Lotus might well be the official emblem of the party in power, but when it comes to having lotus installations in PM Narendra Modi’s official programs, there is no place for it. Though officers in the Haryana Government discount this claim and cite other reasons for removal of lotus-resembling installations from PM Narendra Modi’s official program, there is a large number of art-lovers, including socialites and members of civil society who are displeased over art being sacrificed at the cost of politics.
Sun and lotus was apparently the theme created by Seerat Narendra as décor for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) on Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway when the later came on an official visit to India. The same installations were also supposed to adorn the Devilal Stadium in Gurgaon at the time of Republic Day celebrations. However, if accounts of those present at NISE are to be believed, the installations of lotus were ordered to be removed from the premises by officials present there, ostensibly to remove the political touch from the PM’s official program. But this act has left the art-lovers fuming!
RNI talked to Seerat Narendra who confirmed that certain officials asked her to remove the installations that resembled lotus a shade prior to the visit of the dignitaries. Seerat removed the lotus-resembling flowers which were later used to give colour to the ambience at Devilal Stadium.
Says Seerat: “Lotus is our national flower. The artistic installations had to be removed because some narrow minded official linked it to a political party. This is very sad. Will they stop respecting or using the Tri-Colour of our respected national flag (something which we all treasure) because the same colours are also depicted on the flag of another political party?” Seerat is emphatic that politics should be kept out of art. “Please keep politics out of art and learn to appreciate the hard work of artisans and artists who slogged to create a beautiful installation,” she says with a degree of annoyance.
Meenu Gaddi who attended the Republic Day celebrations at Devilal Stadium liked the décor put up there by Seerat extensively. She is disappointed at the manner in which the installations were asked to be removed from NISE premises and wish people have a broader view, when it comes to appreciating art and craft. “Would we stop using our hands for whatever… just because we didn’t vote for the Congress,” she says.
A journalist working for a mainline English daily too felt it was silly and disappointing to remove the lotus-similar installations. “Lotus is one of the most beautiful flowers and comes with a very strong message that your surroundings can never dim your inner light. It’s very juvenile of the official to connect lotus with a certain political party or its ideology,” says she vehemently.
Madhuri Bhatia, a freelance actor, singer and dancer and a great connoisseur of art rues that such beautiful installations went unappreciated and wasted. “If a connection has to be drawn to a particular party, anything and everything can be attached,” tells Madhuri.
An intellectual of repute, Ramaa Shanker agrees that politics have reached such levels that it cannot be changed. An art lover and an artist herself, Madhura Phatak too is of view that art and artists should not suffer because of the myopic view of some people. Madhura feels sorry the way things are shaping up in our country.
While the artists and art-lovers have been expressing their disappointment because art had to give way to politics, the district administration has an altogether different take on this. T.L. Satyaprakash, IAS and presently serving as Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon is of view that the art installations were not removed because of their resemblance to the symbol of a political party. RNI talked to the Deputy Commissioner who said the flowers were not resembling lotus, instead they were coloured flowers. Lot many flowers were made for the Republic Day program at Devi Lal Stadium, he told RNI. Initially it was felt that some of the flowers could be used to beautify the NISE premises but then a decision was taken to keep the ambiance plain. “We were told French people don’t like colours, etc.” said the Deputy Commissioner. When asked who took the decision to remove the artistic installations, he said possibly it was the Director of NISE. However, one thing that is clear is that floral designs were installed and then removed at the behest of certain officer.
Seerat, on the contrary, maintains French would have taken pride in showing the work of their artists. “Think of the artisans and artists who worked hard only to portray a beautiful image of the country,” says Seerat. All that she, along with other art lovers, want is to keep art out of politics!