University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Visual Constructions of South Asia (2014-15) > Outrage, hurt and ‘neo-Hindutva’: anti-M F Husain protests in India and beyond

Outrage, hurt and ‘neo-Hindutva’: anti-M F Husain protests in India and beyond

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The art of M F Husain has been a locus of Hindu nationalist mobilization since the mid-1990s. This paper considers the hostility that plagued the twilight years of India’s most successful and prominent modern artist. Husain’s exhibitions in India were systematically picketed and even vandalised. Hundreds of police complaints were filed against him. Certain Hindu groups claimed that his artworks – specifically those depicting Hindu goddesses – were obscene, insulting, and blasphemous. The second half of this paper analyses an instance of anti-Husain activism outside India, in London, in 2006. Through this case study, the role of performative tropes of outrage and offence in the public representation of Hinduism is explored. It is argued that a reconceptualization of diasporic Hindutva is required.

This talk is part of the Visual Constructions of South Asia (2014-15) series.

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