Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let Us Not be Art Sepoys

A bizarre request came the other day. We'd like your kid to be part of the festivities at some kind of Teen USA type beauty pageant. Specifically, an opportunity to showcase classical Indian dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Odissi, etc. How long was this performance? 30 seconds. The bigger kids would be putting on a few seconds of show to lend 'color'. The theme: atrocity art. You know depict how the girls of India have overcome the oppression of patriarchy, dowry, female infanticide, rape, and all the other good stuff that is used to define India and Hinduism.

I have to drive my kid more than 60 miles each way to be part a 30-sec exotica side-show in some teenage beauty pageant with the express purpose of volunteering my heritage to mock my heritage in front of a ignorant TV audience? I was in two minds. Like Viv Richards undecided whether to hit the ball for a four or six. Dear organizers, idhu konjam over.

Still, I would be ready to do the needful, provided the following things are part of the festivities:
- dancers from the middle east depict how Yazidi girls, Kurds, etc. are overcoming the slaughter and oppression of fundamentalist Islam
- Ballet from Europe will depict how Roma girls,  African girls, and Jewish girls have overcome centuries of racism and colonialism that continue to this day, the two world wars that they inflicted on the rest of the world, the communism and the churchianity that continues to extinguish the aspirations of millions of girls all over the world, ..
- Dances from China will depict how their girls are fighting for the human rights that have been trampled there for decades, and the millions that their secularism has killed
- Dances from North America will depict how the few remaining native American girls from a population that was once as big as Europe's are fighting against all odds, and how little kids continue to be molested in some of their churches, girls being shot in schools, girls being abused at a very high per-capita rate, girls overcoming racism, girls not joining science courses in college, girls on drugs, girls with mental issues, girls bullying in schools, etc. are being overcome ...
- South America will similarly show how their natives have overcome the torture and massacre of tyrants from European invaders to corrupt leftists to drug-lords
- Australia will show how the few remaining Aborigine girls who have escaped extermination are coping ..
- dances from "South Asia" will show how Hindu girls in Pakistan and Bangladesh have been systematically annihilated solely because of their faith

Let us see all those dances too. Let atrocity art be equal and proportional opportunity. If India gets 30 seconds to "showcase" itself, then surely these other examples should be given at least 300 seconds each to depict how they have covered themselves with glory. Noting that dharmic India has on its own, done more self-reflection, self-criticism, and self-reform than the rest of these ideologies and cultures put together despite centuries of brutal foreign occupation that introduced a lot of the problems. Let us showcase that fact too.

Or, let us use the occasion to spread a positive message of hope amongst our girls, and proportionally show each of the cultures celebrating the best representation and accorded status to the women and the girl child in their heritage. You will find that dharmic India will need to be given 3000 seconds if the others get 30 seconds.

Of course, one need not go far from India to find folks ready to fight stupidity with stupidity. Many dysfunctional male and female artists in India are misusing their dharmic art training to mock Hinduism and dharmic India and make a quick buck in front of a cheering western universalist audience - betraying the very open-minded culture and heritage that bestowed on them their skills and fame without fear or favor in the first place. 'Being clueless' has become a marketable talent in secular India.

This August 15, let us pledge to free ourselves of mental colonization. For starters, we must not allow our children to become tomorrow's art sepoys.

जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी

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