India Uncut

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Governing morality

I'm saddened by the first two lines of this news report:
Artist MF Husain’s apology for the nude painting, Bharatmata, has not helped. The Union Home Ministry has alerted the police chiefs of Delhi and Mumbai to his “objectionable” paintings and asked them to take “appropriate action”.
Well, there are plenty of rabblerousers in our country, and moral policing is becoming more and more of a common phenomenon among some of the two-bit, intellectually bankrupt politicians of our country. But for the union government, which should be the biggest defender of our constitution and of the freedom of expression, to be hassling Husain is pitiful.

It reminds me of Salman Rushdie's predicament after the fatwa passed on him by Ayatollah Khomeini. India was the first country to ban "The Satanic Verses," of course, so our record as defenders of free speech isn't particularly hot. I hope Husain returns the Padma Vibhushan hypocritically bestowed upon him by the government, and that future awardees have the dignity to refuse it, on the grounds that a government award is no honour in a country where artists have to kowtow to thugs.

(HT link via email from Amitava Kumar, who blogs about the issue here.)
amit varma, 3:15 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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