14 May, 2007

Religious intolerance and academic hypocrisy

The arrest of the art student of Baroda School of arts for having violated the sensibilities of religious fundamentalists seems to have shaken people. But I had seen the beginning of this puritanical attitude ages ago. To be more precise, the day the little dancing girl vanished from our history books.
She is a fine example of Mohenjodaro and Harappa
sculptures. But today, the educational w
ebsites run by the government, while raving about this piece, do not display her photos. You can check this Vigyan Prasarak website as a proof of our academic hypocrisy.


This sculpture from an ancient civilization says a lot about the technology of our ancestors. The dancer's jaunty little body standing in supreme confidence, the skill with which the sculptor has caught her grace and attitude are irrelevant to the learned people who fashion our textbooks. Her nudity has made her unsuitable for our eyes. And this from a land where we worship the union of Linga and Yoni !

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Is she really so unacceptable? With the net connectivity can anyone monitor what images the children are viewing? On that background does the nudity of the little Dancing girl seems so terrible that she is banished from our texts and websites?

A terrible rot has set in our thinking. In past few decades this has started happening more and more frequently. When one group protests about something, the other groups, not to be left behind, come up some weirder protests. Then we have public protests over the kiss between Shetty and Gere, protests over the shooting of Mira Nair 'Water', some minor protests over Sania Mirza's short skirts, to name just a few. And along with this religious intolerance is the upsurge of pseudo religiosity which is more like cultural regression. People have become exhibitionists. It has become a fashion to wear your religious colours out in the open. Aishwarya getting married to a Papaya tree to ward off the evil effects of Mars put a stamp of respectibility to this. Now I can see young couples all over India opting for this quick fix solution.

I had seen it coming the day the little Dancing Girl was removed from the books, and I can predict where it is going too. Maybe now the artists will be commissioned to paint clothes on the nude lovers on the walls of Khajuraho temples.
There is enough religious art in India to keep a whole generation of artists in business.

Cross posted on my blog- Fighting Maturity


Blogger finding thyself said...

I beg to differ on your opinion.

The censorship of our textbooks began with the Victorian regime.

After a British general discovered Khajurao, the british empire thought the hindu architecture and art was primitive in nature and started to glorify Taj Mahal as the identity and hallmark of indian civilisation. And from that period onwards the sculptures of recent times have been painted with clothes on.

If you visit the ancient temples in kerala and other parts of south india... where i come from.... u would notice sculptures which depict explicit poses. Our culture ages aso was far open minded than the west. But whatever censorship happened seems to be for the good.
The institution of marriage that preaches one man for one woman is a good check on human beahviour.

Nudity in art is not percieved by all in an art form. It needs an innocent mind to appreciate the protrayal of nudity. Till that time i think having a censorhip is for the whole good.

6/11/07 11:46  
Anonymous Hishero said...

That's a very thoughtful blog! It's a shame censorship is taking over academia. The concept of showing flesh to be 'sinful' is an awkward import, but it's certainly not an excuse to justify censorship now.
If we cannot even trust ourselves to see an ancient artifact like the Dancing Girl objectively and learn about it, our concept and level of maturity might as well be non-existent.

14/2/08 06:22  

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