In 2005, the maverick painter M F Hussain decided to portray yet another Indian deity in his works. This time, he wanted to portray Mother India/ Bharat Mata, in the nude. While freedom of expression is of paramount importance, this doesn’t mean one can go ahead and hurt the sentiments of a majority of the Indian population. However, while most publications at the time talked about the portrayal in glowing terms, not one person wanted to question the motive behind showing Bharat Mata nude! Was this the liberal media’s vain attempt to show themselves as progressive, or was this another attempt to appease a minority painter who had, yet again, painted a Hindu goddess in the nude?
Tempers flaring during these kinds of happenings is but natural; after all, one cannot call this a lapse in judgment, since this was not the first time he portrayed Hindu goddesses in the nude. He knew what he was doing would hurt the Hindu sentiment, but this didn’t stop him. While most of these liberals justified this, not one questioned him about whether, or not, he would paint his prophet. Javed Akhtar, the outspoken Bollywood lyricist, pointed to the shameful act of protesting against this painting, rather than the even more shameful painting itself. He pointed to the Freedom of Expression as supreme to the artist. He was, I admit, absolutely right. To an artist, Freedom of Expression is supreme; can we call the protestors artists, who vented their anger and showed rage by painting the streets red and decorating those streets with broken glass?
Some funny occurrences have highlighted this unfortunate incident. To show their disapproval of the French President’s decision, Pakistan decided to recall their Ambassador from Paris.
Fast forward to 2020: an educator in Évreux France, Samuel Paty, decided to show his support for the Freedom Of Expression. In hindsight, this was probably not the best decision taken by this educator. After all, this teacher was trying to show, to an audience that comprised what can be generously termed as “people from the middle ages”, an inroad into modern times. When Mr Paty asked all Muslims to leave the class, one stayed back and then, as expected, talked about what was shown, by Mr Paty, to the rest of the Muslim population. One person, who was not even a student, decided to take matters into his hands and, in what can be termed as a barbaric act from the middle ages, slit the teacher’s throat. The President of France, Mr Macron, in a show of unity with the educator, mandated that going forward, no Muslim mullahs would be allowed into France. The Islamic educators, he further stated, would now be selected from those within France and those that met French educator requirements. Fair enough, after all, he does have to think of his country and his people!
Enter the two countries, Turkey and its new lackey, Pakistan. Rather than ask its “Ummah” (Muslim population regardless of nationality) in France to respect French laws, the two decided to term Mr Macron as mentally unstable. Why? Because he didn’t succumb to the terrorist wannabes in France? Because he, unlike these two clowns, thinks of the people he was elected to protect? Mr Macron’s decision to help the French population is noteworthy and deserves accolades. Whether, or not, Erdogan and disciple Imran, agree with world opinion or not, the fact that Mr Macron has decided to take on the Muslim terrorists within France does show a change in France’s erstwhile liberal approach. Remember, France had formerly questioned India on Kashmir; noteworthy here is the fact that Mr Modi has backed France and Mr Macron in this fight against Islamic terror.
Some funny occurrences have highlighted this unfortunate incident. To show their disapproval of the French President’s decision, Pakistan decided to recall their Ambassador from Paris. This was announced by the Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi; however, there was a small technical glitch. That position of Ambassador to France had not been filled since the advent of the Imran government. What a chance the Pakistan government lost! They could have put the exclamation point on their disapproval and showed the world they meant business!! What a missed opportunity, if not for that small glitch!
In India, Muslims across the country decided to show their disapproval of the happenings in France. Ask them to name the president of France, the city where this unfortunate incident occurred and they would be lost, but here they were protesting the French decision to stop Muslims from entering France. Wait, were these Muslims in India planning to migrate to France? If not, how does this decision affect them? A decision by some of these mullahs to boycott French products was equally confounding and laughable. Again, ask any of these mullahs to name one, JUST ONE, a French product that they regularly used, and would now willingly forgo, and they’d be stumped for an answer.
It’s easy to point fingers, like the duo of Erdogan-Imran did, but to set right a situation that is volatile because of a community’s lack of respect for the “Freedom of Expression” shows the need of the hour, which this disrespectful duo failed to comprehend! While they do want the world to respect their (draconian?) laws, they don’t want to show the same respect for the different communities that live around the world. The global community has to come to terms with these happenings and deal with them in the best way possible. Whether this is to deal with it the way Mr Macron has decided to, or in more innovative ways is up to the different countries. However, it is mandatory that those in power, show that they are in control and are not giving in to the merchants of terror. Till such time that the world doesn’t unite as one, there will always be that one country that will be the haven for these merchants of terror. Today, it is Pakistan, tomorrow, India?
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2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.