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  • Manju Sadarangani

Ahimsa II

Ahimsa II

अहिंसा II

24" x 24"

Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Collage on Canvas

June 2022

Ahimsa is non-violence.

I began this piece on after the Dobbs v. Jackson SCOTUS decision on June 24, 2022. We have been saturated with media coverage, and wiser minds have articulated deeply what this decision means, so this is not an analysis. This series is about a simple personal resolve - I will respond to this verdict - my feelings, the feelings of others - with non-violence.

This second piece of the Ahimsa series is an attempt at nonviolence, to bear witness to all emotion – rage, triumph, denial, anger, sorrow - with compassion.

This piece includes shreds of Justice Thomas concurring opinion. I can’t help but be me in these moments, so the piece is painful, determined, cheeky (ergo the visual pun). There was something deeply cathartic about shredding Justice Thomas’concurring opinion.There was a hypocrisy to it that blew my mind.

It felt very sacrilegious to tear something from the Supreme Court. When I was a wee sprite in college, reading opinions from SCOTUS meant time in libraries, begging for access to LexisNexis. I remember handling SCOTUS opinions with reverence. To rip into this, it was like destroying something sacred. I found myself questioning my faith in many things.

By the time I was done with this piece, I could barely write without my hands trembling. For those who know my silly vanity about clean penmanship, you know I did not take that well. Being non-violent, being patient, methodical, vulnerable took so much more out of me than throwing things in rage. It made me go to uncomfortable places, to question faith, shame, rage.

“सकळलोकमांसहुनेवंदे, निंदानकरेकेनीरे।“

Excerpt from Vaishnava Jana To’ by 15th century Gujarati Poet, Narsinh Mehta.

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