Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Unspeakably evil

The title refers to the Sangh Parivar.

Leela Samson is one of the country's top dancers. She is also the director of Kalakshetra, an art institution in Chennai that originated with the Theosophical Society and Rukmini Devi Arundale. And she happens to have Jewish-Catholic parents.

That is enough to make the saffron see red. That's a crowd that has, collectively, not contributed a fraction of a percent of what she has to Indian culture; that's a writer who exhibits his ignorance of Kalakshetra almost in every sentence, yet says he is "ashamed of the Samsons in our midst". A previous writer in that rag details her alleged anti-Hindu sins, such as removing the "restrictions on the meeting of boys and girls within the boys’ and girls’ hostels."

You thought the Taliban were the worst kind of fundamentalists? Just pray our homegrown variety don't take over our country.

Here's a better perspective on the current Kalakshetra fuss.


Abi said...

Geez, where do these specimens come from? Which century do they think they live in?


Tabula Rasa said...

is it so much about these specimens or is it about the fact that the system seems to be allowing them to flourish rather than correcting for them?

Rahul Siddharthan said...

What alarms me is that so many educated people, "people like us", have sympathies for that kind of thinking -- "the BJP gave self-respect to Hindus." They seem to genuinely think Hindus are not allowed to practise their religion -- this in a country where almost every programme starts with a Hindu invocation, most schools have slokas in the morning, the IIT-M campus has two temples on it (and, of course, no other religious structures). What exactly are they missing?

So in seeing these Kalakshetra articles they will jump on Leela Samson without thinking to ask what the culture of the place was already. She's Christian, she moved a few idols from where someone had installed them to more appropriate places, down with her.

Anonymous said...

About the IIT Madras temples, at least one of the temples was in the campus even before IIT Madras was made.

Of course, that doesn't discount the fact that there isn't a mosque or church on campus. And, IIRC, no other IIT has any religious structure on campus.

Raj said...

As one who studied in a school ,under the umbrella of kalakshetra, I am shocked. In the best of Kalakshetra and Theosophical Society traditons, we were taught not merely to be tolerant of,but to develop healthy respect for all religions. Our prayer sessions also reflected this broad-mindedness.

What is really shocking is that the culture of intolerance is spearheaded nto by some illiterate goons, but by educated people. I was having lunch with six, highly-literate (read MBAs)executives from Delhi this week, when I casually brought in the MF Hussain episode and Baroda outrage into the conversation. To my horror, I was pounced upon for this weak-kneed mentality and condoning insults to Hinduism, when other religions,under similar provocation issue Fatwas! If taking law into one's hands has the approval of the literati, we are heading for big trouble..

truti said...

Prof Abi being a hypocrite once again? Surprising? Not at all! This is the country where a hack like PR Das Munshi invites sundry bishops to a CBFC screening of the Da Vinci Code and promptly bans the movie. This is the country that cancels the invitation to the PM of Denmark simply because a newspaper there printed something that Muslims in India did not like. This is the country where a Syed Yakub Qureishi announces a price on some artiste's head and then goes on unchallenged to retain his Assembly seat. This is the country where a perversely named Catholic Secular Forum acts thusly Roman Catholics in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) are taking part in worldwide protests against the release of the movie, The Da Vinci Code.

Hundreds of members of a Catholic group gathered outside a convent school in the Indian financial capital to protest against its release next week.

They say the film is an attack on their faith, and have warned of stronger protests if their demands are not met.

Catholics say they want the protest to draw the attention of the authorities.

"Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) activists will go on a fast unto death if the government fails to take action against anti-Christian movies," CSF general secretary Joseph Dias told the BBC.

Joseph Dias, General Secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum
The movie must not be screened in India. It's a gross misrepresentation of the church and the faith
Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum

He said the Christian community has been tolerant in relation to the book-release of the Dan Brown epic, but an audio-visual medium would have a more serious and a more lasting impact.

"You can't make fiction on a religious figure. Tempers are already running quite high and there's no way of saying what could happen if the movie is released," he said.

A press release issued by the CSF says: "The Da Vinci Code is offensive as it hit certain basic foundations of the religion."

The CSF has also called for the banning of a second film, Tickle My Funny Bone, which chronicles the life of a "sexy nun".
So where were you defenders of artisitic freedom at that time. I guess safely cowering inside your homes. Rahul there's a lot to be alarmed over - we could begin with your selective outrage. So kiddo grow up and smell the coffee!

When you "activists" wake up and demand that the GoI revoke the ban on Satanic Verses or organise a sreening of Da Vinci Code or invite Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali to India we can talk about tolerance. Until then you guys shd simply pipe down and sit tight.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

kuraL - thanks for the entertainment. I am not aware of any liberals who support banning the Satanic Verses, or the Da Vinci Code, or any other books that offend minority religions. In fact, these things got much more media attention than the Kalakshetra story is getting. If the Da Vinci Code hasn't drawn street protests, perhaps it is because it has already been successfully screened in many states in India, and perhaps it is because it is culturally nothing to do with India and artistically a piece of crap?

Imposing a bigoted ideology on Kalakshetra hits much closer to home for most of us than some discredited conspiracy theory about the fraudulent Priory of Sion or whatever. So we "activists" want to make more noise about it.

Now may I request that you offer an on-topic comment?