Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | April 6, 2012

Bourgeoisie cynicism and Tayeb Mehata’s representation of goddess Durga.

अतिक्रान्त सुखाः कालाः प्रत्युपस्थित दारूणाः।
श्वः श्वः पापीयदिवसा कलाः कलुष कल्मषाः।।

The days of happiness is over, the days of suffering is at hand. Dirty art’s bad days are gradually reaching us.

No one’s to blame for crises!
Over us, changeless and inscrutable, rule
The laws of economics.
And natural catastrophes recur
In dreadful cycles.–Bertolt Brecht,

In my previous post “Status of nationalist modern art” I have shown you that how modern art  has never been  modern.  That how it has been through and through anti-national in its approach to cultural representation.  The Christianity oriented cultural representation was exclusively directed towards Indian culture and religion. I have already mentioned in my earlier post that middle class petty bourgeoisie artists had shed their class and cast identity for immediate success and monetary gains. Artists barely do hard work and research to enter into the truth of art and life, perhaps, they were never taught that Art mines life. All those who had received Rockefeller and Art council’s blessings exclusively painted the subjects of Hindu culture, not to mine its truth but to corrupt it. In this culture agent class foremost among all was M.F.Husain. Progressive artist Group was actually the first Indian cultural movement of corruption. Rockefeller Project was not to enrich our culture but to destroy it in favor of western culture and way of life. One among those progressives’, the artist Tyeb Mehta painted the myth of Mahisasura and became famous after it was auctioned in Christie. But what was considered to be a work of art is in fact a great abuse. Like many others, under an administered existence the diminished subjectivity of Mehata pursued cultural prostitution. It is a fact that one often pursues wrong life under some guilt. He became the second most enemy of Indian  culture and religion with his modernist mediocrity and prostitution of sacred Image of Goddess Durga. He was no less envious to the rich culture and religious philosophy of Hindus than M.F.Husain; following him he too painted for Christian buyers’ and collectors. Tyeb Mehata was endowed with  J.D Rockerfeller 3rd to pursue the cultural jehad against Hindu religion in 1986. The painting titled Mahisasura is no work of art; it is an absolute propaganda work. The question of representation of petty bourgeoisie radicalism of a radical progressive artist movement is not worth mentioning in fact. I think that situation would not have gone so wrong if there would have been some criticism. Tyeb silently agreed to the interpretation of his painting ‘Mahisasura’; he had read every word carefully and wrote acknowledgment at the end of the book about what has been written. Tyeb Mehta was no illiterate but certainly he had no idea of Hindu theology and of myths as such that became the subject of Hindu faith. Ignorance is the enemy of everything and unfortunately if an ignorant minoriterian adventures into the truth of other’s religion with a wrong understanding of modernism he would bring only barbarism. In both M.F.Husain and Tayeb Mehta we do find a minoriterian inferiority complex that gives rise to hate and enviousness. Hitler accused minorities that they having ceased everything and used resources to destroyed cultural heritage and social life of German Christian majority and in India RSS accuses minority for the cultural repression of majority. Hitler united majority by accusing minorities; he convinced them that all their suffering is caused by united group of minorities that in the end led to final solution in Auschwitz. In India Hindutva is doing the same. Tyeb Mehta the Parsi could not go beyond inferiority complex of almost a dead community. M.F.Husain and Tayeb Mehta provided opportunity to the conservative Hindutva. if they attacked their art of lumpenism they were no way wrong either. One reason of the rise of conservatism in India is such lumpenism of so called secular cultural-political. It seems that what is secular cultural is the dominance of Christian fundamentalism through such cultural prostitution and lumpenism. The progressive western cultural trends from modernism onward were never practiced in India. The reification of modernism only produced cultural lumpenism, cultural prostitution and pornography. Perhaps, in the absence of creativity and thinking and in the era of floating prostitution of capital as much as the flow of immense looted global wealth nothing more could have been produced. The flow of looted capital is posthumous, post-human and if it doesn’t care for human life; how it could care for the sublime aspects of humans-the culture. If there is no creativity, capital will be made through prostitution; prostitution itself will be promoted as sublime culture. Your humanitarian logic against such bazaar prostitution will be declared invalid by prostitutes, what more do you need?
Popular calender Representation of goddess Durga

