Here is the proof of that:
A very Arab-Muslim design and memento, comprising an ancient Christian symbol – a fish eye medallion, and the Hindu pop star Pillaiyar (Ganesha).
I picked this up from the Doha Trade Fair from a Turkish stall. I am going to make regular visits to see if the stall still stocks these (shiva/parvathi, lakshmi etc are also available) or has been forced to take it off display.
Today, I went to the recently opened Museum of Islamic Art in Doha – a fantastic collection of art from Europe, Africa and Asia. A collection that would be only half of what it boasts now if we in India had learnt to take care of our treasures.
Though we love to talk about our rich culture and heritage, all that we are capable of now is splitting hairs over religion. We have scant regard for the richness we have inherited. Just look at how we treat our archaeological sites.
Let me stop the general rant and talk about what really bothers me.
It’s the Maqbool Fida Husain Collection. That’s what upset me.
I can come to terms with the wonderful collection of centuries-old jewellery and daggers and pottery that we have lost to people who better appreciate it.
I think it’s quite wonderful that M F Husain – an Indian – is the only living artist commissioned to do a collection for the Museum, which will include artistic representation of the 99 names of Allah.
The above is his representation of the Last Supper.
But I can’t accept or digest the fact that we’ve lost him due to our intolerance to a country that doesn’t even pretend to be secular or tolerant.
How can we force an old man out of his own home and country? Our temple sculptures and art are far more provocative than what he attempted. We are so intolerant because he happens to be a Husain? Not a Srinivasan or Arjun or whatever…
Please don’t start with ‘would he do this to Fatima or Khadija or …’; that is nonsense and shirking our responsibility as reasonable folks; Till we decided to make an issue of it, Husain was only known as an Indian painter, a great one at that, with a quirky passion for Bollywood actresses.
We, because of our intolerance made him a Muslim painter.
He was so obviously crazy about all things his country boasted of – from Bollywood to whatever else. Yet at 90 he has to live in a foreign nation?
Reading the legends in the Gallery made me want to scream out loud…
Under the title (not of the painting) Controversy and Comprehension hangs the painting below:
In the 1990’s some of M.F.Husain’s works provoked controversy due to the representation of naked Hindu goddesses. However, the admiration he earned from the International community provided protection that afforded him a barrier from the controversy.
The State of Qatar, in its wisdom and tolerance, offered M.F.Husain a residence in Doha. Here, the painter has initiated an important…
…in its wisdom and tolerance?
Let’s forget how ironical that sounds. Let’s just focus on how it reflects on us.
India, the melting pot of cultures and civilizations, couldn’t provide protection to its artist, its citizen, its national treasure.
And worse still, we lose him to a country that doesn’t allow the residents to display (non-Islamic) religious icons in their cars, and only recently deported dozens of families who had dared to congregate and pray in their homes – Indian Hindus and Christians all.
Isn’t it sad that we Indians for all that we like to boast of are not really any better than them?
It makes me angry that we allow ourselves to be held to ransom by a small group of deranged folks… repeatedly. If it’s not the 10 terrorists in Mumbai, then it’s the MNS, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, the Jehadis… we allow people with vested interests to dictate the terms. We don’t protest, we even justify it.
Meanwhile, we continue losing our treasures…
I am sick and tired
Not just of the bastards who did that to my country – and I don’t mean the politicians alone…
I am sick and tired of those who take on a holier-than-thou attitude
Of those who see demons in everything and everyone
Of those who blame without basis
And of those who dub any opposing view as a ‘generalisation’
Of those who talk about being open to discussion… but only if all that is discussed is in agreement with what they feel or say
I am sick and tired of those who want to act as if sectarianism doesn’t exist in India, or if it does, talking about it makes you a culprit too
I am sick and tired of how bloody indifferent people can be
When I commented here that “I am totally dumb struck by the non-Mumbai folks out here who seem to be rather unmoved by the incident” it was taken as an accusation of me generalising, and making it a Mumbai-nonMumbai thing. When in fact I was making it exactly the opposite!!!!!!!
I don’t care to be rude to people who have an opinion on what I say or write, as some people are wont to do. Because I know when you are rude, your meaning is never heard, only your rudeness causes hurt.
Why did I say that in that comment? There are dozens of reasons why…
I am stating a few here…
1. A friend of mine (born-bred Mumbai, origin somewhere further south) was actually asked with a smirk by at least 3 ‘non-Mumbai Indians’ – What is happening to your Mumbai now? Her Danish and British colleagues showed a lot more sense and sensitivity. They enquired about her family, and then her country!
2. There are quite a few Indians in my workplace. Only some of us were frantic with worry. The others barely showed a passing interest. They didn’t have family there, they don’t know what or where Colaba and CST are. So the attack didn’t deserve more than a ‘ha, yes…” On the very day we were out on work, and at that meeting so many of the foreigners came up to me and asked me about the situation. They saw me as an Indian, and asked me about India.
