We know how the rightwing loonies in India react to nude art. We know what happens to the art and the artist. We know how the leaders of the right react. We know how the left intelligentsia argues back. But, what happens in Kashmir.
It's 1947 and Sheikh Abdullah sets up a cultural front in Kashmir to promote art. Left allied artists are at the forefront of the front. An exhibition is planned. Prominent from all over India are invited for exhibiting their work. Among these artists in Brij Mohan Anand who is invited by Kashmir Sahayak Sabha of Punjab. He spends time in Kashmir, travelling, sketching and painting. In September 1948, the exhibition is inaugurated by the Sheikh at Hadow Memorial College Premises, Shiekh Bagh, Srinagar.
At the exhibition, some visitors are offended by the work of Brij Mohan. He had included some nudes among his work. Sheikh sides with the Kashmiri moral brigade. Sheikh and Brij Mohan have a heated argument that soon turns physical. Later, the artist is told arrest warrants have been issued in his name. The artist silently packs as many of his paintings as he could and heads for the national highway where he finally hitches ride in an army truck, leaving Kashmir hiding under sheets of tarpaulins like some sheep.
And that's why you won't see Kashmiri artists exhibiting nudes in Kashmir. The Kashmiri society remains on right.
Some of the Kashmir specific works of Brij Mohan Anand
|First art exhibition in Kashmir. Srinagar. 1948.|
|Pandit Woman, 1948|
|Cover designed by Brij Mohan Anand |
for Jamna Das Akhtar's novel "Kashmir ki Beti" (1978) based on Zooni Gujjar.