Intro : Akram Hussain, a young painter from Assam has been alleged for painting with objectionable items.
The debate surfaces in Assam, as a young painter named Akram Hussain tries his hands on canvas with the controversial approach. If one artwork of Akram put the tricolor in poor light, another painting depicts Sri Krishna with semi-nude girls and Maheshwar in a distressed situation.
Akram’s paintings were a part of a group show and displayed for some time in the State Art Gallery Guwahati recently. The art connoisseurs were also quick to react to those paintings and finally the authority removed those artworks from the exhibition. But it was not the end for the artist and also organiser of the exhibition as the media outlets started pouring news about the objectionable paintings put for public viewing. It was followed by a statement condemning the artist for his ill-motives and also an FIR lodged by an influential body. The immediate outcome is Akram went on hiding.
While most people were talking about the obnoxious painting depicting Krishna in bad taste, All India Patriotic Forum’s Assam branch condemned Akram for dishonouring the national flag in the name of artistic expression. A statement issued by the forum alleged that ‘the so-called artist (Akram Hussain) depicted the Indian civilisation, culture, religion and heritage in poor light, where one of his paintings insulted the tricolour, which is an unforgivable offence’.
“In the painting, Akram symbolically drew an unfurled tricolor pouring many objectionable items like liquor bottles, ladies under-garments, garbage etc. This is an offence as it hurts the sentiments of millions of patriots,” asserted the statement.
The National Flag is a priceless property of billions of devoted Indians and every Indian should pay their tribute to the known and unknown martyrs of India's Freedom Struggle for their supreme sacrifices saluting the tricolor, stated the patriotic forum.
Should these be creative exercises for an artist? Why not the pretending painter be punished under the law of the land?
Many martyrs of Assam including Kanaklata Barua, Mukunda Kakoti, Kushal Konwar, Tilak Deka, Bhogeswari Phukanani, Nidhanu Rajbangshi, Kamala Miri, Lerela Boro, Madan-Rauta, Hemoram Patar, Gunabhi Bordoloi, etc laid down their lives for the honour of the tricolor.
Moreover, under the ‘Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971’, whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to the National Flag, deserves to be punished.
The term Indian National Flag includes any picture, painting, drawing or photograph, or other visible representation of the tricolour, or of any part or parts thereof, made of any substance or represented on any substance, added the statement.
The Patriotic People’s Front (PPF), Assam Public Works (APW), and Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) also joined in the chorus of protests and demanded an immediate arrest of Akram, who is a recent pass-out from Assam Government Art College, for the act of misusing his Freedom of expression.
Earlier the Hindu Legal Cell’s Assam unit on April 11 2015 lodged an FIR at Silchar Police Station against Akram for painting Sri Krishna with semi nude Gopis in a modern bar. The male figure in blue, with a peacock feather on his head and flute in hands were enough to interpret that the painting was nothing but to ridicule the Hindu God.
Arguing that the Freedom of Expression can't be a license to hurt religious sensibilities, the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) also lodged a complaint at Latashil Police Station seeking appropriate actions against the Guwahati based artist, who hails from Goalpara in western Assam.
—NJ Thakuria from Guwahati