Art exhibition on Aurangzeb cancelled

7 03 2008

Aurangzeb exhibition controversy

Chennai: An art exhibition on the life of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb has run into rough weather following objections from some Muslim individuals to two pictures showing demolition of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat on the ground that they would disturb peace in Tamil Nadu.

A Hindu group threatened to stage a demonstration if the exhibition was cancelled. The Lalit Kala Academy, where the exhibition is on till March 9, is considering cancelling the show.

R M Palaniappan, regional secretary, Lalit Kala Academy said that two persons had submitted written complaints saying a portrait, depicting the demolition of the temple in Gujarat, following the order of Aurangazeb, could lead to communal hatred.

He said, “I have informed the headquarters at Delhi and are waiting further orders .” Hindu Munnani founder leader Rama Gopalan said, “Visitors have the right to know the truth. If the exhibition is cancelled, we will stage a demonstration,” he said. — Agencies

Chennai cops shut down Lalit Kala Akademi show on Aurangzeb

An art show at the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) here curated by journalist Francois Gautier was at the receiving end of moral policing when an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was shut down.

Stating that it had received three complaints that the show would disturb communal harmony, police Thursday night burst into the exhibition, shut it down forcibly, took into custody three women associated with the hosting of the exhibition and seized some of the works on display.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, including exceptional miniatures by noted Indian artists, gathered together by Gautier’s Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) were on show at the LKA from March 3.

The show included farhans (edicts issued by Aurangzeb) from the Bikaner museum and other material on Aurangzeb. It also contained two pictures depicting Aurangzeb’s army destroying the Somnath temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura.

The organisers said they had the right to freedom of expression and the right to exhibit a show that had travelled all over India.

LKA regional secretary R.M. Palaniappan told the media he “should have screened the exhibits more carefully”.

Joint Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian later told the media: “We feared it might create a law and order problem.”

The three women from FACT, Saraswathi (65), Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47), were picked up from the show at about 7.30 p.m. and taken to the police station, where they were held for nearly an hour without being allowed to contact their families or any lawyer.

“The police were rude to us, they asked us whether we were terrorists”, Saraswathi told the media. The women were later released.

Gautier too told the media police refused to protect the exhibition. “The idea was to show how different the history of India would have been if Dara Shikho, emperor Shajahan’s elder son and preferred heir, had become ruler of India,” he said as he went to the police and explained that his intentions were not to spread any social disharmony, “only to bring history to the people”.

The exhibition had come to after showing in Delhi and Pune and was to go on till March 9.

Aurangzeb expo abruptly closed
Friday March 7 2008 08:42 IST

G Babu Jayakumar (NEW Indian Express)

CHENNAI: An ‘artistic exhibition on Aurangzeb’ at the Lalit Kala Akademi was closed on Thursday, four days after it opened, reportedly after it assumed political overtones.

The Akademi asked the show’s organisers to vacate the hall though it was booked till March 9. On Thursday morning, Assistant Commissioner of Police K N Murali and the regional secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi, R M Palaniappan, who wanted to seal the doors to the show, were forced to retreat as a phalanx of politicians from Hindu groups and Janata Party leader V S Chandralekha arrived.

The police and Akademi official feared that two paintings on display could incite communal passions. Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, who visited the exhibition, called it ‘a bunkum’. He said it was ‘cooked up history’ and he could challenge the authenticity of documents on display.

He confronted Chandraleka and the other volunteers of Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), who had put together a series of documents and paintings under the title ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghul records’, questioning them on the necessity of organising the show.

Ramagopalan and his followers refused to remove the two ‘potentially controversial’ paintings – one on the demolition of the Saranath temple in Gujarat in 1669 and the other having vignettes of the destruction of Keshava Rai temple at Mathura (1669) and the building of a mosque – but offered to put a veil over them.

Palaniappan said he received a written complaint from an advocate Jainauddin, who described the exhibits as ‘objectionable’. He said several people had also called him to express their displeasure.

Admitting that he had failed to screen the exhibits before the display, Palaniappan said he had the powers to call off an exhibition any time. Francois Gautier, a Delhi-based French journalist who had planned the show, told this website’s newspaper that police refused to provide protection.

Aurangzeb exhibits at Lalit Kala Academy kick up row
Chennai | Thursday, Mar 6 2008 IST (Net India 123)

An art exhibition at the Lalit Kala Akademi here, depicting the life history of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb has run into a controversy following opposition by some Muslim outfits to some of the portraits and Hindu organisations coming to its defence by opposing the cancellation demand. Tight police security had been deployed at the premises after Muslim organisations took up cudgels against some of the portraits claiming that it would disturb peace in the State and demanded that the expo should be cancelled. Justifying the portraits, a Hindu outfit opposed any move for cancelling the show contending that “only Historical facts” were on display. The Akademy’s Regional Secretary R M Palaniappan told reporters that three people, including two Muslims had raised objections to a photo that showed demolition of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat by Muslim forces, following an order by Aurangazeb. They also submitted a written complaint that this picture could hurt the sentiments of Hindus and would result in communal hatred. The issue has been referred to the Akademi headquarters at New Delhi, he added. To a question, he said though he had enough powers to cancel the show, he was awaiting orders from the headquarters. “I cannot allow such controversies in a government building,” he added. Meanwhile, ‘Hindu Munnani’ leader Rama Gopalan visited the Akademi and said there was no distortion of facts in the pictures. He also threatened to launch an agitation if the exhibition was cancelled.

