Thursday, March 11, 2010

Could Hussein Apologize? Isn’t Forgiveness a Virtue Anymore?

Here's Shekhar Kapoor on the contentious, seemingly, issue of MF Hussein's exile and his subsequent surrender of his Indian passport to become a Qatari, and other things. I for one don't have an opinion on the issues except that a certain degree of artistic freedom should exist in society, otherwise, we artists will be constrained to censor ourselves even before we have started writing/composing/dreaming our works of art. Artists are humans; they stumble once in a while when they are on an artistic high. Don't they? So couldn't Hussein apologize and make up? Couldn't we consider his age (He is 95, and is still of sound mind. Hehe. I can't imagine being the same.) and his standing in Indian society? How can we be so cruel to an artist who – only a few years ago – was celebrated as an icon and a pillar of artistic achievement? I guess the whole chattering class should take it upon themselves to bring him back to India.

Here's another story in which the Mexican edition of Playboy had to apologize and make up for showing a nude likeness of Virgin Mary on the cover. I would have been scandalized if I had seen the issue, being from a conservative Syrian Christian background. But I would, at the same time, have accepted the apology and moved ahead. I am a Christian and believe in the forgiveness of sins. Here's the apology:

"While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies."

Could Hussein do the same? Just wondering aloud.


Kusum Choppra said...

sure Hussein could apologise. but why cant someone ask those rowdies in the RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena etc etc also to apologise? not only in this instance but everyother isntance when theyhave caused grievious hurt to ordinary citizens of the country.

ms said...

for mfh to now apologise will trivialise everything: his humiliation, the hurt sentiments of a religion, the qatari magnanimity. please, we have to learn to release the objects of our affection. he has said, to quote engelbert (a favourite!), "please release me, let me go". how many scientists and doctors and creative geniuses have left for greener pastures, and they deserve to be happy elsewhere. and if mfh felt that his personal freedom of expression was threatened here, then let us be understanding enough to grant him the freedom of living where he pleases. we are living in a global world, we have access to every artist and his work. live and let live. he says he was threatened by fanatics over here and no one supported him or guaranteed his safety. salman rushdie and tasleema nazreen are living with a fatwa hanging over their heads. i don't remember mfh coming out protesting. i know playboy apologised to the mexicans for offending their sentiments but no where in the apology do they admit that it was wrong to portray a religious icon in the manner they did. i hate apologies which begin with "i am sorry if YOU find this offensive, but.." implying that the offense is not in the actual action but in my reaction towards it! freedom of speech and expression is a privilege, not a tool to knowingly hurt one another. each of us is entitled to our personal opinion so long as we don't throw it in another's face. you know what they say, 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'. can't figure out this world. if mfh paints every religious icon (without omission!!) in the way he has painted the hindu deities and still ruffles no feathers, i will eat my hat, i promise you!!