Things are getting serious


by Sunny
26th May, 2006 at 2:57 am    

Spoke to a friend earlier tonight and she was seriously peeved off. It turns out, and she knows people at Asia House fairly well, that someone destroyed one two of MF Husain’s paintings, and the exhibition had to shut down because they could not guarantee security.

I also spoke to someone at the gallery yesterday who confirmed the move on the basis of “threats”. She used that word. They don’t know what to do now and refuse to release an official statement.

This makes it all the more important now we hold some sort of a protest. I may produce a petition over the weekend too. We have gone past discussing whether the paintings were deliberately offensive or not.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Hindu






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  1. mediawatchwatch.org.uk » Angry Hindus close exhibition

    [...] UDATE: Sunny reports that two MF Husain paintings were actually destroyed before the gallery closed the exhibition because of threats. Monitor @ 2:36 pm [...]


  2. Robert Sharp » Blog Archive » The Goddess, the Spokesmen and Censorship

    [...] In this case, the refusal of a vocal minority to uphold ideals of free speech, critically undermines the wider multicultural argument. Thankfully, the Pickled Politics blog is refusing to put up with this kind of sabotage, and a counter-protest and petition against the threats are being planned. In a related post at Comment Is Free, Sunny Hundal explains that the problem stems from various groups competing for victim status: [The campaign against MF Hussain’s work] was backed by the supposed representative of British Hindus, the Hindu Forum of Britain, whose spokesperson, Ramesh Kallidai, has trotted out the familiar line that Hindus are being maligned in favour of Muslims and other religious groups … This competition for victimhood status has almost become de rigueur. [...]


  3. DesiPundit » Paintings In London

    [...] The Asia House in London was trying to organize an exhibition of MF Hussain’s paintings. Pickled Politics on how things have taken the wrong turn. Pay close attention to the growing and often edgy discussion in the comments space. [...]


  4. MumbaiGirl » Blog Archive » Militant Religion and Art

    [...] Related: Discussion on Pickled Politics. Image from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/547 Posted by mumbaigirl Filed in Politics [...]




  1. Nav — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:04 am  

    Deplorable. If I was on your side of the Atlantic, I’d definitely be protesting with you.

  2. leon — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:30 am  

    Can’t think of anything to say that doesn’t contain expletives.>:|

  3. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    If someone destroyed a painting that is indeed deplorable. But then it makes it all the more imperative for Asia House to release concrete details about the nature of the threats and who damaged the painting. Any major museum would announce if someone had destroyed a painting in one of their exhibitions.

    Why are they being so vague and why do they not know what to do? Why not just release these details to the press? Why are they refusing to release an official statement? Has the person been arrested? The law and most of public opinion would be on their side. Are they relying on PP to protest for them?

  4. Abhishek — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:51 am  

    protesting or no protesting, i don’t think a work of art with any meaning deserves such treatment. whatever happened to democracy!!!

  5. sunray — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:38 am  

    Whatever happened to respecting ones faith?

    ” on the basis of “threats”. She used that word.”
    threats to the painting.

    Sunny wants to do a petition. I urge people to think carefully to exactly what they will be signing. The arguments have been put forward, read them. It is not about democracy or freedom etc. Its simply a soft target for sunny to start his campaign over something he thinks he understands but wants to turn a blind eye to anyway.

    Only sign the petition if you can answer yes to all of these.
    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Prophet.
    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Gurus.
    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Mother and Father.
    If you have answered yes to all of them then go ahead.

  6. Vikrant — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:45 am  

    I’m with xyz, Asian House is being vague on purpose. Sunny i’d check the facts if i were you before protesting…

  7. calculator — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:46 am  

    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1031386&CatID=9

    LONDON: Organisers have wound up MF Husain’s exhibition in London after saffron vandals destroyed two of his paintings on show.

    Last Saturday, the vandals threw paint on two paintings, Durga and Draupadi, at the Asia House art gallery in central London. The gallery soon closed its doors.

    “After the attack, the insurance company told Asia House to call off the exhibition,” said a dismayed Husain, who is in London, to DNA.

    Asia House was extremely cagey about the issue. “We have had threats and so closed the exhibition,” said a representative.

    A criminal case has been lodged and £200,000 in damages claimed, but no arrests have been made so far.

    An organisation called Hindu Human Rights (HHR), who led protests against Husain’s depiction of a naked Durga and Draupadi for over two weeks, said they do not know the vandals. “No one has claimed responsibility,” said HHR spokesman Arjun Mallick.

  8. Ismaeel — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:52 am  

    I think Sunny just wants to get to be the leader of something : )

  9. bd — on 26th May, 2006 at 9:40 am  

    Hindu Human Rights :
    “We have taken the decision to cancel the Hindu Human Rights protest to Asia House Gallery which was planned for 3pm on Saturday 27 May 2006.

    This is in response to a communication we have had from Asia House (via email) that they have cancelled the exhibition of M. F. Husain’s paintings showing obscene images of Hindu Goddesses. We note that they have cancelled the exhibition for “security reasons” and as yet have offered no apology to the Hindu community nor shown that they have taken into account the wider issues surrounding our campaign.”

    Lord Desai‘s letter in the guardian: “What we are witnessing is the import into the UK of a group which under the guise of Hindu human rights is practising censorship for which there is no sanction in Hindu religion. It is the duty of all citizens to stop this evil before it spreads too far into our body politic. In my view the objection to Husain is not the so-called obscenity of his paintings. It is because he is a Muslim and hence the desire of some Hindu groups to deny his artistic freedom to take Hindu gods and goddesses as his theme.”

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 10:41 am  

    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Prophet.
    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Gurus.
    Would you be happy to see a similar animal screwing nude painting of your Mother and Father.

    Sunray, don’t be so vague

    What’s the animal?

    Is it a rhino, a donkey, a horse, a dog, a giraffe even?

    It all depends on what animal turns you on.

    Come on Sunray, ‘fess up. What animal gives YOU the horn?

  11. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    There are so many more questions:

    • How can you see your animal screw a nude painting when there is no exhibition?

    • How would you take the animal into the exhibition (for instance, if you chose an elephant, would it fit in through the doors?)

    • How can you ensure your animal would be aroused enough to screw the painting? What if it becomes self-conscious with all these people performing and fails to perform?

    • Can you guarantee your animal will fancy the nude painting of your mother and not go for a nearby hanging by, say, Henri Rousseau?

    • Will there be an attendant prepare to adjust the painting to hoist it onto your animal’s cock?

    Really Sunray, you haven’t thought this through at all

  12. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 10:48 am  

    My animal of choice is Munira the she-camel. She’s cute in that friendly anthromorphic kind of way. Whats your’s SunRay?

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    Daddy, how do you plan to bring Munira over in time? I’m assuming she’s foreign. Think of the visa application, the quarantine process, the humiliation at the hands of custom officials. To think she’ll be randy enough to strap on a dildo and screw a nude painting of Sunray’s guru is a bit rich. And what of M F Husain’s rights? Has anyone asked if he objects to his artwork being torn apart and raped by a pre-op camel?

    Honestly

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    Sunny, dunno why I’m just not emailing you or picking up the phone (I know exactly why, I want everyone to suspect we’re lovers) but we should talk about your campaign when we do what we do when we do it

  15. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Word from Munira: she’s ok with vanilla stuff (dildo strapping) but she’s putting her foot down on “specialist” stuff like destroying paintings and the like. Thats just no way man.

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 11:37 am  

    Munira is a shining example of tolerance and individuality. She could teach these protestors a thing or two. She must be our mascot.

    Can I play with her?

  17. Robert — on 26th May, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

    “Would you be happy to see…”

    sunray, its not a question of whether one is ‘happy’ or not.

    The whole point of freedom of expression is that you defend your right to say things that others are not ‘happy’ about, while defending another person’s right to say things that you are not ‘happy’ about.

    In fact, I might suggest that only supporting a particular object that you agree with, or that makes you ‘happy’, is precisely the opposite of freedom of expression.

  18. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    I agree with Robert, who as usual has summed it all up lovelyly.

  19. Robert — on 26th May, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    … and in any case, this is no longer about the subject matter of the art. As Sunny says: “We have gone past discussing whether the paintings were deliberately offensive or not.”

    This is about an exhibition being closed because of threats. That’s not acceptable. To make matters worse, I’m waiting for the popular refrain from the usual quarters: “multiculturalism doesn’t work” and “these people aren’t integrating”. These preposterous threats against Hussain’s work undermine the multicultural argument.

    Sunny is not agitating because he thinks this is a “soft target” or that he “wants to be the leader of something”. He is complaining because these threats are fuelling the prejudices of other sections of society. Worse, they are proving these prejudices correct. Combating this has been the project of Pickled Politics from the very start.

  20. Neil Makwana — on 26th May, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    If this guy is such a good painter then he surely doesn’t have to resort to offending people with his paintings. The argument of freedom of expression has limits as well. Didnt his paintings get opposed in India ? Whu does he think its ok to display them here then and does he plan to paint pictures of key figures in other religions naked and shagging etc ? If not then why not ?

    If there is a protest against these paintings then I’m gonna be there.

  21. Neil — on 26th May, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

    What the fuck is Desai on about saying the only reason that these Hindu groups are protesting is that the painter is Muslim…what a load of crap. It doesn’t matter what religion he is but using religious figures who people revere highly and paiting them in an obscene manner is just wrong.

  22. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    Neil,

    You have a perfect right to protest against them.

    The issue here is when protest crosses over into intimidation and violence.

    Having said that, one of the pictures on my kitchen wall is of the decapitated Thatcher statue. Does that make me a hypocrite? Is taking a cricket bat to a statue of Thatcher an equivalent act to destroying some paintings? I guess it is.

    Sunray made an attempt to make us see just how angry these paintings made him, asking us to imagine our own most revered images portrayed that way. I’ve tried, but I honestly can’t think of any form of artistic impression (cack-handed or masterpiece) that could even remotely having me on the streets howling in rage, burning property or killing strangers in an ecstasy of righteous indignation. Just can’t find it in me, so I guess I can’t empathise with that. Maybe it’s genetic; there is speculation that there is a genetic inclination towards religious belief, maybe there is one towards religious rage. Some of us have it, some of us don’t. That’s probably too facile.

    I did however, get quite wound up (and Ismaeel will know where I’m coming from) about that Coca-cola ad a while back, where some vacuous simpering bint handed out bottles of fizzy muck while warbling a sacharine version of ‘I Wish I Could See…’ But the most I wanted to do was deliver a stern lecture.

  23. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    “If this guy is such a good painter then he surely doesn’t have to resort to offending people with his paintings.”

    In one ignorant brush stroke, you’ve just wiped out every single artist of the trecento and quattrocento era that used allegory, and the whole lot of pre-Raphaelites who depicted religion as documentary and pretty much every european expressionist this side of civilisation

    Twat

  24. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Trying explain art – which is the communication process between one individual and another’s interpretation of it – to a religious mind – which is based on absolute truths – is like trying to show a robot why it’s a good idea to make a daisy chain

  25. Neil — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Yeah your a proper hero arent you on the net.

    I dont care about your pre-Raphaelite bullshit, just stick to the argument. He has painted pictures which have offended a people following a certain religion. There could be many reasons, to gain controversy and therefore make money, because he cant think of anything better to paint, or maybe he just doesn’t like Hindus and is a perve.

    Now whether you think its right or not, I certainly do have the right to protest against it. If something is organised then i will be there.

  26. Neil — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

    ‘which is the communication process between one individual and another’s interpretation of it – to a religious mind’

    A religious mind, do you know anything about Hinduism ? I suggest you read a book or two and learn that Hinduism is based on braod priciples and certainly doesn’t encourage a narrow fixed way of living or thinking.

    Hindus have accomodated all religions ,and many including me, accept religious founders of other faiths as equal to figures in our faith.

    So stop being ignorant and learn something.

    Now I need to get back to work.

  27. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    I have nothing but respect for Hinduism.

    It teaches you to have inner faith and let others live their lives.

    It’s backward freaks like you that give it a bad name.

    ‘I dont care about your pre-Raphaelite bullshit’

    Now there’s a surprise

    Up until the day you realise that what you believe doesn’t need the validation of others, you’re not qualified to talk about art or, for that matter, religion

  28. Neil — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    What makes you think your qualified to talk about anything ?

    I’ve done charity work here and abroad to help people of all faiths (specifically India, Vietnam, Cambodia) and learnt about Hinduism. So people like you who just sit on your computer all day crying about freedom of expression etc etc piss me off.

    If some painter starts painting pictures of something I hold dear in an offensive manner (whether its a religious figure or my mum) then it cannot be taken lightly.

  29. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    Neil, what makes me qualified to talk out of my art?

    Not being the insecure type to have to list my achievements to validate myself (chari-dee work, bless), the reason I can defend my view is simple:

    I can say what I want. Feel free to call me a twat the way I called you one. No skin off my back.

    The reason you fall into the territory of the dipshit is because you believe people can’t say what they want.

    You want them to stop.

    No one is raping your mother. They’re expressing their view on a religion, it has nothing to do with yours.

    You don’t own other people’s minds.

    You never will.

    Deal with it

  30. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    then it cannot be taken lightly.

    So you’re going to be a badboy and start destroying property where you cannot get your way?

  31. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    Robert

    For some reason, the mainstream media has not picked up on the story. I have not even heard it being discussed on the BBC Asian Network. But your point remains, although I think it can be overstated a little.

    The dynamics of how these stories are filtered into anti Asian narratives is also fascinating, I might write a blog post about it some time.

    Meghnad Desai makes a good point though – imagine if it had been Muslims doing this. Every single news item would be on this issue!

  32. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    All this just give christians a good name, and good on them!

    Da Vishnu Code, anyone?

  33. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    Kismet,

    The Da Vinci Code’s been pulled from cinemas in a number of countries worldwide, including some areas of India. Punjab’s state government has just pulled the plug on it too, due to the state’s Roman Catholic minority population’s complaints.

  34. Neil — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    Sunny your gonna be a ‘badboy’ get off your fat nacho-munching, caffeine fueled ass and protest againt me are you ? haha

    Kismet is it cos you havent done anything useful in your life ? Its never too late too start so get your lazy pre-Raphaelite ass out of your house and discover the world around you.

  35. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    I know. But the everyday christian doesn’t give a toss.

    The difference between christianity and our religions is that only a fundo christian will be up in arms, while with us, a non-fundo normal well-to-do chap like, say Neal above, will feel the call to start sounding like a fundo

  36. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Neil

    If Sunny does protest against the vandalising of art and the cancelling of the exhibition why does that offend you so much and make you aggresive? He will protest peacefully and not be a threat to you.

  37. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Oh Neil. How very playground…

    Shame. I was hoping for an intelligent debate, but fair enough, I’ll play it your way

    You mum gobbled cocks in a leper colony for 15 years before she realised other girls got paid

    Sigh

  38. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

    You’re only a “fundo” if your complaints aren’t justified and your actions go to unnecessary (not to mention illegal) extremes.

    Simply protesting against deliberately offensive actions and attempting to get them to stop (note: using legal, nonviolent means, not threats or vandalism) does not make you a fundo.

    Otherwise, why not roll the clock back a few years and make it perfectly acceptable for the British media to include frequent jokes at the expense of Asians and black people, a la Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson ?

    Going by the same logic which has been used by some people here, ethnic people should never have attempted (successfully, as it turned out) to have such “comedians” and their jokes taken off the air. We should have all just accepted it under the principle of freedom of expression and defended their right to ridicule us, regardless of how offensive their material was. We should also have condemned the Asians and black people for being “offended”.

  39. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

    “All this just give christians a good name, and good on them!
    Da Vishnu Code, anyone?”

    Ha Ha. The vocal and fundamentalist Christian minority (aided by their Muslim cohorts) in India has managed to get the government to allow them to control how and when the movie should be distributed via threats, book burnings, a bounty and much whining. Even after the Censor Board cleared it, it has been banned in Goa, Punjab and Nagaland. The governments there have decided to do the Christian fundamentalists’ job for them, a courtesy they would hardly offer anyone else. Even Buddhist Sri Lanka banned it. Proving one thing: in these countries secularism is the burden of the majority and a convenience for the minority when it suits them.

    If MF Hussain or any other painter had painted Jesus, Mary, Ayesha, Mohammed, Khadija and Allah all having an orgy and fornicating with one another and with their favorite pet goats and camels, you can bet India’s culture minister and various state governments would have banned any exhibitions of them on the merest whisper of a complaint. They’re very lucky, they threaten violence just like some Hindu groups, but the government saves them from actually having to carry out those threats by pulling the offending film/art as quick as possible so as not to “hurt their feelings.”

  40. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    “I know. But the everyday christian doesn’t give a toss.”

    Not in India or many Third World countries where the ordinary, everyday converts are far more rabid about the faith. You only had to read the numerous comments by the “everyday christians” on some Indian news sites, who made impassioned appeals to the “super Christian PM Sonia Gandhi” to save them and stop the Da Vinci Code from being screened in India. Poor Manmohan Singh. No one thinks he’s PM at all.

  41. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

    Jai

    People couldnt care less if people want to protest peacefully. It’s when they use threats or violence that they get cussed. That’s what this is all about.

    The point about criticising those that hype up the issues is it always backfires on them. The stakes get raised, some idiots make threats, and then the issue becomes something different altogether.

    Same thing with Behzti, same thing with Mo Toons, same thing same thing same thing.

    They have to take responsibility and then can be criticised for creating the atmospherics and hype that brings that situation to the boil.

  42. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

    Jai, I’ll concede to that. Although religion is powerful enough to stop being so snotty when someone says something mean about it

    xyz: I’ll concede to that too. I guess I should have said ‘civilised people’

  43. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    Bottom line is: this is about standing in the way of expression. It isn’t inciting hatred, just bruising the faith of the insecure and the narrow-minded

  44. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:44 pm  

    Sorry, meant to add this onto the above post:

    Interestingly, there has been no Christian or Muslim protest in defence of freedom of speech and expression in India and against the efforts of other Christians and Muslims to ban the Da Vinci Code, ostensibly because they agree that it defames Christianity and questions it legitimacy.

    However, let anyone criticize hate speech such as the “Haqeeqat” book which Christians distribute in India and which basically violates the Indian penal code and defames another religion (the grounds on which DVC has been banned) and they immediately start shouting about victimization and their freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

  45. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    So focus on protesting against “censorship as a result of threats”, rather than “censorship for legitimate reasons and as a result of legitimate methods.”