M.F.Husain and Tayeb Mehta’s complexities are barbarous and unforgivable. They have lost everything by becoming villains of eighty crore faithful in particular and Indian culture in general.  History too can’t forgive such cultural criminality. They can barely understand that the myth of Mahisasuramardini is a reflection of a theological discourse in which many other serious discourses run parallel. If myth was already enlightenment then from it we can also withdraw that this enlightenment corresponds to a certain moment of theological reflection of great Hindu sages and the collective. Hindus have had many transcending moments in such theological reflections giving rise to various cults and religious movements. Without understanding its profundity one can’t deconstruct it; deconstruction is not a job of barbarous individuals. Tayeb Mehta prostitutes the image of truth and produces a worst form of pornography. This gives us a sense of dominant Christian bourgeois destructive cultural ideology of guilt and parasite Indian bourgeoisie affair of trade (its goal orientation, its willful striving, its illiteracy, its perversion and prostitution). The artistic procedures developed by the so called progressive artists to articulate their sense of the world here become presented as what we, in fact, want to believe they are: universal truth of pornography or what writer says ‘sacred sexual violence of Mahisasura’. Tayeb mehta’s prostituting consciousness is his self consciousness, hence his motive could not have been other than the apprehension of the prostitution. Alain Badiou writes very rightly that, “The contemporary world is doubly hostile to truth procedures. This hostility betrays itself though nominal occlusions: where the name of a truth procedure should obtain, another, which represses it, holds sway. The name “culture” comes to obliterate that of “art.” The word “technology” obliterates the word “science.” The word “management” obliterates the word “politics.” The word “sexuality” obliterates love. The “culture-technology-management-sexuality” system, which has the immense merit of being homogeneous to the market, and all of whose terms designate a category of commercial presentation, constitutes the modern nominal occlusion of the “art-science-politics-love” system, which identifies truth procedures typologically.” One can’t create a work of art unless an enormous experience of depth –an experience in which work is put to test and when one creates a work of art as a criticism of mythos or any other theological subject one has to be extra sensitive. Indian artists should learn how to criticize myths and religious subjects from western thinkers and great writers. Art promises better by not only criticizing truth but also criticizing itself, what has already taken place in past, in some sense, even before what we, call the origin or the first day of spring must be contemplated with extra-seriousness. The truths and its representations buried under our great tradition must be understood in the same seriousness as western writers debated and understood the question of ‘spirit’ represented in Christianity and also outside Christian tradition.

Tayeb Mehta’s Mahisasura, acrylic on canvas.

Now the authors of Mehta’s big art Book “Ideas images exchanges” are Ranjit Hoskote, Ramchandra Gandhi, Roshan Shni, Dilip Chitre, and Prabodh Parikh but writer concerned here is once again Ranjit Hoskote. He writes in the first  chapter of book ‘images of transcendence’ that “The figure of the goddess and the buffalo demon, locked in combat, enact a SACRIFICIAL RITE OF FERTILITY that has its origins in the remote past of agrarian society; but archaic terror of their grim battle reverberates through us and through the crises that we ourselves stage today”. Author perhaps never read our great texts; these people never understood our tradition that created this myth to destroy the “Mahipa mentality-mind modification like buffalo”.  Durga is Mahishamardini as well as Mahishaghni and in both cases no one can interpret Durga in sexual combat with buffalo demon. In strict theological interpretation since Durga is Uma and she is considered to be eternal Kumari therefore she can’t be subject to sex and from another point of view since she exists in eternal union with Siva she can’t be subject to sex कुमारी नान्यभोग्यस्य भोक्त्रेकात्मयेन तिष्ठति. But writer emphasizes “She did sacred marriage with Mahishasura” and blood of trident shows as if demon Mahisasura has deflowered her.  Superficiality of art writer is very much clear from this sexual interpretation of myth rather image of theological truth of a great tradition. I must say that this bloody concept of blood and sex is of Middle Ages of Christianity, Foucault has pointed out that “The themetics of blood was sometimes called on to lend its entire historical weight toward revitalizing the type of political power that was exercised through the devices of sexuality.” But leave it here, I have no intention to enter into it for if I will interpret it further, writer will come out as a dangerous Nazi. So leave it and move on to the third interpretation of Durga, since she is said to be Chit-Shakti and sakal mantramayee she can’t be subject to sex. Fourth interpretation, since she is Bhuma and One’s Atma “स्वात्मैव देवता प्रोक्ता देवी विश्वविग्रहाः” how one can makes sex with her whose body is the three worlds or to be more precise in Vedant term- she who has been spoken of as ‘tajjalaniti’? About Uma Scripture says thus: “…परमभट्टारिका सैव कुमारी परिकिर्तिता।सदाशिवादिक्षित्यन्तविश्वसर्गादिलीलया। कुमारी कुंमहामायाभूमिं मारयतीत्यपि।कुमारी चोपभोग्यस्य योगिनो भैरवात्मनः। कुमारी नान्यभोग्यस्य भोक्त्रेकात्मयेन तिष्ठति।।
I think Indian art writers should study their own tradition from scriptures first before they start any interpretation. There is a wide difference in-between Greekan myth and Indian myth, Greek myth is political than theological and mostly not a subject of faith like Hindus. Hindu myths are the living myths; it is a divine consciousness running in the faith of people therefore one should take it with extra seriousness. I think those less recognized artists like G.R.Santosh and many lesser known artists like Rajesh Baderia painted religious subjects and myths better than these radicals. In G.R.Santosh’s imagery of goddess you find not only depth of his religious understanding but also something new makes its mark. He resurrected the traditional image into artistic reality and divinized it in modernist representation.

