- Meeting with the Commissioner of Police: Protest against Police high-handedness (18 Mar 08)
- TMMK condemns French journalist’s remarks (15 Mar 08)
- Freedom gagged (11 Mar 08)
- Artists protest against police for closing down the exhibition ‘Asaa Hotaa Aurangzeb’ (10 Mar 08)
- No room for "FACTS" in Dravidian Land! (8 Mar 08)
- Aurangzeb exhibition vandalised by police in Chennai ( 6 Mar 08 )
- Aurangzeb Exhibition thretened by Muslim Groups in Chennai ( 5 Mar 08 )
- Why an exhibition on Aurangzeb?
Having read the first hand report by Shri Anjanasudan on the Police highhandedness on the 06th March, 2008, a group of committed Hindus, under the leadership of Smt Radha Rajan ji decided to meet with senior police officials in Chennai, to register our protest and to seek their action on the personnel involved. The following is the report on our meet with the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, Shri Nanjil Kumaran. We could not meet with the Additional Director General of Police, Shri K Vijayakumar, as he was out of station. However, a letter of protest was handed over to his Camp Assistant and we were told that the ADGP will be available on Tuesday at Chennai to receive our delegation. The Delegation included, besides Radha Rajan ji, Joint Secretary, VIGIL PUBLIC OPINION FORUM, Shri Swaminathan, Advocate, Madras High Court, Capt H Balakrishnan, INS (Retd), a war veteran and S V Badri, Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti.
A handful of Muslims protested outside the Lalith Kala Academy at Chennai on the 06th of March. The Prince of Arcot, who visited the site earlier in the day, thundered that what was presented was "bunkum" and was far removed from History. He even volunteered to have discussion on the issue with anybody who can debate with him on this part of history (I can see a thousand hands going up to volunteer). But these psuedos’ know how to throw challenges, but once we volunteer, they will hide in their zanana. He even yelled that he would speak to the appropriate authorities and have the exhibits removed before Friday’s Namaaz. And he succeeded, as the willing police servants of the public (which public?), had them removed on Thursday evening.
The police acted as though on a cue. The force did nothing to quell the handful of Muslim protestors. Instead, were silent by-standers. And to prove their "secular" credentials in the land of Karunanidhi, pounced on the Hindus who were doing nothing but projecting the right History of the Moghul atrocities on the Hindus and their destruction of the Hindu Mandirs. What irked the Prince was the presence of two exhibits, the ones that showed the army of Aurangazeb destroying the Keshav Rai Mandir at Mathura and the other of the destruction of the Somnath Mandir. Under pressure, the police wanted both the pictures removed. And threatened the elderly lady volunteers of dire consequences should they not remove them.
The police were lead by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Murali who to say was most vile and abusive to the women is the understatement of the year. Sample a few:
- Francois Gautier is a "white dog" (vellai naai) and (pointing to a young woman volunteer, he thundered) "What is your relationship with him?". "He is a terrorist". "Are you also a terrorist like him"? "Show me your passport" (to the Indian National)? And many more unprintable words and questions……
- There were expletives flowing out of his heavily moustached face, with the ease of a "Kazhaga Udanpirappu" (meaning DMK card holder – brethren of Karunanidhi) .
- The women who come from well-respected families and have never been exposed to such derangement of alphabets were shell shocked. And as this continued, he pulled down the paintings and smashed two of them. The attendant policemen followed the leader and there was free-for-all, as the cops brought the hall down.
The women were told by the ACP that they were under arrest. This was around 7-30 P.M. No guidelines were followed. No arrest memo given. There were no lady constables or lady police officials. The women were whisked away to the Thousand lights police station. They were abused by choicest of expletives reserved only for use by the Tamil Nadu politicians, these days. The women, who hail from some of the most respected families in Chennai, were bewildered, dumb-stuck, Shell-shocked and absolutely humiliated. Radha Rajan ji, who got the message at Mumbai called up a Senior Police official, whose intervention saved the night for the ladies, who had by now crumbled under the burden of shame. The ACP forced them to write a note stating that the women were taken to the police station only for inquiry and they were not arrested.
From his acts of vandalism in the Lalith Kala Academy and from the description obtained from the eyewitness of the events, I am convinced that he is rudeness personified. A handful of Muslim protestors could make him bend his back to God knows how many degrees. When the Commissioner of Police tried to convince us that he is an upright officer, we vehemently had to disagree with him.
His choice of words and language, while addressing women, does not do his schooling, his parentage or his upbringing any proud. What is shameful is that in a country where the anti-Hindu exhibits of the likes of MF Hussain is protected with zeal by the policemen, the exhibition of facts of Moghul rule under Aurangazeb is ransacked by the very same policemen and arresting innocent Hindu women volunteers.
What one is not amused is the drawing of parallels by a section of Press as also the artists of Chennai between MFH and this exhibition. They have equated this exhibition to MFH’s and have stated that there should be freedom of artistic expression. FACT’s exhibition is not an example of an artistic expression, but representation of facts of History. From the very History the Moghals wrote during their period of reign. There lies the difference.
Meeting with Commissioner of Police, Shri Nanjil Kumaran:
The C.O.P. received us well. Radha ji presented our protest in a thorough manner. When it came to ACP Murali, the COP said that he is an upright officer, to which we had to disagree and state that the kind of words that he used against innocent women made us wonder at his lack of culture and certainly not befitting a person of his rank in the Police Department.
