Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded this protest, has appreciated this step of the government run Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, saying that it was a sigh of relief for the agitated Hindu community. He urged the Museum to remove word “Pushkar” also from this photograph of nude man with visible genitals, arguing that town of Pushkar, which is associated with Hindu god Brahma, was sacred to Hindus.
Meanwhile, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, on the request of a Hindu leader to remove word “Pushkar” also from this photograph, reportedly said that he would consider it.
Welcoming this gesture, Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that this second step of Kiasma, after the first step of removing the photograph titled “Hinduism:
On the other hand, Finland Prime Minister’s Office transferred this issue to Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education, of which Kiasma is a unit. In a memo copied to Hindu leaders, Heikki Aaltonen, Permanent State Under-Secretary, wrote, “…we transfer the issue for possible measures…to Finnish National Gallery…”
Hindus had approached Finland President, Prime Minister, majority Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and others requesting intervention for the removal of photograph, apparently denigrating to Hinduism, from the exhibition.
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.
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. This exhibition will later travel to Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland. Rajan Zed earlier described this photograph display as “very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent”.
Zed argued that they thought museums existed for the service and development of the society and for the purpose of education, inspiration and enjoyment. When did the museums take over the role of denigrating religions, Zed asked?
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, Rajan Zed stressed.