I am by nature a very liberal/free-spirited person who has friends from all over the world belonging to all religions. I believe deeply in democratic values and freedom of expression…
…said a lady in a reply to my comments (given below as “My first reponse) on a Facebook discussion where one of her friends had written on her wall how she was offended by Hussain’s painting of Goddess Saraswati in nude. This particular lady – the paragon of “free expression that she insists she was – obviously didn’t agree. And to good measure, she, who had “grown up in a Hindu family” went on talking about Lingam being a phallus and seeing nude gods and goddesses everywhere and how it was nothing new.
Well, its ok to be ignorant and foolish and also full of himself or herself.. but you cannot simply throw bull shit out and not expect anyone to respond back. Her reply to her friend – which is very similar to most of the responses of most “liberals” on Hussain’s issue and that of Freedom of Speech/Expression. The central precept seems to be – “Everyone” has the right to offend.
First – that isn’t entirely the truth. Recently a IVth standard moral science book in UP had a drawing of Mohammad. The issue was taken up with amazing alacrity by Dr. Manmohan Singh, who asked Kapil Sibal to act immediately and Sibal in turn instructed the ISCE board, Uttar Pradesh secretary of Basic Education and the principal secretary, department of home in UP – to immediately withdraw the book.
Then there were demonstrations against the Danish cartoons in India by the Muslims, but there was no Liberal – or even Hussain – showing OPEN AND UNEQUIVOCAL solidarity with the Danish Cartoonist.
Da Vinci code, which offended the Christians was banned by the liberal Government and “Liberals” were again missing, as was Hussain in showing solidarity to the author.
Its fairly obvious that “Freedom of Expression” and offending others through it isn’t an Equally Implemented right. It works in some cases but not all.
Second, Freedom only knows love. Violence, Offense, Aggression doesn’t know freedom. So, being free to offend is no freedom.
Third, Being offensive and being blasphemous are two different things.
Drawings of Mohammad or Da Vinci code weren’t “Offensive”, they were “Blasphemous”. Nude paintings of Saraswati are Offensive.
Blasphemy means – I say something and anyone saying anything contrary is a criminal. Say, I proclaim that the only color for clothes on any Wednesday in Delhi is Dark Blue. Any other color would be blasphemy. So, anyone wearing even light blue can be killed on charge of being blasphemous!
Being offensive means – I will either speak or do an action that violates your civic sense. LIke some street guy may come up to your daughter and describe how he finds the body parts of your daughter extremely luscious and fun to experience. This kind of discussion and act is obnoxious.. right?
But hold on… if this street guy was steeped in the “political speak” of the “Liberal India” – he would suggest, if you threaten him on being offended – that after all you would never feel so bad, if your son-in-law said the same thing to your daughter!! So, why the different standards of getting offended? Maybe your son-in-law actually says that before your daughter left for the market, which she might have taken as a compliment!
So his argument is (as is of the Hussain supporters): if her own says something out of love then that’s kosher, while what he says out of lust.. becomes a crime?
What the street guy (and Hussain and his supporters) intend to say is – if she sleeps with her husband, then he can sleep with her as well. Or in other words, there is no difference between a wife submitting in love to her husband and a prostitute submitting to her client.
Fair, right? Just because a devotee expresses himself for his deity in a certain manner, every street painter (which Hussain was, and in my opinion since childhood, he never really grew up as an artist) can do the same to make some money and fulfill his financial and voyeuristic desires!
Using the “Liberal” standards of argument, street guy should be extolled for his Right to Express – and offend, by extension.
This lady on the facebook was the crowd who backs the street guy Hussain up for being offensive.
Lets get back to the lady again…. she then went on to say ..
therefore, I am really pleased that you’ve aired your views on this contentious matter (re: late Hussain Saheb’s paintings) though, diametrically opposed to mine. I reiterate, I’ve always had and will continue having great respect for Hussain Saheb. Long live the maverick I admire so much! Thanks a lot Desh for contributing to this discussion.
The liberal-minded person whose heart bleeds for democratic values, then deleted her comments from the wall. Little realizing that FB mails it to all the people in that thread.
So, I responded back by saying almost the same thing as I said earlier here – that Aggression is no freedom, love is.. et al.
I went back later to find out she – the liberal person whose heart beats for “Freedom of Expression” and “Democratic Values”, had/:
- Deleted the thread itself (started not by her, but her friend!!)
- And took me out of her contacts.
Two more Case Studies
Let us look at two more cases to understand the so-called “Liberal’ mentality:
Geelani-Arundhati conference in Delhi – Remember that conference? (read Hypocrisy of the Kashmir Situation). In that situation, the participants – Arundhati Roy, Delhi University professor S.A.R. Geelani, Jammu and Kashmir University professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain, writer Varavara Rao, activist Sujato Bhadra and writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta – got together on stage to demand that ONLY Kashmiris should have the right to determine the future of Kashmir.
And in that hall and outside, many Kashmiri pandits were demonstrating. They had never been heard, and they had reasons to believe that their voice would be bypassed, since the Muslims of the valley had thrown them out of their homes. The Freedom for Kashmiris, they argue, is only Freedom for Muslims in Kashmir to perpetuate genocide on all non-Muslims.
Ironically, they weren’t wrong. The self appointed activists of Kashmiri voice – Roy, Bhadra, Rao and Sengupta – smirked and discussed nonchalantly as the police silenced and arrested the Kashmiri pandits and took them out of the discussion.