The COP raised a technical point that the organizers had not obtained the necessary police permission for the exhibition (Francois, is it true?). And that the police wanted them to remove only the two exhibits and then continue with their exhibition, despite the lack of obtaining permission.
When told about the blatant violation of guidelines and procedures in "arresting" women, he agreed with us and said that he would certainly make an internal inquiry and set things right.
The following is the text of the protest letter given to the COP. Similar letter was handed over to the Camp Assistant of the ADGP. Radhaji’s interview was well covered by the SUN TV, during this evening’s bulletin, condemning the police atrocity at the Exhibition venue.
Falgun Shuddha Trayodashi
Chennai (Tamil Nadu): The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) today strongly condemned French journalist Francois Gautier’s alleged statement that the Prince of Arcot had sent goons from the TMMK to close down his exhibition on Aurangazeb in the city recently.
In a statement here, TMMK President M H Jawahirullah said ”Gautier’s allegation against the Prince of Arcot Nawab Abdul Ali and the TMMK is enough to judge his sincerity and honesty in reporting history.” ”The Prince of Arcot neither contacted us regarding the virulent exhibition of Gautier, nor would we send our volunteers at the beck and call of the Nawab,” he said.
Pointing out Gautier’s remarks that a lot of historical research had gone into the making of the exhibition, he said ”we can judge the standard of historical research while viewing his partisan exhibition in Chennai. Gautier cannot report a contemporary event faithfully and truthfully…one can very easily judge the veracity of his version of Mughal history depicted in his exhibition.” It may be recalled that the police authorities had forced the closure of the exhibition at Lalit Kala Academy here after some Muslim leaders and outfits took exception to the display of certain portraits and Hindu organisations justifying the exhibits.
March 11, 2008
By Francois Gautier
On the March 7, 2008, in Lalit Kala Academi, Chennai, Assistant Commissioner of Police K N Murali, took off the wall an exquisite minature painting, which showed the destruction of the Somnath temple (which has been razed six times) and threw it on the ground, shattering it. Then his men started removing all the paintings from the wall, further damaging many of them. On that day, the morale and the reputation of the Tamil Nadu police must have sunk to a new low: of bowing down to their master’s wishes and those of a few fanatics, of forsaking moral decency and all the qualities that a police officer should embody.
The previous day the Nawab of Arcot visited the exhibition and lashed out at FACT volunteers accusing them of "misrepresenting facts". He was particularly enraged by two miniatures – the first depicted Aurangazeb’s army destroying the Somnath temple and the second showed the destruction of the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura. We are told that he has direct access to the police to clamp down on exhibition came down from there, otherwise Mr. Murali would not have dared to go so far, so brazenly.
Soon, the nawab sent a group of goons, allegedly from TMMK (Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam) and MNP (Manitha Neethi Paasarai) to pick up arguments with the volunteers, most of them elderly women from decent family backgrounds.
They came back again on 7th afternoon when I was there, screaming on, top of their voices in Tamil and in English that this exhibition was absolutely false and that unless it was closed immediately they would come back in force the next day (Friday) to break it down. I tried to reason with them, that these were all documents from Government archives, that I could explain everything to them, that we could even debate on TV, but they shouted even louder and got more threatening. When all these arguments were going on the police did not bother to come up. (The hall is on the first floor.)
Then the goons closeted themselves with Mr.Murali, two other officers and Mr. Palaniappn, the secretary of LKA, in his office, and when I barged in, Mr. Murali told me he was closing down the exhibition. I decided to rush to the Commissioner’s office in Egmore to plead for a stay order. But meanwhile Mr.Murali swung into action: he terrorized the harmless ladies calling them "stooges of a white dog," threw two paintings on the ground and ordered his policemen to remove the rest. Then he arrested four volunteers (Mrs. Saraswathi, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, Mrs. Malathi and Mr.B R Haran) and took them to the Thousand Lights police station. There ACP termed Mr.Francois as a "Foreign Terrorist" and threatened to book the volunteers "for helping and assisting him to incite communal violence in the otherwise peaceful Tamil Nadu"
What was all the noise about? Lalit Kala Academi was showing an exhibition: "Aurangazeb as he was according to his own records." This is an artistic exhibition on Aurangazeb, the great Mughal emperor using his own records and firmans (edicts), many of which are still preserved in Indian museums, such as the Bikaner archives.
Aurangazeb was truly a pious Muslim, copying the Koran himself, stitching Muslim skullcaps and enforcing strict laws, according to his own documents, which we were careful to show. How come Aurangazeb is such a hereo with the nawab of Arcot and his henchmen? Forget what he did to Hindus: re-imposing the humiliating jiziya tax, forbidding them from riding horses, elephants or palaquins and ordering all temples destroyed (Among them the Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujrat, the Vishnu temple replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares and the Treta – ka – Thakur temple in Ayodhya), he was also a monster to his own family, having his father poisoned, his two brothers killed, and imprisoning his own son.
This exhibition was sponsored by FACT, which I created in 2003, when I received at the hands of the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha the Natchiketa Award of Excellence in journalism. With the Prize money, my Indian wife Namrita and myself mounted an exhibition on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, four hundred thousand of them having become refugees in their own country.
