Protest Letter to Shashi Tharoor from HJS
HINDU JANAJAGRUTI SAMITI
Subject: Request to withdraw your support to confer Bharat Ratna to M. F. Husain.
We recently came across your article in the online edition of India's national Newspaper, the Hindu's Sunday, Nov 26, 2006. Among other things, the article states, that Husain has been hounded from his own country by the threats of Hindutva chauvinists, did not escape me. So I was all the more sorry to miss this opportunity to pay him tribute, and show him solidarity. Husain has paid a fundamental tribute to his own civilisation, one which he has, through his reinvention of the past and his reimagining of the present, immeasurably enriched. He deserves the Bharat Ratna,' and supports the petition to confer the Bharat Ratna award on M. F. Husain.
It appears that you are not fully aware of the nature of M. F. Husain's paintings and the worldwide ongoing protests against them. We invite you to take a look at some of the denigrating paintings by M. F. Husain and the worldwide protest campaign, spearheaded by our organization in alliance with Sanatan.org, at www.sanatan.org/hussaincampaign and at www.hindujagruti.org/petition. Here you will see that Husain has a history of repeatedly and callously hurting Hindu sentiments by depicting Hindu Deities in lewd, compromising positions and is currently under Indian Government scrutiny for treason for depicting the Indian Motherland (Bharatmata) as a nude woman. You can see that over 29,000 people around the world have registered their protest against M. F. Husain, demanding a stop to all public display and auction of his works.
Since the inception of this protest campaign in November 2005, India and various parts of the world are witnessing intense agitations against M. F. Husain. Agitations that include over 1250 formal police complaints, 7 court cases, burning of Husain effigies, citywide strikes, rasta bunds (road blocking), as well as several protest demonstrations in the US and UK. At times, the inaction and passivity of the Indian media and government forced the agitators to lose patience and take a violent turn, as in the case of an attack on the Husain-Doshi art gallery, mob destruction of public property in some cities in India, and public announcements of rewards for maiming or killing M. F. Husain, as well as the closing of the Husain paintings exhibition in Asia House gallery in Oxford Street London after protest demonstrations and a vandal attack.
M. F. Husain has also invited the displeasure of Muslim leaders and various Government officials from around the world. For example, Ruth Bennett, Acting Public Affairs Officer of the US State Government responded to our protests outside Christie's in NY: 'Thank you for alerting us to your concerns over the auction of paintings by artist M. F. Husain in New York. I appreciate that his work is controversial and has angered many.' Ms. Bennett advised us to make our views known to auction houses perpetrating Husain's paintings. Muslim religious leaders, too, have condemned Husain (a so-called Muslim) and put up prize money for maiming him, for his denigrating paintings, which are considered as essentially against Islamic principles. The honorable courts of India have already summoned and issued warrants against Husain in various cities like Indore, Delhi, etc., since mid-March 2006 for hurting religious sentiments and creating communal disharmony. That is why M. F. Husain has been cited as absconding to UK. The details of all these news can be seen at www.sanatan.org/hussaincampaign/#news.
As one can plainly see, M. F. Husain has abused his freedom of expression. Supporting the conferring of Bharat Ratna Award to Husain would be as good as disregarding religious sentiments, thus abetting the perpetration of communal disharmony and violence. Should he be allowed to enjoy elite status and fortune, when even the Indian courts and the government are holding him guilty for deliberately hurting Hindus' religious sentiments?
Tharoor ji, you are originally an Indian and Hindu, and you have done the Indians and Hindus proud by your excellence in your field, so as to occupy such an honorable and prestigious post at the international level. We are at a loss to understand your backing to a person like M. F. Husain, who has insulted our Nation and the sentiments of Hindus. Would your Muslim or Christian contemporaries do the same in similar situations, such as the Danish cartoons of the Prophet or the movie 'Da Vinci Code' denigrating Jesus Christ? Withdrawing your support of M. F. Husain in light of the above will go a long way in setting yourself as a person, who upholds ethics in art and not just art for the sake of entertainment or commercial gain. It would also help prevent ill will and agitations of millions of Hindus worldwide against not only M. F. Husain, but also your esteemed image among the Indians and the Hindus.
We look forward to your prompt reply and action in this regard.