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Monday, February 20, 2012

Annamaya - Padamandakini

India’s dubious Secularists

Maqbool Fida Husain and Salman Rushdie are a telling comparison and contrast to capture the true character of secular India. Both are Muslims by birth. Both were born in colonial India’s Bombay Presidency. Husain, some 32 years when Rushdie was a child, died last year. Husain was an artist. Rushdie is a writer. Both had become famous, globally — Husain through his paintings and Rushdie through his writings. Husain lived all his life in India before he exiled and became a Qatari in 2006. But Rushdie lives in the UK as a British citizen. While Rushdie excited the highly sensitive Muslims to turn against him, Husain managed to irritate the not-so-sensitive Hindus. Take Husain first.
This is how Husain annoyed the soft Hindus. He used his fertile imagination and painting skills to undress all well-dressed Hindu gods, goddesses, depict them naked and used his popularity to market them. He drew a naked Goddess Lakshmi sitting on Lord Ganesha’s head. He painted Durga in sexual union with a tiger. He portrayed a naked Goddess Saraswati holding a veena. He painted a naked Parvati with her son Ganesha. He depicted a naked Hanuman, seeing a naked Sita sitting on the thigh of naked Ravana. He painted a naked Bharatmata twice — once in the shape of India with names of the states of India on her naked body, alongside a naked sadhu in the Bay of Bengal. But his art on Muslims was a telling contrast. He drew a fully clad Muslim king alongside a naked Brahmin. He completely covered, even with purdah, the Muslim women he drew, which of course included his mother and daughter. He fully attired the Muslim poets he painted.Some Hindus, who saw his perverted art demeaning the Hindu divinities, began protesting at his exhibitions and filing criminal cases. Seeing mounting protests and cases, Husain moved out of India. The government of India, judiciary, political parties and, of course, the media, all rushed to defend Husain’s right to freedom — his right to offend Hindus and demean their gods. There were protests against Husain. But no one issued an order to kill him. No one was injured, no one was hurt and none was killed. Yet, the protests were labelled by ‘seculars’ as ‘saffron terror’.Now come to Rushdie, a contrast. His life is living hell since he wrote his controversial book The Satanic Verses. Though living, he has, by now, died a million times since February 4, 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fiat (fatwa) to Muslims to kill him. But, why should Khomeini order the killing of a fellow Muslim? With almost a generation gone since 1988 when Rushdie wrote the infamous book, it is time to recall some history. Rushdie’s book was about a disputed tradition in Islam. According to it, Mohammed (depicted in Rushdie’s book as Mahound) had first added three verses (Sura) in the Quran, accepting three goddesses that used to be worshipped in Mecca as divine beings, but later revoked the verses saying that Devil (Satan) had tempted him to utter the verses to appease the Meccans — so the title ‘Satanic Verses’ for the disputed verses. The Rushdie book set off violent reaction from Muslims.Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh blew himself up in a central London hotel while making a bomb intended to kill Rushdie in 1989. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Rushdie’s book was stabbed to death in July 1991. Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator, was stabbed and seriously injured in the same month. And Aziz Nesin, the Turkish language translator, was the target in the events that led to massacre of 37 people in July 1993. William Nygaard, a Norway publisher, was almost killed in Oslo in October 1993. In Belgium, two Muslim leaders who had opposed Khomeini’s ‘Kill Rushdie’ fiat, were killed. Two bookstores in California, and five in England, were fire-bombed. Twelve people died during rioting in Mumbai. This list does not exhaust the violence.Starting from then and till now, Rushdie has been hitting headlines for the wrong reasons. Now again Rushdie is in the news. Rushdie had been invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012, Asia’s largest, a week back. Muslims threatened agitations and Rushdie’s presence would have meant violence. So the Indian Intelligence Bureau invented an input saying that four hired assassins were roaming around to kill Rushdie. This was proved fake, calculated to prevent Rushdie from coming to India. The four participants who had read out from The Satanic Verses at the meet ran away from India to escape arrest. William Dalrymple, the festival director, got death threats. Finally, Rushdie’s video address to the Jaipur festival was dropped as, according to organisers, it risked the lives of the participants from the Muslim protesters outside.The contrast is self-evident. Rushdie, who just wrote about a disputed tradition in Islam, was hounded for decades and is on a death threat even now, and people who had nothing to do with either the book or Rushdie have been butchered. Even today the fear of slaughter in his name haunts the world, as the Jaipur meet shows. But, all that Husain, who, in the name of freedom hurt the Hindus — “considered as the gentlest and most civilised on the earth” according to Mahatma Gandhi — faced were normal protests. The protests by Hindus against Husain were ant-bite compared to the scale of violence against Rushdie’s book, even though the hurt to the Hindu sentiments by the perverted paintings of Husain were explicit and undeniably monumental. But what is distressingly shameful is the politics of contrast. See how the secular media, parties, leaders and state glorified Husain’s right to abuse Hindu gods and goddesses to wound Hindus and how the same secular actors repeatedly decried Rushdie’s similar right to hurt Muslims. Now something even more shameful. The ‘seculars’, including the media, had ceaselessly condemned the normal protests against shows displaying Husain’s painting and pontificated to Hindus about the need for tolerance. But they wouldn’t utter a word against the violence by Muslims nor ask them to be tolerant. The reason is obvious. They are dishonest.  Muslims rightly felt offended by Rushdie’s reckless literary work. And Hindus were justly hurt by Husain’s perverted art.   Muslims, highly excitable, however reacted violently. Instead of holding both Rushdie and Husain wrong, the seculars faulted Rushdie and praised Husain. Why? Because, being insensitive to Hindus and pretending to be sensitive to Muslims is enough to make one secular. QED: Such secularism is perversion — and a dangerous one.

by S Gurumurthy/New Indian Express dated 31st Jan 2012

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thank God there is still somebody out there that will call a spade a spade.

I hope MFH is reaping the "benefits" of his "artistic" freedom !
February 21, 2012 2:23 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
These are unfortunate comments by one ignorant of the larger truths. Just painting a nude picture or depicting a God in various postures does not make for a criminal act. or anti-religious act. For information, Husain painted over 10,000 paintings, and not more than 200 of these depicted Gods in 'unnatural positions". People who have never seen his works became rabid because someone said these were anit-hindu. And hounded him out of India. he was a great Indian, humanitarian who loved his country. Incidentally, every major temple in South has Mithuna sculptures in it. Will anti-Husain people go and demolish these? Even RAvi varma has painted nudes.

One needs tolerance and understanding of artistic license. This is very much in short supply.

Incidentally, I am a devout Hindu Iyengar, who has as much interest in protecting his religion as the fellow next door. I think reviling someone like Husian = defending your faith.

I am also a regular follower of this blog, its posting and the invaluable service it does....
February 21, 2012 12:28 PM
Blogger Varadarajan.R said...
a hindu can paint a nude god and can get stick from the same community. but a muslim cant. i have all rights to praise or criticize the geetha or vedas/upanishads, but who am i to condemn or criticize the bible or quran ?? Religious tolerance is very important.
February 21, 2012 4:38 PM

Blogger hvaidya said...
Dear Mr Anonymous Iyengar,
Even though Mithuna sculptures are in many temples, No God or Goddess whom Hindus worship are shown as nude.
February 21, 2012 9:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was a great sympathiser of Husain until I saw a collection of his nude god paintings in this same forum that really opened my eyes. These paintings were extremely vulgal and without artistic merit except that they were painted by a socalled great artist. As for Rushdie, his fiction is equally without great merit and he has shamelesslly made capital out of the fatwah issued against him. The comments of British police personnel protecting him when he was under threat make interesting reading and Rushdie comes out as a boor and a lout. There are many excellent aspiring writers as well as talented but unknown painters who are equally deserving of your attention and praise or at least your encouragement.
February 22, 2012 12:11 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
As for sclptures of Gods never shown naked, I beg to disagree. The most fundamental of all Hindu concepts, Shakti, is deified from the time of Vedas as Aditi or Lajja Gauri. She is always shown naked, with thighs spread. The meaning is that She is the Mother of all, giving birth to all people, mst sacred. She is seen depicted thus in many temples. You can even see Her at the Chennai Museum (Amaravati Sculptures) .
Also see a scholarly note on Aditi at:

SO, it is a matter of how you interpret what you see. I do not think of Aditi as a sex symbol. She is the Mother Goddess.

i hope we can leave this discussion at this point, and agree to disagree.
February 23, 2012 1:03 PM
Blogger hvaidya said...
I regret for my ignorance. Since, I have not seen any such sculptures, I was under that impression. Would M.F. Hussein have treated our Gods as Mothers? I agree it is better we agree to disagree.
February 23, 2012 8:04 PM

Concert - Aiswarya Vidya Raghunath

  1. Varnam - Sri
  2. Raamaa nee pai
  3. Aalaapana - Ramapriya
  4. Korina varam - Ramapriya
  5. Vinaradha - Dhevagandhari
  6. Aalaapana - Dhanyaasi
  7. Paradevata - Dhanyaasi
  8. Thani 
  9. Paiyadaa - Naadanaamakriya
  10. Maarubaari - Kamaas
  11. Maryaadha - Suratti
Courtesy :

...that you were created to create -- not to react.

Creation is the highest form of Divinity, and your
birthright. Truth is, you are creating all the time. The
central question in your life is whether you are
doing this consciously or unconsciously.

Conscious creation is what is needed now. Stop
moping. And stop thinking negative thoughts. Just
get on with it! Tomorrow awaits your choice as to
how its going to be. Call the shots! Make it happen!
You're in charge here. 

Blogger nandakumar said...
namaskaram sir, I think there is a problem in downloading song no.9..paiyadaa. regards
February 20, 2012 9:15 PM
Blogger hvaidya said...
I have uploaded No 9 afresh. Hope this works now.
February 21, 2012 10:15 PM
Blogger nandakumar said...
namaskaram sir,
thanks a ton, I could download the song now. regards nandakumar.
February 22, 2012 7:45 AM

Tamil - Art of Charity (அறம் செய்ய விரும்பு)

Role of NGO, About Charity, an excellent exposition on the tamil one-liner அறம் செய்ய விரும்பு by His Holiness Srimad Ubhaya Vedanta S.A.R. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamy during the enthralling occasion of the Sri Ramanuja Mission Trust's Decennial celebrations.

Sent by Mr Seshadri Srinivasan