Depiction of Hindu gods in nude is bad

THIS has reference to Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Easy target” (Saturday Extra, March 18). The writer says that those who denounce the nude paintings drawn by M.F. Husain know nothing about Hindu culture.

After the death of Harsha, there was a steep political, social and cultural decline in India when the rulers and their courtiers started indulging in all types of sexual perversions and excesses. And to justify their lecherous behaviour they installed idols of gods and goddesses in such temples, which were only built by them for their own amusement.

According to a noted historian of ancient India, the late Dr Budh Prakash, rulers in this decadent period were all the time engaged in sexual activities or were frittering away their energy in constantly fighting with one another. The number of women in their army camps was more than the fighting men. As a result, India became an easy prey to Turks-Afghan invaders. Mauryan and Gupta arts are completely free from nudity not to speak of the depiction of the sex act.

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Books like Kamasutra and Anga Rang are sexual texts and have nothing to do with Hindu religion. Moreover, they were written for the benefit of the rulers and the elite. No sexuality is shown in the famous Ajanta and Ellora murals. Therefore, there is no justification in the defence of nude paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses whether painted by Husain or any other painter. The ancient texts “that exhort people to regard sex as a sacred ritual” also say that sex is meant for procreation only.

Professor V. P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

Venerable leader

Legacy of a visionary” by K.S. Bains (Spectrum, March 5) was an interesting and informative article. It is not generally known that Sikhs occupied Delhi after defeating the Mughal forces in 1783. During their seven-month stay there, they constructed seven gurdwaras with the collection of 37.5 per cent of the town octroi. They maintained perfect law and order with their disciplined troops and voluntarily vacated Delhi, as promised, in the best tradtions of Sikhism.

Sardar Baghel Singh was a valiant and venerable leader of that period and it was considered an honour to receive amrit from his hands. The place where his 30,000-force was stationed is still known as Tees Hazari.

At no time of his life did Guru Gobind Singh divide the Sikhs into 12 misls and broadly allocate their areas of operation as stated by Bains. He had entrusted the care of the Sikh Panth to the collective authority of Guru Granth-Guru Panth.

Brig HARDIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

Wake up call

A wake up call” by Reeta Sharma (Saturday Extra, Feb 25) was thought-provoking. She aptly pointed out that there is a steep rise in the incidence of crime against women in our country — be it rape, murder or denial of rights to them. Women need to be protected, honoured and given their rights.


Maharani’s ashes

Bhagwan Singh’s letter in these columns (March 12) imparts valuable information about Maharani Jindan. It may be supplemented further by a couple of lines from the Maharani’s biography.

It was the ardent wish of Rani Jindan that her ashes be immersed in the Ganga at Hardwar.

As Prince Dalip Singh, her son, was disallowed to travel to North India by the authorities who feared a rebellion on the heels of the uprising of 1857, so in partial fulfilment of her wishes, he immersed her ashes in the Godavari at Nasik and returned.n

V. I. K. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Making seminars a useful method of discourse

Humra Quraishi’s comment on the seminar culture in Delhi (Sunday Oped, March 12) draws attention to an activity which is growing but hardly serves its initial purpose of promoting creative interaction among informed scholars.

The first high-powered seminar I attended as teacher was chaired by Dr C.D. Deshmukh and inaugurated by Dr Zakir Husain sometime in the early 1960s. With his characteristic humour, Dr Deshmukh remarked that the number of seminarians in the country was constant. So was the number of words they had to utter. Over the years, the number in each category has swelled, so has the number of seminars.

In the university system, the seminars are usually organised towards the end of the session when the students need their teachers the most. Generally, they are publicised with a prefix ‘UGC-sponsored’ without organisers realizing that thereby they are compromising their own worth and standing.

Almost every teacher gets a few invitations with the invitation letter invariably carrying a mention of the teacher’s known expertise in the field and the valuable contributions that he or she has made to the subject even when the invitee has no worthwhile published work to his or her credit. Not infrequently, the prefix ‘national’ or ‘international’ is also inserted — national when some delegates from the neighbouring states are invited and international when an academic or two on their sabbatical from foreign universities are expected to join.

Those who have the patience to sit in the technical sessions seldom find anything refreshing or stimulating. Most papers are ill-structured and carry matter that is hackneyed. The presentations are laboured and do not reveal any creative ability of the mind. It is time Vice-Chancellors and senior faculty in our universities looked into the institution of seminars in the larger context of cost and benefit to the community and made seminars a useful method of discourse.

Dr H.K. MANMOHAN SINGH, Former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala


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