Shree Shree Ravi Shankar & MF Hussein

Now Shree Shree Ravi Shankar has got into the act condemning Hussein’s paintings of Indian Goddesses in the nude. I did not say naked. There is a difference. Nude implies a point of view of the artist, and having seen the paintings I would definitely say that that the artists, in exploring the Goddesses as nude, was exploring purity. Condemn me for that. I am willing to argue.
The argument that Hussein should now try and paint Muslim Icons in the nude is a silly , provocative, adversarial statement and a completely political point of view. Nothing to do with Art.
So I amazed at the stand that Shree Shree Ravi Shankar has taken. I have never visited his Ashram , but I always imagined that the words “Art of Living” would be more encompassing and compassionate. I would imagine his movement, called Art of Living, embodies a wider and more artistic creative and holistic way of life. What prompted him then, I wonder, to condemn Hussein and challenge him to paint Muslim icons in the nude ?
Christianity has forever painted Christ in the nude and indeed at crucification often naked too. As have the Greeks and their Gods and Goddesses forever. Nudity has been a tradition in Indian and Hindu art, but never in Islamic art. So why the comparison. As if Hussein went out to create a political statement ? No, it was an artists exploration.
Hussein, on the other hand is alive and well. And very Rich. Rich as never before, painting as never before, and at 95 who could ask for more ? especially from someone that started as a street artist painting film posters. Most of us at 95, if not dead, would be happy to not be in a wheel chair and be able to speak coherently. Hussein paints, has become a genius at marketing himself. As all successful artists (and Guru’s) are. There is much to be said for creativity and ageing here.
So lets not feel sorry for M F Hussein. More sorry for ourselves really.

55 Responses to “Shree Shree Ravi Shankar & MF Hussein”

  1. sashi menon says:

    ravi shankar peddles instant nirvana and happiness using recipes from hindu shastras. he needs to project himself as a guardian of hindu theology and pride to make his wares seem more acceptable to his core market which is the ‘spiritual but not religious’ pseudo-liberal middle class. no wonder he comes out often with these mindless pro-hindu statements once in a while.

  2. Very few people know, there is nothing called “Islamic painting”. Islamic art is all about creating beautiful painting-like forms with written words in Arabic, with old-school Persian style ornamentation.
    Thanks for letting us know, who this Ravi Shankar is? Now I remember him, All he ever got painted was billboards of his shows ( Sorry I could not find a better word).
    Let me remind you all, that I am not a huge fan of Hussein’s painting. But that does not give me the right to ask him to stop painting or paint in any other way.

  3. Amrik says:

    Excerpt from the HT story:
    “In one of Husain’s paintings of Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein and Hitler, he painted only Hitler nude and said that his way of humiliating a person is to paint him nude.”
    Was he exploring the purity of Hitler or was he wanting to humiliate our godesses…
    For testing someone’s purity, its not necessary to paint her nude; just imagine how bad it will feel if someone paints our mothers and sisters nude to test their purity…and our Godesses are nothing short of our mothers….
    Feel shocked at the argument of Mr Shekhar; I had a lot of respect for him..

  4. Srijith says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    While it is true that nudity is a tradition in Hindu Art, it is never without a certain sensitivity and cultural leaning. For example, while Goddess Durga or Kali is depicted in the nude, Saraswathi, Goddess of Knowledge and Learning is never depicted nude. Artists should have a moral responsibility and be sensitive to the society and culture which patronised them.
    I tend to agree with Sri Sri Ravishankar here, mainly because if M.F.Hussain were to paint Prophet Mohammed or Lord Almighty in a way not sensitive to Muslim culture and ethos, he will surely get kicked out of Qatar and there’s no doubting that.
    It has to do with Art, because it is in Art, that the culture and history and the ensuing politics is linked. Much of the history we learn of today, is mainly due to the responsible art of a particular period. So in a big way Art, is political and artists must be responsible that they do not leave a wrong lesson for the future generations to learn.
    Coming to the other part, the paintings were not simply nude, some of them render scenes of copulation, which truly stand out as blasphemy and a severe obfuscation of Indian History and Culture. That is again, not pardonable.
    As a proud Indian citizen, I will never feel sorry for letting go of him, For anyone leaving India, only they themselves stand to lose.

