Let me tell you a story, boys and girls:
The title of nawabs of Arcot was established in 1692 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the ‘Hitler’ of India, so beloved by Marxist and historians, as well as western writers such as William Dalrymple, as a reward for their victory over the Marathas.
Once upon a time, the nawabs of Arcot controlled a vast territory south of the Krishna river. But after the advent of the British, the nawabs had to surrender most of their territory to the East India Company.
In exchange, Queen Victoria, gave the nawabs a tax free-pension in perpetuity, allowed them to retain their palace in the midst of Chennai and granted them a high hierarchical ranking. Incredibly, the Government of India continues to honor this privilege. The current Prince of Arcot, Abdul Ali, is ranked third in Tamil Nadu after the Governor and the Chief Minister and is present at every official occasion.
Zoom to today: in March 2008, I showed in Chennai’s Lalit Kala Academi our exhibition on Aurangzeb “as he was according to his own records” (http://www.aurangzeb.info/), which we had presented without any problems in Delhi and Bangalore. This unique painting exhibition is based on the original firmans of Aurangzeb, still preserved in the Bikaner and Hyderabad archives, and we were careful not to add any comments of our own.
The newspaper the Hindu wrote a review and the present nawab of Arcot came to see the exhibition. He was incensed by our painting depicting the razing of the Somnath temple (that was broken SEVEN times by Muslims), which is historically undeniable, as alongside, we had posted the scan of Aurangzeb’s order, with the emperor’s seal.
The nawab of arcot called immediately the son of the then chief Minister, Stalin and organized a demonstration by a few Muslims from the nearby mosque.
Stalin sent one his high ranking police officers, then Assistant Commissioner of Police K N Murali.
Mr Murali quickly swung into action: he came to the Lalit Kala Academi with a full posse of policement (photos) he terrorised the harmless ladies guarding the exhibition calling them ” stooges of a white dog,” threw two paintings on the ground and ordered his policemen to remove the rest. Then he arrested four volunteers (Mrs. Srarswathi, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, Mrs.
Malathi and Mr. B.R. Haran) and took them to the Thousand Lights police station. There the ACP termed me as a “Foreign Terrorist” and threatened to book the volunteers “for helping and assisting him to incite communal violence in the otherwise peaceful Tamil Nadu.”
I was in Delhi and immediately flew to Chennai, got my four volunteers released, but it took me six months to get the paintings back. Half of them were broken. I had them restored and the exhibition in now permanently hosted in our Shivaji Maharaj Museum Pune (http://fact-india.com/)
But the story does not end up there. The so-called ‘prince’ of Arcot, whose ‘Amir palace’ is in Royapettah, the heart of Chennai, wants more land: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/court-directs-state-to-consider-afresh-plea-for-land-by-sons-of-fifth-prince-of-arcot/article4687053.ece
Don’t you think that in democratic India, under the rule of @Narendra Modi, this kind of privileges should be revoked, specially as his ancestors were enemies of India? FG