They say, keep art and politics separate. Artists such as writers, actors, poets and singers are different people. They cannot be confined within borders.
These people should remember that art is one of the biggest propaganda machines used by writers, poets, lyricists, painters etc. to communicate ideological and political ideas with great force. What directly cannot be achieve, art can achieve, such is the power of art and nobody understands this like leftist artists and intellectuals.
Why are artists, especially writers and poets, banished and persecuted by oppressive regimes? Even dictators, who might not be as sophisticated as the so-called intellectuals, understand the power of literature. This is why most of the writers who wrote against communism in Russia were either exiled or sent to concentration camps in Siberia. The Russian Czar was afraid of Leo Tolstoy. Ever since Gutenberg revolutionised publishing, the revolutionaries have used various mediums of art to awaken the masses and instigate uprisings. So no, art and politics cannot be separated. Politics affects people. Art affects people. Therefore politics affects art and art affects politics and this mutual impact becomes more important when international borders are involved.
For a long time films have been used to distort our traditions and especially Hinduism. The Hindu gods are made fun of. The Hindu saints and sadhus are depicted as corrupt rapists not as an exception, but as a norm. Even in B-grade movies when they have to show a really repulsive character, they use a Hindu sadhu, such great is the impact of this artistic form of ideological onslaught.
In India most of the writers are leftists. They promote and propagate leftist ideologies. The entire award-wapsi gang belongs to the Sahitya Kala Academi cycles that have been totally convoluted by the Congress party. Many actors and lyricists in films are known leftists, Marxists and Communists. All the actors, writers and directors that are speaking in favour of allowing Pakistani actors to work in India support or endorse leftist political parties. So how can they say that art and politics should be kept separate?
Classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai has been carrying out a prolonged campaign against Narendra Modi and his party. Why doesn’t she keep herself separate from politics since art and politics should be kept separate? Many actors signed petitions against Narendra Modi including the very same actors who are saying that art and politics should be kept separate. Mahesh Bhatt, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri… they all have had records of statements against political parties that are against the Congress or the parties endorsing the Congress line (including communists). Ask Arundhati Roy and she can easily give you a few lessons on how to use art to carry out political and ideological warfare, especially by creating cocktails of 10% reality and 90% fabrication. So how can you say that art should be kept separate from politics?
Personally I believe that art and politics shouldn’t be kept separate because art imitates life in its true sense. If the beholder, the listener, the viewer, the reader, doesn’t relate to the art he or she is being exposed to, what is the purpose of that art? When an M. F. Hussein paints a naked Sita astride Hanuman’s tail, is he making art just for his own self? No, he’s making a statement, whether it is social or cultural or religious. When in the PK movie they show a man disguised as Lord Shiva running around in bathrooms and hiding under chairs and painting a pathetic picture of himself, what do you think the makers of the movie are trying to portray? Are they paying respect to Lord Shiva? No, they are making a statement. Most of the old time James Bond movies had Russian villains; were they not making a political statement?
Since art comes from us, it originates from our understanding of the world around us, it cannot be separate from us. And since politics cannot be separate from us, art cannot be separate from politics.
In fact, sports can be separate from politics because when players are playing, they are not making a political statement. But, when you are writing a novel, making a movie, drawing or acting (acting means participating in the process of an idea being delivered through a movie), one way or another, you’re making a political, social, and ideological statement.
Under the current circumstances, since our artists, mostly our writers, lyricists and artsy actors, take strong political stands, should be the last ones to say that art and politics should be kept separate. Whether they like it or not, they should accept the fact that politics and arts are related, in fact, strongly.