  5. jayati says:

    The argument of Muslim icons is not silly at all. By saying this, Sri Sri just wants to state the magnanimity and the ruckus which is created the world over even if the cartoons of Prophet are published in the media…Hussain would never ever dare to paint the cartoon of Prophet in order to explore his purity or any Muslim icon at all. David Headley wanted to blow up the Danish paper for publishing Prophet’s cartoons.Terrorism is being done on this…Then just think the uproar which will be created in Doha if Hussain dares to think of anything of this sort.Then are we Indians not even allowed to express our displeasure over the paintings of our Godesses because it just challenges the artistic freedom.Artists just don’t want their artistic freedom;even if the public sentiments are hurt, let them be hurted; our protest is treated anti-islamic,anty artists. Its unfortunate

  6. Kamal says:

    Nice comments SK, I dont see the problem here though, why is MF Hussain being criticized for leaving India. He didnt feel safe and the little time that he has left to paint he wants to do so in peace. Who are we to say that he is right or wrong? Living in a democratic country means that he has freedom of expression to say and paint whatever he likes, be it nude paintings of goddesses or the india map, he is an artist, he is not doing it to spite someone.

  7. Santhosh says:

    No point in condemning you as you are exploiting the so called ‘freedom of expression’.Hussein was always your soft target while his opponents were your hard target.You have found out a difference between nude & naked!!!Could you please elaborate upon that?How do you justify “exploring —-as nude as exploring purity”You are a talented person,no doubt in that.Might be your thoughts are ‘out of the box’ but lack clarity for a person like me to understand.

  8. sk says:

    Why feel sorry for Mr Hussein. He is a painter of high caliber..& besides such artists can get away with a lot of vulgarity in the name of art…

  9. Jigar Shah says:

    Not really just being Hind, But i have seen BharatMata painting with same “creativity”. And I do agree everybody has their freedom of expression. I was just thinking what if someone paints Nude photo of my mother in the name of “creativity”. Can’t others have same emotions for their own mother nation ? Very cryptic topic. Very difficult to draw lines for freedom of expression. Same as we had news reporting live 26/11. I think this issue can only be solved by responsibility. Not by laws.

  10. brahmastra says:

    Your stature is quite dwarfed in comparison to someone like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He comes from a place of deep wisdom and connection to the source. Why don’t you pseudo-intellectuals use simple common sense and understanding for a change? What is the need for Hussein, especially when he is a muslim living in a communally sensitive country like India, to paint Indian goddesses in the nude? Well, he can do that in private, but he has to face the consequences of making it public. What is that idiot trying to prove by moving around barefeet anyway? Why not use his art to promote brotherhood and compassion instead? He is where he belongs now..in Qatar. Let’s see how much he can push the envelope there.
    Millions of Hindus go to the temples and worship these Goddesses in high esteem. Why not respect that? This pseudo Hussein needs to learn to keep his ego out of his art..making it public was only his ego’s way of trying to show off unwanted eccentricity.

  11. MF Hussain once said when asked why did he paint Hitler nude (if not naked) : I hate Hitler and this is how I humiliate him for his deeds. If nudity is humiliation, then Hussain is the greatest insult on mankind and on Hinduism in particular. Also there’s one of his painting where a Muslim king is covered in clothes whereas a Hindu (Brahmin) is in nude. I would like you to educate ignorant lads like me on this piece of art and it’s great culture it depicts – Hatred and Foolishness.

