PAINTER HUSSAIN: From roaring lion to meek mouse

In the film "Meenakshi", made by M.F. Husain, notorious for his controversial paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses, there was a word "Noorun-ul-noor" (light of lights) in one of its lyrics. The Muslim clerics believe that the word from the Quran is indicative of Prophet Mohammed. Therefore' an Islamic council issued a fatwa(religious decree) that the film 'Meenakshi' commits blasphemy of Islam.


Husain did not dare to oppose the fatwa. Without much ado, he quietly lifted the film from cinema halls. Contrast it: a few years ago, some workers of 'Vishwa Hindu Parishad' had protested against the paintings of goddess Saraswati in nude and he had roared like a lion in an interview given to 'India Today' (October 1996)- "They are fools. I can laugh at them.... such people should have been put in prison". But when the Muslims protested against his film, the roaring lion was reduced to mouse.


In two similar situations, Husain has reacted differently. When Hindus protest against reviling of their religion, he roared like a lion' But when Muslims accused him of sacrilegious conduct against Islam, he did not even moan like a goat.


When Husain had reviled Hindu gods/goddesses, then hundreds of Marxists and pseudo-secularists had raised the banner of 'creative freedom' in his support' They under the garb of creative freedom of an artist did justified his most obnoxious crime against Hindu sensibility. But when Muslims objected to denigration of their religious sensibility, their silence was deafening. They quietly took refuge in their mouse-holes. Why? Marxist writers and journalists know that one can abuse Hindus as much as one may like. Hindus just cannot react beyond a point, they have suffered such slanders for over a thousand years. They are used to it'


Marxists and pseudo-secularists also know that Muslims cannot take lying down any insult to their religion. Muslims know how to settle scores' without loss of any time. Whereas Hindus have lived with constant humiliation and revilement for a thousand years, Muslims have always avenged all blasphemies against their religion.


The 10th century, Sufi saint Mansur-al-Hajjaj had declared "An-al-Huq" (I am the truth). It is contrary to the Muslim belief. According to Islam, only Allah is the truth. Therefore, the Khalifa (Isamics) ruled that by calling himself 'The Truth", Mansoor-al-Hajjaj has committed the blasphemy and ordered him to be beheaded"


According to Muslim historian Farishta, in the year 1499 AD, Sultan Sikander Shah Lodi received a complaint that one Brahmin named Bodhan was teaching people that both Hinduism and Islam were the same, and "those Hindus and Muslims who follow their respective religions faithfully, are equally acceptable to God. Sikander Lodi convened a meeting of top Muslim scholars and divines of his time. They, with one voice, declared it to be blasphemous to Islam. Bodhan was executed'


According to historian Sir Jadunath Sarkar, in the year 1660, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the execution of Mohammed Tahir' a Shia working in his court as "Diwan' for committing of blasphemy of the first three 'Khalifas' of Islam.

In the early years of 20ft century, one Mahashay Rajpal had got published the biography of Prophet Mohammed. It was based on facts' But it was considered to be anti-Islam by Muslims and Rajpal was assassinated.


During the twenties of the last century, Swami Shraddhanand started reconverting those Muslims to Hinduism, who had earlier been converted to Islam. It was construed to be blasphemous to Islam and the Swami was killed'

Salman Rushdi, the author of 'satanic Verses' had to live in shadow of death for years, following the 'fatwas' of death issued by Ayotulla Khomeni of Iran for blaspheming Islam. For similar charge of blasphemy of Islam' Taslima Nasreen, the Bangla Deshi author had to escape her country and take refuge in other countries.


The pseudo-secularists and painter Husain are fully aware of the punishment that is meted out to those who insult Islam. Therefore, they do not dare to oppose lslamic 'fatwas' or lampoon it. Against the aggressive might of Muslims, Hindus are of no consequence, the slavery of a thousand years has crushed their self-confidence, their courage and self-esteem. At the most, they would make some noise, raises a med stand, wield 'lathhi' in wilderness and sneak back to their holes. For this reason, neither the pseudo-secularists nor Hindu masses are unduly disturbed by the deliberate outrage of Hindu religion or sensibility by Husain's paintings of a naked Sita perched on a naked thigh of Rawan, or maimed Vishnu or disrobed Krishna.


But it was no less than a miracle when 'timid', 'cowardly' and 'timorous' Hindu masses stood up and protested against the abominable depiction of 'Sita' and Saraswati' by Husain. In support of Husain, 'Sahmat' the cultural wing of CPM (Communist Party Marxist) and other Marxist and Congress affiliated intellectuals ganged up. They organized press-conferences, issued statements, took delegations to the President of India etc. They abused those who objected to Husain's controversial paintings, and declared that opposition to Husain is prompted by politics of communalism. They perceived the apparition of fascism. They heard the faint sound of incoming foot-steps of fascism.


Hindu-bashing and opposition to democracy is part of the history of Communists in India. They betrayed the freedom movement in 1942 and sided with British. They supported the Muslim League in its demand for the partition of the country. When China invaded India in 196.2 their sympathies were with China. When in 1975, Indira Gandhi sabotaged democracy and promulgated Emergency, they were with Indira Gandhi.


It should not surprise anybody that the Communists and their fellow travelers were in the forefront of those who justified the obnoxious paintings of Husain that outraged Hindu sensibility. But when Husain was accused by Muslims of outraging Islamic sensibility, their voice got muted. Both Husain and the pseudo- secularists knew the fate of those who dare to offend the Islamic sensitivity. Therefore, they had stifled their voices and meekly submitted to the Islamic Diktat. Husain quietly withdrew the film from cinema halls.

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