Monday, January 11, 2010

BJP's Opposition To Hussain's Art Work Shows Sheer Bigotry

By removing the chapter on renowned artiste M.F. Hussain from the course study book, the Himachal Pradesh government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has manifested its bigoted mentality. The decision by the state government is also contrary to the claim made by the new BJP president, Nitin Gadkari, that the BJP was not against Muslims. If the claim is true, one wonders why the chapter on M.F. Hussain was removed from curriculum.

Religious Sentiments
As far as disputed and objectionable paintings of M.F. Hussain are concerned, it can be understood that such paintings might have hurt the feelings of some people. These paintings may have also hurt their religious sentiments. It is understandable that those people, whose faith and religious sentiments were hurt, may condemn these paintings. We are not supporting these disputed paintings, nor intend to enter into any kind of debate on the issue. Yet, is Hussain the first person who has done such a thing? Clearly, it is not so. Why, then, is the BJP targeting Hussain alone? Why was he forced to lead a life in exile? Why have communal organizations opened a front against him? Why is a mention of him being removed from the course book?
It sums up to suggest that whatever Nitin Gadkari said is far from the truth. There are, at present, innumerable atheists in the country. Also innumerable are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians, who have adopted a stand contrary to their own faith or community. They, consequently, had to suffer and face outcry from society.

Justification for BJP
Yet, because of just a few of his disputed acts, his entire career is not maligned and rejected, provided the person concerned had not indulged in such act purposely. Leaving apart the disputed and objectionable painting by Hussain, is his work not such that it be lauded? Are his paintings not bringing laurels to the country? If the contention stands ground, what then is the justification for BJP governments and their supporters who stoop that low to oppose M.F. Hussain?
It is the same BJP that comes out in support of Tasleema Nasreen and Salman Rushdie, who are anti-Islam and have hurt the feelings and sentiments of their own community. While supporting such people, the BJP fully keeps in mind democratic values and freedom of expression. Yet, when the very same freedom of expression is used against its own interests, or when it intends to derive political mileage, it changes its stance totally.

Misusing Authority
The common man has no objection to Hussain's paintings, nor does he have anything against the artist. Instead, he values his artistry. Had it not been so, a major organization like the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) should not have included the material on M.F. Hussain into the curriculum. Yet, misusing its authority under which it can bring about 20 percent changes in the curriculum, the Himachal Pradesh BJP Government removed the chapter on M.F. Hussain, and replaced it with Shobha Singh and a Russian born artiste Nicholas Roerich. By doing so, it has amply manifested its specific bigoted ideology.

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