Monday, November 23, 2009

M.F. Hussain

Since, every 10 paisa artist in Italy does nude pictures of females, his claim that people don't understand his 'art' is misplaced. Typically in things surrounding nudist and modern art - there is nothing much to understand. However, people do not want to state the obvious and be regarded as a fool. So they spin their own stories that praise his art. Such praise is based on loose interpretations of fancy crayon work and is doled out by those who want to be regarded as a connoisseur. Add a few 'social activist' sleveless salwar + jeans chics from Metros into this mix and the legend grows on.

In a very logical world this religious fundamentalist would be in jail for deliberately slandering identities of another faith and wilfully disturbing the pretense of communal harmony. But we have idiots in this country who define "tolerance" as the "ability to absorb insults in perpetuity". Since these idiots have labelled themselves as 'liberals', the normal people who oppose their idiocy will get slotted as their opposites - namely 'conservative'. As one listens to their gibberish of why M.F. Hussain's pornography is a great thing for 'democracy', one feels for the lost advantages for monarchy where the right thing can be simply done without pandering to the lowest common denominator of the country's intellectual pool.


Alan Smithee said...

Defending or making a virtue out of every perversion using the Kamasutra example is the silliest trick up a liberal's ass. Why not extend this to untouchability, widow burning and strict caste codes? I have seen many parrots, crocodiles and ant eaters paint better in Animal Planet.

I said...

Moslems are taking over all countries. With at least 3 wives and 53 kids for each man, what can we expect? And they have never heard of condoms. Dirty lungis, showerlessness and green shirts will become the international uniform. The only consolation is the liberal assholes who'd have led us into this will be deemed infidels, forced to snip their tool, pay dhimmi taxes and eventually be killed as well.

Venkat said...

superb post ...
'I' - LoL

I said...

Idhu sirikka vendiya vishiyam illa, sindhikka vendiya vishiyam.

Valli Doll said...

"But we have idiots in this country who define "tolerance" as the "ability to absorb insults in perpetuity"" - totally comes home. Its more of a I dont care attitude. Its for the same reason that Tamil movies make fun of Brahmins, while no other sect is portrayed in such a bad way!

The sleeveless churidhar, jeans chics should say cotton churidhar to be more specific :P

Nilu said...

Apropos to your tags, I think there was a lecture by G√ľnter Grass, somewhere, on the tricky correlation between life experience and art.

Anand said...

Usually enjoy your posts, but disagree completely with this one and the comments below.

If people are willing to pay money for Hussain's crayon art, why does that trouble people so deeply?

However, as I understand, your real criticism is not about the quality of his art but instead, its content. As I understand, you feel that his art is offensive to Hindus.

I disagree. I am a Hindu and do not think an elderly man's rendering of a nude Hindu goddess desecrates my religion or my faith in any way. Hinduism is not a frail institution damaged by such things. We need to be a little less sensitive and stop reacting to perceived/ imagined insults.

TVK said...

Hindu right is behaving the same way as Moslem right behaved in the Cartoon fiasco.

If u accept the Danish cartoon incident we should also "tolerate" nude lakshmi.(Personally I would have preffered a nude Padma Lakshmi.)

-Iyengars Rule

I said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I said...

TVK: Ever heard of scale and degree?

The "Hindu right" has left Hussain alive. A devout Moslem killed Theo van Gogh.

Faux liberals like you love to say/think "religious right" is a monolithic world, as if all relegions and right are equally dangerous. When you are forced to pay jizya or convert to Islam, you will have more time to reflect on it.

Aditya.R said...

Superb article. Also I liked I's views. Both of you are spot on. First we need to take on and cleanse this nation of these so called liberals then, we can handle these terror elements.

Alan Smithee said...

I wonder how TVK has not combusted spontaneously. The point here is that people who are quick to defend nude lakshmi are the first to oppose Danish cartoons.

Hawkeye said...

/* Hinduism is not a frail institution damaged by such things */

Have you wondered if there is any logic to this statemet at all? Anything in the world can be insulted because it is not the insitution that perceives insults but regular people. And people are frail. So what makes you think Hinduism or any other ism is an exception?