— (UNI) — 06MS42.xml





Bloggers speak: Chennai cops shut down Lalit Kala Akademi

7 03 2008

BLOGGERS Speak

When Thoughts Cease

A tale of two cities (and media hypocrisy)

Incident 1:
Vadodara.
May 9, 2007.

Suspected Hindu right-wingers attack an internal exhibition of paintings at MS University. Artist Chandramohan arrested.

Reaction: The Left-liberal media begins to froth at its mouth. Protests happen all over the place (or at least we are made to believe so by the media). The incident is given wide coverage in all newspapers. Talk shows debate the issue endlessly. SMS Surveys, phone-in shows, internet polls, editorials and Sunday columnists (“intellectuals”) condemn the incident. Phrases such as “Hindu fundamentalists”, “Hindutva fascists” and “Saffron brigade” are bandied about to describe the attackers. The attack is an attack on cultural freedom say some. Some say it’s moral policing.

The media really gave it to those “fascists”, didn’t they? Wham! Bham! Pow! Left, right and center. They even got the artist released from jail and promptly got his perspective on the brouhaha (we cover all aspects of the issue you see).

http://whenthoughtscease.blogspot.com/

Atanu Dey on India’s Development

Truth would have a hard time prevailing in a nation of people cowed down from fear and threat of violence. A recent example of violence shutting out an attempt at finding the truth occurred in Chennai. A bunch of people shut down an exhibition which revealed Aurangzeb to be a tyrant. The police were also involved in the vandalism. The state was involved in suppressing the expression of a viewpoint that some considered unpalatable. Most of the newspapers did not report this.

Isn’t it true that India’s motto basically pokes fun at India’s public actions?

http://www.deeshaa.org/2008/03/09/on-aurangzeb/

Monologue of a Nomad

I am amazed why should these Muslim organizations join issues here? Why are they feeling obliged towards Aurangzeb? It is a well know fact that among many Hindus the name of Aurangzeb evokes the same passionate hatred as do the names of Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad of Ghori. It was Aurangzeb who ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishwanath temple, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism, and had mosques built on a number of cleared temple sites. Other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them.

http://nomadmolouges.blogspot.com/2008/03/muslim-organisations-force-closure-of.html

FACT exhibition vandalized: Has Aurangzeb reincarnated in form of police?

mar 8th, 2008

actually, aurangazeb = sonia and karunanidhi. the police are just their underlings.

http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2008/03/fact-exhibition-vandalized-has.html

Muslim Goondaism shall not pass!

March 8, 2008

Some muslim miscreant bent on hiding the truth managed to get our pseudo secular govt cancel the expo in Chennai. You can be rest assured none of the pseudo secular NGOs will call for freedom of expression now. They will be whacked by the Muslim goondas.

But 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. (Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal Records):
http://www.fact- india.com/ Aurangazebgaller y.php

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/category/tamilnadu/

Another report mentions that the show was cancelled following some objections but does not mention that three ladies were arrested (It cryptically refers to four people).

Overall the Indian media and intellegentsia has been conspicuous by their silence on the matter.

Will Ms Arundhati Roy, esteemed Shabana Azmi and all other champions of free speech please stand up and defend the right of Francois Gautier to continue with this exhibition?

http://satyameva-jayate.org/2008/03/08/will-arundhati-roy-defend-gautier/

The super-secular Chindu could only notice a few visitors raising a protest against two paintings. It gives you the impression that everything went so peacefully. Contrast this with the article from The Statesman.

http://cbcnn.blogspot.com/2008/03/art-exhibition-on-aurangazeb-cancelled.html

Philistines brush aside paint of history

NT Bureau | Fri, 07 Mar, 2008 , 02:41 PM

History, in normal course, is the stuff of academic tomes. But these days, history, and the depiction of it through an artistic medium, is newspaper headlines.
All through last week, the national media and the self-appointed custodians of free speech were aghast at the protest from a large section of people over the portrayal of Rajputs in Jodha Akbar, a highly opinionated and patently fictionalised celluloid offering on the Mughal king Akbar and one of his numerous wives, Jodha.
The usual catchphrases of ‘freedom of expression’, ‘creative licence’ were bandied about with gay indignation.