  12. Neha says:

    Honestly,although i was against the reaction of harsh Hindu fundamentalists, i was of the opinion that Hussain should have painted the Muslim icons in the nude to justify his ‘hindu deities’ interpretation (as I am hearing my self say this,I feel like an ignoramus). But well after doing some mental churning,I realise that artists need to be left out of political,religious domain. They are way above. Sp someone of the stature of MF Hussein. One is free to appreciate or dislike, but to go to the extremes of banishing an artist is shameful. We need to ask ourselves how national are we?? How can we be tolerant of the various obviously anti-national elements freely propagating hate & intolerance in society but take such extreme measures against an artist’s personal interpretation & expression through his brush? As you rightly said, the art of living encompasses compassion, tolerance. In the twilight of his life, it’s amazing how Hussein is in full posession of all his faculties. He definitely deserves a more compassionate treatment. It’s a long way before we come of age and are mature enough to let art be art.

  13. karthik says:

    Agreed that there should be a freedom of expression especially in the art world which includes paintings, sculptures, movies, photography, drama, etc. After all we have Khajuraho sculptures too which are anything but discreet and subtle. But there is also the thing of something being in good taste. If Hussain had made those paintings without specifically naming the characters, there wouldnt have been any furore. But then having put names to the nude figures, it is bound to cause hurt.
    If you and many more (including me) subscribe to the importance of having freedom of expression, dont the people showing discontent with his paintings have that freedom? But yes, no-one should be threatening anyone or breaking his exhibitions for which our (omnipresent albeit inept) law should butt in.
    So its a double edged sword but there is some wrong on husain’s side too. I am no saint but I am sure if he paints some nude figures of people of importance for Moslems then there would be a furore rite??? remember the fatwa against Rushdie and Taslima!!

  14. vinita says:

    Agree–For the ‘enlightened’ there is no duality—yet even the learned get swayed by such thinking where opinions are expressed only to confuse their blind-following!

  15. deetee says:

    you have not read his whole statement. when he can paint hitler in the nude to “insult” him why paint hindu deities in the nude?
    MFH is a ruthless businessman who courts controversy so that people like you will pay enormous sums of money to buy his paintings thinking that you are supporting “freedom of expression”. Have you ever heard one word of support from this businessman for the Danish cartoonist??
    he has gone to Qatar so that he can make more money. Good riddance!

  16. Mayank says:

    Respected Sir,
    I hope that before writing such blog entry you must have gone through the entire comments by sri sri Ravi Shankar, and he has a very good reasoning.
    It is the intention behind a man’s creativity which is questionable.
    a) According to MF Hussain painting some one nude is his way of humiliating a person.
    b) Will paint his Qatar hosts nude?

  17. Puneet says:

    I gt to know frm ur tweet and then this blog..Me too taken aback…Was expecting Ravi Shankar’s outlook to be above all this.

  18. uday shetty says:

    I have high regard for you Mr SK, but you too suck. Did you read full details of what HH Ravishankar Gurujee says.
    MFH way of humiliating is picturing them in nude as per his own wording and who is he to humiliate the sentiments of one religion which is under threat in its own country because of you.. pseudo seculars.

  19. Mahesh says:

    Shekhar,
    what i understand, your view is that Hussain should be free to paint, but your views do not at all suggest that the general public should have freedom to protest!
    are you saying that?
    so an artist can change his perception when he draws Hitler in nude to humiliate & then draws goddesses to explore purity?
    Awesome, I like you Shekar, when are you moving out?

  20. shikhar says:

    that old man MF is there because of his work and plus he is getting great money..he is 95 he explored India throughly..
    Yes native Indian tradition has a lot of natural things on display and then the Islam and it’s puritism came to destroy all that and now because of islamic traditions we feel so uncomfortable to see a nude paitings..
    anyway you can be a middle east citizen only if you’re a muslim atleast that’s what Qatar says..and don’t talk about art in Middle east it’s a nix culture there..no wonder they are so backward and the women are treated like cattles..and muslims apes those customs..I wonder what middle east had to offer if the europeans did not find oil there..
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a good man..and no one in this world is flawless…