The number of times I have heard this makes me wonder what I can personally get way with. Maybe I can spit someone on the face in public and then ask him "are you so frail an individual that a small spit will ruin your life. why the tension" and then keep building on it by kicking him on the crotch and asking him the same question... and so on

A normal person should be offended. Otherwise he would be called a "soranai ketta jenmam"

Hawkeye said...


but I am not 'right' or 'left' or 'up' or 'down'. I dnt even know what these things mean.

I found the muslim reaction to danish cartoons normal

Maddy said...

Not "Liberals". Pseudo-secularists is the right word. With them being little less sensitive and stop reacting to perceived/ imagined insults to hinduism, the right wing starts raising its head..Pseudo-secularists are more danger to india than the right-wing, cos they willingly sabotage the country by taking up wrong causes (irrespective of what religion they belong to)..

Anonymous said...

I agree with this authors sentiment totally. Just because we are tolerant lot, others should not poke and prod us in the name of art, fashion and freedom. There are certain things that are sensitive and should not be touched by a 30 feet pole. Did hindus not protest against a store that carried the images of our gods on sandals and underwear? We did! They are doing the same here. I’m not an extreme person but things like this does hurt my sentiments. I’m sure there are millions like me out there. So to say only only right wing hindus get affected by this or extremely sensitive about this, is totally false. The artist should also realize his role in the society, that is, to be a human first then an artist.

Anonymous said...

I am on the other katchi. freedom of expression, period. I am a Hindu, was shocked initially when this first happened and i dont care abt art particularly.

But no one can stop some one else from expressing their views. I might not agree with it but nor can i say some one can do it.

Hawkeye said...


freedom of expression is not boundless. the constitution/law defines where it begins and ends. like my history/civics teacher gunasekara pandian said; "freedom of expression is like the ability to swing an umbrella anyway you want as long as it does not hit another man's nose"

Anonymous said...

hitting another man's nose - is the biggest debate in these cases. Some one saying hindu gods/any god are bullocks is also offensive, but that is within their rights. Some one can say they find beauty/divinity in nudity.

As I said, I was offended when he did it initially, but i had to hold my peace with the freedom of exp. the lines are so much easier to see when it is a personal attack but on these public ones, they arent always clear.

ps: er... VGP.. dont tell me, SBOA. i thought you were from psbb!

Hawkeye said...


i am reminded of a proverb; "orutthan settha saavu. oore settha kalyanam"

owned by everybody has translated to owned by nobody. loophole.

Casement said...

Sleeveless salwar Illa... Kameez. Salwar is the pant:)

Hawkeye said...


danks.. i didn't know the 'pantu sattai' ordering was strictly followed across all languages

Rastafari said...

Salman Rushdie, Tasleema Nasreen = M.F Hussein

Danish cartoon != M.F Hussein

Our literature has erotica with gods/goddesses as subjects. Would you find that offensive?
ok, words and nude pictures are not identical but the comparison is not far off. M.F's painting might not even be erotic, we can't say for sure. Or is it because M.F is from some other persuasion and it casts doubts on his real motives?
I'm not questioning why people get offended by this per se - i get that - i'm just trying to know where it stands relatively.

Anand said...

Thanks for the reasoned response.

I think where we differ is that I see Hinduism or my faith in the religion as being unaffected or remaining intact regardless of what MF Hussain paints. And as an individual, I do not perceive his painting as an insult to my faith. Further, I think the ideals of my faith teach me to tolerate different perceptions - unless those cause me harm. And MF Hussain's paintings do not cause me harm.

Of course, this is a personal view and you are entitled to your own views of what is offensive.

And no, you cannot spit in my face in public.You can however choose to paint me in any manner you choose, nude or clothed :-) Its a free country!

rt said...

