Hussein and Taslima are NOT two sides of a coin

via Ram Gopal published on November 24, 2007

An Open Letter to Barkha Dutt

Dear Ms Barkha,

In your article, “Fundamental issues”, in the Hindustan Times, New Delhi, (November 24), you have started defending Bangladeshi writer, Tasleema Nasreen, who, under an Islamic ‘fatwa’, has been living in India, but shifted to iconoclastic painter MF Husain, who is in self imposed exile in foreign countries, just to avoid court cases against him in India. I wonder how you compare the two?

Tasleem has not denigrated Islam or any other religion. She has only shown her concern for women, especially Muslim women. This is a social aspect of the Muslim society. It is common knowledge that, in the name of Islamic law, (Shariat), the Muslim clergy has kept its women folk in perpetual bondage and condoned rape and abduction of women of non-Muslims. Tasleema could be compared with Hindu social reformers like Raja Rammohun roy and Swami Dayanand of the 19 th century. MF Husain, on the other hand, has committed the sin of disrobing and vilifying Hindu gods, goddesses and avatars and shown women copulating with animals, that is a clear insult to motherhood itself. The irony is that he is clever enough to depict his own mother, daughter and daughter of Prophet Mohammed, (Fatima), fully clothed and in all serenity.

You know it all very well and still call MF Husain “India’s most celebrated painter”, though I am yet to see any of his paintings or its replica in any civilized home, unlike those of Raja Ravi Verma. You are also friendly with Husain. If your fondness for his obnoxious paintings is really genuine, not in exchange of money or some other favour, have your own portrait made by him in the mode of his paintings of Seeta, Durga or Saraswati and make it your logo to be displayed with your articles, instead of your photograph.

Yours sincerely,

Ram Gopal

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