  21. Chakra says:

    This post of yours proves that you are not any different from the league of moronic celebrities, Shekharji! I sincerely hope this is a one time aberration!
    Artist’s xploration my arse; did u see those paintings, may be u shd have before shaping this blog. One painting depicts totally nude Saraswati ji sitting in the lap of totally nude Ganesh ji; how insulting is that for a religious Hindu who has been reciting verses of praise every day of his life honouring these deities?
    I will have to agree that followers of art of living are kinda screwed up too, as all they do is just blindly attend satsangs and never trying to understand the real essence of the word “Satsang” or its goal. I will refer you to an old friend of yours: gmrsivani@gmail.com, you were the keynote speaker at his annual award event given out to debutante directors in Bharat, a few years past in this decade. He has blogged may be 6 or 7 times in the last 2-3 years on this topic, all in his native language [not english or hindi] and you will be even more mad if someone can translate those blogs for you;)
    Christ was never depicted nude by anybody, I will have to disagree, a loincloth was always used to mask his precious jewels! Also, at the age of 95 the only thing that any person needs or aspires for is peace and happiness and I am sure MF is not going to get them before he dies. MF is an unparliamentary word in the US, but ironically it suits this loser perfectly as he depicted Mother India in a very poor taste, it might be the most bastardized piece of art in the history of painting.

  22. pawan says:

    for all those like Puneet who are in favour of MF Hussain: the true test of your support would be if he paints your mothers and sisters in the nude, and then we’ll see your reactions.

  23. Saadhak says:

    There may be people to whom Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s comments will appeal. His comments will satisfy some people and will agitate some people. Why people should close the eyes from the points which Sri Sri and many others have been making as far as MF Hussain’s matter is concerned?
    As Hussain’s artistic liberties are respected in same way others people’s liberty of expression should be respected.
    For example, Hussain’s past look dubious.
    If we recall his recent past history then he took off his last film Minakshi- tale of 2-3 cities within a day after a small religious islamic organization issued statements against the Qawwali Allah Noor used by Hussain in the film. This very good qawali was composed very beautifully by Music maestro A R Rehman and Hussain picturized it very beautifully. Muslim fanatics wanted to remove the qawali from the film but Hussain got panic attacks and took down the film from the theatre.
    He could have gone to court but he did not dare and bowed before fanatic forces.
    People should be allowed to raise such issues related to Hussain in a democratic world.
    I have seen the images of Hussain’s paintings of Godesses. I have no issue with them. They are beautifully made. I respect Hussain’s creativity. He is one of the greatest painter of present era.
    But many of his acts do not support that he is purely an artist only. If he is a marketing genius as Shekhar K says then let people judge him in collectivity. Many of his actions/decisions have been influenced by political, religious and economical pressure groups and things should be seen adn accepted that way only.
    If Sri Sri and other people have raised some reservations about 100% free license to Hussain then their POVs should also be given a patient hearing. They are also part of present day’s society and its collective awareness.
    In many areas other than paintings many people will be far greater and more sensitive humanbeings than MF Hussain. His case does not deserve to be seen with simple outlook. It is complex and we should accept its complexity. He can not be supported blindly.

  24. @ Pawan : Well said buddy. If they even then feel it is artistic independence to paint their mothers and sisters in nude (exploring one’s purity through it) I would be doing a paadhabhivandanam to them.

  25. sathish , chennai says:

    Hi Sk
    Our culture and country is corrupted due to pseudo secular people like u.will u be interested to see ur mothers nude painting done by hussian because crores and crores of hindus we see kali and sarawathi as our mothers.Better people like who advocates hussain shuld leave the country because u ppl are the real HIV Virus for this society.

  26. Deepika says:

    “So I amazed at the stand that Shree Shree Ravi Shankar has taken. I have never visited his Ashram , but I always imagined that the words “Art of Living” would be more encompassing and compassionate. I would imagine……….”
    …. don’t u think its time that u see for yourself what it is ? don’t u intellectuals want to condemn something about which u “know” rather than what fancies your “imagination”…?
    I certainly expected the great Shekar Kapur to be more responsible to his statements than just making an all-knowing-judgement about a revered person.
    And of course, the fact that you have omitted other facts put forth by Sri Sri shows your biased perception, to suit your own needs of garnering publicity. Am extremely disappointed.
    I invite you to the Art Of Living Ashram : not as ‘someone’ from there but because everybody is welcome there. Take the course and experience YOURSELF !

