Thursday, June 9, 2011

MF Hussain

MF Hussain, the Picasso of India died not as an Indian citizen but as a Qatari national after being threatened with arrest in his nineties says U Rehman.
India’s moist famous artist MF Husain is no more. He breathed his last in a London Hospital after almost a month of illness. He was 95.

The artist, who of late was more in news for negative publicity by rightist Hindu fundamentalist organizations in the country, attacked his exhibitions at times destroying his painting that cost in excess of at least Rs 10 million per painting.

Fida Husain was born in the year 1915, thirty two years before the independence of the country.

He was living in Qatar, the Gulf emirate that had offered him citizenship-a rare feat- after he left India fearing his arrest. The rightist Hindu organizations had bombarded him with court cases after he depicted Hindu Goddess Durga in nude.

Though he continued saying that he was not trying to denigrate the religion and that the sculpture of Durga at many places had been carved in nude besides many other Hindu Gods and Goddeses, no one heard him.

But a good thing that came out of this whole affair was that many moderate Hindus sided with him demanding the government that it scrap cases against him and invite him back to the country.

It is unfortunate that such a celebrated painter and artist was forced out of country at such a ripe age when many of the people of his age who survive this long lose sight and hearing and can no longer work.

His troubles though long standing started taking tough shape when he was charged with hurting Hindu sentiments in 2006 for his nude portraits of Hindu goddesses. His properties were attached and he had to flee the nation.

Wikepedia the online encyclopedia while writing about his initial days as painter says, “Husain first became well-known as an artist in the late 1940s. In 1947, he joined the Progressive Artists' Group, founded by Francis Newton Souza. This was a clique of young artists who wished to break with the nationalist traditions established by the Bengal school of art and to encourage an Indian avant-garde, engaged at an international level. In 1952, his first solo exhibition was held at Z├╝rich and over the next few years, his work was widely seen in Europe and the U.S. In 1955, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shree prize by the Government of India.”
I am really saddened by the fact that a painter and artist who was called the Picasso of India died a Qatari national due to the blighted vision and indifference of our rulers.