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Posts Tagged ‘Desert Bloc’

Pakistan – An alienating identity

September 28, 2011 9 comments

What has gone wrong? A question that many Pakistanis ask. And a few honest answers filter through.

Three nuclear powers - cheek by jowl.|  The Equalizer cartoon by David Horsey; published - May 28, 2002 in Seattlepi.com / SL   |  Click for image.

Three nuclear powers – cheek by jowl.| The Equalizer cartoon by David Horsey; published – May 28, 2002 in Seattlepi.com / SL | Click for image.

Fault Lines

Pakistan may have silently accepted that the premise of Pakistan’s nationhood was wrong.

Apart from a few ‘desperate’ bonzos, Pakistanis feel bad at the plight of their nation. The destructive rhetoric of Us vs Them, symbolic of the Desert Bloc, dries up in the hot sands of genocide, poverty, crime.

Unlike भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

This extract below, from a Pakistani newspaper, asks some tough questions.

First, we alienated ourselves from Hindu community because we were Muslims, and then we kept on alienating millions of our own (the Eastern wing, followed by the peripheral groups including the Baloch, Seraiki, Sindhi and the religious minorities) in trying to prove that we were Muslims.

An answer that Pakistanis are asking - and one day will get. (Cartoon by Don Wright; source and courtesy - thuklak.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

An answer that Pakistanis are asking – and one day will get. (Cartoon by Don Wright; source and courtesy – thuklak.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

How ‘Pakistani’ would the relatives of Habib Jalib,those martyred at Ali Hajweri shrine and the Ahmedi worship places be feeling, or for that matter the IDPs from Swat, the separatists from Balochistan, and the millions of peasants and wage labourers, who despite their right to vote our incapable of bringing material improvements in their lives, is anybody’s guess. (via An alienating identity – The Express Tribune Blog).

And Tripwires

And the answer to these questions.

On an India-Pakistan Forum, the idea of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has started getting discussed – and outlined.

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra is India’s classical political ideology, that worked on four freedoms –

  • धर्म (dharma – justice)
  • अर्थ (arth – wealth and means)
  • काम (kaam – human desires)
  • मोक्ष (moksha – liberty)

and guaranteed three rights –

  • ज़र (jar – gold)
  • जन (jan – human ties)
  • जमीन (jameen – property)

For all. And Bharattantra may be the way forward for India and Pakistan to work together, in the view of some forum members.

War On Terror – Desert Bloc Style

September 25, 2011 3 comments

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. |  Short URL for Source  - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. | Short URL for Source - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone of the need for war, killing, death and destruction. Frenzied activity by people and media to convince each other did the job.

Convince each other

A reading or search on the internet, about Saddam Hussein’s killings and genocide, reveals feverish discussions. At one internet forum after another forum, participants were quoting a non-existent report to convince each other.

Based on cyber-fluff. Circular references. At the centre of which, is a cyber vacuüm.

शून्य. Nul. Zéro. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. Cero.零. Darkness. Nothing. Zilch.

Saddam’s war with Iran, at the behest and encouragement of the West, was painted as ‘human-rights’ violations. Death of soldiers in any war, cannot be equated to civilian casualties. Soldiers are going to war, armed to the teeth, with eyes wide open, knowing fully well, that it is a case of kill or get killed.

The alphabet soup behind this

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone. Frenzied activity by people to convince each other of the need for war, killing, death and destruction did the job.

Wonder who created these viral and circular links, (now dead, but live at some time) on the web, without any source or existence. Which of the American agencies – CIA FBI, NSA, DEA, DOE, Bureau of ATF, DIA, NRO, NIMA, CTC. NPC. INR. DOE Intel., Army Intelligence et al?

But let us assume that vox americanum populi, vox dei (Voice of the American people is the voice of god), and accept the figure of less than 600,000 deaths under Saddam Hussein.

Ten years later

After the bombing of twin towers, on September 11, 2001, there has been much official sentiment and sanctity.

How much of that is real and balanced?

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Slice of life

Three images capture an ‘objective’ and factual way of looking at the last ten years.

One was an ‘infographic’ presentation by New York Times (fig.1), that has been doing the rounds on the internet.

The slick presentation using an attractive and thin graphic, calculated the US$ trillions that these wars are costing. As though, it was American money, to start with.

Iraqi money and Iraqi oil was being used to kill Iraqi civilians – and then an accounting done on that money, as though it was American money. The Nordhaus report, used by the nytimes.com, says,

Iraq’s oil resources could satisfy current U.S. oil imports for almost a century.

Real people

Two Western estimates, of deaths in Iraq, (extrapolations from Lancet/John Hopkins estimate), and the statistical report by ORB (Operations Research Business) used a statistical sampling method.

A figure of one million Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualties has been arrived at by this estimation method. An estimation method commonly used and usually accepted.

