Don’t Look! Erotic Khajuraho Drawings Show Hypocrisy of Censorship


Akshita Chandra has created gifs taking inspiration from Khajuraho carvings. (Photo Courtesy: Tumblr/<a href="http://being-censitive.tumblr.com/post/145960132011">Being Censitive</a>)
Akshita Chandra has created gifs taking inspiration from Khajuraho carvings. (Photo Courtesy: Tumblr/Being Censitive)

Don’t Look! Erotic Khajuraho Drawings Show Hypocrisy of Censorship

Disclaimer: The article contains blasphemous illustrations. Any entity that gets offended over bastardisation of Bharatiya Sanskriti, please don’t read further.

While Shiv Sena’s repeated attempts at beating, slapping and thrashing couples on Valentine’s Day started as a hot topic for outrage, it ended up as a Twitter joke.“It’s not part of Indian culture,” is what they often announce.

And then a barrage of articles and essays are written to remind the Sena members that India is a land of Kama Sutra and Khajuraho carvings that display unbridled sexuality.

This time, Akshita Chandra has created gifs of Khajuraho carvings to counter the omnipresent blanket of censorship that has the country in its grip.

Chandra, a fourth year visual artist at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, wishes to create a dialogue between India’s ‘pristine’ past and its ‘dirty’ present.

How, you ask?

As part of a project, ‘Being Censitive’, she has created pop-ups that illustrate examples of contemporary censorship in the form of news headlines, juxtaposing them with figures of the Khajuraho temples.

The idea is to “explore what is considered to be obscene and what is acceptable, highlighting the struggle between people and censorship/moral policing,” she says. 

Here she satirises television channels indulging in their own idea of censorship by blurring out cleavage.

On Dinanath Batra banning sex education in schools, announcing that it “pollutes” young minds.

On VHP’s Durga Vahini’s demand to ban on the exhibition ‘Naked and the Nude’ in Delhi.

On how the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan led to ministers saying they want to rid the country of “sanskritik pradushan”, or cultural pollution.

When Section 377 became news.

Raising legitimate questions about the meaning of sex and intimacy in Indian culture mean, Chandra looks back in time, to put in context the celebration of sexuality in the past, when we were more “open as a society.”

“Temples are seen as an extremely pious place, and nudity and sex has been associated with irreligiousness and guilt. It is this juxtaposition also that I wanted to bring forth in the project.”

Contextualising the debate on moral policing and censorship, Chandra’s work not only depicts the hypocrisy of extolling our past while not embracing the present, but also how there is a need to understand the former in terms of the latter.

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