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India: Mural erased from festival after far-right group’s protest

17 January 2017


On 26 December 2016, the last day of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s (IIT-B) Mood Indigo cultural festival, dozens of protestors from far-right political party Shiv Sena entered the campus and demanded a mural depicting a modern version of Hindu god Hanuman be erased from the wall, reported The Indian Express on 26 December 2016.

Local Shiv Sena branch head Nilesh Salunkhe said the protestors would not let the event go on until the mural was removed. Another local Shiv Sena leader, Datta Dalvi, said the mural was in “bas taste” and that it “hurt the religious sentiments of many people”.

Salunkhe said organisers first agreed to cover the mural, but when the protestors insisted on having it removed, organisers whitewashed the wall and wrote an apology letter to the group, reported The Times of India on 27 December 2016.

The painting depicted the flying god in western clothes; carrying a fountain pen over his shoulder, rather than a mace; headphones rather than a crown, with an iPod strapped to his arm; a train instead of a tail; and wearing shorts, knee pads, arm bands, watches and sunglasses. The mural was part of several other wall paintings created for the festival.

Mood Indigo is an annual cultural festival that started in 1971 and has become the largest college cultural festival in India. The festival ran from 23-26 December 2016.


Sources

» The Indian Express – 27 December 2016
‘Hanuman’ painting part of Mood Indigo removed as Shiv Sena objects

» Hindustan Times – 27 December 2016
Shiv Sena covers ‘offensive’ IIT-B painting showing Lord Hanuman in western wear

» The Times of India – 27 December 2016
Modern Hanuman mural gives Mood Indigo the blues


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