http://jihaditerror.blogspot.com/2008/03/philistines-brush-aside-paint-of.html

VHP condemns police action at FACT exhibition

Chennai, Mar 6: Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Working President S Vedantam today condemned the ‘unruly and undemocratic behaviour’ of police at the exhibition organised by Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) on the topic ”Aurangazeb as he was according to moghol records” at Lalith Kala Academy here….

http://hindu.theuniversalwisdom.org/vhp-condemns-police-action-fact-exhibition

Chennai cops shut down Lalit Kala Akademi show on Aurangzeb

March 7th, 2008 – 1:44 pm ICT by admin
(Thai Indian News)
Chennai, March 7 (IANS) An art show at the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) here curated by journalist Francois Gautier was at the receiving end of moral policing when an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was shut down. Stating that it had received three complaints that the show would disturb communal harmony, police Thursday night burst into the exhibition, shut it down forcibly, took into custody three women associated with the hosting of the exhibition and seized some of the works on display.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, including exceptional miniatures by noted Indian artists, gathered together by Gautier’s Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) were on show at the LKA from March 3.

The show included farhans (edicts issued by Aurangzeb) from the Bikaner museum and other material on Aurangzeb. It also contained two pictures depicting Aurangzeb’s army destroying the Somnath temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura.

The organisers said they had the right to freedom of expression and the right to exhibit a show that had travelled all over India.

LKA regional secretary R.M. Palaniappan told the media he “should have screened the exhibits more carefully”.

Joint Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian later told the media: “We feared it might create a law and order problem.”

The three women from FACT, Saraswathi (65), Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47), were picked up from the show at about 7.30 p.m. and taken to the police station, where they were held for nearly an hour without being allowed to contact their families or any lawyer.

“The police were rude to us, they asked us whether we were terrorists”, Saraswathi told the media. The women were later released.

Gautier too told the media Chennai police refused to protect the exhibition. “The idea was to show how different the history of India would have been if Dara Shikho, emperor Shajahan’s elder son and preferred heir, had become ruler of India,” he said as he went to the police and explained that his intentions were not to spread any social disharmony, “only to bring history to the people”.

The exhibition had come to Chennai after showing in Delhi and Pune and was to go on till March 9.

Art exhibition on Aurangazeb cancelled

Staff Reporter (The HINDU)

Chennai: An art exhibition on the life of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb in the city was closed down on Thursday following protests by a section of visitors who objected to the “communal nature” of some of the exhibits. The exhibition was inaugurated on Monday and was scheduled to be open till Sunday. However, some visitors raised a protest against two paintings showing demolition of temples in Somnath and Mathura.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Triplicane) M. Ramasubramani said the management of Lalit Kala Akademi, where the event was being held, told the exhibition organisers ‘Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism’ to close down as they apprehended law and order problems. The Foundation is run by Delhi-based French journalist Francois Gautier. In a statement here, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali welcomed the cancellation of the exhibition in view of its communal content. He added that the exhibition would unnecessarily create communal disharmony in a State reputed for its secularism.

Ire, indifference after closure of ‘objectionable exhibition’

New Kerala

Chennai, March 7 : Anger and indifference are the two main reactions expressed here Friday following Thursday’s closure of an “objectionable exhibition” organised by French journalist and political commentator Francois Gautier at the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA).

The exhibition claimed to “expose the misdeeds against Hinduism during the Mughal period”.

Following Muslim protests, the exhibition of paintings and reproductions of Arabic and Persian documents alluding to destruction of Hindu shrines at the LKA here since Monday was closed down to “prevent a law and order situation”.

“We had no other option but to close it down. Some Muslims objected to it citing wrong inferences drawn from Arabic texts which could not be independently deciphered by anyone here,” Rm Palaniappan, the secretary of the Chennai LKA told IANS.

“We requested the removal of some objectionable materials – including a few illustrations of temples being pulled down during the era of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb – thrice as their display is against our rules.

“Our facility is purely meant for showcasing contemporary art. When the representatives of Francois Gautier refused to heed our requests, we had no other option but to close it down after a police complaint.

“Since we wanted to prevent a law and order situation here developing out of an objectionable exhibition, we had to pull the shutters down,” Palaniappan said.

A furious Hindu Front leader Rama Gopalan has a different version.

“The incident makes it clear that we are being prevented from publicly exhibiting historically documented facts. The exhibition of Gautier – which had been shown successfully elsewhere in India earlier – was vandalised by Islamic goons and closed down by the LKA officials with police protection to pander to the crude tastes of the minority community.

“If persons like M.F. Hussain can be allowed to openly denigrate Hindu deities in the name or art in similar institutions in India, can’t an impartial foreign commentator be permitted to depict facts per se? In a nutshell, this is simple and straight fascism,” Gopalan told IANS.

“The press has twisted facts to fit into a pattern that suits saffron apologists,” said Commissioner of Police Nanchil Kumaran.

Director General of Police P. Rajendiran said: “Notwithstanding what my colleague (Kumaran) said, the simple fact is that a law and order situation has been averted. No news, in our opinion, is good news.”

Artists view the matter differently.

“It is a very sad thing to happen. Art is something where there is total freedom of expression. Why are they making religion such a big issue? It is totally unfair.

“There is nothing obscene in exhibiting Mughal paintings. Look at the west, which has given artists complete freedom. If such things happen in a democratic country like ours, what can you say,” said leading contemporary artist Kanchan Chander.

“There have been protests. We protested against politicians who targeted M.F. Husain branding his works anti-national, but nothing really came of them. I am a Hindu, but I respect every religion,” Chander added.

Gautier was unavailable for comment.

— IANS

No room for “FACTS” in Dravidian Land!

FACTS ABOUT THE FACT – Exhibition on Aurangazeb!
(HJS website)
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.


Art exhibition in city runs into rough weather

Chennai online
Chennai, Mar 6: An art exhibition, showcasing the life of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb has run into rough weather here following objections from some Muslim individuals against some portraits, claiming that the pictures would ‘disturb the peace’ in Tamil Nadu.

The Lalit Kala Academy, where the exhibition is on till March 9, is even considering cancelling the show.

R M Palaniappan, Regional Secretary, Lalit Kala Academy, told reporters that two persons had submitted written complaints, stating that a portrait, depicting the demolition of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, following the order of Aurangazeb, could lead to communal hatred.

“Since it came to my attention only yesterday, I have informed the headquarters at Delhi and are waiting further orders from them,” Palanippan said.

To a query, he said that though he had the discretionary powers to cancel the show, he was still awaiting orders from the headquarters.

Meanwhile, Hindu Munnani founder leader RamaGopalan today visited the gallery and saw the pictures.

Later, speaking to reporters, he said it was in no way a distortion of facts. “Visitors (to the exhibition) have the right to know the truth. If the exhibition is cancelled, we will stage a demonstration the Lalit Kala Academy”, he said.

Malathy, a ‘volunteer’ with FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) the organisers, told that they wanted to put on show just the historical facts about Aurangazeb, aimed at reaching school children.

Police personnel have been posted at the academy premises as a precautionary measure. – Agencies

Published: Friday, March 07, 2008

‘Aurangzeb expo aimed at promoting enmity’

(rediff.com)

Welcoming the closing down of an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali on Friday alleged that the expo was organised to promote enmity among various groups and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of co-existence of religions in Tamil Nadu.

“The exhibition was a complete diatribe against Aurangzeb, organised by a Muslim-hating columnist, totally biased and one-sided in its presentation and calculated to stir up feelings of ill-will and animosity towards the minority community for the alleged acts and omissions of a ruler who lived centuries ago,” he alleged in a statement.

Claiming that the expo sought to portray the emperor as an ‘iconoclast, dictator, bigot and ruthless ruler’, he said the paintings seemed to dwell only on Aurangzeb’s alleged misdeeds and not a word about his many contributions of lands and grants to Hindu temples. The monarch’s acts were presented torn out of their historical context, he claimed.

He said there was no doubt that all right thinking people interested in the promotion of communal harmony, secularism and national integration would welcome the decision of the police to close down such an ‘inflammatory and prejudiced’ exhibition. This would go a long way in preventing untoward incidents and maintain brotherhood and respect for each other’s religion, he added.

On Thursday, the exhibition was abruptly closed down in the wake of some Muslim outfits and Hindu organisations failing to see eye to eye on some of the portraits on display and the police fearing that it could whip up communal passions. The Prince of Arcot, who visited the exhibition, had expressed displeasure over the paintings. UNI

Controversy puts an end to Aurangzeb exhibition

(Rediff.com)

March 07, 2008 11:55 IST
Last Updated: March 07, 2008 14:01 IST

Curtains came down abruptly on an exhibition, depicting the life history of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai in the wake of some Muslim outfits and Hindu organisations failing to see eye to eye on some of the portraits on display.

Trouble started when some Muslim organisations and Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali took up cudgels against some portraits, claiming it would disturb peace in the state and demanded the expo ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal records’ be cancelled.

Jumping to the defence of the exhibition of paintings by French artist Francois Gautier, a few Hindu outfits opposed any move to cancel the show, contending that ‘only historical facts’ were on display.

Police provided tight security on the premises, with the two groups unrelenting.

Fearing that the exhibition could whip up communal passions, the city police and Akademi regional secretary R M Palaniappan ended the expo, which began fours days ago, abruptly, three days ahead of schedule.

Police also detained three women associated with the exhibition — Saraswathi (65), Dr Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47) — for half an hour for inquiry.

Hindu Munnani leader Rama Gopalan and Vishwa Hindu Parishad working president S Vedantam condemned the police action at the exhibition, organised by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. UNI





Bloggers speak: Chennai cops shut down Lalit Kala Akademi

7 03 2008

BLOGGERS Speak

When Thoughts Cease

A tale of two cities (and media hypocrisy)

Incident 1:
Vadodara.
May 9, 2007.

Suspected Hindu right-wingers attack an internal exhibition of paintings at MS University. Artist Chandramohan arrested.

Reaction: The Left-liberal media begins to froth at its mouth. Protests happen all over the place (or at least we are made to believe so by the media). The incident is given wide coverage in all newspapers. Talk shows debate the issue endlessly. SMS Surveys, phone-in shows, internet polls, editorials and Sunday columnists (“intellectuals”) condemn the incident. Phrases such as “Hindu fundamentalists”, “Hindutva fascists” and “Saffron brigade” are bandied about to describe the attackers. The attack is an attack on cultural freedom say some. Some say it’s moral policing.

The media really gave it to those “fascists”, didn’t they? Wham! Bham! Pow! Left, right and center. They even got the artist released from jail and promptly got his perspective on the brouhaha (we cover all aspects of the issue you see).

http://whenthoughtscease.blogspot.com/

Atanu Dey on India’s Development

Truth would have a hard time prevailing in a nation of people cowed down from fear and threat of violence. A recent example of violence shutting out an attempt at finding the truth occurred in Chennai. A bunch of people shut down an exhibition which revealed Aurangzeb to be a tyrant. The police were also involved in the vandalism. The state was involved in suppressing the expression of a viewpoint that some considered unpalatable. Most of the newspapers did not report this.

Isn’t it true that India’s motto basically pokes fun at India’s public actions?

http://www.deeshaa.org/2008/03/09/on-aurangzeb/

Monologue of a Nomad

I am amazed why should these Muslim organizations join issues here? Why are they feeling obliged towards Aurangzeb? It is a well know fact that among many Hindus the name of Aurangzeb evokes the same passionate hatred as do the names of Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad of Ghori. It was Aurangzeb who ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishwanath temple, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism, and had mosques built on a number of cleared temple sites. Other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them.

http://nomadmolouges.blogspot.com/2008/03/muslim-organisations-force-closure-of.html

FACT exhibition vandalized: Has Aurangzeb reincarnated in form of police?

mar 8th, 2008

actually, aurangazeb = sonia and karunanidhi. the police are just their underlings.

http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2008/03/fact-exhibition-vandalized-has.html

Muslim Goondaism shall not pass!

March 8, 2008

Some muslim miscreant bent on hiding the truth managed to get our pseudo secular govt cancel the expo in Chennai. You can be rest assured none of the pseudo secular NGOs will call for freedom of expression now. They will be whacked by the Muslim goondas.

But 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. (Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal Records):
http://www.fact- india.com/ Aurangazebgaller y.php

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/category/tamilnadu/

Another report mentions that the show was cancelled following some objections but does not mention that three ladies were arrested (It cryptically refers to four people).

Overall the Indian media and intellegentsia has been conspicuous by their silence on the matter.

Will Ms Arundhati Roy, esteemed Shabana Azmi and all other champions of free speech please stand up and defend the right of Francois Gautier to continue with this exhibition?

http://satyameva-jayate.org/2008/03/08/will-arundhati-roy-defend-gautier/

The super-secular Chindu could only notice a few visitors raising a protest against two paintings. It gives you the impression that everything went so peacefully. Contrast this with the article from The Statesman.

http://cbcnn.blogspot.com/2008/03/art-exhibition-on-aurangazeb-cancelled.html

Philistines brush aside paint of history

NT Bureau | Fri, 07 Mar, 2008 , 02:41 PM

History, in normal course, is the stuff of academic tomes. But these days, history, and the depiction of it through an artistic medium, is newspaper headlines.
All through last week, the national media and the self-appointed custodians of free speech were aghast at the protest from a large section of people over the portrayal of Rajputs in Jodha Akbar, a highly opinionated and patently fictionalised celluloid offering on the Mughal king Akbar and one of his numerous wives, Jodha.
The usual catchphrases of ‘freedom of expression’, ‘creative licence’ were bandied about with gay indignation.

http://jihaditerror.blogspot.com/2008/03/philistines-brush-aside-paint-of.html

VHP condemns police action at FACT exhibition

Chennai, Mar 6: Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Working President S Vedantam today condemned the ‘unruly and undemocratic behaviour’ of police at the exhibition organised by Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) on the topic ”Aurangazeb as he was according to moghol records” at Lalith Kala Academy here….

http://hindu.theuniversalwisdom.org/vhp-condemns-police-action-fact-exhibition

Chennai cops shut down Lalit Kala Akademi show on Aurangzeb

March 7th, 2008 – 1:44 pm ICT by admin
(Thai Indian News)
Chennai, March 7 (IANS) An art show at the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) here curated by journalist Francois Gautier was at the receiving end of moral policing when an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was shut down. Stating that it had received three complaints that the show would disturb communal harmony, police Thursday night burst into the exhibition, shut it down forcibly, took into custody three women associated with the hosting of the exhibition and seized some of the works on display.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, including exceptional miniatures by noted Indian artists, gathered together by Gautier’s Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) were on show at the LKA from March 3.

