22:06 By Vishnu Chandrasenan

It’s been 14 billion years after our planet begins to breathe the air of existence. Still, I am awestruck by the story of a primeval creature on it; a creature that we all more commonly acknowledge as 'man'. Needless to say, it’s been an amazing story of survival, of strife, of endurance, of grief, of optimism, that never ceases to appeal and enchant all of us. 

My mind traversed. I asked my being what is that feature of man that stands at the peak of all his abilities. An instant jolt hit me. The ability of man to express or portray himself and his feelings to the world, I felt, is the most gifted possession that we can have. The world recognizes this talent as "ART".

Isn't that soul the most blessed who can emit the same thoughts of his to the people at large? It may be through the variations of music, through the mystery of a portrait, through the charm of a sculpture or simply through the captivation of a book. Art is a magical force which we never realize. It is twice blessed, it blesses the one who creates it, and it blesses the one who reads it through his senses.

But in a pluralist society today, fear and repression have taken birth. Difference in philosophy, religion or politics should never have put us in turmoil, but unfortunately it did. We have reached a phase where we fear each other sometimes. The one who suffered was our freedom to express, man's perennial birthright.

Today we are under the deceit of corporal censorship of our expression. We live in a time where a poor roadside artist fears to paint a portrait that might consort extremism from some religious groups. We live in a time where a true artist fears to take up his career in his vocation fearing censorship and its repercussions. We live in a time where we are no more judged by our artistic aptitude, but sadly, by how much materialist knowledge we can imbibe through rote.

I firmly believe that the people who can make a little positive difference to other people's lives are the people of the highest order in existence. Art is a guide-way where this can be leveraged. A music seeker will find sheer joy to hear the improvisation of a raaga on a violin whereas materialist studies will one day refrain to induce interest. Hence I believe people like Da Vinci or Yesudas has done more to humanity and mankind than probably Newton or Einstein. It is for this very little reason that art should never be censored. Art has phenomenal healing, inspiring, motivating and life transforming powers. Censorship is a cold blooded murder of the same.


Censorship has to vanish into oblivion and I believe it one day will. Just like how a metal naturally corrodes back to its original oxidized state after man painstakingly purifies it, the law of nature always prevails at last. It was the nature's law that gifted man his expressiveness and art. So the role of nature will allow total freedom of speech to prevail over the freedom to curtail it. No mundane man has the authority to impose a filter on the works of an expressive soul.

The need for censorship never arises if all forms of art are seen in the context of true expression. If we all learn to respect each and every one's philosophy, religion and political beliefs, we would never have an ego which can get hurt merely by a piece of art. The moment when each and every human being learns to respect each other human being, at the highest rational plane, will be the moment when true progress is achieved. In such a world, there will never have to be a censor or a restriction because the purpose of art is itself precisely understood there.

I drifted back from my thoughtful little siesta. A daily newspaper page fluttered in front of me. The news struck me in coincidence: Religious outfit forces artist Eleena Banik to take the objectionable painting off exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai".

A smile was all that I could respond to that news with. That newspaper page tenderly reminded me of a hard fact; the more the things seem to change, the more they remain the same!

-Vishnu Chandrasenan


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