Declaration of war against art?

Hot on the heels of Christies deciding to continue with the auction of MF Husain’s works comes this letter. I have included it here in it’s entirety and will refrain from too many editorial comments at this time.

CHRISTIE ART GALLERY, New York,Kind Attn. Ms Sara Fox, Spokesperson,This refers to news regarding your decision regarding withdrawing of Hussain’s paintings from auction on 20th March 2008. We once again request you not to auction M.F. Hussain paintings due to following reasons.

The whole world is aware that M.F. Hussain has drawn nude and obscene paintings of Indian Deities and Bharatmata. Thus he has hurt religious and National sentiments of crores of all Indians. More than 1,250 police complaints have been lodged against him and lot of court cases are going on against him throughout India. He is absconding from India and not facing Court Trials. He has been accused of outraging religious sentiments, promoting enemity between different religious groups, selling obscene material and disturbing National integrity, thereby committing offences under several sections of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been accused of committing offenses under section 2 of the prevention of Insults to National Honour Act on account of certain paintings of Hindu Deities and naked Bharatmata. Nowhere in India we allow Hussains paintings exhibitions/auction.
At this stage you are glorifying an accused person by auctioning his painting and hurting national and religious sentiments. No proud Indian throughout world will tolerate your support to Anti-Hindu and Anti-National painter M.F. Hussain . By doing this you are starting enemity and hatred amongst various religious groups and may lead to Law and order situation for which you will be responsible.

We are taking up this issue with American Embassy in India and Indian Government.

We have full faith in American Democracy but at the same time your democratic system will not glorify such a accused person who has no courage and respect to comeback to his motherland and justify his act of creating indecent Art, which can be equated only with that of infamous Denmark cartoonist who is also hiding himself.

There has been news that infamous Denmark cartoonist is looking for someone to arrange auction of infamous cartoons. Your expression and love for artistic freedom can only be justified if you arrange this auction too.

Please acknowledge and inform action taken.

For Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Mumbai
S.G. Vatkar
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There is a protest scheduled and I have no doubt that the embassies will get involved as well. I am delighted that the site that has published this letter and the protest details has also included a list of all of MF Husain’s more ‘offensive’ paintings. this strikes me as ironic really, the whole thing strikes me as ironic, fuelling the fire of this one artist’s reputation, demand and exposure.

Edit 01/04/08: The image source for my original thumbnail has been taken down. I have changed it to one from this source instead with a link.