The show included farhans (edicts issued by Aurangzeb) from the Bikaner museum and other material on Aurangzeb. It also contained two pictures depicting Aurangzeb’s army destroying the Somnath temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura.

The organisers said they had the right to freedom of expression and the right to exhibit a show that had travelled all over India.

LKA regional secretary R.M. Palaniappan told the media he “should have screened the exhibits more carefully”.

Joint Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian later told the media: “We feared it might create a law and order problem.”

The three women from FACT, Saraswathi (65), Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47), were picked up from the show at about 7.30 p.m. and taken to the police station, where they were held for nearly an hour without being allowed to contact their families or any lawyer.

“The police were rude to us, they asked us whether we were terrorists”, Saraswathi told the media. The women were later released.

Gautier too told the media Chennai police refused to protect the exhibition. “The idea was to show how different the history of India would have been if Dara Shikho, emperor Shajahan’s elder son and preferred heir, had become ruler of India,” he said as he went to the police and explained that his intentions were not to spread any social disharmony, “only to bring history to the people”.

The exhibition had come to Chennai after showing in Delhi and Pune and was to go on till March 9.

Art exhibition on Aurangazeb cancelled

Staff Reporter (The HINDU)

Chennai: An art exhibition on the life of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb in the city was closed down on Thursday following protests by a section of visitors who objected to the “communal nature” of some of the exhibits. The exhibition was inaugurated on Monday and was scheduled to be open till Sunday. However, some visitors raised a protest against two paintings showing demolition of temples in Somnath and Mathura.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Triplicane) M. Ramasubramani said the management of Lalit Kala Akademi, where the event was being held, told the exhibition organisers ‘Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism’ to close down as they apprehended law and order problems. The Foundation is run by Delhi-based French journalist Francois Gautier. In a statement here, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali welcomed the cancellation of the exhibition in view of its communal content. He added that the exhibition would unnecessarily create communal disharmony in a State reputed for its secularism.

Ire, indifference after closure of ‘objectionable exhibition’

New Kerala

Chennai, March 7 : Anger and indifference are the two main reactions expressed here Friday following Thursday’s closure of an “objectionable exhibition” organised by French journalist and political commentator Francois Gautier at the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA).

The exhibition claimed to “expose the misdeeds against Hinduism during the Mughal period”.

Following Muslim protests, the exhibition of paintings and reproductions of Arabic and Persian documents alluding to destruction of Hindu shrines at the LKA here since Monday was closed down to “prevent a law and order situation”.

“We had no other option but to close it down. Some Muslims objected to it citing wrong inferences drawn from Arabic texts which could not be independently deciphered by anyone here,” Rm Palaniappan, the secretary of the Chennai LKA told IANS.

“We requested the removal of some objectionable materials – including a few illustrations of temples being pulled down during the era of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb – thrice as their display is against our rules.

“Our facility is purely meant for showcasing contemporary art. When the representatives of Francois Gautier refused to heed our requests, we had no other option but to close it down after a police complaint.

“Since we wanted to prevent a law and order situation here developing out of an objectionable exhibition, we had to pull the shutters down,” Palaniappan said.

A furious Hindu Front leader Rama Gopalan has a different version.

“The incident makes it clear that we are being prevented from publicly exhibiting historically documented facts. The exhibition of Gautier – which had been shown successfully elsewhere in India earlier – was vandalised by Islamic goons and closed down by the LKA officials with police protection to pander to the crude tastes of the minority community.

“If persons like M.F. Hussain can be allowed to openly denigrate Hindu deities in the name or art in similar institutions in India, can’t an impartial foreign commentator be permitted to depict facts per se? In a nutshell, this is simple and straight fascism,” Gopalan told IANS.

“The press has twisted facts to fit into a pattern that suits saffron apologists,” said Commissioner of Police Nanchil Kumaran.

Director General of Police P. Rajendiran said: “Notwithstanding what my colleague (Kumaran) said, the simple fact is that a law and order situation has been averted. No news, in our opinion, is good news.”

Artists view the matter differently.

“It is a very sad thing to happen. Art is something where there is total freedom of expression. Why are they making religion such a big issue? It is totally unfair.

“There is nothing obscene in exhibiting Mughal paintings. Look at the west, which has given artists complete freedom. If such things happen in a democratic country like ours, what can you say,” said leading contemporary artist Kanchan Chander.

“There have been protests. We protested against politicians who targeted M.F. Husain branding his works anti-national, but nothing really came of them. I am a Hindu, but I respect every religion,” Chander added.

Gautier was unavailable for comment.

— IANS

No room for “FACTS” in Dravidian Land!