This exhibition traveled around India and then in the world and was shown in Capitol Hill, Washington, in July 2005, leading to a bipartisan resolution on the Human rights of the Kashmiri Pandits in the US Congress. Another exhibition on the persecution of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists in Bangladesh was inaugurated in Mumbai on November 18, 2006. We have also a huge show on Shivaji ‘a Hero for Modern India’ in Mumbai on March 12 in Ravindra Natya Mandir.
A lot of historical research and artistic efforts have gone into the making of this exhibition. It is also an effort to help a dying craft, of the painters of Rajastan, that of miniature painting, which portrays a historically documented incident in the times of Aurangazeb, has been done in the original Mughal style and is signed and dated. Professor V S Bhatnagar of the Rajastan University, Jaipur, has contributed the historical research part.
We are hiring a lawyer to file a case on FACT’s behalf on five counts:
- Assistant Commissioner of Police K N Murali, took two of the paintings, which showed the destruction of the Somnath temple and threw them on the ground. I hear six more paintings have been damaged and we have no news of the exhibition as it has been sealed. It costs 8 lakhs to do (all original miniature paintings not counting my time).
- We paid Lalit Kala Academi a lot of money and they cancelled the show.
- The police took in a police van three innocent ladies to the police station after 6 pm which is illegal.
- The police totally sided with the goons, closeting themselves in the manager’s office for one hour.
- Mr. Murali threatened the ladies repeatedly that they were ‘terrorists’.
- Lastly we will file a case against Lalit Kala Academy for damage to our paintings, infringement upon our freedom of expression and we will demand that they reopen the exhibition in their premises so that the people of Chennai may have the opportunity to make their own judgment about it.
This exhibition is not about raking up the past or "creating communal disharmony", it is about Indian children, Hindus and Muslims alike, knowing their own past and making sure it does not happen again. For Aurangezeb’s shadow and legacy is still very much present in India.
It was there in Kashmir when all the Hindus were forced by terror to leave their homeland; it is there when Indian Muslims help plant bombs in Mumbai trains, Varanasi, or Delhi; it was there in Chennai when a few Muslim rowdies hold at ransom an entire state and its political apparatus. This is why we had that exhibition.
March 10, 2008
Chennai (Tamil Nadu): Many artistes have protested against police for closing down the photo-exhibition on Mughal King Aurangzeb held at Lalit Kala Academy Hall. The artistes say that nobody should take away their right for freedom of expression. Shri. Achyuthan Kudalur, the famous painter has stated that in India, freedom of expression of artistes is being taken away and expressed his concern over the same. Prof. G. Chandrashekharan, the Principal of Government Arts College in Chennai said, “The incident shows limitations to the freedom of expression of artistes. What is wrong if an artiste expresses his feelings through a piece of art? Shri. P. Gopinath, an artiste said that it shows how politics was trying to gain control over art. Every artiste should have freedom of expression. An art should be seen only as an art.”
On 7th March, police asked the organizers to remove pictures depicting damage caused by Aurangzeb’s army to Keshavrai Temple at Mathura and Somnath Temple. But the organizers refused to withdraw the paintings saying it was against the freedom of artistes to express themselves. Muslim organizations objected to hold the exhibition. Shri. Ram Gopal organised a press conference immediately and declared that it was imposing restraint on the rights of artistes to express their feelings through art. The police, however, closed down the exhibition in view of increasing opposition by Muslims towards the exhibition. (How can police give justice to Hindus if they are scared of Muslims? – Editor) Three women organizers were taken to police station for investigations. People were reacting to the turn of events in such manner that they felt why one could not accept facts from history. How can one forget past history? Our future generations have a right to know the historical facts and the pictures were taken from historical documentary evidence.
Source: ‘Daily Sanatan Prabhat’
March 8, 2008
FACTS ABOUT THE FACT – Exhibition on Aurangazeb!
FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) had organized an Exhibition of Paintings under the theme "Aurangazeb ‘as he was’ According to Moghol Records" in Chennai from the 3rd of March to 9th of March, 2008. The venue of the Exhibition was "Lalit Kala Academy" (National Academy of Art), Greams Road, Chennai.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr.Vittal, Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Mr.B.Raman Former Additional Secretary of UOI & RAW Official and Mr.S.Gurumurthy, Columnist, on the 3rd of March at 5 pm. The inauguration was attended by about 100 people. Prior to the inauguration, a Press Meet was also conducted.
From the next morning onwards, visitors started coming and the numbers gradually increased towards the evening. On Wednesday the 5th, a group of Muslims (around 15 people) visited and argued with the volunteers of the exhibition about the authenticity of the paintings and the historical information. The evening news paper "News Today" carried a report about the inauguration of the exhibition.
A Thursday of Torment!
At the venue:
On Thursday the 6th morning, City Express (City edition of The New Indian Express) carried a report about the Exhibition. A few Police officers from the local area police station (Thousand Lights-F4) were posted at the venue, because of the ruckus caused by the Muslims the previous day. The academy in-charge Mr.R.M.Palaniappan asked the organizers to vacate, in anticipation of problems. The Asst.Commissioner of Police Mr.Murali visited the venue, went around the exhibits, questioned the organizer & volunteers, allegedly made some arrogant remarks and went out. Then, Hindu Munnani President Shri.Ramagopalan and VHP office bearer Shri.Gopal ji had visited. Shri.Gopal ji had arranged for the visit of press persons and TV anchors, who all came and covered the exhibition. Smt.Tamizhisai Sounderarajan, State Deputy General Secretary of BJP and her colleagues had also visited in the afternoon. Smt.Chandralekha, IAS (Retd) & President of Janatha Party, Tamil Nadu, too had visited.