Hindu scriptures tell us that Durga’s real image was created and intended to be of a revolutionary goddess that was never propagated by priests. Durga the Mahishamardini as well as Mahishagni (not only destroyer of buffalo demon but also buffalo demoness) was conceived by sages as destroyer of the families of Asura Kings and Queens. The story of killing of Mahisasura has been narrated in second to fourth chapter of ‘Durga Saptasati’ but we do not find a single word that gives us such sexual liberation of sexual interpretation. Writer Hoskote (call him beHosH koti and blind who have lost sight.) elaborates the meaning of painting as follows: “In Tyeb’s paintings: their identities blur and overlap in that bewildering symbiosis which we have noted. The open shouting mouth of the goddess and the twisting bulk of buffalo are only clear signs of the two adversaries and even these difficult to pin down: the heads Durga and Mahisasura are dissociated from their bodies and their limbs dismembered from the frames to which they belong, act of their own accord. The bodies of the protagonists slip and knot over one another, entwined as though in some exalted act of yogic origami. The sexual dismemberment…[…] perhaps story of sexual war and love.“. In the eyes of such petty bourgeoisie artists, writers and of course various galleries too the ethical foundation of modernism is porn and to have porn-full eye and a porn-full sense of culture thus in this way everything ancient and esoteric becomes enchanting-a story of violent sexual combat. Flaubert’s pictorial imagination suits such art sheen as he says ‘enclosing itself in the material world as if in a vast studio peopled with prostitutes and models who in his eyes all have the same value’ art affair becomes almost close aphrodisiac. And it was needed for the bourgeoisie; I am certain that the story of violent sexual combat must have been invented for them at the price of art.  At the price of breaking the ties between art and morality, art and criticism, art and theory required an attitude of impassivity, indifference, aloofness and  a cynical extravagance. Bourgeoisie’s cynicism that ‘I am getting to the dark tones’ brought sharab-shabab-kabab into existence in art in which such shit and abuse was produced. Intestine-centric esoterism of art business doesn’t know what truth of art is.  It is strange that such shit, both in color and in the form of an art book was produced in such high spiritual environment. Earlier I wrote in my post on Krishnan khanna that how Gayatri sinha produced her shit in three years of hard scholarly exercise and now this posthumous art book written by Vadhera’s culture theorist Hoskote. I came to know through an artist that for a small amount of shit (such art book) production he used to charge heavily. I have no intention to harm anyone but since things are absolutely going wrong I can’t remain silent; candle of truth must lighted when darkness falls upon culture. Not your dark poisons again!

Well, let us see more into this culture theorist who is completely unaware of the sense of culture. Puranic scripture ‘Saptasati’ is considered a sacred text for the worship of Shakti throughout Indian subcontinent . It is said that it comes in Purana age from Aranyakas in which Goddess was first worshiped by seven great sages.  But the book writer like a Christian faithful writes: “Amazing it may seem to many present day Hindus. The myth and icon of Mahisasura Mardini are of west origin: they entered indic culture only in the first century A.D. and were probably grafted onto pre-existing folk mythologies.” This culture theorist did not take pain to visit even western orientalist productions on Vedic history.

                                                         Tayeb Mehta’s Mahisasura, acrylic on canvas.

In post Vedic age perhaps around 1500 century B.C ( even blindest of scholar accepts that Atharva Veda existed before Jain religion came into existence and even before Buddha’s birth) in Atharva Veda this verse is written that clearly mentions Durga :
नमो देव्यै महादेव्यै शिवायै सततं नमः।
तामग्नि वर्णां तपसा ज्वलन्तिं वैरोचनीं कर्मफलेषु जुष्टाम् ।
दुर्गा देवीं शरणं प्रपद्यामहेऽसुरान्नाशयित्रयै ते नमः।।
This verse tells us the she like all other Vedic goddess is born of Fire and was worshiped for the accomplishment of all kinds of desires and she is known as Shivaa(wife of Shiva). All the Rig-Vedic Gods and Goddesses exist in Atharva Veda.  Mahishamardini is conceived as Durga’s kriya shakti i.e. Laxmi in Saptashati and for her worship madyamcharitra has been dedicated where it is clearly mentioned that the deity is Mahalaxmi,Yajurveda is her form, air is element and Durga is the bija . Blinds can’t read and see it as Valmiki says अन्ध इति चोपहतदृष्टिः । ‘The Valley pigs” never made an effort to elevate themselves to sublime heights. His blindness goes even philosophical when he writes that: “It [Mahisasura painting] is a tribute to India’s syncretistic imagination that the two do not cancel each other out and perish, but rather grow together in a shared structure.” But please you do ask him, how darkness can exist with light, or even can grow together? It is a simple logic that light destroys darkness; every one perceives it in day to day life.”विद्याविद्यां निहन्त्येव तेजस्तिमिरसंड्घवत्-same general fact has been stated by Shankar in his Atmbodh”. Only a mindless can’t think such general occurring. If good will not negate evil, enlightenment would be impossible. When humanity finds itself incapable to negate the evil it invokes gods and kurukshetra becomes a dharmakshetra such is its dialectics.