FACTS ABOUT THE FACT – Exhibition on Aurangazeb!
(HJS website)
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.


Art exhibition in city runs into rough weather

Chennai online
Chennai, Mar 6: An art exhibition, showcasing the life of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb has run into rough weather here following objections from some Muslim individuals against some portraits, claiming that the pictures would ‘disturb the peace’ in Tamil Nadu.

The Lalit Kala Academy, where the exhibition is on till March 9, is even considering cancelling the show.

R M Palaniappan, Regional Secretary, Lalit Kala Academy, told reporters that two persons had submitted written complaints, stating that a portrait, depicting the demolition of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, following the order of Aurangazeb, could lead to communal hatred.

“Since it came to my attention only yesterday, I have informed the headquarters at Delhi and are waiting further orders from them,” Palanippan said.

To a query, he said that though he had the discretionary powers to cancel the show, he was still awaiting orders from the headquarters.

Meanwhile, Hindu Munnani founder leader RamaGopalan today visited the gallery and saw the pictures.

Later, speaking to reporters, he said it was in no way a distortion of facts. “Visitors (to the exhibition) have the right to know the truth. If the exhibition is cancelled, we will stage a demonstration the Lalit Kala Academy”, he said.

Malathy, a ‘volunteer’ with FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) the organisers, told that they wanted to put on show just the historical facts about Aurangazeb, aimed at reaching school children.

Police personnel have been posted at the academy premises as a precautionary measure. – Agencies

Published: Friday, March 07, 2008

‘Aurangzeb expo aimed at promoting enmity’

(rediff.com)

Welcoming the closing down of an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali on Friday alleged that the expo was organised to promote enmity among various groups and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of co-existence of religions in Tamil Nadu.

“The exhibition was a complete diatribe against Aurangzeb, organised by a Muslim-hating columnist, totally biased and one-sided in its presentation and calculated to stir up feelings of ill-will and animosity towards the minority community for the alleged acts and omissions of a ruler who lived centuries ago,” he alleged in a statement.

Claiming that the expo sought to portray the emperor as an ‘iconoclast, dictator, bigot and ruthless ruler’, he said the paintings seemed to dwell only on Aurangzeb’s alleged misdeeds and not a word about his many contributions of lands and grants to Hindu temples. The monarch’s acts were presented torn out of their historical context, he claimed.

He said there was no doubt that all right thinking people interested in the promotion of communal harmony, secularism and national integration would welcome the decision of the police to close down such an ‘inflammatory and prejudiced’ exhibition. This would go a long way in preventing untoward incidents and maintain brotherhood and respect for each other’s religion, he added.

On Thursday, the exhibition was abruptly closed down in the wake of some Muslim outfits and Hindu organisations failing to see eye to eye on some of the portraits on display and the police fearing that it could whip up communal passions. The Prince of Arcot, who visited the exhibition, had expressed displeasure over the paintings. UNI

Controversy puts an end to Aurangzeb exhibition

(Rediff.com)

March 07, 2008 11:55 IST
Last Updated: March 07, 2008 14:01 IST

Curtains came down abruptly on an exhibition, depicting the life history of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai in the wake of some Muslim outfits and Hindu organisations failing to see eye to eye on some of the portraits on display.

Trouble started when some Muslim organisations and Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali took up cudgels against some portraits, claiming it would disturb peace in the state and demanded the expo ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal records’ be cancelled.

Jumping to the defence of the exhibition of paintings by French artist Francois Gautier, a few Hindu outfits opposed any move to cancel the show, contending that ‘only historical facts’ were on display.

Police provided tight security on the premises, with the two groups unrelenting.

Fearing that the exhibition could whip up communal passions, the city police and Akademi regional secretary R M Palaniappan ended the expo, which began fours days ago, abruptly, three days ahead of schedule.

Police also detained three women associated with the exhibition — Saraswathi (65), Dr Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47) — for half an hour for inquiry.

Hindu Munnani leader Rama Gopalan and Vishwa Hindu Parishad working president S Vedantam condemned the police action at the exhibition, organised by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. UNI





Aurangzeb expo abruptly closed

7 03 2008

Aurangzeb expo abruptly closed
Friday March 7 2008 08:42 IST

G Babu Jayakumar (New Indian express chennai)

Newindpress.com

CHENNAI: An ‘artistic exhibition on Aurangzeb’ at the Lalit Kala Akademi was closed on Thursday, four days after it opened, reportedly after it assumed political overtones.

The Akademi asked the show’s organisers to vacate the hall though it was booked till March 9. On Thursday morning, Assistant Commissioner of Police K N Murali and the regional secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi, R M Palaniappan, who wanted to seal the doors to the show, were forced to retreat as a phalanx of politicians from Hindu groups and Janata Party leader V S Chandralekha arrived.