Then around 3 pm, Prince of Arcot Mr.Mohammed Ali had visited and gone around the exhibits. He had debated and argued with the volunteers present there about the truth & authenticity of the paintings and the information they carried. He had even contested that all are fabricated and distorted history and had questioned the necessity of conducting such an exhibition in Chennai. He had also blamed the organizers that, they have a hidden agenda of inciting communal hatred. He had opined that the exhibition must be closed with immediate effect. He had departed saying that he would issue statements through press meet about the exhibition and that he would also take the issue to the appropriate authority.
Then in the evening some TV crews and press reporters had visited to cover the exhibition. They had a mini interview with Mr.Francois Gautier, the Founder Trustee of FACT. At that time a group of Muslims, allegedly from TMMK (Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam) and MNP (Manitha Neethi Paasarai) had come to the venue, took photographs of a few exhibits with their mobile phone cameras and picked up arguments with the volunteers, most of them elderly women from decent family backgrounds. Later on, the Muslims had threatened Mr.Francois and the volunteers to close the show immediately or face the consequences the next day. When all these arguments were going on between the organizers and the Muslims, the police had not bothered to come up (The hall was in the first floor) from basement. All the exchange of arguments and the Muslims’ threats had been captured on camera by the TV crews and they had flashed the news all over during the 7 pm bulletin and thereafter.
The group of Muslims, then, had gone out and protested to the police officers who were posted there. Then they had started mobilizing their cadres through phone calls and slowly their numbers have started swelling. In the meantime, as the Ass.Commissioner Mr.Murali was adamant on the closing of the show, Mr.Francois had left the venue for meeting the Comissioner of Police after having failed to convince the ACP Mr.Murali. The man in-charge of the venue Mr.Palaniappan had given a letter of termination of the show to the organizers / volunteers and asked them to accept and sign. But, the volunteers were believed to have requested him to wait till the arrival of Mr.Francois.
In the meantime, as the crowd of Muslims had started swelling, the ACP Mr.Murali got tensed up and shouted at the volunteers. He had rushed up to the hall with his full team of around dozen officers and started pulling down the exhibits with force despite the repeated plea of the volunteers to wait till the arrival of Mr.Francois from the City Police commissioner’s office. Even when the volunteers had pleaded that they would remove the paintings themselves, he had not bothered to listen to them and abused them in unparliamentarily language. He had used worse & unprintable words against Mr.Francois and had termed him as ‘terrorist’. Then he had forced the volunteers to close & lock the hall and arrested four organizers / volunteers (Mrs.Srarswathi, Mrs.Vijayalakshmi, Mrs.Malathi and Mr.B.R.Haran) and one senior citizen (Mr.S.Raman-a visitor from RSS) and took them to the local station (Thousand Lights-F4). Mr.Sadagopan, Editor, Vijayabaratham, who was there on the spot had rushed for arranging lawyers for helping the organizers / volunteers.
At the Police Station:
When the poor volunteers were taken by a police van, a big group of Muslims were seen standing outside the gates enjoying the show. The five people had been detained in the station for about 45 minutes and enquired. The enquiry had been conducted by the ACP Mr.Murali inside his cabin and the volunteers had been offered seats in front of him. They had been questioned about their profession and their connection to Mr.Francois. The ACP had even talked of confiscating the Passport of Mrs.Saraswathi’s daughter Ms.Anupama. He had again termed Mr.Francois as a "Foreign Terrorist" and had blamed that the volunteers were helping & assisting him to incite communal violence in the otherwise peaceful Tamil Nadu. He had asked the venue in-charge Mr. Palaniappan, in front of the volunteers, to give a written complaint on the organizer / volunteers. He had not bothered to listen to the explanations given by the volunteers and started taking notes of their details. Before that, he had asked the senior citizen Mr.Raman (72) to go saying that someone had phoned up for him.
In the meantime, as the news of the arrest of organizers / volunteers had spread, Mr.V.sundaram, IAS had phoned up the Home Secretary & DGP thrice, Mrs.Chandralekha IAS & Dr.Subramania Swamy (from Delhi) had phoned up the Commissioner of Police, Chennai City and Smt.Radha Rajan Secretary, VIGIL Public Forum, had spoken to the Joint commissioner Mr.Bala Subramaniam condemning the highhandedness of the police and demanding the immediate release of the detainees. While the ACP Mr.Murali had been vehemently blaming the volunteers during the course of the enquiry, he had got a call from the Joint Commissioner and immediately after that, he had calmed down and asked Mr.Palaniappan to stop writing his complaint and had ordered the Inspector to allow the volunteers to go after taking a written statement from them. They had been asked to give a statement saying, "We were brought to the station from Lalit Kala Academy, the venue of the exhibition for enquiry and were allowed to go home after completion of the enquiry".
