Posts Tagged ‘Saraswati’

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

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In the evening, I, Taraka and her daughter Gayatri left to see a dance programme at her sister’s daughter’s school. Though we couldn’t stay for long, we made sure that we were present for a few minutes to encourage the little kid and left for Birla Mandir.

After parking the car at a nearby place, we headed towards Birla Mandir. By this time I had come to know how chaotic the traffic in Hyderabad is. People had scant respect for the traffic rules and I was feeling like driving in some maddening crowd.

The steps leading to the temple and small shops along the steps were bustling with tourists. Shops were making brisk business and tourists were busy buying articles.

As it was weekend, the crowd was huge. We had to keep our phones and camera in the cloak room. We went to the temple and Taraka was excited to show the place where she and jeeju had solemnized their wedding 🙂

Birla Mandir on the Naubath Pahad is a magnificent Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built of 2,000 tonnes of pure Rajasthani white marble. The Birla Foundation has constructed several similar temples in India.


The Birla Mandir was built by Raja Baldev Birla. In 1938, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. Everyone was not given the permission to enter the premises of temples. Gandhi placed the condition that he would inaugurate the temple only if people belonging to all strata of the society were permitted to offer their prayers in the temple.

The architecture of the temple is a blend of South Indian, Rajasthani and Utkala temple architectures.

The tower over the main shrine reaches a height of 165 ft, whereas the towers over the shrines of Venkateshwara’s consorts, Padmavati and Andal reach a height of 116 ft. The presiding deity is about 11 ft tall and a carved lotus forms the umbrella on the roof. The consorts of Lord Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines. There is a brass flagstaff in the temple premises which rises to a height of 42 ft.

The temple is built on a 280 feet high hillock called the Naubath Pahad in 13 acres. The construction took 10 years and was consecrated in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission. The temple does not have traditional bells, as Swamiji wished that the temple atmosphere should be conducive for meditation.

Though the chief deity is Lord Venkateshwara, the temple has pan-Hindu character with deities of Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Saibaba. Selected teachings of holy men and Gurbani are engraved on temple walls.

There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha. Beautiful Fresco paintings, throwing light on the life and works of Buddha, adorn the walls of this temple. At the rear end of the temple, there is an artificial landscape with mountains and waterfalls.

The intricate carvings of the temple, the ceiling and the mythological figures are standing testimony to the dexterity and sculptural excellence of the craftsmen. Beautiful scenes from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are finely sculpted in marble. A number of lofty steps lead the visitor to the sanctum sanctorum. Along the winding path are many marble statues of gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology located in the midst of gardens.

The view from the highest level of the temple offers the viewer a spectacular view of the Hussain Sagar Lake, Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, Assembly and Birla Planetarium, the Public Gardens and Lumbini Park.

The temple is open between 7 am and 12 noon and between 3 pm and 9 pm.

We sat for a while there and discussed several issues before we left the place. By the time we reached the house, I had gone half mad, thanks to the traffic. Driving in Bangalore is not difficult, but elsewhere it is, for we are more disciplined and follow traffic rules at any cost. But in Hyderabad, it is the vice versa. People look at us strangely if we talk about traffic rules and discipline!