happen to Hussain if he paints Islamic persons in nude? If he paints someone in nude there, will he be able to retain Qatari citizenship?

There should be freedom of expression, but one should know the limits of his freedom. We can’t paint our mother or sisters in nude, for we respect them. We respect woman and we will never ever want to humiliate her.

Did people keep quiet when Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks published a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed’s head on the body of a dog in a 2007 Swedish newspaper editorial on freedom of expression? As many as seven people, nationals from Algeria, Libya, the Palestinian territories, Croatia and the US, have been arrested so far for trying to kill the cartoonist. Not just that, in 2007, a group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 (£66,000) reward for killing Vilks, and a 50% bonus if he was slaughtered like a lamb by having his throat cut.

When the world saw the anger of Muslims across the world for painting the prophet in the cartoon, why can’t they digest the anger of Hindus over Hussain painting Goddesses in nude? What kind of secularism is this? What kind of justice and freedom of expression is this? Why criticize only Lars Vilks and praise M.F. Hussain?

N. Ram, Editor of The Hindu, like other journalists had protested when M.F. Hussain had to take refuge in Qatar fearing for his life in India due to his nude paintings of Goddesses. A reader has given him a befitting reply.


An Open Letter to N Ram , Editor in Chief , ‘The Hindu’
03/03/2010 19:23:57

Dear Ram,

I have taken time to write this to you Ram-for the simple reason that we have known you for so many years- you and The Hindu bring back happy memories Please take what I am putting down as those that come from an agonized soul. You know that I do not mince words and what I have to say I will-I call a spade a spade-now it is too late for me to learn the tricks of being called a ‘secularist’ if that means a bias for, one, and a bias against, another.

Hussain is now a citizen of Qatar-this has generated enough of heat and less of light. Qatar you know better than me is not a country which respects democracy or freedom of expression. Hussain says he has complete freedom-I challenge him to paint a picture of Mohammed fully clad.

There is no second opinion that artists have the Right of Freedom of expression. Is such a right restricted only to Hussain? Will that right not flow to Dan Brown-why was his film-Da Vinci Code not screened? Why was Satanic Verses banned-does Salman Rushdie not have that freedom of expression? Similarly why is Taslima hunted and hounded and why fatwas have been issued on both these writers? Why has Qatar not offered citizenship to Taslima? In the present rioting in Shimoga in Karnataka against the article Taslima wrote against the tradition of burqua which appeared in the Out Look in Jan 2007.No body protested then either in Delhi or in any other part of the country; now when it reappears in a Karnataka paper there is rioting. Is there a political agenda to create a problem in Karnataka by the intolerant goons? Why has the media not condemned this insensitivity and intolerance of the Muslims against Taslima’s views? When it comes to the Sangh Parivar it is quick to call them goons and intolerant etc. Now who are the goons and where is this tolerance and sensitivity?

Regarding Hussain’s artistic freedom it seems to run unfettered in an expression of sexual perversion only when he envisages the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. There is no quarrel had he painted a nude woman sitting on the tail of a monkey. The point is he captioned it as Sita. Nobody would have protested against the sexual perversion and his orientatation to sexual signs and symbols. But would he dare to caption it as ‘Fatima enjoying in Jannat with animals’?

Next example-is the painting of Saraswati copulating with a lion. Here again his perversion is evident and so is his intent. Even that lets concede cannot be faulted-each one’s sexual orientation is each one’s business I suppose. But he captioned it as Saraswati. This is the problem. It is Hussain’s business to enjoy in painting his sexual perversion. But why use Saraswati and Sita for his perverted expressions? Use Fatima and watch the consequence. Let the media people come to his rescue then. Now that he is in a country that gives him complete freedom let him go ahead and paint Fatima copulating with a lion or any other animal of his choice. And then turn around and prove to India-the Freedom of expression he enjoys in Qatar.

Talking about Freedom of Expression-this is the Hussain who supported Emergency-painted Indira Gandhi as Durga slaying Jayaprakas Narayan. He supported the jailing of artists and writers. Where did this Freedom of Expression go? And you call him secularist? Would you support the jailing of artists and writers Ram –would you support the abeyance of the Constitution and all that we held sacred in democracy and the excessiveness of Indira Gandhi to gag the media-writers- political opponents? Tell me honesty why does Hussain expect this Freedom when he himself did not support others with the same freedom he wants? And the media has rushed to his rescue. Had it been a Ram who painted such obnoxious, .degrading painting-the reactions of the media and the elite ‘secularists’ would have been different; because there is a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Ram-and a different perception/and index  of secularism when it comes to Rahim/Hussain.

It brings back to my mind an episode that happened to The Hindu some years ago.[1991]. You had a separate weekly page for children with cartoons, quizzes, and with poems and articles of school children. In one such weekly page The Hindu printed a venerable bearded man-fully robed with head dress, mouthing some passages of the Koran-trying to teach children .It was done not only in good faith but as a part of inculcating values to children from the Koran. All hell broke loose. Your office witnessed goons who rushed in-demanded an apology-held out threats. In Ambur,Vaniambadi and Vellore the papers stands were burned-the copies of The Hindu were consigned to the fire. A threat to raise the issue in Parliament through a Private Members Bill was held out-Hectic activities went on-I am not sure of the nature and the machinations behind the scene. But The Hindu next day brought out a public apology in its front page. Where were you Ram? How secular and tolerant were the Muslims?

Well this is of the past-today it is worse because the communal temperature in this country is at a all high-even a small friction can ignite and demolition the country’s peace and harmony. It is against this background that one should view Hussain who is bent on abusing and insulting the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Respect for religious sentiments, need to maintain peace and harmony should also be part of the agenda of an artist-if he is great. If it is absent then he cannot say that he respects India and express his longing for India.

Let’s face it-he is a fugitive of law. Age and religion are immaterial. What does the media want-that he be absolved by the courts? Even for that he has to appear in the courts-he cannot run away-After all this is the country where he lived and gave expression to his pervert sadist, erotic artistic mind under Freedom of Expression. I simply cannot jump into the bandwagon of the elite ‘secularist’ and uphold what he had done. With his brush he had committed jihad-bloodletting.

The issue is just not nudity-Yes the temples-the frescos in Konarak and Kajhuraho have nude figures-But does it say that they are Sita, Sarswati or any goddesses? We have the Yoni and the Phallus as sacred signs of Life-of Siva and Shakthi-take these icons to the streets, paint them -give it a caption it become vulgar. Times have changed. Even granted that our ancients sculptured and painted naked forms and figures, with a pervert mind to demean religion is no license to repeat that in today’s changed political and social scenario and is not a sign of secularism and tolerance. I repeat there is no quarrel with nudity-painters have time and again found in it the perfection of God’s hand craft.

Let me wish Hussain peace in Qatar-the totalitarian regime with zero tolerance May be he will convince the regime there to permit freedom of expression in word, writing and painting. For this he could start experimenting painting forms and figure of Mohamed the Prophet-and his family And may I fervently wish that the media-especially The Hindu does not discriminate goons-let it not substitute tolerance for intolerance when it comes to  Rahim and Antony and another index for Ram.

I hope you will read this in the same spirit that I have written. All the best to you Ram.

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara