Please God, protect us from your brave soldiers

As if to prove that a cracked canine is running around biting hoodlums of the saffron and red kind, Karnataka medical education minister Ramachandre Gowda said on Wednesday that “modern art has become a medium for pseudo-intellectuals to insult ancient Indian culture.”

As always, the minister made it unnecessary for a psychoanalyst to be called in to interpret the pandemic with the use of the tell-all words: “modern art”, “pseudo”, “insult”, “ancient Indian culture”.

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The Indian Express tears into the minister’s intolerance:

“We wonder why Gowda and his ilk invariably assume it’s their duty to defend the honour of “Indian culture”, of one antique variety or the other. More importantly, we ask why they assume ancient Indian culture needs to be defended, with the implication that it’s vulnerable enough against certain ideas and interpretations….

“The very right to free speech that Gowda asserted in his defence is the one that allows artists to express themselves. Why can’t Gowda and his ilk engage in an open conversation with “modern art”, and let the matter rest there regardless of the conclusions they draw, and without asking art to circumscribe itself within “cultural norms”?

“One of the first lessons the minister would draw would be that art’s raison d’etre is engagement with socio-psychological reality and tradition, and the reinterpretation of both for us. Every idea thereof, whether we agree with it or not, helps.”

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Read the full editorial: Thick red lines