People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 49

December 08, 2013




SAHMAT Condemns Moral Policing


THE Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) has condemned the recent incident of moral policing of the art exhibition by Balbir Krishan at the Muse Gallery, Marriot Hotel, in Hyderabad on December 1, 2013.


This was how the gallery director was quoted in The Times of India ---


Throwing more light on what transpired post the preview, Kaali Sudheer, curator, said, “Things were fine during the preview on Saturday, which went on till quite some time. Around 11 pm, a few right wing activists paid me a visit at the gallery and asked me to cancel the show. They said the artworks and artist stand for everything that’s ‘against Indian culture’.” When asked why he didn’t approach the police, Sudheer said, “The people who paid me a visit are extremely well-known and influential. I don’t want hassles. I had no option but to cancel the show.”


The SAHMAT statement issued from New Delhi on December 2 said the work was up on their website and social media, and it is clear there was nothing pornographic or obscene in the works which were male nudes. The gallery was fully aware of the work and had invited the artist to exhibit, and the opening was well attended. It is because the artist is gay that the moral police of the right had swung into action. Their threats and intimidation are in fact against the law, and the gallery should have complained to the police.


The SAHMAT described the latest incident as another wake-up call to the increasing brazenness of the right-wing political forces and as a pointer to their plans in the run up to the national elections next year. The public needs to be alert to these plans and should resist any attempts to illegal enforcement of narrow political views which are against the constitutional rights of citizens.