Taliban India sees Hindu groups vandalise art gallery over nudity

The Indian Taliban strikes and how.

 |  3-minute read |   08-12-2016
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The overtly prudish, culturally conservative, and the overtly nationalist Indian is the easiest thing to offend. You breathe and they’ll be sloganeering for you to go back to Pakistan. What's not easy is actually to understand why these individuals would get offended though. Why do they care about some F-words in the AIB Roast, or why would they bother about a nude scene in a movie. Maybe they are built this way. Or maybe they have been conditioned to believe, that anyone who isn’t a completely stuck-up prude in public, is the sworn enemy of Indianness.

These people are the Indian Taliban. They don’t belong to any particular religion. They don’t belong to any particular strata of society. But what they have in common is the unflinching hatred for liberalism, art and generally any form of open-mindedness.

They hate art.

fascism_121016013658.jpg "Anubhav"by London-based painter Radha Binod Sharma. [Photo: India Today]

A group of people, who belong to this Taliban-esque bent of mind, entered the venue of the ongoing Jaipur Art Summit on Thursday, December 8, vandalised paintings and beat up one of the artists. They went as far as taking away one of the paintings displayed at the art fair. And all this, because they were offended by the semi-nude paintings put on display there.

A certain Hemlata Sharma, the president of “Lal Sena” can be seen in the video heavily gesticulating, shouting and trying to justify her vandalism with “does freedom of expression allow you to call this art”? Ma’am, with all due respect, it does. Let's forget about mentioning Kamasutra or Khajuraho to this lady, because what's the point?

The other group responsible for vandalism at this art festival, was Rashtriya Hindu Ekta Manch - yes, yawn, another Hindu right-wing outfit - who have previously take offence to Raju Hirani’s movie PK. While the police say it’s investigating, it’s likely that nothing will come out of this.

art_120816071427.jpg Hemlata Sharma, the president of “Lal Sena” can be seen in the video heavily gesticulating, shouting and trying to justify her vandalism. [Photo: Screengrab]

We as citizens of India, have become too okay with tiny incidents of everyday fascism shoved down our throats. When we have people like Pahlaj Nihalini in the CBFC, issuing cuts in movies because he doesn’t like a particular cuss word, and Venkaiah Naidu, a union minister, feels that we need to go back to "values" in Indian films because the portrayal of obscenity and violence on screen are "hurting" society, who are we to question random right-wing outfits tearing down a few paintings, or threatening to vandalise a few movie theatres?

We have moved on from Shiv Sainiks and Bajrang Dal members vandalising movie theatres because Deepa Mehta’s Fire portrayed un-Indian values like lesbianism. We’ve let them force the very same filmmaker to move to a different country to shoot a film about the ugly truth of child-widows and our treatment of them.

We’ve moved on from India temporarily banning Comedy Central and Fashion TV because they did were “vulgar”. We’ve moved on from a historian’s book on Hinduism being banned because who cares about disproving thing, right?

So why does this little uppity art festival even matter?

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