What do Jug Suraiya,M.F.Husain and Terrorists have in common ?

via Dr Vijaya Rajiva published on March 25, 2010

All three,Suraiya, Husain and the terrorists are profoundly ignorant of Hinduism.

The terrorists show this by open and outright hatred :

“ Haven’t you still realized that the falsehood of your 33 crore dirty mud    idols and the blashphemy of your deaf, dumb, mute and naked idols of    Rama, Krishna and Hanuman are not at all going to save your necks, Inshallah, from being slaughtered by our hands.”

(Quoted by Praveen Swami, a columnist for The Hindu. This paper was first started during the freedom struggle, recently it changed hands and is now a left of center publication. Praveen himself expresses sentiments close to that of his employers. The above quotation is in connection with the Ahmedabad explosions of July 26,2008).

MF Husain has to his credit several nude paintings of Hindu goddesses, suggesting lewd positions and bestiality, of gods, of Bharat Mata etc.

1.    Durga in suggestive copulative mode with a tiger.
2.    Nude Sita sitting on Hanuman’s tail.
3.    Nude Sarasvati .
4.    Naked Lakshmi sitting on Ganesha’s head .
5.    Obscene painting of naked Hanuman and a nude couple.
6.    Nude Sita sitting on naked Ravana’s thigh.
7.    Vishnu with his arms and legs cut off.
8.    Bharat Mata shown as a diagram of India.

The terrorists, ofcourse ,do not understand the nature of representation in Hinduism
 and  they cannot see the wood for the trees. In addition there is a visceral simple hatred of India/Hinduism. MF Husain, a Muslim, was born in India and grew up in India, nevertheless like most Muslims of his generation was enclosed in  his solitude, Islam. He knows his tradition and  therefore does not paint the Prophet Mohammed at all, and paints the Prophet’s daughter Fatima fully dressed in genteel clothes.

A painting of Hitler shows him naked while the other figures are all clothed. When asked why, Husain is reported to have replied that he hated Hitler and wanted to show him naked, to humiliate him. Nudity in his mind, therefore is associated with his hatred of the figures he paints. His afterthought (which his apologists tout) that nudity in Hindu art is a sign of purity is something of a diversionary tactic, since no god or goddess in  ancient Hindu sculpture is shown completely naked. There is always a light girdle and a light covering over the upper body, since the artists were working with stone and rock in ancient times. Contemporary paintings by famed painter Raja Ravi Varma always show them fully clothed.  

Jug Suraiya is a guest columnist /blogger for Times of India . He too is Muslim (it is believed) .
In his latest blog in  Times of India (‘Hindu’ Husain?, March 23,2010)  he puts  Forward a cleverly crafted argument which can either be read as an extreme liberal  position or as a tongue in cheek description of Hinduism. In either case, it displays an ignorance of Hinduism ,which in some ways, is more surprising than that of either the terrorist or the painter Husain.

His basic thesis in this blog is that  Islam has a circumscribed view of what an individual can do. Hence, Husain was being a good Muslim in not painting the Prophet at all. Even some faithful liberal followers have accused Husain of double standards. This is Suraiya’s defence of the painter. He then goes on to elaborate his thesis of Hinduism’s infinite tolerance, where anything goes, anything and everything has been tolerated. Hence Husain was being a good Hindu in indulging in his painting of nude Hindu goddesses, and a good Muslim for not painting the Prophet, nude or otherwise

In other words, Husain was having the best of both worlds : strict Puritanism in
Islam and pornographic indulgence which is part of Hinduism. Needless to say, this is clearly a misunderstanding both of the Hindu ethos and of the role of art in Hinduism.The present writer has remarked on how even Hindus who should know better have used the Khajuraho sculptures of figures in sexual poses as an excuse for Husain’s paintings.

The concept of Maithuna, the expression of sexual life as normal and as part of human life, is applicable only to humans. It does not apply to the divine figures of Hinduism, because these are seen as being above the terrestrial plane. They are by definition divine and therefore cannot be mortal. The divine principle can be shown as an incarnation in human form, but  does not follow the rules and prescriptions of ordinary mortals. And in fact, the Khajuraho figures are those of mortal beings, not gods and goddesses.

Gods and Goddesses are never represented in Hindu sculpture as fully naked or as
engaged in amorous display. And certainly not engaged in bestiality.

Jug Suraiya is clearly ignorant of Hinduism. In the opinion of the present writer his ingenious defence of Husain is also intended at having a laugh at Hinduism’s “infinite tolerance”. Afterall, this is a religion that is a free for all thing. Why not let the old painter have a good time ? And why not let private collectors also have a good time with this pornographic art ?

His sermonizing about the Sangh Parivar’s intolerance of Husain is a sideshow. While laughing at Hinduism he also manages a swipe at the Sangh (The fact that Shri Mohan Bhagavat had publicly stated that Husain was free to return to India provided he does not hurt Hindu sentiment, has been ignored by Suraiya, quite deliberately, since it does not fit in with his thesis of the Sangh being actually anti Hindu by being intolerant !).

In the end the ignorance about Hinduism means that hatred characterizes the terrorist, a concealed hatred describes Husain and a  hatred  concealed in  sophistications (not paintings) may be a good way of describing Suraiya’s laughter  through his ingenious apology for Husain. A double whammy, so to speak.

Terrorists can and should be handled by the appropriate security agencies. Further, if
they are Muslims, both the domestic and the international community of Muslims will have to find ways in which to deal with them. Regaarding MF Husain, a suggestion has been made by A Surya Prakash in ‘Husain must not get away’ (The Pioneer, March 23,2010):

“ . . . barring a few individuals who took the law in their hands and disrupted a couple  of the artists’s exhibitions, the reaction of a large mass of Hindus was what it ought to be in a democracy. They moved the courts and lodged criminal complaints against
the artist. They drew on the Indian Penal Code that prohibits citizens from offending the religious sensibilities of others.”

Surya Prakash recommends that the long arm of the law must reach Qatar and he should be prosecuted fo hurting the religious sentiments of 800 million Hindus. The present writer has already suggested that Husain should show his remorse by voluntarily destroying the offensive paintings .

Regarding the blogger Jug Suraiya , perhaps the best response to him is : we are not fooled !

( Dr. Rajiva taught Political Philosophy at a Canadian university).

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