Now, the Home Ministry of India has ‘alerted police to take appropriate action’ against MF Husain for his controversial Paintings. Earlier, the Bombay High Court asked him ‘to file an affidavit in response to criminal action against him’ for his nude paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses.
What is with Artists and nude paintings? Why do most artists (including me) paint nudes?
For most artists nudity doesn’t necessarily represent obscenity unlike most common people. Artists tend to depict nature, people or the things that they see in various forms- like shedding it to bare, raw or simple forms, or seeing it in the most bizarre forms, or as abstract and unrealistic as possible. And the freedom for artistic expression is essential for such artists to thrive. Sometimes art can be offensive to some people, like some paintings, or certain books, or certain music albums, in which case they are NOT open to everyone but only to those who are ready to experience it. I put a picture of MF Husain Painting on the top to show case how an artist depicts his experiences. The picture above is that of MF Husain’s Durga (the goddess) and if it were to be nude, you can imagine how offensive it could be :)
Depicting a man or a woman in nude is one of the biggest challenges for an artist. And many artists do paint nudes one time or the other. Sometimes they may cover the private parts with a fig leaf or a small piece of flying cloth, but nevertheless, they are trying to capture human in nudity.
Is nudity a perversion of an artist?
Yes and No. Perversion comes from making every one, a king, a farmer, an angel, a laborer, a goddess, all equal by reducing them to their barest and truest form with no ornament, no garment or a man-made status symbol.
When does the ‘artistic freedom’ stop and ‘respecting other people’s sensitivities’ kick in?
While an artist should have his creative freedom, he is not free to do anything he/she wants. What if he wants to cut the body parts of a human to adorn his canvas? That involves hurting or mutilating another human and crosses the boundaries of artistic freedom and starts being trampling on other people’s rights (and bodies). Can I play offensive music loud in a street? I would then be causing inconvenience to others, and I do not have freedom to do that. Can I play the same offensive music in my headphones? Of course Yes, and if someone stops me from listening then they are trampling on my rights.
Can I put a nude poster on a huge billboard? If the society allows it, I can (like in
So, why should it bother anyone if MF Husain paints nude paintings of Mother India and Durga and showcase it in an art gallery which is restricted to only those who want to look at it? This is where the intolerant, orthodox and conservative Indian masses kick in. The common man, who has no idea of what culture or heritage he once had, gets to say what an artist can do. And they go about protesting and taking it to court. And the court agrees to uphold such intolerant concerns.
When does 'getting offended' translate into 'being intolerant'?
We are not able to publish books on how Hindus meted cruel treatment to Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, we are unable to uphold woman’s rights when she is divo
People get offended by almost everything in the name of ‘Indian culture’. While our ancestors enjoyed and practiced Kama Sutra and depicted it in sculptures where gods and goddess perform various sexual positions in abandon and freedom, our generation looks at everything sexual as obscene. While most of the new songs on MTV and VH1 are quite vulgar, that seems to be OK, but nudity is a strict no-no. While young girls in
Or is MF Husain targeted because he is a Muslim depicting a Hindu goddess in nude? Its like saying, ‘we can have these nude figures in our temples, because they are Hindu temples, but how come, you being a Muslim dare to paint our goddesses nude’? I see a great deal of 'progressive thinking' taking place within Hindus who are now emulating their brother nations like Iran by announcing Rs. 51 Crore prize money to anyone who beheads MF Husain. "If Afghans, Iranians and Arabians are intolerant, you haven't seen much, just give us some more time and you will see what we can come up with!"
Or is it because Muslims get their fun and frolic while relieving the frustration protesting the Cartoons of Prophet while Hindus don’t get any fun? Hindus need those occasional kicks too.