Threats From Hindu Extremists Lead To London Art Show Being Cancelled

An exhibition of controversial paintings in London has been cancelled after threats from religious extremists.

Bowing to pressure from the Hindu Forum of Britain, the Asia House has abruptly cancelled the exhibition of paintings by Indian artist M F Husain, saying it couldn’t guarantee security. The Hindu Forum had alleged that Husain’s paintings of nude Hindu Gods and Goddesses had ‘outraged community members around the world’.

The exhibition was due to continue until August 5, but after calls for its withdrawal by the Forum and a threat of a protest demonstration outside the venue next Saturday by so-called Hindu Human Rights campaigners, Asia House sent an e-mail saying they have cancelled the exhibition.

NSS honorary associate Lord Meghnad Desai reacted angrily to the news, and wrote to the Guardian this morning: “Husain is a Muslim painter who has been painting on Indian themes for decades.
Hindu goddesses can be seen in a variety of poses which many may find erotic in the temples of Khajuraho and Tirupati and many others. Hindu society and religion are remarkably relaxed and tolerant about sexual practices of human beings as well as of their gods and goddesses. What we are witnessing is the import into the UK of a group which under the guise of Hindu human rights is practising censorship for which there is no sanction in Hindu religion. It is the duty of all citizens to stop this evil before it spreads too far into our body politic. In my view the objection to Husain is not the so-called obscenity of his paintings. It is because he is a Muslim and hence the desire of some Hindu groups to deny his artistic freedom to take Hindu gods and goddesses as his theme.”

Meanwhile, the British government is to give the Hindu Forum tens of thousands of pounds to conduct research into the “aspirations and issues affecting the Hindu population in the UK”. The Hindu Forum was responsible last year for getting a Christmas stamp withdrawn because it apparently depicted a Hindu deity.

While Husain’s exhibition was cancelled, one of his paintings, titled Blue Girl, dated 1964, fetched £120,000 at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday.

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