    The distinction between the two has to be made extremely clear. A simple, blanket ethos of “Asians against Censorship” isn’t enough — it has to be “Asians against Censorship by Violence”.

  46. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

    Proving one thing: in these countries secularism is the burden of the majority and a convenience for the minority when it suits them.

    I agree.

    Look I’m not really interested in any comprisons about who is trying to sully what religion and which is treated with more respect or not. I’ve already dealt with that in my previous article on comment is free. It is an old line.

    Yes we have to be consistent – we have to ensure that any attacks on freedom of speech, whether that be from Hindu, Sikh or Muslim groups, is opposed. This is why I also oppose any interference from groups such as the MCB and MAC.

  47. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    Who cares about what happens in India xyz?

    WE ARE BRITISH

    WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE BRITISH ASIAN COMMUNITY

    We are a blog that is for British Asians and against the vandalisation and threats against theatres, publishers and art galleries in the name of religion.

    BRITISH ASIAN!

    Get it?

    So what if Christians are hypocritical in India?

    Why should we give a fuck about double standards in India when we are talking about a British art gallery being forced to close an exhibition after art was vandalised?

    This is Britain, not India, and the time has come to register a protest against this kind of action – now, and in the future, whenever any religious group threatens any art work from now onwards.

  48. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    xyz,

    I’m confused. Surely you would support banning, or at least restricting, a film which offended believers by ‘threats, book burnings, a bounty and much whining’. That certainly seems to be the position you have been advocating.

    I assume the books being burned are copies of The Da Vinci Code. I’m assuming that someone had to buy them before burning them. So Dan Browne isn’t going to be out of pocket. Still, a good old book-burning is always a popular social event.

    You are right of course that the Christian church has been watching the success of its religious fellows with interest and some envy. The Anglican bishop of Wales and a senior Phillipino prelate, among others, have been muttering that some faiths would have kicked ass by now, maybe we should take a leaf out of their book. And then there’s Stephen Green, a trivial chap but for some reason he just rattles my cage. It’s probably the beard. He’s not above intimidating a hospice or two when offended.

    But again, isn’t that what you want?

    Kismet,

    Do you really have a pre-Raphaelite ass?

  49. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    A simple, blanket ethos of “Asians against Censorship” isn’t enough — it has to be “Asians against Censorship by Violence”.

    LoL!

    So we should only be opposed to censorship by violence, but not to censorship in itself? The whole point is to be against censorship.

    And you still dont get my point. These religious lobbying groups are little more than jumped up bullies who use the threat of mobs to scream and get their way. If they didnt make such a song and dance about these things there wouldnt be any controversy. That’s why the whole thing is idiotic in the extreme. They are so stupid they can’t see that this. All of them, of all religions.

  50. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:56 pm  

    Kismet

    =>”It isn’t inciting hatred, just bruising the faith of the insecure”

    Hmmm. Some would say that a non-Hindu deliberately displaying gratuitously offensive paintings regarding Hindu religious figures isn’t exactly helping the cause of inter-community relations. It also doesn’t do much to portray Hinduism in a positive light if some of their most sacred figures are (erroneously) depicted as engaging in bestiality, a practice which I believe is still illegal here in the UK and regarded as beyond the pale even within mainstream British society in our liberated modern times.

    =>”and the narrow-minded”"

    Again, I don’t think this is about being broadminded or narrow-minded, it’s about basic decency. Bestiality is truly abhorrent and to show religious figures involved in this isn’t just about expecting people to tolerate it in the spirit of broadmindedness, it’s expecting them to put up with something that is truly disgusting. Come on now; I’m a pretty liberal guy in most aspects of life (as those who are familiar with Sepia Mutiny would confirm), but there are limits, and since most of us here are of an Indian background to some degree or other, we all know (even those of us who aren’t Hindu) what Sita represents to Hindus and how sick this representation of her really is within that context.

    And beyond that, as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s just a matter of basic sensitivity and consideration towards people of other faiths (unless one has a hell of a good reason), even if their religious figures aren’t necessarily sacred to us. There is such a thing as crossing the line.

  51. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:58 pm  

    Don, I don’t like to brag, but my arse has been referred to by fellow art lovers as Ophelia…

  52. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Neil, you said, “It doesn’t matter what religion he is but using religious figures who people revere highly and paiting them in an obscene manner is just wrong.”

    I agree, in the sense that I think it’s in very poor taste and I wouldn’t do it myself or go to see it. But are you saying that because you think it is wrong people shouldn’t be allowed to do it at all?

  53. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Yawn Jay, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Last time I checked, you guys were quite happy to discuss Gujarat and other things happening in India. You yourself said yesterday that dynamics in India play out and do affect the controversy in the UK. Why did you discuss India’s nuclear deal with the U.S.? What does what Indian actress Khushboo say about premarital sex have to do with you British Asians? Why did you have a whole post on that? If you’re British Asians, why should you care about that? Stick to your British Asian topics, whatever those are. Try to be consistent. I’m assuming then that from now on this site will completely avoid any links to or discussions about anything that happens in India? I’m looking forward to seeing how long you can avoid talking about anything that goes on in India. Good luck.

    I was responding to Kismet Hardy’s comments about christians behaving better and not giving a toss about DVC. He didn’t make it clear that he was only referring to British Christians.

    And it’s good to see you British Asians finally taking a stand after so much chitchat. Better later than sooner :)

  54. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    Jai

    You keep restating all this and nobody here has said that people shouldnt register their complaints. But I’m sure you agree that making threats of violence and vandalising is WRONG

    Which is at bottom all that we are saying.

  55. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    You know Jay, it seems you have a problem with other people’s right to freedom of expression. You can’t always control the discussion and the direction in which it goes. Say your piece but don’t try and tell others what they should or shouldn’t say. I know you relish your role as a blog bobby, but you take it way too seriously sometimes.

  56. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    =>”The whole point is to be against censorship.”

    Then I’m afraid we’re going to have to amicably agree to disagree there ;)

    I also hope that, in the same principle, Asians here who are against any censorship full-stop would also not complain against racist jokes in the media (or, indeed, in private or public life in general) deliberately ridiculing all of us. You can’t have double-standards in this issue. After all, such people have complete freedom to be deliberately offensive towards us, and you should defend their right to do so.

    If, theoretically, you would be happy to turn the clock back in that regard too, then go ahead.

  57. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

    xyz

    I was speaking in the context of vandalising art in London – for that, the oppression of Hindus by alleged double standards in India has no bearing on the issue. It can never be excused by that. Get it?

    Thugs vandalise art in London, xyz excuses it by whining about Christians in India

    Can you understand that point?

    It’s not so difficult.

  58. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

    Jai

    Protest all you like, complain all you like, but as soon as a single protestor makes threats or carries out vandalisation, your protest is tainted. So what are you going to do about that? Carrying on protesting and making excuses for threats and violence?

    Also, because you are a modern guy, only a few things get your goat, lets say the most gratuitous and offensive things make your blood boil. But the right wing extremists who energise and run these various communal bodies want to ban more or less everything that steps on their toes or rubs them the wrong way. You and your reasonable aspect will not be the final arbiter of when and where these lynch mobs turn their attention to next.

  59. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    Jai, I loathe racist jokes in the media or anywhere else and I’m not shy about taking on people who make them, but there’s a huge difference between loathing the fact that people feel that way and say those things, and forbidding them from saying it. If we don’t brace ourselves and let other people say whatever they think, how are we ever going to know the full extent of racism in this country? How are we going to change the misconceptions that people have about Asians, Jews, black people, whatever, if we don’t let them say what they think?

  60. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:11 pm  

    Jai,

    Seventies ‘comedy’ moved on without anybody torching Bernard Manning’s crappy little club.

    xyz,

    ‘don’t try and tell others what they should or shouldn’t say’

    I’m speechless.

  61. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    “I’m confused. Surely you would support banning, or at least restricting, a film which offended believers by ‘threats, book burnings, a bounty and much whining’. That certainly seems to be the position you have been advocating. I assume the books being burned are copies of The Da Vinci Code. I’m assuming that someone had to buy them before burning them. So Dan Browne isn’t going to be out of pocket. Still, a good old book-burning is always a popular social event.”

    Don, now I’m confused. Why would I support the banning or restricting of a film which offended believers? I do not. If that’s the impression you got, then I suggest you read through all my posts again.

    I do NOT agree with the Indian government giving in to threats, burnings of the Da Vinci Code, death threats against Dan Brown. Do you? You seem to be making light of book burning. I do NOT agree with anyone damaging Hussain’s paintings or stopping his exhibition no matter how offensive they find them.

    My main point is to point out that in India there are serious double standards when it comes to the media and government reaction to and the treatment of perceived “insults” to various religious groups. Minorities such as Christians and Muslims are mollycoddled to an extraordinary extent. Perhaps in the UK it’s the other way around with Christians feeling that they have to bear the burden of secularism while whiny minorities are mollycoddled be they Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.

    I point this out often on this website because when the British Asians decide that it’s convenient for them to discuss issues and controversies in India, some of the armchair ones sitting miles away discuss them and pass judgment without taking into account these blatant double standards and breathtaking hypocrisies. These double standards do affect and shape the way people think and behave, both in India and in the diaspora abroad. The ground realities seem to escape them.

  62. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    Try to be consistent. I’m assuming then that from now on this site will completely avoid any links to or discussions about anything that happens in India?

