New Delhi: A girl band in Jammu and Kashmir is forced to quit; an exhibition of nudes in Delhi compelled to shut temporarily; an art academy in Bangalore coerced into removing three nude paintings - these incidents just follow the FIR against a sociologist who spoke on corruption and Dalits at a literature festival and the prevention of an eminent author from entering a metropolitan city to attend another literary event.
India has seen it all in the last few weeks and perhaps more is to come, as the UPA government witnesses it all silently.
The all-girls band from Kashmir, Pragaash, faced a fatwa from the Grand Mufti of the valley who said that public performances by women was to be condemned. Even though Chief Minister Omar Abdullah assured security and even tweeted in support of the girls, there was no clamping down the opposition to the young musicians. The police also filed an FIR against those who hurled abuses at the girls on Facebook. Even though the girls welcomed it, they said they had decided to quit following the fatwa as they respected the Grand Mufti's decision.
"We respect the Grand Mufti's decision. He is a well-respected man. We don't know whether music is un-Islamic or not. Certainly the Mufti would be more aware of our religion. We don't want this case to be highlighted by the media. We want to be left alone. We have no need for security," one of the band members told CNN-IBN.
In Bangalore, an art academy was forced to remove three nude paintings after a complaint was filed against them. The artist said that the person who filed the complaint "seemed to be a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party".
In the national capital, the women wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad threatened the Delhi Art Gallery to discontinue its exhibition of nudes. The event was closed temporarily. However, following a complaint, the gallery was provided police protection and the show continued. The threat, however, still remains.
However, more surprising than all these incidents has been the absolute silence on part of the government and its total unwillingness to "get involved" with the rising middle class.