  27. aswin says:

    My dear shekhar,
    Ram, Sita and Goddesses are kept in really really high regard by the masses of this country. the masses i refer to you are not the people who watch what movies you make or what honours you get.
    these are people who make food for the country and whose source of strength is the gram devta and local deity. for you it may sound really stupid because you feel it has not burnt you from Inside but Sir, you must understand every inch of media space was glaring with MF husain news and it has reached the grasroot and you or for that matter anyone who feel warm and comfortable with the air of london, feel the red carpet with Gucci shoes really really really have to go down and understand the sentiments of people of india who are aghast by this painters depiction and whose voice is not carried. instead the same media which has poked the grassroots sadly carries opinions of the so called intellect secularist and beer farts whose only job is to comment from thousand miles away.
    so don make a hero out of this jerk artist who the country never adopted till he managed to poke the sentiments of people who cant read what i am writing here.
    So sri sri statements, of course has nothing to do with Art . He carries the voice of invisible people of my country whose contribution and whose self esteem, hard work, strong faith and belief matter!!!

  28. DNT says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    I am also an artist of computer graphic . I can take your mothers photograph and morph with the nude body of some prono artist, and publish on the web and you tube in the name of modern creativity, what are you going to do.I want your reply on my email.

  29. Anu says:

    Well thought and really very courageous of you Mr. Kapoor to say this. Instead of expecting from M. F. Husein, if he would draw any muslim deity in nude (there is no islamic deity, which could be compared with Saraswati), I would rather ask him, if he calls himself a muslim or is he an artist above any religion? This whole notion of chastity and so-called tradition is nothing but the Victorian morale, that Indians have inherited from the colonizers and that such neo-hinduistic Gurus like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have well imbibed for the free market situation. Our society was once able to live its sexual freedom, without disrespecting any of its moral standards. The nature of “Hinduism” is such, that we are not a monolithic religion, we are not a religion at all. And the battle here is not so much between M. F. Husein, using mythical figures or images for his art, and Hindus but rather between people, who geographically belong to the territory of India and who have inherited these myths and all those monolithic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism who delimit the existence of human beings. I myself worship Sarawasti as a singer, but this Goddess exists in my mind and any image or painting of it can never insult this pure image of the mind.

  30. Hitika says:

    It is unfortunate how some people misunderstand India’s tolerance for its weakness.
    If MF was so gung ho on painting nude women, why on earth could he only think of Indian Goddesses? And what’s this way of exploring ‘purity’ anyway?
    With what I can understand from all the inputs here, the paintings seem to be surely displaying a poor work of art, representing inexcusable contempt and disrespect for our deities.
    What is the old chap up to? And why are people thick-skinned over this rubbish? What’s more, some of us are even patting his back! Sheer disgrace.
    Shekhar,
    I’d like to quote you here..
    Problems arise when the artist becomes bigger than the art.

  31. Kapil Mishra says:

    freedom of expression doesn’t allows playing with sentiments and feeligs..Art shdn’t be used to spread communal hatred.
    It is a fact that one Mr. Maqbool Fida Husain has depicted a lot of Hindu Gods and deities nude in his paintings. at the same time his paintings related to Muslim and other religions do not depict any nudity in respect of the respective persons, Gods and goddesses. In his paintings this person shows our Hindu gods and goddesses in vulgar compromising positions which is never encountered in Hindu mythology. For example in one of his paintings he shows mother and goddess Sita totally naked masturbating on the long tail of God Hanuman. Whereas Hindu mythology contemplates a very pious relationship of mother and son between goddess Sita and God Hanuman ;in another painting she is sitting naked on the thigh of naked Ravana. Imagine a bull copulating with mother godess Parvati and God Shanker watching the act on Shivratri festival. Or Godess Durga in union with her lion ! Lord Krishna with hands and feet chopped off !
    some questions we need to ask ourselves !
    1. Why do intellectuals and the art world continue to applaud MF Husain’s perverted endeavours and still paint him as an ‘artist’ ?
    2. Has the collective mind of our social elite plummeted so deep, that on the one hand it puts men like MF Husain on a pedestal and on the other, summarily rubbishes a call for purity and feelings of national pride ?
    3. Do we still want to continue to function in a manner that does not even recognize an assault on our collective consciousness in the form of this obnoxious painting ?
    (Just to close- name of his latest painting is Rape of India)

