The Logical Extreme

August 21, 2009

Supporting freedom of speech and expression is a bit of a spectrum. On one end there is the complete commitment to free speech, consequences to anybody be damned. On the other end there is North Korea.

In between, there’s the hypocritical commitment to free speech in Indian politics where Shashi Tharoor will criticise Modi banning Jaswant Sinha’s book but say nothing about Congress government bans on Nine Hours to Rama, The Satanic Verses, and James Laine’s books. There’re also the Hindutvawadis who are all for free speech when it comes to Taslima Nasreen and the Danish Muhammad cartoons, but suddenly do an about face when it comes to MF Hussain and the poor chap in Vadodara.

But even if you’re not committed to free speech at a fundamental or ideological level, there’s a very good selfish reason to support it, or to speak up for any poor bastard who’s getting thulped for having caused offense: if people who are actually offensive and obnoxious can get away with it, people who’re entirely innocent don’t have anything to worry about. If Muslims can depict Hindu gods any way they like even if they are blatantly hurtful or derogatory, Hindus can also depcit gods in any manner, even if these are not traditional and a little edgy. Conversely, if offended Hindus can get away with hounding Muslims, they’ll soon start going after offensive Hindus too. And apparently we have already slipped down that particular slope:

Dr Subodh Kerkar, an artist based in the holiday resort state of Goa, had announced the exhibition of his sketches, which depicts Lord Ganesh in different form including the one holding Oscar award.

I have been receiving phone calls which threatens me with dire consequences. They told me that they will chop off my fingers for indulging in such act, Dr Kerkar told daijiworld from his gallery at Calangute, a beach village in North Goa.

The series of calls for the painter started when Sanatan Saustha, a hard core Hindu organization through its mouthpiece, Sanatan Prabhat carried the sketches appealing `Hindus to call up Dr Kerkar and express their anguish.

The paintings means no offence to any religion. They are my ex-pression of creativity, Dr Kerkar said. The painter said that he himself is a devotee of Lord Ganesh and has always been inspired by him.


He got into trouble for painting Ganesh with an Oscar. At this rate Tantra T-shirts are doomed.

Once upon a time, being violent to members of your religion for not being pious enough was something that the Dukhtaran-e-Millat used to do in Kashmir. It’s tragic that now we Hindus are sinking to that level.

Put 295A on Pavan K Varma

August 13, 2008

Via India Uncut, I discover that Pavan K Varma has been committing blasphemy:

Indians’ faith in marriage reflects their faith in values, said Varma. “Marriage is an institution which is there to stay in any society. India needs to stand by the values. There is something called sanskar (values) and it is still alive in India though it may have been lost in the metropolises. All gods, at least in Hindu mythology, have consorts. Marriage is an ingrained concept in Indian philosophy,” he said.

I am appalled that this Macaulay-putra has insulted the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus. Has he forgotten all about Hanuman? Worse yet, is he trying to suggest that Hanuman is not a god?

Hanuman was the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate.

Hanuman possessed devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and desirelessness. He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.


And what about Ayyappa? Does his celibacy count for nothing either?

Manikanthan was in a fix, as he had no desire to get married, being a celibate by instinct, choice and desire. (Celibacy is supposed to grant tremendous power, both physical and spiritual). Yet the young lady had a valid point.


He struck a deal with her. A temple of his would come up soon where people would come to worship. Their pilgrimage would not be considered complete unless they also worshipped at a shrine to her. All his devotees would grant her the status and respect of a wife. If there ever was a year when a new devotee did not come to the temple at the Sabarimala hills, he would give up his vow of brahamcharya and marry her. She is going to have a long wait as the list of pilgrims only grows ever more unmanageable each year.

Since the god is both a renouncer as well as a celibate, women in the menstrual years are not allowed into the temple. This is a traditional courtesy given to a swami, and does not represent any bias or prejudice against women.


It is only in today’s pseudo-secular environment that Pavan K Varma can get away with insulting the basic aspects of Hindu mythology. Would he ever dare to insult Muslim or Christian religious figures in this way? Fortunately Hindus have the law on their side and can file a Section 295A case against him.