Petition & appeal aurangzeb Exhibition

29 03 2008

fact India
41 Jorbagh (1st floor),
New Delhi 110003. India.
http://www.fact-india.com

Dear friends,

As you know, Facts’ Aurangzeb, exhibition, a three year effort to
showcase history & art and which was shown without any problem in
Delhi’s Habitat Centre, G-Gallery Bangalore and Balagandharva- Pune
(where it was viewed by more than hundred thousand people), was
vandalized by the Chennai police without any provocation. This act of
arrogance, intolerance and suppression of freedom of expression went
unnoticed in the mainstream media and by the rights activists.
This blind and radicalism is what FACT India is fighting. It is
heartening that instead of protecting the art works the local police has
actually acted as stooges of the miscreants and (Mr. MURALI, ACP
Chennai) broke two paintings himself depicting the demolition of
Temples (supported by his Documents Akhbarat) by Aurangzeb’s
orders.
They detained three women volunteers after dark, illegally after forcing
them to close down the show. The Exhibition an artistic one has been
turned into a very bad shape. Now FACT India intends to redo the
artistic exhibition and present the same before the people of the
nation for their verdict. We need support from each one of you, moral
and otherwise,

1) To redo the entire exhibition (total cost Rs. 8,5 lakhs or $ 21,000)
2) To pay for a lawyer so as to file a case in the Madras High Court (appr Rs. 4 lakhs or $ 10,000).

It would be useful if you could pass this email among your friends, so that we can raise a consolidated amount of money. Please try in this manner to send cheques of a minimum of Rs.10,000 (or Rs. 10,001/-) 200 $ or €. Small cheques are most welcome, but they entail a lot of paperwork.

For further details and information do not hesitate to write to us. You
can contact Veeru Chowdhary, FACT’s All India representative at
vee4ru@gmail.com or (91) 98719 49094

Warm regards

François Gautier/ trustee FACT
Veeru Chowdhary / FAIR

The vandalism caught on camera and some of the
paintings that were vandalised.

Watch on Youtube for more details.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzva2FFjUkk

Sign the petition
http://www.petitiononline.com/FACTAura/petition.html





The Nawab of Arcot ????? or is he …

26 03 2008
Petition protesting Vandalisation of the Chennai Exhibition

http://www.petitiononline.com/ FACTAura/petition.html

Please sign the petition for protection of Right to Equality…
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ FACT/petition.html

Please sign the petition for protection of Right to Equality…

The “Prince of Arcot” is “a bogus nawab” (Kanchan Gupta in The Pioneer, Mar 9). The Arcot lineage, for all its claimed link to the Caliphate, owes to Aurangzeb’s “munificence” its elevation to nawabhood in recognition of an ancestor’s defeat of the Marathas.

The direct line died out in 1855, and in 1867 the British elevated the collateral Azim Jah branch with the title of Prince and a large pension – in perpetuity. At least one of the Azim Jahs died without a son, and the title passed to the son-in-law. Arcot was annexed by the British in 1825 and the state extinguished in 1855 (http://www.uq.net.au/~zzhsoszy/ips/a/arcot.html)!

Nevertheless, independent India continues the title, and it is the Indian taxpayer who pays for the so-called Prince’s many official perquisites and a tax-free pension amply sufficient for him to live in regal splendour (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2004/02/01/stories/2004020100120200.htm ).

In return, the Prince’s website lists his “donations to non-Muslims”. These are three – all by the direct line, and the last of which was in the 18th century (http://www.princeofarcot.org/tank.htm)! None by the Azim Jahs, and certainly none at all post-1947 and by the present Prince.

A government gazette of April 1871 records the fealty “at all times” of the Azim Jahs to the British Crown (http://www.princeofarcot.org/gazette.htm). So, in effect, the Indian taxpayer continues to generously reward the Azim Jah family for its loyalty to the British, and will do so forever.

