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Baroda Protest

Maximum City’s Maximized Protest

Intellectuals, artists and eminent personalities from all the walks of life came forward to protest against the Baroda incident at the steps of Jehangir Art Gallery. Amrita Gupta Singh catches the fire of this meet in this crisp report.

In conjunction with the country-wide protests by artists, writers, film-makers, cultural commentators, intellectuals and concerned citizens against the VHP motivated violation of creative expression in Baroda, the Mumbai rally on May 14 at 6.00pm on the stairs of Jehangir Art Gallery and its pavements witnessed a large gathering accompanied with the active presence of the media. Organized by the Free Chandramohan Committee, the rally was attended by number of well-known citizens of Mumbai who all came together for the cause of the autonomy of creative expression and to mark the arts community's anguish at repeated violations of cultural freedoms, including the violent assault on the young Baroda artist Chandramohan and the continuing persecution of M F Husain, among other instances.

Since this gathering was in the nature of a spontaneous and peaceful demonstration, the concerned citizens had placards and banners, in both Hindi and English, which denounced all forms of repression.
Kekoo Gandhy, the founder of Gallery Chemould, presided over the rally and everyone was encouraged  to voice their opinions on the issue. Ranjit Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta, Anil Dharker, Y.P.Singh, Vinod Shetty ( trade union activist) Datta Iswalkar (mill activist) Jhelum Paranjpe, Dolly Thakore, Suhasini Mulay, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Prabodh Parikh all gave eloquent speeches, vouching for individual rights in an increasingly fascist environment. Jahangir Sabavala, Mehli Gobhai, Nancy Adajania, Shireen Gandhy, Pheroza Godrej, Kaushik Mukhopadhyay, Tara Lal, Shaina Anand, Meera Devidayal, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kitu Gidwani and other prominent personalities participated actively in this protest. The rally was broadcasted live on FM Radio, and many foreigners, students and passer-by’s stood in the gathering in support of the cause.

A small exhibition of Indian erotic art, posters and photographs was put up at the Pavement Gallery outside the Jehangir Art Gallery. Such a large demonstration was heartening to see and future plans of the Free Chandramohan Committee were also discussed in the rally.


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