M F Hussain was a painter of great repute. Much of his reputation was based on painting Hindu goddesses and other mythological figures in the nude. This made him quite a favourite of the Congress eco-system in India. When some Hindus objected and went to court against him they were condemned for being unartistic and anti-Muslim. The courts of course provided Hussain protection. Freedom of expression, they said. Try to understand artistic expression, they explained.
Hussain attracted the ire of the left liberals only when he depicted Indira Gandhi as the goddess Durga. Durga was said to be the slayer of demons. Hussain referenced this memory to Indira Gandhi defeating the Pakistanis.
Noteworthy was that Hussain was careful to not paint a naked image of Indira Gandhi even in his version of the Durga avatar. When Hussain painted Durga alone, not as a version of Indira Gandhi, he promptly removed her clothes in his 1981 painting. He also had a tail emerging out of her naked butt.
In 1984, when Indira was assassinated by her own guards turned Sikh terrorists, Rajiv Gandhi took over as Prime Minister. When Hussain painted a portrait of Indira Gandhi which he presented to her son and the new Prime Minister of India, he once again took care to keep Indira fully clad in a sari. Later Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of Rajiv, would claim that she had ‘sold’ a portrait of her father, Rajiv, done by Hussain, to one Rana Kapoor for Rs. 2 crore vide Priyanka’s letter to Rana Kapoor dated June 4, 2010. According to this letter, she received payment in cheque. #135343, drawn on HSBC, Ac No. 019-384890-006
Rajiv Lochan, is a renowned historian, scholar and columnist
The History of Politics in India ten years from now will notice how the People Changed, brought in a more democratic form of government, demanded and got good governance for themselves. This was essentially a change in the way in which the people of India looked at themselves. In the process, they marginalised those politicians who were looking for ways to drag India into a pre-modern abyss where a few satraps ruled over the masses. Indians kicked out the excuse that someone had the right / privilege to rule over India because they had made some contribution to the national movement or because they had made some self-defined sacrifice for the poor. Indians don’t like being poor. Indians don’t see themselves as poor. Indians don’t like to live in dirty surroundings. And yet in the years since independence they had political leaders who forced them to. It was only by 2014 that Indians realised that the way out for them was to kick out their politicians.
Till just ten years ago the Yadavs ruled much of India, the peasant groups comprising of the likes of Jats/Reddys/Kammas/Marathas ruled whatever was left even though they controlled only about 2% of the wealth of the country, about 5% of the land and were only about 10% of the population. These people discovered that dividing the people of India into religious and caste groups was a marvellous device to keep them under control. Their policies were designed to project them as dons running some sort of a countrywide protection racket. There was nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ about anything in India except the imagined animosities between them which were routinely underlined by both the VHP types as also the kathmulla types. These imagined animosities were then played upon by the politicians to consolidate their positions.
Even this belief that the government only helped Muslims was created specifically to fool those of the Islamic faith in India that they were under threat, they needed to exist separately from other Indians. Akshay Bakaya reminded us of the Adhikari Thesis of the communists in the 1940s which specifically identified Muslims as a separate nation. In the days after Independence, it was people like Nehru who railed against such separatism. Four decades later the Congress party began to promote separatism once again first by creating the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) then through its various decisions.
The one thing that none of these political leaders did all these years was to ensure that all Indians, irrespective of caste, religion, gender, got an equal opportunity to grow. These political leaders even nurtured a group of intellectuals and artists whose only task was to create ideological support for their divisive ways.
It was only in the 2014 election that for the first time Indians voted against caste religion and gender. That created a severe crisis for the intellectuals and the existing political groupings. They responded by coming up with lies that were repeated so frequently that even the liar began to believe those lies. They conconted accusations of Christians being targetted in India, spread fictitious stories of dalits being under attack in India, fabricated stories of women being under threat of rape and violence, invented false allegations of Muslims being in perpetual danger. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister the government in India began some of the first efforts at improving goverenance in India and providing the people of India with a state system that was actually fair, helpful to the people and, not biased in terms of caste, gender, religion or region.
Inevitably this is the kind of transformation that discomforts those who thrived when the Indian National Congress ruled India.
Rahul Gandhi’s desperate efforts, and that of his groupies, to demand special concessions for themselves and their loved ones having failed, some of the groupies have begun to openly advocate the use of lies and accusations as a device to bring down the edifice of good governance that Modi is building.
Only Indians can ensure that India continues to move on the right path and does not fall back into the abyss created by the Indian National Congress. The politicians of India have not changed; but Indians have. And it is this change which remains invisible to those born and brought up in the Congress eco-system.