Documented and cross verified reports by the Iraq Body Count, count more than a 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. To all those believe that only the Body Count report is good enough, I wonder why they don’t use the same standard for figures about deaths due to Saddam’s atrocities.

Whatever number one may chose, it is important to use the same standard. Saddam, it seems was a lesser evil.

Saddam killed far fewer Iraqis than the Americans have.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

Does it matter

Of the nearly 1 million undocumented and estimated Iraqis dead or the documented 100,000 Iraqis dead, the number does not matter. Both the numbers, are huge numbers.

Not that this is the first time. After killing 20 lakh Vietnamese, the American Empire (and its respectable mouth-piece, Time magazine) only counts its own 60,000 killed. In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5,000 dead.

It is this part of the behaviour that is most revealing. Is self absorption an imperial trait?

Imperial Traits

The British Empire till well after its death, continued (s) to remain self-absorbed. As though other people did not exist, do not matter. Twentieth century, British writing about India, had deteriorated to pure drivel. Best epitomised by Chirol – Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (28 May 1852 – 22 October 1929).

In case of Pax America, in an earlier Cold-War era, this self-absorption was marked by books like The Ugly American – which sold 5 million copies, in a nation of some fifty million households. Since, the writing of The Ugly American, the self-absorption has only deepened.

This self-absorption screams through these three images linked to this post.

Image no.1 – About my money. It was Iraqi oil and Iraqi money, by the way. A message to David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau Chief of nytimes.com, evoked no response.

Image no.2 – Talks about my social position. If every month, hundreds of people, are blowing themselves up, there has gotta be a bigger problem, than your social position. Stop looking at Muslims. Look at yourself.

Image no.3 – About my trophies.

Do more words and more bombs, make the War on Islam, OK?

What to do

Possibly, all this killing and war is my problem, in my mind. Who is to blame, if I was brought up, believing,

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्।

तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा: मा गृध: कस्यस्विद्धनम्।।

(God resides in all; All this here, is permeated by Brahman [The Supreme Soul], whatever there is in this world. Enjoy things by renunciation. Do not covet others’ wealth. – Ishopanishad; Shloka 1; note alternate translation comment below.).

How I wish, I could erase this shloka from my head!

The Leader Of The Free World …

September 4, 2011 3 comments

After putting two million people in jail and behind bars, I would imagine, The US of A, would have had enough. Apparently not.

Will one more make a difference? (Cartoon by Steve Greenberg; courtesy - cartoonstock.com). Click for source image.

Will one more make a difference? (Cartoon by Steve Greenberg; courtesy - cartoonstock.com). Click for source image.

There is something to this

The Leader of The Free World, The USA, has the largest prison population in the world.

Just why do so many people need to be in prison?

Just why does this Land of the Free have so much crime?

Why is the Leader of The Free World also the global capital of drug addicts?

Why does have the highest per-capita of prostitutes in the world?

With two million people in jail, the largest prison population in the world, law authorities would be reluctant to add more prisoners. The US of A would have had enough, one would think.

(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bvblackspin.com; other credits embedded). Click for larger image.

(Cartoon courtesy - http://www.bvblackspin.com; other credits embedded). Click for larger image.

After spending 10 months in custody for a drug conviction rapper T.I headed straight back to jail, last night. The 30-year-old star was taken back into federal custody after he was transported in a luxury tour bus.

Cameras were recording the rapper as he was traveling to southern state as part of a documentary he is filming for VH1, which will chronicle his comeback from his prison time. According to authorities, inmates still under custody in low or medium security are allowed to travel in transport without an escort from prison to halfway houses, but they must specify what type of vehicle they will be using.

According to reports, T.I. did not disclose the exact nature of his method of transport, mentioning to officials he was traveling in a van instead of a party bus.

Meanwhile, the rapper’s wife Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle,  has been left furious about the situation, and told that police officials knew about her husband’s mode of transport and even posed for pictures with the rapper in front of the bus.

She said that they: ‘Walked him over, took pics and told him good luck in life.’. She believes that they should have said something before he left the Arkansas prison. ‘This is a bunch of bulls**t … they should have said something before he got on the bus … T.I. would have politely gotten into a van,’ she said. (via Rapper T.I. heads back to prison just one day after his release… following a trip to a halfway house on a luxury tour bus | Mail Online).

Did Rapper TI have to go back to jail for taking a ‘bus’ instead of a ‘van’? There is more to this.

Much more.

Kashmir – How US Supported Pakistan Subversion

August 25, 2011 1 comment

Patrick French’s recent tweets are interesting footnotes to India’s tortured foreign policy, lurching between Nehru-Eisenhower friendship, to the US-Western support for Pakistan’s anti-India activities.