The four volunteers, who had been detained in the station, have very decent family backgrounds, are well educated and they have never gone inside a police station even once in their lives so far. It was the Muslims thugs, who had barged in to the hall, created trouble and threatened the volunteers and organizers, while the volunteers had been calm and composed and trying to explain things to them. The police had let the trouble shooters free and took the organizers to the station! A thing like this can happen only in Tamil Nadu, where a "Minority Government" runs for the welfare of only "Minorities" and the TN Police, as usual, are stooges for the party / alliance in power. The four volunteers had lost their peace on Shivrathri and finally they could neither go to the Temple nor do poojas at home!
PS: The Effect –
- The TOP leaders of Hindu organizations like, Shri.Surya Narayana Rao & Shri.Kuppuram of RSS, Shri.Ramagopalan ji of Hindu Munnani, Shri.Gopal ji of VHP and Shri.Sukumaran Nambiar of BJP, with the help of Shri.Sadagopan are working on the issue and they are likely to take serious measures.
- Dr.Subramanyam Swamy, Mrs.Chandralekha IAS and Mr.V.Sundaram, IAS are also focusing on the issue and are likely to take it to Senior Government authorities.
- Smt.Radha Rajan and Shri.S.V.Badri will be meeting Senior Police Officials on Saturday the 8th of March on this issue.
- Mr.Francois Gautier, who had left for Mumbai today (07-03-08) for another exhibition on Shivaji, is likely to get back tomorrow or the day after.
All are determined to conduct the exhibition again successfully!
Shutting down FACT’s exhibition on Aurangzeb sends a wrong message to all and specially about the Muslims’ claim that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion. Aurangzeb’s official records are in themselves a testimony to his demolition of Hindus temples by the hundreds if not thousands, and conversion of Hindus by force and economic coercion. Aurangzeb killed his own brothers and imprisoned his father. If Islam is indeed a religion of peace and brotherhood, then Aurangzeb brings disrepute to Islam. Instead of glorifying him, it is the Muslims who should be castigating him who did all the horrible acts in the name of Islam.
Has Aurangzeb reincarnated in form of police? Remember the police and government beating Hindus for Muslim appeasement!
It is tough time for Hindus that they even can’t make awareness about the atrocities on them. The exhibition was already organized in New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. Then why it is closed here by only few Muslims objection. MF Hussain who had depicted Bharatmata is enjoying freedom in Foreign and Hindus who try to create awareness about such atrocities by earlier Muslims rulers are given police custody. This is the Mughal nature of Chennai Police. All Hindus should protest this event. – Editor
Painting from the Aurangzeb exhibition – 1 (Courtesy – www.fact-india.com)
Painting from Aurangzeb exhibition – 2 (Courtesy – www.fact-india.com)
Chennai: The Chennai police on Thursday detained three women associated with an art exhibition after forcing them to close down the show, where a French artist had displayed his paintings on Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The police took Saraswathi (65), Dr.Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47) to the Thousand Lights station at around 7.30 p.m. for enquiry into charges of assisting an exhibition by French journalist Francois Gautier at Lalit Kala Akademi’s (LKA) Regional Centre on Greams Road. They were detained in the station for half-an-hour. (Why ‘secular’ police is not giving same treatment to Ashutosh Gowarikar? Police is protecting followers of cruel Aurangazeb and Akbar. – Editor)
Earlier in the day, tension prevailed on LKA premises when the police, Hindu Munnani president Rama Gopalan and Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali visited the exhibition. The visit of the police came in the wake of three letters including one from an advocate Mr Zainudeen to Lalit Kala Akademi stating that the exhibition would disturb communal harmony. The police initially suggested removal of two pictures depicting demolition of Keshava Rai temple in Mathura and that of Somnath temple by the armies of Aurangazeb. (Where was this police when Hindus were protesting against ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ movie based on false story? – Editor)
However, the organisers of the exhibition told the police that they would not remove the pictures as it violated their artistic freedom. Janata party president Ms Chandralekha rushed to the spot to express solidarity with the organisers of the exhibition. Talking to this newspaper, Ms Saraswati (65) said, “The police was rude to us. They asked us whether we were terrorists. We were detained in the station for more than half an hour and they did not allow us to contact our family.” Ms Malathi said, “The police entered the exhibition hall at 7.30 pm and threw away some paintings.” However, the police and LKA officials denied breaking any art pieces put up at the exhibition.
Later in the day, two Muslim outfits Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat and Samooha Neethi Peravai protested in front of the LKA demanding that the exhibition be called off as it would disturb religious amity. FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism), an art foundation of Mr Francois Gautier, has been organizing historical art exhibitions on emperors such as Aurangazeb and Shivaji in the metropolitan cities including New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai for the last two years.
Mr Francois said, “I have conducted the same exhibition at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. No one protested. It is necessary to create a dialogue between communities and put an end to the intolerant culture of Aurangazeb. Let us inculcate the cosmopolitan spirit of Dara Shkoh, the brother of Aurangazeb, who learnt Upanishads and had a dialogue with the Hindu brethren.” Ms Chandralekha said, “This is atrocious. The DMK-led government has always been against the Hindus. This incident also vindicated that.”
Mr Balasubramanian, Joint Commissioner of police, said, “The exhibition is called off temporarily as a few people raised objections to the exhibits. As we feared that it might create a law and order problem, we advised the organisers to obtain permission before holding the exhibition again.” Meanwhile, artist Francois met the Joint Commissioner and said he did not have any ulterior motive in holding the exhibition and had only wanted to create an awareness on Indian history.
