The Highs and Lows of Being an Artist

I’ve seen versions of the following statement and agree with the point in makes about being an artist.

‘If you ask yourself why artists (djs,singers,dancers,musicians, photographers, painters or anyone who falls under the artist category) charge “so much” (?) for performances… We don’t get paid vacation, we don’t get paid sick days, we don’t get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas.

My Paints!!!!

We don’t have insurance plans nor do we qualify for unemployment. We sacrifice our family on special days so that we can bring happiness to others. Illness or personal affairs are not excuses for a bad performance. Next time you ask, remember that artists are artists because of the love of music & art but that love doesn’t pay debts. Happy Artists Day!! Re-post if you’re an Artist.’

This week I’ve been active making use of my Youtube account documenting me painting in front of the camera. I’ve also created a video ‘artist’s statement’ for those of you who want to know a little bit more about my attitude to art and what I enjoy about painting.  I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave your comments on the link  if you have any.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous week ahead!

Why Do India’s Dalits Hate Mahatma Gandhi?

Mahatma Gandhi

Populating my blogsite with some interesting reading, I came across this article on Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi is seen as a great civil rights leader but according to the following article  many people’s views on this leader’s fight for democracy should be challenged!

My view of Gandhi wasn’t great, particularly after learning of his stance on black/white equally whilst living in South Africa.  My perception of him changed dramatically after finding he considered Indians in apartheid South Africa “fellow colonists” along with the white colonists, over the indigenous Blacks.

Thomas C Mountain, the author of ‘ Why Do India’s Dalits Hate Gandhi? paints an alarming picture of a man history has presented as a freedom fighter and humanitarian.

Thomas C Mountain
In India, supposedly the worlds largest democracy, the leadership of the rapidly growing Dalit movement have nothing good to say about Mohandas K. Gandhi. To be honest, Gandhi is actually one of the most hated Indian leaders in the hierarchy of those considered enemies of India’s Dalits or “untouchables” by the leadership of India’s Dalits.

Many have questioned how could I dare say such a thing?

In reply I urge people outside of India to try and keep in mind my role as the messenger in this matter. I am the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal, founded in 1996, which was the first publication on the internet to address the Dalit question from the Dalits viewpoint. My co-editor is M. Gopinath, who includes in his c.v. being Managing Editor of the Dalit Voice newspaper and then going on to found Times of Bahujan, national newspaper of the Bahujan Samaj Party, India’s Dalit party and India’s youngest and third largest national party. The founding President of the Ambedkar Journal was Dr. Velu Annamalai, the first Dalit in history to achieve a Ph.d in Engineering. My work with the Dalit movement in India started in 1991 and I have been serving as one of the messengers to those outside of India from the Dalit leaders who are in the very rapid process of organizing India’s Dalits into a national movement. The Dalit leadership I work with received many tens of millions of votes in the last national election in India. With that out of the way, let’s get back to the 850 million person question, why do Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi?

To start, Gandhi was a so called “high caste.” High castes represent a small minority in India, some 10-15f the population, yet dominate Indian society in much the same way whites ruled South Africa during the official period of Apartheid. Dalits often use the phrase Apartheid in India when speaking about their problems.

The Indian Constitution was authored by Gandhi’s main critic and political opponent, Dr.Ambedkar, for whom our journal is named and the first Dalit in history to receive an education (if you have never heard of Dr. Ambedkar I would urge you to try and keep an open mind about what I am saying for it is a bit like me talking to you about the founding of the USA when you have never heard of Thomas Jefferson).

Most readers are familiar with Gandhi’s great hunger strike against the so called Poona Pact in 1933. The matter which Gandhi was protesting, nearly unto death at that, was the inclusion in the draft Indian Constitution, proposed by the British, that reserved the right of Dalits to elect their own leaders. Dr. Ambedkar, with his degree in Law from Cambridge, had been chosen by the British to write the new constitution for India. Having spent his life overcoming caste based discrimination, Dr. Ambedkar had come to the conclusion that the only way Dalits could improve their lives is if they had the exclusive right to vote for their leaders, that a portion or reserved section of all elected positions were only for Dalits and only Dalits could vote for these reserved positions.

Gandhi was determined to prevent this and went on hunger strike to change this article in the draft constitution. After many communal riots, where tens of thousands of Dalits were slaughtered, and with a leap in such violence predicted if Gandhi died, Dr. Ambedkar agreed, with Gandhi on his death bed, to give up the Dalits right to exclusively elect their own leaders and Gandhi ended his hunger strike. Later, on his own death bed, Dr. Ambedkar would say this was the biggest mistake in his life, that if he had to do it all over again, he would have refused to give up Dalit only representation, even if it meant Gandhi’s death.