He pretends an interest in the welfare of his extended family (http://www.princeofarcot.org/cfa.htm) but obviously can spare no money for them (see the letter to the editor at http://www.thehindu.com/2005/07/25/stories/2005072514570300.htm)

The websites are silent on the amount of his pension (eg, http://www.uq.net.au/~zzhsoszy/ips/a/arcot.html ) but clearly it is munificent enough for him to live like a prince!

This family has lived off the fat of our land long enough, and the money spent on it should be diverted to poor farmers and fishermen of Tamil Nadu. Rulers of real significance gave up their kingdoms and lost their privy purses. The petty Prince of Arcot is a parasitic anachronism in our democracy and there is no reason at all why the Indian public exchequer should support him. His pension and perquisites should be abolished in free India – or let the British still support him if they want.





The Nawab of Arcot ????? or is he …

26 03 2008
Petition protesting Vandalisation of the Chennai Exhibition

http://www.petitiononline.com/ FACTAura/petition.html

Please sign the petition for protection of Right to Equality…
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ FACT/petition.html

Please sign the petition for protection of Right to Equality…

The “Prince of Arcot” is “a bogus nawab” (Kanchan Gupta in The Pioneer, Mar 9). The Arcot lineage, for all its claimed link to the Caliphate, owes to Aurangzeb’s “munificence” its elevation to nawabhood in recognition of an ancestor’s defeat of the Marathas.

The direct line died out in 1855, and in 1867 the British elevated the collateral Azim Jah branch with the title of Prince and a large pension – in perpetuity. At least one of the Azim Jahs died without a son, and the title passed to the son-in-law. Arcot was annexed by the British in 1825 and the state extinguished in 1855 (http://www.uq.net.au/~zzhsoszy/ips/a/arcot.html)!

Nevertheless, independent India continues the title, and it is the Indian taxpayer who pays for the so-called Prince’s many official perquisites and a tax-free pension amply sufficient for him to live in regal splendour (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2004/02/01/stories/2004020100120200.htm ).

In return, the Prince’s website lists his “donations to non-Muslims”. These are three – all by the direct line, and the last of which was in the 18th century (http://www.princeofarcot.org/tank.htm)! None by the Azim Jahs, and certainly none at all post-1947 and by the present Prince.

A government gazette of April 1871 records the fealty “at all times” of the Azim Jahs to the British Crown (http://www.princeofarcot.org/gazette.htm). So, in effect, the Indian taxpayer continues to generously reward the Azim Jah family for its loyalty to the British, and will do so forever.

He pretends an interest in the welfare of his extended family (http://www.princeofarcot.org/cfa.htm) but obviously can spare no money for them (see the letter to the editor at http://www.thehindu.com/2005/07/25/stories/2005072514570300.htm)

The websites are silent on the amount of his pension (eg, http://www.uq.net.au/~zzhsoszy/ips/a/arcot.html ) but clearly it is munificent enough for him to live like a prince!

This family has lived off the fat of our land long enough, and the money spent on it should be diverted to poor farmers and fishermen of Tamil Nadu. Rulers of real significance gave up their kingdoms and lost their privy purses. The petty Prince of Arcot is a parasitic anachronism in our democracy and there is no reason at all why the Indian public exchequer should support him. His pension and perquisites should be abolished in free India – or let the British still support him if they want.





The Naxal menance: Threat to Unified India

24 03 2008

The Exhibition is a reflection of the Maoist insurgency in India, a blend of photographs statistics and ofcourse an analysis and a presentation of FACTS.

The The Naxal menance: Threat to Unified India will travel through the lives of the victims in the Naxal infested states and present their lives as well as the lives of those vallant fighters both civilian and from the government. Its the Fight against terrorism the idea of killing because one doesnt believe or just disagree with the others, Intolerence and disharmony. The exhibition shall be on the sidelines of the first “Conference on Peace and Reconciliation” in OSLO, Norway.

