I hate diverging from my focus on travel on this blog.
But the events of the past few weeks have forced me to make an exception.
- A reputed gallery threatened for showing a nude art retrospective by renowned Indian artists. (Kudos to Ashish Anand for not buckling under pressure.)
- A ‘Fatwa‘ issued against a teen girl band.
- Salman Rushdie prevented from attending a literary meet.
- A movie banned for scenes found offensive by religious leaders in only one state (mine ) despite being passed by the censor board.
These – more sensational – instances of bullying have been attributed to ‘fringe elements’. But it isn’t these bullies that I am scared of….I expect no less from those ‘empty vessels’
It is the mute liberal bystanders that frighten me.
The thought of these acts possibly being orchestrated by those in power.
Of a government reluctant to take a stand, for fear of letting the opposition gain mileage.
And worse, some of my educated friends who forward chain mails justifying one or the other of these bans!
What is happening to us?
Yesterday watching endless, fruitless debates on TV, my sense of despair reached its absolute nadir, when for just one brief moment, I found myself wishing for emergency rule.
I have no idea how to deal with this on a personal level. This is my token of defiance.
I wish I had a more explicit nude
And I hope against hope, for the children’s sake, that Guruji’s prayer is answered before we implode.
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore