Thursday, May 31, 2007

Does M.F.Hussain deserve Raja Ravi Varma Award?

Does M.F.Hussain deserve Raja Ravi Varma Award?
By Nithin.S

The recent decision of Kerala Government to felicitate noted Painter M.F.Hussain with Raja Ravi Varma Award1, needs critical examination due to the fact that about 1250 formal police complaints, 7 court cases 2 have been registered against M.F. Hussain for denigrating Hindu deities by painting them in the nude.

Some of the paintings of the said painter depict Goddess Durga in sexual union with Tiger, Goddess Lakshmi naked on Shree Ganesh's head, Naked Saraswati, Naked Shri Parvati, Naked Lord Hanuman and Goddess Sita sitting on thigh of Ravana , Naked Bharatmata, Naked Lord Hanuman looking at sex action of Lord Ram and Seeta, Naked Shri Ganga and Shri Yamuna relaxing in water, Full Clad Muslim King and naked Hindu Brahmin, Muslim poets Faiz, Galib are shown well-clothed, Prophet's Daughter Fatima fully clothed3. These clearly shows that his paintings are basically for denigrating Hinduism by showing its Gods and Goddesses in nudity where as showing Muslim kings and poets as fully clothed. This hypocrisy on the part of noted painter like M.F.Hussain is not desirable and rises doubts about his motive for painting these portraits.

Further, if we compare his paintings with that of done by Raja Ravi Varma we recognize a stark contrast. The paintings of Raja Ravi Varma are sattwik (aesthetically pure), whereas that of Hussain can be termed as pornography under the garb of Modern Art. Hence, it is very rational to ask the Kerala Government that are they not insulting Raja Ravi Varma by giving this award to M.F.Hussain? are they not legitimizing the denigration done by Hussain in his paintings?

Some people may argue that Art is a medium of expression of our feelings and thoughts and every artist should have freedom to express himself. But, they should note that there is a difference between self-expressing art and deliberate denigration of the beliefs of a particular community. There is a difference between genuine art and pornography. For, more than 1000 years Hindus have been oppressed and their beliefs and practices have been made fun off.

First it were Muslim rulers, who not only smashed and burned Hindu idols but also used them as lavoratory seats or handed over to butchers to be used as weights while selling meat. . Sculptures in relief on walls and pillars were disfigured or scraped away or torn down. Sacred vessels and scriptures used in worship were defiled and scattered or burnt. Cows were slaughtered on the temple sites so that Hindus could not use them again.4 Then, it was Christian missionaries and British who invented the Aryan invasion theory and published numerous anti- Hindu writings. Now it is a combined brigade of all these people who paint Hindu Gods naked or depict Hindu deities on toilet seats.

If any self respecting Hindus protest these denigrations, they are termed as communalist and Hindu fanatics by the self claimed intellectual secular forces of India. But, the question remains why did not they raise a voice, when Muslims all over the world agitated when Danish Newspaper published cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad? Why this hypocrisy? This is because, Hindus are taken for granted. The legendary Hindu tolerance is being misused by people to serve their self interest.

It is high time that Hindus should come out of their inertia and inaction and openly address and fight for their concerns. Shunning all fear of being branded “obscurantists”, Hindus must turn perspicacious to distinguish between real art and its pretence. It is time for mass awareness as no political party has so far been convincing enough in its role of a true representative of Hindu concerns.