(April 10th and 11th Oslo, during the Conference on Peace and Reconciliation http://www.sap2008.org/

Ingeniørenes Hus Møtesenter, Kronprinsens gate 17, 0251 Oslo – Norway, http://www.ingeniorenes)

NEWS UPDATE ON AURANGZEB EXHIBITION

HAF Pressrelease

HAF Condemns Shutting Down of Aurangzeb Exhibit in Chennai

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ishani Chowdhury
Hindu American Foundation
Director of Public Policy
Office: 301.770.7835
Fax: 301.770.7837

Washington, DC (March 18, 2008). On March 8, 2008, KN Murli, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai and several other Tamil Nadu state government officials attacked an art exhibition, shut it down and damaged several paintings. The exhibition, organized and sponsored by the Foundation Against Continuing Terror (FACT) and Francois Gautier, the eminent French journalist, featured miniatures and farmans (edicts) depicting the despotic and violent rule of the the 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is particularly reviled as a predecessor of contemporary Islamist terrorists for his forced conversions, imposition of an intolerant Sharia and destruction of several famed Hindu temples. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned the actions of the Southern Indian state and demanded a restoration of the damaged paintings and a continuation of the exhibit.

Gautier, the convenor of FACT, and correspondent for Le Figaro, expressed shock that even after the exhibition has been displayed for over a year in several galleries throughout India, the Tamil Nadu state government reacted to a few isolated complaints so violently. Murali specifically sought out and threw to the ground two paintings that depicted the destruction by Aurangzeb of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai Temple in North India. The exhibition of 40 paintings, included fine miniature paintings by Indian artists, and were on show at the Lalit Kala Akademi from March 3, 2008. The Lalit Kala Akademi, the premier government art organization where the exhibit had been hosted, has now cancelled the exhibition.

“This is a case of vindictive action against those who wish to throw light on India’s past, and a threat to free speech,” said Ramesh Rao, Senior Fellow, HAF. “The Tamil Nadu state government acted violently and illegally, but we are left to wonder why so few of the secular votaries of free speech in India remain silent in the face of this outrage–we demand amends from the state government and resumption of the exhibition.”

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism. Contact HAF at 1-301-770-7835 or on the web at www.HAFsite.org.


HAF condemns shutting down of Aurangzeb exhibit
Monday, 03.24.2008, 04:35am (GMT-7)

WASHINGTON: On March 8, KN Murli, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai and several other Tamil Nadu state government officials attacked an art exhibition, shut it down and damaged several paintings.

The exhibition, organized and sponsored by the Foundation Against Continuing Terror (FACT) and Francois Gautier, the eminent French journalist, featured miniatures and farmans (edicts) depicting the despotic and violent rule of the the 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is particularly reviled as a predecessor of contemporary Islamist terrorists for his forced conversions, imposition of an intolerant Sharia and destruction of several famed Hindu temples.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned the actions of the Southern Indian state and demanded a restoration of the damaged paintings and a continuation of the exhibit. Gautier, the convener of FACT, and correspondent for Le Figaro, expressed shock that even after the exhibition has been displayed for over a year in several galleries throughout India, the Tamil Nadu state government reacted to a few isolated complaints so violently. Murali specifically sought out and threw to the ground two paintings that depicted the destruction by Aurangzeb of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai Temple in North India.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, included fine miniature paintings by Indian artists were on show at the Lalit Kala Akademi from March 3. The Lalit Kala Akademi, the premier government art organization where the exhibit had been hosted, has now cancelled the exhibition. “This is a case of vindictive action against those who wish to throw light on India’s past, and a threat to free speech,” said Ramesh Rao, Senior Fellow, HAF.

“The Tamil Nadu state government acted violently and illegally, but we are left to wonder why so few of the secular votaries of free speech in India remain silent in the face of this outrage–we demand amends from the state government and resumption of the exhibition.”

Source: India post





The Naxal menance: Threat to Unified India

24 03 2008

The Exhibition is a reflection of the Maoist insurgency in India, a blend of photographs statistics and ofcourse an analysis and a presentation of FACTS.

The The Naxal menance: Threat to Unified India will travel through the lives of the victims in the Naxal infested states and present their lives as well as the lives of those vallant fighters both civilian and from the government. Its the Fight against terrorism the idea of killing because one doesnt believe or just disagree with the others, Intolerence and disharmony. The exhibition shall be on the sidelines of the first “Conference on Peace and Reconciliation” in OSLO, Norway.

(April 10th and 11th Oslo, during the Conference on Peace and Reconciliation http://www.sap2008.org/

Ingeniørenes Hus Møtesenter, Kronprinsens gate 17, 0251 Oslo – Norway, http://www.ingeniorenes)

NEWS UPDATE ON AURANGZEB EXHIBITION

HAF Pressrelease

HAF Condemns Shutting Down of Aurangzeb Exhibit in Chennai

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ishani Chowdhury
Hindu American Foundation
Director of Public Policy
Office: 301.770.7835
Fax: 301.770.7837

Washington, DC (March 18, 2008). On March 8, 2008, KN Murli, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai and several other Tamil Nadu state government officials attacked an art exhibition, shut it down and damaged several paintings. The exhibition, organized and sponsored by the Foundation Against Continuing Terror (FACT) and Francois Gautier, the eminent French journalist, featured miniatures and farmans (edicts) depicting the despotic and violent rule of the the 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is particularly reviled as a predecessor of contemporary Islamist terrorists for his forced conversions, imposition of an intolerant Sharia and destruction of several famed Hindu temples. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned the actions of the Southern Indian state and demanded a restoration of the damaged paintings and a continuation of the exhibit.

Gautier, the convenor of FACT, and correspondent for Le Figaro, expressed shock that even after the exhibition has been displayed for over a year in several galleries throughout India, the Tamil Nadu state government reacted to a few isolated complaints so violently. Murali specifically sought out and threw to the ground two paintings that depicted the destruction by Aurangzeb of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai Temple in North India. The exhibition of 40 paintings, included fine miniature paintings by Indian artists, and were on show at the Lalit Kala Akademi from March 3, 2008. The Lalit Kala Akademi, the premier government art organization where the exhibit had been hosted, has now cancelled the exhibition.

“This is a case of vindictive action against those who wish to throw light on India’s past, and a threat to free speech,” said Ramesh Rao, Senior Fellow, HAF. “The Tamil Nadu state government acted violently and illegally, but we are left to wonder why so few of the secular votaries of free speech in India remain silent in the face of this outrage–we demand amends from the state government and resumption of the exhibition.”

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism. Contact HAF at 1-301-770-7835 or on the web at www.HAFsite.org.


HAF condemns shutting down of Aurangzeb exhibit
Monday, 03.24.2008, 04:35am (GMT-7)

WASHINGTON: On March 8, KN Murli, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai and several other Tamil Nadu state government officials attacked an art exhibition, shut it down and damaged several paintings.

The exhibition, organized and sponsored by the Foundation Against Continuing Terror (FACT) and Francois Gautier, the eminent French journalist, featured miniatures and farmans (edicts) depicting the despotic and violent rule of the the 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is particularly reviled as a predecessor of contemporary Islamist terrorists for his forced conversions, imposition of an intolerant Sharia and destruction of several famed Hindu temples.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned the actions of the Southern Indian state and demanded a restoration of the damaged paintings and a continuation of the exhibit. Gautier, the convener of FACT, and correspondent for Le Figaro, expressed shock that even after the exhibition has been displayed for over a year in several galleries throughout India, the Tamil Nadu state government reacted to a few isolated complaints so violently. Murali specifically sought out and threw to the ground two paintings that depicted the destruction by Aurangzeb of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai Temple in North India.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, included fine miniature paintings by Indian artists were on show at the Lalit Kala Akademi from March 3. The Lalit Kala Akademi, the premier government art organization where the exhibit had been hosted, has now cancelled the exhibition. “This is a case of vindictive action against those who wish to throw light on India’s past, and a threat to free speech,” said Ramesh Rao, Senior Fellow, HAF.

“The Tamil Nadu state government acted violently and illegally, but we are left to wonder why so few of the secular votaries of free speech in India remain silent in the face of this outrage–we demand amends from the state government and resumption of the exhibition.”

Source: India post





Freedom of Expression

15 03 2008

Freedom of Expression

Loook at this strange Historin or is he one and how they shamelessly start supporting and encouraging the jehad (if there is somethink like that at all)

Don’t defame a kind ruler
Brouhaha over Aurangzeb: N Jamal Ansari | Religious and political affairs commentator, Aligarh Muslim University
Source: Dailypioneer.com

Don’t defame a kind ruler

An exhibition of miniatures and firmans of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, organised by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism in Chennai, has initiated a debate on Aurangzeb. Often we forget that Aurangzeb led a simple life and fought to save India from rebels and terrorists. Before jumping into any conclusion, we should objectively analyse his conduct and rule.
No doubt, Aurangzeb destroyed many temples. But it was a general practice with other rulers, including Hindu Kings. In the 11th century, Chola king Rajendra I decorated his capital with idols he had seized from neighbouring kings. Similarly, Kashmiri King Harsha plundered many temples. In the 12th and 13th century, Parmar rulers plundered Jain temples in Gujarat.
Coming back to Aurangzeb’s ‘iconoclastic’ tendencies, in 1667, a rebellion took place in Benaras. It was believed that Shivaji’s escape from prison was facilitated by Jai Singh, the great grandson of Raja Man Singh, who had built Vishvanath temple. According to SN Sinha, it was due to this fact that Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of that temple in September 1669 (Subah of Allahabad under the Great Mughals). At the same time, Jat rebellion broke out in and around Mathura in which the Nazim of city’s congregational masque was killed. In 1670, the leader of the Jat rebellion was captured; thereafter, Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of Keshav Dev temple.
We should not forget that in those days victory was generally celebrated by the destruction of temples and idols associated with enemies. In 1579, Murahori Rao destroyed popular Ahobilam temple and brought its Ruby-studded image to Golconda and presented it to the Sultan as a war trophy. So, the destruction of temples in those days was political – not religious – in nature.
Aurangzeb granted jagirs to several Hindu temples. He also constructed the Chitrakoot temple, besides giving an endowment of 200 acres of land to maintain it. Considering temples within his domain as state property, Aurangzeb punished disloyal Hindu officers by desecrating temples with which they were associated.
Aurangzeb is a victim of communal historiography. However, it’s not just Aurangzeb who is seen with prejudice. In most books, Muslim rulers are portrayed as ‘villains’ and their Hindu counterparts are regarded as ‘heroes’ – be it Aurangzeb versus Shivaji, or Akbar versus Maharana Pratap. Their political struggle is substituted with the religious angle. It is never emphasised that Muslim rulers fought against each other as well. When Babar attacked India, he fought against Ibrahim Lodhi. In fact, he was supported by several Hindu rulers, including Rajputs.
It’s an irony that Aurangzeb’s struggle against Shivaji has been given a communal angle. Shivaji has been portrayed as champion of Hindu cause. This is a wrong depiction, considering the fact that Aurangzeb’s confidant was Raja Jai Singh and Shivaji’s trusted commander was Maulvi Haider Ali Khan. So, it was essentially a power struggle between Aurangzeb and Shivaji, not a fight for the defence of religion.
In 1659, Aurangzeb observed: “In these days information has reached our court that several people have out of spite and rancour harassed the Hindu residents of Benaras including a group of Brahmins who are incharge of ancient temples there. These people want to remove those Brahmins from their charge of temple keeping, which has caused them considerable distress. Therefore upon receiving this order, you must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus, so that they might remain in their traditional place.” (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1991.)
We should realise that Aurangzeb was a kind emperor who was fighting for saving his empire from rebellions. His political struggle should not be given the communal colour. So, any attempt to distort his life – through history books or paintings – should not be allowed.






