Reality Check India

Painting exhibition shut down

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on March 8, 2008

Its that time of the year again. Wine sipping, art-for-arts sake loving journalist types,  have to just lie low and stay quiet for a while.  It seems we cant paint mughal emperors in India – unless the painting glorifies them. No goons wont attack you, the government will shut down the entire exhibition.

The Chennai police forcibly shut down an art exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. This was curated by journalist Francois Gautier.

The secretary of the academy Mr RM Palaniappan has this to say,

Following Muslim protests, the exhibition of paintings and reproductions of Arabic and Persian documents alluding to destruction of Hindu shrines at the LKA here since Monday was closed down to ‘prevent a law and order situation’.

‘We had no other option but to close it down. Some Muslims objected to it citing wrong inferences drawn from Arabic texts which could not be independently deciphered by anyone here,’ Rm Palaniappan, the secretary of the Chennai LKA told IANS.

‘We requested the removal of some objectionable materials – including a few illustrations of temples being pulled down during the era of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb – thrice as their display is against our rules.

Source : News Post India

The material behind these paintings and other original edicts are kept at the Bikaner museum. Should we also ask them to remove it ? Maybe burn the museum down ?

The same paintings, this is a travelling exhibition, were presented at New Delhi, Pune, and Bangalore.  There was nothing found amiss or objectionable then.


The police took into custody three lady volunteers at night and detained them for an hour.

LKA regional secretary R M Palaniappan told the media he “should have screened the exhibits more carefully”. Joint Commissioner of Police P Balasubramanian later told the media: “We feared it might create a law and order problem.” The three women from FACT, Saraswathi (65), Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47), were picked up from the show at about 7.30 p.m. and taken to the police station, where they were allegedly held for nearly an hour without being allowed to contact their families or any lawyer.

Source (emphasis mine) : ET

This brings us to the most important issue. Indeed, this is a shining example of the perversion of democracy in India. The job of the police is not to prevent law and order problems – their job is to handle law and order problems. It is easy to prevent law and order problems  by just conceding the demands of every group that announces their intent to create one.  Some political groups have announced they fear “major law and order problem if data on social programs are requested”.

This is what The Hindu has to say about it ( Prince of Arcot welcomes decision). Their editorial celebrates the communists four in a row win in Tripura. As independent humans, it is we who must decide what to do with our money. You are free to continue buying this paper or to click on ads on their website.  This purely depends on whether that paper aligns with your own self interest. Deccan Chronicle once again has better local coverage on the incident.

More links :

Philistines brush aside paint of history

FACT website

PS :

What were the exhibitors thinking with a name like FACT (Forum Against Continued Terrorism) ? Anything named “FACT” is not welcome in India. The only worse name they could have come up with is “DATA”.

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One Response

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  1. sankar said, on March 8, 2008 at 11:13 am

    அச்சம் என்பது மடமையடா
    அஞ்சாமை திராவிடர் உடமையடா

    This was the lines from Old Dravidian propaganda movie song. Now a days the Dravidian patriarch Kalaingar does not have the “Anjamai” to boldly face the truth exhibited in FACT exhibition.

    The media is relatively silent in this issue. Their loud cries are only Gujarat where the police arrested a university student for allegedly depicting Gods in bad light.


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