Mahishasura Mardini, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Hoskote’s art writing is devastating; I have already criticized his blindness and confusion in my article “Postmodernism of Sudhir Patwardhan”. In this way the Christian propaganda entered in art through British art council and J.D.Rockfeller corrupting all that was sacred to Hindus.  Interestingly Christians did accomplish two things by corrupting our artists; on the one hand they tried to establish their religious superiority, on the other hand they generated huge capital. Indian art doesn’t exist; if it exists it is a fake art with such fake art writings and fake auctions. Interestingly the gallery art book in which “Durga did sacred marriage with demon Mahisasura” is written costs four thousand rupees.  Gallery merchants produce such stuff in organized way with foreign fund support to corrupt Indian tradition and religion.  While ours condition is  unfortunate, “पिबसि रतिसर्वस्वमधुरं । वयं तत्वान्वेषान्मधुकर हतांत्वं खलुकृति” blinds and thoughtless crows are doing sex with goddesses Durga under Capital’s prostitution and we are dying here in our search after truth.                       Madhubani  Folk Painting , Madhubani (Bihar)

In Christianity everything is about sex and of sadomasochism that doesn’t mean it is also found in Hinduism. War of goddess Durga against Buffalo demon is not some sacred sexual violence or Tantrik sacred violence that bourgeoisie writers thought rather it is a pure act of violence for the establishment of the absolute good. What is absolute good if not the innate human qualities as “Saptasati” itself says,:
“त्वं श्रीस्तवमीश्वरी त्वं ह्रीस्त्वं बुद्दिर्बोधलक्षणा। लज्जा पुष्टिस्तथा तुष्टिस्तवं शान्तिः क्षान्तिरेव च।।“or
येषां सदाभ्युदययदा भवती प्रसन्ना । तेषां यशांसि न च सीदति धर्म वर्गः। She is said to be substratum of all these qualities that leads humans to a truthful and happy life, as Gita would say “शाश्वतस्त च धर्मस्य सुखस्यैकान्तिकस्य च।“.  Everything in Hindu religion was interpreted by such artist merchants as sacred sexual violence perhaps everything in bourgeoisie thinking is about sexual violence and this corrupt thinking and sexual violence was sold to western bourgeoisie. India’s upper class invites western bourgeois in this way who come to India to enjoy sacredness; we do sacred violence with our daughters, sisters and with our goddesses. In our country whatever is sacred is fuckable; Hindu are the only people who fuck their mothers.  However for such sexed and deluded beings in the same religious text this verse too has been uttered:  “ ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवती हि सा। बालादाकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति।। “That supreme energy forcefully takes away knowledge from even seers and deludes them in utter darkness” Recent western attraction to Hindu religion (now a religion of sacred sexual violence) is because of these kinds of porn writings.

Representation in Indian Miniature

As far as my readings are concerned of course I can say that there are perverse and vulgar aspects in Puranas and other less important texts but everything in Hindu religion is not sacred sexual violence; many things in Hindu religion are metaphysically very rich, revolutionary and modern per excellence. I often use the wisdom of India’s rich tradition and quote it in my writings even when I would be writing on Marxism or Postmodernism. I criticize it from my philosophical ground where I find it worth criticizing and in this way I follow my own tradition. “अनुमापतये तस्मायप्युमापतये सदा” For we proceeded towards truth “.. Not only by grace of goddess Uma(उमा) but also by an-Uma(अनुमा)[by the four forms of reason envious to Uma in playfulness]” Our tradition has been a critical tradition; we have always been seeking truth through  criticism and debates and we fulfilled our promises to inspiration of the masses.

                      Mahishasur  Mardini Durga, bharatanatyam representation by Subhalakshmi  Kumar(photo)



  1. I read this heavy text and I thank you for your revelations. I shows us how Indians themselves are working against us.

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