An Englishman named French

Patrick French has written two successful books on India – and is seen as another well-intentioned Indo-phile. His rather patronizing view of Indian leadership (refers to Indian MPs as HMPs – hereditary MPs) has become rather famous in Indian media. Unfortunately his view of Indian MPs as HMPs – hereditary MPs) displays a singular lack in understanding of Western demographics – and Indian society.

But then, he can be equally good, when he is mocking Michael Heseltine’s daughter, too!

Behind the bizarre policies of the Pakistani State are the dollars and mal-intentions of Pax Americana. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 15th April, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Behind the bizarre policies of the Pakistani State are the dollars and mal-intentions of Pax Americana. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 15th April, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Soldiers of fortune

Such as his ‘understanding’ is, he has been smart enough to hitch his career to Rising India than  Empty-Shell Britain, his native country.

Much like his other British colleague, William Dalrymple. Or British ‘traders’ who came to India to make a living – and later, looted, instead.

India’s new religion

The Dalrymples and the Frenchs receive a rather warm welcome in India due to their soft-push of liberal-progressive ideas. The same ideas that are behind India’s new religion – Westernization.

So enamored with the new religion of ‘Westernization’ are Indians, that no criticism is accepted or tolerated.

The ‘progressive liberal’ establishment of the West is viewed benignly in India – and seen as ‘well wishers’ of India. Many such ideas are welcomed in India without analysis, as the source of such initiatives is seen as well-intentioned. A ‘tolerant’ and ‘open’ society like India can be a complacent victim to Trojan horses.

After the dust settles

Much like how Marathas continued to ‘accept’ Mughal position of rulers of India, long after the claim had expired. Modern India too, accepts Western ‘achievements’. Compared to the ‘co-operation’ with the Islāmic plunderers our ‘collaboration’ with the West is in no way less damaging or in any way less culpable.

In this context, French’s report of this conversation is a rather interesting and independent confirmation of rather malignant (OK, unfriendly, if you will) Western intentions regarding India.


Desi Nostalgia For British Raj

July 26, 2011 2 comments
The conversation between Indian Swaraj Snake and the British Snake Charmer - Snake: I had hoped for something more congenial from this new instrument. Secretary for India: The Instrument may be new but I don't propose to change the tune just yet. Meanwhile you've got to be charmed with it, wether you like it or not. Note: British cartoon from Punch magazine, featuring British Labour Government as a Snake Charmer, the snake is called Swaraj which was the India Home Rule movement. (Image source and courtesy - collectorsprints.com.).

The conversation between Indian Swaraj Snake and the British Snake Charmer – Snake: I had hoped for something more congenial from this new instrument. Secretary for India: The Instrument may be new but I don’t propose to change the tune just yet. Meanwhile you’ve got to be charmed with it, wether you like it or not. Note: British cartoon from Punch magazine, featuring British Labour Government as a Snake Charmer, the snake is called Swaraj which was the India Home Rule movement. (Image source and courtesy – collectorsprints.com.).

Raj nostalgia among Indians

Many of the old Indian élite miss the British Raj. For its opulence, pomp, show and glitter. Forgetting, that the British Raj was built on groaning famines and grinding poverty.

The numbing atrocities were a bonus from the British Raj.

Raj legacy?

For glorification of the British Raj, Indian railways remains the favorite prop of the Raj elites and loyalists. A recent instance is a post on Indian railways that ends without once using the word British.

The writer Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, in his syndicated column remembers ‘a childhood spent in railway colonies’ when ‘trains were always on time’. This is not a fact and not even fiction.

So, where does Shri Datta-Ray gets his info from?

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray uses ‘instincts’ to illuminate us with his journalistic ‘revelations.’

Dens of iniquity

Indian railway systems of 20th century, during and after the British Raj, became increasingly notorious for accidents, lack of punctuality, high costs; and horribly elitist. This state of affairs continued for about four decades after Independence. It took LB Shastri’s resignation to bring home the fact that the responsibility for these accidents lay at the highest level – and not at at the end of rope.

While Sunanda K. Datta-Ray glorifies colonial railways (cocoons of permit and privilege) modern trains, faster and better, are dismissed as ‘upstarts of the railroad.’ Any which way, there is no satisfying Sunanda K Datta-Ray. He just cannot find anything good in modern India.

At least not in modern Indian railways.

In Britain, governing India was never seen as easy - and an intractable problem. (Churchill on the Problem Indian Elephant, with 'India Problem' across the elephants' forehead. Artist: Leonard Raven-Hill. Published in Punch Magazine - 8 March 1933. Source and courtesy - punchcartoons.com.). Click for source image.

In Britain, governing India was never seen as easy – and an intractable problem. (Churchill on the Problem Indian Elephant, with ‘India Problem’ across the elephants’ forehead. Artist: Leonard Raven-Hill. Published in Punch Magazine – 8 March 1933. Source and courtesy – punchcartoons.com.). Click for source image.

