Monday, June 13, 2011

Who really betrayed?
The controversial painting of
Bharatmata by MFH
Nothing comes to my mind
other than sheer admiration
In 1971, at an age of 65, a  painter and a modernist* from yet to be modernized India imparted life to a brilliant piece of art through his dexterous hand and artistic eyes. The subject of the painting was his motherland. Meaningfully, he named the painting "Bharatmata".
Admiration poured in from various quarters of this planet adoring the painter's skills. The painting was never thought to rake up any controversy until some 30 years later, when some fundamentalist organizations, who ran out of subjects that asserted their national importance, drew flak on the painter and his paintings  to speciously reiterate what India's culture have stood for.
In the tragic turn of events, his paintings and works were vandalized, his effigy was burnt and  he was labeled a traitor. Some even accused that he derived sexual pleasure out of the nude art; though in any case any sane mind would have ruled out virility at an age of 65.
The aspect of the painting that was once considered to be an artistic freedom, they regarded as  blasphemy and banished this gem-of-an-artist away from his homeland.
And was that the end? No. In a country prone to ironical incidents, it so happened that the legend who was facilitated with Padmashree, Padmabhushan and PadmaVibhushan, a feat in itself, was even denied  a meager 6 foot of land for his eternal rest.
In the chain of posthumous events that ensued, rather than offering prayers and posy for his soul, the so called cultural-guards  gave him a "good-riddance" and even went on to say that MF stands for Mother F***er and not "Maqbool Fida". The concept of "Posthumous forgiveness", which is as integral to the garb of Indian culture as the name "Hindu" itself, was blown in the dust. By doing so, they exposed to the world, how bad their upbringing was and more so how weak their foundations  in Hinduism are.

The whole chain of  events lead us to a debatable question:
Wasn't artistic freedom a part of Indian culture?

The answer is Yes. One of the living examples is Khajuraho temples and its sculptures and engravings in the temple premises. They depict, explicitly, various mythical copulation poses of the venerated Gods and Goddesses in intensity much more than that in MF's paintings. And Vatsyana, in his book of Kama Sutra (thread of love making), wrote exactly how to do so!
These historical examples converge to the point that India have always stood for  tolerance, artistic freedom and acceptance of eclectic faiths.  Then who really betrayed our culture? Was it MF or the fundamentalists? Now the answer is simple.
The Hindu fundamentalists in their priggish bigotry have betrayed the Indian culture by preaching what India never stood for. They should have felt proud when a Non-Hindu  showed interest in Hindu Philosophies and enriched his paintings with characters and dramatized scenes taken from the leaves of Hindu Mythology. By restraining the Indian culture to suit the interest of a selected few, they have  stigmatized the colossal idea of India and its Sanskrithi(Culture).

They are as dangerous as the islamic fanatics who spread hatred in the name of allah.

* Modernist -  MFH  broke all his religious conventions. A true Muslim is neither entitled to paint nor entitled to enjoy a painting. Painting images of  Gods/Goddesses of other religion is out of question.

PS: It's true that MFH evaded petty court summonings. He can be completely excused for the reason that a nonagenarian, while counting his days to death, would never enjoy court proceedings over paintings that was created 30 years back.