As history has shown, life for the overwhelming majority of Dalits in India has changed little since the arrival of Indian independence over 50 years ago. The laws written into the Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar, many patterned after the laws introduced into the former Confederate or slave states in the USA during reconstruction after the Civil War to protect the
freed black Americans, have never been enforced by the high caste dominated Indian court system and legislatures. A tiny fraction of the “quotas” or reservations for Dalits in education and government jobs have been filled. Dalits are still discriminated against in all aspect of life in India’s 650,000 villages despite laws specifically outlawing such acts. Dalits are the victims of economic embargos, denial of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, use of public facilities and education and even entry to Hindu temples.

This is one of the golden rules of Dalit liberation, that varna means color, and that Hinduism is a form of racially based oppression and as such is the equivalent of Apartheid in India. Dalits feel that if they had the right to elect their own leaders they would have been able to start challenging the domination of the high castes in Indian society and would have begun the long walk to freedom so to speak. They blame Gandhi and his hunger strike for preventing this. So there it is, in as few words as possible, why in today’s India the leaders of India’s Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi.

This is, of course, an oversimplification. India’s social problems remain the most pressing in the world and a few paragraphs are not going to really explain matters to anyone’s satisfaction. The word Dalit and the movement of a crushed and broken people, the “untouchables” of India, is just beginning to become known to most of the people concerned about human rights in the world. As Dalits organize themselves and begin to challenge caste based rule in India, it behooves all people of good conscience to start to find out what the Dalits and their leadership are fighting for. A good place to start is with M.K. Gandhi and why he is so hated by Dalits in India.

Thomas C. Mountain
is the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India’s Dalits, founded in 1996. His writing has been featured in Dalit publications across India, including the Dalit Voice and the Times of Bahujan as well as on the front pages of the mainstream, high caste owned, Indian press. He would recommend viewing of the award winning film “Bandit Queen” as the best example of life for women and Dalits in India’s villages, which is the story of the life of the late, brutally murdered, Phoolan Devi, of whose international defense committee Thomas C. Mountain was a founding member.

The Origins of Lady Liberty- Let’s Investigate!

The Statue in on the Seine in Paris

Reading through old papers and posts, I thought I should add the following article.  I’m looking forward to yet another trip to my ‘home from home’ New York.  After reading this article and gaining  further information, I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty differently. For me, it has never represented ‘freedom’ and now I often wonder how the original lady would have impacted on  New Yorkers back in the 1800s.

The sculptor of the statue was a French-born Italian named Auguste Bartholdi. At the age of twenty-nine he visited Egypt and the sublime sculptural legacy of the Black Egyptians left an indelible mark on him.
According to Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, authors of Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith, it was during his visit to Egypt that Bartholdi met Ferdinand de Lesseps who was then planning to construct the Suez Canal to link the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Impressed, Bartholdi thought of making “a gigantic statue of a goddess holding a torch.” This statue was to overlook the canal. However, his plans failed to materialize.
Liberty: First Hundred Years, Bernard Weisberger claims that the giant statue was to be that of the Egyptian goddess Isis. It is a fact that Isis was Black, as was her husband, Osiris. This raises the interesting question:”Was the Statue of Liberty originally conceived to portray a Black woman as some Black historians like Leonard Jeffries (5) have asserted? Indeed, the Cult of Isis was quite strong in France.
It has been said that,”The people of France gave the statue to the people of the United States over 100 years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution.”
The Statue was the brainchild of the French historian and politician, Edouard de Laboulaye, who was also the Chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society. The idea was to sculpt a monument in honor of Black soldiers who were instrumental in the defeat of the Confederacy during the Civil War and thereby ensuring the end of slavery. They mooted the idea to the French Government of presenting a statue to the
United States on behalf of the French people through the American Abolitionist Society.
Bartholdi used a Black woman as the model for the original statue, Isis, no doubt. The original model is said to be in
France and is black. The American Committee of the Statue of Liberty did not approve of the idea, however, as the issue of slavery was still in favor by the Southern States despite their defeat in the Civil War. When he was first presented with the statue, the U.S. Minister to France claimed that the South might object to the broken shackles.
Bartholdi completed the statue depicting a Black woman with a broken chain of slavery in her left hand and at her feet in 1870. The 151-foot statue was set up in
New York Harbor in 1886. A 21-inch model can be found at the Museum of the City of New York at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street. It was displayed at the Museum on February 9, 2000. The N.Y. Post also displayed the original dark face of the Statue of Liberty on June 17, 1986. Ultimately, the face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after Bartholdi’s mother, Charlotte Beysser. The 151-foot statue was set up in New York Harbor in 1886.

The French engineer Alexandre Gustav Eiffel undertook the construction, although Bartholdi was the designer. The authors cite the Readers Companion to American History, which claims that Bartholdi “‘ Combined elements of the Egyptian Pyramids he admired with his mother’s face to serve as a model for the statue, which he finished early in 1884.'”

According to Michael Bradley,”The French Cultural Center (5th Avenue and 82nd Street) has a special “Liberty” edition of the magazine France in which the real story is told and some of the models are illustrated. The original concept was not acceptable, even as a gift from France, and the idea was finally modified into a properly Caucasian personification of “Liberty” before the U.S. would accept delivery