While people like Sunanda K. Datta-Ray were put up at ‘a good restaurant with khansamas in crisply beplumed turbans and gleaming brass medallions’, the paying underclass (like most of us), had to make do with Third Class ‘facilities’ – and treatment.

Dim lights, no fans, windows without safety grill, seats without even a cushion, dirty toilets and floors, corrupt TTEs, obsolete rolling stock, crumbling tracks, malfunctioning signal systems.

All the benefits of the Raj. The works.

Times change

Strangely, Shri Datta-Ray thinks that the removal of the viceregal saloon means ‘trains have been downgraded,’ and it is ‘likely that so have the rails and supporting infrastructure.’ Maybe, Datta-Ray should look up the meaning of non-sequitur.

Viceregal saloons were removed from Indian trains, because the successor to the British Viceroy uses a jet aircraft.

Plus the egalitarian impulse asserting itself. Notice the steady increase in ‘General Compartments’? Add voter-orientation. Instead of catering to an odd full-fare passenger in luxury class, it is more profitable to look after millions of economy class passengers.

Surrounded by servants, positions acquired by loot, power by massacres, the surviving elite pine for the age gone by. (Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers, image source and courtesy - allposters.com). Click for source image.

Surrounded by servants, positions acquired by loot, power by massacres, the surviving elite pine for the age gone by. (Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers, image source and courtesy – allposters.com). Click for source image.

Clearly, the focus during the British Raj was more on the comforts of the extracting elites, rather than on the economically declining masses. No wonder, ‘the main platform at Howrah used to be ablaze with the movers and shakers of the world.’

Metalosaurus

Railway engines that Sunanda K.Datta-Ray so lovingly talks about, were decrepit steam engines that were left by the British Raj.

Only in India. Iron hulks that clanked and wheezed their way to oblivion. Elephants were used for ‘handshunting’ – as shunting engines were not available. Sometimes humans too. Ramshackle steam engines pulled collapsing bogies, over crumbling bridges, on tracks that needed replacement. All this on trains that were late – and engines of corruption.

Life of leisure, massacre, extortion, servants, luxury, it is not surprising that some are nostalgic for that exploitative past. ((Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers. Image source and courtesy - collectorsprints.com). Click for source image.

Life of leisure, massacre, extortion, servants, luxury, it is not surprising that some are nostalgic for that exploitative past. ((Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers. Image source and courtesy – collectorsprints.com). Click for source image.

Seen from below, the railway underbelly was quite unlike Sunanda’s rose-tinted view from railway colonies.

Losers’ lament

Old elites, shoved aside after undue ceremony, isolate and magnify ‘consequences of mismanagement’ in post-colonial India. Diluting achievements of post-colonial India, the old elites confuse the legacy of ‘a creaking bullock cart packed with diseased and malnourished people’ that modern India inherited from the British Raj. Reluctantly, they admit the reality, of ‘an India trundling to the moon.’

As if the preceding ‘management’ was superior. India’s new élite, powered by voter-pandering and industrial oligarchies, is the current flavor of ‘mismanagement.’ It has overseen India climb out of the hell-hole of British Raj.

Step-by-excruciating-step – an unparalleled feat in world history.

A British magistrate 'surrounded' by 'supplicant' natives. How the British Empire 'brought' civilization to India? (Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers. Image source and courtesy - books.google.com). Click for source publication.

A British magistrate ‘surrounded’ by ‘supplicant’ natives. How the British Empire ‘brought’ civilization to India? (Image from “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station”; Published 1859; written by George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers. Image source and courtesy – books.google.com). Click for source publication.

Old vs New

The earlier ‘management’, made-up of British overlords and Indian ‘sepoys’, releases a steady drip of deprecatory commentary. Now stripped of privilege, preferences, privacies, built at the expense of cornered and huddled Indian masses, the Indo-British élite has seen itself decline into obscurity and inconsequential.

Left to maunder over their decline, the discarded élite fall back on evaporating nostalgia, using  a ‘manufactured’ past, for running down a ‘better’ India. Taking aim at present pock-marked India, against a ‘doomsday’ tomorrow is always an easy shot.

As Hindu, Muslim and Sikh tigers tore each other, departing British rulers hoped that they will be called back soon - as 'Only The British' could 'rule' over India. (The Rope Trick. Artist: Leslie Illingworth. Published in Punch Magazine - 28 May 1947; Source and courtesy - punchcartoons.com). Click for image source.

As Hindu, Muslim and Sikh tigers tore each other, departing British rulers hoped that they will be called back soon – as ‘Only The British’ could ‘rule’ over India. (The Rope Trick. Artist: Leslie Illingworth. Published in Punch Magazine – 28 May 1947; Source and courtesy – punchcartoons.com). Click for image source.

Especially compared to the horrors of the British Raj.

