Indian artist threatened for sketches of elephant god

<b>Natty Ganapati</b>: One of Kerkar's sketches. (Click to see the full series)

Natty Ganapati: One of Kerkar's sketches. (Click to see the full series)

Indian artist Subodh Kerkar has received threats from radical Hindu groups because an exhibition of his sketches included pictures of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god.

The artist told AFP,

I have been receiving phone calls which threaten me with dire consequences. They told me that they will chop off my fingers for indulging in such acts.

The groups which took offence include Sanatan Sanstha and Jangruti Samiti, who informed the police, published the artist’s mobile phone number, and plan demos outside the exhibition today and tomorrow.

We intend to have peaceful protests, but we are not responsible for any law and order problem if it arises.

The threats of violence are as barely veiled as usual.

Fortunately, Kerkar (who is actually quite a fan of the elephant-headed deity) has vowed to go ahead with the exhibition, even though there is actually a law in India which prohibits “hurting religious sentiments.”

I am going ahead with the exhibition. It took me eight to 10 hours to draw one sketch. I am Ganesh Bhakt and whatever sketches I have drawn are inspired by the Lord himself.

This reminds us of an old Jesus & Mo cartoon, which is not quite so reverential:

UPDATE: (21 Aug) The Telegraph has more, including a great quote from Dr Gareth Price, head of the Asia Programme at London’s Chatham House:

These extremist Hindus feel they have to keep up with radical Islamists in order to appear strong. Most Hindus are very moderate, but there are a few who think that if someone degrades an image of one of their gods, they must react as Muslims would do if it were Mohammed.

And there are also a lot of people who just want to get their name in the paper, and will always find something to complain about.


3 Responses to “Indian artist threatened for sketches of elephant god”

  1. Shatterface says:

    Whatever happened to Little Blue?

    He was fun.

  2. martyn says:

    I wonder if the writers of Baa Baa the elephant have gone into hiding yet?

  3. Fatpie42 says:

    Ah, fatwa envy strikes again.

    It has to be said that the pictures aren’t terribly irreverent. Their not terribly good either, but that’s hardly cause for violence – even by religious extremist standards…