Maqbool Fida Husain is no longer an Indian, he has accepted Qatari citizenship. It’s not a total surprise considering he was on voluntary exile from Indian Judicial system since 2006. There are few criminal charges against him for having hurt religious sentiments of Indians. For those who are not familiar with this, it’s a typical “freedom of expression” Vs “offending belief system” case. Husain now 94, painted few Hindu deities and Mother India in nude and socially objectionable positions (Indian context). When charged for this, he decided it would be better not to answer to the system and officially absconding since then.
Million dollar question behind this is “what is the boundary of freedom of expression?”, ideally there are none. In an ideal society freedom of expression is that anyone can express anything and nobody gets offended. It possibly could be well accepted if it were done with all intentions answered. But we do not live in ideal society. Here, each group consider themselves to be suppressed and others being appeased. Plenty of moral police are patrolling to maintain this attitude. So, anything could trigger hatred among the groups if the situations are not properly handled. Same is happened here – ‘not properly handled’!
Husain claimed that he painted them for the love of those deities; let’s take it is true. Artists have different way to look at things and depict them. He also claimed that there were no intention of offending people, this also can be accepted. But the question followed by this is never answered. Why only deities related to a particular religion is chosen, why not others or his own? In a society where all communities look at each other with suspicion, this question certainly will raise eyebrows. This part seems to be a big hypocrisy on his part. BTW I am not after his apologies, just an explanation.
Right wing on the other hand, can never justify breaking things. They always have right to get offended and protest for it, but not Physical attack.
BTW quoting Khajaraho is never an answer for this; those were carved when these things were probably acceptable in society. Now we live in a society where kissing in public is not OK but pissing is! Society has changed since those temples were carved, so are the rules of every society. Something valid a millennium ago is no longer valid today. This is called “Change”. That’s the reason few things cannot be justified quoting, it “was”, in the same country. This change may not be good (like this one), it can always be protested on, from within the system.
There will be a day, may be in next hundred years, when all these things may not be issues at all. Majority of civilised world would have rejected religions and deities. This discussion would look silly then.[tweetmeme]