The police and Akademi official feared that two paintings on display could incite communal passions. Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, who visited the exhibition, called it ‘a bunkum’. He said it was ‘cooked up history’ and he could challenge the authenticity of documents on display.

He confronted Chandraleka and the other volunteers of Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), who had put together a series of documents and paintings under the title ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghul records’, questioning them on the necessity of organising the show.

Ramagopalan and his followers refused to remove the two ‘potentially controversial’ paintings – one on the demolition of the Saranath temple in Gujarat in 1669 and the other having vignettes of the destruction of Keshava Rai temple at Mathura (1669) and the building of a mosque – but offered to put a veil over them.

Palaniappan said he received a written complaint from an advocate Jainauddin, who described the exhibits as ‘objectionable’. He said several people had also called him to express their displeasure.

Admitting that he had failed to screen the exhibits before the display, Palaniappan said he had the powers to call off an exhibition any time. Francois Gautier, a Delhi-based French journalist who had planned the show, told this website’s newspaper that police refused to provide protection.





Press coverage : Aurangzeb Exhibition Chennai

7 03 2008







Aurangzeb painting exhibit off after row

7 03 2008
Aurangazeb exhibition creates flutter
(Deccan Chronicle Chennai)

Chennai, March 6: 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.

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.

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.

Aurangzeb art expo cancelled after objections

(The Statesman)

Chennai, March 6: An art exhibition on the life of the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb was today cancelled following directions from police after some Muslim individuals objected to two paintings showing demolition of temples in Somnath and Mathura on the ground that they would “disturb peace” in Tamil Nadu.
Four persons, including Mr R Saraswathi, a volunteer of the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (Fact), the organisers of the exhibition, have been detained for interrogation, a senior police official said.
“If found innocent, they would be let off,” he said.
The foundation is run by Delhi-based French journalist Francois Gautier.
Police said some Muslims, who came to the Lalith Kala Academy, the venue of the exibition, raised objections to the paintings, depicting Aurangazeb’s forces demolishing Hindu temples at Somnath and Mathura.
“They claimed that the pictures were sending wrong messages which could lead to communal hatred following which we asked Fact to cancel the exhibition,” the official said. The exhibition which opened on 3 March was scheduled to run till March 9. Earlier in the day, regional secretary of the academy Mr RM Palaniappan told reporters that he was waiting for orders from the Delhi headquarters on cancelling the show. n PTI

Aurangzeb painting exhibit off after row

(Asian age)

Chennai, March 6: An art exhibition on the life of the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb was on Thursday cancelled following directions from the police after some Muslim individuals objected to two paintings showing demolition of temples in Somnath and Mathura on the ground that they would “disturb peace” in Tamil Nadu.

Four persons, including R. Saraswathi, a volunteer of the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), the organisers of the exhibition, have been detained for interrogation, a senior police official said.

“If found innocent, they would be let off,” he said.

The foundation is run by Delhi-based French journalist Francois Gautier.

The police said some Muslims, who came to the Lalit Kala Akademi, the venue of the exhibition, raised objections to the paintings, depicting Aurangazeb’s forces demolishing Hindu temples at Somnath and Mathura.

“They claimed that the pictures were sending wrong messages which could lead to communal hatred following which we asked FACT to cancel the exhibition,” the official said.

The exhibition which opened on March 3 was scheduled to run till March 9.

Earlier in the day, regional secretary of the academy R.M. Palaniappan told reporters that he was waiting for orders from the Delhi headquarters on cancelling the show, following similar complaints on Wednesday.

However, he could not be reached for comments after the exhibition was cancelled.

The Hindu Munnani, which earlier threatened to stage a demonstration if the exhibition was cancelled, said a decision on the protest would be taken on Friday morning. (PTI)

News that National Media Censors – Muslim Vandalism in Chennai
by Singha on Mar 07, 2008 07:22 AM | Hide replies
From Sulekha
Aurangzeb art expo cancelled after objections

Chennai, March 6: An art exhibition on the life of the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb was today cancelled following directions from police after some Muslim individuals objected to two paintings showing demolition of temples in Somnath and Mathura on the ground that they would %u201Cdisturb peace%u201D in Tamil Nadu.

Four persons, including Mr R Saraswathi, a volunteer of the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (Fact), the organisers of the exhibition, have been detained for interrogation, a senior police official said.

If found innocent, they would be let off, he said.

The foundation is run by Delhi-based French journalist Francois Gautier.
Police said some Muslims, who came to the Lalith Kala Academy, the venue of the exibition, raised objections to the paintings, depicting Aurangazeb’s forces demolishing Hindu temples at Somnath and Mathura.

They claimed that the pictures were sending wrong messages which could lead to communal hatred following which we asked Fact to cancel the exhibition, the official said. The exhibition which opened on 3 March was scheduled to run till March 9. Earlier in the day, regional secretary of the academy Mr RM Palaniappan told reporters that he was waiting for orders from the Delhi headquarters on cancelling the show. n PTI