Freedom is not stripping another.Beauty lying in the eyes of the beholder, why do not put out depictions of contemporary personalities like Hussains, fake Ghandis,Kauls, etc., the same way, instead of Mother Bharat, Gods and Goddesses? Infact, Bharatmata and divinities cannot be expected to file cases and argue for and defend themselves in the courts of law. State matters cannot be raised in Parliament and Court matters cannot be discussed in public , all because, of reasons of giving opprtunities to defend oneself. So much so for 'protectionism'. If 'art is never chaste' is accepted we should also accept Talibans. Why is not Hussain painting his own naked picture? Then his art wont get paid by his masters. Bharatmata and Sita and Saraswathy cannot protest against the injustice meted out to them in getting disrobbed. The lament that Hussain is forced to stay in Dubai will not cut much ice, because, Dubai is the place where Dawood Ibrahim, deported Pakistan Prime ministers and others who go against India, get rewarded by a stay.

Sreekrishnan said...

wow ! Late to the party, but :

1. Hinduism - or Hindu culture [ it wasnt a religion until other joined the party] was not to worship idols, it was supposed to be lot of other things out of the view of my comment here - the understanding is fairly diluted [Example, kalyanam is done agnisakshi and not Vishnu/Lakshmi/Sivan Sakshi]

2. As some one mentioned Beauty is in the way you look at it. Nudity was erotica to me until i saw a lot of it. More i see more i admire the opposite sex and the beauty of it. More than nudity - the act of stripping is more sexy. Hence, its the way you look at it. M F hussain - because a muslim by birth [probably not by choice] has been targeted.

He probably didnt have a Lady Muslim God to portray it nude, and for people like him he would have thought twice to do that. [ and Die]

3. Art of Sex a.k.a Kamasutra was not an explicit art as described today, but a technique or a part of the way of life among zillion other things, yet considered important- viz. 1000s of "wives" of krishna.

4. Tolerance to a particular thought comes when it no longer matters. Given the maturity of the Hindu culture society today it was immature of M F Hussain to portray something like that. Just like a "Lip to Lip" of Kamal Hassan [if done] in 80s vs done today. Vevasatha ketta janmam in my mom;s terms..

5. Culture is the maturity of thoughts of a society on the whole - By and Large it is assumed that if you support "hinduism" you are fundamental while supporting anything else is being secular. Congress does it and Libehran report never talks about what a muslim provoked while referring to it, but quotes hindu leaders [ i Read it ]. Now thats what you get for being majority and no point fighting it out. No one can justify themselves of the "Protector" of a faith.

Wait for Lord Vishnu to take an avatar - to have the Dharma Re Installed !

TVK said...

They should also ban the director of "Amman" as it offends the belief of athiests.
(It would be great if they could bn Vikraman too as he offends everybody)


Anonymous said...


but atheists are supposed to be non-believers?

Haddock said...

I still fail to understand the hu haw about the work by M F Hussain.
I mean an 8th std kid can produce the same thing.

worijinal anony said...

You're saying all people from the same part of the world should hold the same view and be unable to think for themselves?

Opinions are like ...

hari said...

I wish some people here who defend the "Freedom of Speech" aspect of such "art" would actually go through the constitution of India and read up on all the exceptions.

Trust me. I am a Law student.

Besides those who claim that M.F.Hussain's portrayal of our Hindu Goddesses does not offend them are not really Hindus. They fail to understand how we look at the Great Mother and how any indecent portrayal of Parasakthi can hurt us.

Would you leave alone anybody who would paint your mother or sister naked and put it in the public domain (even if it is so called "art")? Would you tolerate a rogue who whistles at your sister when she is walking down the street and sings lewd songs targeting her modesty? Would you defend his actions on the basis of your all-encompassing "freedom of speech"?

Let not this artistic license turn into a tool of vicious and vituperative attacks against the feelings of another or others.

Again, all this is not mere opinion. It is enshrined in the Laws of our country. There are numerous exceptions to freedom of speech and expression. Look up the relevant provisions of the constitution as an exercise.

Zero said...

I agree with Rastafari. Regarding all these reactions to those paintings by M. F. Hussain, I think the whys are much more crucial than the whats. (The paintings were originally done in the 70s!) Why pick on M. F. Hussain when so many others have done it? (The answer is of course fairly obvious.) And when people talk about the Khajuraho paintings etc., the argument is that his paintings are well within our artistic traditions.

