Statutory Warning: This is a work of fiction!

Vikky Abraham
5 min readSep 18, 2021


Creative liberties and Cultural terrorism

Pic Credit: amol-hirawadekar-shiva-new

The Indian creative landscape is on the brink of war for cultural freedom. Maligned and tarred by the government playing the mob depending on who reigns power. Self-serving ideologies endorsing narratives sponsored by fundamentalists groups will leave many carcasses as the right-wing issues death-threats and the left issues FIR!

An entire civilization based on the cusp of mythology, religion, and politics erupts on Tandav’ a web series set in the capital city of the world’s largest democracy — DILLI (New Delhi), where it takes you inside the closed, chaotic doors of power and manipulation and uncovers the darkest lanes of Indian politics on an OTT platform. What can be cited as a ‘mediocre drama’ based on some facts seen through an abusive creative lens where Hindu Gods can speculate a few cuss words, it finds itself in a midst of furore created by Hindu fundamentalist groups.

Truly, as a practising Hindu, how does this affect me? Does the average Hindu start believing in fiction and stop his/her Mahamrityunjaya Mantra? The argument being… try these gimmicks with another religion and be rest assured of a fatwa ala Salman Rushdie a gifted creative individual or face a more serious backlash like the Charlie Hebdo controversy.

The Indian subcontinent much before the advent of the white man has always been known for adopting a secular though not always a peaceful amalgamation of many cultures and concepts! Is the same culture today under threat by some passing remark of individuals or is this a disguised attempt of making a mockery of the only dominant Hindu culture/country in the world? Indeed is another debate to consider!

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What hurts and offends religious sentiments? Grand censorships and mob sentiments…as a creative individual it does get me thinking as to what creative liberties’ I can take and only hope not to be misconstructed or targeted by any particular fundamentalist groups.

Incitement of hatred in the guise of nationalism is borrowed from Islamic fundamentalist and is not a democratic outlook as we descend as a culture.

Husain’s works stirred controversy, which included nude portrayals of Hindu deities, and a nude portrayal of Bharat Mata. Right-wing organizations called for his arrest, and several lawsuits were filed against him for hurting religious sentiments. He remained in a self-imposed exile from 2006 until his death in 2011, accepting Qatari citizenship in 2008.

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The function of Art has always been to comment on society. The creative process is largely self-censored in India and the fear of a backlash will stifle many individuals… now how do we tell our stories which are a reflection of society? Held at ransom by the mob, will a coded subversive subculture evolve?

Raja Ravi Verma who glorified women as a Goddess and the Goddess as a woman and elevated the Indian psyche most profoundly was damned by naysayers of yesterday who condemned him and fiercely criticized him for his depiction of Indian women! Mythology, history, and culture which allowed us the right to deliberate on ‘Sita’s ordeal by the fire, today faces censorship which itself is a western construct. Freedom of expression is when there is the freedom to have an open debate and conversation on any subject!

Pic credit: Indian Express

We have the right to debate under the constitution of India ! However as protests against Ekta Kapoor over web series ‘showing Army in poor light’ were being circulated one wondered whatever happened to common sense understanding of sifting facts from fiction…Where Vinod Khanna’s Achanak based on true events is a philosophical look at the duty of medical and legal professionals and a man’s right to commit manslaughter is protected under the guise of crime of passion! One wonders on the double standards adapted by society on the gender issue.

Art, Cinema, Theatre, and Literature have celebrated religion and politics on many occasions. Now battling death-threats and mob fear in a land which was once an open society for many decades… a free culture before the term was invented by the west the creative community must stand up for each other if we have to defend our freedom.

The combination of victorian morality and Islamic fundamentalist has left a trail of illegal vigilantism and governments which have a conflict of interest and cannot set the stage for an open conversation on any religion-based ideologies.

Culture, constitution and credibility, and the western concept of watch-dogs have confused democracy with fundamentalism along with our colonial hangover which lingers across many generations. A free and democratic country like India now has creatives looking over their shoulder… Facing backlash in a free country where free expression of ideas or any commentary on politics or critique is met with a ‘Tandav’ from the many self-appointed religious/moral police.

What constitutes free speech and what is arm twisting politics? Maybe its time for the Indian creative to do his/her ‘Tandav’ as we are on the brink of losing real art and real artist? Or maybe every creative expression needs to have a statutory warning: like the title of this article!

There is a surprising amount of material to unpack in this compact ebook. In just six short stories, using mundane events as a backdrop, you lightly skip through multiple heavy themes — child abuse, feminism, sexuality, and patriarchy thus demonstrating their intersectionality, the breadth of their impact, and the terrible consequences of the denial of basic rights to women in India.

ebook LIGHT — A bit of fact, a bit of fiction by Vikky Abraham is about brown women from India. A series of short stories woven from the fabric of Indian society. Some dark, some intriguing, and some heart-wrenching.

Available on Amazon Kindle

As a creative individual Vikky Abraham has spent many years in Advertising, Publishing and Media.’ Light’ — is her first book, written during the lockdown, where facts of the Indian patriarchal society provoked her to think and re-examine her perception of reality.