  32. Muneer says:

    Dear SK,
    Am not fan of Hussain or Ravi Shankar… I dont why people taking this all issues in Islamic account, Islam teaching to respect all religion and all believer, As Muslim am sure Allha will punish Hussain First because of painting nude pic,its whether Hindu god or any other things…. If he hurt any Hindu br/sisters feeling he should say sorry/apology to entire community,
    And will he paint any nude pic which related Qater culter or Ruler… he will be kicked out from there…..
    Let him go Qater or any where say all the best to that great painter thats so… we have many issues here common public facing, we stay together and solve that issues….
    Jai Hind
    Muneer

  33. Raghavan says:

    Dear SK,
    Do you remember what happened to a Danish cartoonist who DARED to depict the Prophet in a cartoon a few years ago. This was in Denmark and there were death threats against him. The furore was HUGE in the Muslim world. Remember Salman Rushdie ?
    It is Hinduism’s infinite tolerance that allows Hussein to get away with what he does. And it is the same tolerance that allows you to be pseudo-secular the way you are. Do you see any Muslim sounding accepting about any such “outrage”. Yes Hindus have to accept and their outrage remains subdued under the loud “secular” outpourings of so-called “secular” people like yourself. Think of yourself as a Muslim and think of how open you could be in your views and writings.
    Sri Sri has merely echoed the sentiments of millions of Hindus across the world. Don’t they have a say ? Being inclusive does NOT mean playing with the sentiments of one community in favour of another which is all that people like you do. In fact all your “artists” are are a bunch of cowards.
    Your work has nothing socially redeeming to it and yet you pretend that it matters to something more than filling your deep pockets with our money and your shelves with stupid trophies.
    And yet we are to take your views seriously. Sigh !

  34. Didi says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    I had very good respect to you until now, you have not understood things that simple person like me could understand.
    You totally misunderstood what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was saying. Please go through in detail. Please understand the meaning of once “well intended intention” and “humiliation”
    as Hindu I am totally humiliated by this
    I am so humbled and proud that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar stood behind us all.
    This shows how much you value once religion,
    very disappointed, do not know what you call yourself

  35. Sid Singh says:

    Shekhar, I am just glad that Hussein, Ravi Shankar, and you can express your right of free speech in India.
    Having said that, I wish free speech was more protected, and people were more reasonable, and more thoughful in their responses. Let us argue like adults, respectfully, not like fanatics.

  36. Vikas Kapil says:

    Sir,
    I am a ardent fan of yours and am really shocked to read your views on the subject. Can you say atleast once that
    “Whatever that Danish cartoonist did, was right. And that he is a cartoonist and he has all the rights to sketch whatever he wants”
    Once?
    Regards
    Vikas Kapil

  37. JP says:

    Mr Kapur,
    I am not sure if you have seen all the contoversial paintings that are discussed here.
    There some paintings in nude and there is one where Durga copulating with lion
    Please check out those pictures here:
    http://hindu.indiainteracts.in/2008/05/11/why-fida-on-husain/
    Also, see the first video there.
    There is a painting of naked Hanuman pointing his erect genital towards Ram and Sita who are also painted naked. Pardon my lack of artistic sense but I would like you to explain this painting from your view.

  38. Vasanta says:

    Quite sad about your take on this issue..

