Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cost of Secularism

India is a secular country. Most of Indians are proud of this credential and practice this secularism. In the process majority of such Indians end up in being branded as pseudo-secular, a tag most abused and debated. Where does our constitution give any one the right of maligning or even seeming to malign the faith that one does not practice in the name of freedom of expression? There has been numerous judgments at the highest court of law trying to draw a line between freedom of expression and attempt of contempt towards others whether minority or majority.

In the name of “freedom of artistic expressions” if one continuously tries to manipulate the right of freedom of expressions especially when depicting something as sensitive as objects of others’ faith, we Indians as a nation must ask ourselves what does secularism mean. Does the majority have to be extra tolerant (more than the minority) to prove that it is secular, particularly when Husain has clearly shown less sensitivity towards other community’s feelings.

We as Indians must go beyond our personal faith to stand by the Indian Constitution and protect it from being misused to create rift among different communities. Those who are deploring Indians or Indian Nation or Indian Government for not protecting artistic talent likes of MF Husain. And those showering praise and feeling ashamed that another country hardly known for secularist political or social setup has given so called sanctuary to this artist to practice his craft and sullen art. They must answer what happens to this artist if he ever tries to explore similar craft or art to malign the faith that he himself practices in his new-found sanctuary.

India does not need to answer anybody, not even to its so called art-lovers at this point of time. We should be patient enough to ask MF Husain to explore inner facets of his craft and artistic talent to attempt to depict something parallel to what he did with ‘Saraswati’ or ‘madhuri’ in his own faith. Then only we will know how other countries react to such situations as societies or as a nation. No one of us is greater than our country not even the great MF Husain. Finally with his comments "I don't feel betrayed by anyone in India... A few people don't understand modern art, that's all... Art is always ahead of time." is just another attempt to undermine the Indians and their secular credentials.

1 comment:

  1. As a layman with absolutely no understanding of ‘modern art’ … I’m afraid I see no beauty in the works of art by Mr. Hussain. I may sound blunt … but I see more beauty in the paintings cheaply sold on footpaths and street corners. So it really didn’t bother me to know about Hussain’s acquiring the nationality of Qatar. It doesn’t matter to me whether he lives here in India or in Qatar or for that matter any other part of the world. Yet I personally feel that if anybody is affected by his decision to give up Indian citizenship, it is ‘him’ only and not the people of India in any manner. Sooner of later, I believe, he is going to realize it and regret his decision.

    As regards his controversial paintings, I would only say that he should have avoided doing things he could have done without. And yes … sometimes I really wonder why our religious sentiments are so fragile and more often, why is it that the people, whose feelings are hurt so easily, have very little or rather no understanding of the religion at all.