    We care about things in India, but that doesn’t mean we happily accept that there aren’t double standards in India too. If I had my way the Christian and Muslim protestors can **** my **** over DVC. And same with the VHP crew who try and stop Valentines everyyear. And same with the SGPC ****suckers who tried to ban that Bollywood film last year.

    I hope that’s an indication of where I stand on censorship issues. If you still think I’m partisan, do let me know.

  63. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    You know Jay, it seems you have a problem with other people’s right to freedom of expression

    LoL

    I’m the one defending Husain against the vandals and threats, you’re the one saying the alleged and crybaby double-standards of India somehow rationalises and contextualises these attacks on freedom of expression, remember?

  64. Nindy — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    The question that seems to be missing from this discussion – which, per usual on PP has ended up as a bitching contest – is what was the artist’s motivation behind his work?

    As an arts reviewer, I am a great advocate of art that pushes the boundaries and provokes debate. Of course, where art is controversial and construed as offensive, we need to establish what they artist was trying to say. If MF Hussain’s work – which I don’t find particulary good – was for titillation purposes and noteriety, then he’s a dick. If it is a genuine product of artistic endeavour, then that is his right to freely express himself.

    “Life is short, the art long.”

  65. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    My main point is to point out that in India there are serious double standards when it comes to the media and government reaction to and the treatment of perceived “insults” to various religious groups

    What has that got to do with the debate over a bunch of thugs in England vandalising art and making threats to a gallery?

    That is India.

    This is England.

    If the chip on the shoulder of the protestors is because of this alleged double-standard in India then they have to take a reality check, look outside, and re-orient themselves to the fact that Asia House is in London, not Bombay.

  66. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    I’ve said repeatedly on this thread and the previous one that I do not in any way support the threats etc. My previous comments are right there, clearly stated and in black and white.

    However, I also do not support the idea that the objections by the Hindus concerned (both groups and individuals, especially those that had nothing to do with the threats, vandalism etc) are unwarranted, that they had no right to feel offended by the artwork, that they should indeed be ridiculed and dismissed for reacting this way, the implicit suggestion that they do not have the right to complain about the artwork concerned and try to get it removed by legitimate means, and that they should just shut up and bear it in the spirit of defending the artist’s “freedom of expression”.

    =>”But the right wing extremists who energise and run these various communal bodies want to ban more or less everything that steps on their toes or rubs them the wrong way.”

    Fine, then deal with that later on as and when it arises. If the Hindus involved have a legitimate case right now, it’s not necessarily the right decision to object to their reasons and the basis for their concerns. You have to pick the right battles to fight.

    Anyway, we’re just discussing different points of view here. If you and other people supporting taking action against censorship per se really have the courage of your convictions, then you should go ahead and I wish you the best of luck.

  67. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

    I was speaking in the context of vandalising art in London – for that, the oppression of Hindus by alleged double standards in India has no bearing on the issue. It can never be excused by that. Get it?
    Thugs vandalise art in London, xyz excuses it by whining about Christians in India
    Can you understand that point?
    It’s not so difficult.”

    Actually it is difficult to follow what you are saying because nowhere did I say that double standards in India excuses vandalism (or is it “alleged” vandalism?) in the UK. That is a totally unfounded and dishonest statement by you. I already told you why I brought up Christians and the Da Vinci Code. It was in reaction to what Kismet Hardy said. Try to concentrate as you read.

  68. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Nindy

    But MF Husain has the right to be a dick and not be threatened because of it. So it doesnt make a difference ultimately. Even if he is the biggest dick in the world, the people who try to censor him are even bigger dicks.

  69. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    Hm. Things are getting serious indeed…

  70. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    As per Jay Singh said in #70.

  71. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    I’m concentrating xyz, and your reference to Da Vinci code in India was to show that Christians are just as chippy as Hindus or any other religious group in India, as an example and counterpoint to the vandalisation and hurt feelings of Hindus in England.

    Which has no bearing or context on the debate in Britain, because India is not England. Do you follow me? Are you concentrating? It’s IRRELEVANT as a counter-example to what is happening here.

  72. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

    xyz,

    I do seem have mis-read some of your posts (things have been getting heated) and I withdraw the comment.

  73. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:28 pm  

    “I’m the one defending Husain against the vandals and threats, you’re the one saying the alleged and crybaby double-standards of India somehow rationalises and contextualises these attacks on freedom of expression, remember?”

    Good grief. No offence, you and Don must have learned your reading comprehension skills at the same school. I have stated several times on the other thread and this one that no amount of offense justifies damaging Hussain’s work or his person. I clearly said in my very first post that Asia House should just go ahead and display the paintings.

    These discussions will always veer off into other sub-issues and contexts otherwise we’d all be repeating ourselves like you – yet you keep telling everyone else that they are repeating themselves. I mean what’s the point of these threads then? You might as well close them after everyone has had the chance to post once, because after that if they just stick to “yes vandallism is wrong, what are we going to do about it” it becomes a pointless thread. It is possible, you know, to discuss context, other peripheral issues related to this issue without losing sight of the main point: Hussain has every right to an exhibition of his work without physical interference from anyone else. Get it?

  74. Nindy — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    I agree that those who have censored him – and unfortunately they have with (1) damage to his work, and (2) the withdrawal of his work – are traditionalists unwilling to embrace things which at first appear alien, but I disagree on your point that he has the right to be a dick. You misunderstand the context.

    He might very well be a toto by default but if his work is merely fodder for attention and not for artistic reasons, then, ultimately he has got his – to sound a lil’ cliche – just deserts. Threatening him is of course out of order.

  75. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    Fine, then deal with that later on as and when it arises

    Why not deal with it now? Why cut them slack? Why accede to their ‘demands’ to censor? Who are they to ‘demand’ anything?

    From Rushdie to Behzti and now this, it is a straight line of violence and intimidation by bully boys with a lynch mob mentality. That in itself is enough to be disgusted with what they do, and counter their calls for censorship.

  76. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

    Jai – another point. I have no problem with people protesting or opposing such exhibitions. They may be trying to censor someone but at least they are expressing their opinions democratically.

    The line is crossed when protests become violent.

    And have you noticed a pattern here – everytime these Asians want to censor something, the protest becomes violent. Behzti, cartoons, paintings etc. The Burger King idiot threatened his own personal jihad unless BK backed down. We are being threatened with violence by people who should be living in a village in Punjab and staying there.

  77. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    “I’m concentrating xyz, and your reference to Da Vinci code in India was to show that Christians are just as chippy as Hindus or any other religious group in India, as an example and counterpoint to the vandalisation and hurt feelings of Hindus in England.
    Which has no bearing or context on the debate in Britain, because India is not England. Do you follow me? Are you concentrating? It’s IRRELEVANT as a counter-example to what is happening here.”

    Lord. Let me try once more. Kismet Hardy was the one who brought Christians into this thread. He made a reference to them (in general, didn’t say British christians) and mentioned the Da Vinci Code. Jai pointed out to him that they have indulged in similar activity in India with regard to Da Vinci Code. KH said Christians (not British Christians) don’t give a toss. Pointed out that in some places they do give a toss. Again, read carefully: Mentioning their actions in India does not deflect or excuse or legitimize any vandalism against Hussain. Is that clear? Can you admit that the discussion just went off on another tangent and in no way negates the primary one? Can you understand that it wasn’t meant as a counter-argument?

    Don, thanks.

  78. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    I don’t understand how Hinduism, which has made sacred nudity into a fine art of jaw-droppig beauty, now has exopnents who allow themselves to be as puritanical and boorish as anything coming out of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

    If Hindus do get to oppose these thugs in this country, and come up with a peaceful and inclusive protest, it will be an example and an encouragement to Muslim moderates to do the same and tackle similar tendencies.

  79. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    =>”Even if he is the biggest dick in the world, the people who try to censor him are even bigger dicks.”

    No my friend, that’s the whole point — it depends on their specific reasons for wanting to censor him and the methods they use to try to achieve this.

    You cannot use such insulting terminology for people who object to an artist for showing their most sacred icons in such deliberately depraved situations (bestiality etc).

    They have a valid case for objecting to this. Come on — if MF Husain decides to produce paintings depicting Guru Gobind Singh engaged in sexual acts with his horse, or Guru Nanak having sex with Bhai Mardana, all in the name of “freedom of expression”, you can’t say that Sikhs — all Sikhs, regardless of how conservative or liberal they normally are — would not be justified in forcefully objecting to this and that if they attempted to have the paintings removed (again, using nonviolent and legitimate methods), they are “dicks” for doing so ?

    Or would you ?

  80. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

    xyz you dont actually say much except repeat: ‘double standards double standards double standards’ ad nauseum in various shades of outrage and offence. It’s fairly one dimensional and seems to be the totem of your worldview. Fine, you have a chip on your shoulder about double standards. Great, we get it. That is the mantra of the protestors too. Read the quotes – they want to censor art in London because of the ‘double standards’ in India. There is a confluence and junction between your point and the justification of the protestors and the vandals.

    I apologise for answering back to you in terms as if you are one of them. But you ventriloquise their grievance perfectly, even if it’s just the doubel standards that sears your soul, and you fully support 100% MF Husain’s work, I’m with you buddy, but you got to understand why I address you like that. It’s because you in totality articulate the protestors and vandals ‘grievance’

  81. Arif — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:38 pm  

    It seems to me that any protest would best be against violence and intimidation and not against censorship. Being broad-minded enough to include people who feel they are protected by censorship as well as those who feel threatened by it.

