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#TheDailyToast: Bring back the political artist

Gayatri Jayaraman
Gayatri JayaramanOct 26, 2015 | 09:14

#TheDailyToast: Bring back the political artist

Like a paint company that wants to control where the brush may go, self-important Lego decided this week it wouldn't give Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei bulk order bricks. "No biggie", Twitter shrugged, and started sending in their own used bricks, effectively crowd-sourcing Ai Weiwei's work for him. In denial of media, political personages are born. Though for Ai Weiwei, that probably began when he found bugs in his Beijing studio. Or I dunno, maybe when he was arrested and cannot leave jail for a year.

In India, in the meanwhile, artistic sensibilities who survived the Emergency, namely Gulzar, came out of his reclusive pointedly not-bugged studio in Boskiana on Pali Hill, to declare that he too, is now a dissident. The rest of the film industry came out in droves to support Rupa Subramanya being Rupa Subramanya, was more than happy to point out that he failed to be one when his Aandhi was being censored during the Emergency and he in fact, has called Indira Gandhi "a symbol of courage and determination"

This of course is right wing whataboutery, as liberals well know. You know, like the Kashmiri Pandits or 1984. Which either never happened or does not matter that they happened, like the Emergency, because all that matters is now. (What is it that's happening again? We're protesting how dangerous it is to protest? Oh right. Never mind).

It is clear then, from all the non-arrested, non-exiled artists in a furious state of open protest that India is facing its worst crisis in decades. Voices muffled... Oh no wait that mouth band was voluntary... Um... Writers unable to write (well, I don't mean to be rude, but you have to sit at the table and just keep at it...) books pulled from shelves... Um... Sorry what? Links... Er... No can find... But then... He he... We are moving away from a data-based society, you know, one where we no longer use fact to base opinions on but the general feeling of dissiliency. Based on no crackdown by the State. I tell you, you need to feel it. It's an artistic movement.

Kargaltsev, gay Russian artist in exile, like the Pussy Riot and Voina, in the meanwhile, are confused as to what, exactly, has occurred that constitutes the muffling of Indian voices. Hey hey hey. Asking that question is a clear vicious fascist crackdown on the right to protest here not to mention an assault on the pristine halo-fed image of the kurta-clad poet artist... Who is not averse to using that image to advantage depending on whether it's Sonia Gandhi or his daughter in front of him... Ask Charudutt Acharya... How dare you question these liberal totems.

Someone bring back Sahir Ludhianvi. Or Ismat Chugtai. Or anyone really, who carries a memory of what real oppression looks like. And what protest and dissent stand for.

Except, nobody knows anymore which side of the divide they are singing for. Except, maybe no one has noticed yet, but everyone's playing on the same team and scoring own goals.

By the way, how's that Kalburgi investigation going? (... Whaddya mean nobody really knows?)

Last updated: October 26, 2015 | 13:37
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