MF Husain was Hindu

July 3, 2011 3 comments
M. F. Hussain gets Qatar nationality announces the editor of Hindu - N. Ram (Image courtesy - hindu.com). Click for larger image

M. F. Hussain gets Qatar nationality announces the editor of Hindu - N. Ram (Image courtesy - hindu.com). Click for larger image

Says Pritish Nandy

Maqbool Fida Hussain never said ‘I am a ‘Hindu”. Yet, Pritish Nandy insists on claiming Hussain for ‘Hinduism’. But then, Pritish Nandy for one is not a ‘Hindu’ – in mind, spirit or thought.

Not, if he cannot understand, that what Pritish Nandy calls ‘Hinduism’ does not require everyone to go by One book, belong to One Faith, worship One god or believe in any One thing. ‘Hinduism’ would have been absolutely comfortable with MF Hussain being a Muslim. And everyone includes Maqbool Fida Hussain also.

‘Hinduism’ does not believe or accept that it  is ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ to any other body of belief. The only one thing that ‘Hinduism’ does not accept is अधर्म adharma. Injustice to any man.

Everything else goes.

‘Hinduism’ is public property

At this point here, Farrukh Dhondy joins the debate. Dhondy implies ‘Hinduism’ is public property. MF Hussain has a perfect right to do whatever he wants with ‘Hinduism’ – believes our Mr.Dhondy.

When Mother Teresa became an object of media-adulation, Hussain turned to Moter Teresa. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com.) Click for larger image.

When Mother Teresa became an object of media-adulation, Hussain turned to Moter Teresa. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com.) Click for larger image.

The Hindus don’t have a single book and certainly not one that sanctions attacks for depicting one or the other goddess and using an imaginary or live model’s form and features to do it. Those who hounded MF were barking up the wrong walking stick.

It has happened before. Raja Ravi Verma was castigated, mobbed and prosecuted for using his mistress as a model for paintings of Hindu goddesses and heroines from the epics. Ketan Mehta’s film may shed some light on how and why a notion of heresy invaded the beliefs of Hinduism.  Hinduism, should be free from such an idea.

The demolition of the temple of Somnath may be seen as insults and affronts to the communities that built them and worshipped there but not in any sense is it heresy. Breaking icons is certainly insulting. But surely MF Husain was making them? (via Indian idol maker – Hindustan Times; parts excised for brevity).

Logically, Dhondy must understand that all idol-breaking or form-distortion can happen only at ‘Hindu’ sufferance – or tolerance, if you wish. ‘Hindu’ intellectual capital is available – at no cost.

To subscribers only.

23-May After Mamata Banerjee’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections, MF Hussain sent a sketch to Hindustan Times. (Image courtesy - hindustantimes.com). Click for larger image.

23-May After Mamata Banerjee’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections, MF Hussain sent a sketch to Hindustan Times. (Image courtesy - hindustantimes.com). Click for larger image.

No ‘free’ lunch at ‘Hindu’ expense

I don’t subscribe to FT.com. I don’t talk-up, talk-down, talk-about FT.com. FT.com does not want me. Separate ways. Good for both of us.

Same thing with ‘Hinduism’, I thought.

Without being a subscriber to ‘Hinduism’, others can use, accept ‘Hindu’ ideas, concepts, standards, clearly at ‘Hindu’ sufferance. Especially if an ‘artist’ wishes to make commercial profit by using ‘Hindu’ capital. Maqbool Fida Hussain wants to combine ‘Hindu’ sufferance, (or tolerance, maybe broad-mindedness), with Islāmic sensitivity (blasphemy, no idols and portraits), for his personal gain.

Hussain painted freely and frankly – nude goddesses, dark monks, rib-lined horses, elephants playing veenas, nations in distress – in canvases executed with style and showmanship, spreading artistic excitement across society.

But never an Islāmic theme – unless you want to count Meenaxi as an Islāmic theme! Why?

Now, Maqbool Fida Hussain used and adopted Islāmic standards, when it came to Islām. He should have stayed with Islāmic standards. Don’t portray any gods and goddesses.

MF Hussain sketches Madhuri Dixit from the film - Dil to Pagal Hai.

MF Hussain sketches Madhuri Dixit from the film - Dil to Pagal Hai.

Even Maqbool Fida Hussain cannot be chalk and cheese.

Everything to everyone

Maqbool Fida Hussain rode on the coat tails of  every media-star to gain publicity for himself. Vijay Tendulkar to Madhuri Dixit, Anushka Sharma to Mother Teresa. From Prabhu Deva to MS Subbalakshmi. He quickly made out a silly painting of Mamta Banerji’s election victory in Bengal – to keep himself in media-focus.