    Otherwise, if it is a front for a free speech lobby, I’d expect participants would end up being condescending towards people who do not feel empowered by free speech. Maybe not, but anyway, this is what I’d fear.

    For some it is a simple truth that anyone with self-confidence would not care what other people say about religion. That anyone who wants others to appease their feelings of being offended is being narrow-minded and oppressive. That anyone who doesn’t want to see something merely has to avoid making the effort of going to see it. And so on.

    There are other perspectives. If you are not sensitive to the perspective of people who feel less self-confidence in society and feel the need for protection from community leaders. If you interpret their contributions to debate as illegitimate from the start. If you ignore the concerns people have about how others perceive them and how this contributes to their sense of being devalued by the wider culture. Then you will be seen as oppressive, out of touch and all sorts of things you do not mean to be.

    Getting a dialogue between such perspectives should be part of any action we/you take. Otherwise I think you are marginalising yourself by your own self-righteousness – in the mirror image of those you condemn. I don’t think that has a long-term positive or educative impact.

  82. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:39 pm  

    Sid,

    =>”I don’t understand how Hinduism, which has made sacred nudity into a fine art of jaw-droppig beauty,”

    As has been mentioned before, there haven’t been any such religious depictions involving their most sacred gods and goddesses, and certainly not involving bestiality.

  83. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:39 pm  

    Jai

    People can protest but they cannot expect to demand censorship. I didnt like the play Behzti in fact I thought it was a pile of offensive crap, but if it boils down to a choice between lynch mobs and freedom of speech its freedom of speech every time.

  84. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

    “I don’t understand how Hinduism, which has made sacred nudity into a fine art of jaw-droppig beauty now has exopnents who allow themselves to be as puritanical and boorish as anything coming out of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.”

    According to the article I posted yesterday (not written by a Hindu), the influence of the Semitic religions in India has a lot to do with that. ;)

    And please don’t perpetuate the inaccuracies you were perpetuating yesterday about the nature of Indian sacred art and nudity. Learn the nuances and shades of differences first. Thanks.

    But you’re right about jaw-dropping beauty. Apparently Hussain can’t find it elsewhere, not even at home.:)

  85. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    “and certainly not involving bestiality.”

    Given the findings and country/cultural breakdown of internet hits about sex with a variety of animals, maybe Hussain’s paintings are not so abnormal after all.:)

  86. Nindy — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    Interestingly, for those of you free this bank holiday sunday – i shall be nursing a well deserved hangover – the Guardian Hay Festival is dealing with this topic we are currently discussing:

    “recent revents have shown what happens when free speech clashes with other people’s values. how can a culturally diverse society accommodate both freedom of expression and religious respect? is oofence the price believers must pay for living in a free society? or should advocates of free speech accept that people’s beliefs and principles might sometimes need to come first?”

    Madeleine Bunting is chairing.

  87. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    “xyz you dont actually say much except repeat: ‘double standards double standards double standards’ ad nauseum in various shades of outrage and offence. It’s fairly one dimensional and seems to be the totem of your worldview. Fine, you have a chip on your shoulder about double standards. Great, we get it. That is the mantra of the protestors too. Read the quotes – they want to censor art in London because of the ‘double standards’ in India. There is a confluence and junction between your point and the justification of the protestors and the vandals.”

    Right back at ya. I don’t find any real new insights in what you write either. You repeat yourself constantly but that’s your right. You have your own worldview that you repeat ad nauseum, not to mention your ad nauseum criticisms and attempts to tell other people what and how and when they should respond. But that’s your right.

    Just because I can maybe identify with some of the feelings of some of the protesters (you cannot assume I identify with all of them) and just becasue I mention double standards does not mean I agree with their actions or even see the double standards in entirely the same manner as them. I’ve said this before. I have a background in journalism and it really bothers me when I see ostensibly journalistic coverage of a story that is lacking in proper context, mistates some simple facts or is entirely superficial and one-sided in its outrage. I am not here to protect the feelings of any protester or Hindu group. I speak for myself and for what I see and read in this world. Everyone has their biases. I have mine and you certainly have yours. I just am not so pompous as to pretend that I am some perfect defender of secular rights and progressive liberalism and that all others are somehow inferior. No one on this website qualifies for the latter. Everyone has failed and fallen down at some time on this point.

  88. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    Well I guess we’ll have to politely agree to disagree again, but it’s good to know where you stand if MF Husain or any other artist decides to push the boat out in future by expanding their repertoire to include similar depictions of the Sikh Gurus too.

    In any case, the examples I gave could be replaced with Mohammad-Imam Ali, Jesus-Virgin Mary or any other figures from other religions. My stance would be the same : Get them removed via threats and violence — Hell no. Get them removed by legitimate, legal means — yes, if your objections are sincere and warranted, and especially if the motivations of the artist are not above board.

    In all of the above situations, I would also say that the artists concerned were far bigger jerks than those who may attempt to censor them (at least w.r.t protestors who don’t resort to unethical tactics).

  89. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    Interesting Nindy, though I’m sure Ms Bunting has done that debate about 50,000 times.

    I think Arif makes some sobering points. I’ll take that into account when I draft this petition thingy up. Though there is also a clear and important case to be made for non-censorship regardless of offence.

  90. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    According to the article I posted yesterday (not written by a Hindu), the influence of the Semitic religions in India has a lot to do with that.

    Way hey! There you go, I knew Muslims were behind this one in some way or another. Why didn’t we realise that the vandals are semitically-inclined Brahmims. Dear me.

    Are you referring to context when you suggest the “nuances and shades of differences”? I’m not sure what discussion you’re referring to.

    But some of the paintings I’ve seen of Durga in her “fearful apsect” are very similar in approach to this. I’m not sure why this is so offensive.

  91. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    Bestiality in Indian art isn’t new

    http://www.artoflegendindia.com/browse/PSAE/1/

  92. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    Nindy

    How can you square this:

    He might very well be a toto by default but if his work is merely fodder for attention and not for artistic reasons, then, ultimately he has got his – to sound a lil’ cliche – just deserts.

    With your next sentence:

    Threatening him is of course out of order.

    Why is it out of order? Can’t you see the point? You’re investing authority in lynch mobs to decide judgment on an individual’s life AND his art. You accede to that. Then you say ‘Threatening him is of course out of order’

    Why is out of order? If the lynch mob can’t control itself, he must be blamed, right? Why hedge your bets on this?

  93. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

    xyz

    yeah I know you keep saying that over and over and over again, tahnks for reminding us of your outrage over double standards and background as a journalist.

  94. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    KISMET! Put those pictures away and go to your room and study.

  95. raz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

    Man, this ‘double standards’ crap is bogus. For instance, when Sikhs were protesting about Behzti/Muslims about the cartoons, it was plastered all over the newspapers/TV here in the UK. By contrast, this attack on the paintings has been hardly touched by the media at the moment. So are Hindus now being treated more gently than Sihks/Muslims? People can argue this ‘we’re getting picked on’ bullshit till their blue in the face: IT’S IRRELEVANT.

    Sunny has made it perfectly clear – the time has come to take a stand against this backward mentality of using violence and intimidation to censor those you disagree with. Hindu, Muslim or Sikh – progressive Asian’s won’t stand for it anymore. How can anyone argue with that?

  96. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

    Get them removed by legitimate, legal means — yes, if your objections are sincere and warranted, and especially if the motivations of the artist are not above board

    Jai, how can you ‘remove’ things without violence?

    What are you going to suggest be the upshot when something you dont like does not ‘get removed’? Will you understand the violence that comes as a result of that ‘frustration’? If Asia House refused to cancel the exhibition, how would you envisage the ‘removal’ of the art taking place?

    Lets just use this as an example, it could apply to Behzti or Rushdie or anyone else.

    The gallery takes the protest on board and says, we will not remove the pictures. How do you suggest seeking to censor the art? Beg them? Get on your knees and beg? Because there is no way that any kind of peaceful pressure will change their mind, because they are an art gallery, and there is no legal recourse available. The paintings will be seen and the gallery will stay open.

    So what is your option on censoring them? How will you achieve it? And when you fail, which you will, what will you do? Just give up?

    (I am using the generic ‘you’)

    Let me know what the options would be Jai.

  97. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

    LoL Kismet those paintings of bestiality are hilarious.

    Why does the dude shagging the monkey keep his shirt on? What’s he shy of? hahaha

    that’s funny

  98. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

    India, where men are men and goats are nervous…

  99. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Sid, you asked, I answered. Take it up with the art historian or whoever wrote that piece. It’s an academically accepted viewpoint on why Hindu society changed its attitudes to certain things over the centuries.

    “Are you referring to context when you suggest the “nuances and shades of differences”? I’m not sure what discussion you’re referring to.”

    I answered you on this yesterday. You claimed Hussain was merely following conventional Hindu depictions. I told you that certain deities are never portrayed in the manner in which he has portrayed them, especially the bestiality bit. Kali is portrayed nude in certain situations. Some are, some aren’t. Most important deities that Hussain has used are also not depicted in sexual activity with each other, much less with animals. That’s what’s called nuances. Learning not to apply the “Kama Sutra” theory to every piece of Indian art that happens to be even midly nude. I know it’s titillating to those who can’t fathom it and for whose religious traditions its a luxury, maybe Hussain was similarly over-titillated and couldn’t control himself:)

    Don’t get me wrong, as I said, I’m proud our God, Gods and Goddesses are not anal retentive like other Gods of other more dogmatic faiths and am saddened by some of the aping of such anal retentive behavior. However, it’s not a free-for-all and requires a mature mind to understand it.

    Kismet, show me a Hindu religious painting with an important deity like Saraswati, Lakshmi or a revered figure like Sita copulating with an animal.

  100. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    Oh Kismet, why? Why? Why did you link to those pictures? They are disgusting. You have ruined free speech for everyone. I am left with no choice but to set fire to you.

  101. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

    LoL

    I love the titles. Recite the names of these paintings with a straight face:

    *Enjoying with Monkey

    *I can satisfy animal

    *I Know Monkey is our fore father

    *No need of Woman

    *Sheep as a good Friend

    *Deer is my Dear

    hahaha

  102. raz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    LOL at those pics. Kismet really knows his ‘stuff’ :)

  103. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    raz

    If it had been Muslims who vandalised the paintings, it would have been global headline news by now!

  104. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    Jay, it’s clear that you never ever found out what “Go slack a complex” means. Seriously, do yourself a favor and find out:)

  105. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    “If it had been Muslims who vandalised the paintings, it would have been global headline news by now!”

    You already said that. But thanks for letting us know again. Stop crying double standards)

  106. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    I’m reporting that art gallery to the RSPCA

    I just don’t understand why the dude in the paintings shagging the monkey and goat keeps his shirt on? Out of shame? Is he shy? LoL

  107. raz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    After this revelation from Kismet, I’m sure Sunny can’t complain if I post some of my favourite Hentai in the next weekend open thread :)

  108. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Just for you XYZ

    HINDUISM SAYS BESTIALITY IS NOT THAT BAD OF A CRIME

    Hinduism states that sex with animals is not nearly as bad as sex with a (human) outcaste; for sex with a cow or some other animal, it’s pardonable, but for sex with a (human) outcaste, a twice-born Hindu should be executed:

    “An adulterer shall be made to pay the highest amercement if he has had connection with a woman of his own caste; for adultery with women of a lower caste, the second amercement; the same (fine is ordained) for a bestial crime committed with a cow. He who has had connection with a woman of one of the lowest castes, shall be put to death. For a bestial crime committed withcattle (other than cows) he shall be fined a hundred Karshapanas.” — Visnusmrti 5:40-44.

    Just as incest is not an infrequent theme in Hindu scripture, sex withanimals is also not an uncommon motif in Hinduism. Indeed, great rishis (sages) have been born through bestiality (ref. Manusmrti 10:69-72.). The rishi Rsyasrnga had a deer for a mom. Furthermore, Pandu (the dad of the five famous Pandava princes) had accidentally killed a rishi who was in animal form having sex with a deer (ref. Mahabharata Adiparvan 95.). Hindu queens and other Aryan women of diverse provinces in ancient Hindustan used to have sex with dead horses during the Asvamedha sacrifice, and Lord Rama’s mom Kausalya spent an entire night having sex with a carcass of a sacrificial horse in Valmiki Ramayana (ref. Ramayana 1:13:24-33.). Bestiality depictions have also been found at the Khajuraho temple-complex in Hindustan.

    SOME ‘GREAT SAGES’ OF HINDUISM WERE BORN THROUGH BESTIALITY

    “Just as good seed, sown in a good field, culminates in a birth, so the son born from an Aryan father in an Aryan mother deserves every transformative ritual. Some wise men value the seed, others the field, and still others both the seed and the field; but this is the final decision on this subject: seed sown in the wrong field perishes right inside it; and a field by itself with no seed also remains barren. And since sages have been born in (female)animals by the power of the seed, and were honoured and valued, therefore the seed is valued.” — Manusmrti 10:69-72.

  109. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    I can’t be arsed to find out what it means xyz because I already know your advice is bollocks in advance! ;-)

  110. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    I know it’s titillating to those who can’t fathom it and for whose religious traditions its a luxury, maybe Hussain was similarly over-titillated and couldn’t control himself:)

    I’ll continue to value your input xyz in spite of smug and self-satisfied views like that. Maybe a trip to Asia House might bring you out of yourself. You might even find that MF Husain’s work is not out to scare pompous reactionary traditionalists out of their shells and it might even be educational to learn that MF Husain has never painted images of “Saraswati, Lakshmi or a revered figure like Sita copulating with an animal” either.

  111. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    Relax and enjoy the art of men fucking goats xyz, you might find you like some of the pictures. Try not to look for double standards in them, just enjoy :-)

  112. raz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    Holy shit at post 110, Kistmet just keeps on giving!

  113. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    I had a discussion with a hardcore Khalistani about the Behzti affair. I told him I disliked the play but it should have been allowed to run its course. He disagreed and said how freedom of speech has to be curtailed and sensitivities protected.

    This is a guy who doesnt hesitate to come out with hate mongering crap about how Brahmins are sitting in a laboratory trying to destroy Sikhism, or why Muslims should be deported en masse from England.

    A few months ago he was stressing about the legislation which he fears will stop people like him articulating support for Khalistan and guess what he cited as defence against the legislation? Freedom of Speech.

  114. Stephen — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

    Interesting idea this demo. Maybe you could call it something like “A March For Free Expression”.

    Or maybe not.

  115. Rakhee — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

    Jay, lol post 103,

    You can even make it in to a short story –

    I have no need of woman. I can satisfy animal, I spend time enjoying with monkeys, I have a sheep as a good friend and a deer is my dear – est pal.

    Don’t quite know how ‘I Know Monkey is our fore father’ fits though…

  116. raz — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

    “Brahmins are sitting in a laboratory trying to destroy Sikhism”

    WTF?!

    “A few months ago he was stressing about the legislation which he fears will stop people like him articulating support for Khalistan and guess what he cited as defence against the legislation? Freedom of Speech”

    LMAO. Pizza Hutters would be proud of that bit of hypocrisy.

  117. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

    raz

    Yeah that’s one of the standard line of Sikh extremists, that brahmins are engaged in a mass centrailsed state sponsored campaign to wipe Sikhism off the face of the planet. Along with Muslims and heretical sects of Sikhs. They have the same mindset as wahaabis.

  118. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    Rakhee

    Never mind that, there is a female-bestiality gallery as well, here are some of the titles:

    *Dog is my Best Friend

    *Monkey is best Friend

    *Dog is always a True Friend of Human Being

    *Monkey as Lover

    *A pig with a Maiden

    *Monkey know Kama Shastra

    I kid you not! I don’t even know if I can add the link to this gallery of classical Indian art of women in saris getting it on with pigs, dogs and monkeys!

    My favourite title of this batch is ‘Monkey know Kama Shastra’

    You better believe it!

  119. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:47 pm  

    Heh – it’s free speech

    Not Suitable For Work!

    (don’t open if you are offended by paintings of Indian women having sex with animals)

    http://www.artoflegendindia.com/browse/PSAF/1/

  120. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:47 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    re: post #98

    I think I’ve made my point very clear already, several times. The fact that I’ve repeatedly used the terms “non-violent, ethical, legal methods” should encapsulate the options in all aspects. And no of course it does not mean begging — you should have got enough of a picture of my personality to already know that, based on my posts here on PP and (especially) SM. Following on from this, you should also have a very clear idea of exactly in which circumstances I believe violence is permitted and when it certainly is not. I’ve summarised the latter many times before, very succintly.

    Arif’s recent posts are pretty much along the same lines as my own basic way of thinking on this matter, if you’re looking for further examples of my perspective on the various dynamics involved.

    I’m not a lawyer so someone in the legal profession would be better placed to detail the options that could be exercised in that regard. Beyond that, one can make one’s objections sufficiently known in order to make sure the message is heard loud and clear, one can explain exactly why the work of art concerned is so offensive, if it is slanderous or inaccurate then one should be able to logically detail exactly why this is so. And beyond that, if the artist concerned has any ethical decency then he or she should remove the offending piece — not because the subject matter is necessarily sacred to him/her, but because it is sacred to them. If he/she still persists, then there is nothing more you can do and he/she has totally lost any moral high ground in the matter, certainly if he/she deliberately ignores the gross offence that has been caused and he/she had deliberately created the artwork to ridicule, insult and gratuitously offend.

    It is a matter of behaving in a civilised manner and having appropriate consideration for others. We have certain freedoms in this part of the world, but the onus is also on us to exercise that freedom responsibly. This obviously applies to the protestors but it especially applies to the artist(s). It’s the difference between behaving like an irresponsible child and behaving as a mature, conscientious adult who has a modicum of consideration and respect for other people.

    I’m going to sign off this thread now as it is practically the weekend and I will not be accessing the internet again today; however, I think I’ve made my thoughts clear so, again, if we have differing viewpoints then we can amicably agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    Do whatever you sincerely believe to be right.

  121. Robert — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    I just don’t understand why the dude in the paintings shagging the monkey and goat keeps his shirt on? Out of shame? Is he shy? LoL

    … or why the guy with the Boar needs a chair.

