By Anshul Tewari:
MF Hussain, a veteran artist, an award-winning painter and a global phenomenon passed away this morning in London, due to a heart attack. Hussain was arguably India’s finest artist, known for his enchanting modern art, and also in controversy for painting nude photographs of Hindu goddesses and bharat mata. Last year we reported that MF Hussain had moved out of India and was living in Qatar and London, in a self-exile. Later, he was awarded the citizenship of Qatar and was even working on a few projects for the country. He was popularly known as the Picasso of India (Forbes).
MF Hussain had a fatwa on his name, ordered by some Islamic leaders in India. He was also facing a continued protest by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for his depiction of the Indian Goddesses.
As (M.F) told to the Editor of The Hindu, N. Ram, he had an approximate of 900 cases in his name in various courts. He was made a mockery of by the religious groups in India and chose to stay mum and leave his motherland in peace, something he surely regretted.
Those who questioned his love for the country, because of the nude paintings he made, should go and have a look at the monuments in Khajuraho. Those monuments, the largest group of Hindu temples in India, show sexual art, practice of tantric sex as well as facts of life.
When he was leaving India, he was in pain. As our Sub Editor, Abhirup Bhunia had written,Â When the word democracy is flamboyantly uttered by bigheads of democratic states, the biting wit which emerges, bites off the very flesh of the skin called democracy leaving behind very little to chew over. Constitution guarantees, not just provides, the right to freedom of ex-pression to every individual. At the same time, tolerance towards other religions is a part of the Indian constitutional offerings.Â MF Hussain, perhaps nowadays known more for denouncing Indian citizenship, is a case in point. His was a classic example of artistic freedom being curtailed to zilch.
Continued ignorance by the Indian Government, and the failure of the same to protect his rights led India to lose a celebrated artist, who died in vain, wishing to be in Mumbai in his last few days.
The media is to be equally blamed. We fight for our rights, media plays a role. But what about the artists? With all the news burning about Baba Ramdev, it is clear that the other, probably equally important news is left behind. Had the Indian media supported Hussain when he was leaving the Indian citizenship India would have never lost him.
Youth Ki Awaaz pays tribute to this maestro who put Indian art on the global front. We deeply regret the fact that he did not get the support he needed. The level of sensibility and ideas he had were truly worth following. Rest in peace.
I am forced to remember about the famous and celebrated Shehnai player, Bismillah Khan. Bismillah Khan was perhaps single handedly responsible for making shehnai a famous classical instrument. He lived in a poor condition and could never be served well for his contributions to the Indian tradition.
Do you think that India is ignoring its artists?