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.

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