Where did this police sleep when Hindu protest against ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, MF Husain? Do they only wake up to beat Hindus?
Hindus, be ready to fight fanatic Muslims all the time! – Editor
Chennai: The Aurangzeb Exhibition in Chennai was thretened and asked to close down today by the Muslim leaders of the makkal urimai kalazam. They were having problems with the way Aurangzeb was portrayed in the exhibition. While the organisers FACT India say they have nothing to do with the content which is sourced from the Original Akhbarat or Court documents of Moghul courts in the archives of Museums Deprartment, Govt of India.
Leaders of the Muslim group walked in yesterday 5th march 2008 and protested on the exhibition saying Aurangzeb was poorly depicted, and this would lead to clashes and riots. While Aurangzeb has done lot of good things nothing was said about that and only his misdeeds were portrayed. They alleged that Hindus would get angry and make disturbances so the Exhibition needs to be closed.
FACT India clarifies that it is not anybody’ opinion that is depicted in the exhibition but only the History as it was from the Moghul court documents the Akhbarat. FACT India has orgnised this exhibition to bring awareness on facts as they are. And Aurangzeb and his philosophy of "I kill if you dont agree" is the fundamentalism that the world is facing, it needs to be encountered tooth and nail. The Terrorism and the ideology behind it needs to be stopped. The exhibition has travelled to New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune and is currently showing at Lalit kala Academy Chennai. The exhibition is scheduled to be in chennai from 3rd to 9th march 2008.
The media was immediately there and Police intervened to secure the exhibition from miscreants. What was surprising was the media never came when invited for the inauguration of the Exhibition time and again, it was never to be seen while everything was peacful but once they smelled the disturbance all of them were there.
By François Gautier
FACT, the Trust which I head, is doing an exhibition on ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol documents’.
Why an exhibition on Aurangzeb, some may ask ? Firstly, I have been a close student of Indian history and one of its most controversial figures has been Aurangzeb (1658-1707). It is true that under him the Moghol Empire reached its zenith, but Aurangzeb was a very cruel ruler ‘ some might even say monstrous. What are the facts? Aurangzeb did not just build an isolated mosque on a destroyed temple, he ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism and had mosques built on a number of cleared temples sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them. A few examples: Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujurat, the Vishnu temple replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in 4, if not 5 figures. Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples, their users were also wiped-out; even his own brother, Dara Shikoh, was executed for taking an interest in Hindu religion and the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded because he objected to Aurangzeb’s forced conversions.
Thus we thought we should go at the root of the matter. History (like journalism) is about documentation and first hand experience. We decided to show Aurangzeb according to his own documents. There are an incredible number of farhans, of original edicts of Aurangzeb, hand-written in Persian in India’s museums, particularly in Rajasthan, such as the Bikaner archives. It was not always easy to scan them, we encountered resistance, sometimes downright hostility and we had to go once to the CM to get permissions. Indeed the director of Bikaner archives told us that in 50 years, we were the first ones asking for these farhans dealing with Aurangzeb destructive deeds. Then we asked painters from Rajasthan to reproduce in the ancient Moghol style some of the edicts : the destruction of the Somnath temple, or the trampling of Hindus protesting jizya tax by Aurangzeb’s elephants, or the order from Aurangzeb prohibiting Hindus to ride horses and palanquins, or the beheading of Teg Bahadur and Dara Shikoh.
People might say: ‘ok, this is all true, Aurangzeb was indeed a monster, but why rake the past, when we have tensions between Muslims and Hindus today’ ? There are two reasons to this exhibition. The first one is that no nation can move forward unless its children are taught to look squarely at their own history, the good and the bad, the evil and the pure. The French for instance have many dark periods of their history, more recently some of the deeds they did during colonization in North Africa or how they collaborated with the Nazis during the 2d world war and handed over French Jews who died in concentration camps (French people are only coming to terms with it now).The argument that looking at one’s history will pit a community against the other does not hold either: French Catholics and Protestants, who share a very similar religion, fought bitterly each other. Catholics brutally murdered thousands of Protestants in the 18th century; yet today they lived peacefully next to each other. France fought three wars with Germany in the last 150 years, yet they are great friends today.
Let then Hindus and Muslims come to terms with what happened under Aurangzeb, because Muslims suffered as much as Hindus. It was not only Shah Jahan or Dara Shikoh who were murdered, but also the forefathers of today’s Indian Muslims who have been converted at 90%. Aurangzeb was the Hitler, the Asura of Medieval India. No street is named after Hitler in the West, yet in Delhi we have the Aurangzeb road, a constant reminder of the horrors Aurangzeb perpetrated against Indians, including against his own people.
Finally, Aurangzeb is very relevant today because he thought that Sunni Islam was the purest form of his religion and he sought to impose it with ruthless efficiency – even against those of his own faith, such as his brother. Aurangzeb clamped down on the more syncretic, more tolerant Islam, of the Sufi kind, which then existed in India.But he did not fully succeed. Four centuries later, is he going to have the last word ? I remember, when I started covering Kashmir in the late seventies, that Islam had a much more open face. The Kashmir Muslim, who is also a descendant of converted Hindus, might have thought that Allah was the only true God, but he accepted his Kashmir Pandit neighbor, went to his or her marriage, ate in his or her house and the Hindu in turn went to the mosque. Women used to walk with open faces, watch TV, films. Then the shadow of Aurangzeb fell again on Kashmir and the hard-line Sunnis came from Pakistan and Afghanistan : cinemas were banned, the burqua imposed, 400.000 Kashmiri Pandits were chased out of Kashmir by violence and became refugees in their own land and the last Sufi shrine of Srhar-e- Sharif was burnt to the ground (I was there). Today the Shariat law has been voted in Kashmir, a state of democratic, secular India,UP’s Muslims have applauded, and the entire Indian Media, which went up in flames when the Government wanted Vande Mataram to be sung, kept quiet. The spirit of Aurangzeb seems to triumph.
