A Petition to the British Ambassador to Washington DC and to Asia House London against Vandalism by a Hindu Fundamentalist Group on Renowned Artist M F Hussain’s Paintings:
Mukto-Mona would like to announce a joint petition with Confluence magazine from the UK against an act of violent intimidation of India’s renowned artist M F Hussain in the UK. The exhibition of Mr Hussain’s paintings was inaugurated on May 10th by the Indian High Commissioner to London and was supposed to run through August the 5th but was cancelled for security reasons after vandals belonging to the Hindu Forum of Britain and a group called Hindu Human Rights damaged two paintings and warned of more violent protests alleging that Mr Hussain’s paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses had “outraged community members around the world.”
Mr Joe Nathan, the Editor of Confluence and an enthusiastic member and supporter of Mukto-Mona brought this issue to our notice and has graciously supported the idea of a joint petition to defend the artistic freedoms of an artist who has done no wrong. As Mr Nathan says,
“As a Hindu myself I have been concerned at the recent growth of political Hinduism, not merely in India but particularly here in the UK (most Hindu ceremonies are now being held in the House of Commons !!!) – led by not one but TWO groups masquerading as defenders of the ‘much maligned’ Hindu faith trying to make out that isolated incidents of vandalism (supported with power point displays at various meetings, also attended by white MPs – yes Hindu votes are important) prove that Hinduism is under siege – and BOTH organizations are headed by yes, BRAHMINS! Earlier it was the postage stamps furor with Royal Mail in the dock accused of featuring Joseph and Mary in a postage stamp, with Mary wearing a pottu which was considered an act aimed at trying to convert Hindus to the Catholic or Christian faith. There’s a paranoia that seems to engulf these groups, or it is pretended paranoia for political mileage, and this is obviously a dangerous trend.”
The exhibition was Asia House’s first solo exhibition of rare works from the fifties to the seventies by the renowned artist from a private collection. Writing in The Guardian, the economist Lord Meghnad Desai said,
“In my view the objection to Hussain is not the so-called obscenity of his paintings. It is because he is a Muslim and hence the desire of some Hindu groups to deny his artistic freedom to take Hindu gods and goddesses as his theme. The Hindu Human Rights Group in its press release is demanding an apology from Asia House to the Hindu community for this exhibition. This is an outrageous attack on artistic freedom in the British context.”
Eminent painter M.F. Hussain with his painting 'Thief of Baghdad' poses for photographers at a Press preview in Hyderabad on Sunday. — PTI Source: The Tribune
We have drafted a petition which members may find useful, or, of course, members are welcome to send petitions in their own words to the addresses below:
We would like to vigorously protest the intimidation of Asia House and of the British people by two Hindu fundamentalist groups who vandalized two paintings by the renowned Indian artist M F Hussain and forced the closure of an exhibition at Asia House through this and other acts of intimidation. Not only is this kind of behaviour completely unacceptable in a civilized society, it is also a sad comment on the inability of the British government to safeguard it’s own public from the thuggery of an obscure band of violent gangsters masquerading as a “Human Rights” group. This is intimidation that bodes ill for the future of Britain if allowed to continue unchecked.
We request that the culprits involved in this destruction of private property and this act of public intimidation be investigated and prosecuted under British law.
(Name and Address)
On Behalf of Confluence Magazine and Mukto-Mona Humanist Network
To be sent-
1. To The Prime Minister of Britain through: www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page821.asp
2. To the House of Commons: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. To the House of Lords: email@example.com
4. The British Embassy Washington DC: PAT@britainusa.com
5. Asia House: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank all our members in advance for sending this petition.
Editor, the Confluence
Mukto-Mona Moderation Team
04 June 2006
Previous Projects, Appeals, Petitions and Statements from Mukto-Mona: