Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Secular intellectuals throw down the gauntlet

Some of you may be familiar with the story about Asia House's recent cancellation of the MF Husain exhibition, at the request (or rather demand) of the "Hindu Human Rights Campaign". It was reported in Nick Cohen's observer column, which includes reports of claims from supporters of the closure campaign, that the exhibition is offensive to the sensibilities of UK Hindus.

Now, if you are a UK Hindu, you may be wondering exactly who the Hindu Human Rights Campaign are, and who appointed them as your representatives. You certainly didn't vote for them, and unless you happen to have met one of them, you probably haven't discussed your views on art with them, either. For that matter, if you're an Indian citizen, being part of a nation that at its last general election threw out a religious-communalist BJP-led government in favour of a Congress-led secular one, you might also find it odd that the politics of religion has any sway at all in the UK.

As it happens, it would seem that over 40 British-based South Asian academics thought exactly the same thing, and they've written an open letter, which was published in the Guardian amongst other places, urging that the exhibition be reopened, and telling a few home truths about self-appointed so-called "community leaders" in the UK:

"The Hindu Forum of Britain and Hindu Human Rights accuse Asia House of not ‘consulting’ with them before putting up the exhibition. But they are not democratically-elected representatives of Hindu populations or opinion in the UK and represent little beyond their limited and chauvinistic political agendas."

That's telling 'em, guys. Good luck to you all, and more power to your elbows.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home