But what we need today in India – and indeed in the world – is a Dara Shikoh, who reintroduces an Islam which, while believing in the supremacy of its Prophet, not only accepts other faiths, but is also able to see the good in each religion, study them, maybe create a synthesis. Islam needs to adapt its scriptures which were created nearly 15 centuries ago for the people and customs of these times, but which are not necessarily relevant in some of their injunctions today. Kabir, Dara Shikoh and some of the Sufi saints attempted this task, but failed. Aurangzeb knew what he was doing when he had his own brother’s head cut. And we know what we are saying when we say that this exhibition is very relevant to today’s India
May the Spirit of Dara Shikoh come back to India and bring back Islam to a more tolerant human face.
Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal Records
Aurangzeb, Emperor Shah Jahan’s sixth son, was born on 24th October 1618 at Dohad in Madhya Pradesh, and wrested India’s crown from his father before the end of June 1658, after defeating his brother Prince Dara Shukoh’s armies, first at Dharmat near Ujjain (15th April 1568) and the second, led by Dara himself, at Samugarh on 29th May 1658. The War of Succession to the richest throne in the world was practically over with this victory, and Aurangzeb secured his position by making Murad, his brother and accomplice in his impetuous pursuit for power, his prisoner, by treachery, on 25th June. He had already made his old father Emperor Shah Jahan a prisoner in the Agra Fort (8th June 1658).
Shah Jahan survived his confinement by nearly eight years and the disgraceful manner of his burial (Exhibit No.5)will ever remain a stigma on this unscrupulous son Aurangzeb’s advent to the throne in his father’s life time was not welcomed by the people of India, because of the treacherous manner it was achieved; , but public opinion became all the more hostile towards him when Prince Dara Shukoh, the favourite son of Shah Jahan, the translator of the Upanishads (Exhibit No.2), and a truly liberal and enlightened Musalman, was taken prisoner on the Indian border, as he was going to Persia. Dara was paraded in a most undignified manner on the streets of Delhi on 29th August 1659. The French Doctor, Bernier, was an eye-witness to the scene and was deeply moved by the popular sympathy for Dara (Exhibit No.3) which so much alarmed Aurangzeb that he contrived to have a decree from his Clerics announcing death-sentence for his elder brother on the charge of apostasy (Exhibit No.4).
Throughout the War of Succession, Aurangzeb had maintained that he was not interested in acquiring the throne and that his only object was to ward off the threat to Islam, which was inevitable in case Dara Shukoh came to power. Many, including his brother Murad, were deceived by this posture. After his formal accession in Delhi (5th June 1659) he posed as a defender of Islam who would rule according to the directions of the Shariat, and with the advice of the Clerics or Ulama for whom the doctrines, rules, principles and directives, as laid down and interpreted in the 7th and 8th century Arabia, Persia and Iraq, were inviolable and unchangeable in all conditions, in all countries, and for all times to come.
One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb’s policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666)removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed ‘In the religionof theMusalmans it is improper even to look at a temple’, and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No.6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No.6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667).
In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos.9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No.12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad. The painting (Exhibit No.13) is thus no fancy imagination of the artist but depicts what actually took place.
This was followed by Aurangzeb’s order to demolish the highly venerated temple of Vishwanath at Banaras (Persian text, Exhibit No.11), Keshava Rai temple (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Persian Text, exhibit No.12 and Painting, Exhibit No.13), and of Somanatha (Exhibit No.14).To save the idol of Shri Nathji from being desecrated, the Gosain carried it to Rajputana, where Maharana Raj Singh received it formally at Sihad village, assuring the priest that Aurangzeb would have to trample over the bodies of one lakh of his brave Rajputs, before he couldeven touch the idol (Exhibit No.15)
Aurangzeb’s zeal for temple destruction became much more intense during war conditions. The opportunity to earn religious merit by demolishing hundreds of temples soon came to him in 1679 when, after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur in the Kabul Subah, he tried to eliminate the Rathors of Marwar as a political power in Rajputana. But Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar, in line with the great traditions of his House, came out in open support of the Rathors.. This led to war with both Mewar and Marwar during which the temples built on the bank of Rana’s lake were destroyed by his orders (Exhibit No.23, Akhbarat 23rd December 1679) and also about three hundred other temples in the environs of Udaipur. (Exhibit No.25, Text), including the famous Jagannath Rai temple built at a great cost in front of the Maharana’s palace which was bravely defended by a handful of Rajputs (Exhibit Nos.20, 21).