  122. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    I sincerely believe, thanks to Jay, that I’m going to have a good hard long wank and go blind

    BGHJGJJKL

    I can’t see what I’m typing already

    hgkjhkj

  123. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

    (I must add it isn’t the men shagging animals, but the women getting it on with animals that gave me the horn)

    I’m prejudiced like that

  124. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    (see in one the animals are getting abused, in the other the animals are happy)

    youthinks the dude doth protest too much…

  125. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    Yeah but Jai, you’re a reasonable guy, but what do you want to do with all that energy, hatred, hype and pumping blood once it becomes plain that the paintings will not be removed?

    I understand why people protest and Arif does make some BRILLIANT points which I take on board completely.

    My question is, what do you do with all that anger when it becomes clear that the paintings, or art work, will not be removed?

    Jai, you know where all that energy gets channelled.

  126. Jai — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    Final post.

    Sid,

    =>”it might even be educational to learn that MF Husain has never painted images of “Saraswati, Lakshmi or a revered figure like Sita copulating with an animal” either.”

    Not true. Go to this link and take a look at some of MF Husain’s paintings which have been included here, in the main article:

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/002980.html

  127. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    I’m going to change the name of my blog to Monkey Know Kama Shastra

  128. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    Kismet, you forgot to mention that what you cite looks like it came from the website: Islam, the “Modern” Religion and seems to be all about Muslims getting others to accept Allah as the once and only (what else is new?). You really should have cited your reference as: http://www.themodernreligion.com/index2.html
    So if you can kindly verify all the information referring not to a Muslim evangelical-like website, but to some well-respected scholarly translations (since I doubt you don’t know Sanskrit) that would help.

    And since animals have always been more respected in Hinduism than in other faiths and we’re not stuck on some randy old guy in the sky theory, the stories of rishis in animal form and others are known and come as no suprise. I’m sure bestality existed in ancient India. It has existed everywhere, and is currently, going by internet hits, rather prevalent in the Islamic world. Didn’t Khomeini say that according to the Koran it was ok to have sex with animals? Now if only Hussain would do his reinterpretation of Khomeini’s words starring Allah and Mohammed and Ayesha and a donkey.

    But the point is about certain deities and their portrayal. Hussain can portray them anyway he wishes, but for Sid or others to claim that some of the portrayals are based on historical precedent is incorrect. Sid, I should have clarified – I explained it better yesterday – some deities/revered figures are not portrayed nude in the manner in which Hussain has portrayed them and/or copulating with animals. My smugness was only in return for yours and your confusion about the nuancees of Hindu sacred art. Hence the article I quoted for you to educate you a bit.

    Again, Hussain can do what he likes and reinterpet however he likes based on whatever horny feelings he has at the time. It’s just a shame that such a talented artist could not take equal inspiration about the tendency and tolerance of bestiality in his own religious tradition, and reinterpret Mohammed’s first night with his young wife or his Oedipal feelings for his own mother. I mean, surely by now he’s repeating himself ad nauseum as Jay would say with these repeated nude/copulating Hindu icons? Why not try something new:)

    I’m sure you would find them even more artistically inspiring since you would be able to relate to them even more than you do to the Hindu series. I mean I’m sure he and you would agree, especially after the cartoon debacle, that some pompous Muslim reactionary traditionalists need to be scared out of their shells and this ridiculous and backwards notion that Allah, Mohammed can’t be portrayed in picture form and they should realize that Allah and Mohammed had genitals like everyone else and that Muslim women have vaginas like everyone else. After all, Hussain is an artist for the 21st century.:)

    “Relax and enjoy the art of men fucking goats xyz, you might find you like some of the pictures. Try not to look for double standards in them, just enjoy.”

    Hey, Hussain has some free time on his hands now. Now if you, Kismet, Sid and any other volunteers wanted to pose for him f**cking each other or any animal that pleases you, I would be only too happy to sit back and enjoy the pictures. Now there’s an exhibition worth supporting!:)

  129. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:15 pm  

    LoL

    What a sap!

  130. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    “LoL. What a sap!”

    Oh dear. I’m assuming that was your reaction when you looked at yourself nude in a mirror while practicing your poses for the session with Sid, Kismet and the animals? :)

  131. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    hahaha – watching you try and be funny is funny!

  132. Tanvir — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

    That modernreligion site was made by Q-news’s fareena Alam, I first saw it about 6 years ago

  133. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:25 pm  

    “hahaha – watching you try and be funny is funny!”

    Hey, I know I can’t match your funnies, especially when you are standing nude in front of the mirror, sapped by the effort. I bow down to you, you are the king of funny.:)

  134. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

    hehehe – sap!

  135. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    *rolls eyes in direction of xyz and Jay*

    Why don’t you both just cut to the chase? Find a ruler, measure yourselves, post the results and then we can work out who’s won…

  136. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    “hehehe – sap!”

    Egads! No need for minute by minute updates of your exertions.

    “Why don’t you both just cut to the chase? Find a ruler, measure yourselves, post the results and then we can work out who’s won…”

    That’s for little boys and women who care about that sort of thing.:)

  137. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

    You guys are getting boring now with your cussing, and its detracting from having a sensible discussion about what form of a protest this should take. End it now. I have something on Sikh groups I plan to post a bit later today. Might as well go all out.

  138. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

    What form should this protest take? Something that will get you the most visibility and make this more of a mainstream story in the British press.

    I suggest you form a group and go to Asia House, stand outside with placards supporting Hussein. Identify yourselves and invite the press to cover it. If Asia House was smart they would produce the damaged painting and let the press see it. The best way to tackle this sort of extremism is to come out with all the details and make an official statement instead of releasing the information in dribs and drabs and getting your story out via innuendo and vagaries like “threats” in quotes. If you have a case, state it.

    What better way to launch an Asians Against Censorship movement that will actually get people to pay attention?

  139. John Browne — on 26th May, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    It was ascension thursday yesterday.
    At the end of the Mass a psychologist stood up
    and told us she was doing a PhD on the ‘attitudes’
    of religious people and would we all help. She
    handed out a 1/2 questionaire to all of thus.
    So there you have it, society has at last cottoned
    on, Catholics are all nuts (well if I’ve filled the
    questioniare out correctly).

    John

  140. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:03 pm  

    There isn’t a case to be stated – the canvases have been vandalised by having paint thrown on them and the exhibition has been cancelled following threats of violence. The case is made. Asia House not being used to that kind of reaction are probably at a loss as to how to react.

  141. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:21 pm  

    “There isn’t a case to be stated – the canvases have been vandalised by having paint thrown on them and the exhibition has been cancelled following threats of violence. The case is made. Asia House not being used to that kind of reaction are probably at a loss as to how to react.”

    They have some pretty sophisticated people on their international advisory board. People who are used to dealing with the press all the time. I see Lord Desai on TV all the time being interviewed. Why not use him as the spokesperson at a press conference to announce the destruction? By now you think they could have come up with an official statement at least?

    I don’t buy the argument that they are at a loss as to what to do now. They are not some rinky-dink hole-in-the-wall operation. They really haven’t made their case well or it would be in the British press by now. What’s the big deal with issuing a statement, after all there are people who probably wanted to go to the exhibition? What’s the big deal with producing the damaged painting? Right now it’s just an allegation. Show it and explain to the media who did it and how it happened.

    After all, an image like that in the press is worth a thousand complaints on PP and silent seething about “threats.” You will really get people’s attention and make them care more about the issue. You might also discourage more people who have ideas of vandalizing art in the future. If they truly are an art institution that wants to stand up for the freedom of expression of the artists they feature, then they really need to be more upfront about the whole thing and take a stronger stand about it.

    I’m not sure why they just didn’t call in the police (maybe they did), post extra security everywhere and refuse to be intimidated by people. The more public they make it, the less brave the protesters would be about actually damaging anything.

    Right now it looks like they are either making allegations but don’t want to back them up or trying to protect and mollycoddle the person or minority group responsible for this (in this case Hindu). It’s as frustrating as in India (and yes I’m going to compare) when they refer to any infraction by Christians or Muslims as “a minority group did this or that” without naming them. It’s silly. If an irate Hindu destroyed the painting, come out and name and shame them and show the damage.

  142. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:28 pm  

    Yeah – maybe they have not been vandalised and its all a publicity stunt? Is that what you reckon? Or are they hiding the truth? Or maybe they’re intimidated? Or inept? Or don’t know what to do? Confused? Maybe it’s a mixture of all of those things? Maybe they’re all caught in the headlights of the fury of the irate? Maybe it’s a conspiracy and is part of the nebulous double standards.

    I just don’t buy it. The Birmingham Rep was similarly caught in the headlights and shocked by the events of 2 years ago. Reading conspiracy into their ‘silence’ is idle speculation.

  143. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:29 pm  

    I get the impression that we have drifted into personal animosity and piss-taking, and away from the issue. The last really worthwhile comment was Arif’s at #83.

    When the religiose bully boys throw their weight around and make demands the instinctive response from most secularists, liberals and ‘progressives’ – myself included – is ‘Up yours, pal.’ But, as Arif pointed out, the reason these characters have a platform at all is because there are those who feel threatened and insecure, isolated and powerless, and it is an easy gig to stand up and say, ‘They are pissing on your values, I will defend you’. So they find an exhibition, or a cartoon or a stamp and wave it like a blood-stained shirt. You can have contempt for these demagogues, but if that contempt spills over onto the ordinary Joe, that’s ugly.

