Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"The defamation of our Dharma in such a manner cannot carry on."

Nick Cohen on the persecution of M.F. Husain:

Hindu militants have attacked his home and galleries showing his work. For almost a decade, India's censorship laws, which allow the prosecution of anyone who threatens communal harmony, aided and abetted them. Far from promoting a happily diverse multicultural society, the laws of what is nominally the world's largest democracy have allowed extremist Hindus to compete with extremist Muslims in tit-for-tat censorship campaigns. Unwittingly, the old man has become a player in the modern game of manufacturing offence. Sectarian politicians have used him to keep their supporters in a useful state of religious fury, a splenetic condition that delivers many votes to unscrupulous operators at election time.

His religion is the only reason why Husain is a target, incidentally: no other explanation makes sense. He was born into a Muslim family in Maharashtra in 1913, and his career as a self-taught artist began under the Raj. . .


Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Living out in this part of the world, I've learned to laugh whenever I read stories of "prejudice" and "racism" originating from North America.

In Canada and the U.S., if someone doesn't like your colour or creed, maybe they'll silently judge you, or perhaps cast a wary eye on you as you walk past. Very rarely anything more than that.

Out here in the Middle East and on the sub-continent, if someone doesn't like your colour or creed, they're just as likely to beat you half to death, rape you, or board you up in your house and burn you alive.

Yes racism and prejudice exist in both places, but there is a distinct degree of difference in the way that discourse plays out in each respect.

12:59 AM  

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