Maqbool Fida Hussain has always blown in whichever direction, the wind blows. He tried to be an admirer of playwright Tendulkar (and Sakharam Binder) when Vijay Tendulkar was bigger than Sachin Tendulkar – and supported Indira Gandhi’s Emergency when she was in power. Nandyभाई, Maqbool Fida Hussain cannot be ‘Hindu’ in spirit – and admire Mother Teresa’s blatant superior ‘Christian conversion’ therapy for  inferior ‘Hindus’.

Year - 2006; Bharatmata (Mother India) as a nude woman displayed at an exhibition by Nafisa Ali - an actress-turned-social-worker. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Year - 2006; Bharatmata (Mother India) as a nude woman displayed at an exhibition by Nafisa Ali - an actress-turned-social-worker. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Did I miss MF Hussain standing up for artistic freedom of the Prophet Mohammed cartoonist – or oppose Sarkozy’s hijab ban? Not a word in support of Salman Rushdie? Or why his ‘voluntary’ restraint from subjects that Islam forbids – which was Maqbool Fida Hussain’s own religion?

Did I see a single painting by Maqbool Fida Hussain on Muslim themes – maybe a Battle of Karbala, or Prophet Mohammed’s return to Mecca? Why is it that he wanted all his ‘freedom’ to caricature भारत माता Bharat-mata (Mother India) and ‘teen-deviyaan’?

In India, against ‘Hindus’?

In Qatar he found freedom

Maqbool Fida Hussain, in the same breath, cannot admire भारत माता Bharat-mata, take Qatari citizenship, and in death prefer to be buried in London (actually just outside London). By these actions, Maqbool Fida Hussain proved that all his claims of ‘artistic’ integrity and ‘artistic’ freedom were that much hot air. India lost nothing. It was for Maqbool Fida Hussian to decide if he was losing anything, by going away from भारत माता Bharat-mata.

Maqbool Fida Hussain choice of Qatar as his new country of residence, would not have given him more freedom. Qatar (pop. 3,00,000 lakhs approx.) is slightly larger than Maqbool Fida Hussain’s hometown of Pandharpur (pop. 1,00,000 approx.) but has a GDP which is 10% of India’s GDP – anchored to oil earnings. Did he raise his voice against Qatar’s support to Saudi Arabian troops sent to crush dissent in Bahrain? Or against the forced deportation by Qatar, of Libyan dissident, Eman al-Obeidi – back to Benghazi, Libya?

Picasso’s Art & Practices

Picasso’s (1881-1973) greatest skill was in his self publicity and the way the prices for his paintings were managed. This publicity and price manipulation operation was initially managed by promoters like André Level of the La Peau de l’Ours Art Club (Skin of the Bear group) – for a 20% cut to the artist. Picasso dealt with a number of agents initially – but mainly, Clovis Sagot, Ambroise Vollard, Wilhelm Uhde and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.

Later this promotions were managed by Picasso himself and Paul Rosenberg, his chief agent and a close cabal of people who used media effectively. First among 20th century artists, ‘Picasso was a gifted self-publicist who knew the rules of media manipulation. He openly encouraged a few hand-picked photographers to inhabit the house and studio.’

Family of Saltimbanques |  Pablo Picasso  |  1905 |  Chester Dale Collection 1963.10.190   | Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC  | Click for larger image.

Family of Saltimbanques | Pablo Picasso | 1905 | Chester Dale Collection 1963.10.190 | Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC | Click for larger image.

He fairly flattened journalists by the display of his wealth and connections. Nearly forty years later, Christian Zervos, an art historian and writer, recalls Picasso’s wealth, kept in the vaults of Banque de France. After the Great Depression, when many great fortunes in Europe and USA, had been wiped out, Picassos wealth was in ‘packages, piled one atop another to the height, say, of Picasso . . . And do you know what there was inside? Banknotes! Yes, sir, banknotes, the largest denomination that existed in France then, which was enormous.’

Picasso was an ‘extremely rich and famous man who came pretty near to doing whatever he wanted. The Picasso of the 1920s could charm the king of Spain, mesmerise Proust, shrug off Hemingway. He was news wherever he appeared.’ He could switch between various styles – and painted in ‘Neoclassical styles’ to attract “the patronage of aristocratic circles he encountered through his friendships with two impresarios, the poet Jean Cocteau and Eugenia Errazuriz, a woman of great taste and social prestige.’

Not above making compromises between cubism and surrealism, as his buyers and patrons wanted, he rarely gave press conferences. Instead he plied impresarios, journalists with his socializing, and with his ‘uncanny party trick of drawing a portrait upside-down while sitting opposite its subject so that, as the drawing unfolded, it would appear right-side-up to his inevitably amused subject.’ Hundreds of these Picasso drawings and sketches are scattered across Europe and USA, which he gave way for free.

Femme aux cheveux jaunes, December 1931 | From the Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, New York/Gagosian Gallery | Image courtesy - online.wsj.com | Click for larger image.

Femme aux cheveux jaunes, December 1931 | From the Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, New York/Gagosian Gallery | Image courtesy - online.wsj.com | Click for larger image.