Not only this, when Aurangzeb visited Chittor to have a view of the famous fort, he ordered the demolition of 63 temples there which included some of the finest temples of Kumbha’s time (Exhibit No.22). From Marwar (in Western Rajasthan) alone were brought several cart-loads of idols which, as per Aurangzeb’s orders, were cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of Jama Masjid (Exhibit No.19). Such uncivilized and arrogant conduct of the Mughal Emperor alienated Hindus for ever, though they continued to be tolerant towards his creed.
In June 1681, orders, in a laconic two-liner, were given for the demolition of the highly venerated Jagannath Temple in Orissa (Exhibit No.24, Akhbarat, 1st June 1681)., Shortly afterwards, in September 1682, the famous Bindu-Madhav temple in Banaras was also demolished as per the Emperor’s orders (Exhibit No.27, Akhbarat, Julus 26, Ramzan 20). On 1st September 1681, while proceeding to the Deccan, where his rebel son Prince Akbar, escorted by Durga Das Rathore, had joined Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son, Shambhaji, thus creating a serious problem for him, Aurangzeb ordered that all the temples on the way should be destroyed. It was a comprehensive order not distinguishing between old and newly built temples (Exhibit No.26, Akhbarat, Julus 25, Ramzan 18). But in the district of Burhanpur, where there were a large number of temples with their doors closed, he preferred to keep them as such, as the Muslims were too few in number in the district. (Exhibit No.28, Akhbarat 13th October 1681). In his religious frenzy, even temples of the loyal and friendly Amber state were not spared, such as the famous temple of Jagdish at Goner near Amber (Exhibit Nos.30, Akhbarat, 28th March and 14th May 1680). In fact, his misguided ardour for temple destruction did not abate almost up to the end of his life, for as late as 1st January 1705 we find him ordering that the temple of Pandharpur be demolished and the butchers of the camp be sent to slaughter cows in the temple precincts (Akhbarat 49-7).
The number of such ruthless acts of Aurangzeb make a long list but here only a few have been mentioned, supported by evidence, mostly contemporary official records of Aurangzeb’s period and by such credible Persian sources as Maasir-i-Alamgiri.
I In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 (Exhibit No.16), which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country .A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed (Exhibit No.17), This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu (Exhibit No.18). In the same vein, were his discriminatory measures against Hindus in the form of exemption of the Muslims from the taxes (Exhibit No.31, Akhbarat 16th April 1667) ban on atishbazi and restriction on Diwali (Exhibit No.32), replacement of Hindu officials by Muslims so that the Emperor’s prayers for the welfare of Muslims and glory of Islam, which were proving ineffective, be answered (Exhibit Nos.33, 34). He also imposed a ban on ziyarat and gathering of the Hindus at religious shrines, such as of Shitla Mata and folk Gods like Pir Pabu (Exhibit No.35, Akhbarat 16th September 1667), another ban on their travelling in Palkis, or riding elephants and Arab-Iraqi horses, as Hindus should not carry themselves with the same dignity as the Muslims! (Exhibit No.36). In the same vein came brazen attempts to convert Hindus by inducement, coercion (Exhibit No.41) or by offering Qanungoship (Exhibit No.44, 45, 46) and to honour the converts in the open Court. His personal directions were that a Hindu male be given Rs.4 and a Hindu female Rs.2 on conversion (Exhibit No.43,Akhbarat 7th April 1685). ‘Go on giving them", Aurangzeb had ordered when it was reported to him that the Faujdar of Bithur, Shaikh Abdul Momin, had converted 150 Hindus and had given them naqd (cash) and saropas (dresses of honour) (Exhibit No.40, Akhbarat, 11th April 1667). Such display of Islamic orthodoxy by the State under Aurangzeb gave strength and purpose to the resistance movements such as of the Marathas, the Jats, the Bundelas and the Sikhs (Exhibit No.46).
On the 12th May 1666, the dignity with which Shivaji carried himself in the Mughal court and defied the Emperor’s authority, won him spontaneous admiration of the masses. Parkaldas, an official of Amber (Jaipur State) wrote in his letter dated 29th May 1666, to his Diwan. ‘Now that after coming to the Emperor’s presence Shivaji has shown such audacity and returned harsh and strong replies, the public extols him for his bravery all the more …" (Exhibit No.37).When Shivaji passed away on April 1680 at the age of 53 only, he had already carved a sufficiently large kingdom, his Swarajya, both along the western coast and some important areas in the east as well.
Aurangzeb could never pardon himself for his Intelligence in letting i escapefrom his well laid trap and wrote in his Will (Exhibit No.48)that it made him ‘to labour hard (against the Marathas) to the end of my life (as a result of it)". He did not realize that it was his own doing: the extremely cruel manner ‘ even for those times – in which he put to death Shivaji’ son, Shambhaji (Exhibit No.38)made the Maratha king a martyr in the eyes of the masses and with that commenced the People’ War in Maharashtra and the Deccan which dug the grave of the Mughal empire.
Till the very end Aurangzeb never understood that the main pillars of the government are the affection and support of the people and not mere compliance of the religious directives originating from a foreign land in the seventh-eighth centuries.
His death after a long and ruinous reign lasting half a century, ended an eventful epoch in the history of India . He left behind a crumbling empire, a corrupt and inefficient administration, a demoralized army, a discredited government facing public bankruptcy and alienated subjects.
Here are the some of the paintings and sketches about his rule as well as farhans, original edicts by Aurangzeb, preserved at the Bikaner Museum.
Source: http://www.fact- india.com
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