The controversial photograph of a nude man with visible genitals on display at a renowned government run Helsinki (Finland) museum, which enraged the Hindus in various parts of the world, has been removed from website.
The exhibition website previously displayed 72 slides of art pieces while now it only shows 71. The photograph number 32, which agitating Hindus said denigrated their religion, titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2”, is not there anymore. Instead, at 32 is another photo titled “Hinduism: The River”, which apparently shows a woman from backside standing in the water.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, has welcomed this gesture, calling it “a step in the right direction”.
In a statement in Nevada (USA) today, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that their protest, however, would continue till the apparently denigrating photograph was removed from the actual display in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art; till they were assured that it would not be displayed in Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland where exhibition planned to travel in the near future; and till public apology was not rendered by Finland Education Minister Henna Virkkunen, Director General of the Finnish National Gallery Risto Ruohonen, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, and award winning artist Marita Liulia.
Meanwhile, Hindus have also sought intervention from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the majority church which claims over 80 percent of Finns as members, for removal of this controversial photograph, with Rajan Zed saying that it was the responsibility of the majority to protect its minority.
On another note, Finland Prime Minister’s office has forwarded the Hindu leaders’ request for removal of this “disrespectful” photograph from the exhibition to National Board of Antiquities of Finland “for further possible actions”.
Rajan Zed points out that Hindus are for freedom of expression as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees.
Zed further said that continual showing of naked man, as an apparent representation of Hinduism and sacred city of Pushkar despite protests and requests was very disturbing to already upset Hindu populace of the world. This controversial photograph is on display till April 19 as part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition at Kiasma, in which her art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. Kiasma is a unit of Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education.
Rajan Zed has described this photograph display as “very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent”.