In this he was ably assisted by the presence of his ballerina wife, Olga Khokhlova, a pretty ballerina from St Petersburg, with Diaghlieff’s ballet company, and his agent Paul Rosenberg.

Paul Rosenburg (also an agent of Georges Braque and Henri Matisse) left behind a huge fortune in paintings. Even after losing a vast number of these paintings to the Nazis. Through his son, Alexandre, Paul Rosenberg is the grandfather-in-law of one-time IMF chief, Dominique Strauss Kahn. Picasso’s other significant agents were Ambroise Vollard, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Leonce Rosenberg, and Georges Wildenstein.

Picasso’s mistress of eight years, Marie-Thérèse Walter (who he met at a Paris Metro station) and his wife were also the subject of his many paintings. In recent times, Picasso has even been compared to Princess Diana for his self-publicity. The many women in Picasso’s life added a patina of glamour that many of his competitors lacked.

The French artist Fernande Olivier, as model and muse, bridged Picasso’s Rose Period to Cubism. Miss Khokhlova, in the 1920s, stirred his return to Neo-classicism. The photographer Dora Maar documented and inspired Picasso’s involvement with the Spanish Civil War, including “Guernica” (1937). And the painter and author Françoise Gilot was his chief consort during his postwar period. From 1953 until Picasso’s death, at age 92 in 1973, Jacqueline Roque attended the artist during his ferocious, erotic and peace-loving late phase, in which “Hippie” Picasso, anticipating 1980s Neo-Expressionism, reimagined the Old Masters.

Now, as for paying off the critics, do it. Yes, as much as some critics pretend to not be on the take, they are — in some way or another. The best art critics accepted gifts: Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg. Artists frequently offer me a gift after I’ve written them up. I just take it. I feel I’d insult them or be condescending and inhuman if I said something like, “It’s my policy not to accept gifts.” Lighten up. We’re all in the family.

So be generous in giving gifts, but beware of the greedy opportunists who expect a gift without having the intention of reciprocating, like people attending your openings who ask for a “quick sketch” instead of just an autograph. If you do one, they’ll all line up expecting a freebie. With other artists, it’s best to do straightforward trades instead of gifts. And with friends outside the art world, wait for their birthday or Christmas. (via artnet.com Magazine Features – Ask Mark Kostabi).

Leave alone Prophet Mohammed’s portrait, could he have done a Battle of Karbala painting in Qatar?

Money made him contemptuous of India – and Indians

Maqbool Fida Hussain’s disregard of Indian judicial norms antagonized the courts. His refusal to acknowledge his ‘unwarranted’ liberties with ‘Hinduism’, precipitated matters. A simple statement that he will ‘explore’ ‘Hindu’ themes within norms would have been enough. His arrogant and rough shod dismissal of ‘Hindu’ sentiment, gave an opening to right-wing ‘Hindu’ sentiment.

No double-standards. The simple point that the ‘Hindu’ Brigade wanted. Usually this hunting with hounds and running with hares is called hypocrisy.

Though no one ever accused MF Hussain of being a hypocrite.

Gobbling publicity like Pac-man

Maqbool Fida Hussain never evolved from being a hoardings painter. Except when it came to publicity. His dual standards, his blatant contradictions would have easily made him an object of ridicule. Instead he managed respect and consideration. To manage this amount of media attention, Government attention – even international attention, surely, is some evolution. For one single man.

Maqbool Fida Hussain was finally a gargantuan machine that consumed huge amounts of media attention. His ‘artistic’ talents were surely hugely surpassed by his media management. This publicity and MF Hussain strutting his commercial exploitation of ‘Hindu’ constructs provoked the ‘Hindu’ Brigade’s backlash. His cars, or the striptease that he organized on his birthday (some 25 years ago), reeked of ostentation. Private displays of wealth in India will not arouse reaction. But such ceaseless publicity-seeking …

No wonder people called him India’s Picasso.

Reaction on Ground Zero

Indian Muslims have ignored this issue of ‘artistic freedom’ for ‘Muslims’ at ‘Hindu’ expense. But Indian liberal-progressives, steeped in Western polity, see confrontation and conflict as the answer to such ‘artistic’ restrictions.

Negotiated ‘freedom’ as in भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, is seen as a cop-out.

Related articles

Racial attacks on Sikhs in USA continue

June 16, 2011 5 comments
Legal or illegal immigrants - Xenophobia Rules ("Illegal Immigrants" Named "Texan Of The Year" by Dallas Morning News; Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; courtesy - cagematch.dvorak.org). Click for larger image.

Legal or illegal immigrants - Xenophobia Rules ("Illegal Immigrants" Named "Texan Of The Year" by Dallas Morning News; Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; courtesy - cagematch.dvorak.org). Click for larger image.

