“India’s Hindu, Muslim clashes explored in traveling U.S. exhibits”

Political parties in India are trading blame today after “religious riots” in that country left 31 people dead, Reuters reports. “Violence between Muslims and Hindus has been a defining feature of Indian politics since the separation of Pakistan in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions displaced,” writes Frank Jack Daniel in the article.

Zarina. Dividing Line, 2001. UCLA Hammer Museum. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy: Art Institute of Chicago.

Zarina. Dividing Line, 2001. UCLA Hammer Museum. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy: Art Institute of Chicago.

Two major traveling exhibits—one about an Indian collective of performers and artists, and the other a retrospective of an Indian-born artist—are offering sobering reflections on religious violence in India. Anthony Hirschel, the Dana Feitler director of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, which curated one of the shows, believes that American viewers have a lot to learn about Islam and Hinduism in India.

“Both are religions that remain largely unfamiliar in their practices and beliefs to a significant portion of the American public,” he says. “I think the interest stems largely from the much greater interest in Islam and its manifestations because, sadly, of the geopolitical concerns about Islam in general.”

Read more of my piece on the Washington Post On Faith blog.

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