Moral Policing in India reaches new depths
A ‘moral’ controversy has been raising its ugly head in Baroda, Gujarat. C. Mohan, a post-graduate student of Fine Arts at M S University in Vadodara was arrested for exhibiting his work on the previous thursday (he is free now). As if that were not enough, the Fine Arts department dean of Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) University, Shivaji Panikkar, went into hiding. All because of so-called right wing activists who are kicking up a fuss over an erotica exhibition.
It says here:
On Friday (last), instead of students, teachers and MSU senate members, it was BJP councillors and senate members (owing to their saffron affiliations) were the ones who called the shots both at MSU main office and Fine Arts department. Meanwhile, Chandramohan continued to be in judicial custody for the third consecutive day, with no one officially coming to his aid from MSU. Additional Senior Civil Judge M J Parashar on Friday deferred the decision on his bail till Monday in a hearing held in Vadodara local court, where Chandramohan is facing serious offences registered by BJP leader Niraj Jain.
Its an erotica art exhibition which they cannot stand to see and do not want anyone to see because of their mistaken assumption that erotica does not belong in Indian culture. Or it is possible that they know that erotica is very much a part of Indian/ Hindu culture, but they are ashamed of their Hindu roots? You can check out this post where the writer has given some samples of ancient Indian erotic art.
The exhibition was ordered to be closed down. The Vice-Chancellor of the University Manoj Soni ordered the closure, but Panikkar refused to obey it and as a result he was suspended. Now he is in hiding. He has the support of the faculty.
Suppression or policing of art in any manner speaks poorly of a society. If a painting is obscene or hurts the sentiments of others, then let the public decide, not political parties. People can always refuse to buy the person’s paintings, or choose not to go to an exhibition. Or they can organise a peaceful protest. But to close down exhibitions, file PIL’s, arrest artists, vandalise art, sack educationists! Its just not acceptable.
An All-India protest in support of the fine arts faculty of MS university was organised yesterday evening.
The Moral Police is a virus that will destroy us
For all those out there who believe that moral policing is justified in the name of being sensitive to the sentiments of others, please remember that this is just the beginning. Today it is an art exhibition that they are protesting against, tomorrow they will arrest a girl on the road because she is wearing something they object to. And each moral terrorist will have his own idea of what artists should paint, how women should behave. Their extreme reaction to a painting exhibition follows in the wake of the Shilpa Shetty incident where the poor girl was condemned because a guy kissed her on the cheek.
This is always how the moral police start, and when people start obeying out of fear, the moral police get drunk with power. They start to intimidate and bully, and invariably misuse their power. Worse, their diktats get more and more stringent, because they want people to disobey, because otherwise they will have nothing to do. Do you really think the political activists are unhappy that they are getting this opportunity to flex their muscles? Ofcourse not! They are dancing with joy at the publicity. They are sure that this way they will get the opportunity to exploit the sentiments of vulnerable people – the average man in this country. Get votes. Get attention.
Once the moral police sink their teeth into our social fabric they will become unbearable and criminal. Because moral policing knows no bounds, its whip lies in the whim of the political party of the day and the mood of the enforcer. Remember what the Taliban did? They destroyed Buddha’s statues because they hurt religious sentiments. There is no limit to what the moral police will do, no depths to which they will not sink, because they have no fear of the law. They become the law.
Please stop them before it is too late.
Some other links on this subject are given below:
Will they blow up Khajuraho? (Indian Express)
The colours of Intolerance ( Hindustan Times)
The chronology of events is given here
A blog devoted to this subject
The MS Univ incident- hindu dharma or religious fanaticism?