Human Rights

Qatar offers home to Husain

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The celebrated Indian painter M.F. Husain has been conferred a rare honour: the citizenship of the State of Qatar. The artist has been living abroad for the past few years, shifting from place to place as there are dozens of pending cases against him in Indian courts and Hindu fascists are after his blood. The prospects of Husain’s impending change of nationality brings to a close one of the most shameful. chapters in post-independent India’s secular history. Husain’s troubles began in 1996 when a Hindu fundamentalist monthly launched a scathing attack on his paintings done in 1970s which depicted Hindu gods and goddesses in the nude. This was followed by a slew of criminal cases against the artist, filed in far flung places, charging that he, through painting, has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. There are at least 900 such cases pending against him in various courts thanks to the fanatic mob led by Hindutva brigade. Many exhibitions of his paintings were vandalised by the RSS and the Shiv Sena.

It is ironical that a country which depicts its Devatas in the nude, as in the murals of Khajurahu sculptures and the murals and frescoes of South Indian temples, has grown so intolerant as to drive such a great artist into permanent exile while offering protection to aliens likes of Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie and offering huge protection to venom-spitters like Togadias and Singhals.

At 95, Husain continues his creative work. Two large projects of history are at hand. One on the history of the Indian Civilization, and another on Arab civililzation.

The honour of Qatar nationality was conferred on Husain by the modernising Emirate’s ruling family known for a soft heart for poets, writers and artists. (PK Prakasam)    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2010 on page no. 11

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