Sunday, 13 May, 2007

Chandramohan arrest draw protests across Tamil Nadu

The arrest of art student Chandramohan in Baroda and subsequent happenings including the suspension of Dr Shivaji Panikker, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University ,Baroda has sent shock waves in the world of art and culture in Tami Nadu.

Protests are being organized across the state against this assault on the sacred environs of a pre-eminent art institution in the country and on the idea of ‘free expression’ which is the very foundation of a democracy. The whole episode is seen by artists and writers in Tamil Nadu as an example of state terror and moral policing with the support of a fascist mob and brings into context once again the role of the State Government in Gujarat.

Artists and art students are gathering on Monday (6pm) at Hues Gallery in Chennai in a meeting called together by Professor Chandru, Principal of the Fine Arts College, Chennai together with art historians and writers Geetha Doctor and Sadanand Menon.
The meeting is to protest the arrest of Chandramohan and demand his immediate release and the re-instatement of Professor Shivaji Panikker in his position. Prof. Chandru, when asked his reaction to the happenings said that it was “very wrong”

Chennai based painter Asma Menon said that she is “shocked by the brutal and growing invasion of fascist forces into art portals” and said that she was “thinking about her children and their freedom of expression”. She said that it was “our duty to fight and defeat these threats to freedom” and that “the norms of artistic expression cannot be dictated by the state”.

Tamil Selvan, General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Association ,
talking from Madurai said that “ this is an example of the intolerance of fundamentalists
to the idea of free artistic expression” and “ it becomes a blatant act of fascism when it is supported by state terror”. He said that the Progressive Writers Association will be organizing protests across Tamil Nadu.

Artists, writers and cultural activists will be gathering in the premises of ‘Vamsi Books’ in Thiruvannamalai in the evening of Sunday, 12th May, to protest the arrest of Chandramohan and to demand his release. Contemporary Tamil short story writer Bawa Chelladurai who is calling together the gathering said that “a sustained campaign for freedom of expression is the need of the hour as this is not the first instance of moral policing and there is been a whole series of incidents in the country”.

Also in Thiruvannamalai veteran artist and art teacher (former Principal of the Fine Arts College in Chennai) A. P. Santhanaraj said that “it’s very sad”, but refused further comments as he was still to be appraised of the details of the story.

A report by Ananda Surya, poet and cultural activis,t from Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu


santhi said...

Arrest of Chandra Mohan and suspension of Prof.Shivaji are sad. but otherwise, it is also necessary for the artstudent and also the department to think of the sensitive reasons behind this act. Keeping Political reasons aside which were not tolerable, if we discuss the issue a bit in detail - 1. the painting is not seen sofar for posting any comments. even this comment is only based on the information given by the media like NDTV show and other news bulletins.
2.The studens exhibited all kinds of nude figures from indian art was also one of the points to be counted. Here i would like to mention that, possibly men and women were wearing comparatively less clothes earlier than how today's men and women are dressed.Now we all wear clothes that covers the entire body.
so when those sculptures made and paintings were made, social structure was different. and the artists were working under the Kings, what ever the king wanted and appreciated is expected to be fulfilled. this artistic expression was more of a craft than the 'creative process of art'. the artists lived such a manner considering that as their lifestyle or call as an employment, which was controlled by the social structure.
3.i also feel that it is also the responsibility of the Academecians to make the students understand where to draw the line, when it is 'freedom of expression', what is what, or rather say it 'balancing one's emotional expression with social circumstances'. here again i strongly condemn the entry of the outsiders to a department.
4. Freedom of Expression does not mean that one can play with other's emotional and religious sentiments. it is not the point made basing on 'rights'. it is to keep and maintain the peace and harmony in the society.that is the ultimate purpose of the education.
5. I once again condemn the uncivilised act of arresting the student, suspension of Prof.Shivji and entry of one group of people into an educational institution.
6. I strongly recommend these activists also to act in the same manner on the very idea of an Item Song culture in the films, also the costume designing of the actresses and advertisements. this is because our country is basically "Hindustan", where woman is given high respect. (supposed to be given). It is also my question to those activists, how many of them do not watch a woman is shown nude, when no one is around. these never mind watching woman on tv ads and film theatres undressed, and the words like ' that way of costume is required for the situation or sequence...' stand as major support to fulfil their own thirt.

अखिलेश आर्य said...

Addressed to Santhi

Its good that U put ur valuable time in understanding the ideas behind and put ur views here which is always welcomed in a democratic society. But Santhi the way u r mumble-jumbling things is not acceptable. I would like to clear something here that daily life clothing has nothing to do with 'GODs and GODESSEs' and it never did the way u r understanding it. If it was so... then according to ur reading, I would have to consider that in the earlier times god's picture had 8-16 limbs because men and women also had that kind of body. Its not like that. The way U understand it must also make u think that nudity in European religious painting means that Europeans wore no clothes at that time.

The way u have to understand the things present in front of u can not rely on such loose assumptions of urs. U have to study more closely about how visual culture works in the poilitical grounds.