A Sikh Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee was sucker-punched by a man in Brooklyn who accused him of being related to Osama Bin Laden.

Jiwan Singh, 59, an Indian immigrant, was riding a Brooklyn train from his home in Richmond Hill, when the incident took place, the New York Daily News reports.

“He said, “You are the brother of Osama, and I replied, “I am not Osama. I have nothing to do with him,” said Singh, who lost three teeth from the blows. (via Sikh loses three teeth in ‘Osama’s brother’ racial attack in New York – Times Of India).

West – Thy middle name is freedom

In the Land of The Free, Home of the Brave, in the years after 9/11, more than 200 attacks occurred in the US. Among 500,000 Sikhs, in an US population of 30 crores (300 million).

I am not even counting attacks on ‘guilty’ Arabs and other Muslims. Let us not even talk about the Afghan and Iraqi invasions by the US – after 9/11.

Truth of prejudice is stranger than fiction of freedom. (Cartoon By Joe Heller, Published by Green Bay Press-Gazette  -  4/26/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Truth of prejudice is stranger than fiction of freedom. (Cartoon By Joe Heller, Published by Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/26/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

West does not need immi-grunts – for now

A serious problem is many believe that the Western world is about freedom, choice, individual rights, et al. After all even Kasab wants to go to Yumm-rika!

When the West wanted cheap labour from the Rest of the World they changed laws – and made a charade of change. During the Great Recession, with economic stagnation – they no longer need immi-grunts.

If this was not bad enough

These attacks are worse than the 1984 Sikh riots in India – which were not spontaneous, but engineered by political elements. These incidents in the US are obviously spontaneous. Osama was on the opposite side of the world. What could a New Yorker – of any race, colour, have to do with him?

Melting pot, eh?

PS – Thanks for the story, Poonam.

Why does Gujarat-Godhra riots get special treatments from the Supreme Court? Cartoon courtesy - churumuri.wordpress.com). Click for larger image

Why does Gujarat-Godhra riots get special treatments from the Supreme Court? Cartoon courtesy - churumuri.wordpress.com). Click for larger image

News related to 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots

The Hindu : News / National : Anti-Sikh riots: Supreme Court to give verdict on Sajjan’s appeal

CBI had filed two chargesheets against Kumar and others on January 13 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G. T. Nanavati Commission which inquired into the sequence of events leading to the riots.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Trial to continue against Sajjan Kumar, says Supreme Court | The India Daily

The Supreme Court today refused to quash the charges of murder and other offences against senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and said the trial will continue against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Show details of compensation to 1984 Sikh riot victims: HC – Times Of India

The high court on Friday summoned the secretary concerned, dealing with the payment of compensation to victims of Sikh riots of 1984, on December 22 with records, inquiry reports and list of persons to whom compensation has been paid. The court also appointed a local government lawyer as amicus curiae to extend assistance to it in the matter.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice S C Chaurasia on a petition of victim, Amar Singh Virk. The petitioner was aggrieved by the meagre payment of compensation to the member of the family, who had died in riots that had occurred in 1984.

A nation of immigrants hates 'immigrunts'! (Cartoon By Dario Castillejos, Dario La Crisis  -  6/9/2010 12:00:00 AM : courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

A nation of immigrants hates 'immigrunts'! (Cartoon By Dario Castillejos, Dario La Crisis - 6/9/2010 12:00:00 AM : courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Related Posts – Racial Attacks on Sikh in USA

Sikh youth brutally assaulted in ‘racial’ attack in US : World: India Today.

A Sikh student was “racially abused” and brutally assaulted after being thrown into a swimming pool in west Texas, the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group for the community in the United States, said.

Four men brutally assaulted the unnamed graduate Sikh student, who works as a part-time pizza delivery person, the advocacy group said.

US: FBI to probe attack on two elderly Sikhs – Rediff.com India News

A troubled Sikh community shocked by the shooting of their two elderly members on Monday offered a reward of US $ 30,000 for any information leading to the culprits, as the local police said they suspected it to bea hate crime and have called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join the manhunt.

The West Sacramento Police in California said they suspect that the tradition turbans worn by the Surinder Singh, 68, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, could have become beacons for an attack on them.

NY Sikh Victim of Brutal Racial Attack May Lose Vision

Jasmir Singh, a 21-year-old Sikh college student was savagely attacked and stabbed in his left eye during an unprovoked attack on Sunday outside a grocery store in Queens, New York by three young men wielding a glass bottle. Jasmir sustained injuries to his left-eye, head, face, and back, and has not regained his vision after undergoing a five hour surgery where he received 18 stitches to his eye.

Police arrested two of the suspected attackers nearby, but the third remains at large. The two arrested have been charged with assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree, both serious felony charges. United Sikhs is working with the NYPD Community Affairs Liaison to urge police to charge the attackers additionally with hate/bias crime charges.

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