3. Sun TV carried wide coverage of the cyclone (which all the ‘national’ channels totally ignored. Close to 100 dead and thousands displaced!). Sun TV’s coverage of the Mumbai attack was at best indifferent. While it showed a 15 minute footage of that nepotistic MK distributing bread to the cyclone affected, it dismissed off the ongoing Mumbai crisis in a couple of minutes.
4. When a fellow South Asian told me (in reference to the young terrorist) “When you see bad things, you do bad things”, the other Indians who were with me just nodded. They couldn’t even be bothered to take offence at what that guy was saying. The people who were so brutally murdered, deserved it?
5. Someone who obviously was not following the news told me, ‘I am sure they let go of all the Muslim hostages! And no Muslim died’
6. And more than a dozen people told me, “oh Muslims, no wonder!” I almost prayed then (and I never do) that not one of those terrorists turns out to be an Indian. Because we know what would follow.
7. Then 2 people on Thursday told me that this is in response to what ‘the minorities endured’.
8. I stopped counting at 10, when people either invited me or spoke about catching the latest releases that night.
9. And when I spoke about the indifference of some here, I was asked by a friend, “What if it had happened elsewhere. Not in Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore… Would you still be so upset?” Would I? I seriously hope so. I would probably be far more devastated if it happened in Chennai, because it is my city, and the victims could well be my near and dear ones. But I would be scared and angry wherever this took place… I would feel threatened for my country.
10. One person told me (must be a cousin of R R Patil) that the whole thing seems so much bigger, because of the live coverage.
11. And then so many didn’t even mention the attack.
12. And well, every single person who had these weird comments/ideas was a non-Mumbaikar, they couldn’t identify with what was happening.
Does that mean I found no ‘Indian’ patriot here? It doesn’t. Fortunately, R & I are picky about our friends, and they (and their friends) were all angered/saddened/upset/concerned by what was happening.
Unfortunately, during the course of my work day, I interact with people who are not all to my taste or liking, many of whom are Indians. And quite a few of them figure in the list above.
I speak of my experiences, not my personal opinions, so how the hell can someone question that? Don’t we all make up minds based on our experiences?
I am not going to bury my head in the sand and claim every single Indian was affected by this. Because every single Indian obviously was not. And they anger me almost as much as those who did that to India.
We are so divided as a country. So bloody divided. North, South, West and we don’t even give enough thought to the East!
I am also sick and tired of people talking about my right to comment on India because I don’t live there… I have whole different take on that, but will save it for another post.
And one more thing, I here voices out there saying we can’t brand all Pakistanis as our enemies. Yes, let’s not. But Pakistan is, whether we like it or not. At the height of the Kargil crisis when R & I refused to buy Pakistani produce here (we work with Pakistanis and are cordial enough with them), people mocked us, saying we were new to the Gulf, and will soon forget all this. We haven’t. We still don’t.
I agree we cannot blame X who lives in Islamabad or Y in Lahore for this. But as a country, they can’t shrug off their responsibility in escalating terrorism.
I am not done with this rant, so will continue soon. And unlike some, I don’t mind being disagreed with, as long as it’s done civilly.
Southways is angry — an anger I can understand and face quite often.
If my post made people like her or anyone else to prove their Indian-ness, I must apologise.
As most opinions or emotions go, this is also very much guided by personal experiences.
When my husband or his family criticise the BJP or RSS, people tend to smirk saying because they are Christians. It angers me. They criticise them because they are Indians with a vote! I used to defend them saying my father in law served the country in the army, my husband’s greatest ambition was to be part of the armed forces (though it didn’t happen)… until I realised that what I was doing was wrong. Why the hell should they prove anything to anybody?
Everytime people say something about Christians I want to tell them, ‘oh but my husband believes in buying only Indian made stuff’… sometimes it slips out, but most often I bite my tongue. Because, as he says he doesn’t ‘effing have to prove anything to anyone’.
So I can understand Southways anger.
I wrote the ‘comments’ on the post reading Broom, MM and MG. Not the posts. I would have to be semi-literate or illiterate to question MM’s Indian-ness.
But in defense of what I said earlier — I believe in nationhood. And I do feel we need to work together as Indians, we need to all put our Indian-ness over our religious preferences.
There are people who don’t believe in the concept of nation-hood. that’s their problem.
I believe in it. So every argument and defence from me would be from that stand.
And yes, it would help if not all comments towards Hindus/Hinduism is negative. It would help even more if there are some positive comments thrown our way.
I say this, because I am a Hindu. What is so wrong with that?
That was my basic premise. Don’t demonise us! And don’t twist a simple post into a PhD thesis on religious differences. For goodness’ sake, give me a break!
About Dave’s comments on my earlier post, half of which I don’t understand, and the other half I don’t agree with, I can only say this.
You don’t believe in the concept of ‘Nation’; I not only believe in it, it is EXTREMELY important to me. So after this there is really nothing we can argue about that would make sense to either of us. But say you are travelling in India, and Hindu mob roughs you up, my guess is, it would be the goverment that represents your ‘nation’ that bails you out of the mess. Not Iain Banks or Radiohead!