Controversial artist M.F.Hussain is back in news – this time for his Qatar nationality. The whole media is portraying the event as a national shame. So much so, that the Home Minister too had to interfere. I personally feel the media is not only being partial, but also succumbing to the artist’s bizarre ways of gaining popularity. However the event does revive the debate over social boundaries vs. artists’ right to express.
I must say, my views in this matter are somewhat conservative. I agree that a creative mind should get a channel to express itself. However does this mean that no social norms should apply for such expressions? If not, then why do we have a censor board for movies? Can’t film directors justify sensitive scenes in the name of creativity? Why are cyber laws becoming so stringent the world over? Why protection of religious sentiments finds mention in the constitution of most democracies? …This is because certain boundaries are necessary for maintaining law and order in society. It is the responsibility of every artist to adhere to these boundaries. If these boundaries are very stringent then legal recourse is always available in a democracy like India.
Now coming to our so called legendary artist – Hussain. The artist who is infamous for depicting Hindu goddesses in nude. I wonder why Mr. Hussain even explored this subject. Had he utilized all the other areas of his creative grey matter? Would it be wrong to say that such a portrayal can also be termed as porn? I mean, if an internet game portrayed goddesses in such a manner wouldn’t strict cyber laws apply? Besides, even a child in India can anticipate that such a depiction will arouse religious sentiments. Inspite of this, Mr. Hussain dared to play around with deities not belonging to his own religion.
Let me ask the media – what if Mr. Hussain depicts a Muslim saint in a similar fashion? Would any Middle East country let him set foot on their land, let alone grant him nationality? Is protection of religious sentiments in India only restricted to minorities? Is his piece of work any different from an anti-minority speech delivered by the hindutva brigade?
I respect secular values as much as my friends in the media do. But I also respect my religion and expect followers of other faiths to appreciate my beliefs. In my view Mr. Hussain is as guilty as any other fanatic and the last thing he deserves is being invited back to secular India. It is high time the media did some self-introspection and gave fair judgments.