The Shiv Sena did what it does best – take a decision for what other people should watch, hear or read. This time it was IIT-B’s (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay) Mood I (Mood Indigo) which faced the brunt. A wall art on Hanuman painstakingly made by national and international artists over just four days was whitewashed within seconds by Shiv Sena people yesterday, December 26, 2016. Why – because of the same rhetoric – “it hurts people’s sentiments.”
The Hanuman wall art was one of the many paintings put up by artists at Mood I under a collection called Bombay Chronicles. This wall art depicted a typical flying pose of Hanuman carrying Dronagiri Parvat. Only, the figure was clad in a t-shirt, wearing sports shoes and carrying an ipod.
PaGaLGuY spoke to Datta Dalvi, from the Shiv Sena who spearheaded the whitewash campaign. He said: “IIT-B students apologised to Sena for the art work and the wall was subsequently whitewashed.” Students of IIT-B vehemently deny this claim. They in fact are saddened by the fact that a student festival like Mood I was also not spared Shiv Sena. “The artist took a long time to make the painting. I feel bad for the painter,” said an IIT-B student.
When PaGaLGuY probed more, Dalvi, asked us to read the Saamna for his side of the story. The Saamna states that because in the painting, there was a man pointing out a gun to Hanuman, the act of whitewashing became imperative. PaGaLGuY had visited the wall art exhibition on the first day of Mood I and realised that the Hanuman wall art was part of a huge bunch of canvases that depicted “Bombay Chronicles. The other wall art pieces displayed various facets of life in the metro. Big chance that the man pointing a gun at Hanuman was part of another wall art.
Some IIT-B students told PaGaLGuY that the whitewashing action is probably Shiv Sena’s need to be one up on the BJP – keeping in mind the upcoming Civic Elections. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ visit at Mood I earlier in the day may have spurred the action too. Considering that the painting was up at Mood I since the first day of the festival – December 23, and no one in Sena noticed.
Whatever be the reason the Shiv Sena did it, the fact is that art and freedom of expression have once again become victims to party politics and that too at a student event is something IIT-B and other students will not forget for a long, long time.