Swami Ramdev Episode – This was an episode of tremendous proportions. Here an ordinary guy who made a name by teaching yoga saw that in his country money was being looted and laundered by the bureaucrats and the politicians – so started activism against it. It is the duty of every citizen to do so. And this Hindi speaking Yogi decided that he will do that duty. And if that meant going into politics, then so be it.
He was not only threatened and obstructed by using arbitrary rules and red tape, but also violently and criminally treated. When he was sitting doing his demonstration and asking questions – pointed ones – from the Government, the Government sent in a battalion and when it couldn’t silence him or kill him, they captured him and threw him out of Delhi and debarred from entering.
Moreover, the charge against him also was that he had the support of BJP – the largest opposition party – in a tone that seemed to suggest that if anyone is supported by the opposition party then its a crime. Only the support of the main ruling party or combine is a statement of virtue. It may not be too obvious, but it is unmistakably an act in the establishment of a “Single Party Totalitarian” rule.
Righteousness of Intolerance
I would like the reader to look at the patterns a bit closely and study it.
The LIberals have a very clear Modus Operandi and these are the steps:
- We will side with injustice as long as it targets a certain section of the country
- We will frame the debate in our words.
- We will say – nay, shout – that we are “Liberal” and democratic and so are “Holier than thou”
- What we say is law and the only truth
- If you question, you will not be tolerated and be thrown out!
When they say they have “Freedom of Expression” what they mean is – THEY have Freedom of Expression not their victim!
So, whether I was thrown out of the contacts by this lady, or the Kashmiri Pandits were arrested to “sanitize” the LTG auditiorium for the Arundhati Roy-Geelani discussion, or Swami Ramdev was thrown out of Delhi – there is no difference!
If this FB lady had the power in Delhi and if I had questioned her similarly in Delhi as I did on FB, she would have been no less ruthless with me as Kapil Sibal/Dr. Singh combine was against Swami Ramdev!
The Liberal in India have a favorite line of argument. All those who question them are “Hindu Fascists”.
I thought let me, at the very least, look up the traits of a “Fascist”. Here are they:
- Fascist has a “a radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology”
- Fascist advocates creation of a totalitarian single-party state
- Fascists seek to purge forces, ideas, and systems which challenge their view of the world
Now, look back at the three case studies of Me vs the FB Lady; Arundhati/Geelani combine vs Kashmiri Pandits, Congress/Liberals vs Ramdev – which side do you see demonstrating the three main fascist traits?
The lady wants to have a society – on FB for sure (and in the nation, if could extend her power to the nation) – where ONLY her politically ideology works. Any thoughts which are “diametrically opposite” to her are interesting but not tolerated! She wanted ONLY her voice to be heard and seeked to purge the other voices out of the system.
Arundhati/Geelani and others sought to do the ditto!
Of course, Congress team of Kapil Sibal, Digvijay and Dr. Singh was far more obvious in demonstrating these traits.
This leads me to think – has to the time come to challenge some very foundational and basic rhetoric and characterizations in India without questions against it?
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “I want to be the White man’s Brother, not just his brother “in law”.” Similarly, I want REAL Freedom of Expression and Speech in India.. not a Freedom just “in law”. What we have now is a mockery. The “Liberals” of India are conservatives and fascists of the highest order and they have, given their power, structured the debate in the country in such a way – that they in turn accuse others of the crimes that they commit unabashedly and unashamed! That, Arundhati and her band of “activists” – while standing up for “Kashmiri voice for Kashmir” credo – never even once acknowledged the irony that they were getting the Kashmiri Pandits arrested for the VERY principle that was being promoted on the stage – shows the rot…. and the Righteousness of such Intolerance!
My first response to the FB lady
Temples and deities have always been constructed or painted with two intentions – devotion and Yogic scientific needs. So either people would do the temples out of total love of their deity in utmost devotion or the idols were constructed in a way and consecrated such that a certain energy could be used by those who came close to them. Use of Yantras and Mantras during consecration of a temple is a mandatory step therefore.
Lingam was not created in that shape because it had to resemble a phallus. It was created in that fashion because that shape – ellipsoid – was the best store of energy. Showing it as Lilngam and Yoni combo related a certain state – of which sex was the lowest form. It was akin to Yin & Yang.. or Ardhnareshwar.
The only nude statues that I have ever seen are on temples like Konark and Khajuraho. And they are there for a reason. They are on the outside and that’s where they remain. Once you are done with your desires, it was said – you can be ready to delve deeper within without any pressure.
Honestly speaking, I have been to many temples, and I have not seen any nude statue of Shiva or Krishna. Sex or Sexuality was never a taboo, but it wasn’t done in a promiscuous manner. So, when we discuss this issue, let’s please not present it in such a manner.
As for Hussain, all his actions around his paintings and after that are suspect. He wasn’t devotional.. and he had no idea of any Yogic science. Also he used different “artistic interpretations” for different paintings depending on his convenience. Plus I have not seen any solidarity from his side for the Danish cartoonists or other artists like Taslima Nasreen etc.
And my assessment of him is not because of these paintings. I had once – long back as a kid – seen him paint to the sound of music. His painting was done in amazing time and he seemed to be very happy with it. But as a kid interested in art, it left me appalled! Painting is an expression of your deepest feelings.. to do it as almost like a competitive sport was not my way of looking at art. Art is not an achievement.. its an expression. That day, the way he painted – in a public setting – it was certainly no expression! So, ever since childhood, I have never considered him as an artist of any value.
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