  39. kishore says:

    Sri Sri is certainly an oddball. But no more oddball than all of the other money and publicity obsessed Gurus out there. The defense for these Gurus always seems to be that – hey they do good stuff and some people benefit. Yeah – and people can benefit from having nuclear weapon arsenals too, that doesn’t make them good for the World in general.
    Speaking out like this agains MF Hussain actually shows he understands little of Sanatana Dharama philosophy. Nudity is not a taboo – in fact it is venerated. There are temples in India where the various forms of Raja Rajeshwari are nude. The ancient temples were all full of nude and sexual carvings ..This temple here http://www.devipuram.com/devipuram/intro.html has full body nude sculptures of Lalitha’s forms.
    It’s too bad we had to drive such a great artist to exile, at his age.. Sri Sri’s observation that Gandhi would have disapproved of MF Hussain and asked the country to rebel against him.. Now that was a low blow Mr Sri Sri 🙂 Truly – that shows his ignorance, he has neither read Gandhi nor the Hindu texts.. I guess peddling breathing exercises makes for enormous gobs of money has probably ‘enlightened’ him to an extent where he can say what he wants with impunity 🙂

  40. Neha says:

    Going through some of the posts here, listening to fundamentalists, spiritual Gurus talking of Hussein expressing his hatred for Hitler by painting him in the nude & therefore equating the sentiment with the Hindu goddesses’ bare paintings, I got thinking… Can we really put Hitler & the Gods (Hindu in this case) on the same pedestal?? Could anyone, an artist more so, look at the two from the same angle? MF Hussein is known to be an individual with liberal outlook & I cant, for the life of me, imagine him having such deep disgust/hatred/venom against the Hindu Gods or any Gods for that matter. I fail to see any possible reason for that..Whatever his reason, (I am not artistically so evolved as to make sense of all his nude depictions. Call it creative genius, madness, obsession, eccentricism) but the one thing that Im sure of is that hatred and humiliation it is not. THE HEART HAS ITS REASONS, THAT REASON KNOWS NOT OF. The only conclusion therefore that my intellect allows me to draw from this is that we do not have a profound enough understanding of our own Gods. Else we would have known that it is not possible for an artist to harbour the degree of hatred against them that we accuse Hussein of. Intention is either good or bad but action can be interpreted in several ways. And Im sure that a non-fundamentalist, liberal artist of Indian origin would not have the intention to dishonor or shame them in any way. Unless senile. Well, we know better about Hussein.

  41. Deepak R says:

    In the end its not about MF, Sri Sri or Art. Its about what beliefs hold power over you. We act as empowered guardians of our collective beliefs. And don’t see how we are individually enslaved to them. This is not about freedom of opinion either. There is nothing free here, no one is free of any belief, everyone is expressing why his enslavement to his/her belief is valid.

  42. Well Shekhar,
    I don’t know whether you’re Hindu or muslim but being a Hindu I do not feel good about nude painting of Hindu goddess. And I don’t want to agree with you, I am not sorry about my feeling.
    Sri Sri definitely did you ask him to paint prophet nude, he only meant Hussain to realize how Muslims would react . And of the nudity being has been a tradition in Indian and Hindu art, Hindu art has never show our goddesses nude.
    And being successful coming from streets does not mean that he can hurt a whole community. I had been reading you since about a year and I had never read such a silly manipulation of things. And I had never expected that from you, Shekhar.
    Its not only MF Hussain who has no understanding and respect of Hindu culture and art, you should also learn to think from the Hindu perspective. And you can not attack on anyones religion in the name of art. Our religion is equally important to us as your so called nude art is for you.

  43. samson says:

    Shekar, I think u are missing the point here – painting a godess as nude is one thing – showing godesses copulating with animals(Durga & the tigris)/ their abductors( sita & Ravan) / brother(Lakshmi & Ganesh, with 2 Phallic symbols to boot one at the breast & another at the vagina) / with the security guard( Parvati & Nandi, beigh watched by Shiva)
    Is there ANYTHING pure at all about it??? or does it sound perverted???? or maybe you think all of this is pure?
    Ok, lets agree… mother theresa was pure as driven snow, surely she her purity cannot be sullied by a nude image! Fatima was pure as the dry desert winds – surely her purity cannot be sullied by a nude image!! Why the double standards??????
    And why did not “artistic-freedom-loving-Qatar” come to the rescue of Salman Rushdie / Danish Cartooninst / Taslima Nasreen????
    Surely, they do deserve a right to express their talent in a manner they so choose?
    Why should public dis-agreement / censure come in the way of their talents? Especially when they were s fourth / half or whatever the age of Old man Hussain and have their whole lives ahead of them?????
    Why dont you ask these questions too….? they demand an asnwer too, Shekar!