Police turn vandals: Live pictures of vandalism

9 03 2008

http://s260.photobucket.com/albums/ii33/svbadri/?action=view&current=HandfulofMuslimfanaticscausetrouble.jpg

http://s260.photobucket.com/albums/ii33/svbadri/?action=view&current=PolicefollowtheactionsoftheirACPMur.jpg

http://s260.photobucket.com/albums/ii33/svbadri/?action=view&current=ACPMuralidestroyingexhibitsdespitep.jpg

Photographs courtesy: SV Badri on Photobucket

Bloggers react :

A Tamil blog protests

ஆரம்பிக்கிறது வன்முறை
ஒரு நாலைந்து முஸ்லீம்கள் பிரச்சினையிலும் வாக்குவாதத்திலும் ஈடுபடுகிறார்கள். அவர்களுக்குப் பாதுகாப்பாக போலீஸ் வேடிக்கை பார்த்துக்கொண்டிருக்கிறது.

ACP முரளி மிகுந்த கோபத்தோடு அங்கிருந்த பெண் தன்னார்வலரை “தீவிரவாதி” என்று திட்டுகிறார். வெள்ளைக்கார நாய்க்குத் துணையாக வேலை செய்கிறீர்களா என்று மிரட்டுகிறார்.(ஃப்ரான்ஷ்வா கத்தியேவை ஒரு வெள்ளைக்கார நாய் என்று திட்டுவது இனவெறுப்பை வெளிப்படுத்தும் வசவுச் சொல்.)
காவல்காரர் முரளி பெண் தன்னார்வலரிடம் கேவலமாகப் பேசுகிறார்.

TIMES OF INDIA
Exhibition on Aurangzeb closed down
Pushpa Narayan | TNN

Chennai: An exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai was abruptly closed down and the paintings taken away by the police after protests that some of the depictions were objectionable and a distortion of history.
According to Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), which organised the exhibition, the miniature paintings at the show depicted Aurangzeb’s ‘‘cruelty against not just his father and sons but the entire Hindu clan’’. But within days of its opening on March 3, there were protests from certain quarters against the exhibition.
Among the paintings were depictions of demolition of famous temples in Somnath and Mathura. Thursday last, the cops asked the organisers to remove the objectionable paintings, but it was turned down. ‘‘By the evening, there were arguments between some VIPs who visited the exhibition. Soon a group of people arrived and threatened that they would take to the streets if the pictures were not removed. We seized the paintings and closed down the exhibition to avoid a law and order problem,’’ said Nungambakkam DCP Murali.

Indian Secularism and Free Speech: Not for the Hindu

FACT is an acronym for Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism, an organization founded by Francois Gautier, a French journalist based in India who shares a deep empathy for the sufferings of the Hindu, both past and present. This compassion stems not from a blind fascination but is an informed considered judgment derived from a close reading of Indian history. Troubled by the inexplicable apathy of the Hindus vis-à-vis their own past torment, this Frenchman has taken upon himself the duty to educate Indians, through a series of exhibitions, about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh and more recently the fiend, Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb as he was, according to Moghul records” is the title of a collection of paintings highlighting the atrocities of this tyrant and has been exhibited to much acclaim in the cities of Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. FACT-sponsored exhibitions are not crude street shows but sophisticated exercises in true history telling anointed by the likes of Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, KPS Gill, N. Vittal and B. Raman. Whether we agree with their views or not we must admit that these individuals are upright citizens of our country who would think twice before associating themselves with dubious ventures.

The same exhibition was hosted in Chennai at the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi, and was scheduled to run from March 3- March 9. But on March 5, a group of Islamic fundamentalists barged into the exhibition, objected to the show, created a ruckus and threatened to storm the place with hundreds of supporters after Friday prayers from the mosque nearby. A day later, the Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali visited the exhibition and claimed that FACT was misrepresenting history. In the words of Kanchan Gupta (Artistic freedom yes, but not with Aurangzeb, Daily Pioneer, March 9, 2008):

“He was particularly enraged by two miniatures — the first depicted Aurangzeb’s army destroying the Somnath temple and the second showed the destruction of the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura.

