The Baroda Fine Arts College Debacle and Chandramohan
It will not be difficult to recall the title of Chandramohan Srilamantula. The master’s degree student of Department of Graphics at the Fine Arts School in Baroda who was jailed for displaying artworks in the faculty evaluation display which a Methodist pastor and a regional BJP guy identified objectionable. The BJP man with his supporters vandalized the display and later filed an FIR towards the pupil for ‘misusing religious symbols and triggering religious offence and received him arrested by a nonbailable warrant. The date was 9 May 2007. 1 yr has past after the incident in the daily life of democratic India. By now, everyone must have forgotten it.
Even so, at the heat of the minute it appeared like the democratic minded citizens of Baroda, Gujarat and India would remonstrate on the issue until they reestablish the dignity of the student and institution. The artists went for a peaceful hunger strike, organized an additional campus exhibition on the erotic depiction of religious symbols from the 2500 many years historical past of Indian artwork as a protest towards the vandalism. The university authorities forcefully closed this exhibition and suspended the acting Dean of the Faculty Mr. Shivaji Panikkar for allowing such a vulgar present. National English language media highlighted the concern by means of editorials, headline information, protest content articles and prime time discussions. The reaction looks genuine as it was directly associated with the cliché ‘freedom of expression’. Who can deny that our media care so much for this freedom? All more than India, artists and citizens came on street to voice their concern. Two committees have been formed to probe the incident. One by the MS University and the other by the Governor of Gujarat. None of the reviews have been officially produced public.
Soon after the instigators found that, he was no a lot more essential for their lead to, Chandramohan was launched on bail but his outcomes have been withheld and not but been delivered. Not too long ago he had to file a case in the neighborhood court to get his final results cleared. A broken chap, he returned to his native village in Andhra Pradesh soon after his release, from the place a single day he had traveled a prolonged way to Baroda to realize the dreams of his artistic desires. Shivaji Panikkar is nevertheless underneath suspension. Sooner or later, absolutely nothing actually altered except Baroda Fine Arts School and Chandramohan’s loss of dignity.
Plenty of folks had spoken about the fascistic tendencies of the existing BJP regime of Gujarat. Just think of a similar incident taking place in a state like West Bengal. The clamor of the society will deliver the ruling party and government on its toe, sturdy public view will be reflected in the local media, recognized-unknown organisations will begin agitation, the opposition events will start a augmented campaign against the ruling celebration, the chief minister will be compelled to comment and willingly or non willingly get some action. In Gujarat, absolutely nothing of that kind took place. The society in common was deaf and mute the nearby media passively supported the vandalism, with the exception of Anhad, no organisation had the guts to stage a substantial protest. It is effortless to be daring from the Tv studio but tough to be the exact same on the streets of today’s Gujarat. The opposition celebration Congress observed the incidence from a safe distance, since they have been not certain about how considerably political mileage they can accomplish if they lend support toward the victim. Or perhaps deep in their heart, they also approved the vandal acts. The chief minister right up until nowadays has not uttered a single word on the incident. As if, it was too minor an situation for him to intervene. Nobody, not even the brave and truthful Indian media dared to query his and his government’s pathetic silence on the problem. In his Gujarat, there is no room left for individuals to survive with dignity if they disagree with the neo-nationwide ideology of the ruling party and numerous righteous citizens of this prosperous state, sadly, has taken it for granted. Surely sufficient, Mr. Modi is an honorable guy!
Chandramohan has not returned to Baroda. He knows that there will be no 1 there to assistance or defend him and even if there are any, he will be nonetheless unsafe. He was the victim from two opposite sides of the establishment. From one particular side the self-appointed guardians and theoreticians of Hindu culture, who reminds us of the Nazi Storm Troopers, immediately victimized him. However, he was also victimized indirectly from one more side an artwork training technique that permits its pupils to freely express their mind but do not teach them the appropriate ways to communicate it. Who are the addressee of this “totally free expression” so loudly promoted by the media? Our artwork education program had cocooned the mind of the pupil artists in their egoistic person cells and was primarily successful to isolated them from their own folks. The artist local community in India is nearly like an inaccessible sect the place non-members are not entitled to enter. Typical men and women are amassing their conceptions standing outside the closed gate of this decorated facade. There are writers and critics who can philosophize to the operates of Chandramohan but who are going to pay attention? Without having communication, freethinking is a vague concept.
We can urge endlessly on artistic freedom and obscenity, website tons of examples to assistance our notion and finally, virtually like a ritual, say: allow the people choose. Are we clear about whom this people are? If we indicate the Indian mass, are they experienced and educated sufficient to type an opinion regarding artwork troubles on their personal? Are they aware of the artwork background of their very own nation? Do they genuinely care for the art developed by the Indian artists? Sadly, all these inquiries will conclude in unfavorable.
Chandramohan’s long term as an artist may possibly not be above but is undoubtedly doubtful. Meanwhile the artistic careers of his former classmates and teachers are in an all time substantial, thanks to the Indian art boom. No one particular has any a lot more time to waste thinking for this unfortunate youthful man.