    They manipulate fear and confusion, turning it into resentment and hate; they use the violence this engenders as a bargaining chip, without letting it touch their smooth selves.

    I suppose, by definition, almost everyone who posts here is articulate, educated, urbane and cosmopolitan. That’s not stroking, that’s how it is. But there are many others, less sophisticated and adjusted to twenty-first century values, who reasonably fear that a perceived or manufactured attack on their belief system is a precursor to an actual attack on themselves. Slick dismissiveness by a self-confident elite does not reassure.

    Isn’t the point of Sunny’s original post how to tackle those who exploit these fears and insecurities to attack freedom of speech, without dismissing the fearful and insecure? Few of whom would have been offended by or even aware of this moderately louche exhibition if it had not been for career-building ego-trippers inventing a row.

  144. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

    Don

    That’s exactly how the Behzti affair played itself out.

    But how do you reason with someone who feels under attack and reassure them that you’re not being patronising when the next thing they say is ‘Stand with us against this then’? If you understand where we’re coming from, why do you not joing us in protest? Or are you an Uncle Tom?

    It’s almost impossible to make the argument why offensive, craven, second rate art shouldnt be censored without it sounding condescending to somebody to some degree.

    That may fuel their alienation even further, but what are you going to do? Agree that censorship is alright?

  145. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    Make sure you make lots of pretty placards so I can take me photos.

    Starting a riot would be good too as I realy wanna see that ubercute police officer in nomex gear

    *swoons off topic*

  146. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    Isn’t the point of Sunny’s original post how to tackle those who exploit these fears and insecurities to attack freedom of speech, without dismissing the fearful and insecure?

    Don, I think it’s almost impossible to do this. That is what makes it so messy. That is why it opens up massive rifts within communities.

  147. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:41 pm  

    “Yeah – maybe they have not been vandalised and its all a publicity stunt? Is that what you reckon? Or are they hiding the truth? Or maybe they’re intimidated? Or inept? Or don’t know what to do? Confused? Maybe it’s a mixture of all of those things? Maybe they’re all caught in the headlights of the fury of the irate? Maybe it’s a conspiracy and is part of the nebulous double standards.
    I just don’t buy it. The Birmingham Rep was similarly caught in the headlights and shocked by the events of 2 years ago. Reading conspiracy into their ’silence’ is idle speculation.”

    Conspiracy? No, but stating their case via innuendo and vagaries and very few facts. Yes. Sorry, doesn’t make it appealing to get more coverage. You yourself complained that if Muslims had done it, it would be all over the news now. So you would think you would want them to do as much to publicize this outrage as much as possible. Easy for some to question and make speculations as to why they just can’t produce the damaged painting or at the very least, make an official statement. Yes. Inept. Comes across that way.

    And I hope that you will be the first to sign up for a protest outside the Asia House in support of Hussain. I would love to see you in the papers, on the steps of Asia House and holding a placard saying a lot of what you’ve said here. Seriously, I’m not joking or making fun. I just think that signing and passing around a petition as a protest against this vandalism is pointless and achieves nothing. If you want more publicity for this type of behavior, the only meaningful protest is to put your money where your mouth is and be as visible and risible as the people against whom you are protesting and who are attacking the freedoms you hold so dear. Again, I really am not joking.

  148. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    “Don, I think it’s almost impossible to do this. That is what makes it so messy. That is why it opens up massive rifts within communities.”

    So what if you offend them and open a rift? Aren’t you all saying that there already is a rift between and within communities and that the liberal side needs to be more vocal and as visible as the conservative side? Saying we need to protest and starting threads on PP and then saying it’s almost impossible to do achieves nothing. Be like Hussain, exercise your right to offend those who offend you by violating the freedoms you cherish.

  149. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    Oh dear. I’m assuming that was your reaction when you looked at yourself nude in a mirror while practicing your poses for the session with Sid, Kismet and the animals?

    I don’t know what xyz’a animus is towards me since others here have levelled some more personally flagrant offensives. What gives xyz? Is there some baggage you’re towing? hmmm? Christian missionaries and Muslims still getting your hoary old goat xyz? hmmm?

    Don’t feel for a moment that I don’t feel your discomfort in having to feel the need to identify with the the Hindu art-intolerant losers, but you don’t have to feel obliged to simply because you share their traditions. I’m very touchy-feely.

    But there is a more subtle point xyz hasn’t grasped and that is these cretins have more in common with literalists and reductionists that we see tend to take over the mouthpiece of all religions and hold the rest of their co-religionists.

    Arif and Jai have made some superb points and they remain the best entries in this debate for the respect that is due by artists in a liberal democracy that does allow full F of E.

  150. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    Sid,

    Don’t flatter yourself. It was all I could do to stomach the visuals of you and the others entertaining yourselves for the benefit of a Hussain masterpiece. That comment was directed at Jay, not you. Have no fear, the thought of you nude and standing in front of a mirror has never entered my head nor shall it ever.

    “I’m very touchy-feely.”

    Good for you. No need to share that with me though. Save that for your
    sex partner, be it animal, vegetable or mineral.:)

    As for the rest, I too feel your discomfort at your own inability to grasp your own double standards and that of Hussain. I know the reference to the predeliction for animal sex in the Islamic world hits too close to home and upsets you. I mean poor Kismet had to go running to an Islamic fundamentalist website for his quotations. Luckily for you, your co-religionists’ threats of beheading everyone at the drop of a hat pretty much puts a lid on any Islamic religious art of that nature and so you very rarely have to feel the need to expose the true you behind all your taqiyah.

    As for subtleties, first try grasping the subtleties of Indian art before making statements not based on fact. If you appreciated subtleties, you would be able to read my posts and distinguish between my defence of freedom of expression and my opinions on Hussain, his hypocrisy, your hypocrisy, his lack of imagination, your lack of imagination, Indian art etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

  151. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:00 pm  

    So what if you offend them and open a rift? Aren’t you all saying that there already is a rift between and within communities and that the liberal side needs to be more vocal and as visible as the conservative side?.

    xyz, you’re not spelling anything out for me like a revelation. I’ve been saying that for the last two days. Keep up.

    By the way, what are the vagaries and innuendoes that Asia House, like a nefarious and wicked double standard applying evil mastermind, are engaging in?

    It is very simple. As a result of vandalism and threats of vandalism the exhibition has closed down. What else do you want them to do or say? It’s all a big conspiracy against you xyz!

  152. Katy Newton — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:00 pm  

    Jeepers. This really is getting needlessly unpleasant.

    *beats hasty retreat*

  153. Sid — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    Jeez

    I wasn’t going to suggest that the reason you seem to single me out for the more bilious bits of your fury was because I and MF Husain are co-religionists. Since you have gone ahead and made that point all by yourself.

    But you do illustrate quite graphically the bitterness that this demonstration is going to provoke from Hindus. I will support Sunny and Co in spirit but will sit this one for the very reasons that you have inadvertently demonstrated for us.

  154. Jay Singh — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    When the Birmingham Rep was vandalised they pretty much floundered in confusion for a few days.

    With Asia House, if they don’t release a statement they are damned as wicked and nefarious innuendo spreading conspirators, if they do release a statement they are accused of being confrontational. People who hate them will hate them and blame them.

  155. xyz — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

    Yawn Jay. I’ll leave it at that. I look forward to seeing you holding a placard in front of Asia House. Signing a petition after all this hoo-haa and moral indignation and righteous seething doesn’t cut it.

    Sid,

    Learn to read, please! I didn’t suggest that you suggested that the reason I allegedly (again, methinks you’re playing the victim here) single you out for mroe bilious bits was because you and Hussain are co-religionists. You have gone ahead and concocted that in your addled brain. I think Jay and I have more of history than you. But you seem to want to mark yourself out as someone worthy of special attention.

    And your last statement is the biggest cop out – pretty much sums up some of the bravado on this thread. Hell yes, we’re mad. Hell yes, we’ll support a protest in spirit. Hell yes, we’ll even sign a petition. But come time to action and men turn to mice.

    To think that anyone is going to believe that comments like mine, which clearly defend Hussain’s right to his exhibition and which clearly state that Asia House should have pulled the police on these people, have scared you from participating in an actual protest is laughable indeed. You’re just a coward, because if you participate in any sort of protest against this, you’ll have set an example and you then won’t be able to cop out taqiyah-like next time Sunny organizes a protest against some even more scary Muslim cretins. You can then be consistent in your cowardice. Bravo! Nice try, but not Harry Houdini enough.

  156. Sunny — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    Jay, enough of the sarcastic tone, you’re no longer taking this discussion forward.

  157. Don — on 26th May, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    Jay,

    That’s the counsel of despair, man. Not impossible surely, but not overnight. Without the fear and insecurity, would these issues even arise? Would the grandstanding smoothies have a constituency? Would the spittle-flecked ranters? This shit is a symptom more than a disease.

    It’s a tough one. It’s a long-term job and you do what you can. But if you accept,as a general principle, that you will not allow someone else’s religious convictions dictate by force and threat what you may or may not see,hear or say, then you have to make a stand. I believe you should do it without taking the piss, but without pretending a modicum of respect for that which you do not respect.

    But you recognise that only some of those who disagree you are actually twats. And keep a close eye one some who are on your side.

    Still, I’d love to see pictures of the demo. What would it be? The Magnificent Seven or The Dirty Dozen?

    (Actually, get Col. Mustapha to show up, and I’m there).

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