I’m home, which means I get a lot more time to ruminate over the three newspapers which I make a point to scan cover to cover every morning.
I don’t somehow do that much in the hostel, the newspaper at Mangalore somehow puts me off completely, coz there isn’t much city-specific news [the presence of which IMHO makes a newspaper less impersonal], and if there is, it is normally about the menace of houseflies in the fishing season, and the odd stabbing at Ullal or Puttur. And, I didn’t used to watch news channels at hostel like I can at home.
All that makes me feel like Rip Van Winkle now. And it puzzles me just WHY someone thinks artwork depicting nudity is obscene and deserves to be put down. And why that someone would bring in that perennial scapegoat Indian Culture into it.
My concern in this issue is not about changing sensiblities and narrow-mindedness. It is about infringement on Freedom Of Expression. A democracy guarantees Freedom of Expression. Hence there are bound to be different opinions, some of which may not necessarily agree with the others. But the entire spirit of democracy is in allowing such differences to exist, in allowing multiple views and interpretations of a situation, for allowing healthy debate to persist. And it is up to us citizens who run the democracy to uphold this spirit. In other words, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend ’til death your right to say it.
It strikes me as unconstitutional that an individual or a group of individuals take it upon themselves to decide what is good, or bad for the nation’s moral values and act accordingly, stifling the creativity and self-expression of others, infringing upon others’ fundamental rights. One man’s Art will always be another’s paint-spattered-on-paper [IMHO the Mona Lisa looks way too ordinary to be worthy of attention], and face it, artists take pride in their work not being completely understood by everyone, and will always welcome a difference of opinion, if you care to exercise your FoE in such a way that it doesn’t affect others’.
I see that much-abused scapegoat for all things absurd and irrational – Indian Culture – disrobed, shamed and humiliated, her name taken by those unworthy of it. There is no dignity in her, like there is in the much-ostracized works of art depicting nudity. She weeps, but doesn’t have that poise and stateliness of Picasso’s Weeping Woman. She languishes instead, skeletonlike, in the closet, waiting to be brought out the next time someone wants a reason to vent out their frustration at the prudery and hypocrisy that keeps them from breaking out of their own prudery and hypocrisy.
Edit: I’m not the pseudo-secularist this post makes me look like. I would say the same thing about banning the Danish cartoon, banning Satanic Verses, issuing fatwas on Rushdie, the Danish cartoonist, and the Miss World contestant from Afghanistan.
Edit 2: It was suppressed information that the person who filed the FIR was incensed by the painting of Christ. Indian Media, WHY?