This piece took me about a 100 hours to create. The impetus (the word ‘inspiration’ doesn’t really fit in this context) … but the incentive was reading a sad story on the internet, written by Raghunatha dasa about abuse he and fellow students suffered as children, growing up in experimental Gurukula schools. Some of the teachers who were entrusted with protecting them, abused their authority. It was difficult to read the student’s accounts, written many years later when they were in their 30’s. They won a lawsuit against their perpetrators. I was moved by their sad stories. Similar stories are repeated again and again throughout the world, whereever their is an atmosphere of religious authority.
Afterwards I read several studies that had been conducted on abuse in religious communities of all faiths. The conclusion was that whenever there is an environment of unquestioned authority, where blind faith and submissiveness are expected, even rewarded, this creates fertile ground for abusers. It attracts those who are inclined to abuse because they find the perfect conditions for their crimes to go undetected in an atmosphere of secrecy and submission. This is a systemic problem with organized religion of every kind.
The tiger in this art piece is symbolic. It represents a noble and loyal guardian who protects the innocent and vulnerable. I wish there had been such a guardian to protect the children of Gurukula, and all others who had similar experiences in residential schools and elsewhere throughout the world.