  44. Vinodgupt says:

    Yes, there is difference bertween nude and naked ad there is difference between art and pornography. Of course there is always matter of opinion. There is much art where women are shown in the nude but what Husain is painted is not nude it is naked. In nude art, man’s penis is not shown erect — show me one statue or nude painting where a woman in “nude” is shown sitting on an erect penis — let alone of an animal — even on of a man.
    Husain himslef has said he had shown Hitler in the “nude” to insult him. Why isn’t the same logic applicable to his other paintings. More than Husain’s hypocrisy is the hypocrisy of the secularitii of India. Where are their cries for freedom of artistic expression when it comes to this freedom for Muhammad cartoons — a cartoonist is allowed more freedom in hiscaricatures than an artist. These cartoons were made in the cniotext now prevailing worldwide jihad in the name of Islam, Allah and the Prophet while Husain’s paintings have no context. I don’t remember any of them coming in defence of the Danish cartoonist.
    Comparison of his not painting Islamic icons in th enude is fully valid — does he love his religion of birth? If there is no freedom of exprssion in Islam, as a vangurd of such freedom, isn’t it his duty to fight for it in his religion of birth and life?

  45. mrinzo says:

    Hi Shekhar
    great word and wonderful Essay.
    Understand why you did not reply to many of the comments.
    Our Great Mother does not take sides.
    She protects only the balance of life.
    The above are the golden words spoken by NEYTIRI, in the movie Avatar by James Cameron. Basically this is the most basic nature of God of all religions. Ignorance of this fundamental Truth, by all religions is the cause for religious wars and religious sentiments which we are talking about.
    We people have forgotten this truth because we have always felt that understanding God action is not possible by normal people. We consider it as divine, pure, powerful which need someones help. So ultimately we placed people in between us and God. Human will always do justification for the job placed on him and will ensure he have job forever, the result is that, the real truth is hidden, we were misguided, misinformed.
    Finally now we have placed our God in the hands of politician and start justifying them. It is indeed a scary situation now.
    The Priests hide the truth, the politicians now replaced the truth with sentiments.
    The religion which should have taught this truth did not do that rather than replaced this with sentiments, it asked for sacrifice, it asked for war, it asked for fight.
    We all should be ashamed to be a vicitim of petty politician who created this sentiments and now profiting on it.
    Hell to all Politicians.

  46. exist says:

    Let me define double standard in VHP style.
    here is sample of Sri sri defending unrepentant Modi,in his own words.
    “I don’t comment on individuals because individuals are just part of one wholeness.”
    “Everybody is what you call a nimitta — an instrument of the divine,”
    “So branding someone good or bad or right or wrong and boycotting them is meaningless is useless.”
    “and knowingly or unknowingly something bad might happen from an individual. So when someone does something wrong, don’t hold him a culprit all his life.”
    “If you always keep telling a person of all the negative things all the time, the person gets frustrated.”
    Suddenly he looses all his compassion on this issue.

  47. Rohit says:

    Its like let say for example some one making a painting of a bearded man with half beard and wiping other half…we can then say the painter did it to show both the sides of human (Black and White)….i dont know if the bearded person would be amused or not with this thinking….

  48. Guest says:

    Shekhar, why don’t you paint a picture of your mother in the “nude.” That would really show her purity. If you are not inclined to do so you, let MFH do it for you…

  49. pamidi rajarama rao says:

    Hi Shekar
    Although I have some reservations about MFH’s paintings I follow a dictum… if you dont like something just ignore. Is it too much to ask you just to ignore Ravishanker. We Bangaloreans know his worth. A gas bag. Just ignore.

  50. dev says:

    By the way who is this shit shekar.If he favours another shit MF than he can also leave india and go to qatar and try and make blue films their which he is master at.shit on u sk……

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