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Dear Sandeep,

A Desipundit link took me to your argument against the court ruling dismissing a petition against M.F. Husain's art depicting Hindu goddesses in the nude.

After quoting the judge's ruling and weighing Hindu "symbolism" against the judge's "aesthetics", you conclude:

"Hussain's "art" needs to be challenged by a deep scholarship of the Indian tradition of art, and sufficiently made public. In my readings, Hussain's "art" is bought merely as investment. In true free market style, if enough is done to show that these are worthless investments, we would need to stop worrying about Hussain's "art." The learned judge is merely looking at the symptom not the disease."

Sigh...where do I start.

First, why the appeal to the judge?
The courts have no place with why Husain's paintings would be considered aesthetical. Unless you believe that aesthetics and beauty are standards to be left to the judicial system. In which case, please tell me how India became a theocratic state overnight.

I for one, can judge for myself, what I would consider aesthetically pleasing. If you seek to impose your standards of beauty on me through the courts, you patronize me to say the least. Husain's art may offend, please or do nothing for me, but I will defend my right to judge that for myself. I will also defend Husain's right to paint whatever he pleases.

Also, please define "worthless investments". Is there a hurdle IRR (internal rate of return) you demand as a learned investor of the arts? If that's so, let's play an experiment:

You quote a price for the painting and let me tell you if that's acceptable to Husain.
Here's a hint: you have to pay him what he thinks his painting is worth having destroyed. I have a feeling you are not going to hang it up in your living room.

Actually, given that this game could quickly become expensive, let's lower the stakes a little and shift the risk. After all, I should put my money where my mouth is, right? Let's bet $1,000 right here, right now that Husain will not part with his painting to you for any sum of money. You don't have to buy into this bet, it won't cost you a penny to accept or lose. You just have to get incontrovertible evidence that would hold up in any Indian court that Husain would sell his painting to you for some sum of money. But until you can furnish such proof, your words are as "worthless" as the object of your hate.

Lastly, not a day passes by without someone anointing himself or herself spokesperson for the myriad beliefs held by millions of Hindus. I am sorry, Sandeep, but I have to revoke your license to represent me for you stole it while I wasn't looking, let alone without asking me.


[Off topic]
Could you please enable full feeds?

1:47 AM

Done. Thanks for the request, Vivek.

6:35 AM

Hmm... just got an idea. I should create some Hussain-ish kind of paintings that offend a lot of people and defend my right to define art for myself. Then I need to wait for a bloke like this to offer a an open bet that I won't sell my paintings for any price.

Maybe that is the key to get some really good offers for my paintings. What have I got to lose? I gain money and somebody else loses money for placing a bet on how I would behave.

7:02 AM


You miss the point. The point is not creating a market for your markets. The point is that once some one has made the purchase, you prove the art has value to the buyer. And if you can't get the seller to part with the painting, you still prove the art has value to the seller. Hence, Sandeep's argument that Hussain's art is "worthless" remains unfulfilled.

7:56 AM

Frankly speaking I really do not care about Hussain's paintings. What I do care about is freedom of speech. These days anyone who can gather up a few people burn a few effigies and is automatically appointed the as the spokesman for millions of other people.
These people do not care about th4e paintings, the goddesses or any other hindu. All they want is their fifteen minutes of fame. Period.

By the way, Abhishek, well said.

4:11 PM

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