With reference to Barkha Dutt’s article Who framed Maqbool? (December 9), though I am not supportive of the Hindutva philosophy, I am shocked. Perhaps, Barkha has not seen Husain’s paintings depicting Hindu deities. He has painted ‘Bharat Mata’ as a nude. To say that the artist did not name his depiction Bharat Mata is no excuse. The moderates among Hindus are silent because they don’t want to add to tensions. Freedom is real only as long as it does not offend or hurt others.
Husain’s paintings are an insult to all women. Can the nude paintings of Bharat Mata be said to contribute anything
to the cause of women? These paintings have offended the sensibilities of many people. Had Husain done a painting insulting Islam or other religions, there would have been serious trouble on the streets.
Barkha Dutt is unnecessarily defending Husain’s absurd creation. Earlier also, he had depicted Hindu deities in the nude and caused a furore. Barkha and her favourite painter should know that religion and patriotism are passions that can be trifled with only at one’s own risk.
Whatever the authorities did was right. Every democratic freedom of expression has limits. If Husain wants to express artistic freedom, let him also do so with the icons of other religions. He does not do so because he knows the consequences. Obviously, his fame and money have gone to his head.
Husain thinks he can do whatever he likes and get away with it. He has also painted Fatima Bi, who is covered from top to bottom, wherein even the contours of her eyes are not fully visible.
If an eccentric painter can have the freedom to produce such art, surely, the VHP and other Hindutva forces have the freedom to ask why he is inspired to paint Hindu goddesses in the nude. One man’s art can be graffiti for the other. If today we morph the picture of a public personality with that of a nude woman, all hell would break loose.
A new leaf
Ashok Swain in his article Natural instinct (December 12) is right when he says the government should implement the Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2005, and promote the conservation of the environment. In addition, the Bill will help tribals earn their livelihood by providing mining and fodder rights and, thereby, discourage them from engaging in deforestation as a means of livelihood.
I agree with Manoj Joshi in the suitability of the indo-US agreement (It is a big deal, December 13). But the article falls short on two counts. First, in international relations, no country grants ‘favours’ to another. It is no coincidence that the US nuclear industry has been lobbying hard for this bill.
Second, to judge the deal on the template of power imbalances is flawed. Simply because the US administration is overturning long-held policy is no reason to accept it as good.
Sitaram Yechury in his article Suffering India (December 14) is aimed as a political stunt for the appeasement of minorities. This is just to exploit the political situation at the cost of the BJP.
Has Yechury written at any point of time about the privileges that the minorities have over the majority. He is just trying to court cheap popularity.
Indian hockey team’s dismal performance at the Asian Games has raised many questions on the fate of our national game. Why are we still playing long-pass hockey which is outdated? Why do we run out of steam in the final stages of any game? We should hand over the hockey federation to
a professional body.
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