The Danish cartoons on the other hand would qualify for "deliberately slandering," as you put it. I'm not saying that banning the Danish cartoons was right. I'm just debating within the parameters you've set.

Zero said...

And, of course, whether something is "well within an artistic tradition" or not is not easily verifiable at all. But I think going in that direction isn't going to help your case much because, as I see this, you do seem to suggest that it is indeed verifiable.

Anand said...


Its important to remember that our fundamental rights (including the right to free speech) are rights of an individual vis a vis the "State", and not vis a vis another individual. As you correctly note, the Constitution imposes restrictions on the right to free speech. However, the restriction is that *the State may make laws restricting the right to free speech*. Article 19(1), to put it simply, just does not apply in the present case since you are not a "State" and do not have the power to enact laws under Article 19 (2). The proper remedy, I suppose, is under the laws of defamation.

That apart, I think this is an emotive issue rather than a legal issue. So lets not quibble on legal interpretations. As far as the law goes, MF Hussain is entirely within his rights.

Mate, life is too short to get in a lather over what anyone paints. Our gods are ideas, nothing more. And as I've said before, we should be confident enough of our beliefs to accept/ reject various depictions of that idea.

So lighten up :-)

hari said...

Anand, precisely why you choose to interpret the Law in that manner is interesting, because Freedom of Speech is actually a negative right, not a positive one: it is the absence of restraint from legal interpretation.

In this case, it's not simply defamation, but also a criminal area, because even the IPC has sections that penalize something of the kind M.F.Husain has been doing: namely obscenity. Of course you can keep arguing over whether M.F.Husain is an artist or a pornographer and in my view he is the latter.

You say that life is too short for defending our Gods from this kind of thing. I say life is too short for you to defend this pornographer-in-the-guise-of artist.

I would say I consider my Gods to be living and life-giving beings rather than mere ideas. Since you consider Gods as mere ideas, I guess it doesn't affect you so much. The majority Hindu population of India would not agree with you. We don't put a photo of a human being and pray.

Each Hindu has a right to have his religion treated with the basic respect that is due to every religion. I give a damn what atheists might say, because the Laws of our country protect our right to religion as much as our right to free speech.

hari said...

I must add, in addition to that comment I made above just to make it clear where I stand on the whole freedom of speech issue.

I don't live in a moral relativist universe and to me some things are just totally wrong and that comes first - even above the freedoms we rightly enjoy. Using highly revered, respected and divine symbols of another man/community and deliberately desecrating them for your personal pleasure/fulfilment even in the name of art or craft is something totally repugnant to my make-up as a human being. M.F.Husain is not a child and he clearly knew what he was doing was something that every right-thinking Hindu would feel grievously hurt by.

I don't mind being labelled a fundamentalist or a communalist if that is what it takes to stand up for what I strongly believe in.

Raghu said...

saraswathi is omniscient and the female form is just a framework to make mortals understand her existence. Why crib when her boobs are exposed when everyday in our PTC buses, real women with real boobs get groped day in and day out?

Avinash said...


your comment is like saying shakila's boobs are getting pressed ever so often why worry. potato prices are increasing every day why worry about this. PTC ticket prices are increasing everyday why worry about M.F. Hussain.

when relevance is irrelevant we can say pretty much anything.

I said...

This looks like a liberal group orgy. Free speech is as great as beer but when fighting Islam and therefore Moslems, niceties/rights should be discounted. All is fair in love and war. This is war. If you stop fighting them, they will kil you. There is no need to be consistent. Free speech, pizza, TV can apply to non-Moslems but not Moslems.

Anonymous said...

which temple has nude lakshmi?

Ans : Temple of Khajuraho has a nude sculpture of Vishnu and Lakshmi

Hawkeye said...


ammadio..enna indha kolai veri..nee mattum thaniya jailukku po ennayum kootikittu pogathe. making my blog a hate speech forum and all..

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the response of the west if someone came up with a "provocative" painting of virgin Mary. Then my guess would be that the notion of the west being liberal would be shattered.