By Thursday, March 7, “higher authorities” in Tamil Nadu Government had issued instructions to the police to shut down the exhibition. Murali, (Asst Commissioner of Police) along with his men, stormed into the exhibition hall on Thursday evening and began taking down the paintings. “He was looking for the paintings showing the destruction of Somnath and Kesava Rai temples. He threw them to the floor,” said a FACT volunteer.”

This sequence of events raises the disturbing specter of how Islamic fundamentalists in concert with vested interests can suppress the dissemination of authentic history and thwart a basic tenet of democracy: the principle of free speech.

Aurangzeb was a confirmed bigot vetted by historians of every hue and persuasion. There is not a shred of evidence to proclaim his innocence or any shadow of doubt about the religious oppression that he unleashed against his Hindu subjects. But yet we have a Muslim community taking up cudgels on his behalf. This only serves to give you a glimpse into the mindset of certain sections of India’s Muslim population who remain in a time wrap of past Muslim glory which was marked by the destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples and massacre of thousands of innocent Hindus and who continue to revere religious despots like Aurangazeb.

The two miniatures referred to above are hardly controversial; the events depicted having been corroborated by Aurangzeb’s own words and the works of his own sanctioned chroniclers. As proof of the same:

a) “… The Temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship(there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building maybe left, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place. …” (From “Kalimat-i-Tayyibat” by ‘Inayatullah, a collection of letters and orders of Aurangzeb compiled by ‘Inayatullah in AD 1719 and covering the years 1699-1704 of Aurangzeb’s reign.)

b) “During this month of Ramzan abounding in miracles, the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as the knower of truth and destroyer of oppression, as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet,issued orders for the demolition of the temple situated in Mathura, famous as the Dehra of Kesho Rai. In the short time by the great exertions of his officers the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum…” ( from “Mas’ir-i-‘Alamgiri” by Saqi Must’ad Khan. This work was completed in 1710 at the behest of Inayatu”llah Khan Kashmiri, Aurangzeb’s last secretary and the materials which Must’ad Khan used in this history of Aurangzeb’s reign came mostly from the State archive)

The Tamil Nadu government, by succumbing to the pressure of Islamic fundamentalists without ascertaining the facts has not only shown poor judgment but exhibited an eagerness to appease fundamentalists. More importantly, this brings to the fore the anti-Hindu agenda of the DMK run Tamil Nadu government that has repeatedly trampled on Hindu sentiments. Just a few months ago, the DMK supremo Karunanidhi let loose a vituperative tirade against the Hindu deity Shri Ram in the context of the Ramsethu controversy and the manner in which the assistant commissioner of police responded to his ‘call of duty’ in this matter is another example of the deep seated antipathy towards Hindus and Hinduism that some in this state harbor.

What was even more striking was the total blackout of this incident from the mainstream English media. Except for the Daily Pioneer, none of the major Indian newspapers including the Indian Express, Hindustan Times, and Times of India thought it fit to report the event. The Hindu did print a few lines but that was to commend the closure of the exhibition: so much for these so- called bastions of free speech.

Compare this with the quantum of newsprint and number of editorials that followed when Hindu groups disrupted an exhibition at Baroda University last year: the contrast is striking and double standards all too obvious.

And what about those self-appointed champions of human rights like Teesta Setalvad and Shabana Azmi? Surprisingly I do not hear even a murmur of protest from them: another testimony to the fact that their activism is not a fair effort to promote human values but a devious conspiracy to target Hindus.

I cannot but infer that Indian secularism is warped. Indian secularism is discriminatory. Indian secularism is nothing but a tool to muzzle the practicing Hindu. It is a synonym for minority appeasement and Hindu bashing. Until we change this attitude and apply the same yardstick to one and all we cannot hope for a truly civilized democracy in India.

References:
1) Destruction of Hindu Temples by Rajiv Verma
2) Kanchan Gupta: “Artistic freedom yes, but not with Aurangzeb“, Daily Pioneer, March 9, 2008